Green Screen

Green Screen

Sean Munger

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Episodes

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The environmental movie podcast! We watch and discuss movies about the environment, movies that have environmental themes or in which nature plays a significant role. Hosted by Sean Munger (an environmental historian) and Cody Climer (a movie buff).

Recent Episodes

Green Screen
AUG 6, 2020
Episode 14: King Kong
Coming off the dreary climate change denial in the last episode, Sean and Cody go ape over one of the most iconic monster films in cinema history. In the original 1933 King Kong, greedy producer Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) sails a crew of down-and-out ne’er-do-wells to the distant Skull Island to make a quickie exploitation pic. The whiteys quickly get more than they bargained for when they encounter the island’s landlord, a sexually frustrated giant gorilla who seems to have a thing for scream queen Ann (Fay Wray) and a lot of enemies among the prehistoric beasts on the island. Things really go tango-uniform when Kong’s headlining tour in the Big Apple takes an unexpected detour to a famous piece of Midtown real estate. Environmental issues discussed include the surprising myths about “jungle” environments, the ethnographic racism of National Geographic, the environmental impact of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, and the checkered history of the Empire State Building. Do “impenetrable jungles” like the ones seen in this movie really exist, or are they just Hollywood fantasy? Why was it OK to show boobs and wang in National Geographic for most of the 20th century? Why did FDR send people out to plant a bunch of trees in the mid-1930s? How often do the natives of Skull Island sacrifice somebody to Kong? Does it happen every week, every year, or what? Could you really get a set of Scarface plates at your local movie theater in 1931? What’s Ingagi and why should you be grateful that you’ve never seen it? Do you need two hands to climb the Empire State Building? Why was the director of this picture bizarrely obsessed with gorillas? All these questions are ready to be gas-bombed, bound in chains and exhibited on Broadway for your listening pleasure in this monkey-business-filled episode of Green Screen. King Kong (1933) at IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0024216/ King Kong (1933) at Letterboxd: https://letterboxd.com/film/king-kong/ Next Movie Up: Holes (2003) Website For This Episode
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70 MIN
Green Screen
JUL 23, 2020
Episode 13: The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear
What starts out as a light-hearted palate cleanse quickly becomes more than Sean and Cody bargained for as they seek to lighten the mood with a classic Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker slapstick comedy. In The Naked Gun 2½, dimwitted Police Squad detective Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) bumbles into a plot where evil White House Chief of Staff John Sununu (Peter Van Norden) is trying to rig George Bush’s environmental policy so fossil fuel fat cats like the dapperly mustachioed Quentin Hapsburg (Robert Goulet) can keep killing the planet for profit. But with Drebin, Ed and Nordberg on the case, are the oily baddies finally about to meet their Waterloo? Environmental issues discussed include the evolution of climate change denial as official U.S. policy, the consequences of the George H.W. Bush presidency, the cultural resonance of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster, and the influence of fossil fuel industry lobby groups on public opinion. Why did John Sununu hate science so much? How did tobacco company shills and defense analysts pushing beam weapons to Ronald Reagan in the ‘80s prime the pump for the rise of global warming denialism? What was the most embarrassing oil company commercial of all time? Was Hazelwood really drunk when the Exxon Valdez crashed into that reef, or was that an urban myth? How do you stretch an 85-minute comedy into three excruciating hours of television? How did Priscilla Presley get into Scientology? Is The Sound of Music really a Christmas movie? Does anybody remember who Mel Tormé was? Why is this film so damned depressing and enraging? All of these questions are ready to be taken downtown and interrogated in this episode of Green Screen. The Naked Gun 2½ (1991) at IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102510/ The Naked Gun 2½ (1991) at Letterboxd: https://letterboxd.com/film/the-naked-gun-2-the-smell-of-fear/ Next Movie Up: King Kong (1933) Website For This Episode
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67 MIN
Green Screen
JUL 9, 2020
Episode 12: Kon-Tiki
