93 episodes

The Phi Phenomenon is an interview podcast hosted by film editor Shane Hazen with filmmakers, writers, artists, craftsman, critics, and -- essentially -- film lovers, about the movies they've loved and how it shaped their lives.

Phi Phenomenon Phi Phenomenon

    • TV & Film
    • 5.0 • 6 Ratings

The Phi Phenomenon is an interview podcast hosted by film editor Shane Hazen with filmmakers, writers, artists, craftsman, critics, and -- essentially -- film lovers, about the movies they've loved and how it shaped their lives.

    The Annual Richard Lester Year-End Dinner: 2022

    The Annual Richard Lester Year-End Dinner: 2022

    It’s been a year-end tradition that me, Aaron Smith, and Ted Haycraft usually meet sometime after Christmas but before New Years at an IHOP or Denny’s, recap the year among friends, and eventually get into an argument as to whether Richard Lester is the father of the music video. It happens. Every year. For the third podcasting year, we’ve continued away from in-person dining to the podcast episode, where the three of us talk:
    - why Ted after three years of doing this, forgot to make a list this year;- if Jordan Peele’s Nope overrated of this generation’s Jaws;- and the difference between a normal top ten list and spectacle experiences in-person at the theater.
    - the mutual love of The Northmen from different directions;- our mutual best surprise of the year coming from late summer;- and my surprise and enthusiastic pick for #2, which barely appeared on other critics’ top ten lists.
    Aaron Smith is the lead manager at Showplace Cinemas Newburgh in Evansville, IN.
    Ted Haycraft is film critic for WFIE-14 and co-hosts Cinema Chat on its Midday show. He can also be found on Cinema Chat’s Facebook page.

    • 2 hr 12 min
    The 'Is "Die Hard" a Christmas Movie?' Debate

    The 'Is "Die Hard" a Christmas Movie?' Debate

    Roughly since 2007, the assertion that Die Hard -- a movie that takes place at Christmas -- is a Christmas movie has been met with either strong support or opposition. On this episode, along with Ted Haycraft and writer/director Tyler Savage, we discuss the history of the heated debate, while also debating ourselves:
    - has this debate ever happened IRL, off of Twitter?;- if so, were the debaters online journalists or bots?;- have any of these IRL debates lasted any longer than three minutes?- and did the debate’s resolution involve anything other than the participants realizing it all comes down to one’s own definition of a “Christmas movie”?
    - the careers of Steven E. de Souza and John McTiernan;- their assertions in the debate, along with Bruce Willis’s and his mom’s;- Die Hard’s origin as a sequel to a novel that was adapted into The Detective, starring Frank Sinatra;- and the film as a progression in action filmmmaking.
    Tyler Savage’s latest film, Stalker, is currently streaming on Hulu, while his first feature, Inheritance, is currently streaming on Amazon Prime. His latest short, “Oddities,” starring Adrienne Barbeau, Logan Miller, and Ariela Barer, is currently making its festival run for 2023.

    • 1 hr 11 min
    'Sight & Sound's' 2022 Greatest Films of All-Time Critics' Poll'

    'Sight & Sound's' 2022 Greatest Films of All-Time Critics' Poll'

    Sight & Sound magazine and the British Film Institute put out their once-every-decade poll of greatest films. The top ten:
    1. Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles2. Vertigo3. Citizen Kane4. Tokyo Story5. In the Mood for Love6. 2001: A Space Odyssey7. Beau Travail8. Mulholland Dr.9. Man with a Movie Camera10. Singin’ in the Rain
    The poll, which first started in 1952 and had come to be the definitive film list, now has a controversial and brand new #1 film for this decade: Chantal Ackerman’s 1975 piece of slow cinema. And this episode, we discuss:
    - the expansion of the voter-base leading to the controversy- Paul Schrader’s reaction on Facebook decrying the poll being “woke”;- which titles were dropped between 2012 and 2022;- and the distinction between polls of “favorites” and “GREATEST.”
    - how the poll ensconced Citizen Kane into the top spot for so long;- the poll’s history of top tens;- the age of those top ten titles at the time each decade’s poll;- and the lists’ preference for titles over filmographies.
    The Sight & Sound/BFI list can be found here.

