September 7, 2018

Episode 123 - LAST ACTION HERO


Last Action Hero had the misfortune of releasing a mere week after the hottest movie of 1993: “Big mistake!” As Jurassic Park signaled the dawn of a new age of special effects-driven spectacle, audiences understandably approached this uneven send-up of tired tropes with caution. When the trifecta of '80s action legends Arnold Schwarzenegger, Shane Black, and John McTiernan struggles to pump up your enthusiasm, you know it’s truly the end of an era.

So how does the film stand up today? Will it be remembered as a prescient example of the meta deconstruction that now permeates pop culture? Does it succeed as a pastiche of Arnie's on-screen persona? Grab your magical movie ticket and step into this episode with us to find out!



Last Action Hero (1993)
Directed by John McTiernan
Produced by John McTiernan and Steve Roth
Written by Shane Black and David Arnott
Story by Zak Penn and Adam Leff
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austin O'Brien, Charles Dance, Robert Prosky, Tom Noonan, Bridgette Wilson, F. Murray Abraham, Anthony Quinn, Mercedes Ruehl, Frank McRae, and Art Carney

August 27, 2018

Episode 122 - SAVED BY THE BELL


Saved by the Bell was a high school sitcom that was never really intended for high schoolers. Each episode was a candy-coated PSA asking tweens to imagine that their teenage years would be full of wholesome hijinks, mild predicaments, and overly attentive principals. Today, it's a rich document for cultural archaeologists curious about the style, slang, and sexism of the American teenager circa 1990.

Kristal Bailey and Kevin Taylor join our clique for a reunion at Bayside High, as we examine some of the show's most indelible--and infamous--moments. Go Tigers!


Saved by the Bell (1989-1993)
Created by Sam Bobrick
Produced by Peter Engel
Starring Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Mario Lopez, Dustin Diamond, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Elizabeth Berkeley, Lark Voorhies, Leanna Creel, Ed Alonzo, and Dennis Haskins

Episodes featured in this podcast:
"The Mamas and the Papas" (aired 11/11/1989)
"Save the Max" (aired 9/22/1990)
"Jessie's Song" (aired 11/3/1990)
"Pipe Dreams" (aired 11/26/1991)
"Day of Detention" (aired 10/3/1992)

August 13, 2018

Episode 121 - THE SECRET GARDEN


A beloved children's story approaches something mystical in the 1993 film adaptation of The Secret Garden. The practice of horticulture heals a sickly boy, comforts a melancholy widower, and introduces a quarrelsome girl to the love of friends and family. Stunted emotions and somber realities slowly bloom into a lush, blissful statement on the powers of intuition.

Special guest Lindsay Marie Mead brings her green thumb and uncanny insights to this totally "wick" episode, which has blossomed just in time for the movie's 25th anniversary!


The Secret Garden (1993)
Directed by Agnieszka Holland
Produced by Fred Fuchs, Tom Luddy, Fred Roos, and Francis Ford Coppola
Written by Caroline Thompson
Based on the book by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Starring Kate Maberly, Heydon Prowse, Andrew Knott, Laura Crossley, John Lynch, Walter Sparrow, Irene Jacob, and Maggie Smith

July 27, 2018

Episode 120 - MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE


From its stylized audiovisual design to its embrace of digital espionage, Mission: Impossible is more than Tom Cruise's overwhelmingly successful play for summer blockbuster job security. It's also an edgy departure from the TV series on which it was based, and a moody outlier in the bombastic, adrenaline-junkie franchise it spawned.

As the latest installment of the M:I series hits theaters, we gather intel on the film that started it all, realizing the most impossible thing about these missions is that no two of them are exactly alike.


Mission: Impossible (1996)
Directed by Brian De Palma
Produced by Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner
Written by David Koepp and Robert Towne
Based on the TV series Mission: Impossible created by Bruce Geller
Starring Tom Cruise, Jon Voight, Emmanuelle BĂ©art, Vanessa Redgrave, Ving Rhames, Jean Reno, Henry Czerny, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Emilio Estevez

July 13, 2018

Episode 119 - CON AIR


The high concept of Con Air plays like a perfect card of Bruckheimer bingo: an unassailable tragic hero, oodles of massive explosions, and a preternaturally calm Nicolas Cage. But there's a lot more going on in this orchestrated mayhem, thanks to a deep bench of character actors and an infinitely quotable script that's dripping with sarcasm.

Jake Beal makes a garrulous WWWW debut that touches on everything from sound design to criminal psychology to dueling country music sirens. Don't miss this episode, because we're going to show you that God does exist.

Be sure to check out more of Jake's cinematic deep dives on his blog, The Mentaculus!


Con Air (1997)
Directed by Simon West
Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer
Written by Scott Rosenberg
Starring Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, John Malkovich, Ving Rhames, Colm Meaney, Danny Trejo, M.C. Gainey, Dave Chappelle, Mykelti Williamson, Rachel Ticotin, Monica Potter, and Steve Buscemi

June 29, 2018

Episode 118 - THE LAND BEFORE TIME


In the 1980s, the partnership of famed animator Don Bluth and cinema wunderkind Steven Spielberg signaled an evolutionary change in the cartoon business. The Land Before Time was perhaps their most moving collaboration, presenting compassion and friendship as the best antidote to bleakness and despair.

Eric Wheeler of Text Before Calling joins us to recount the film's cataclysmic impact on his young mind and its memorable framing of the Darwinian struggle for survival. Whether you're a longneck, a threehorn, or a bigmouth, it's the perfect way to conclude our Jurassic June series, yep yep yep!

*Fun Fact: This episode is just about the exact length of the actual movie! Theoretically, one could press play on both simultaneously for some sort of weird commentary experience... We haven't tested it ourselves, but perhaps a dedicated listener can report back with the results!


The Land Before Time (1988)
Directed by Don Bluth
Produced by Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, John Pomeroy, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, Steven Spielberg, and George Lucas
Written by Stu Krieger
Starring Gabriel Damon, Candace Huston, Judith Barsi, Will Ryan, Helen Shaver, and Pat Hingle

June 25, 2018

BONUS - SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY


You might want to buckle up, baby... Our two best star-friends Brian Rudloff and Sam Stovold welcome us into their tribe (or should we say family?) for an extra special episode of Marvel Star Wars Explorers! Podcast pals Sean Davis and Kevin Young round out the crew for a roundtable debate over the latest anthology film from our favorite franchise, Solo: A Star Wars Story.

The discussion boasts more range than a DL-44 blaster, covering everything from the symbolism of Han’s dice to toxic fanboy villains to whether or not the Imperial March should remain non-diegetic. We’ve also officially reached the point where our Star Wars chats can no longer be contained in single installments, so be sure to check out BOTH parts of this summa-verminoth-sized episode! If you listen to this podcast, you’re in this life for good.




Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)
Directed by Ron Howard
Produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Allison Shearmur, and Simon Emanuel
Written by Lawrence Kasdan and Jonathan Kasdan
Starring Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo, and Paul Bettany

Check out the rest of our series on the Star Wars saga:
Episode I: The Phantom Menace
Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Episode IV: A New Hope
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Episode VII: The Force Awakens
Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

Solo: A Star Wars Story
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Star Wars: Clone Wars
Star Wars Holiday Special
Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure