Episode One

Film's tagline - What if someone you never met, someone you never saw, someone you never knew was the only someone for you?
Today Mike and Christi gush over Meg and Tom as Annie and Sam as they fall in love. This was their first date and they acknowledge their bias but the worldwide ticket sales confirm that this was a successful film. They open the episode with Mike’s Pick Up line, “Mommy got sick”. Just like the beloved Affair to Remember, many people are also fond of the film Sleepless in Seattle. Listen as these two breakdown why this is one of their favorite films and holds a special place in their history.

“And so we have Bill Pullman is Walter the classic Bellamy. There's nothing wrong with the guy. But there's nothing right with him either. Right? So as the audience right, we can't hate the Bellamy you need to kind of like this guy, but realize he's wrong for her.” - Mike Dodge

We cover the aspects of this film like:
The writing in a romantic comedy and some of the similar troupes like ‘The Bellemy”, the meet-cute and the female gaze.
The use of light and night shoots in the cinematography 
The use of mirror editing 
The different company shoots in Washington DC, Chicago, Baltimore and Seattle
Color theory to create connections between the characters.
The breakdown of the numbers including; budget, head trauma count and number of smoochies. 

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Transcript
Announcer  
You're listening to Dodge Movie Podcast. Your hosts are Christi and Mike Dodge the founders of Dodge Media Productions. We produce films and podcasts. So this is a podcast about films. Join them as they share their passion for filmmaking. 
Christi Dodge  
Welcome, everybody to the first episode of the Dodge Movie Podcast. Happy Valentine's Day. Thank you so much for joining us. And we picked the best movie for Valentine's Day because it takes place on Valentine's Day or some of the movie takes place on Valentine's Day. Hi, Mike. 
Mike Dodge  
Yeah, the important parts I think take place there.
Christi Dodge  
The sweet parts. We're doing Sleepless in Seattle, which debuted June 25 1993, the directors Nora Ephron it stars Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Rob Reiner, Rita Wilson, and Rosie O'Donnell.
Mike Dodge  
Fun fact, this was the movie we saw on our first date.
Christi Dodge  
It was it was Nora sister Delia Ephron was the producer, which I think is kind of fun. It's fun to work with family, right?
Mike Dodge  
It totally is.
Christi Dodge  
Okay, so we're gonna start out talking about the writing and we'll go into the cinematography, the editing the sets, we're going to talk about the costumes. And then we both have some miscellaneous things we want to chat about, and then we'll run down the numbers. We're going to start with Mike's pickup line, because he has realized that he's obsessed with how movies start. So Mike, tell me about what you thought about the way this movie starts.
Mike Dodge  
The very first line in this film is "Mommy got sick". So Tom Hanks, as Sam is telling his son, that the son's mother has died. That's a pretty intense thing to start a romantic comedy on. Right?
Christi Dodge  
That's a very Disney movie.
Mike Dodge  
Yeah, the mom dies in a horrific way, really tear jerking the poor audience, we go into three and a half minutes of Tom Hanks giving a very believable performances a grieved widower, this poor guy yells at one of his coworkers, he's just struggling to get over this grief. And the first time you saw this, maybe would think this is a comedy, I walked into the wrong movie. So we get three and a half minutes of that, and then we cut to the credits. And so the film as a whole kind of has a different feel than that first three and a half minutes, but it really sets up I think that character of Sam is being very broken by his grief.
Christi Dodge  
Yeah, he, I love when he's going through the the cards that people have been giving him all the right parents without partners. 
Mike Dodge  
Yeah. And so he kind of loses his coworker, which is probably fairly accurate. But then the meet cute is a standard part of every rom com. And so we have, you know, classics, you get stuck in an elevator, you knock somebody's coffee over what have you. And here, this is really kind of clever. It's off screen, right? So Annie's character calls into or is listening to a call in radio program that his son is actually called into. So you're now seeing that they're not even on the screen together, they're talking together, there's no dialogue. But yet, this is where these two characters one is introduced to the other, right? He hasn't seen Annie yet. He doesn't know what's in for him, but so that I thought that was a really clever way to do that. And you could also from a production standpoint, it's easier to shoot because you can shoot Meg Ryan on a totally different day than Tom Hanks.
Christi Dodge  
Yeah, fun fact, they were only on screen for two and a half minutes together. 
Mike Dodge  
And isn't that interesting? And they don't actually talk on the phone during that time. Right? Right. So their interaction is really she hears him talking on the on the radio program. And he gets a letter from her. There's a lot of people sending things through the mail that the other person doesn't want sent in this film. Kind of a classic bit. No, seltzer humor? Yeah, some mail fraud. Yeah, we'll get to the wire fraud later.
Christi Dodge  
Yeah, I wrote in my notes, it's an auditory female gaze because we you know, she's lit so beautifully by like the street lights or the dash board lights that are in her car. And she's looking straight ahead, just listening to his voice, which is really intimate as all of you know, right now. And, and I just think that she, she was slowly or quickly falling in love with him. Just you know, we see that on her face. 
Mike Dodge  
And so we have Bill Pullman is Walter the classic Bellamy. There's nothing wrong with the guy. But there's nothing right with him either. Right? So as the audience right, we can't hate the Bellamy you need to kind of like this guy, but realize he's wrong for her. And Pullman does a fantastic job at this. I'm sure as a person he's much more entertaining. But that character Walter is just flat, right? There's no And going on there. And so she is using that as a foil to show that any has Walter and she keeps trying to convince herself and others that Walter is the spice of her life. But that's not true. She keeps being drawn back to this character Sam, who remember she's never seen before. So in this film, even though she hires a private detective, there's photos are only very much near the very end when she's almost at the point where she sees him in person anyway. So as this evolves, it's all as you said, auditory, there's no gaze, right that we're used to in a rom com.
