Movie Stream Cast 69: Mississippi Grind (2015) and Survivor: Kaôh Rōng

MSC Mississippi Grind Kaoh RongDue to sickness and technical difficulties, this episode of Movie Stream Cast was almost never released. This time, Josh welcomes back MSC’s original Survivor expert, film critic Cody Clark, for another recap episode of Survivor: Kaôh Rōng “Brawn vs Brain vs Beauty 2”. Cody also brings a lesser-seen movie review to the table with his pick, from Half Nelson writer/directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, Mississippi Grind, starring Ben Mendelsohn and Ryan Reynolds and streaming for a subscription on Amazon Prime or a $3.99 digital rental Amazon Instant Video and iTunes. Cody also tells us all about the BBC program Broadchurch as well as the original episode of Star Trek.

I.  [00:02:53] What We’ve Been Streaming

II. [00:12:55] Feature Review: Mississippi Grind (2015)

8/10 (Queue It)
 7/10 (Queue It)

III. [00:28:31] Previously on Survivor: Kaôh Rōng

IV. [00:44:22]
Wrap up

STREAMING NEXT: Special Correspondents (2016)

We’d like to thank Sharon Rowan for our podcast artwork and Chris Ohran for our music. This episode also contains music from the great Russ Landau. If you enjoyed the podcast, please don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @MovieStreamCast and subscribe on iTunes. You can also reach us by email at

46 thoughts on “Movie Stream Cast 69: Mississippi Grind (2015) and Survivor: Kaôh Rōng


    CBS dropped a pretty awesome 30-second preview of next week’s episode earlier today. Below are some theories on what might happen in episode 13 based on that preview, along with the “Next time on Survivor” segment at the end of episode 12.

    Episode 13 preview:

    # # #

    My dream scenario…

    Tai is alone on an island after being on the outs at the last tribal – Michele, Aubry, Cydney and Joe voted one way while Tai, who thought they had a solid plan in place, put his votes on Michele. This tells Tai that he is on the bottom of the remaining group. Realizing this, his paranoia meter goes through the roof, and he scrambles to figure out a way to shake things up.

    Being a master strategist, Michele sees this as a golden opportunity to save her own butt and eliminate Tai in a huge resume-building move. Tai has already shown multiple times that he has no strong allegiance to anyone other than Mark the Chicken, and that he can’t stand awkward relationships at camp. So, she exploits these weaknesses and buddies up with him. She gains his trust by convincing him that she knows she’s on the bottom (bro, I know), and pointing out that Aubry, Cydney and Joe are a strong threesome.

    Having made peace with Michele, who he now sees as a potential jury vote, Tai decides to try and figure out a way to break-up the strong threesome and move forward with Michele. He thinks this is his only way forward since he and his plan to vote out Michele at 6 was betrayed by Aubry, Cydney and Joe, and those three are probably too close to break up (as was hinted by Michele in the “buddy up” phase of her plan). Being on the outs, he feels he’ll be the target at the final 4 tribal after he uses his idol this week, following a Michele exit at 5.

    Trying to figure out how to break-up the strong threesome, Michele suggests to Tai that they should use his idol to eliminate one of the other three (as we were shown in the “Next time on Survivor” segment). Meanwhile, she meets with Aubry, Cydney and Joe to pitch her plan to get rid of Tai.

    Her plan: have Aubry, Cydney and Joe agree with Tai that Michele is too dangerous and must go, so they’ll vote her out now as he wanted to at last tribal. This won’t take too much convincing, since Tai’s idol expires after final 5 – they wouldn’t be targeting Tai behind his idol shield, so Michele is the next logical target.

