The hardest part of this one was the yellow font. I couldn't find that font, or one even close to it, anywhere. So, I used the original names (Hoffman and Voight) and the title and just copy and pasted and then drew new letters as needed. I love that font.
Paul & Amy walk into 1969’s New York hustler drama Midnight Cowboy! They look for meaning in the song “Everybody’s Talkin’,” ask whether Jon Voight’s babyfaced features make him the perfect Joe Buck, and marvel at how modern the film still feels. Plus: More of your picks for horror films that could make the AFI list.
I loved getting to do something totally different for this episode. When I started thinking about it and decided on a “IT’S ALIVE!” header I knew I probably needed a generic “monster” and zombies made the most sense for New Orleans. After those two parts were decided on, the rest fell into place in less than 20 minutes.
What horror films should be added to the AFI’s signature list? Do films like The Sixth Sense or Psycho count as horror? Paul and Amy debate these questions live from the Overlook Film Festival in New Orleans, with special guests Sam Zimmerman from Shudder and Phil Nobile Jr. from Fangoria! They ask whether fast zombies are superior to slow zombies, discuss when meta-horror films become too meta, and wonder whether a horror film needs to be a little bit trashy.
For the 50th special I wanted to try something different so I made a video slideshow clip highlighting a few of the movies they have already covered. I tried to keep it under a minute (for social media) so I could only pick a handful. It also gave me lots of good ideas for 75 and then 100.
50 films down, 50 to go! But first, Paul and Amy celebrate making it halfway through the AFI list on this special episode. They discuss their favorite performances from the films so far, break down a controversial DVD/Blu-Ray packaging campaign, read pitches for AFI movie mashups from listeners, and unveil their newly-ordered Top 50 list.
Finding a way to use one of the most well-known movie posters ever, that is also one of the most minimalistic ever was super tricky. Getting it down to the spiral and the font was the first step. Then I created Paul and Amy in “falling” positions and posterized them as much as possibly with out losing their identity. No need to add the movie name at all.
Paul & Amy fall into Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 psychological thriller Vertigo! They learn who created the famous Vertigo zoom, listen to a classic 90s song inspired by Vertigo, and ask if the age gap between Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak works to the film’s credit. Plus: Tony Lee Moral, author of multiple books on Hitchcock, tells us where Vertigo fits into his filmography.
Kind of a tough one... most posters only have Gregory Peck on them. But I do agree this is how I would be smiling if I met Atticus Finch.
Amy & Paul cross-examine 1962’s Southern drama To Kill A Mockingbird! They compare the slice-of-life storytelling to later filmmakers like Richard Linklater, reveal Brock Peters’ on-set nickname, and ask whether the film can be considered separately from the book. Plus: author and professor Wayne Flynt talks about his friendship with Harper Lee in her later years.
This is one of my all time favorite films and I wanted to do it justice. I kept staring at the moth until the idea hit me and I knew the exact photo of Paul I wanted to use. Once the idea came the whole thing was done in 15 minutes.
Paul & Amy dig into 1991’s serial killer thriller The Silence Of The Lambs! They praise the many ways the film puts us in Clarice Starling’s head, discover the inspirations for Hannibal Lecter’s voice, and learn how Buffalo Bill was originally received by LGBT activists. Plus: former detective Paul Holes of the Murder Squad podcast explains what Silence of The Lambs gets right abour criminal profiling.
I really like the original Tootsie poster but it didn’t fit my needs, so I did a deep dive and found this promotional still I really loved. It screams 1982. At first i thought “well Paul gets to be Dorothy but that's no fun for Amy"... but with this photo I knew Amy gets to be Jessica Lange is pink suede high waisted pleated pants so I think she wins this one. (Also this is currently my phone wallpaper.)
Amy and Paul suit up for 1982’s gender-bending Dustin Hoffman comedy Tootsie! They ask whether Michael is really a great actor, praise Bill Murray’s scene-stealing performance, and compare the film to last year’s Best Picture winner. Plus: drag comedian Roz Drezfalez (“Ghosted” podcast) tells us why he loved Tootsie as a kid.
This original poster is the Italian version. I really liked the layout even more than the other, more well known versions that have the illustration smaller with lots of “pirate font”. The international movie posters are usually some of my favorites.