    • 1 hr 3 min
    'Red Carpet' w/ Author Erich Schwartzel

    'Red Carpet' w/ Author Erich Schwartzel

    Though it had been widely predicted to happen sometime later this decade, China managed to surpass North America during the pandemic 2020 — during the first year of decade — in domestic box-office. A big part of that was the fact that China had built more movie theaters than North America. On this episode, we discuss:
    whether I say something in this interview that disqualifies me from ever working for a studio movie that needs China’s box office;
    the definition of “dumb money” investors, and how this applies to the China’s access to the American moviemaking process
    why did a movie like Wolf Warrior 2, the first movie in the worldwide top-ten, get completely ignored domestically in America?
    what contribution the Russo Bros., famously of the Marvel Avenger movies, added to Wolf Warrior 2?
    the Eastern ethos and religious philosophies that are being applied to Chinese big-budget productions like The Wandering Earth,
    alongside what the Asian crossover effect of K-Pop, Parasite, and Squid Game;
    the difference between Russia’s successful mid-50s film production/censorship from China’s current state-based film distribution.
    Erich Schwartzel covers the film industry in the Wall Street Journal's Los Angeles bureau. He joined the Journal in 2013 and has written dozens of front-page stories on life and business in Hollywood, specializing in features where commerce meets culture. His work can be found here.


    • 1 hr 5 min
    Whatever Happened to George Lucas's Post-Retirement Experimental Films?

    Whatever Happened to George Lucas's Post-Retirement Experimental Films?

    George Lucas has been talking retirement since 1977. Weary of the mainstream cinema he helped to created, he began saying in interviews that he was planning on getting back to the cinema of his college days, the avant-garde “tone poems” of his U.S.C. short films, or his of his first feature, THX-1138 — even before he returned to feature directing in the 2000s, with the Star Wars prequels. Now, that Lucas has all but officially retired — not having directed a feature in 17 years — I’m joined on this episode by Dale Pollock, Lucas’s first biographer, to discuss whatever happened to these post-retirement promises. We discuss:
    - Steve Silberman’s 2005 Wired article, “Life After Darth,” which voiced all these questions, the year of Lucas’s retirement;- what were the exact circumstances of Lucas opening up his life to Pollock as a biographer during the filming of Return of the Jedi;- does Lucas deserve his reputation as a tin-eared regurgitator of poppy pulp tropes;- is he not only one of the greatest editors of all-time, or — easily — one of the greatest filmmakers of all-time?
    - the abbreviated career of his first wife and early collaborator, Marcia Lucas;- why the critical reception of the Star Wars prequels guaranteed Lucas would never return to film directing;- is Lucas making — maybe even stockpiling, these movies, unseen;- and is he setting up these experiments to be released after his death?
    Dale Pollock is a journalist, film producer, professor, and festival programmer. Along with writing the biography Skywalking: The Life and Times of George Lucas, he’s also written for Daily Variety, the Los Angeles Times, Life, People, and Esquire. He’s executive producer 13 films, including A Midnight Clear and Blaze, taught at both USC and the University of North Carolina School of Arts in Winston-Salem, and ran the RiverRun International Film Festival. More can be found at his website.

    • 1 hr 15 min
    'Blood, Sweat & Chrome' w/ Author Kyle Buchanan

    'Blood, Sweat & Chrome' w/ Author Kyle Buchanan

    Hiatus over! When Mad Max: Fury Road came out in 2015, a 30-year gap since Beyond Thunderdome, its breathless and near-universal reception as — already — one of the greatest movies of the decade and — already — one of the greatest action movies of all-time, automatically erased the two-decade lead-up to the film’s execution and completion, erasing previous versions and false starts. Yet, once the final studio greenlight came, that only began the film’s arduous production. On this episode, Kyle Buchanan talks the oral history book he’s written about that epic production, thusly untold and way more epic than previously thought — all leading towards the triumph as one of the best action movies of all time. We discuss:
    - the silent-movie, low-dialogue inspiration for whole production;- the extremely thorough pre-production, where even cameramen were given extensive audition processes;- what would Mel Gibson in Fury Road really have felt like?- or the in-sequence shooting schedule which focused the million-dollar production on, ostensibly, seconds-long inserts.
    - how the shoot was bolstered by a crew-member and long-time Max fan named “Toast”;- the intensive storyboarding/writing process,- Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy’s (pre-known, pre-excerpted) on-set tension,- and how the next Mad Max film, Furiosa, was implanted and planned from this film, starring Chris Hemsworth as a previous-revealed villain.
    Kyle Buchanan is a pop culture reporter and serves as the Projectionist, the awards season columnist for the New York Times. Prior, he was a senior editor at Vulture, New York Magazine's entertainment website, where he covered the movie industry. A native of Southern California, he lives in Los Angeles. Blood, Sweat & Chrome is his first book.

    • 1 hr 26 min

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