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One Movie Punch

Dec 8, 2018

Hi everyone!

Welcome back to the podcast. We’re finally caught up, with today’s episode, from the time lost during the wildfire evacuation. I’ll be talking about how the podcast will be changing in the coming year, but if you haven’t heard the earlier segments, hit pause, then go back to my review for “Outlaw King” (Episode #314) for the first segment, then listen every episode after that for another installment. Let me know you’re listening by sharing this episode with #WelcomeBackOMP. 

So, here’s the big reveal. First, let me tell you how the podcast will stay the same. We’re still planning on having a daily podcast with a short three-to-five minute review. It’s a format you all seem to enjoy and has been manageable, barring the occasional wildfire evacuation. Easily digestible, easily binged. We’re also going to continue to review currently playing, newly streaming, classic and cult movies. But we’re also going to make a few changes, some larger, some small.

First off, we’re going to be spoiler-free for any movie released in the last three years. We’ll still warn you if an older film review will have spoilers, but our goal will be spoiler-free reviews. We’ve noticed people do stop listening if they have an interest in the film, and you should be able to listen to the entire review.

Second, we’re going to create new and exciting ways to engage our audience, and the growing community around #FilmTwitter. Regular polls, film challenges, reading reviews, reading comments, trial subscription challenges, and perhaps even the occasional listener review.

Third, we’re going to make sure we keep reviewing all the Netflix Original films, along with other direct-to-streaming offerings from the major providers. So much content to help folks decide among, and a good excuse to try new things. 

Fourth, we’re going to work behind the scenes on some limited series podcasts, focusing on a single director or franchise or theme, with extended discussions. Imagine a complete series dedicated to Troma Films or Quentin Tarantino or the eight versions of “Perfect Strangers” (2016).

And finally, we’re going to stop using the royal we and start meaning an actual we here at the podcast. You know what my favorite part of this podcast has been? Working with other film reviewers and fans, especially with Takeover Tuesday. So, consider this your invitation to join the One Movie Punch podcast as a regular contributor. We’re looking for other contributors, willing to create regular reviews for One Movie Punch. Weekly, every two weeks, monthly, or even one-off collaborations. A few of our previous contributors are already on board, but if you want to join the fun, let me know. We’re even looking at doing a monthly backchat podcast for patrons and sponsors, looking at the past month and planning for the next month. Want more details? Reach out to me on social media, or using the form at

That’s it! We’ll be releasing more details as time progress, but for the rest of the year, expect daily reviews focused on streaming offerings while we gear up for next year. Thanks for taking this journey with me.

Today’s movie is “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (2017), the Oscar winning dramedy written and directed by Martin McDonagh. The film follows Mildred (Frances McDormand), whose daughter was murdered without any leads on a culprit. She constructs three billboards to publicly shame Chief of Police William Willoughby (Woody Harrelson), and draws the ire of his second-in-command, Officer Dixon (Sam Rockwell). The film was nominated for seven Oscars and won two for Best Actress for Frances McDormand and Best Supporting Actor for Sam Rockwell.

Spoilers ahead.

I missed both opportunities to see this film in the theaters, during the initial run and during its encore run around Oscars season. Last November, during its limited run, I was busy writing a novel and had just started my Aikido practice, so getting to a theater was difficult. After that, I had started the podcast, and was busy trying to figure out exactly what I had gotten myself into. I was also being rather protective of my belief that “Get Out” was the best film of 2017, and that if I simply didn’t watch this film, that “Get Out” would somehow win Best Picture. Silly, I know, but true. The past few weeks have been a blast for me, actually, catching on great 2017 films I missed, and I’m finally glad to see this film, because it was as good as all the Oscar nominations suggested.

“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” doesn’t have a standard story arc, as most real-life stories do not. We have a slate of incredible, deceptively simple characters who react to Mildred’s billboards, which make a promise that this action will help solve her daughter’s rape and murder case, despite any evidence being available. We might initially identify with Mildred and against the other characters, especially with their latent and overt racist leanings, along with other forms of bigotry, but we also come to learn the impossible task of solving cold cases, especially with the limited (and unmotivated) police resources that are available. We also see much deeper relationships that have existed in that small town before her daughter’s death, and eventually, just how flawed Mildred is as a character. In fact, just about every character in this film is delightfully flawed, in ways that help us identify with them, if we’re being honest with ourselves.

The film, as a whole, is really well done, although the strength is in the script, the cast, and the overall message, or lack thereof. I did have a few criticisms, though, the toughest one to reconcile being the racism exhibited by the characters. I often struggle with films that use overt racism or other bigotry in comedic ways, because it feels like the ultimate form of white (or other) privilege, and it’s enough to be off-putting to more than a few people, and let’s face it, bring secret smiles to a few other folks out there as well. The other criticisms aren’t really worth mentioning, as they get into the weeds of what I would have wanted to see, as opposed to what Martin McDonagh had in mind, and as far as the latter goes, he delivers.

“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (2017) is a look into rural America via a controversial premise and a series of interesting events that follow. Martin McDonagh crafts something excellent, spurred to greatness by an amazing cast, and worthy of every Oscar nomination, including two for Best Supporting Actor. Movie fans who can stand comedic racism, or films about tough subject material, should definitely check out this film, but may want to avoid rural Missouri after that.

Rotten Tomatoes: 91% (CERTIFIED FRESH)

Metacritic: 88 (MUST SEE)

One Movie Punch: 8.8/10 

“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (2017) is rated R and is currently streaming on HBO.