Parched from their trip to Arabia in the last episode, Sean and Cody exchange sand for surf in a rare double-header episode examining two different films on the same subject. In 1947, six buff Nordic adventurers set out on the Pacific on a tiny raft to prove a questionable theory about where the original settlers of Polynesia might have come from. The tale of their voyage was chronicled in the classic 1950 documentary and a 2012 Norwegian-made dramatic film, both titled Kon-Tiki. Environmental issues discussed include how the Pacific was vegetated and peopled in ancient times, the mysterious legacies of Easter Island, environmental history vs. pseudohistory, and European revisionism of indigenous origins and history. What was Thor Heyerdahl trying to prove with the voyage of the Kon-Tiki, and did he really succeed? Why does Easter Island attract so many crackpot theories? What’s “Pacific island chic”? Who’s Velikovsky and what does his infamous book about bad astronomy have to do with the subject of these films? Why did the Nazis want people to believe in ancient aliens? Did J. Edgar Hoover try to tamper with the Academy Awards by loading up one of the categories with anti-Commie propaganda films? Why don’t any real Polynesians appear in a film ostensibly about Polynesia? These multi-varied questions and many more are all part of the adventure in this nautical episode of Green Screen. Kon-Tiki (1950) at IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042650/ Kon-Tiki (1950) at Letterboxd: https://letterboxd.com/film/kon-tiki-1950/ Kon-Tiki (2012) at IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1613750/ Kon-Tiki (2012) at Letterboxd: https://letterboxd.com/film/kon-tiki/ Next Movie Up: The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear Website For This Episode
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79 MIN
Green Screen
JUN 25, 2020
Episode 11: Lawrence of Arabia
Back from the chilly forests of medieval Japan, Sean and Cody put on their COVID-19 approved shemaghs and saddle up the camels for a dusty trip into the desert and the heart of one of the most beloved and acclaimed films of all time. In David Lean’s 1962 epic Lawrence of Arabia, pasty British white guy Lawrence (Peter O’Toole) gets sent by khaki-wearing, cocktail-sipping sahibs to scope out the hottest new guerrilla commander in Arabia, Faisal (Alec Guinness in brownface), and see if he’d be up for a bit of Hulk-smash action against the Ottoman Turks, which, of course, he is. The result is an almost 4-hour spectacle atomic-powered by the greatest score in movie history. Environmental issues include the ecological impact of World War I, how desert environments and control of water shapes history and cultures, Western colonialism, and many more. What effect did the First World War have on the global environment? How is an oasis formed? Can you really sink to your death in quicksand? How about a muddy shell crater? Was the real T.E. Lawrence queer, a sadist, or both? Why did he go around dressed like Jesus? Why is the score to this film so iconic? How do you pronounce the composer’s name? What’s up with Anthony Quinn’s terrible latex nose? Why would this film have been particularly terrible if it was made by the wrong people? Can we give the film a pass on some of its more problematic aspects because it’s just so fricking amazing? All of these questions are raised up on the seven pillars of wisdom in this latest episode of Green Screen. Special thanks to Mark Aitken for permission to use his cover of the Lawrence of Arabia theme. Lawrence of Arabia at IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056172/ Lawrence of Arabia at Letterboxd: https://letterboxd.com/film/lawrence-of-arabia/ Next Movie Up: Kon-Tiki (1950 and 2012) Website For This Episode
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80 MIN
Green Screen
JUN 11, 2020
Episode 10: Princess Mononoke
After last episode’s sobering experience with the graboids, Sean and Cody join forces with academic expert Alex Arreola to go back in time to pre-modern Japan to ride with magic wolves and ward off evil curses in the forest, or something. In the 1997 Japanese-made animated fantasy adventure Princess Mononoke, Prince Ashitaka is minding his own business when a wormy monster tries to make mincemeat of his village and gives him a Dr. Strangelove-style killer arm with a mind of its own. In seeking a cure for the monster’s curse, Ashitaka sets out into the forest, meeting a host of creatures and human beings whose complex relationships with the land and each other defy easy explanations. The environmental issues discussed include forestry and silviculture in pre-modern Japan, the relationship of warfare and firearms to the environment, the inequality and vulnerability of different societies to climate change, and how story and narrative can raise environmental consciousness. Can you guess which of our hosts has never seen a full-length anime movie before? Why did 16th century Japan go gun-nuttier than an NRA convention? What does Godzilla have to do with the atomic bombing of Hiroshima? Remember when the world came to a halt when the Shogun miniseries came on TV 40 years ago? How come so many environmental narratives in movies seem to be made for children, and why is this film different? What did Neil Gaiman and Quentin Tarantino have to do with this movie? Did you grow up on “G Force” and Battle of the Planets? All these questions get sliced and diced with a samurai sword and blasted with a primitive 16th-century musket in this unusual episode of Green Screen. Princess Mononoke at IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119698/ Princess Mononoke at Letterboxd: https://letterboxd.com/film/princess-mononoke/ Next Movie Up: Lawrence of Arabia (1962) Website For This Episode
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76 MIN