April 9, 2021

Episode 184 - THE TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE

Before Michael Bay, before Beast Wars, there was...The Transformers: The Movie. Dismissed in its time as a toyetic cog in a corporate moneymaking machine (which it is, to a certain extent), the film endures as a cult classic for many reasons: its anime-influenced visuals, an over-the-top rock soundtrack, and an emotional ruthlessness you don't expect from a cartoon about alien robots that fold into boomboxes.

That being said, The Transformers is still peak 1980s in all its loud, colorful excess. John Parton returns to discuss one of his prime cinematic passions, and transforms our perspective on this keystone of '80s nostalgia. Let's roll out!

The Transformers: The Movie (1986)
Directed by Nelson Shin
Written by Ron Friedman
Based on The Transformers TV series
Starring Peter Cullen, Judd Nelson, Robert Stack, Lionel Stander, Leonard Nimoy, Eric Idle, Frank Welker, and Orson Welles

April 1, 2021

"Episode 184" - JOEL SCHUMACHER'S BATMAN FOREVER


When an auteur filmmaker's ambitious vision is compromised by the Hollywood studio system, what's the right thing to do? Demand a do-over, of course! And thanks to years of persistent pleas from fans everywhere, we finally get to experience our generation's defining DC comic book movie event the way its creator intended.

That's right, we have seen the Schumacher Cut of Batman Forever... What? Were you expecting something else?

Guests from our theatrical cut episode Gensho Tasaka and Eric Wheeler re-enter the Batcave to debate all the changes, from the Flying Graysons singing an Icelandic sea shanty to the controversial inclusion of Mark Hamill as the Joker in that weird nightmare sequence. Brian Rudloff and Sam Stovold also join the roundtable, bringing not-so-trivial expertise from their own Batman Forever podcast (bafflingly titled Marvel Star Wars Explorers). 

Holy April Fool's Day, Batman! We wish! 

#ReleaseTheSchumacherCut

March 19, 2021

Episode 183 - MORPH MADNESS: THE TOKUSATSU TOURNAMENT

We're talkin' tokusatsu in our latest bracket, a tribute to the American shows that tried to ride the coattails of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers -- and to the Japanese shows that originated these transforming teams and their giant vehicles. 

Our friend Gensho Tasaka returns to help us judge eight different franchises in a contest of sentai supremacy. Assemble your squad for this cross-cultural collision of masked action heroes. It's...Morph Madness!

Episodes included in this podcast:

Choriki Sentai Ohranger - "King Gallant's Entrance" (1995)
Power Rangers Zeo - "The Power of Gold" (1996)

vs.

Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation - "East Meets West, Part 3" (1997)


Kamen Rider Black RX - "Shadow Moon!" (1989)
Masked Rider - "Super Gold, Part 2" (1996)

vs.

B-Fighter Kabuto - "Vow!! Heated Stag Battle" (1996)
Beetleborgs Metallix - "Battle Station Alert" (1997)


Jikuu Senshi Spielban - "A Shocking Pair! The Crystallized Combination!" (1986)
VR Troopers - "The Battle Begins, Part 2" (1994)

vs. 

Gridman the Hyper Agent - "I Don't Like Sports and Such" (1993)
Superman Samurai Syber-Squad - "Samurize, Guys!" (1994)


Tattooed Teenage Alien Fighters from Beverly Hills - "In the Beginning..." (1994)

vs.

Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog - "Tyrune Returns" (1998)


February 26, 2021

Episode 182 - BACK TO THE FUTURE

Great Scott! It's about darn time we talked about a pop culture giant like Back to the Future. And folks, this episode is heavy...with discussions of memories and memorabilia, characters and quotes, trivia and themes, all infused with the power of love.

Amy Ambler hops in our DeLorean for a trip back in time - and into a perennial cinematic comfort zone. Trust us, when this podcast hits 182 episodes, you're gonna hear some serious shit.

Back to the Future (1985)
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Written by Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis
Starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, Thomas F. Wilson, James Tolkan, Claudia Wells, and Huey Lewis

February 5, 2021

Episode 181 - TWISTER

How many roads must an estranged couple walk down before you can call them groundbreaking tornado researchers? The answer, my friends, is blowin' in the high-concept thrills of Twister, a kinetic upscaling of classic Hollywood disaster flicks that's constantly driving forward like an unstoppable force of nature.

We go storm chasing with our good friend, the inimitable Jake Beal, who shares his Midwestern roots and teaches us all the right strategies for appreciating the well-crafted bombast of a prototypical '90s blockbuster. It's the wonder of nature, baby!

Twister (1996)
Directed by Jan de Bont
Written by Michael Crichton and Anne-Marie Martin
Starring Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton, Jami Gertz, Cary Elwes, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Alan Ruck, Jeremy Davies, Sean Whalen, Joey Slotnick, Todd Field, Scott Thomson, Wendle Josepher, Zach Grenier, and Lois Smith

January 15, 2021

Episode 180 - STARSHIP TROOPERS

One of the most misunderstood films of its time - and perhaps of all time - is Starship Troopers, a loud, brutish sci-fi/action blockbuster that slyly satirizes the genre's political and moral absolutism. Scratch at the layers of hyper-violent bombast (and Day-Glo bug guts), and it doesn't take long to find a scathing indictment of fascism, nationalism, and the military-industrial complex. 

We drop into a new year of 'casting with new recruit Alex Rodriguez, and savor our first encounter with action cinema's Dutch master, Paul Verhoeven. Would you like to know more? Then do your part and enlist with our loyal army of listeners!

Starship Troopers (1997)
Directed by Paul Verhoeven
Written by Ed Neumeier
Based on the novel by Robert A. Heinlein
Starring Casper Van Dien, Denise Richards, Dina Meyer, Neil Patrick Harris, Jake Busey, Patrick Muldoon, Clancy Brown, Seth Gilliam, and Michael Ironside

December 16, 2020

Episode 179 - THE RANKIN/BASS RANK-A-THON


We're making ranked lists...checking them twice...introducing our new thematic device: the Rank-A-Thon has come to our pod! We're doing a thorough breakdown of four vintage Rankin/Bass animated specials, and evaluating them in a wide array of aesthetic, narrative, and festive categories. And we couldn't do it without the help of our old Christmas confidant, Nate Tapp!

We conclude a banner year with this massive holiday extravaganza, and the crowning of a champion among classics. But don't you worry...we'll be back again someday.

Holiday specials included in this episode:

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
Frosty the Snowman (1969)
Santa Claus is Comin' to Town (1970)
The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974)