Christi Dodge  
Yeah, one of the things that I think Nora does so great, and the actors who are in it, they tell us so much by their their looks. So there's a couple scenes where Annie, Walter will say something they're dancing. And so she kind of looks over his shoulder and shows the audience that she's like, something he just said, gives her pause and makes her start to think is this really the person for me? And then two separate times she's talking about, and he's talking about Walter to Becky played by Rosie O'Donnell. And we hear what Annie is saying, but we see Rosie's face, and her reaction tells the audience that Walters, not the bee's knees,
Mike Dodge  
Right. And there's a lot of show-don't-tell in this that I liked about the way this was written. There's good exposition, by way of signage. The Capitol diner tells us that Annie's in DC, the Baltimore Sun sign on the outside tells us she's in Baltimore to work, but also when Tom Hanks has character, Sam is sitting in the restaurant waiting for the date. And he's building a tower out of the sugarcubes. So that, you know, shows us that he's an architect, he's thinking in terms of building things. Now, one thing that bumped me about being an architect, in addition to the fact that since Mike Brady, it seems like it's the coolest profession. I don't know if it's at all, like we see in the movies, but they go to the house, and there are so many contractors working and I have never in my life, seen more than one tradesmen working in the same house at the same time, right. I don't know how they got a dozen guys to I'll be working there.
Christi Dodge  
Good point. Good point.
Mike Dodge  
But it makes for a great chaotic scene.
Christi Dodge  
Do you want to talk about the scene with her and her mom in the attic? At the kind of near the top of the movie?
Mike Dodge  
Right. So what we've seen is the dinner, where Walter as proposed to her and so Annie's mother takes her up to the attic to get Annie's mother's wedding dress. And try it on. Which, by the way, production note, always get your attractive actresses in lingerie that helps with seats, getting out getting butts in seats. But so the mother is talking to Annie and Annie is giving us this spiel that she doesn't believe in magic, right? Setting up a narrative question that we're going to answer throughout the rest of the film. And there's the dress that she puts on, and then it rips and she says it's a sign. And so now what we've done is we've seen in the film, there's this question about whether there's magic, whether there's Kismet and as the mother tells the story about how she met Annie's father, the camera pushes in and makes this a very intimate moment between a mother and a daughter. As you see this play out where she says something about their hands. They held hands and she couldn't tell where his stopped and hers began. Which by the way, sounds a little bit weird when she says it but I think metaphorically speaking, it makes sense. I'd be worried if she didn't actually know where her hand ended.
Christi Dodge  
You know, I just realized as you're talking that Nora obviously wanted to use the theme of hands because then later Tom Hanks is talking about his his dead wife. And he took her hand to I think help her out of a cab.
Mike Dodge  
Yes. And he said that's what he knew she was the one
Christi Dodge  
Yeah cuz it felt it felt like home I think he said and he said all all I could say was Hello.
Mike Dodge  
Right, which was a line from An Affair to Remember. Which of course the women in the film are obsessed with. But also note that I believe at the end of the film, At the observation deck Annie and Sam hold hands.
Christi Dodge  
Yes, which we will have a smoochy count because anytime we're watching romantic comedy and the two leads kiss, Mike shouts out
Mike Dodge  
smoochy smoochy smoochy
Christi Dodge  
And this film, zero smoochy count
Mike Dodge  
Zero smoochies 
You've got these two lead actors Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan would naturally kiss at the end of the movie you think and, and nothing. This is a very PG it was rated PG
In certain senses. It's a classic rom com but in other ways it violates some of the basic assumptions of the genre such as having a kiss. 
Christi Dodge  
Yeah, that's it. I think is one of the trivia that I found I'm just gonna kind of sneak it in here is Dennis Quaid was slated to be the male lead. And at the time him and Meg Ryan were married.
Mike Dodge  
So you'd hope they had better chemistry than others. But chemistry wouldn't really matter as much in this film because they spent so little time together. And in retrospect, can we see it as anybody but Tom Hanks?
Christi Dodge  
No, no, I can't. I can't.
Mike Dodge  
Yeah, so as far as the cinematography goes, one of the things I noticed the choices early on in the film is for the exteriors both. Well, I don't have to call exterior, let me rephrase that. One of the things I noticed early on of the film is any shot that had a lot of sky was exposed for the sky and not the characters. So then Tom Hanks is in his architect office in Chicago yelling at his coworker, or when Meg Ryan is coming up the walkway in Baltimore to her family's house is exposed through the sky, and the actors are actually fairly underexposed, which is a little bit odd, right? You get big stars, and you don't like them particularly well. But I think the choice there was to make them seem they weren't quite as alive yet. At this point in the film, this is indicating kind of the world that they're living in, they're kind of in a darker place.
Christi Dodge  
I agree. I wrote down that twice. When he comes home. In Seattle, it's raining. And there was a comment by I believe two different characters about the amount of rain that drops in Seattle, or it could have just been they were filming in Seattle, to be having to be raining that day. But I felt like they were trying to show that he was in such a dark, overcast, dreary state of mind when he moved to Seattle.
Mike Dodge  
As a person who loves rainy days, I don't know if I can quite sign off on rainy days being a sign of melancholy. But I understand why people do know, this is also interesting, because we have a scene where it's raining during the day, and you almost never see the movies, right? The rain is almost always at night, because it looks so much cooler. And there's the lights and wet streets. But yeah, there's rain there. They also had a nice shot that I really liked. Were early in the film, Sam is sitting on a bench, it looks like inside his house talking to Dr. Marcia fieldstone on the phone. And behind him is a frame print. And he's on the right third. And on the left third, reflected in that class of that print are the twinkling lights and a Christmas tree. And so it's a beautiful shot. And it shows us that it's Christmas time. And to me, it brought up the absence of the wife, right. And so it really kind of made him look lonely. So I thought that was a really nice shot. And then a little bit later in the film. He walks through his houseboat up the stairs and like down a hallway. And that was one seamless shot. And so mad props to the camera operator. Because we had some tilts, we had some pans, we had some Dolly, oh my, that was quite a shot.
