Berkreviews Movie Club March 2020 – Phoenix Rising

Every once and a while Jonathan (@berkreviews) and Corey (@coreyrstarr) like to focus on an actor whose work they’ve not seen enough of. River Phoenix is one that Corey loves and Jonathan has a lot of films on his gap list by so we decided to dedicate March to Phoenix Rising. Jonathan picked two and Corey picked three River Phoenix movies, but in a rare situation, Corey has seen most of the five where Jonathan has officially seen none, at least as an adult.

As far as the podcast goes, each episode features an in-depth review of the movie for the week. They begin with a spoiler-free review before diving in completely after the needed spoiler warning. However, before getting into the review of the week, Jonathan and Corey discuss what other movies they’ve seen since the last episode as well as anything else they feel like discussing. To help them decide which of the many films to watch each month they started creating themes for them all. Be sure to follow them on Social Media @berkreviews and @coreyrstarr

Week 1 – Dogfight (1991)

Corey’s first pick was Dogfight (1991). Directed by Nancy Savoca and starring River Phoenix, Lili Taylor, and Richard Panebianco. According to the plot of the film is “Before leaving to fight in Vietnam, a group of teenagers play a game where they try to seduce the ugliest girl they can find.”

Week 2 – Stand by Me (1986)

Technically, Jonathan saw Stand by Me (1986) as a kid, but not since the late ’80s so it was time to watch it as an adult. A beloved classic based on a Stephen King novel and directed by Rob Reiner and starring Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, and Jerry O’Connell. The plot synopsis reads “After the death of one of his friends, a writer recounts a boyhood journey with his friends to find the body of a missing boy.”

Week 3 – Sneakers (1992)

Next up, Corey picked Sneakers (1992) which is directed by Phil Alden Robinson. This film has a star studded cast including Robert Redford, Dan Aykroyd, Sidney Poitier, and, of course, River Phoenix. Sneakers is “A security pro finds his past coming back to haunt him, when he and his unique team are tasked with retrieving a particularly important item.”

Week 4 – Running on Empty (1988)

Jonathan wasn’t sure which film to pick, but after doing some research selected Running on Empty (1988). Sidney Lumet directs the film which stars River Phoenix, Christine Lahti, and Judd Hirsch. The movie is about “The eldest son of a fugitive family comes of age and wants to live a life of his own.”

Week 5 – I Love You to Death (1990)

For the final movie of Phoenix Rising, Corey selected I Love You to Death (1990). Directed by Lawrence Kasdan and starring Kevin Kline, Tracey Ullman, William Hurt, River Phoenix, and Keanu Reeves. This quirky comedy features “Joey Boca (Kevin Kline) owns a pizza parlor, and is married to Rosalie (Tracey Ullman). He’s also a serial womanizer. Rosalie goes to extremes when she finds he has been cheating.”

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