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Is This Reel Life?

Is This Reel Life? is a podcast which examines the real world implications of a myriad of films; it is run by two outspoken, liberal, atheist ladies who have some serious opinions to share. Kristen is a talented videographer with a degree in film studies. Growing up in Louisiana as a trans woman was definitely not easy, but Kristen has allowed those experiences to formulate an excellent sense of humor and a brilliant perspective on the world around her. Bethany has a degree in psychology and a background in film noir. A firebrand atheist and pansexual polyamorous woman from Kentucky, Bethany has a truly unique point of view. We watch movies of all genres and attempt to reconcile Hollywood with the real world. Want to contact us directly? Email ReelLifeChicago@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter @ReelLifeChicago or Instagram @JustReelThings
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Is This Reel Life? is a podcast which examines the real world implications of a myriad of films; it is run by two outspoken, liberal, atheist ladies who have some serious opinions to share. 

Kristen is a talented videographer with a degree in film studies. Growing up in Louisiana as a trans woman was definitely not easy, but Kristen has allowed those experiences to formulate an excellent sense of humor and a brilliant perspective on the world around her.

Bethany has a degree in psychology and a background in film noir. A firebrand atheist and pansexual polyamorous woman from Kentucky, Bethany has a truly unique point of view. 

We watch movies of all genres and attempt to reconcile Hollywood with the real world.

We love donations over at www.patreon.com/IsThisReelLife. If you want to support us in a non-monetary way, you can give us one of those awesome 5-star iTunes reviews! You can add us on Stitcher (just search Is This Reel Life? in the app), iTunes, or your favorite podcast app by entering our feed: http://isthisreellife.libsyn.com/rss

Want to contact us directly? Find us on Facebook, email ReelLifeChicago@gmail.com, or follow us on Twitter @ReelLifeChicago or Instagram @JustReelThings

Jun 21, 2017
Hey you guys - it's time for a new series! 
 
We adore murder mysteries, so for this series, we're doing Whodunit? which is basically that - mysteries. The first episode is on The Conversation (1974), which follows a wire tapper (on point at the moment) who has surveilled a conversation between a man and a woman and is really wracked with the feels about it. 
 
Fair warning - nothing really happens for 39 minutes of the film. 
 
The Conversation IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0071360/ 
Jun 14, 2017
For the final episode of our series on musicals covering La La Land (2016), we invited cinephile and owner of a spectacular laugh, Steve Kleumpers to help us break it down. Patrons will remember Steve from this month's Best of the Worst episode on Bloodsport. (Steve really doesn't like musicals) 
 
Spoiler Alert: This movie is really about a couple (Sebastian and Mia) who try but really can't make their relationship work in Hollywood because they both want to live their dreams now. They probably could've made it work, but one of them would have had to give up his dream temporarily (*cough cough* Sebastian). We also noticed that both of these main characters did stupid things that didn't make sense. 
 
After seeing this movie, we think this might be helpful. Free Relationship Advice: http://www.therelationshipfoundation.org/guidebook.html 
 
Jun 7, 2017
Today's episode covers the quintessential musical Rent (2005). We discuss the character flaws and the beautiful music, and we talk through the way this film makes us think about the world differently. Both Kristen and Bethany saw this movie when it came out, and there's some discussion about how Rent is vastly different when viewed during the optimism of youth versus the cynicism of adulthood. 
 
These characters don't know how to adult. Everyone is a dick. 
 
Rent is all about fighting AIDS in this bohemian community in the 1980s.
Today, we are still fighting HIV and AIDS, and the scientific community is advancing. If you had told us in 2005 when Rent was released that in 2017 we would be reviewing it on a podcast at the same time that scientists were working on a vaccine for HIV, it's possible we wouldn't have believed you. 
 
Scientific advances in HIV vaccine research: 
 
May 31, 2017
Join Kristen and Bethany as they discuss Prince, Purple Rain (1984), and the upsetting themes in the film. The 80's were a time of montages and music, and we love that, even the big purple motorcycle. We don't really love domestic abuse; actually, we hate domestic abuse. 
 
May 24, 2017
You guys know South Park, right? You know The Book of Mormon musical on Broadway? Surely you know Trey Parker and Matt Stone. 
 
Did you know that Trey Parker made a musical while he was in college? It's described as a "black comedy horror musical film" and it's super low budget and crazy weird. The plot covers the story of Alferd Packer, who was accused of cannibalism while he and his party were headed to Breckenridge, Colorado in search of gold. 
 
We hope you enjoy our review of Cannibal! The Musical (1993) - and have a shpadoinkle day! 
 
Cannibal! The Musical IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115819/ 
 
May 17, 2017
Here we go again - my, my, how could we resist Mamma Mia (2008)? This lovely flick was requested by our current top patron Meagan, who we have to thank for an excellent time discussing such a silly and fun movie. 
 