Christi Dodge  
I love listening to you talk about this stuff. I loved this scene. There's a lot of mirroring in this, which I guess is some I'm kind of stepping on editing toes here. But there's a lot of mirroring. And one of the scenes that I really enjoyed was it was at night, like you were saying there were lights, the streets were wet, and Annie was in Baltimore and Tom or Sam was in Seattle, and they were both sitting at the edge of water. So you've got the lights, you've got the lights reflecting off of the water. And they're both just kind of pensively looking out over the water. And we we cut back and forth to either one of them.
Mike Dodge  
Yeah, nighttime shots are difficult because the absence of light, it's nighttime. Makes it visually interesting sometimes. So those reflected lights are a really nice touch. It gives a sense of both perspective about where the character is, but also gives the audience something to look at is not just a black screen,
Christi Dodge  
right? That's why they often wet down the street.
Mike Dodge  
Mm hmm.
Christi Dodge  
So that you get that reflection.
Mike Dodge  
I'm curious if neon lights will go away, but we'll still have them in movies because they look so cool at night.
Christi Dodge  
Any other cinematography things that you like?
Mike Dodge  
Well, there's some really nice focus, push and pull throughout the film. And one thing that I noticed interesting is you generally don't see a lot of real fast zoom. But in this case when the private investigator was in the restaurant, and he was in a balcony, oh, yeah. And he had a weird looking little camera but as he zoomed in on Sam's character, we actually assumed the image of the viewer saying which I and so I thought that was kind of a clever thing because it stuck out to me. So like with a lot of these things, the lighting is is gorgeous, right? They do what they were doing when they let them and so they all had these wonderful catch lights. Especially inside Tom Hanks houseboat, which had windows on one end. And so I don't know where all those catch lights were coming from. But they looked real nice. And then at the end of the film, there is they used a very soft gel, it looked to me like they had a soft gel on when they were shooting Meg Ryan, specifically on the observation deck, so only her close up not on the two shots or anything. And it was very much reminiscent to the older films, like An Affair to Remember, where in a previous era of Hollywood, we would gel all of the lead actresses because they were gorgeous people that made them look even more gorgeous. And so I thought that was a very nice touch. Obviously, the camera loves Meg Ryan. And in his film, that at the end of the film, I only noticed it at the end, it was such a nice little touch to put it over the top.
Christi Dodge  
So I may steal your thunder here. But that editing and this, which Thank you, Robert Reitano for editing this film, because I think he did a brilliant job. There was lots of mirroring different, there's lots of mirroring actions that were happening. And one of my favorites is Tom Hanks is on a date at the houseboat and Jonah is very angry. And he walks over to the phone and he picks it up and he starts dialing and we cut to Annie's bedroom. And I even looked at you and I was like, how did he get her phone number? And, and then, and he answers the phone. And so of course is the audience. We think it's going to be Jonah on the other end. And it's Rosie O'Donnell, and then cut back to Jonah and he called the radio program. But the editor made us think that it was something completely different. I enjoyed that.
Mike Dodge  
My favorite. And it was and he's characters leaving her brother's office. And she opens her and goes through it, but they cut to an exterior shot of the door opening. And then Sam and his good buddy Marty DeBurgey come out of the door. And so that was a really nice cut. I thought the composition of the shots match the doorframes as well. But it was really nice.
Christi Dodge  
Yeah, good job, Robert. That was good. So sets sets were a big part of this movie, too.
Mike Dodge  
Yeah, and I include in here, props as well as just actually the the location itself. And so one of the props that played a strong role where Kleenex is curiously enough for Walter to represent his his allergies. And there is a great gag where he's sleeping. And every time he breathes out through his nose, the Kleenex kind of waves that don't know how long that took to set up. But that was a good shot. But there's also nice touches so during New Year's Eve, the first one there, Sam and Joe are playing Monopoly to keep presumably john awake even though he falls asleep because he's a kid. And then throughout the film, you can see the monopoly boxes on a shelf in his room. So it's those little things there's a picture of his mom next to his bed so that they can have this great shot where he's laying there close his eyes presumably thinking of his mother and then out of focus just behind him as his frame shot of her. So I also thought there is this rose color to the walls in Annie's house. That was really a little gross to me. I'll be honest, I maybe it's realistic color, but that was a little off putting. But you saw that color recur other places including the drapes in the hotel. So there's a certainly a strong color palette that was used for Annie and for Sam. We saw that. Now the houseboat is a really cool setting. This is like living on a boat in Miami Vice or something where it seems really cool. I don't know if houseboats are actually that stable. I've never lived on one. But it seems like the TARDIS because it was so huge on one side but on the outside it looked to be about 20 feet wide.
Christi Dodge  
You were talking about things that bumped you and I said this houseboat defies the laws of physics because it it was so big on the inside like kids room was I think bigger than our bedroom. And and this house about that. Okay, maybe has a second floor would not be big bedrooms.
Mike Dodge  
Yeah, I don't think so. And also notice the architecture which matches him being an architect. But would you spend the money on those giant beams in house but I don't know maybe would architect.
Christi Dodge  
Right, right. Yeah. Soso that was that was tough. 
Mike Dodge  
But you'll notice that the the color palette for her house was also kind of mimicked in Becky's office at the Baltimore Sun. Again, I don't know that that's realistic or not that people do get their office change. But then there's lots of grays it Sam's house interiors, there was a nice blonde wood but the rest of the colors were grays and washed out, which you could say calls to the skies in Seattle but also to kind of his his mood is his heart, kind of where his emotions.
