December 30, 2016

BONUS - STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL



Experiencing the Star Wars Holiday Special is a true test of mental, physical, and emotional endurance, so much so that we couldn't do it alone. We trekked across universes to join our friends on the Deep Space Nine podcast Reopening the Wormhole in shared misery over this infamous piece of bantha poodoo. The end result was a long, hilarious, and insightful conversation that proved infinitely more entertaining than actually watching the damn thing.

So grab a cup of Jawa juice and/or Romulan ale (heck, you might need to double-fist quite a few just to make it through what might be the nadir of either space franchise) and strap in for a bonus crossover episode worthy of recognition in the archives of the Jedi Order. Oh, and try to enjoy your Life Day.



Star Wars Holiday Special
Originally aired November 17, 1978 on CBS
Directed by Steve Binder and David Acomba (uncredited)
Written by Pat Proft, Leonard Ripps, Bruce Vilanch, Rod Warren, and Mitzie Welch
Story by George Lucas (uncredited)
Starring Harrison Ford, Peter Mayhew, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, Art Carney, Bea Arthur, and Harvey Korman, David Prowse and James Earl Jones

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

December 23, 2016

Episode 73 - WINTER WONDER-THON 2016


Wintertime
Are you seein'?
On the screen

Goofy's skiing
Hear the kids sing
Coke's the real thing
We're watching our Winter Wonder-Thon

On the podcast we'll discuss "The Snowman"
While Garfield's country Christmas tale is told
We'll revisit Friends 'cause it's a great show, man
As Dinosaurs keep their food nice and cold

Later on
Within these scenes
We will find
Evergreen themes
We've got lots to say
Have a happy holiday
Listening to our Winter Wonder-Thon!




Featured in this episode:

Clips and Shorts
Coca-Cola "Christmas Caravan" commercials (1995, 1996, 1997)
"The Art of Skiing" (1941)

TV Episodes and Specials
The Snowman (aired December 26, 1982)
A Garfield Christmas Special (aired December 21, 1987)
Friends - "The One With the Holiday Armadillo" (aired December 14, 2000)
Dinosaurs - "Refrigerator Day" (aired December 11, 1991)

December 16, 2016

Episode 72 - CARAVAN OF COURAGE: AN EWOK ADVENTURE


Caravan of Courage is a famous (and infamous) part of Star Wars lore, the first of two mid-1980s TV movies featuring the oh-so-divisive Ewoks. So how is it that we've never seen it before?

Consider this an unofficial "What Weren't We Watching?" as we ruminate on an earlier generation's attempt to spin off the Star Wars saga and keep food on the tables of Lucasfilm employees. Does this kiddie-friendly cash-in conceal hidden depths? Grab your magic talismans and join us on this courageous podquest. Yub nub!


Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure
Originally aired November 25, 1984 on ABC
Directed by John Korty
Produced by Thomas G. Smith
Written by Bob Carrau
Story by George Lucas
Starring Eric Walker, Aubree Miller, Fionnula Flanagan, Guy Boyd, Warwick Davis, and Burl Ives

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

December 2, 2016

Episode 71 - FLUBBER


The '90s were halcyon days for the movie star, so it was no surprise that Disney had confidence in Robin Williams to breathe new life into one of its more dated midcentury comedies. The name-above-the-title clout was paired with cutting-edge visual effects and enough marketing muscle to indoctrinate young minds with images of mambo-ing green homunculi.

So why is this John Hughes-scripted movie often relegated to the bench of Williams' filmography? Where are all the Professor Brainard cosplayers at Disneyland? Wither Flubber? We answer that last question with a "hopefully not" as we pick apart this sentimental science fair of slapstick.


Flubber (1997)
Directed by Les Mayfield
Produced by John Hughes and Ricardo Mestres
Written by John Hughes
Original screenplay The Absent-Minded Professor by Bill Walsh
Based on "A Situation of Gravity" by Samuel W. Taylor
Starring Robin Williams, Marcia Gay Harden, Christopher McDonald, Raymond J. Barry, Ted Levine, Clancy Brown, Wil Wheaton, and Jodi Benson

November 24, 2016

Episode 70 - ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES


Addams Family Values abandons all pretense to the relatively tame spookiness and ookiness associated with the macabre clan's previous iterations. It's a surprisingly dark and nihilistic free-for-all, filled with violence, mayhem, and sick burns (both fiery and verbal).

