September 22, 2017


Scrappy cartoon mice are as American as baseball, apple pie, and an abiding sense of optimism that somehow endures constant alienation and glaring injustice. That combination of the wholesome and the serious defines An American Tail, a poignant re-imagining of the immigrant experience from legendary artist Don Bluth and wunderkind executive producer Steven Spielberg that dared to challenge Disney for animated musical supremacy.

Just because you find some success in America, however, doesn't mean you relinquish your underdog status. By the release of the sequel Fievel Goes West, Bluth was gone, Disney was ascendant once more, and the Mousekewitz family was still seeking a better lot in life. It was time to change the approach.

Brian Rudloff joins us for this special double feature episode, as we try to reconcile two very different films with the same core message: somewhere out there, dreams can still come true.

An American Tail (1986)
Directed by Don Bluth
Produced by Don Bluth, Gary Goldman, and John Pomeroy
Written by Judy Freudberg and Tony Geiss
Starring Phillip Glasser, Amy Green, Nehemiah Persoff, Erica Yohn, John P. Finnegan, Christopher Plummer, Madeline Kahn, and Dom DeLuise

An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991)
Directed by Phil Nibbelink and Simon Wells
Produced by Steven Spielberg and Robert Watts
Written by Flint Dille
Starring Phillip Glasser, Cathy Cavadini, Nehemiah Persoff, Erica Yohn, Dom DeLuise, Amy Irving, John Cleese, and James Stewart

September 8, 2017


After almost three decades, Kindergarten Cop still represents an aspirational standard for the thespian trapped in a cycle of typecasting: Arnold Schwarzenegger, at the crest of his rough-and-ready muscleman trajectory, poking fun at his brawny persona and spinning it into comedy gold. Real-life educators Daren Sprawls and Ariel Quist Sprawls help us rate the movie's classroom verisimilitude and celebrate its tremendous quotability, evident in its contributions to a classic prank call soundboard.

How do six-year-olds stack up against a former Mr. Universe? Why are so many family classics filmed in Astoria, Oregon? Who is your daddy, and what does he do? Find the answers to these questions and much more in this special back-to-school episode!

Kindergarten Cop (1990)
Directed by Ivan Reitman
Produced by Ivan Reitman and Brian Grazer
Written by Murray Salem and Herschel Weingrod & Timothy Harris
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Pamela Reed, Penelope Ann Miller, Richard Tyson, Carroll Baker, Christian Cousins, Joseph Cousins, and Linda Hunt