Christi Dodge  
Uh huh. What about what about some of the costuming? You you? We had a color theory conversation after we watch this. Oh, yeah,
Mike Dodge  
I mean, this was certainly a thing that I paid attention to shout out goes to Miriam Talus for teaching me about costuming and making you start to look at these things. But certainly any character you see red is her color. So obviously red lipstick is not that far of a stretch for her character. But she wears a lot of red, different shades of red, but mostly that really bright Valentine's Day red. And so Sam on the other hand, he has various shades of blue, which is, you know, from the water, but also the melancholy of blue. And there's like a bluish green that you'll see sometimes that comes in which again, kind of goes to the sea water motif, the Seahawks. So definitely, those two characters are established, they have a color palettes established. And also you can check on the kinds of clothing they're wearing. you see that when he's in his house, Tom Hanks wear sweats quite a bit, which is nice and comfy. I think everyone would. He and Jonah both wear the sweats a lot. And then at the midpoint of the film, you can then see Andy for the first time wearing sweats. So she's gotten a grey sweats, but she has a red hoodie on, because red is her color. And we see this kind of come to fruition at the end of the film. So when Jonah gets on the plane to go see Annie there to set up the meeting, he has on a red jacket, and a red backpack. And then when Sam gets on the plane, he's wearing a red shirt. And then when Annie gets to there, she has what a blue blue dress or a blue coat on. So now they're they're mimicking each other's colors. And another thing that I thought was really kind of a nice touch. as Jonah has under his red coat, he has a yellow hoodie. And that yellow matches Sam's jacket. So we really see I mean, very primary colors, the red, the yellow, the blue, but we see that in costuming. They weren't very strong on those colors identified with each of the characters. But I think you notice something about her hair.
Christi Dodge  
Well, I I was trying to decide was it just how women did their hair in in the early 90s. Or I noticed that they only left Meg Ryan's hair down long when she was at home. And she's a journalist. And sometimes she was even like in a hotel room or not really on an assignment. And her hair was always in like it was always up. She always had it like in a loose braid. Or it was pulled back loose when she left the house. And it was only when she was at home that it was down now maybe it was just completely arbitrary. But I think that she would have, you know, thrown it up in a ponytail or something. I don't know maybe it's because I was a little bit of projection cuz I don't like my hair down. But I just noticed that her hair was always in quite a quaffed state when she left the house. 
Mike Dodge  
And of course, Meg Ryan looks great on screen. But certainly whoever did the makeup made everybody look gorgeous as well, which I think is maybe a little unrealistic for a journalist not sure that she would focus quite as much on her onscreen persona because she was working for a newspaper. But I think it worked in the film.
Christi Dodge  
One thing I wanted to talk about was casting. So Victor Garber is in this and I love Victor Garber. And so and there's that great scene where him and Tom Hanks are making fun of Rita when as they're crying over the Dirty Dozen making fun of her crying over An Affair to Remember. So that's fun to see him in this movie. And then Gabby Hoffman, who I love in Transparent is a young Gaby Hoffman, she's probably in her tweens when she was in this film. First of all, she made up to all the abbreviations that we use in our texts. It's my
Mike Dodge  
 LMAO, 
Christi Dodge  
contention. Yes, she does. HMG 
Mike Dodge  
Hi and goodbye. 
Christi Dodge  
Mm hmm. And I would say you and I are MFEO 
Mike Dodge  
Made for each other?
Christi Dodge  
very good. So that that was kind of fun. And then 
Mike Dodge  
it was fun. 
Christi Dodge  
As her and Sam are committing what you call 
Mike Dodge  
wire fraud. 
Christi Dodge  
Yeah. They're buying Sam a ticket. So you can go to New York. He says nobody's going to believe that I'm 12 years old. And she says, if it's in the computer, everyone knows it's true.
Mike Dodge  
Yeah. And that's still true to this day. 
Christi Dodge  
To this day. 
Mike Dodge  
The internet is full of nothing but truth.
Christi Dodge  
So I enjoy Gabby in this role.
Mike Dodge  
And I also thought it was fun that we had Rob Reiner as his friend and I saw him throughout the entire film is Marty DeBergey from This is Spinal Tap.
Christi Dodge  
Yeah, you love Spinal Tap.
Mike Dodge  
I do. And I think it'd be funny if Marty went to work as an architect or a construction foreman in Seattle because the documentary went so poorly.
Christi Dodge  
So I will admit to complete bias on this. And we're gonna get in a little behind the scenes, everybody. Since this was our first film, I immediately go up to Tahoe, I'm working on my off time, I'd walk around, and I would listen in what had to be a Walkman or something because we didn't have iPhones or even an iPod back then. And I would listen to the soundtrack over and over and over. And there are some great songs in this and it's a little on the nose. I think today's audiences would hate this. But I loved it. And, and I thought it was a smart use of the songs because, like I wrote down. Oh, shoot, I forgot to write down what the name of the Nat King Cole song is. But it perfectly describes how Sam's feeling he's longing for his wife.
Mike Dodge  
Great song.
Christi Dodge  
It's a beautiful song. And he goes out once again, he's, it's at night. And so you get these beautiful night shots. And he's looking into the sky. And you've got this haunting Nat King Cole song. And then when Tom Hanks is trying to psych himself up, because he's gonna call a woman out for a date, something that him and Rob have talked about, he's really uncomfortable doing. They play is Gene Autry Back in the Saddle,
Mike Dodge  
Back in the Saddle Again.
Christi Dodge  
So like I said it, yeah, it's a little on the nose. And but I think it added to the comic relief, it really informed what was happening. It played so well that it didn't upset me or offend me at all. 
Mike Dodge  
You know, I think modern audiences would expect them to sing a bit more. So maybe we can get Hugh and Michelle to come back and redo this one.
Christi Dodge  
That was a tease everybody, cuz we will do The Greatest Showmen at some point on this podcast. How about you? Mike, did you have any other last minute miscellaneous things before I go into the numbers and some of our special features that we have planned.
Mike Dodge  
I just want to make a special note of the dedication of actors to the role because the woman that played his girlfriend in the middle of the film, had to practice that laugh. So she was walking around town or driving in her car doing that laugh. And she had to hear that for hours on end before we got on screen. So credit to her for that.
Christi Dodge  
I like that you're giving her credit that it was an acting choice. I thought to myself, this poor woman laughs like that?
Mike Dodge  
Yeah, let's say it was a choice. If it wasn't, we'll just let her have. Okay.
Christi Dodge  
So you're ready to hear the numbers for this film?
Mike Dodge  
Let's hear the numbers.
