While working on The Informer! with Steven Soderbergh, screenwriter Scott Z. Burns was inspired by a scene with Matt Damon ranting about the germs Scott Bakula’s character left on a phone to explore the idea of a viral pandemic. From there, Contagion was born. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we conclude our disease film series with Soderbergh’s 2011 glimpse into how the world deals with a new disease outbreak.

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When Fernando Meirelles showed his 2008 film Blindness to José Saramago, the author of the original book upon which it was based, Saramago loved it. Unfortunately for them, neither critics nor audiences connected with the allegorical film. It’s a tough watch with questionable character motivations and a fairly depressing world view. But some people still really love it, creating quite a variety of reactions to the film well worth talking about. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we discuss the penultimate film in our Disease Films series, Meirelles’ Blindness.

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It’s unfortunate that Alfonso Cuarón’s film Children of Men never found the audience it deserved, at least theatrically. Sure, it has been hailed as one of the best films of the year it was released, is often cited as one of the best science fiction films of the 21st century and was critically praised but for whatever reason, the audiences didn’t show up. The film lost money on its theatrical release. But Cuarón’s film is brilliant. It’s powerful. And it leaves you with a sense of hope for humanity.

Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Disease Films series with Cuarón’s 2006 film Children of Men.

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Most people involved in making Joss Whedon’s 2005 film Serenity acknowledge that it was a near miracle that they got to make it. The TV show upon which it was based, “Firefly,” was canceled before its 14 episodes all aired and it seemed dead. Luckily, the rabid fanbase clamored loud enough and Universal saw that there may be an audience for a continuation of the story after all. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Disease Films series with Whedon’s conclusion of his “Firefly” story, 2005’s Serenity.

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After making Das Boot, Wolfgang Peterson came to Hollywood and began a new period in his life making big spectacle films, often action thrillers. Unfortunately, that meant when it came time to make his 1995 film Outbreak – stemmed from the world’s curiosity in the Ebola outbreak in Africa paired with the release of Richard Preston’s article “Crisis in the Hot Zone” and subsequent book – the powers that be felt that it too needed to be an action thriller. True, compared to something like The Andromeda Strain, a little more action could really help a story out, but they really seemed to go the wrong direction with this film, adding in an infuriating military conspiracy subplot to really kick things up a notch. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our Disease Films series with Peterson’s ‘95 film Outbreak.

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George A. Romero made The Crazies just a few years after making his breakout film Night of the Living Dead in ‘68, but with the popularity of Romero’s zombie film and the others in his ‘Dead’ trilogy still to be determined, he was still a struggling indie filmmaker. So it was with a very meager sum that he set out to make The Crazies and delivered a very interesting piece of work, even if it often fails in its storytelling. Join us – Andy Nelson and Pete Wright as we continue our Disease Films series with Romero’s 1973 film The Crazies.

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Michael Crichton’s space disease thriller hit the public at the perfect time – when everyone was afraid of the astronauts accidentally bringing back space viruses upon returning to Earth. Crichton wrote the book in a very pseudo-scientific way that made it feel like more of a scientific documentation of a real happening, and it worked gangbusters for his readers. When Robert Wise decided to adapt it, he opted to treat it the same and make it feel like a documentary. For some, it works better than for others. 

Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our disease series with Wise’s 1971 thriller The Andromeda Strain.

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Richard Matheson’s 1954 vampire horror novel “I Am Legend” helped influence the zombie genre (it was the inspiration for the ‘68 George Romero film “Night of the Living Dead”) and popularized the concept of a worldwide apocalypse due to disease. Yet for some reason, filmmakers haven’t been able to crack the story. It’s been made into three different films, and it doesn’t seem like any of them have gotten it right. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off our disease series with the second of these adaptations, Boris Sagal’s 1971 film, “The Omega Man.”

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