This week Paul & Amy investigate 1974’s sunlit neo-noir Chinatown! They examine the charges against Roman Polanski and discuss how to watch and contextualize his work today, before diving into the film’s recurring water symbolism and Faye Dunaway’s superlative performance. Plus: historian and writer Hadley Meares (Curbed LA) breaks down some of the true Los Angeles history that inspired Chinatown.
The trickiest part of any older poster is that it’s usually an illustration of some kind. Being able to match the style in a convincing way is always a challenge. I love how Paul’s beard turned out in this one.
Amy & Paul excavate 1948’s Humphrey Bogart thriller The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre! They ask if Fred C. Dobbs qualifies as an antihero, look at the wild career of director John Huston, and explore how Treasure inspired everything from Breaking Bad to There Will Be Blood. Plus: film critic extraordinaire Leonard Matin explains how he became a Bogart fan.
A super simple poster that says a lot. The image is almost stippled and made to look like a newspaper print. Once you get that look down it falls into place. Luckily found photos of both Amy and Paul looking off into the middle distance perfectly.
This week Paul & Amy investigate 1976’s journalistic thriller All The President’s Men! They learn about the controversy surrounding who wrote the screenplay, appreciate the unshowy direction of Alan Pakula, and ask whether Woodward & Bernstein are a true cinematic ‘odd couple.’ Plus: Liz Hannah, the screenwriter of The Post, tells us whether her film was an intentional prequel to President’s Men.
When I began doing these graphics this was the one movie I had on my radar. I had no idea how I was going to make this one work. Then I found this poster and it made itself. Changing the hair bow into a headset is my favorite part.
Amy & Paul gaze through the looking glass into 1937’s Walt Disney fairy tale Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs! They appreciate Snow’s sense of humor, question the hygiene of squirrels washing dishes, and wonder what Disney would think of the behemoth his company has become. Plus: animation historian J.B. Kaufman explains what made Snow White so groundbreaking, and Kate Littleton, the moderator of the Unspooled Facebook group, tells us why Snow White is one of her favorite films.
No poster version of City Lights really worked for what I needed. Instead I decided to use an image from the film and still keep the title font as the flavor.
Paul & Amy tumble through 1931’s Charlie Chaplin comedy City Lights! They ask whether the film presaged the structure of modern comedies, compare Chaplin’s style to Buster Keaton, and ask where the line is between genius and megalomaniac. Plus: Chaplin expert Dan Kamin talks about working with Robert Downey Jr. and the early life of Chaplin.
For this episode my first instinct was to use the word UNSPOOLED in place of the iconic (and brilliant) logo but the word didn’t split up in a way that looked right to me and it had to many “curvy” letters. This Italian version I found solved my problem.
Amy & Paul rumble with 1961’s musical Shakespeare riff West Side Story! They compare the film’s colors to modern art, praise the intelligence Rita Moreno brings to Anita, and ask how Elvis would have performed in the lead role. Plus: writer and Stephen Sondheim fan Anthony King (Gutenberg: The Musical) gives us his perspective on where this fits in Sondheim’s career.
As soon as A Night at the Opera came up I knew exactly what scene I wanted to use. My original plan was to have every person in the scene be Amy or Paul… just a room full of them. It quickly became obvious that wasn’t going to work. I really like the “Where’s Waldo”-ness of this version.
This episode Paul & Amy sing the praises of 1935’s Marx Brothers comedy “A Night At The Opera!” They take apart the film’s most famous scene in detail, listen to the “Shallow” of 1935, and debate what modern comedies could make the AFI list now. Plus: Amanda Garrett from the Old Hollywood Films blog talks about the life of Margaret Dumont, and Frank Ferrante tells us what he’s learned as a world-class Groucho Marx impersonator.
This seemed straight forward enough when I began. But getting an image to match the super desaturated, flat color of the other faces was a real challenge. The Amy image in this one is very convincing to me. I was very happy with the finished version even though it doesn’t seem very exciting.
Amy and Paul storm the beaches of 1998’s Steven Spielberg WWII picture Saving Private Ryan! They plunge into the disorientation of the storied opening sequence, look at what the film means to the Greatest Generation, and ask whether Sausage Party could take Private Ryan’s place on the list. Plus: A look at the latest controversy between Spielberg and Netflix.
