Anyone can sit and think about the collapse of civilization and the end of everything humanity has always cherished all day; it is, right now, one of the hottest trends among sentient beings all over the world. The difference between George Miller and me, for example, is that when I do, you (eventually) get a blog post about a Super Bowl commercial, whereas George Miller delivers one of the all-time classics of the action cinema. That’s the only difference between me and iconic filmmaker George Miller that I can think of, and it’s really more a matter of degree than kind if you think about it – we both end up delivering something overloaded and dystopian, and not remotely on the timeline that everyone involved was hoping for.
That said, the nearly two decades Miller spent assembling Mad Max: Fury Road were far more hectic than the time I spent slumped over a laptop, and the end result of those decades of dreaming, working, and risk-taking was so remarkable that it’s easy to see why anyone would be moved by write a book about it. And so this week, Drew and I talked to Kyle Buchanan of the New York Times about his new book Blood And Chrome Sweatan extremely accurate oral history of the making of Miller’s spectacular opus.
Because Drew and I are both big fans of road of fury, and because we both enjoyed Buchanan’s book so much, and because he probably knows more about this film and its incredibly arduous journey to the screen than anyone, we spent just about everything the podcast to talk about it all. Not just about the film itself, though there was some of it, but about the sprawling, controversial, and often brutal individual works and variously strained collaborations that made it possible. As a movie-obsessed kid, I was convinced that making a movie seemed like the coolest thing a person could do with their time. Blood And Chrome Sweat both forever disabused me of this notion and, in a perverse way, asserted that it was in fact correct. It’s a mad pursuit, doomed and dangerous and ultimately entirely too dependent on the whims and favors of ultra-rich cynics and total crackpots, but it’s increasingly true of a growing number of things. More than that, there’s always the possibility that you’ll walk away with a road of fury. So all in all, not a bad deal.
The has been a bit of the dumb old stuff in there, although we did spend a good 40 minutes talking to Kyle about a movie the three of us are absolute freaks for. An attempt to remember a guy ended up pivoting on a brief conversation by Todd Hollandsworth. The sad dearth of George Miller-style names in the sport and the discordant preponderance of George Lucas-y ones have been addressed in detail and depth. Kyle was admirably open about a difficult personal experience with Slim Jims that turned him off what had previously been a staple of his diet, leading to a decently heated debate between Good Jerky – that is – i.e. the kind that’s identifiably meat-based – and the weirdly frothy polymer-based kind you get at gas stations. Although this episode and Kyle’s book is more about the journey than the destination, it was nice to be somewhere close to home.
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