No taboo remains unbroken as Blythe Rudloff makes her long-awaited return to the podcast to salute this abnormally superior sequel and its stinging humor, and to explicate one of the laziest movie themes of all time. Whoomp! Here it is.


Addams Family Values (1993)
Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld
Produced by Scott Rudin
Written by Paul Rudnick
Based on the characters created by Charles Addams
Starring Anjelica Huston, Raúl Juliá, Christopher Lloyd, Christina Ricci, Jimmy Workman, Peter MacNichol, Christine Baranski, David Krumholtz, Carol Kane, Carel Struycken, Christopher Hart, and Joan Cusack

November 18, 2016

Episode 69 - HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE



School is most assuredly in session during Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, a film tasked with translating a massive publishing phenomenon to the screen while conveying the franchise's emphasis on fantastical world-building and staunchly humanist themes. It's a whirlwind of new information that only scratches the surface of what's to come.

Professed Potter-head Kristal Bailey joins us to describe the thrill of seeing Hogwarts for the first time, and helps us determine if repeat viewings of this exposition-heavy introduction feel more like remedial education.


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)
Directed by Chris Columbus
Produced by David Heyman
Written by Steve Kloves
Based on the novel by J.K. Rowling
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Robbie Coltrane, Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Ian Hart, and Richard Harris

November 4, 2016

Episode 68 - FIRST KID


What if the White House was home to a moody, impetuous, loud-mouthed brat who was simultaneously blind to his immense privilege and yet pitiable for his seeming inability to acknowledge his own glaring flaws?

It's difficult to imagine this situation ever being a real-life possibility, so thankfully we have the Sinbad vehicle First Kid to answer that question with heavy doses of improvised schtick and '90s middle school signifiers. Internet raconteur and one-man content aggregator Manny Lozano makes his WWWW debut to help scrutinize the film's subtle political messages and major sartorial missteps.


First Kid (1996)
Directed by David M. Evans
Produced by Roger Birnbaum
Written by Tim Kelleher
Starring Sinbad, Brock Pierce, Timothy Busfield, Robert Guillaume, Blake Boyd, Fawn Reed, Erin Williby, Zachery Ty Bryan, Art La Fleur, James Naughton, Lisa Eichhorn, and Sonny Bono

October 28, 2016

Episode 67 - 'WEEN-A-THON 2016



Festive frights abound! This year, the WWWW Halloween special features a "visual playlist" of music videos, animation, and live-action TV episodes: six fun-size entertainments selected by your fearless co-hosts. Enjoy this bonus discussion of the unnerving, the grotesque, and the morphenomenal, and have a Happy 'Ween!


Featured in this episode:

Music Videos
Busta Rhymes - "Gimme Some More" (1998)
Rob Zombie - "Dragula" (1998)

TV Episodes
The Simpsons - "Treehouse of Horror VII" (aired October 27, 1996)
Aaahh!! Real Monsters - "The Switching Hour" (aired October 29, 1994)
Salute Your Shorts - "Zeke the Plumber" (aired June 5, 1991)
Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers - "Trick or Treat" (aired May 3, 1994)

October 21, 2016

Episode 66 - BEETLEJUICE


Beetlejuice is an example of collaborative filmmaking at its finest, combining a wonderfully weird script, startling visual realizations of director Tim Burton's macabre vision, and virtuosic comedy from the likes of Catherine O'Hara and Michael Keaton. It's a shambling story that feels made up on the fly, but to fans--much like the outpouring of appreciation for the movie's perverse title character--the blemishes simply contribute to a greater overall charm.

Brian Rudloff returns to help us unfurl our freak flags as we examine a movie that looms large in early nightmares and latter-day nostalgia alike.


