With Toys but a fond memory , the Why Watch crew turns to visions of sugar plums and mixed drinks with a discussion on holiday movies. Sit and drink your cocoa as Leigh, Brendan, and Chris talk about what makes a good holiday movie, what their favorites are, and how hard it is to come up with a pun-based drink name. Also as our special present, we tease our Christmas movie spectacular, a movie that Brendan is more excited to see than Rogue One. Please be holly jolly and rate us on iTunes and Stitcher, follow us @whywatchpodcast, and like us at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast, which we actually use.
Watching “Cool as Ice” with the Drat Pack crew was one of the most disappointing movie watching experiences I’ve ever had.
You’d be forgiven for thinking the fault lies with the movie itself, because let’s face it: despite its title, “Cool as Ice” is a hot, meandering, perplexing mess. But I knew that going in, because I was the only one who had seen the movie before – in a different time, in a different place, with a different group of friends – and I enjoyed the hell out of it. I thought it would be as enjoyable, if not more so, to watch with my more “filmy” friends.
I was wrong.
As we approach the closing of the year, we take time to look back on a hotly-anticipated whimsical 1992 Robin Williams comedy. Yes, we are of course referring to the classic holiday (?) movie Toys. Not Aladdin. Sorry for the confusion. Pour yourself a shot and strap on your woozy helmet as the Why Watch crew and recurring special guest Brendan Nystedt tackle the movie’s surprisingly sexual undertones, Yolonda and Steve’s brief reign at the top of MTV’s charts, and Joan Cusack’s wonderful performance as an autistic robot that designs baby doll clothes. Are there any salvageable loose toys in this flea market bargain bin of a movie? Hopefully! Remember, if you cannot bring us comfort, then at least you can bring us good ratings on iTunes / Stitcher, followings at @whywatchpodcast, and glad likings at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast.
Burlesque is a tricky animal. It starts seeming like a Chicago-style musical where the music is all diegetic or in the protagonist’s head. We see our main character Alice, played by Christina Aguilera, closing down the restaurant she works in while singing an upbeat song. It’s fine, if a little bland. Aguilera’s wig looks a little awkward, but it’s not the worst. We’re kept going at a breakneck clip that takes Alice from wherever this is (the Midwest?) out to California where she drops in on a performance at a burlesque club run by Tess (Cher). The nature of the musical changes slightly in this moment as we’re treated to a fairly classic table-setting number where Tess introduces each dancer and character of the club with their name and a kicky little line while they do about a four second dance display. Are we about to see frothy musical that’s as fun as it is sloppy?
Well, yes, and also no. Continue reading
In our last full episode, we tackled a movie that I practically shouted with joy when I suggested it for our schedule. As I said in the episode itself, I love this movie. I own it, I’ve watched it a million times, I think it’s a delight. Are there flaws? Sure, but I would like to argue here that most of those flaws make the movie more interesting in their failures. That and how it’s campy nature, intentional or unintentional, should be celebrated.
We name-dropped the Merchant Ivory films and for those of you who don’t know, they’re deeply cheesy period pieces (and occasionally literary adaptations) that were a big deal in the early-to-mid 90’s. They essentially corralled as many classically-trained English actors they could find, sew them up into sumptuous costumes, and let everyone play to the cheap seats. That influence definitely lives in this movie, but for one key element that I think makes it much more fun: the long shadow of Hammer Films horror movies.
Hammer horrors were bonkers, but they also epitomized a classic telling of horror tales. They mined spookiness less from jump-scares and more from frightening imagery. They would also indulge in some serious gore now and again, but I find that many of their images succeeded for being bold and sometimes a little crazy.
It’s my firm and ardent opinion that Bram Stoker’s Dracula is the essential child of these two things. While unmistakably modeled on the Bela Lugosi classic, the movie itself is so 90’s and possesses a campiness that makes it’s lineage more complicated in my eyes. What could’ve been a very staid, laced-up Merchant Ivory-alike becomes a stranger, much more daring creature with a healthy infusion of operatic Hammer Films.
Look no further than the arc of Winona Ryder’s Mina. She starts off the movie a breathless, aggressively virginal ingenue who’s all wide doe eyes and shocked gasps. Hanging around with her best friend (and my personal role model) Lucy hasn’t changed her much and you get the sense that Lucy probably tried. She’s saucy, bubbly, and fun with her shameless flirting and copy of the Kama Sutra. It’s around the halfway mark that Mina encounters Count Vlad and becomes a smoldering sex-pot. Seriously, take a look.