    Later, Tai meets with Michele to tell her that she’s the target. She convinces Tai that the other three are too close, and will vote him out next once his idol is gone. The only way forward is to break them up, and the only way to do that is for him to play his idol on her at tribal so they can blindside one of the other three. They discuss who to vote out, likely deciding on Cydney since she was the main opposition to his suggestion to vote out Michele at 6. Of course, this is all a ruse…

    What Tai doesn’t know is that Michele, Aubry, Cydney and Joe have already agreed to vote for Tai, contingent upon Michele being able to convince him to play his idol on her. This is a hard sell for Michele to make to the other three, so she tells Cydney to vote for her just in case Tai changes his mind and plays the idol for himself – that would create a 1-1 tie between Cydney and Michele after Aubry’s, Joe’s and Michele’s votes for Tai are eliminated by his idol; Michele would then be eliminated on re-vote. This seals the deal, and Aubry, Cydney, Joe and Michele move forward with the plan.

    At tribal, Michele lives up to her “the next Parvati” hype and Tai plays his idol for Michele. The votes are read, and Tai is eliminated.

    # # #

    The likely scenario…

    Joe is a night time medevac. No tribal. Drama gets punted to the following week.

    • Woah! Whaaaat?! You are obsessed, dude! I love it!

      This is complex, but it’s an incredible play.

      I haven’t seen anything from Michele to suggest that she is thinking on this level, but I can also imagine this coming together a little more organically if both sides are approaching Michele and she sees the opportunity to flush Tai with his idol.

      I’m just not sure this is her best move. I think she’s better off making a Partvati-esque play to break-up that tight three.

      And I think the vote is going to come down to Cydney and Aubry this week. With Tai safe, no perceived reason to vote out the non-threats of Michele and joe, Cydney and Aubry have to target each other.

      Joe was in that preview so much, though, he must not make it through the challenge.

      The crazy thing about that preview, though, is that it makes it sounds as though Jeff is revealing a game twist to the players. Mostly, I hope that’s what we’re going to get. Something we’ve never seen before.

      I love your plan, though. It’s solid. You’re going to be a real threat out there someday soon. 😉

      • Would have to be one of the all-time best moves if it happened.

        I agree that a more organic formation of these events, as you suggested, is the more likely (of this unlikely) scenario… but I was trying to pump up Michele’s potential resume. Us Jersey Shore natives have to stick together.

        I also agree that the more obvious (and potentially smarter) play is to target either Aubry or Cydney. However, you could also see each as a potential jury vote for the other – or as two people who could split jury votes in a final 3 – so it might make sense to carry them both to the end. That would be risky, though. I’d rather carry Tai and/or Joe there, and it looks like Michele is thinking the same way based on her direct assault on Tai’s game play at the last tribal.

      • Have you listened to “Why _____ Lost Survivor” yet? Rob totally stole my fan fiction scenario!

        • No! I didn’t hear it! He has heard this podcast, but not sure if he’s read the comments. You were Rob(bed)! That was my Jason Pyles joke for the week. My apologies.

          • I see what you did there.

            That’s cool that he’s heard the podcast. I’m sure he doesn’t read the comments, though.

    • You may not have been listening to RHAP long enough to have heard this, but this comment is precisely the type that would coax Rob into playing his sound clip entitled “fan-fiction” with a little ditty and a clip from my fave, Jonathan Penner. I wish I could play it for you now.

    • Just FYI, I typically don’t watch the Survivor promos bc I heard they’re often spoilers and when they aren’t, they set up false drama. Thinking about this lead my to a possible conclusion that the “big twist” is either just the family visit or the announcement of a final two. I hope I’m wrong. I’d love to see something CRAZY!

  2. Watching Mississippi Grind, I had two main thoughts. The first is that the gambling life seems so depressing. The second is I now have a desire to try some Woodford. Ha

    The longer the movie went on, the less “Fun” it becomes due to how unlikable both characters are. It’s difficult to like Gerry from the beginning, but Curtis was upbeat enough to like him at first until we get to see his relationships with women on display. Once that happened, Curtis became nearly as depressing as Gerry to me. The ending seems to be a bit misleading. The gambling addict seems to have struck it rich despite not playing it safe when he had plenty of money before the last roll. I can’t imagine he’s going to be able to keep that money for long, let alone long enough to pay his debts or do something for his daughter.