Thanks, Meagan! We appreciate you giving us a good one! 
 
Dot. Dot. Dot. 
 
May 11, 2017

OMFG this is such a weird movie. There's weird moving from actual reality to hallucinations. There's drug addiction and truly intense scenes of emotional despair. It jumps around a lot. 

Please enjoy our review of All The Jazz (1979).

All That Jazz IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078754/

May 9, 2017

We sincerely apologize for the software error which caused Andrew not to appear on part 2 when it was initially released and the issue with part 1 which made it appear that Bethany and Andrew were talking over each other. We are re-releasing part 2 today, and we hope you enjoy it.  

Apr 26, 2017

Joining us for this special episode of Is This Reel Life? is Andrew Torrez of podcasting and legal fame! Andrew is a real life lawyer and co-host on Opening Arguments (the best damned legal podcast out there, in our opinion). 

For this awesome special episode, you get to hear Kristen, Bethany, and Andrew discuss God's Not Dead 2 (2016). We think this movie is truly wrong on so many levels, and because it's a courtroom drama, Andrew is uniquely qualified to tell us just how wrong it is. 

We talked for WAY too long about this one, so please enjoy part 1 this week. Part 2 to follow next week!

God's Not Dead 2 IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4824308/

Apr 19, 2017
You know what? Some movies are good movies. Some movies are bad movies. This movie is... neither. Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985) is about two dudes in a jail cell chatting. Telling stories. One is a political prisoner; the other is not remotely political. One is fighting for The Resistance; the other is a gay man who "corrupted a minor."
 
Also, we're pretty sure the story that is being told is a meta-story for the plot of the whole movie. Actually, this whole thing is like, third degree meta.
 
Fair warning: if you watch this movie, they don't hold back on the effects of the torture the political prisoner experiences.
 
Kiss of the Spider Woman IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0089424/
Apr 13, 2017

Did you know we offer $2+ patron-only episodes once a month? They cover the Best of the Worst terrible movie series. April's terrible movie was The Devil Inside (2012), in which we found out that demon possession is such a widespread problem that the Catholic Church had to start a school for exorcisms... and we learned that Bethany's cat Dahlia is possessed by a demon. 

Is your cat possessed? 

Does she speak in a language you don't understand? Check. 

DOES SHE HAVE CAT-LIKE REFLEXES? DOUBLE CHECK. 

Can she bend in ways that are not normal? Check. 

Most def possessed. 

P.S. We're atheists. 

Interested in becoming a patron and unlocking these smashingly awesome bonus episodes? Visit us at www.patreon.com/IsThisReelLife

 

Apr 12, 2017

We love Pride (2014). It's the heartwarming (and sometimes heart-wrenching) story about what a gay and lesbian group did for the miners during their strike in the U.K. which began in 1984. They had experienced the same sorts of things the miners were experiencing - an overpowered opposition, a government that doesn't support you, and a police force that's on the other guy's side. So they formed the LGSM (Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners) and collected money to help the miners during their strike, asking for nothing in return.

While the LGSM faced some difficulty in trying to help out the miners, they also managed to do a lot of good, and some of the people in the mining community learned that it's important to take the assistance you're offered.

Like the LGSM leader, Mark Ashton, said, "One community should give solidarity to another. It is really illogical to say, 'I'm gay and I'm into defending the gay community but I don't care about anything elseā€¦'."

Pride IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3169706/

Guardian article about the movie and the real life events: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/aug/31/pride-film-gay-activists-miners-strike-interview

The LGSM website: http://lgsm.org/

Apr 5, 2017

This movie is... weird.

The main character does things that are kind of terrible sometimes, and there is a gatekeeping son of a bitch of a therapist. But there is also commentary on how it's ok to be trans.

We had a lot to say about Transamerica (2005).

Transamerica IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0407265/

Mar 29, 2017

Oh, Harvey Milk, how we adore thee. 

You fought the good fight. You lost and you won. You dove in and attempted something that should have broken you, but it didn't. Our hats off to Harvey Milk and all LGBTQ people who get involved and shape public policy. 

What did we learn from watching Milk (2008) and from the life of Harvey himself? Get in there and do the things. Don't wait for someone else to change the world. (awwww) Also, getting murdered sucks.

Milk IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1013753/

All about Harvey: http://www.biography.com/people/harvey-milk-9408170

The Milk Foundation: http://milkfoundation.org/

Mar 22, 2017

#LesbianFunTimes Part Two: Electric Boogaloo.

See snazzy links in previous episode for Ris and all her awesomeness.