Another super iconic poster that I knew wouldn’t work for me. My original idea was to use an image from the bus or church scene, but I was never happy with those. When I found this promotional still I knew that was the one. The image on the tv is the “plastics” scene and helped add a little pop of color. One of my favorites.
Amy & Paul scuba-dive into 1967’s generation-gap dramedy The Graduate! They look for thematic connections in early Nichols & May sketches, wonder how such a small scale film became an enormous hit, and ask whether Mrs. Robinson is a fantasy or a fully-formed character. Plus: Katharine Ross (Elaine) joins Amy to praise Mike Nichols’ direction.
For these special episodes I knew I wanted them to have movement and be similar but also to have an appropriate feel for the topic.
Nothing says Oscars like gold glitter!
Amy and special guest host Griffin Newman (The Tick, Blank Check) talk about last night’s Oscars, and unveil the winners of the first annual Spoolies! Plus: A heartwarming Christmas tune from Green Book screenwriter Nick Vallelonga.
For these special episodes I knew I wanted them to have movement and be similar but also to have an appropriate feel for the topic.
Popcorn was obvious… finding the film strip motion to place over it really made me happy.
Paul & Amy round out the Best Of 2018 miniseries with an all-star lineup of callers talking about their favorite films of last year! Guests like Damon Lindelof, Lucia Aniello, Leonard Maltin, Reggie Hudlin, Casey Wilson, Chris Gethard and the wonderful Unspooled listeners evangelize their favorite films, from Free Solo and Shoplifters to Searching and Mamma Mia 2. Plus: we briefly preview the Academy Awards this Sunday, and finally talk about Green Book.
For these special episodes I knew I wanted them to have movement and be similar but also to have an appropriate feel for the topic.
This is a photo I took of LA from the Griffith Observatory. Once I desaturated the image and added a few moody clouds it gave me exactly the feel I was looking for.
Amy & Paul continue their review of 2018 in film with a look back at last year’s most critically acclaimed films! They praise Nicholas Cage’s passion in Mandy, marvel at the realism and empathy of Eighth Grade, and argue whether Hereditary has third act problems. Plus: Listeners weigh in on last week’s superhero debate.
Obvious Captain Marvel influence.
Paul & Amy travel to the distant era of 2018, with a look back at last year’s 20 biggest movies! They cover everything from Bohemian Rhapsody to Aquaman, A Quiet Place to Black Panther, with an eye on which films deserve to be placed on a future AFI list.
A lot of times finding the font can make the graphic. This is a good example. Amy was very happy with having Nurse Ratched hair. Which was a relief to me.
Paul & Amy fly over 1975’s countercultural touchstone One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest! They discuss how the film strays from Ken Kesey’s novel, discover how Milos Forman caught actors in unguarded moments, and ask whether R.P. McMurphy or Nurse Ratched really had the right of their struggle. Plus: Matt Walsh (Veep, Under The Eiffel Tower) tells us about his time working in a psych ward.
This one was basically already made. The Unspooled logo was already loosely based on the style of the original Sunset Boulevard poster. Maybe my record-setting time for fastest weekly graphic.
Paul & Amy drive down to 1950’s Hollywood house of horrors Sunset Boulevard! They ask if Joe Gillis is a reliable narrator, praise Gloria Swanson’s transformative performance, and wonder if Hollywood really hasn’t changed in 70 years. Plus: Alicia Malone (TCM host and author of “The Female Gaze”) joins us to help place Sunset Boulevard in it’s historical context.
As I started this one I told myself if I could find teenage photos of Paul and/or Amy within a 10 minute Google search I would use this idea. I found Paul’s in about 3 minutes. Then I knew I had to find Amy’s. I think my favorite part of this one though is the change of the theater name to EARWOLF.
Amy & Paul travel deep into the heart of 1971’s Texan coming-of-age story The Last Picture Show! They ask who the film’s true protagonist is, marvel at the murderer’s row of incredible actors, and wonder if this was the key inspiration for the boom of sex comedies to follow. Plus: writer/director Peter Bogdanovich himself joins Amy to discuss The Last Picture Show, and what separates modern films from the classics.
I had no idea how many movie posters involved hats. Luckily both Amy and Paul look great in hats. Also another instance where the font brings it all together.
