December 18, 2015


Charles Dickens' fable about a mean old miser who learns the meaning of Christmas is one of the most picked-over stories in the Western canon. (Heck, we even covered a version of it last year.) But perhaps that's what makes it such a wonderful vehicle for the mischievous Muppets, finding ways to breathe new life--and a vaudeville flair--into a familiar tale.

Much more than a holiday novelty, The Muppet Christmas Carol is an ingratiating insta-classic: one of the most elegant expressions of the ineffable "Christmas spirit" ever seen onscreen. Special guest Brian Rudloff joins us once more to see if we can make that spirit last all year.

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
Directed by Brian Henson
Produced by Martin G. Baker and Brian Henson
Written by Jerry Juhl
Based on A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Starring Michael Caine, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, and Steven Mackintosh

December 4, 2015


For more than a year, we've been winding our way through the Star Wars saga from Qui-Gon and Jar Jar to Nien Nunb and Mon Mothma, and everything in between. Now, with the debut of The Force Awakens just weeks away, our ongoing series culminates with Return of the Jedi.

Both sublime and silly, Jedi is a stellar send-off for George Lucas' massively influential space opera. Special guest Brian Rudloff joins us to discuss this greatest hits compilation of all things Star Wars as we eagerly await the next chapter. May the force be with you!

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)
Directed by Richard Marquand
Produced by Howard Kazanjian
Written by Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas
Starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, James Earl Jones, and Ian McDiarmid

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

November 17, 2015

Episode 42 - GOLDENEYE

Our Bond blowout continues with the film that introduced Pierce Brosnan as 007... just in time for its 20th anniversary!

We try not to let fond memories of the classic Nintendo 64 game cloud our judgment as we discuss the pros and cons of the Bond formula with our brothers from another podcast, Eric Wheeler and Sean Fau-Burnitz.

GoldenEye (1995)
Directed by Martin Campbell
Produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli
Written by Jeffrey Caine and Bruce Feirstein
Starring Pierce Brosnan, Sean Bean, Izabello Scorupco, Famke Janssen, Robbie Coltrane, Alan Cumming, and Judi Dench

Listen to our crossover with Text Before Calling
(start with the episode titled "Wasted Hotness")

November 6, 2015


Cool gadgets, big stunts, beautiful women, and cheesy puns - these are the talismans of the five decade-plus James Bond franchise, the magic items that sustain its singular mojo as it subsumes and exhausts nearly every significant cinematic trend of the past half-century.

On the cusp of the new millennium--during a time of serious transition in the action genre--The World Is Not Enough appeared to be one final throwback to this classical style of Bond filmmaking.  Charles Benimoff joins the podcast to discuss whether TWINE is simply a perfunctory game of Bond trope bingo, or if it has something more to offer underneath its familiar trappings.

The World Is Not Enough (1999)
Directed by Michael Apted
Produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli
Written by Neal Purvis & Robert Wade and Bruce Feirstein
Starring Pierce Brosnan, Sophie Marceau, Robert Carlyle, Denise Richards, Robbie Coltrane, Judi Dench, and Desmond Llewelyn

October 30, 2015


Just in time for Mischief Night, it's a bonus double feature episode starring the celebrity who best embodies the season's brew of impish glee and creeping anxiety: Michael Jackson.

The King of Pop's iconic Thriller set a new standard for the music video, taking a serious approach to its scary subject matter with a noted horror director (John Landis) and a legendary makeup artist (Rick Baker).  Years later, Jackson tried to capture that magic again with the lavish, bombastic Ghosts, this time invoking the personal boogeymen who criticized his eccentric lifestyle.

Do we think MJ's Halloween offerings are tricks or treats?  Find out in our 2015 Halloween Special!

Michael Jackson's Thriller (1983)
Directed by John Landis
Written by John Landis and Michael Jackson
Starring Michael Jackson, Ola Ray, and Vincent Price

Michael Jackson's Ghosts (1996)
Directed by Stan Winston
Screenplay by Stan Winston and Mick Garris
Concept by Michael Jackson and Stephen King
Starring Michael Jackson

October 23, 2015

Episode 39 - CASPER

Bill Pullman and Christina Ricci ain't 'fraid of no ghosts in this underrated adaptation that takes some of the most anodyne characters in comics history and drops them into a zany, pop-culture quoting haunted house farce.

Showcasing cutting-edge (for the time) CGI characters, Casper takes advantage of movie technology to bring the dead to cartoonish life while sneaking in some wry gallows humor and a surprisingly mature message about grief and letting go of loved ones.  So please, remember us this way: waxing poetic about yet another '90s film featuring Devon Sawa.

Casper (1995)
Directed by Brad Silberling
Produced by Colin Watson, Jeff Franklin, and Steve Waterman
Written by Sherri Stoner and Deanna Oliver
Based on the Casper the Friendly Ghost by Seymour Reit and Joe Oriolo
Starring Bill Pullman, Christina Ricci, Cathy Moriarty, Eric Idle, Malachi Pearson, Joe Nipote, Joe Alaskey, Brad Garrett, and Devon Sawa