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)

December 4, 2020

Episode 178 - THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS

What's this? A macabre and moving musical classic? A gracefully ghoulish gem of gobsmacking animation? The mother of all modern mashups? The Nightmare Before Christmas has been all this and more for nearly three decades, as it transcends labels to illustrate the importance of being true to yourself.

Kevin Young brings us dual-holiday delight in this screamingly fun episode that'll speak to anyone who loves to get their creep on at Christmastime. 

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Directed by Henry Selick
Screenplay by Caroline Thompson
Adaptation by Michael McDowell
Based on a story by Tim Burton
Starring Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara, Ken Page, William Hickey, Glenn Shadix, Ed Ivory, and Danny Elfman 


November 20, 2020

Episode 177 - THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION

I wish I could tell you that The Shawshank Redemption was the greatest movie ever made, and just leave it at that. I wish I could tell you that...but podcasting is no fairy-tale world. A theatrical disappointment that found a second life on TV and home video, the film has earned its classic status with great storytelling and disarming sentimentality in depicting hope's hard-fought battle against despair.

We hope you enjoy the mononymous Barm (aka Tyler Neufeld) in his WWWW debut. We hope our love and gratitude fill this special Shanksgiving episode. We hope you have many reasons to give shanks, too. We hope.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Written and directed by Frank Darabont
Produced by Niki Marvin
Based on the novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King
Starring Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler, Clancy Brown, Gil Bellows, and James Whitmore

October 30, 2020

Episode 176 - SCREAM 2

Sequels suck! Or do they? That's just one pillar in the tantalizing metatextual framework of Scream 2, a sly, sneaky, savage whodunit that builds upon the foundation of its trope-savvy predecessor. The redux uses a wealth of suspenseful setpieces and hilariously knowing dialogue to create a fine-tuned cinematic ouroboros that's always several steps ahead of audience expectations.

Daren Sprawls inexplicably returns from our first encounter with the Woodsboro gang to discuss the commodification of horror violence, debate the relative merits of movie sequels, and go deep on another soundtrack of eclectic '90s tunes. 

Scream 2 (1997)
Directed by Wes Craven
Produced by Cathy Konrad and Marianne Maddalena
Written by Kevin Williamson
Starring Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Jerry O’Connell, Jamie Kennedy, Timothy Olyphant, Elise Neal, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jada Pinkett, Omar Epps, Liev Schreiber, and Laurie Metcalf

October 9, 2020

Episode 175 - RETURN TO OZ

If you thought tin men and flying monkeys were strange, let me tell you about Return to Oz, a film that doubles down on the inexplicable whimsy of L. Frank Baum's beloved books and the unrestrained darkness that pervaded children's fantasy films during the 1980s. It's nightmare fuel delivered with a sprightly, wholesome spirit. It's also a marvel of practical effects with enough imagination and offbeat humor to enthrall a whole new generation of weirdos.

Thank goodness we've brought our friends Brian Rudloff and Nate Tapp along to share their thoughts about uncomfortable creature suits, traumatizing imagery, and the dangerous truth about eggs. Join us as we embrace the odd in our journey back to Oz. After all, it can't be helped now!

Return to Oz (1985)
Directed by Walter Murch
Produced by Paul Maslansky
Written by Walter Murch and Gill Dennis
Based on The Marvelous Land of Oz and Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Starring Fairuza Balk, Jean Marsh, Piper Laurie, Matt Clark, Denise Bryer, Sean Barrett, Brian Henson, and Nicol Williamson

September 18, 2020

Episode 174 - MULAN

Let's get down to business as we flap our gums about Mulan, the mold-breaking animated classic that loaded the Disney canon with its strongest questioning of gender roles at the time. In several ways, it transmuted the traditional formula that sustained the studio's modern resurgence, while still remaining a reflection of deeply internalized storytelling (and brand) values. The result: a rousing and memorable film that's true to its complex heart.

Kevin Chu brings honor to our pod as we dig into some of the catchiest tunes in the Disney discography, discuss the movie's depictions of Asian culture, and show Mushu a little love. This episode will surely make a man/woman/person out of you!

Mulan (1998)
Directed by Barry Cook and Tony Bancroft
Written by Rita Hsiao, Philip LaZebnik, Chris Sanders, Eugenia Bostwick-Singer, and Raymond Singer
Starring Ming-Na Wen, BD Wong, Miguel Ferrer, James Hong, Jerry Tondo, Gedde Watanabe, Harvey Fierstein, Soon-Tek Oh, Pat Morita, George Takei, June Foray, and Eddie Murphy