The transformation is a little on the fast side; I exclaimed out loud during my most recent watch, but I love it. It tracks the trajectory of the movie as it goes from very theatrical period piece to full-on bananas blood-opera. It’s this willingness to play with a formula and inject something wild and inventive into it that I find so attractive.
What also must be pointed out is the special effects. Almost everything you see done in this movie was practical effects. Even a shot of a train running over a bridge with an open diary imposed in the background. Even the transformation scenes. Even the scene of Monica Bellucci rising through the world’s craziest bed.
The imagery of this movie is also so stunning to me. It offers you a smorgasbord of delights in one shot and then strikes you with a gorgeously simple one. The colors pop with luscious saturation in some shots and flicker with faded sepia in others. The costumes, the sets, the general mis-en-scene is exciting, sometimes evoking a freaky doll-house and other times looking like a vivid dream. There’s a motif of dreaminess in this film where colors will sometimes fuzz and bleed and motes of light seem to whir past. It allows the movie to take more risks and leaps and to tell this story that way is so intriguing and interesting that even when it doesn’t quite work I’m still enthralled. This visual vocabulary is so adventurous that I can’t but love it. They even did something as weird and inexplicable as making Lucy’s wedding/burial gown inspired by a frilled lizard. I mean…
That’s ballsy and crazy and I love it to death.
I’ll close this lovefest by reiterating something I brought up during the episode. This movie probably couldn’t be made today. It’s so earnest and ridiculous and an amazing wellspring of camp. There’s something so vulnerable about how bravely weird this movie is and I think that should be applauded. Camp, true outrageous camp, struggles to exist today in quite the same form. That’s a bit of a shame and I think that’s why this movie was worth a watch. Is it always perfect? No, but there’s something to experience in it that I don’t think should be missed. Love it or hate it, I invite you to watch this deliciously 90s camp gem with some spectacular sights to show you.
Join us in our latest discussion as Leigh ineloquently asks Brendan and Chris “How you watch?” After making sense of that, the Why Watch crew reflects on viewing habits in various settings and name drop movies or shows we’ve walked out on, fallen asleep to, or couldn’t stop watching. We also announce the penultimate movie of 2016- this time, it’s a movie that Leigh is looking forward to and Chris and Brendan are… well, we’ll worry about THAT in two weeks. As always, please give us some iTunes or Stitcher ratings and hit us up on yer fave social medias @whywatchpodcast and facebook.com/whywatchpodcast.
Pop in your glow-in-the-dark plastic fangs and pour yourself a glass of sangria as the Why Watch crew tackles their first Halloween feature! Rarely has the beloved vampire noise “BLEH” been more appropriate than as a descriptor for Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula, or at least as far as Brendan and Leigh are concerned. To serve as the oppositonal Van Helsing to their rubbery screaming vampire, Chris and special guest Michael Messina make their best attempts to argue the virtues of the film’s campy (?) weirdness, romantic aspirations, and the casting of human beagle Keanu Reeves. Can these four mortals reassemble this cinematic corpse into something more spooktacular? Wish us a happy Halloween by rating us on iTunes / Stitcher, following us at @whywatchpodcast, and liking us at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast.
What can truly be said about this movie that hasn’t already been said? The film is a cult legend and is one of the classic go-to titles when anyone talks about “so-bad-it’s-good.” It’s a true camp disaster. It’s the most aggressively un-sexy movie ever made about sex. Almost everything about it is disgusting and off-putting and it was a large part of the deathblow that put a studio into bankruptcy.
I love it. I love it so much.
They’re coming to get you, Barbra! Join Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as they sit in front of the fireplace in an old, abandoned house they broke into and have a scarifying discussion about what makes a movie 2spooky. Listen, if you dare, to the Why Watch crew talk about the difference between supernatural and realistic threats, the effective use of a haunting atmosphere, and the strange beauty of a dead body, like, bent up in a weird way or some shit. Then prepare yourselves for our upcoming Halloween episode and cocktail- perhaps a pina GHOULada? Sex on the SCREECH? BLOODY MARY BUT LIKE THE URBAN LEGEND? There is only one way to learn the shocking answer! Give us a fright at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast, stalk us @whywatchpodcast, and send us feedback via ouija board, iTunes, or Stitcher.
Take one part Glee, stir in a liberal helping of Mamma Mia!, mix with a drunken night at a Los Angeles karaoke bar, and what do you get? Something probably more entertaining than Rock of Ages, Adam Shankman’s ill-fated attempt to make a movie that 12-year-old girls, soccer moms, and heterosexual dudes can all see together. Rock out with the appropriately drunk Why Watch crew as they tackle two dull leads, Tom Cruise’s sexless performance, and the surprisingly effective romance between Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand. At the end of this Journey, will the film be too Poison to improve, or will the crew have everything coming up Guns N’ Roses? Listen to find out, and stick it to the man by rating us on iTunes / Stitcher, like us at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast, and follow us on Twitter @whywatchpodcast. ROCK ‘N ROLL!
