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#084 Terrence Malick: Badlands vs. Knight of Cups




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In today’s episode Nate and Austin compare Terrence Malick’s best and worst rated films, Badlands (1973) and Knight of Cups (2015), respectively. Nate needs to watch more experimental films, Austin gets seduced by Martin Sheen, and neither of them have any idea what Knight of Cups is about.

Check back next Sunday at 7pm PST where we will compare Terrence Malick’s Badlands (1973) and Knight of Cups (2015), his best and worst rated films.


Also check out this interview with actor Christian Bale about working with director Terrence Malick on Knight of Cups:


Knight of Cups Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: A writer indulging in all that Los Angeles and Las Vegas has to offer undertakes a search for love and self via a series of adventures with six different women.

  • Ratings: IMDb 5.7 | RT 45% C / 37% A
  • Released: 2015
  • Director: Terrence Malick
  • Writer(s): Terrence Malick (written by)
  • Cinematographer: Emmanuel Lubezki (Birdman, The Revenant, Children of Men)
  • Notable actors: Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Brian Dennehy, Antonio Banderas, Freida Pinto, Wes Bentley, Isabel Lucas, Teresa Palmer, Imogen Poots
  • Budget: N/A
  • Box office: $1.1 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • According to Christian Bale, Terrence Malick didn’t tell the actors what the film was about.
    • There was no script. All of the scenes were improvised.
    • Christian Bale had no lines to learn and Terrence Malick only gave him the character description.
    • During filming Terrence Malick would use a technique he called “torpedoing” where he would unexpectedly send people into the scene to get a reaction from the actors who were performing.
    • Christian Bale said that at the start of each day’s shoot he wouldn’t know what would happen to his character.
    • During filming, Christian Bale thought Teresa Palmer was a stripper. It was not until about a week after working with her, he suddenly saw a billboard with her face on it and realized that she is an actress.
    • Christian Bale and Natalie Portman both said that they spent more days on the voice-over work for the movie than they did on the actual shooting of the film.

Badlands Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: An impressionable teenage girl from a dead-end town and her older greaser boyfriend embark on a killing spree in the South Dakota badlands.

  • Ratings: IMDb 7.9 | RT 98% C / 91% A
  • Released: 1973
  • Director: Terrence Malick
  • Writer(s): Terrence Malick (written by)
  • Cinematographer: Tak Fujimoto, Steve Larner, Brian Probyn
  • Notable actors: Martin Sheen, Sissy Spacek, Warren Oates, Ramon Bieri, Alan Vint
  • Budget: $300 thousand
  • Box office: N/A
  • Fun Facts:
    • The actor originally cast as the architect that rings at the rich man’s door did not show up, so Terrence Malick played the part himself. Malick later wanted to re-shoot the scene with another actor, but Martin Sheen refused to re-do the sequence with another person.
    • Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez’s (Martin Sheen’s sons) feature film debut. Uncredited, both play boys under a lamppost.
    • Sissy Spacek met her future husband, art director Jack Fisk, on the set of this movie. As of November 2015, they have collaborated on eight feature films.
    • The film’s tag line (“In 1959 a lot of people were killing time. Kit and Holly were killing people”) inspired the Zodiac Killer, who had been lying low for years, to write a letter to a newspaper denouncing their flippant attitude to violence in society by running such an ad.
    • The film’s plot and lead characters are based on Charles Starkweather and Caril Fugate. In 1958, they embarked on a murder spree that horrified the country.
    • Charles Starkweather had been executed by the time the film started production, but Caril Fugate was still alive and facing parole. The filmmakers changed the principal characters’ names to avoid a lawsuit.

Intro music by Eric Lynch




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