Christi Dodge  
So the budget was 21 million cheap, because we know let's see how many locations where I mean not locations. But how many companies? Would there have been at least what for? Seattle, New York. Baltimore. And then DC. There we go. Yeah. four locations, major locations to? It has an IMDb score of 6.8.
Mike Dodge  
How can that be?
Christi Dodge  
I gave it way higher, like I give it like an eight at least.
Mike Dodge  
Oh, easily and at least and I'm admitting that. I have a personal history with it. But remember, we also like Joe Versus the Volcano. So it's possible that a lot of folks don't get Tom Hanks like we do, right.
Christi Dodge  
Yes. Another another little tease Mike. Good job for promotion, because we're definitely doing Joe Versus the Volcano on this podcast. So if you hate that movie, get ready. And if you love that movie, get ready. So it is hour and 45 I think perfect length.
Mike Dodge  
Yeah, it's good length doesn't feel long.
Christi Dodge  
Yep. Rated PG. Mike's pause count. So we will talk about this at every episode. If you watch a movie or a TV show with Mike,
Mike Dodge  
and it can pause, I will pause it 
Christi Dodge  
He will pause it. 
Mike Dodge  
So I like to pause on things that I want to talk about. So I don't miss any important dialogue or I can point something out in screen. Christi, can validate that at least half the time I'm talking about the lighting. So I can kind of obsess about this. I'll see catch lights and I'll say things like where did that light come from? There's no x in the scene there's no candle there's no light there's no what have you. But also I like to capture things around the screen that look in the background. Right notice that there's the tool chest that will be used later. Was it Anton Chekhov or (?) that said if there's a gun on the wall in the first text somebody gets shot in the third act
Christi Dodge  
many things that you have taught me that I did not learn in film school that one and what catch lights are
Mike Dodge  
Yeah, I'm also obsessed with catch lights as well as the first line in a movie.
Christi Dodge  
Yes, so this movie is paused count was seven and That's not counting the times that you pause just to see where we were in the movie like the time code. That was seven times he had to stop and talk about something that was going on in the movie.
Mike Dodge  
Which is low. 
Christi Dodge  
Well, because we were, you know, as kind of homework so we were trying to work. Did I already say this movie cost 21 million? It made 126 million. 
Mike Dodge  
It's a hit 
Christi Dodge  
domestic did quite well worldwide with practically doubling that at 220 7 million. So I'd say it's a hit. 
Mike Dodge  
Absolutely. It's no My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but it's a good one,
Christi Dodge  
Right. Another thing that we're going to go over is a head trauma because we enjoy comedies and they often involve head trauma. And this movie only had one scene of head trauma
Mike Dodge  
because there's nothing more romantic than subdural hematomas.
Christi Dodge  
Yeah, I think Meg Ryan gave him like a backhanded left, when the phone rang.
Mike Dodge  
Yeah, I think it was phone related head trauma.
Christi Dodge  
Yeah. So now we're gonna go into something that we're gonna do on every podcast, or at least the podcast where it's relevant. And that's Mike's driving review.
Mike Dodge  
So, you'll see driving in a lot of films, the United States is a big country with a lot of roads. And in this case, we see any driving some boring sedans she has was presumably her car back in Baltimore, on the east coast. And then there's a car she rents in Seattle, and they're both very boring four door sedans, which, presumably is to tell us that she's kind of a boring character. But I think if you've traveled all the way across the continent to stalk someone in person, you go for something either, like functional, a windowless panel van where you can put the body or you go something fun and sporty, maybe a convertible, even though it's something fun. She doesn't. And I have to say, she's a horrible driver in this film, she doesn't pay attention to the road half the time she's got a map in front of her face. She's looking out the window, she's thinking about Tom Hanks. Okay, nine in three hand position, both hands on the wheel, both eyes on the road, that's what I would ask. So I think there's an opportunity here for that character to improve her driving skills.
Christi Dodge  
I don't think she would get something flashy though when she goes to Seattle because she's trying to blend in and she doesn't want Sam to see her. So I go panelless van.
Mike Dodge  
Yeah, I think so. 
Christi Dodge  
Yeah. And then lastly, our big fun feature of the podcast will be especially more for older movies than more current movies, but "Can't make this today".  My two are early in the scene where they announced that Walter and Annie are engaged. Walter has a sneezing fit. And makes no attempt 
Mike Dodge  
Not even the slightest
Christi Dodge  
to vampire sneeze or use his napkin. He is sneezing all over the food. And I it pulled me out of the movie, because I felt like in this day and age, people have the decency to turn their head or cover their mouth in some way. But he had no disregard for the family style meal that was on the table that he was completely sneezing on.
Mike Dodge  
Well, he maybe would argue it's allergies and not a . virus. I don't know.
Christi Dodge  
No, I'm not even talking about the virus. Like a year ago, I would have had problems with Walter and maybe my my OCD is creeping in here a little bit.
Mike Dodge  
Do you think if he is a lifelong allergy sufferer, he'd be clear with a vampire sneeze. 
Christi Dodge  
Yes, your at a dinner table.
Mike Dodge  
And you're about to propose to this woman's family and you're going to sneeze on them. 
Christi Dodge  
Right? 
Mike Dodge  
Doesn't seem like a savvy strategic move.
Christi Dodge  
Couldn't do that, that scene today. So how about you Mike, did you notice anything that couldn't be done today? 
Mike Dodge  
Well, there were actually two things. One is there's a scene where Walter in any show up and kind of a doorman goes to get the door. And it's an attractive young black man dressed in what must be like a 17th century English footmen outfit with waistcoat and tails and top hat. It's just in white gloves. It felt way too antebellum for me. I just don't know that we can make that today. And the other thing is the kind of cute stalking that goes on isn't so cute anymore. She doesn't just cyberstalk him. She actually hires a private detective and then flies across the continent to physically go to his residence two separate times. That's pretty stalkery and post Rebecca Shaffer, I don't know if that should play as well as it did. 
Christi Dodge  
Right. Right. Some misdemeanors or felonies, I think we're committed.
Mike Dodge  
Right. We also have to throw in the wire fraud that Jessica committed to order. round trip, first class plane flight for her friend using her mom's credit card. 