How do you do, fellow kids? Grab your packs (both snack and back) and join Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as they travel way back (well, slightly back) in time to discuss teen / high school movies. Topics for today’s lesson will include the reality of the genre, the asexuality of Jughead, and a pitch from Leigh for a youth movie of our very own, as we are hip and happening! Prepare for an even greater trip back through time next time to the year of our births and a very alcohol-heavy themed drink to accompany our Journey (hint!). For extra credit, check us out at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast or follow us @whywatchpodcast and grade us on iTunes or Stitcher. Remember to show your work.
Embedded here for your viewing pleasure is exclusive footage from the world premiere of the beloved timeless musical smash, Eliza Rocks. Not since the gang bang sequence in Lars von Trier’s The Idiots has there been such a convoluted and nightmarish cinematic melange. Please… try to enjoy yourselves.
Go back to school with the Why Watch crew and the unfortunately irrepressible Lola (masterfully brought to life by Lindsay Lohan) in the schizophrenic 2004 teen comedy / musical / travesty Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen! Join Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as they discuss likability, fashion, and a spectacular musical version of Pygmalion that will have you saying “My Fair Lady? I’ve never heard of such a thing!” on the advice of your legal team while reaching for your three fruity alcoholic drinks. And remember, time may change us but you can trace timelines by liking us at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast and following us @whywatchpodcast on twitter.
Look, all of us have situations where you just can’t muster up the enthusiasm for something you’re supposed to do. Perhaps you do a half-assed job cleaning and only deign to vacuum the visible floor, leaving dust, detritus, and the rice of a dozen different culture’s delivery food under your coffee table. Perhaps you name your child John or Susan and think that’s good enough. Perhaps you spend your day at work writing about bad movies and drinks for your website instead of doing what you are ostensibly paid to be doing. The point is, sometimes people just don’t care.
Hey, guys! Look at this! Actual content! Well, sort of. Long before we started casting pods, we were watching bad movies and making themed cocktails just because we’re sadists / alcoholics. For our own benefit we decided to keep track of what we watched and what we drank, and since it’s all thematically apt, we’re going to start posting some of these previous creations here as Drink Pieces. These are all movies we have no plans (or desire) to ever revisit, so hopefully none of these drinks will ever turn up again in any capacity. ANYHOW!
Our first Drink Piece comes from way back in April of 2014 when we felt compelled for some reason to watch a movie produced by the WWE (née WWF) entitled No Holds Barred starring future Gawker bankrupter Hulk Hogan. Hogan stretches his tanned veiny acting chops in his starring role as Rip Thomas, a World Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Champion. Rip Torn must resist the contract offers of a sleazy executive (Kurt Fuller, masterfully playing against type) and fight Tiny Lister in a televised wrestling match or something.
Never watch this movie.
This week, sit in with two-thirds of the Why Watchers (thoughts and prayers to the absent Chris) as they see if they have the same dynamic while functioning at 66%! Banter with Brendan and Leigh as they muse about the gaps in their personal film histories and why they don’t really care about seeing Quentin Tarantino movies. A light minisode gives way to an even lighter and frothier movie to come, so get your martini glasses ready and your gag reflexes suppressed! Consider giving us some ratings on iTunes and Stitcher, follower our sad little twitter account @whywatchpodcast, and like us at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast.
What a bleak and horrible present we live in! Whatever happened to the optimistic vision of the future the Disney company promised us back in the 1950s? Well, very small parts of it are alive but not necessarily well in Brad Bird’s 2015 movie Tomorrowland. Join all of us at Why Watch and our special guest Brendan Nystedt as we discuss the evils of pessimism, the confusing history of Tomorrowland, and that whole objectivism thing that always shows up with Brad Bird’s movies. Also, make our own futures a little brighter and follow us @whywatchpodcast on twitter and like us at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast.
This week the Why Watch crew gets down and dirty (ew, not like that) with women in movies. Join as we talk about the good, the bad, and the future of women in film. And who knows, as we reveal our next movie, that future might be here sooner than we think… TOMORROW, perhaps? As always, we very politely ask that you please rate us on iTunes or Stitcher, like us at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast, follow us on Twitter @whywatchpodcast, and support the talented ladies who work in the film industry.
