September 21, 2018

Episode 124 - SISTER ACT 2: BACK IN THE HABIT


Comedy sequels rarely enjoy the longevity, let alone the renown, of their predecessors. Not so in the case of Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, an inspired follow-up that turns a fish-out-of-water tale into an underdog story with a funky fresh twist. Whoopi Goldberg puts on her inspirational teacher hat for the movie that courageously celebrates the true heroes of America's failing education system: show choirs.

Blythe Rudloff joins our mighty chorus to rap about the awesome power of musical performance. So if you want to be somebody and want to go somewhere, you gotta wake up and pay attention to this divine episode!


Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993)
Directed by Bill Duke
Produced by Scott Rudin and Dawn Steel
Written by James Orr & Jim Cruickshank and Judi Ann Mason
Based on characters created by Paul Rudnick
Starring Whoopi Goldberg, Kathy Najimy, Wendy Makkenna, Mary Wickes, Lauryn Hill, Ryan Toby, Alanna Ubach, Barnard Hughes, Michael Jeter, Maggie Smith, and James Coburn

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