Christi Dodge  
Right and good point. I don't think that Jonah would be allowed to fly without being checked in with an adult with all like 10 types of ID forms or something.
Mike Dodge  
I think by 1993, we started to try to keep our children around.
Christi Dodge  
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Couldn't be done today. Couldn't be couldn't be she and on the stalk back to the stalking, she would have used she would there would be no need for the private eye because she just looked on his LinkedIn or his Facebook page. She would know everything about him as a as an architect in Chicago, he would have had probably even if he worked for a firm, he would have an about him page. I mean, she would have known all kinds of things about 
Mike Dodge  
Remember the good old days when you had to drive by someone's house and hide across the street to spy on them. 
Christi Dodge  
Ah, high school, 
Mike Dodge  
the good old days.
Christi Dodge  
So I think that just about does it for Sleepless in Seattle. If you can tell we love this movie. It has a special place in our hearts. And we hope that you enjoyed this podcast and listening about the movie.
Mike Dodge  
We hope you've enjoyed our little chat today about Sleepless in Seattle, and that this will prompt you to go watch the movie Dodges never stop and neither do the movies. Thank you very much.
Announcer  
Thanks for listening to Dodge Movie Podcast with Christi and Mike Dodge of Dodge Media Productions. To find out more about this podcast and what we do. Go to DodgeMediaProductions.com. Subscribe, share, leave a comment and tell us what we should watch next. Dodges never stop and neither do the movies.
Plus One
Today Mike and Christi fawn over the film Plus One, this generations romantic comedy. It is a little more raunchy and a little more rowdy.  Two friends who are tired of attending their friend’s wedding agree to be each other’s plus one. Alice (Maya Erskine) and Ben (Jack Quaid) are forced to rehearse toasts, purchase gifts and pay for hotel rooms as all of their friends are getting married. Their relationship throughout the ten weddings change to more than just friends. We also include our our regular features like: Mike’s pick up line, the smoochie and pause count and a rundown of the numbers.

“And she really plays up kind of this role of being the manic pixie frat guy in this film. And I think there's a commitment and earnestness that makes this character work, even though it's kind of like your drunken buddy in college, except they're out of college and they probably should start getting their lives under control by now” - Mike Dodge

We cover the aspects of this film like:

How the traditional gender roles are flipped
The use of handheld and why it is annoying sometimes
Why blurry twinkle lights in the background makes every shot beautiful
The way that their characters change over the course of the film.
The use of location to reduce the budget that benefits independent filmmakers
More show-don’t-tell techniques
The use of costuming to convey character growth

Next Weeks film is Blue Jay on Netflix

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Transcript

Announcer  
You're listening to Dodge Movie Podcast. Your hosts are Christi and Mike Dodge the founders of Dodge Media Productions. We produce films and podcasts. So this is a podcast about films. Join them as they share their passion for filmmaking.
Christi Dodge  
Today we're going to review a film called Plus One and one of the things that I love about Mike is his ability to kind of I don't know how he does it trolls the internet, scans IMDb, gets them beaconed into his brain somehow, but he finds the coolest indie films, and we have had a lot of great experiences watching the films he finds and this is one of them. Let's see. I think it debuted, It came out June 14 of 2019. It stars Maya Erskine who is in Penn 15 and if you were 15 once I I suggest to check it out. It's on Hulu Jack Quaid, who happens to be Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan's son, is in it and it stars Ed Begley Jr. It was written and directed by Jeff Chan and Andrew Reimer. So let's just jump in. And we're going to start with Mike's pickup line where he shares with us the first line and tells us a little bit about the film.
Mike Dodge  
So this one opens with the line from Jack Quaide's character, this is gonna be tough, and that I think sets up kind of the whole arc of the film, right, this is gonna be a tough ride for those two characters. So the premise of the film is that they are longtime friends who have a bunch of weddings to get through. And as single people, this is kind of depressing for them, they feel left out, they feel ostracized, etc. So they're gonna rely on each other to help them get through this. So that's kind of the inciting incident is we find out about 10 minutes into the film that they have 10 weddings to go to. And that gives us as the viewer a little bit of a progress bar so we can kind of see where we're at in the whole process. And then we get to this line where he says, this is going to be so much worse if we do it alone. And so that is the narrative question, right? Are they going to be alone through this film, as an aside is kind of a fun gag throughout the film, that there are speeches that are given at each of the 10 different weddings, and we see a wide gamut of things. In fact, one of the characters says that, I think it's the Alice character, she says, wedding speeches are just supposed to be funny. And so we see a wide gamut of that in there. We have the guy who cries, or the guy who refuses to hold the microphone next, where he's talking. And we see some funny ones, we see painful ones, a one in a foreign language yet still funny. So I think that's a fun recurring bit as the viewer, you know, this is coming. And each time you go to a new wedding, you learn that you're going to have this gag, where it's going to be a speech, and that's how they're going to kind of introduce the different things that goes through that wedding. This movie is also romantic comedy, but it is kind of a little bit different. In that the classical formulation, ala, Billy learned of the manic pixie dream girl, which we originally kind of see in Garden State, that's where he coined it, I believe, is kind of flipped on its head because Maya plays his character, Alice, who is not really a dream girl, and so I call her a manic pixie frat guy.
Christi Dodge  
Oh, that's perfect, because I wrote down. She's a female Zach Galifianakis.
