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"Reading Between the Lines" is an arts and culture podcast featuring The University Daily Kansan staff. 

This week on Reading Between The Lines, Nicole and Wyatt are joined by managing editor Braden Shaw and copy chief Corey Minkoff to talk about Kendrick Lamar and Spike Lee, overrated and underrated actors, influential directors/movies and more.
0:00:00 - Introducing the podcast as well as its hosts and this week’s guests
0:00:53 - What are we listening to this week
0:10:27 - What are we watching this week 
0:21:28 - Hot Takes
0:32:08 - Main Topic: Movies 
0:32:30 - Introducing our movie tastes
0:46:59 - "Da 5 Bloods," the significance and our opinions
0:58:53 - The influential directors of our time
1:09:01 - When will we be going back to the cinema?
1:10:21 - Our lists of the top five movies since we were born

*Bonus Section: Braden Shaw's Movie Recommendations*

In some ways, recommending films to another person — let alone three people — can be a dangerous task, ultimately a guessing game based on the fickle measurement that is taste. But, given what I know about the following trio, I did my best to recommend 10 films each, 30 in total, that speak to the sensibilities of Wyatt, Nicole and Corey, respectively.

Wyatt: For the record, I love all 30 films that I recommended in these lists (otherwise why would I recommend them in the first place?), but these 10 probably align the closest to my so-called “favorite” films. Wyatt told me he’s drawn to strong writing, as well as effective uses of music, score, soundtracks, etc. 

The first pick, “A Few Good Men,” was easy. Wyatt loved “The Social Network,” so naturally Aaron Sorkin’s introduction to Hollywood was a no-brainer. Same with Sorkin’s mentor William Goldman’s classic script in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” It also made perfect sense to select films written by masters of their craft like Ernest Lehman (“Sweet Smell of Success”), Noah Baumbach (“The Squid and the Whale,” “Frances Ha”), Quentin Tarantino (“Jackie Brown”), Charlie Kaufman (“Synecdoche, New York”), Cameron Crowe (“Almost Famous”), and the Coen Brothers (“Inside Llewyn Davis”). 

Then of course, music and the performing arts play such integral roles in “Jackie Brown,” “Frances Ha,” “The Red Shoes,” “Inside Llewyn Davis” and “Almost Famous.” In one sense, this list is a wide range of subject matter. But in another sense, it also revolves around protagonists looking to defy some sort of societal standard by pursuing their passion and/or vocation.

“The Red Shoes” was also an obvious influence on “La La Land,” so there’s that too.


  • "A Few Good Men"
  • "Sweet Smell of Success"
  • "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"
  • "Almost Famous"
  • "Synecdoche, New York"
  • "The Squid and the Whale"
  • "Inside Llewyn Davis"
  • "Frances Ha"
  • "Jackie Brown"
  • "The Red Shoes"

Nicole: I’m a sucker for a good romance/romantic comedy film. Maybe it’s some sort of reflection on my own life (that’s a conversation for another day), but I’m always drawn to seemingly authentic depictions of love, or the lack thereof. This was a joy to put together, and gave me a plethora of fond memories of watching these 10 films for the first time.

The first two selections, “Once” and “Sing Street,” play hand-in-hand, given they’re both John Carney films and also focus on struggling musicians looking for love. Both are delightful little films, and I don’t mean that in the pejorative sense; “little” refers more to scope and intimacy rather than being insignificant.

The next three are just bonafide, stone cold classics in the rom-com genre from the late ‘80s/early ‘90s. “When Harry Met Sally,” “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” “Moonstruck” are in one sense lighthearted, but also tell raw depictions of courtship. Basically, they’re all incredible and people much smarter than me have much richer in-depth analysis on each. 

This entire list is a murderer’s row of incredible filmmakers, but it’s important to emphasize that for the back-half. Martin Scorsese (“Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”), William Wyler (“Roman Holiday”), Billy Wilder (“The Apartment”), James L. Brooks (“Terms of Endearment”) and Paul Thomas Anderson (“Punch Drunk Love”) all were able to go outside their comfort zones — Brooks to a lesser extent — while staying wholly authentic within their style. Also plenty of Oscar nominations and wins in this portion.


  • "Once"
  • "Sing Street"
  • "Four Weddings and a Funeral"
  • "When Harry Met Sally"
  • "Moonstruck"
  • "Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore"
  • "Roman Holiday"
  • "The Apartment"
  • "Terms of Endearment"
  • "Punch Drunk Love"

Corey: I’m going to sound like a hypocrite here, but these 10 also speak to some of my “favorite” type of films. The genre of crime/noir/police procedurals are wildly entertaining to me and I’m a sucker for exploring criminal empires (“Scarface” is a slight exception). It also took every ounce of restraint not to write “Heat” 10 times.

So this came pretty easily. “Donnie Brasco” features Al Pacino and Johnny Depp, as well as the most gangster jargon I’ve ever heard in a film. “In Bruges” is a great buddy cop film with a dark twist. “Collateral” was a no-brainer, I had to include Michael Mann somewhere on here, and 25th Hour is arguably the definitive 9/11 film with a busted drug dealer at its center. It also made perfect sense to include selections from masters of crime films and students of noir Francis Ford Coppola (“The Conversation”), the Coen Brothers (“Miller’s Crossing”), Tony Scott and Quentin Tarantino (“True Romance”), and Abel Ferrara (“Bad Lieutenant”). 

As for the other two films, “Out of Sight” and “L.A. Confidential,” these are incredibly entertaining films featuring movie stars at or near the height of their powers (choosing to ignore Kevin Spacey). One is an excellent heist movie (“Out of Sight”) from Steven Soderbergh — something he would tackle more head on with George Clooney a few years later — and the other (“L.A. Confidential”) is an homage to classic noir dramas from the ‘30s and ‘40s. 


  • "Donnie Brasco"
  • "In Bruges"
  • "Collateral" 
  • "25th Hour"
  • "Out of Sight"
  • "L.A. Confidential"
  • "True Romance"
  • "Miller’s Crossing"
  • "Bad Lieutenant" 
  • "The Conversation"