20 episodes

Lies Agreed Upon looks at how Hollywood uses history to talk about today. Hosts Lia Paradis and Brian Crim explore the plots and themes of movies and tv shows and discuss how they were influenced by the historical events of the moment.

Lies Agreed Upon Lia Paradis and Brian Crim

    • History
    • 4.8 • 4 Ratings

Lies Agreed Upon looks at how Hollywood uses history to talk about today. Hosts Lia Paradis and Brian Crim explore the plots and themes of movies and tv shows and discuss how they were influenced by the historical events of the moment.

    It’s The End Of The World As We Know It

    It’s The End Of The World As We Know It

    Last episode we discussed films about how a nuclear war would start, particularly the insane logic of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). In this episode we explore how American, British, and Australian filmmakers imagined the unimaginable - Armageddon and the literal and figurative fallout. We look at On the Beach (1959), The Day After (1983), and Threads (1984). We challenge the conventional wisdom that the West only seriously worried about nuclear after the Cuban Missile Crisis, provide some background on the history of anti-nuclear social movements, and compare how these three unforgettable films chose to depict nuclear destruction. How accurate were they? Did they make a difference? And, how many of us are still traumatized by seeing them?
    Lia Paradis is a professor of history at Slippery Rock University. Brian Crim is a professor of history at the University of Lynchburg. For more on Lies Agreed Upon, go here.
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    • 1 hr 13 min
    A MAD, MAD, World

    A MAD, MAD, World

    The world lived under the shadow of the acronym MAD for forty years. Mutually Assured Destruction was no laughing matter, but Stanley Kubrick thought dark comedy was the only way to approach a topic as ridiculous as MAD. In this episode we compare and contrast Dr. Strangelove (1964) with Failsafe, a serious film about the same subject that came out the same year. We reveal just how spot on Dr. Strangelove was about MAD versus Failsafe’s unwarranted optimism that limited nuclear war was possible. An army of political scientists and bureaucrats game theoried fighting and winning a nuclear war like it was just another social science problem. Civilians are the warmongers in our MAD films. Dr. Strangelove may be a deranged Nazi freak, but everything he said was seriously considered by real life MAD Men.
    Lia Paradis is a professor of history at Slippery Rock University. Brian Crim is a professor of history at the University of Lynchburg. For more on Lies Agreed Upon, go here.
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    • 58 min
    Who Can You Trust?

    Who Can You Trust?

    Can you imagine living in a society that is ostensibly a democracy but secret forces are working behind the scenes to manipulate events? What if our intelligence agencies run amok with no oversight? What if the president is a criminal and would do anything to stay in power? These sound like current events, but they were major preoccupations during the 1970s in the wake of Watergate and congressional hearings about CIA and FBI abuses. Hollywood responded by dramatizing the unfettered power of what some like to call “the deep state” in three films we cover this episode - The Parallax View (1974), The Three Days of the Condor (1975), and All The President’s Men (1976). Each features protagonists unraveling conspiracies at the heart of our national security state, but is exposing the truth enough?
    Lia Paradis is a professor of history at Slippery Rock University. Brian Crim is a professor of history at the University of Lynchburg. For more on Lies Agreed Upon, go here.
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    • 56 min
    He May Be a Communist!

    He May Be a Communist!

    We are back for a third season! The Russian invasion of Ukraine reminded us all that “everything old is new again” and that includes Cold War tensions, nuclear fears, and paranoia about “unseen enemies.” With our organizing principle of the Cold War and Hollywood representation, we begin with the Red Scare. We discuss Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), The Manchurian Candidate (1962), and The Way We Were (1973). Together these films reveal how the Red Scare cast a wide and enduring shadow on our culture. We highlight three themes. First, Cold War paranoia was a bipartisan issue. Second, the Korean War cast doubt on the relative strength of the military and our institutions long before Vietnam did. And finally, we dispute the comforting lie that progress is inevitable, that we are always on a path towards improvement, advancement, an expansion of rights, and a greater equality among people.
    Lia Paradis is a professor of history at Slippery Rock University. Brian Crim is a professor of history at the University of Lynchburg. For more on Lies Agreed Upon, go here.
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    • 1 hr
    Back in the USSR

    Back in the USSR

    Dr. Zhivago (1956) and Reds (1981) humanize and problematize the Bolshevik Revolution during periods when the Cold War was particularly intense. When and why these films were made are as fascinating as the stories they tell. In our final episode of season two, we examine how the two iconic films push back against prevailing Western interpretations of the Bolshevik Revolution, namely that it was destined to end in totalitarian dictatorship and forever tarnished viable alternatives to capitalism.
    Lia Paradis is a professor of history at Slippery Rock University. Brian Crim is a professor of history at the University of Lynchburg. For more on Lies Agreed Upon, go here.
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    • 1 hr
    Workers of the World Unite!

    Workers of the World Unite!

    Continuing the theme of social revolution, this episode looks at cinematic depictions of the struggle for basic workers' rights and tolerable conditions. History is rarely the story of uninterrupted progress, and that goes for unionization and safety. Our three films were produced within a decade of each other, 1979 to 1987, when labor faced immense struggles in the face of the Reagan Revolution. Not only did Reagan fracture the normally reliable Democratic coalition of voters, peeling off many blue collar workers, his administration slashed and burned decades of meaningful worker protections in basically every industry. We start with John Sayles’ Matewan (1987), a film about the infamous 1920 coal miners strike in West Virginia. Next is Norma Rae (1979), Martin Ritt’s film starring Sally Field and based on a true story of a North Carolina textile worker who pushes for unionization. And then a darker story, Silkwood (1983), about Karen Silkwood, the nuclear power whistle blower and union activist who died under mysterious circumstances in 1979.
    Lia Paradis is a professor of history at Slippery Rock University. Brian Crim is a professor of history at the University of Lynchburg. For more on Lies Agreed Upon, go here.
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    • 1 hr 14 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
4 Ratings

4 Ratings

Alice Tucson AZ ,

Grounded and Nuanced Film Reviews/Critiques

In the vein of Heather Cox Richardson, Paradis and Crim provide historically grounded critiques of events—in this case, cinematic events. At a moment when public conversation around cultural productions is understandably fraught, and when culture itself is a battleground, they do a great job of situating individual films in a long-term historical perspective, and in the context of their production. They nuance analyses of popular films by shedding light on historical facts that could enrich viewers’ experiences of the films and the critical conversations surrounding them. I would recommend this podcast for movie buffs, historians of both the academic and armchair variety, and for anyone looking for cultural reflection that extends beyond the tweet.

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