Mike Dodge  
Yeah, there's a lot of drinking. She's sloppy, sloppy, not for a metaphone, she vomits 11 minutes into the film. She uses inappropriate language, she lies She is pretty much a mess. She's a hot mess. She's the antithesis of somebody that you'd meet at the top of the Empire State Building. And yet, this kind of works. And so Jack Quaide's character of Ben is that uptight guy that we often see, and he needs her wildness, to break him out of his mold, to get him to relax a little bit to kind of open up. And so I think the casting of this worked really well. I don't know when they film this. But this is kind of coming off of his role of Huey on The Boys where he also plays kind of an uptight character. So I think he plays this well, there's a line where a woman that says that he's very good looking. And so normally, you would think in terms of romantic comedy that the leads, of course, would be really attractive. So we then as if you're left wondering, well, if he's so good looking, why is he still alone, right. And then Maya is hilarious in this role we saw in Pen 15, that she's got great comedic timing and great instincts. And she really plays up kind of this role of being the manic pixie frat guy in this film. And I think there's a commitment and earnestness that makes this character work, even though it's kind of like your drunken buddy in college, except they're out of college and they probably should start getting their lives under control by now. And so throughout this film we see their relationship is the central relationship of the film, we see some different things going on. But fundamentally, what we're looking at is that narrative question, will they be alone.
Christi Dodge  
And one of the things that I loved is so early on, she's this hot mess. And he's kind of trying to, he's starting to grow up. They're both post college, they're getting their jobs and their careers, and all of their friends are settling down and having kids and throughout the course of the movie, they kind of flip personalities, she starts dressing a little bit classier, and kind of, I think, behaving a little bit more grown up. And he is kind of spiraling out of control because of his father played by Ed Begley Jr. And what what he's going through and going and doing and, and he starts to spin out of control a little bit and kind of almost regress. And the opening wedding, Maya has some ill behavior. And Ben exhibits almost identical behavior at a wedding later in the film, as he's kind of spiraling out of control.
Mike Dodge  
And that goes so much so that in act one, when Alice gets drunk and embarrasses herself on the dance floor, she goes back to the hotel room is eating pizza and watching bones on the television, and then near the enact to when Ben's character does the same thing, he gets drunk and embarrass himself on the dance floor, he ends up also in the hotel room, eating pizza and watching television in the hotel room. So I thought that was a nice way to show us in the audience that the two of them had flipped roles, right. And so that shows kind of, I think, a part of the characters changing right their arc over time. And so that was interesting, because the the Alice character doesn't have as much of really a, an obvious change in her behavior, because she just kind of grows up. Whereas the Ben character, I think we do see him building relationships and treating other people much better than and so that's just kind of maybe part of the way this story worked out. But they both I think, bring really likable humanity today to the rolls. I believe them in those roles.
Christi Dodge  
Yeah, and there were some moments I wrote down that felt like they could have even been improv'ed. The scene I'm thinking of specifically is there at a wedding, or I think they're in a reception, and they're talking to a gay male couple. And I I'm sure this is a pretty low budget movie. And so they probably had some of their friends in it. And it just felt very improv like, they were teasing one another and the banter is going back and forth. And it felt very authentic. Like these people probably shoot the shit and do this kind of stuff. You know, off camera.
Mike Dodge  
Yeah, I believe that the writers directors are really somehow worked with Maya, and they know her from other things it seems like and then her co creator from Pen 15 also has a role in the film that one of the weddings. So yeah, this did feel like one of those films where we want to make this film or asking the people that we know our context to help us out with it. I also thought a fun bit from all these different weddings was near the end of the film, they have a fight in the photo booth. So while they're fighting, the flashes are going off, and they're mugging on cue to try to make the good photos even though they're having this fight. Right. That's right.
Christi Dodge  
So on to cinematography. The one thing I noticed was, thank you Dustin Morrow for cueing me into why handheld is so annoying. There's a lot of handheld in this film.
Mike Dodge  
Yeah, there is this maybe would be excused by saying it's a low budget, but I actually don't think that's an excuse. But it's possible that that was kind of the vibe that they're going for is some of the independent films use more handheld,
Christi Dodge  
Well, and the characters a little unhinged. They're a little shaky grasp on life.
Mike Dodge  
Yeah, one could say that it doesn't work for me. I prefer to have the camera on sticks and let the actor tell us that the character is is shaky, but as possible. You also look at locations right as you know, when filming depending on the location, it can be hard to get sticks in there. The one thing I thought of his they shoot in the elevator at one of the weddings and elevators, great location, someone should make a film in that. But one thing that bugged me was why is the lighting blue and that elevator Mamet blue? Yeah, so and then the doors opened and the lights outside were, well, I thought they were even tending toward tungsten or even a sodium lighting, like at a hotel or something. So it was just, it really was strikingly different. And that could be as simple as they got there at that location. And some stoner had put blue gels up and they didn't have the time to fix it.
Christi Dodge  
Because as we know, filming in a real elevator can be quite tricky. So it's possible it was a freight elevator.
Mike Dodge  
Yeah, freight elevators are bigger the standard passage elevator is four feet by six feet, which is really tough to get two actors in there and a camera crew. So it's possible it's a freight elevator. And that would certainly lend to trying to squeeze people into the corners and not setting up tripods and stuff like that.
Christi Dodge  
So as far as the editing, the one thing I noted was, I thought it was kind of a sweet touch before we see Jack and Alice, or sorry, not Jack, Ben and Alice, in the hotel room, they open with what appears to be actual real. Wedding toasts?
Mike Dodge  
Yeah. It To me it very much felt like they were real wedding toast again, I figure it's people that the filmmakers knew, yeah, that they got permission to use that footage,
Christi Dodge  
Or they put an ad on Craigslist. If you'd like your, you know, for seconds of your wedding in a movie,
Mike Dodge  
Call us let us know. Yeah, you could get quite a few submissions there. So maybe they just kept a difference and family invite only an editing thing that I really liked is near the end of the film. There's a montage of cute scenes from throughout the earlier parts of the film from their relationship and picking out the nice parts, even though there had been some parts of course, where they hit rocky roads, because this is going to be tough.
Christi Dodge  
Yeah, yeah, that was good. The set I mean, who my husband has taught me this weddings at night with twinkle lights blurred in the background? Could you have a more beautiful setting for a film?