Beetlejuice (1988)
Directed by Tim Burton
Produced by Michael Bender, Richard Hashimoto, and Larry Wilson
Written by Michael McDowell and Warren Skaaren
Starring Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Catherine O'Hara, Jeffrey Jones, Winona Ryder, Glenn Shadix, Sylvia Sidney, and Michael Keaton

October 7, 2016

Episode 65 - BASEKETBALL


For a film with modest ambitions, BASEketball proved to be quite prescient in two ways. First, it brutally mocked the greed, hypocrisy, and sanctimony of professional sports years before the blogosphere assumed that responsibility 24/7. And second, it boosted the signal (perhaps unintentionally) of Trey Parker and Matt Stone's humor, long before their controversial little cartoon evolved from a heavily-merchandised youth culture fad into a comedic institution.

South Park and sports aficionado Kevin Taylor joins us in this episode to talk about the populist message of BASEketball and how the subtly different wavelengths of its stars and its writer/director, David Zucker, contributed to the appeal of this oddball cult comedy.


BASEketball (1998)
Directed by David Zucker
Produced by Robert LoCash, Gil Netter, and David Zucker
Written by David Zucker, Robert LoCash, Lewis Friedman, and Jeff Wright
Starring Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Dian Bachar, Yasmine Bleeth, Jenny McCarthy, Robert Vaughn, Bob Costas, Al Michaels, and Ernest Borgnine

September 23, 2016

Episode 64 - THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT


A shrewd blend of the old and the new made The Blair Witch Project a polarizing phenomenon and a runaway box office hit in the summer of 1999. It was a nearly ancient story--naive young people get lost in the spooky woods--dressed up in a fresh (at the time) found footage approach, implying through its first-person perspective and savvy marketing that this time, the horror was real.

But are the gimmicks that turned Blair Witch into one of the most successful independent films of all time still as effective after so many imitators made its innovations seem trite and commonplace? We gird ourselves to experience the worst student film shoot ever and search for meaning in this infamous cinematic experiment.


The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Directed by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez
Produced by Robin Cowie and Gregg Hale
Written by Jacob Cruse and Eduardo Sanchez
Starring Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams, and Joshua Leonard

September 9, 2016

Episode 63 - WILLY WONKA & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY


Willy Wonka is a character full of contradictions. He's both a famous recluse and a consummate showman, a whimsical dreamer and a cynical realist. Such an eccentric figure could only be played by a singular performer: Gene Wilder. His personality defines Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, animating Roald Dahl's classic fable with a twinkly-eyed melancholy perfect for the story of a poor little boy realizing his one chance to live out every child's fantasy.

Much like the famous confectioner he portrayed, Wilder became a pop culture icon to several generations of viewers, and his passing in August 2016 was deeply felt by fans around the world. Come join us in a world of pure imagination and help us pay homage to the incomparable Gene Wilder as we revisit his most indelible role.


Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Directed by Mel Stuart
Produced by David L. Wolper
Written by Roald Dahl and David Seltzer
Based on the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Starring Gene Wilder, Peter Ostrum, Julie Dawn Cole, Denise Nickerson, Paris Themmen, Michael Bollner, Aubrey Woods, Diana Sowle, and Jack Albertson

August 26, 2016

Episode 62 - AUSTIN POWERS: INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY


The film that launched a million bad impressions, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery also deserves to be remembered as an inspired showcase of Mike Myers' comedic gifts. Kevin Taylor makes his WWWW debut as we discuss how the movie hits that adolescent sweet spot between silly and salacious.

Will this episode make you horny, baby? Gosh, we hope not. Will it remind you just how groovy Mike Myers can be? Yeah, baby!


Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)
Directed by Jay Roach
Produced by Jennifer Todd, Suzanne Todd, Demi Moore, and Mike Myers
Written by Mike Myers
Starring Mike Myers, Elizabeth Hurley, Robert Wagner, Seth Green, Mindy Sterling, Will Ferrell, Tom Arnold, Carrie Fisher, Mimi Rogers, and Michael York

August 12, 2016

Episode 61 - HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS


It's not too much of a stretch to look at Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and see a sly portrait of the American nuclear family in crisis, fractured by the stresses of work, technology, and the pursuit of a mythical suburban ideal. In this light, the concept of a fantastical shrinking ray is a clever way to illustrate how the movie's young protagonists gain a different perspective on the importance of accepting others and getting along--a lesson in maturity that's earned without ever leaving the backyard.

We welcome Screen Invasion editor-in-chief Kristal Bailey to help us discuss how the film's micro-adventures inspired our own imaginations, as well as a couple of beloved theme park attractions. Plus: sympathy for aging dads, insect phobias, and a sidebar on paternity issues in Ghostbusters II. It's all part of this big episode about tiny people!


Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989)
Directed by Joe Johnston
Produced by Penney Finkelman Cox
Written by Ed Naha and Tom Schulman
Starring Rick Moranis, Matt Frewer, Marcia Strassman, Kristine Sutherland, Amy O'Neill, Robert Oliveri, Thomas Wilson Brown, and Jared Rushton

August 5, 2016

Episode 60 - FREE WILLY


A memorable title and a simple, sincere premise is all it takes to attain pop culture immortality. That's just one of the things we learned from Free Willy, which has endured as a compassionate snapshot of a troubled youth and a blueprint for preteen environmental activism.

Can a captive orca whale still capture your heart? We'll find out as we also discuss lenient foster parents, the beauty of the Pacific Northwest and the fashion sense of '90s juvenile delinquents.


Free Willy (1993)
Directed by Simon Wincer
Produced by Lauren Shuler Donner and Jennie Lew Tugend
Written by Keith A. Walker and Corey Blechman
Starring Jason James Richter, Michael Madsen, Jayne Atkinson, Lori Petty, August Schellenberg, Michael Ironside, Mykelti Williamson, and Keiko the Orca

July 15, 2016

Episode 59 - BATMAN RETURNS


"One for them, one for me" - it's the mantra of many an A-lister who also yearns to be respected as an artist, appearing in a commercially appealing flick in order to get a passion project off the ground. For Tim Burton, that rule also applied to sequels for massive franchise tentpoles, as Batman Returns tries to preserve the muscular appeal of its predecessor while injecting more of the macabre, playful melancholy central to the director's gothic sensibility.

We welcome back the boy wonder, Gensho Tasaka, to marvel at Burton doubling down on his signature style and his unique treatment of two iconic Batman villains. It's the second part of our series on the Caped Crusader's blockbuster-era adventures!


Batman Returns (1992)
Directed by Tim Burton
Produced by Denise Di Novi and Tim Burton
Written by Daniel Waters
Based on characters created by Bob Kane
Starring Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Michael Gough, and Michael Murphy

Check out all current episodes in our Batman series:
Batman
Batman Returns
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Batman Forever

July 1, 2016

Episode 58 - INDEPENDENCE DAY


Best remembered for boot-strapping highlights like Bill Pullman's rousing speech or Will Smith's aggressive greeting of an alien visitor, Independence Day teaches us that only good old-fashioned American courage and ingenuity can take down an intergalactic threat.

Sure, the film also tries to be a gallery of character moments tied together by vague, warm feelings of human resilience and unity in times of great crisis. But what other country's head of state is going to strap into a fighter jet and feed those E.T.s a steady diet of air-to-air missiles?

For this special Fourth of July episode, we welcome two real patriots--Brian Rudloff and Daren Sprawls--to debate the merits of ID4, from the appearance of its extraterrestrials and the dimensionality of its cast, to its tempered version of blockbuster machismo and its entertainment value relative to Mars Attacks!


Independence Day (1996)
Directed by Roland Emmerich
Produced by Dean Devlin
Written by Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin
Starring Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Judd Hirsch, Vivica A. Fox, Randy Quaid, Margaret Colin, Mary McDonnell, Robert Loggia, James Rebhorn, and Brent Spiner

June 17, 2016

Episode 57 - TINY TOON ADVENTURES


They were tiny, they were toony, and--rumor has it--each of them were at least a little loony. More than just a remix of classic Looney Tunes characters and humor, Tiny Toon Adventures was a colorful comedic world unto itself and helped launch a golden age of Warner Bros. animated television series.

In this episode, special guest Sam Stovold contributes to our survey of all things Tiny Toons, from the pilot originally broadcast by CBS in prime time, to fondly-remembered segments from the TV show, to the feature-length VHS favorite Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation. Come and join the fun! (And now this post is done.)