Amy & Paul saddle up for Clint Eastwood’s revisionist 1992 Western Unforgiven! They ask if Gene Hackman is truly the villain of the piece, put the film in the context of Eastwood’s career, and praise the script’s comic touches. Plus: Screenwriter David Webb Peoples discusses Unforgiven’s origins, and Saul Rubinek (W.W. Beauchamp) tells stories from the set that shed light on Eastwood’s directing style.
No original poster worked for this so I searched for images from the movie and loved the layout and colors of this one. They look so happy to be cowboys.
This episode Paul & Amy ride deep into Texas for The Searchers! They discuss the complicated legacy of John Wayne, place the film in the context of Western history, and look at The Searchers’ influence on directors from Martin Scorsese to George Lucas. Plus: Joely Proudfit speaks to us about American Indian representation in film history, and The Searchers in particular.
The original poster is a highly stylized illustrated group of images. But I found a set of secondary poster with scenes from the movie. Using that for my frame worked great and meant I got to keep the amazing title and bright colors.
Amy & Paul take a trip down South for 1967’s racially charged police thriller “In The Heat Of The Night!” They celebrate the excellent soundtrack, scrutinize how well the film holds up as a procedural, and take a close look at Sidney Poitier’s incredible road to Hollywood. Plus: Two interviews this week, with Pod Save The People’s DeRay Mckesson on the value of art as activism, and Lee Grant, who plays Mrs. Colbert, reflecting on her trailblazing career as an actor and director.
I promised for the holiday episode I would provide snow. I do love how the original mimics a snow globe shape.
Paul & Amy earn their wings with 1946’s Jimmy Stewart holiday fable “It’s A Wonderful Life!” They wonder if Mary is actually a witch, explain why the term “Capra corn” is unfair, and play a very timely SNL parody. Plus: Karolyn Grimes, aka Zuzu Bailey, shares her memories of making the film.
I knew for this one I couldn’t do what I usually do. I found an image from the movie I loved that also was so representative you couldn’t not know what movie it was. I considered changing it into a watercolor or something similar, but it wasn’t necessary. Just adding the words in a typewriter font similar to the list on the original poster was all it needed.
This episode Paul & Amy take a close look at Steven Spielberg’s unflinching Holocaust drama “Schindler’s List.” They discuss the filmmaking instincts Spielberg brings to difficult material, praise Ralph Fiennes’ terrifying performance, and discover the crucial role Adam Sandler played in keeping Spielberg’s mood up. Plus: Embeth Davidtz (who plays Helen Hirsch) calls in to talk about the unlikely family formed on set.
Truly one of my favorites. I was so very happy with how well Paul turned out and the expression from Amy seems spot on. My favorite detail on this was changing the name on Amy’s shirt pocket.
Paul & Amy go the distance for Sylvester Stallone’s 1976 pugilistic parable Rocky! They play a stunning clip of Stallone talking to himself, posit that the film’s true villain is Rocky’s self-doubt, and question whether the average person is actually more like Paulie. Plus: Boxer and coach Freddie Roach calls in with his thoughts on Rocky and the time he made Mickey Rourke cry.
The style and fonts of Clockwork Orange is so specific I knew I didn’t even need to use the name of the film for this one. Another of my favorites.
Amy & Paul undergo the Ludovico technique to watch Stanley Kubrick’s dark dystopia A Clockwork Orange! They explain the history of the famous “Singin In The Rain” scene, compare the complicated adaptation to Anthony Burgess’ original novel, and question why Kubrick should be considered a moral authority on anything. Plus: Paul weighs in on the online discussion about the AFI list and “incels.”
This was one of the tougher challenges. I do like how the name blends into the rest of the copy pretty seamlessly.
This episode Paul & Amy travel back to 1982’s love triangle / Holocaust drama Sophie’s Choice! They ask whether Stingo is supposed to be an actual good writer, marvel at the energy of a young Kevin Kline, and break down what makes Meryl Streep’s work in this film so legendary. Plus: dialect coach Samara Bay (Loving, Wonder Woman) talks to Paul about the intricacies of nailing an accent-based performance.
The posters for this movie were all very busy and highly illustrated and I just couldn’t find one I liked. Using this image and then creating a title along the bottom was definitely the best solution.