Mike Dodge  
Yeah, they had some great locations where they had the strings of the Edison lights, really gorgeous lighting, obviously, Tungsten lighting makes everyone look their very, very best looks gorgeous. So that was nice. I also liked how they had for the, their two apartments, they look pretty crappy. They look like something that I lived in when I was their age. And I appreciated that. Because to me, sometimes these characters have these gorgeous studio apartments and you think how can they afford that. But in this case, it looked like a really crappy apartment that you can live in when you're that age. So that was I thought it was a nice touch on the locations, obviously 10 weddings, bunch of different locations. If you're clever, you could use something for something. So we know from the trivia that they used a hotel in Malibu for the hotel in Hawaii, because that's obviously much cheaper. And I wouldn't be surprised if the golf course scenes were shot at that same resort, right? and things like that. I mean, this is what I love about independent filmmaking, right? is you have to be kind of clever about how you do these kinds of things. And a secret is that filmmakers lie all the time, right? We we will shoot three rooms in the same house and make them look like they're in three different countries. Right? That's I mean, but that's part of the the movie magic, right? Or the business of show, right?
Christi Dodge  
Absolutely. And speaking of that, I loved when we learned that her boyfriends left her and when she comes back from the first wedding in that show, don't tell vain that is great filmmaking. The TV mounting bracket is on the wall, but the TV's gone. So like he left her boyfriend left the TV the TV but didn't want to take the thing. So it just it's so sad. It's like worse than your boyfriend taking your TV. He leaves you the empty mounting bracket, right?
Mike Dodge  
He's really rubbing it in.
Christi Dodge  
Yeah. And then there's boxes and you know, obviously he's but it's like half is like somebody's half moved out, which is what happened. But it's just that extra knife and the heart to Alice that her boyfriend left. I thought that was good.
Mike Dodge  
So I mentioned how her wardrobe got classier Was there any other costuming things that you noticed? One thing that I noticed is she was wearing the same shoes throughout like the first few weddings. So it's after the first wedding, I think she comes back and she's wearing like a tank top and Daisy Dukes and then the silver shoes that she couldn't even, like manage to get a second pair of shoes. Right. That's how how completely ridiculous she is. 
Christi Dodge  
I was just gonna say and they talked about they referenced it going to all these weddings is really expensive because you got to get the hotel room and we find out later how my saves money on gifts, or not buying gifts. 
Mike Dodge  
So from a production standpoint, and costuming, the thing that just caused me to cringe was there's a scene where Ben and Alice and probably at least a half dozen other actors jump into the swimming pool in their costumes. So additional obviously, we could you know, skip loving them. So we could save the mics in that way. loop it later or something but just as costumes like, Oh my gosh, chlorine is horrible unclosed and those poor people in the costume department, as you get one take we're not going to deal with this again. Although they would have had to have the cameras set up. I was gonna say I bet the actors just, you know what, I bet you that was the last shot of the movie it very well could have been. But the good news is that they could put Ben and Alice in different clothing. So if that outfit was ruined, they can put them in something different for the remaining shots. There is a road trip montage at about 15 minutes into the film. Love me some road trips. Some montage so that was good to see elevator scene count of one. So they had a shot in the elevator. Now that I'm aware of it, I see a lot of elevator shots and fun trivia fact is Jack Quaid's mother is Meg Ryan, who is in Sleepless in Seattle, which we reviewed in the previous episode.
Christi Dodge  
And as you bring that up, I read the trivia that several critics have described this film as this generations When Harry Met Sally.
Mike Dodge  
And I could definitely see that because they have kind of a contentious relationship at the beginning of the film, and then they wrap back around, except that the roles are kind of reversed in that Jack Quaid playing Ben is more of the uptight character. And so Maya as Alice is more the Billy Crystal kind of character. So that's a nice gender swap, in a sense there to reverse those roles.
Christi Dodge  
Any other miscellaneous tidbits? Are you ready to go to the numbers? No, no, I couldn't find the budget for this. But it was probably obviously a low budget film, but really well done. I thought it in times, some of the group scenes, some of the weddings, I thought, wow, that's I mean, weddings are exploding, and they had to put on 10 of them, you know, or have the appearance, but still, there's some money there. It appeared on Hulu. There are no domestic numbers, but worldwide, it made $44,000.
Mike Dodge  
Which didn't go in theaters very well,
Christi Dodge  
Man, I'd love for one of our movies to make 44,000. But I know, for them, that was probably a little tough. Interestingly enough, Ben Stiller was the executive producer. It was about an hour and 38 minutes. Its IMDb score is 6.6. And I'd made it a little bit higher, I'd say like seven, seven and a half
Mike Dodge  
Or even higher that I really liked this film. That's why we're reviewing it.
Christi Dodge  
Yeah, that's true. That's true. There was only one pause. And that was to have a personal DMP production meeting about how to shoot a driving scene because we have a film that Mike's working on the script, and we're hoping to put a driving scene in it. And so there was one pause. And that takes me to Mike's driving review.
Mike Dodge  
Yeah, the driving review really comes down to he drives a Prius, which is just no fun. That shows him as kind of a tech startup guy who's really uptight. So that was there's not a lot of fun there. But I do give credit to the character of Ben because even when he has a carload full of 16 year old stoned people, he's operating the motor vehicle in a safe fashion. And he does like his father climbing in the back seat, maybe a little bit more points if he'd pulled over for the passenger to switch seats, but I think in general did pretty well. Nice. And the smoochy smoochy, smoochy smoochy smoochy count, we have our first smoochy smoochy smoochy at 46 minutes in we have a few more later in the film, but that's our first movie between the two characters, which by the way, is followed a little bit later by my favorite line from the movie "cooters out"
Christi Dodge  
That's a fun scene for all you look forward to it. Any head trauma?
Mike Dodge  
So there's almost head trauma, I don't quite count it. There's a scene where Alice shoves Ben out of a seat in a party bus while it's moving, so couldn't quite see whether his head contacted anything but I'll count that as an almost head trauma. Thanks for listening and remember, Dodge is never stopped and neither do the movies.
Announcer  
Thanks for listening to dodge movie podcast with Christi and Mike Dodge of Dodge Media Productions. To find out more about this podcast and what we do, go to DodgeMediaProductions.com. Subscribe, share, leave a comment and tell us what we should watch next. Dodges never stop and neither do the movies.
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