Tiny Toon Adventures (1990-1995)
Created by Tom Ruegger
Executive produced by Steven Spielberg, Frank Marshall, and Kathleen Kennedy
Starring Charlie Adler, Tress MacNeille, Joe Alaskey, Don Messick, Cree Summer, Danny Cooksey, Kath Soucie, Maurice LaMarche, Gail Matthuis, Rob Paulsen, Candi Milo, and Frank Welker

Episodes/segments featured in this podcast:
"The Looney Beginning" (aired 9/14/1990)
Istanbul and Particle Man from "Tiny Toon Music Television" (aired 2/1/1991)
The Potty Years from "Henny Youngman Day" (aired 11/22/1991)
Going Up from "What Makes Toons Tick" (aired 9/17/1992)



Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation (1992)
Directed by Rich Arons, Ken Boyer, Kent Butterworth, Barry Caldwell, Alfred Gimeno, Art Leonardi, and Byron Vaughns

Produced by Tom Ruegger
Written by Paul Dini, Nicholas Hollander, Tom Ruegger, and Sherri Stoner
Starring the voice talents of Tiny Toon Adventures plus Jonathan Winters, Edie McClurg, and Sorrell Booke



Hear more of Sam Stovold on his Star Trek: Deep Space Nine podcast "Reopening the Wormhole"!

June 3, 2016

Episode 56 - TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (1987)



From satirical underground comic book characters to alpha reptiles of the late '80s and early '90s, the ascension of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a quintessential pop culture success story. TV, movies, music, books, toys (my god, the toys)--there wasn't a marketing opportunity missed by the Turtles brain trust.

As the wellspring from whence all consumer goods came, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon occupies a special place in the hearts of TMNT fans. We delve into the mythology, the minutae, and the merchandise in an especially sentimental discussion. This episode doesn't ask if the beloved series was crassly commercial (it most certainly was), but invites us to find within the profit motive and the artistic impulse a symbiotic entertainment entity that enthralled a generation.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987-1996)
Created by Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, and Fred Wolf
Based on the comic series by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird
Starring Cam Clarke, Barry Gordon, Rob Paulsen, Townsend Coleman, Peter Renaday, Renae Jacobs, James Avery, and Pat Fraley

Episodes featured in this podcast:
"Shredder & Splintered" (aired 1/1/1988)
"The Case of the Killer Pizzas" (aired 11/5/1988)
"Casey Jones: Outlaw Hero" (aired 11/7/1989)
"The Making of Metalhead" (aired 11/27/1989)
"Night of the Rogues" (aired 11/20/1993)

Cowabunga! Check out more of our TMNT tributes:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
Raph Punk


May 27, 2016

Episode 55 - ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND


It's hard to believe we haven't yet run up against Lewis Carroll's most sturdy creation, given the ubiquity of Alice and her Wonderland friends across all forms of media since their literary debut. In this special bonus episode, we finally step through the looking glass to reminisce about Adventures in Wonderland--a whimsical workhorse of Disney Channel original programming.

Those who prefer their life lessons served with a little song and dance will enjoy this special bonus episode where we discuss the enduring appeal of Alice, edutainment, and flashy '90s fashion.


Adventures in Wonderland (1992-1995)
Produced by Andi Copley and Stan Brodsky
Based on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Starring Elisabeth Harnois, John Hoffman, Wesley Mann, Armelia McQueen, Patrick Richwood, Robert Barry Fleming, Harry Waters Jr., Reece Holland, Richard Kuhlman, and John Lovelady

Episodes featured in the podcast:
"Herstory in the Making" (aired 3/23/1992)
"Pie Noon" (aired 2/28/1994)

May 20, 2016

Episode 54 - X-MEN (1992)


A highly serialized superhero adventure that harbored surprisingly mature themes, the animated X-Men was both ahead of its time and a herald of things to come. Along with our resident X-pert, Kevin Gutierrez, we reconnect with the robust roster of mutants and ponder the plotlines that haven't yet made it into the popular live-action films.

This ain't your little brother's Saturday morning cartoon, so cue the kickass theme song and get ready for another X-hilarating, X-citing, and X-cellent episode of WWWW!


X-Men (1992-1997)
Created by Mark Edward Edens, Sidney Iwanter, and Eric Lewald
Based on the comic by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

Episodes featured in this podcast:

"Night of the Sentinels, Part 1" (aired 10/31/1992)
"Come the Apocalypse" (aired 2/27/1993)
"A Rogue's Tale" (aired 1/8/1994)
"Phoenix Saga, Part 1 - Sacrifice" (aired 9/5/1994)
"Phoenix Saga, Part 5 - Child of Light" (aired 9/9/1994)

May 6, 2016

Episode 53 - TV MOMS


The fifth commandment tells us: "Honor thy father and thy mother." Since we already gave the dads their due for Father's Day last year, it's only fitting that we show the same courtesy to the moms.

This episode is dedicated to two of our favorite TV matriarchs - Marge Simpson of The Simpsons and Kitty Forman of That '70s Show - and the exploration of sitcom motherhood in all of its husband-tolerating, offspring-embarrassing, and family-bonding facets. We're ready to declare ourselves full-fledged mama's boys with this Mother's Day special!


The Simpsons (1989- )
Created by Matt Groening

"The Springfield Connection"
Directed by Mark Kirkland
Written by John Collier
Aired May 7, 1995

"Marge Be Not Proud"
Directed by Steven Dean Moore
Written by Mike Scully
Aired December 17, 1995


That '70s Show (1998-2006)
Created by Bonnie & Terry Turner and Mark Brazill


"Hyde Moves In"
Directed by David Trainer
Written by Mark Hudis
Aired July 19, 1999

"Kitty and Eric's Night Out"
Directed by David Trainer
Written by Linda Wallem
Aired February 28, 2000

April 22, 2016

Episode 52 - WILD WILD WEST


In this episode we go way, way back--not just back to an alternate-history version of the American West, but also back to the retrograde masculinity and offensive sophomoric humor of pop culture in...well, in almost any time, sadly.

An unholy alliance of ego-stroking and trend-chasing can explain much of Wild Wild West, the film that finally gave Jon Peters the giant spider he always wanted. But is the movie the right kind of dumb juvenile fun?

We peel back the layers of Wild Wild West's steampunk aesthetic and latent homoeroticism in a scintillating debate, including a bonus discussion of the music video for Will Smith's iconic contribution to the film's soundtrack. So swallow your pride, don't let your lip react, and enjoy this wild, wild What Were We Watching!



Wild Wild West (1999)
Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld
Produced by Jon Peters and Barry Sonnenfeld
Written by S.S. Wilson & Brent Maddock and Jeffrey Price & Peter S. Seaman
Based on "The Wild Wild West" created by Michael Garrison
Starring Will Smith, Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh, Salma Hayek, M. Emmet Walsh, Bai Ling, and Ted Levine


April 8, 2016

Episode 51 - GALAXY QUEST


On Christmas Day in 1999, at the height of anxiety over the "Y2K Problem" in which technology might finally have been our undoing, Galaxy Quest was released in theaters to remind audiences of a more optimistic vision of the future worthy of Gene Roddenberry. Not only did the film parody Star Trek the franchise, but Star Trek the phenomenon, lovingly sending up every element from the real-life drama between cast members to the culture of fandom the series helped create.

Trekspert Charles Benimoff returns to the podcast to lend us some context and to argue why Galaxy Quest deserves to be an honorary part of the Star Trek canon, if only to keep that pesky even-odd curse firmly intact... By Grabthar's hammer, what an episode!


Galaxy Quest (1999)
Directed by Dean Parisot
Produced by Mark Johnson and Charles Newirth
Written by David Howard and Robert Gordon
Starring Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub, Sam Rockwell, Daryl Mitchell, Enrico Colantoni, Missi Pyle, and Justin Long

March 25, 2016

Episode 50 - BATMAN


Perched at the precipice of the '90s, Tim Burton's Batman was one of the first modern blockbusters to emerge from the commercial chrysalis nurtured, perhaps unwittingly, by directors like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. Both a familiar crowd-pleasing delight and a novel, eccentric re-imagining of the superhero archetype, Batman helped establish a new excitement around pre-existing properties--especially comics--while becoming one of the rare franchise tentpoles to successfully balance its agendas as a financial commodity and as a distinctive work of art.

Special guest (and number one guy) Gensho Tasaka also joins the podcast for some stellar Caped Crusader chat.  Holy 50th episode, Batman!


Batman (1989)
Directed by Tim Burton
Produced by Jon Peters and Peter Guber
Written by Sam Hamm and Warren Skaaren
Based on characters created by Bob Kane and DC Comics
Starring Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Robert Wuhl, Pat Hingle, Billy Dee Williams, Michael Gough, and Jack Palance

Check out all current episodes in our Batman series:
Batman
Batman Returns
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Batman Forever

March 11, 2016

Episode 49 - POCAHONTAS


One of the more melancholy entries in the Disney animated canon, Pocahontas had the thankless task of continuing the steady crescendo of hits in the studio's so-called renaissance of the late '80s/early '90s. But apart from the Alan Menken-penned score that contained a massive pop hit, the film deviates from its predecessors in style and mood, uniting American mythology, historical fact, and spiritual yearning on a heavily blue-and-green palette. More than two decades later, we find out if the wacky and wistful Pocahontas actually paints with all the colors of the wind.


Pocahontas (1995)
Directed by Mike Gabriel and Eric Goldberg
Produced by James Pentecost
Written by Carl Binder, Susannah Grant, and Philip LaZebnik
Starring Irene Bedard, Mel Gibson, David Ogden Stiers, Russell Means, Christian Bale, Billy Connolly, and Linda Hunt

February 26, 2016

Episode 48 - The 2nd Annual Dubbie Awards!



Last year, we introduced a new award to the heap of golden trinkets that accumulate like so many unwanted mugs in the proverbial kitchen cabinet of Hollywood: the Dubbies!

We present the 2nd Annual Dubbie Awards, looking into the recent past to name our favorite films and performances of 2015, and hand out some special nostalgia-tinted honors including:

  • Best Comeback
  • Most Unnecessary Throwback
  • Future WWWW Candidate
  • Most Nostalgic Moment

Straighten your bow tie and make sure your hair is camera-ready - it's time for the Dubbies!



February 12, 2016

Episode 47 - CRUEL INTENTIONS


Frothy literary adaptations for teen audiences were all the rage in the '90s (Clueless, She's All That10 Things I Hate About You), but the venomous Cruel Intentions operates on a different, nastier level. Transporting the sensual decadence and moral decay of 18th-century French aristocracy to the bourgeoisie of late 20th-century Manhattan, the film is refreshingly frank in its casual deception of seductive mind games and sexual expectations.

But is there any redeeming quality in the sleazy subject matter, or is titillation the only goal? We'll find out as we celebrate Valentine's Day with a tale of malice and manipulation in the name of love.


Cruel Intentions (1999)
Written and directed by Roger Kumble
Produced by Neal H. Moritz
Based on the novel Les Liaisons dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon, Selma Blair, Sean Patrick Thomas, Joshua Jackson, Swoozie Kurtz, and Christine Baranski

January 29, 2016

Episode 46 - STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS


We're finally comfortable admitting it: we are a little obsessed with Star Wars. The seventh chapter in the saga is a hit with critics and paying audiences, honoring the spirit of George Lucas' creation while starting to re-sculpt the franchise in the mold of modern movie "universes" and their ambitious ten-year plans.

It's time for some instant nostalgia as we team up with Text Before Calling co-hosts Eric Wheeler and Sean Fau-Burnitz, as well as previous podcast guests Brian Rudloff and Daren Sprawls, for an all-star panel discussion of The Force Awakens featuring our joys, sorrows, hopes, and fears for this brave new world of infinite Star Wars.



Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
Directed by J. J. Abrams
Produced by J. J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, and Kathleen Kennedy
Written by Lawrence Kasdan & J. J. Abrams and Michael Arndt
Based on characters created by George Lucas
Starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Domhnall Gleeson, Andy Serkis, and Max von Sydow

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

January 15, 2016

Episode 45 - MEMORABLE MUSIC VIDEOS, VOL. 1


In the '90s, the music video was king. You remember those, right? There were entire channels more or less dedicated to airing these promotional clips for music artists - a surefire way to hear your favorite songs on a daily basis without having to purchase a $20 compact disc.

Times have changed, but thankfully our favorite music videos have remained the same, encased in the amber of artistic bombast and profligate record label spending. In this episode, we look back at six memorable clips and trace the evolution of our own musical tastes.


Music videos featured in this episode: