Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed, Derek Jacobi, Djimon Hounsou, Richard Harris
The Bit Players
Aired Monday, November 20, 2017
The guys head back in time to the glorious Roman-Aussie empire to do battle alongside Russell Crowe in Ridley Scott's 2000 film, Gladiator. The film follows a general who became a slave, a slave who became a gladiator, a gladiator who probably never told a joke in his life, Maximus Decimus Meridius as he attempts to thwart the purely evil Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) and lay the smackdown on CGI tigers alongside tag team partner Juba (Djimon Hounsou). Though the film is largely gratuitous action, it took home Best Picture at the Academy Awards, and the Bit Players try to reconcile how the film holds up with the incredibly high praise it received at the time, thinking about how it would be received were it released today. After all, the only things keeping this movie from feeling a lot like 300 are dynamic Richard Harris and Oliver Reed performances. The discussion on Gladiator becomes a bit of a reckoning as it slowly dawns on the group that this movie, though totally badass, just might not be that good.