Amy and Paul filibuster through Frank Capra’s 1939 political fable Mr. Smith Goes To Washington! They learn about Jean Arthur’s initial impressions of Jimmy Stewart, compare Capra’s visual style to Michael Bay, and explore the film’s pop culture legacy in depth. Plus: Jon Lovett of “Pod Save America” and “Lovett Or Leave It” weighs in on the lessons this film can offer today’s politicians.
For the first “special episode” I wanted to create a gif showing an image for every film so far. I also love dancing snacks so I created a second gif just for fun.
In this special episode, Paul & Amy are answering all of your questions, submitted by Unspooled’s Facebook group! They reminisce about the origin story of the podcast, explain which documentaries they would add to the AFI 100, and tell each other their favorite movie snacks. Finally, they celebrate the first 25 episodes by unveiling their official ranking of every movie covered on Unspooled so far.
Once I found this original gif this seemed like the only choice. The Paul face couldn’t have been better.
This episode Amy & Paul hail the Marx Brothers’ 1933 madcap comedy Duck Soup! They ask whether this is the first great comedy of the talkie era, parse the different comedic styles of the brothers, and praise Margaret Dumont as the perfect foil. Plus: Conan O’Brien joins the show to talk about why he loves the Marx Bros!
Amy’s image lined up with Katharine Hepburn’s profile so perfectly this one almost took no time at all.
Paul & Amy set sail through 1951’s Katharine Hepburn & Humphrey Bogart adventure The African Queen! They ask whether the central romance is convincing, discuss John Huston’s groundbreaking and arduous location shoot, and reminisce about the Disneyland ride inspired by the film. Plus: Suzanne Holmquist tells about running the actual African Queen as a modern day tourist attraction.
As much as I wanted to use an original Raiders poster I knew Marion wasn’t featured enough for what I needed. Next was the snake scene, but the angles of the faces wouldn’t work. Obvious third choice is the finale. They look like they are having fun though.
This episode Amy and Paul uncover 1981’s rollicking Indiana Jones adventure Raiders Of The Lost Ark! They ask if Indy is actually a good archeologist, find out whether Belloq really ate a fly, and discuss what makes the film’s action sequences so irresistible to kids. Plus: Indiana Jones superfan Guy Klender shares his wealth of Indy knowledge, and talks about his work on the Raiders fan remake.
The poster I used here is actually a fan made wallpaper I found by accident. I try not to use anything but original posters or images from the films but I loved this one so much I couldn’t resist.
Paul & Amy pull off the highway for a short stay at 1960’s proto-slasher masterwork Psycho. They dissect Alfred Hitchcock’s artful use of misdirection, listen to Anthony Perkins’ pre-Psycho pop single, and ask if there was any value in Gun Van Sant’s controversial remake. Plus: Alexandre O. Philippe, the director of “78/52: Hitchcock’s Shower Scene,” discusses one of cinema’s most infamous moments in detail.
I knew all I needed for this episode was to feature the ring. I “erased” all the original writing, found an “elvish” font that is still readable and added the new copy. It was a lot of little detail work to make it look very simple.
Amy & Paul embark on an epic quest through Peter Jackson’s 2001 fantasy adaptation The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring! They praise Elijah Wood’s stellar silent acting, learn which modern dictator hates being compared to Gollum, and debate which if any Harry Potter film could make the list. Plus: Motion capture specialist Brett Ineson talks about making Gollum come to life in Return Of The King.
Adding back in the water drops to Paul’s face was the trickiest part. It mostly works.
Paul & Amy plunge into the heart of darkness to cover 1979’s Vietnam War fever dream Apocalypse Now. They discover which famous film character screenwriter John Milius inspired, dig into the meaning of the USO show sequence, and are ultimately amazed this film ever came together in the first place. Plus: All of your amazing/terrible Marlon Brando impressions!
Another international poster. I loved the layout and colors of this one as soon as I saw it. And the fonts are so well matched to the style they get lost which is always my goal.
Amy & Paul saddle up and ride through 1952’s archetypal Western, High Noon! They celebrate Katy Jurado’s fierce performance, learn about the ill-advised High Noon sequel, and discover how the film works as an allegory for HUAC-era America. Plus: Henry C. Parke of True West Magazine tells us what makes High Noon stand out in the Western pantheon.
If I had to do this one again I would do it differently. But it is really difficult when you are working with a brown, lumpy alien as the focal point.
Paul & Amy beam up to Steven Spielberg’s heartwarming alien feature, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial! They learn E.T.’s real name, marvel at Spielberg’s uncanny ease directing children, and wonder how well the film holds up with kids today. Plus: Seth Shostak, an astronomer from the SETI Institute, tells us how likely we are to find actual E.T.s on Earth.
A good example of a great poster that wouldn’t work for my needs. Trying to find an image for two people from a movie about an isolated, lone individual is tricky.
This episode Paul & Amy cruise through 1976’s terrifying character study Taxi Driver. They ask whether the film is anti-misogynist or simply misogynist, debate whether the ending is real or fake, and discover a surprising source of inspiration for another film on the AFI 100. Plus: actor and writer Curt Neill tells us about his experiences driving for Uber, and how it helped him empathize with Travis Bickle.
Paul sent out a tweet asking for someone to put their images on the Sixth Sense poster. I mocked up this DVD case and just never stopped.
Paul and Amy see dead people in 1999’s supernatural drama The Sixth Sense! They debate how Haley Joel Osment’s performance compares to modern child actors, explain how the famous twist is accomplished through misdirection, and dive deep into the career of Tommy Tammasimo, Plus: Actor and magician Rob Zabrecky explains what it’s like to perform a seance.
You can’t NOT use the image from the front of the ship right? Leaving the headset on Amy’s image is still very funny to me.
Amy & Paul chart a course through 1998’s epic tragedy Titanic! They marvel at the film’s structure and use of geography, discuss whether the Titanic backlash was deserved, and count how many times Jack & Rose say each other’s names. Plus: Danny Nucci, aka Fabrizio!, shares stories from the set, and what it was like to work with the legendarily intense James Cameron.
Lucky for me Paul has plenty of perfect expressions for every situation. Also, Amy is rocking that hat.
This week Paul & Amy hit the streets for 1971’s The French Connection! They discuss whether Popeye Doyle is actually a hero, what went sideways during that incredible chase scene, and who the real-life inspirations for Doyle & Russo were. Plus: an interview with cop-turned-actor Brian Danker about what French Connection gets right and wrong about police work.
This was my first attempt at creating a gif. But I knew for a movie like this one I needed something with movement.
Put on your best dancing shoes for Swing Time with Ginger Rogers & Fred Astaire! Paul & Amy caper through the 1936 film’s strange comic beats, spontaneous choreographed dances and timeless tunes. Plus: an interview with choreographer Kat Burns (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) about Fred & Ginger’s dance numbers, and Andrew Ti and Tawny Newsome from the “Yo Is This Racist?” podcast stop by to discuss “that scene.”
This one sort of just fell into place. Once I found the pic to start with the rest was easy. I decided to add the gold brick and witch’s legs for some color.
Close your eyes, tap your heels together three times, and join Paul & Amy as they discuss 1939’s The Wizard Of Oz! Discover what makes the land of Oz so satisfyingly tactile, how the Tin Man and Cowardly Lion tormented each other on set, and whether this is the most influential film of all time. Plus: Paul & Amy talk to Walter Krueger, who owns one of the world’s biggest collections of Oz memorabilia.
It looks simple but it was really time consuming. I kept all the little people on the original words and added them into the new. I got lost in making this one and love how it turned out. One of my favorites. I actually have it hanging by my desk.
Strap on your death sandals, as Paul & Amy jump into 1959’s Roman epic Ben Hur! They discuss the incredible scope of the film, how Star Wars ripped off the famous chariot race, and how many characters say the word “leper.” Plus: Paul & Amy talk to stunt professional Christopher Leps about his career, and where Ben Hur ranks among the great stunt films.
The best know image from the movie… so I needed to make one for Paul and Amy.
On episode one of Unspooled, Paul and Amy jump straight into the AFI’s number one film of all time, Citizen Kane. They explain why it was almost never released, take a closer listen to Orson Welles’ innovative use of sound, and try to answer the big question: is this really the best movie ever? Plus: an interview with a guest expert, cinematographer Steve Gainer, on why Citizen Kane looks so incredible.