June 14, 2019

Episode 147 - MEN IN BLACK


As a genre hybrid, Men in Black is a masterclass: a buddy cop comedy cloaked in the trappings of a science fiction thriller. They go together like a dark suit and a pair of Ray-Bans, or a grumpy veteran agent and his upstart wiseass partner. From its hilarious deadpan humor to its impressive makeup effects, MIB is beguilingly simple in concept, but remarkably clever in execution.

We had a blast Neuranalyzing this highly influential summer blockbuster. Come and join the conspiracy; no need to don your shades. We are nostalgia defenders, and we will let you remember.


Men in Black (1997)
Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld
Produced by Laurie McDonald and Walter F. Parkes
Written by Ed Solomon
Based on the comic The Men in Black by Lowell Cunningham
Starring Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Linda Fiorentino, Vincent D'Onofrio, Tony Shaloub, Tim Blaney, and Rip Torn

May 31, 2019

Episode 146 - GODZILLA


Before "reboot" entered the average moviegoer's vocabulary, the 1998 American version of Godzilla traded on the appeal of a beloved cultural icon while treading all over its cinematic legacy with Hollywood brashness. And whether you appreciate the big lizard's unapologetic makeover or hate it with the atomic passion of a French nuclear weapons test, most of us can agree: this movie has a kick-ass soundtrack.

Daren Sprawls joins us for a verbal rampage through some skyscraper-sized opinions, and also lends his artistic talents to a medley of songs from Godzilla: The Album. It's our biggest musical bonus to date...because size does matter.


Godzilla (1998)
Directed by Roland Emmerich
Produced by Dean Devlin
Written by Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin
Starring Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno, Maria Pitillo, Hank Azaria, Kevin Dunn, Michael Lerner, Arabella Field, Doug Savant, Vicki Lewis, and Harry Shearer

May 24, 2019

Episode 145 - ALADDIN


Aladdin promised a whole new world of narrative possibilities for Disney's resurgent animation division. It expanded the studio's fantastic point of view beyond traditional European folktales while soaring and tumbling with a freewheeling attitude perfectly suited to the '90s. And with no one telling improvisational genius Robin Williams "no," the film had nowhere to go but into the endless diamond sky of our warmest childhood memories.

It's an indescribable feeling as Sean Davis shares his shining, shimmering, splendid insights on this treasured Disney classic. We've got plenty of new horizons to pursue, so come join us on this magic carpet ride!

Aladdin (1992)
Directed and produced by Ron Clements and John Musker
Written by Ron Clements & John Musker and Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio
Starring Scott Weinger, Linda Larkin, Jonathan Freeman, Frank Welker, Gilbert Gottfried, Douglas Seale, and Robin Williams

May 10, 2019

Episode 144 - POKÉMON


While the Pokémon phenomenon has been going strong for more than two decades, there's something especially magical about that first batch of 150-plus pocket monsters. A super effective cocktail of animal cuteness, competitive spirit, and pre-social media FOMO, the franchise conquered America--and the world--like few Japanese imports before or since, and left an evolutionary blueprint for others to follow.

Cartoons, video games, toys, trading cards, novelty raps: we catch 'em all in this episode focused on the Big Bang of a synergistic media universe. While we were recording, a wild Josh Lee appeared to make his WWWW debut, so boot up your Pokédex and join us in our quest to be the very best, like no pod ever was!


Pokémon (1998-present)
Based on the video game created by Satoshi Taijiri

Episodes included in this podcast:

"Pokémon, I Choose You!" (aired 9/8/98)
"Bulbasaur and the Hidden Village" (9/21/98)
"Pikachu's Goodbye" (11/20/98)
"Cyber Soldier Porygon" (unaired in the United States)

May 3, 2019

Episode 143 - THE SANDLOT: Tequila! Edition


The wait for another commentary/drinking game episode has been killin' us (Smalls), but finally the time has come for The Sandlot: Tequila! Edition. We celebrate Eric's birthday with this ageless classic about friendship and the promise of the perfect summer. Nate Tapp joins us in the dugout to sip cold brews, swap childhood stories, and occasionally pay attention to the action unfolding before us. It's just like attending a baseball game!

Drinking game rules:

You're Killing Me, Smalls!
Take one drink whenever Smalls does something embarrassing. This will depend on your personal tolerance for L-7 weenies.

Unleash the Beast
Drink whenever the Beast is seen, heard, or mentioned: including flashbacks!

A Voice Is Telling Me To
Each time adult Smalls chimes in with voiceover narration, take a drink.

I'll Have What He's Having
Timmy loves to ape his brother Tommy. Let's all indulge in groupthink and take a sip whenever he sounds like a broken record.

The Seventh-Inning Quench
Podcast heroes get remembered, but podcast legends never die. Stand up and toast the Great Bambino when he appears in Benny's dream by finishing your current beverage.

Tequila!
Take a shot of your favorite tequila during the carnival ride scene. For best results, do not mix with chewing tobacco.


The Sandlot (1993)
Directed by David M. Evans
Produced by Dale De La Torre and William S. Gilmore
Written by David M. Evans and Robert Gunter
Starring Tom Guiry, Mike Vitar, Patrick Renna, Chauncey Leopardi, Marty York, Brandon Adams, Grant Gelt, Victor Di Mattia, Shane Obedzinski, Karen Allen, Denis Leary, Marley Shelton, Art LaFleur, and James Earl Jones

April 19, 2019

Episode 142 - THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST


The Passion of the Christ was a massive gamble in every sense: a movie in a dead genre, performed in a dead language, portraying a feature-length death march. It only made a truckload of money and launched a new wave of faith-based films aimed at the audience that turned an adaptation of Christian gospels and devotional writings into a global phenomenon.

Our favorite disciple, Jake Beal, arrives just in time for Easter and takes us to (Sunday) school as we examine The Passion's complex legacy as religious theater, epic cinema, and cultural touchstone.  It is accomplished!

The Passion of the Christ (2004)
Directed by Mel Gibson
Produced by Bruce Davey, Mel Gibson, and Stephen McEveety
Written by Mel Gibson and Benedict Fitzgerald
Starring Jim Caviezel, Maia Morgenstern, Francesco De Vito, Luca Lionello, Christo Jivkov, Rosalinda Celentano, Mattia Sbragia, Hristo Shopov, and Monica Bellucci

April 5, 2019

Episode 141 - MATILDA


Precocious young viewers saw a bit of themselves in Matilda, a dark power fantasy for gifted kids that's softened with eccentric humor and a kind-hearted Mara Wilson performance. It's a movie that delights in the comeuppance of several crooked and cruel authority figures. But the one that really grabs us by our pigtails is Agatha Trunchbull, an iconic villain determined to make sure that you never look at chocolate cake the same way again.

Kevin Chu returns to send us on our way to the golden age of Roald Dahl adaptations. Remember to return your library books, and don't miss this (tele)kinetic episode!


Matilda (1996)
Directed by Danny DeVito
Produced by Danny DeVito, Michael Shamberg, Stacey Sher, and Lucy Dahl
Written by Nicholas Kazan and Robin Swicord
Based on Matilda by Roald Dahl
Starring Mara Wilson, Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman, Pam Ferris, Embeth Davidtz, Kiami Davael, Tracey Walter, and Paul Reubens