With the impending summer movie season upon us all, Leigh, Brendan, and Chris decide to kick it off with a mini episode about when movies make you cry and scared and feel stuff. Mostly the first one, I think because we were all in a certain mood seeing how the movie we’re doing next is a delightful romp about death and life and all that frivolity. Also we prepare a recipe for a classy cocktail that can hopefully get us all through a movie with a three-hour runtime. You can probably all guess what it is without listening to this. No, it’s not Endgame.
Author Archives: Why Watch
As the weather becomes more pleasant and your social media timelines are full of endless memes about how it’s gonna be May, only one thing is on the mind of America- unquestionably, the prom! Whether you’re a high school senior, some sophomore who really shouldn’t be involved in all this anyway, or a lumpy and uncompassionate adult, the prom is probably the thing around which your entire life has revolved. And frankly, that’s all the reasoning Disney needed to make a movie about it, with very little regard for anything else like plot or compelling characters or stakes. Leigh, Brendan, and Chris gear up for the end of the school year by watching and discussing this 2011 teen comedy and drinking a spiked punch to keep their whole high school dance theme going. Listen, won’t you, and relive your own heady prom night (assuming your prom night was a chaste PG affair in your high school’s gym and absolutely NO ONE had sex before, during, or after it).
Disney took an old film of great acclaim
Can you imagine that?
And made a sequel that’s more of the same
Can you imagine that?
New actors but a similar plot
In some ways charming but sort of not
There’s decent choreography but also BMX
What was with those guys biking on the ramps?
When Leigh saw that sequence on a plane she said we had to chat
So we all watched this Poppins pic
Then we recorded this right quick
Can you imagine that?
For this episode, Leigh, Brendan, and Chris discuss a stirring biopic that tells the story of Ethan Hawke’s mother Leslie and the struggles of raising a young child alone while- wait, sorry, it’s not that, it’s a very 80s medieval movie with all the perils of a fairy tale adaptation despite not actually being based on any existing one. We talk about the rules of the world, the many paper-thin characters, and oh god that score, that score. In keeping with the duality of the movie, we also have two drinks to accompany it. You may need them both to help you swallow the soundtrack.
Whether you’re a movie maker, a dungeon master, or just some kid who is haphazardly slapping together some Legos without any sort of regard for the instructions and DAMMIT TEDDY THAT IS SUPPOSED TO BE THE TAJ MAHAL DOES THAT LOOK AT ALL LIKE THE TAJ MAHAL TO YOU???, world building is a big thing to consider. Leigh, Brendan, and Chris talk about world building as it relates to movies, from good ones that do it well, bad ones that do it well, and the different ways to dump loads of exposition on your audience without them tuning out to check their TikTok or whatever it is the kids are doing now. We also reveal our upcoming movie, something that traffics heavily in world building itself, and the TWO drinks we’ll make for it because duality is a thing for this movie.
Ladies and gentlemen! We have gathered you all here in the accusing car because there has been a murder! Thankfully, we only lost Johnny Depp, so… don’t strain yourselves trying to work out who may have done it. Leigh, Brendan, and Chris don their mustache guards to discuss 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express, directed by / starring / production designed within an inch of its life by Kenneth Branaugh. We discuss the bizarrely convoluted mystery (which is dependent upon 13 people from various countries and relations to a criminal case being assembled in the same place at the same time and all ready to get stabby), the generally great performances, and the reconfiguration of Hercule Poirot into a character who could actually run short distances without getting winded. As always, subscribe or review on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher, and remember that any potential murders you may want to commit are more fun when you invite a bunch of casual acquaintances to join in.
As a prelude to our Mystery March episode (which is a thing we just made up now), Leigh, Brendan, and Chris talk about detectives in pop culture, be they Sherlock Holmes or, uh, other. Also there’s some stuff about whether or not you should be able to solve a mystery while watching / reading it and a lot of stuff with TV procedurals. Anyway, you’ve got two weeks to start growing a ridiculous mustache for our next episode’s mystery movie.
What could possibly be more charming than having a late 19th century duke show up in your Manhattan apartment, offering you all of that 1870s class with none of that 1870s misogyny / racism / chauvinism? Very little aside from perhaps the scent of warm brioche smothered in marmalade and fresh creamery butter, posits James Mangold’s 2001 romcom Kate & Leopold. Leigh, Brendan, and Chris watch their annual Valentine’s Day movie with a drink worthy of a mid-tier budget television commercial and discuss the vague logistics of time travel, the challenges of making a romantic comedy where the guy is from an era before civil rights were a thing, and a case when a director’s cut makes a movie horribly unsettling. We all hope that you out there have a Valentine’s Day less objectionable than this movie, and with 100% less time travel-induced incest.
Because we spent our last mini episode doing our customary new year nothingness, we bumped a discussion about Shakespeare adaptations to this mini episode instead. It still works! Anyway, Leigh leads a group discussion about the various movie versions of Shakespeare plays, be they mostly faithful to the text and setting or something set in a high school with the great sounds of the 90s permeating throughout. We also determine our Valentine’s Day romcom and an appropriately dairy-based drink to go with it, and there’s a lot of bird noises.