    It’s not exactly a movie I’d call up beat or one that shines a bright light on humanity. It’s a well made movie, but isn’t one I can see myself in the mood to watch for a second viewing. The downbeat of the movie is a bit too realistic to be entertaining.

    • Thanks for the review, Sal.

      I think you make a really great point about the “downbeat” being depressing. I agree. I think the problem lies in the “upbeat” being unbelievable as well. I’m just not sure those things work together, tonally.

      Have you seen The Cooler? I’m curious if you’d like that more. It’s also a downer, pretty close to this in tone, but I think it handles the realistic vs unrealistic elements better. And I think The Cooler is the better movie as well. And anybody considering a life of gambling needs to watch Owning Mahoney. Doesn’t get more depressing than that.

      I can see why you wouldn’t necessarily be looking to revisit Mississippi Grind. I still like this, though. It’s an interesting entry.


        Call it sappy, but I think the movie could have been a lot more upbeat had Curtis went back to Vanessa to show that one of the pair at least ended up with happiness with his dream girl. It seemed to me that Curtis was in more control than Gerry with his addiction, so a happy ending there may have been believable.

        Had they went that approach, I would have liked to have seen that yin and yang of gambling addiction. The one is too far gone to be saved (Despite his apparent happy ending) while the other is able to get the girl in the end.

        It’s just now that the depressing ending, especially my interpretation of it, reminds me a little of Requiem for a Dream. Just prior to Gerry and Curtis’ big win at the casino, we were heading down that road for a very bleak ending with the characters’ addictions causing them to ruin their lives behind repair. While not as extreme of a case as the trio from Requiem had, it’s not all that different.

        I haven’t seen The Cooler before, but I’ll make it my next movie. The cast, especially William H. Macy, gives me hope.

        • Yeah, I getcha. I think that could have been more satisfying. Maybe it was supposed to flip our expectations that Gerry is actually the one who turned his life around. But I suspect you’re right and they wil both continue down the paths they’ve been on.

          “Hope” is probably the wrong word for The Cooler. It’s still a depressing gambling film. Just a better one.


            So The Cooler was a vastly superior film to Mississippi Grind. While there were plenty of downers in the movie, The Cooler featured plenty of feel good moments. Even had The Cooler ended with the cop killing Bernie and Natalie, I still would have felt upbeat about it all. A tragic end doesn’t take away from the fact that Bernie finally found some happiness and love. I’d compare that near ending to Seeking a Friend for the End of the World or even Donnie Darko. Even if a character dies, it’s still a happy ending if that character’s life ends in a higher point than they were previously at at the start of the film’s events. On top of that, for the first time in film history, I laughed at an example of drunk driving and somehow Bernie and Natalie were able to escape with their lives. Unlike with Gerry in Mississippi Grind, I was able to buy into the idea that Bernie and Natalie would be just fine outside of Las Vegas.

            I loved the really tense scene following Bernie’s son’s success at the craps table. From the first moment we met Mikey and Charlene, I knew that Charlene was not really pregnant. Yet, when Shelly kicked Charlene’s fake baby bump, wow, was that shocking. For one very brief moment, the movie made me forget about something that I always believed to be fake. There was some great camera work with creative camera shots. I was interested in all of the behind the scenes dealings for the casino. I’m not a casino guy, so a lot of that talk was brand new to me, including just hearing about what a cooler was. The idea that a cooler really exists is kind of fascinating to me.

            While there were plenty of down moments, The Cooler is really just about brightness coming into some poor sap’s life. In some weird way, The Cooler is a great movie to give anyone down on their luck hope in their lives.

            Rating: 8.5/10 Recommendation: Stream It

            • Niiiice! So glad you liked it. So this episode wasn’t a waste, afterall.

              Interesting perspective on the film. I see what you mean about having more faith in these characters and their future as well as a down ending still feeling hopeful.

    • I don’t see either Gerry or Curtis as being fundamentally unlikable. I might not be drawn to their lifestyle in real life, but I was drawn to both of them cinematically just at the level of watching what makes them tick. And Curtis, of course, would be a blast to encounter in real life, especially if you didn’t get tangled up in his baggage. (I think I mentioned on the show that I actually have a close friend whose demeanor and conduct are eerily similar to that of Curtis, and who suffers from a few Curtis-like self-destructive tendencies.)

      I found Gerry pathetic at times, and some of his actions are clearly despicable (the sock drawer scene and the history hinted at thereby), but I “rooted” for him from start to finish in the sense of wanting to see him transcend his addiction, or at least fully acknowledge the extent of it. I like that his ultimate fate is undetermined, and that the ending suggests that the point where we leave him is a summit he may have gotten to (and subsequently fallen from) a number of times before. My read on Curtis is similar: He maybe/probably does go off to have a grand adventure, and may even take a pretty girl with him, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll have broken free. There are choices that could result in a positive future for both of them, but it’s not clear that either will make those choices. Just that the option is there, and that maybe this time they’ll make the right call.

  3. Summer is almost here. The Survivor off-season and I want to do something a little different. Wondering if there are movies out there that you’ve been curious about streaming that we could add to our queue and bite the bullet for you. Some of us discussed a possible Almadovar mini-marathon on Twitter. I think that could be a lot of fun. But it doesn’t have to be that high brow. Anything you’re interested in. Can you guys leave any suggestions you might have of movies we could cover and I’ll have the co-hosts browse them to see if they want to cover any?

    The horror double-episode is coming this Summer too. I trust Jeff Hammer has a master list of Netflix horror for me.

    • I’m still hoping you guys do some kind of punks/skins music subculture episode and in doing so cover This is England, though I’m not sure of it’s streaming status at the moment. I guess when Green Room starts streaming would be a perfect time for that?

      • We’re going to start MPN Bonus episodes soon where we mash up the different hosts and handle topics like this. It will happen. Wish the were more good punks/skins films, but This Is England is on my list, for sure. Thanks completely to you, David.

        • I love this idea. Sounds similar to the old Horror Palace Specials, like Slashers vs. Zombies and the Best Horror of the 80s and 90s. Really looking forward to this.

          Do you guys already have a list of topics to discuss?

    • And foreign mystery films. I feel like I’ve almost exhausted the well of decent English language police procedural/serial killer/mystery films but I just can’t get enough of that genre.

      • Just out of curiosity, have you ever done the double feature of Stellan Skarsgård / Al Pacino versions of Insomnia. That’s a lot of fun. Maybe throw in the deeply depressing The Pledge for good measure.

        I know this isn’t quite what you were thinking. Will bring some hot picks.

        I’m assuming you’ve seen Broadchurch? Did you hear Cody’s review? I watched the first few eps with Rachel. It surprised me how many Hott Fuzz people and locations seemed to be involved.

    • Here are a few suggestions (non-horror)…

      Currently streaming on Netflix:
      Beasts of no Nation
      The Central Park Five
      Suicide Theory
      Europa Report
      Welcome to Leith
      The Look of Silence
      World of Tomorrow

      Currently streaming on HBO GO:
      The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst
      – Any entry from HBO’s Autopsy series
      The Godfather Epic (really interested in your take, as a filmmaker, on how the editing can change a well-known story)
      The Signal

      Bonus horror 3-pack for you and Jason (all currently streaming on HBO GO):
      The Gallows

      # # #

      Of all the titles above, the one I’m most interested in hearing your take on by far is The Jinx. I don’t want to say why because that could be a spoiler, but if/when you watch it the reason should be apparent. Also, if you plan on watching it, I would suggest going into the mini-series as cold as possible.

      As a further suggestion, I wouldn’t mind seeing a series covered on MSC. I didn’t include any on my suggestions lists with the exception of The Jinx, which is a mini-documentary series, but some of the best content available today is in the form of series. Might be interesting to discuss an episode or two as a segment during the show over a span of a month or two, not unlike the way you cover Survivor currently. If there’s interest there, I would suggest looking at a shorter series to start with, like True Detective (season 1) or Show Me a Hero.