Celebrate the birth of America with the most confusing and apocalyptic vision of its end! Richard Kelly’s sprawling 2006 saga Southland Tales is perhaps the most bizarre and challenging film the Why Watch crew has seen so far, but we stayed up until 1 AM diagramming it on a big white board just so we could make sense of it all. If you enjoy discussions of morality, Biblical allusions, and SNL actors doing things you might not expect SNL actors to do, then this is the episode for you! If you have time on your day off, rate us on iTunes or Stitcher, like us at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast, follow us on Twitter @whywatchpodcast, and consider watching some classic July 4th films like The Music Man or The Warriors!
Ugh, those HOLLYWOOD HACKS can’t stop with these remakes, are we right? Leigh, Brendan, and Chris get together over drinks this week to discuss the nature of remakes and put forward those that we think have different sorts of worth. We also reveal the movie chosen to celebrate America for our Fourth of July extravaganza (hint: it is the craziest movie we have seen in a very long time) and put forth yet another drink recipe for your viewing pleasure. If you like what we do, rate us on iTunes or Stitcher, like us at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast, follow us on Twitter @whywatchpodcast, and give us hugs if you see any of us in person.
This week the Why Watch crew is joined by an old friend and guest from the west Meghan Coyne as we tackle Jack the Giant Slayer, a film from 2013 featuring CGI from 1993. Our hang up with dual protagonists comes back with a vengeance in this almost-perfect execution of that Holy Grail. Speaking of holy, monks worship beanstalks?! Also, Albion is England?! Listen to find out, or more likely be just as confused as we are. Don’t forget to follow us @whywatchpodcast on Twitter and at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast on Facebook.
Do you fear change? Well, apparently Leigh, Brendan, and Chris are at least okay with it, as they decide to try something slightly different with this mini episode. After introducing what our new movie will be, Leigh prompts a discussion about how movies make you feel certain emotions and whether or not this means a movie is doing something well. Join us as we attempt to answer this impromptu question and provide a drink recipe with actual proportions for once. As always, find us @whywatchpodcast on Twitter and at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast and give us love / grief.
In our third episode, we tackle the big questions, like “What went wrong with Bunraku?” and “Why did you make us sit through Bunraku?” and “What is this movie you keep calling Bunraku?” Listen to Leigh defend this East meets West martial arts mash-up singlehandedly over the voices of Brendan, Chris, and our special guest Matt Zazzarino. Also included: two drinks to help you get through the movie and a very misleading opening. Also consider stalking us @whywatchpodcast on Twitter and at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast on Facebook.
This mini episode introduces a bad movie you’ve probably never heard of, despite featuring a large cast of names you probably have heard of. To help get us through our next movie, we’ll provide the recipes for two drinks, one for each main character. Trust us, you should drink both before you attempt a viewing. As always, you can also find us @whywatchpodcast on Twitter, facebook.com/whywatchpodcast on Facebook, and on our website dratpack.com if you’re into pictures of drinks and stuff.
We return from the depths of 1990s nostalgia to discuss Hook, the 1991 Steven Spielberg “classic.” Be prepared for endless discussions about childhood, flights of fancy, and why this movie does neither well. Cap it off with a bunch of twenty-somethings trying to fix a movie that their entire generation seems to have a blind spot for, and baby, you got yourself our second episode. Additionally, you can follow us @whywatchpodcast on Twitter and like us at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast like the 90s kid you are.
On our second mini episode, we reveal our next scheduled movie / drink and discuss Spiked Seltzer, 90s nostalgia, and the untimely death of the screwball comedy genre. Join us again in two weeks for our next full-length episode, and please stalk on social media (@whywatchpodcast on Twitter or facebook.com/whywatchpodcast). Without constant validation, we will wither and die.
Our premiere episode attempts to tackle the wildly uneven 2013 movie The Lone Ranger. Can Brendan, Leigh, and Chris turn this $225 million study in color-blind casting into something more? Join us as we discuss whitewashing, fantastic action sequences, and the most unsettling framing device from any movie of this millennium. Also, we’re a little buzzed from the drinks. Be gentle, and check us out at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast and on Twitter at @whywatchpodcast.
Welcome to Why Did We Watch This! Every month, we’ll be asking ourselves that very question as we watch terrible, troubled, and turbid movies and ponder how they could have been saved. Join Leigh Delahanty, Brendan Drischler, and Chris Revelle as we desperately strive to be entertaining while going through the business of explaining our format and introducing our first Why Did We Watch This movie! If you like what we’re doing, please rate us on iTunes or Stitcher, follow us on Twitter @whywatchpodcast, or like us at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast.