The Bulwark Goes to Hollywood

Episode Archive

Episode Archive

28 episodes of The Bulwark Goes to Hollywood since the first episode, which aired on August 5th, 2020.

  • Scott Feinberg on the Business of Hollywood Awards Season

    March 4th, 2021  |  43 mins 16 secs

    This week Scott Feinberg, the Hollywood Reporter’s awards columnist and host of the excellent podcast Awards Chatter, joins Sonny to talk about the business of awards season. How corrupt are the Golden Globes? What could improve them? And Sonny asks Scott about his absolute favorite part of Oscars season: The Brutally Honest Oscar Voter Ballots! All this and more on this week’s episode of The Bulwark Goes to Hollywood.

  • Abraham Riesman on the Rise (and Fall) of Stan Lee

    February 25th, 2021  |  46 mins 38 secs

    Joining Sonny on this week’s episode of The Bulwark Goes to Hollywood is Abraham Riesman, the author of the excellent new biography True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee. We discuss the long-running fight for credit between Stan Lee and Jack Kirby as well as Lee’s greatest contribution to the world: the character of Stan Lee, a catchphrase-spouting mascot whose ability to connect with fans and create a sense of community helped shape the idea of fandom to this day. For more on Riesman and his book, make sure to check out his website.

  • Harold Mintz on the Past, Present, and Future of CinemaScore

    February 18th, 2021  |  30 mins 54 secs

    This week on The Bulwark Goes to Hollywood, Sonny is very excited to have the president of CinemaScore, Harold Mintz, on the show. CinemaScore is the fantastically useful company that polls opening weekend moviegoers for their grades on new releases, and it’s a more accurate and unbiased measure of audience opinion than just about any other easily available metric.

  • Alan Zilberman on life as a critic during awards season

    February 11th, 2021  |  36 mins 51 secs

    Alan Zilberman, a critic for the Washington City Paper and the Washington Post, joins Sonny Bunch for a very special episode of The Bulwark Goes to Hollywood in which the two discuss life as a part-time film critic during awards season.

  • Glenn Kenny on 'Goodfellas,' Martin Scorsese, and the Business of Movie Books

    February 4th, 2021  |  1 hr 3 mins

    This week’s guest is Glenn Kenny, the author of the excellent new book Made Men: The Story of Goodfellas. Glenn is is a film critic whose work appears in the New York Times and Roger Ebert dot com. He has also written for The Current, Rolling Stone, the Village Voice, the New York Daily news, Playboy, Film Comment, and other publications.

  • Frank Pallotta on the State of Streaming

    January 28th, 2021  |  35 mins 54 secs

    On this episode, Sonny talks to CNN’s Frank Pallotta about the state of streaming. What does it mean that the WWE Network is headed to the Peacock? Are HBO Max’s conversion numbers good enough? Why is Disney trying to charge people $30 to rent a cartoon? All this and more on this week’s episode.

  • Peter Labuza on Antitrust, Hollywood, and Big Tech

    January 21st, 2021  |  44 mins 41 secs

    This week Sonny is joined by Peter Labuza to talk about the past, present, and future of antitrust as it relates to Hollywood. In an age of consolidation and technological advance, how will the end of the Paramount Decrees influence what happens in filmmaking? Peter is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Southern California, where he also earned his PhD in Cinema and Media Studies. His research explores the legal, financial, and political history of creative industries.

  • Chris McKenna on 'Community' and Writing for TV and Movies

    January 14th, 2021  |  55 mins 8 secs

    This week on The Bulwark Goes to Hollywood, Sonny is joined by Chris McKenna. Chris was the co-showrunner on NBC’s (and later Yahoo’s) Community, earning an Emmy nomination for his classic episode “Remedial Chaos Theory.” He’s also the co-writer of the most recent series of Spider-Man films, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, and Lego Batman. On this week’s podcast, he discusses the differences between writing for TV and movies, his winding path to screenwriting success, and what it’s like to work with the great Chevy Chase.

  • David C. Lowery on Making Money by Making Music

    December 31st, 2020  |  52 mins 17 secs

    On this episode of the Bulwark Goes to Hollywood, David C. Lowery — the singer and guitarist for the bands Camper van Beethoven and Cracker — talks to Sonny Bunch about the economics of the music business, the difficulties of making a living as a middle class musician, and why what’s happening in the world of movies may resemble what happened to the music business in the early 2000s. How does TikTok resemble Spotify, and what dangers does it present to the world? Most importantly: How much would it cost Sonny to license the opening riff of “Teen Angst,” the hit song on Cracker’s debut album, “Cracker”? (Spoiler: way too much for Sonny to be able to afford.)

  • James Emanuel Shapiro on the Epic WB/HBO Max Brouhaha

    December 17th, 2020  |  41 mins 14 secs

    On this week’s episode, James Emanuel Shapiro, the COO of Drafthouse Films who started the analytics department at the Alamo Drafthouse and also works as a distribution consultant, talks with Sonny about the epic, amazing, spectacular, disastrous mess that is the decision made by Warner Bros. to release their whole 2021 slate on HBO Max and in theaters simultaneously. Will theaters play ball? Does a shrinking window mean Netflix originals might show up on big screens owned by AMC, Regal, and Cinemark? Will anyone want to work with Warners ever again? All this and more will be discussed on this week’s episode!

  • The Nelms Brothers on 'Fatman,' Casting Mel Gibson, and Sequel Plans?

    December 10th, 2020  |  40 mins 4 secs

    Sonny talks this week to Ian and Eshom Nelms, the fraternal directorial team behind Fatman, about the circuitous path to making that film, the vagaries of indie economics and budgeting, the clash between critics and audiences on the film, and the possibility of a sequel on the horizon after its surprisingly strong VOD performance. There’s some spoiler-y conversation in the last 10 minutes or so of the show, so you should rent the movie before listening if that sort of thing bothers you!

  • Tony Davis Returns! Why Does Your TV Look Better Than Most Theaters?

    December 3rd, 2020  |  39 mins 56 secs

    You may remember Tony Davis as the guy who explained to us why popcorn grease is destroying movie theater projectors. (He also had lots of interesting thoughts on 3D and the economics of the theater business, but mostly, judging by responses I received: popcorn grease.) He’s back this week to explain why the home theater set you can build in your home looks about as good as a standard (read: non-IMAX or Dolby) theater. (Whether or not it sounds as good is a separate issue.) And he has a few suggestions for theater owners as to how they could step up their game.

  • Alison Macor on screenwriting 'Top Gun' and 'Batman'

    November 19th, 2020  |  37 mins 17 secs

    Sonny talks to the Austin-based Alison Macor this week about the life and times of Warren Skaaren this week. Skaaren’s battles with the studios and the Writer’s Guild to get proper credit for his work on Top Gun, Batman, Beverly Hills Cop 2, and Beetlejuice are the subject of her excellent book, Rewrite Man. Consider picking it up after listening to this podcast; it’s a quick read and a great view into a professional script doctor’s process.

  • Derek Dye on Family Video and saving our video stores

    November 12th, 2020  |  25 mins 53 secs

    This week Sonny talks to Derek Dye, the Senior Brand Manager for Highland Ventures, which is the parent company of the iconic Family Video brand. The chain is spearheading the #SaveTheVideoStore campaign, which hopes to raise awareness for those remaining stores. Derek and Sonny discuss the difficulties of operating a video store in general, the extra hardships created by a lack of new content coming from Hollywood, and a good way to save a few bucks while you build up your home video library. Plus: Stranger Things, which will feature the store in their forthcoming season!

  • Alyssa Rosenberg and Peter Suderman on post-Trump cultural coverage

    November 5th, 2020  |  47 mins 58 secs

    This week, Sonny talks to Alyssa Rosenberg (The Washington Post) and Peter Suderman (Reason Magazine), his old friends from Across the Movie Aisle, about the world of movies and movie writing post-Trump. Is Christopher Nolan right that Hollywood studios should be looking to foreign box office dollars? Does Netflix have buyer's remorse about their mega-deals with super-producers? And now that The Trump Show is coming to a close, will the world of cultural writing be able to focus a bit more on, you know, the culture?

  • Shannon Moore on Movie PR in the Age of COVID

    October 29th, 2020  |  38 mins 38 secs

    This week on the show, Sonny talks to Shannon Moore, the Director of Field Marketing at Allied Global Marketing’s Washington, DC office. Sonny’s been a working film critic for 15 years or so, and the first question he always gets—after “What’s your favorite movie?” which he refuses to answer on general principle—is “How do you see the movies? Do you, like, get a private screening?” So he decided to have Shannon on to talk about this and other facets of marketing movies.