Plastic Podcast

The venerable and exceedingly intermittent Plastic Podcast, which has outlived the two blogs with which it was intertwined, and whose audio archives were difficult to ...

The Plastic Podcast

An audio program about movies. Listen with your iPod or computer.

Plastic Podcast

The venerable and exceedingly intermittent Plastic Podcast, which has outlived the two blogs with which it was intertwined, and whose audio archives were difficult to ...

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Daily Plastic is a Chicago-based movie blog, a collaboration between Robert Davis and J. Robert Parks, the same pair who brought you the wearable movie tote, the razor-thin pencil pocket, and that joke about aardvarks. If you know the whereabouts of the blue Pontiac Tempest that was towed from the Plastic Parking Lot on the evening of August 7th, 2008, or more importantly if you've recovered the red shoebox that was in its trunk, please contact us at your earliest convenience.

Davis was the chief film critic for the late, great Paste Magazine (which lives on now as a website) from 2005 through 2009, and he counts this interview with Claire Denis among his favorite moments. Every once in a while he pops up on Twitter. He's presently sipping puerh in Chicago, even at this hour. Meanwhile, Parks, whose work has appeared in TimeOut Chicago, The Hyde Park Herald, and Paste, is molding unsuspecting, college-aged minds in the aforementioned windy city. Media types are warned to stay clear of his semester-sized field of influence because of the distorting effects that are likely to develop.

The © copyright of all content on Daily Plastic belongs to the respective authors.


Laura Magruder/IFC Films
Demian Bichir and Benicio Del Toro in Che

Director Steven Soderbergh has often alternated between big-budget Hollywood flicks (Out of Sight, Ocean’s 11) and smaller, indie fare (Schizopolis, Bubble). Che, his newest film, has elements of both. It has a big star in Benicio del Toro, a sexy topic in the life of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, and an epic scope as Che helps to overthrow the Batista government of Cuba. But it’s also a small movie, as Soderbergh intentionally limits the film’s scale and focuses on the difficulties of creating a revolutionary movement.

This is particularly true in the movie’s second half, which skips ahead to 1966 when Che went to Bolivia in the hopes of replicating the success he had in Cuba. But as Soderbergh methodically shows, the circumstances were different in Bolivia. While the Cuban leftist political parties banded together with Castro and Che’s military movement, the communist party in Bolivia was skeptical and refused to lend support. While the Batista government was largely incompetent in how it ignored the revolution fomenting in the mountains, the Bolivian government, with the help of the CIA, didn’t make the same mistake. And while Che was able to work with a wide variety of charismatic leaders in Cuba, he was largely alone in Bolivia and was never able to create the momentum or sense of inevitability that occurred in the Cuban countryside.

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Benicio Del Toro is Che Guevara in Steven Soderbergh's new film.

On this edition of the Plastic Podcast we chat about some of the films we saw at this year's Toronto International Film Festival.

0:00 Intro
2:28 35 Shots of Rum (Denis)
4:29 Festival Anxiety, Goodbye Solo (Bahrani)
5:44 Listmaking
7:39 Rachel Getting Married (Demme)
9:31 Still Walking (Kore-eda)
12:20 Summer Hours (Assayas)
14:15 Snow (Begic)
15:04 Rain (Govan)
15:53 Experimental Films: Nathaniel Dorsky
19:26 Experimental Films: James Benning
22:25 The Wrestler (Aronofsky)
24:55 Slumdog Millionaire (Boyle)
27:57 Che (Soderbergh)
33:02 Dislikes
36:25 Two-Legged Horse (Makhmalbaf)
38:23 Outro

Further Reading

  • Index of our Toronto coverage
  • Video of Variety's Robert Koehler, The Village Voice/L.A. Weekly's Scott Foundas, and Cinema Scope's Mark Peranson and Andrew Tracy kvetching (or if you prefer whingein') about the festival.
  • Audio of SpoutBlog's Karina Longworth and Kevin Kelly talking about TIFF and sharing a funny anecdote about seeing Burn After Reading while sitting next to noisy celebs.
  • Audio of James Rocchi and David Poland talking about TIFF and offering, among other opinions, spirited defenses of Che and Slumdog Millionaire.