The Irreverent Cineastes Podcast

Two sarcastic and mildly embittered film scholars analyze, appreciate, and excoriate important works of pop culture.

Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017) - The Irreverent Cineastes Year Four

April 25th, 2019

This was the first of our special two-part “Movie Masculinity” episode, where Andrew and Jon each assigned each other a movie that we felt were instructive and distinctive for how the films portrayed masculinity.  Andrew’s choice was Assault on Prison…no, wait…Attack in Penitentiary…that’s not it…what was it again?  Oh right, Brawl in Cell Block 69, I mean 99.  I meant 99!  A prison grindhouse film about a drug mule having to fight his way through multiple prisons to save his family – and one of 2017s overlooked gems - it gave Jon and Andrew ample ammunition to discuss John Carpenter, whose work was an undeniable influence on this, story construction, conflict escalation, narrative detail, fight scenes, and sound effects. We go a little further though, and discuss what can and can’t be learned from its main character’s story, especially how to act when in certain situations and how to make better life decisions for yourself. Also, we get in our seasonal quota of praise for John Wick, because it deserves it. Explicit language. We also discuss, but not endorse, some of the racist terminologies in the film.

Content Advisory: What a face scraped against concrete sounds like, how to channel your anger at your car, naked women in their 40s, the subtlety of a crucifix tattoo on your skull, boxing and the art of taking a punch, balancing racial representation in a film about white people, how easy it is to forget that Vince Vaughn can act, John Carpenter, Smithifying revisited, messing up the movie’s name, and Udo Kier as The Token White Guy.