Mar 15, 2017

In today's episode, we are not only joined by the incomparable Marissa Alexa McCool, but we are also beginning a new series on LGBTQ movies we've titledTears for Queers. This week, we're talking about But I'm a Cheerleader (1999), which both Ris and Bethany had difficulty getting through due to their own experiences and the intensity of the subject matter, even though it's satire. We talked for-freaking-ever about this movie, so we've split it into two episodes. Please enjoy part 1 of our #LesbianFunTimes!

But I'm a Cheerleader IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0179116/

Marissa Alexa McCool on Twitter: @RisMcCool

Donate to Marissa's show: https://www.patreon.com/IncitingIncident

Marissa wrote an awesome book! https://www.amazon.com/PC-Lie-American-Voters-Decided/dp/1540416003

Mar 10, 2017

We learned a lot from North Country (2005). The story hinges around the events leading up to and during a landmark court case involving sexual harassment - as a class action. The women working in the mines were severely harassed by the old boys' club of mine workers who did not want them there, and they fought back using the legal system. Did they win? Did the harassment stop? Watch the movie or listen to our review to find out!

North Country IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0395972/

Jenson v. Eveleth Taconite Co.: http://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.journals/jcorl19&div=23&id=&page= (sorry - it's behind a pay wall)

Mar 1, 2017

For this episode, ITRL welcomes friend of the show Kelly King (Twitter: @Skellyton117)  to discuss A League of Their Own (1992) about the All-American Girls' Baseball League during World War II. Kelly helps us to put this movie in its proper historical context, as well as discussing the topics of feminism, individuality, and what it means to be an athlete. 

A League of Their Own IMDb:  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104694/

The All-American Girls' Professional Baseball League: https://www.aagpbl.org/

The Baseball Hall of Fame: http://baseballhall.org/discover/league-of-women-ballplayers

Feb 22, 2017

We have... differing views on this movie. But that's the whole point of talking about things, right? You get to hear someone else's point of view. 

In this installment of Don't Call Me Girl, Sir! we discuss Flashdance (1983). It's the story of an ostensibly strong woman who is both a welder and a dancer, and she just wants to get into that badass dance school. Buuuuut she can't seem to do it without the help of a man, and you can bet we had MANY things to say about that.

Please enjoy this extra-long episode!

Flashdance IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085549/ 

Feb 15, 2017

We freaking LOVE this movie. In this installment of Don't Call Me Girl, Sir! we are covering the Disney film Mulan (1998). We love that the voice actor for the main character in an Asian movie is Ming-Na Wen, who was born in Macau (near Hong Kong). We love that the strongest character in the story is a woman. And we love how much fun we always have watching Mulan.

The Ballad of Hua Mulan: http://www.ancient-origins.net/history-famous-people/ballad-hua-mulan-legendary-warrior-woman-who-brought-hope-china-005084

Mulan IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120762/

Feb 8, 2017

If you've ever seen a Michael Moore documentary, you know how important unions are to some people in the United States. While we can't agree with Mr. Moore on all his points (and his editing style), we do think the growth of unions is a major part of our country's history. Especially when the advancement of the union coincides with female empowerment.

Norma Rae is the story of a woman who stands up to her bosses and speaks out for her co-workers. We could debate the benefit of unions, but we won't. This is the story of a woman who overcomes opposition in the deep south, where the old boys' club would rather she just sat down and shut up.

Kind of on point for today.

Norma Rae IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079638/

Feb 1, 2017

Ready for a fun new series? After mental health, how could we cover anything other than... Feminism!

We don't consider Dirty Dancing (1987) to be about feminism so much as the horrific story of a botched abortion, but hell, we included it anyway. 

We have named this series Don't Call Me Girl, Sir! after an excellent line from an episode of The Newsroom (available streaming via Amazon Prime). You should definitely watch that, too.

Dirty Dancing IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092890/

Jan 25, 2017
Do you enjoy movies with no plot? Funny animals that are actually characters? Random jumping forward and backward in time and space? Then you will love this movie.

Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer are the stars of this heartwrenching tale of loss, sadness, and finding oneself. This is our review of Beginners (2010).

Beginners IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1532503/

Jan 18, 2017
It's hard to come up with a more intense, interesting, and thought-provoking movie about mental health than Girl, Interrupted (1999). We discuss hospitalization, various mental illnesses, coping mechanisms, and how it's sometimes hard to tell when your loved one has a mental disorder. 

Borderline Personality Disorder: https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Borderline-Personality-Disorder

Girl, Interrupted IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0172493/

Jan 11, 2017
You can't really discuss mental health or paranoid schizophrenia without talking about John Nash, of Game Theory Fame. In this episode, we cover A Beautiful Mind (2001) with special guest Alexandra Hedrick.

A Beautiful Mind IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0268978/

Game Theory: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/nash/sfeature/sf_dixit.html

John F. Nash Jr.: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/economic-sciences/laureates/1994/nash-bio.html 

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