April 24, 2015


If God were to create a man in the image of a Saturday morning cartoon, it's highly likely that he would look like Brendan Fraser: a hulking, manically expressive dervish with a megawatt grin.  There are many ways a live-action remake of Jay Ward's George of the Jungle could fail; the only way it works, however, is with someone as committed and sincere as Fraser at the center of it all.

George of the Jungle pulls out all the stops in an effort to elicit laughs, rapidly transitioning from broad slapstick to broad fish-out-of-water comedy to broad meta-jokes (courtesy of the wry narrator that was a hallmark of all Ward's cartoons).  And keeping everything afloat is Fraser, whose own performance is a stunt on par with the various tricks, both animal and human, that fill in the gaps between each of the movie's shameless yet lovingly rendered gags.

George of the Jungle (1997)
Directed by Sam Weisman
Produced by David Hoberman, Jordan Kerner, and Jon Avnet
Written by Dana Olsen and Audrey Wells
Based on George of the Jungle by Jay Ward and Bill Scott
Starring Brendan Fraser, Leslie Mann, Thomas Haden Church, Richard Roundtree, Holland Taylor, and John Cleese

Correction: In this episode we refer to Jungle 2 Jungle's release date being in July 1997.  It was actually released in theaters in March 1997.  Turns out we were the only ones obsessed with "Jungle Month" tie-ins.

April 10, 2015

Episode 24 - JUNGLE 2 JUNGLE

If it had been released in a different era, Jungle 2 Jungle - a movie about a rich white man trying to prevent a kid raised in a remote Amazonian village from attempting to kill and consume every animal he sees in the big city - would have triggered a thinkpiece avalanche.

But this was 1997.  Nobody was going to question Tim Allen, a bona fide box office king thanks to his smart-alecky schtick and shit-eating grin.  The sitcom stalwart and Disney company man stars alongside a debuting Sam Huntington, who is asked to spend way more time in a loincloth than any 13-year-old should.

As desperate in its broadly telegraphed comedy as it is prescient about films with subplots about pushy reality TV crews, Jungle 2 Jungle is a prime example of one of our favorite genres: the dad-venture.  So please, put down your satellite phone and try to refrain from talking about the commodities market long enough to stop disappointing your estranged son.

Jungle 2 Jungle (1997)
Directed by John Pasquin
Produced by Richard Baker and Brad Krevoy
Written by Bruce A. Evans and Raynold Gideon
Based on the film Un indien dans la ville
Starring Tim Allen, Martin Short, JoBeth Williams, Lolita Davidovich, David Ogden Stiers, and Sam Huntington

April 1, 2015


April Fool!  It's the perfect time to debut our special "anti-podcast" feature, What Weren't We Watching, and record our thoughts on a film that somehow slipped through the cracks of our childhoods: the 1994 video game adaptation Street Fighter.

You can practically see the seams in this notoriously troubled production, which nonetheless stands as an appropriately colorful and wacky interpretation of a plot-thin game featuring a masked toreador-turned-cage fighter with metal claws and a green mutant that electrocutes people.  The movie only compounds the madness with an "American" military officer played by Jean-Claude Van Damme, numerous sartorial in-jokes, and a tone that veers between madcap and murderous.

Street Fighter (1994)
Written and directed by Steven E. de Souza
Produced by Edward R. Pressman and Kenzo Tsujimoto
Starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Raúl Juliá, Ming-Na Wen, Damian Chapa, Byron Mann, Kylie Minogue, and Wes Studi