      • Wow. Lots of great recommendations here. Should get us through the New Year. Looks like I’ll have that HBOGo pass working overtime.

        • There’s so much great content on HBO that you might as well put the trial to good use.

          And I’ll reiterate that The Jinx would be my number 1 recommendation/request.

  4. Survivor question: This was sparked by Cody’s comment that he watched a bunch of seasons with his daughter, but what do you think is a good age for a kid to start watching the show?

    • It depends on what age you want them to know that greed drives the world! Haha. Cody should answer this. I’m so bad at appropriate parenting.

      My kids have been watching since 3 and 5, but they really only pay attention to the challenges. And they actively dislike the rest of the show. They are now starting to get to the age where I think they’re picking up on more and I might have them take a break for a few years until morals are in place.

      But my younger is also subjected to the podcasts in the car as well. He’s familiar with RHAP. The other day HMP or MSC was on in the car for a minutes and someone was talking to “Josh” and he said, “Wait, are they talking to you or Wigler?”

      • I will say that the tendency to play fast and lose with loyalties and friendships and morality on the show has created a few good teachable moments. It’s just a little hard to explain why I am usually cheering for the villains.

        • “It’s just a little hard to explain why I am usually cheering for the villains.”

          I’m still waiting for that explanation!

          • Because they are playing the game harder! Not sitting around pretending to be heroes on a reality show. They understand why they are there and are all-in! That’s much more fun to watch, for me.

      • “I’m so bad at appropriate parenting.”

        Don’t worry… I feel like I am, too. That’s why I ask these questions – I don’t trust myself to decide.

        That “you or Wigler” story is gold.

    • My now 11-year-old daughter, whose nickname is “The Bean,” started watching when she was 10. I also have a 6-year-old daughter and a 4-year-old son. I *think* The Bean’s first season was “San Juan del Sur,” but it might have been “Worlds Apart,” the season after that. I don’t think either of the younger kids would enjoy “Survivor” very much, since a lot of it amounts to people sitting around talking. (B-o-o-o-ring.) Beanie plays a ton of board games and card games (we started teaching her Euro-style board games when she was 7 or 8), so she was attracted to the strategy element of “Survivor” right away, and pretty much enjoyed the whole thing from the start.

      • My kids will be playing in the other room and run in when they hear a challenge, but they hate the talking.

        Forgive my ignorance, but what are these European-style board games of which you speak? Are you talking, like, Axis and Allies kind of stuff?

        • The Settlers of Catan (and everything like it) is generally what is meant by “European-style” board game. There are plenty of the games in the genre now that are designed/made/sold in America, but the whole thing was kicked off by Settlers. It’s a fairly broad category, but generally the game involves creating/managing/expanding some sort of interconnected empire that competes with similar domains managed by other players. Other classics old and new are Seven Wonders, Ticket to Ride, Puerto Rico, Village, Agricola, Castles of Burgundy, Small World, Kingdom Builder, Legacy, Carcassone, Vegas Showdown, etc.

          • Ok, cool. I had no idea that Settlers was European. I got way into that when it came out and have played Ticket to Ride as well. I think those are really fun games. I need to pick those up again. Spent countless hours playing Settlers in college and with my wife’s family.

            I really like this video from Jay Cheel of the Film Junk podcast (who I used to do that documentary podcast with). I think you’ll like it.

            • Bro, if you like Settlers (the brainchild of German game designer Klaus Teuber) and Ticket to Ride, then I could spend months introducing you to a whole new world of strategy board games. Settlers is just the tip of the iceberg.

              Fun video by Jay Cheel. My wife and I played Settlers with anyone we could rope into it during the first few years of our marriage (we played a couple of times with Jay and Natalie back in the day). We probably played a few hundred games, altogether.

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