Finally, a film adaptation that combines the quiet contemplations of William Shakespeare’s final play with the visual goofiness of Julie Taymor! Taymor brings her trademark sense of “how many effects can you add in post before the screen melts” to this 2010 take on The Tempest, most notable for casting Helen Mirren in the gender-bent role of Prospera and maybe also for covering a naked Ben Whishaw’s junk with a flat Ken doll-esque mound. Leigh, Brendan, and Chris discuss the changes that result from the gender swap, the Caliban problem, and what the fuck is the scene where Ariel is enormous and playing with a ship in the sea while setting it on fire and wait now there’s like three of him??? As always, you can like us at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast and rate us on iTunes and Stitcher. HELL IS EMPTY AND ALL THE DEVILS ARE HEAAAAHHHHH
As is our wont, we were feeling very lazy at the end of the calendar year and just recorded us talking about our favorite and least favorite movies and drinks of 2018. Two weeks from now we’ll be ready to work again, we promise. Happy New Years!
Now that December is well upon us, there’s little better to do than make some sort of hot alcoholic drink and watch pleasant Christmas nonsense while your brain goes into a stupor until 2019. Keeping that in mind, we decided to pick some new vague Christmas nonsense to cover for our annual holiday episode, the Netflix original movie The Christmas Chronicles, which has Kurt Russell as Santa and that’s about all that’s noteworthy here. Leigh, Brendan, and Chris sip their piping-hot Santa Daddies (no, it’s a drink) and discuss Kurt Russell’s admirably entertaining performance, the problems of the Santa mythos in a movie, and those ungodly CGI elves that will forcibly replace the visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads for many a Christmas to come. Anyway, you all might as well relax and drink until Christmas too. Happy holidays!
Now that it’s well past Thanksgiving, we’re at the glorious time of year where Christmas movies are being thrown at the you like some festive, pleasantly bland spaghetti against a wall. Be they movies about journalists who meet a prince on Christmas or bakers who meet a prince on Christmas or kids who meet a fuckable Santa on Christmas, the options abound and yet for the most part aren’t all that good. SO, we said to ourselves, why not try to come up with a pitch for our own Christmas movie and share with the group??? So we did. We’ve got a contemporary follow-up to The Nutcracker, a story about a magical advent calendar that is certainly NOT the same as that Netflix one, and a bunch of people spending the Christmas holiday at a fancy hotel where hijinks ensue. Join us again in two weeks for our festive Christmas special where we’ll tackle one of the aforementioned holiday movies. Start counting down on your magical, life-altering advent calendars!
In a world where supernatural young adult series were flying off the shelves of a Borders near you, your dad’s second-favorite airport novelist thought “Hey, why not more money for Dean Koontz?” Then the director of The Mummy and Van Helsing had a similar thought with the name “Stephen Sommers” in place of Koontz’s, and that’s how we got the underwhelming 2013 supernatural mystery movie Odd Thomas. Leigh, Brendan, and Chris continue their trend of doing semi-spooky movies each November by drinking an Odd Thomas Collins and discussing the movie’s use of translucent snot-demons, the worst-written female character yet encountered, and how the deeply-missed Anton Yelchin was even good in this somehow. As always, you can go online to rate us, like us, and validate us. We promise to be less offensive to your ears than the dialogue in this movie. STUFFIN’! Continue reading
It’s November, and as all these posters of Keira Knightley topped in cotton candy indicate, the Christmas movie season has well and truly begun! When Leigh, Brendan, and Chris sat through The Nutcracker in 3D two years ago, they mentioned a Disney adaptation of the story currently in pre-production. Now, in 2018, this movie has somehow become The Nutcracker and the Four Realms and boy is it somehow both exactly what you’d expect and also not really at all. Fresh out of a screening, the crew try to gather their thoughts as best as they can to discuss the handful of things that did work (Keira Knightley’s bizarre acting choices, the basic idea of the story, the physical production design) and the many things that did not work (uh, most everything else). Join us in two weeks as we dip back into some spooky Autumnal nonsense with a Dean Koontz adaptation and an odd drink. Très chic!
Nothing says “we are in the thick of October, that which is widely considered the spookiest month of the year” like facing your fears, whether they are the loss of a loved one or that one wooden roller coaster you didn’t want that time at the fair or whatever. Well, be sure to safely fasten your overhead bar, because for our annual Halloween Spooktacular we watch the thrilling padded-to-feature-length-from-a-Stephen-King-short-story movie Riding the Bullet. Join Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as they discuss this horribly slight story about a college student hitchhiking to see his hospitalized mom one night in 1969 and also there’s ghosts and stuff. We focus on the thing the movie does well (atmosphere?), the things (plural) it does poorly (mostly everything else?), talk about how we’d make this ambling wisp of a movie better, and play a fun new game to create potentially horrible shots. As always, rate us, like us, subscribe to us, and remeber- in the end, nobody lives forever, but we all shine on.
As the spookiest month of the year draws over us like a wet musty towel, Leigh, Brendan, and Chris decide to talk about their favorite atmospheres in movies. From the vibes that excel at bringing you into the world of the movie to the ones that are tied into a specific emotion or time of year, we toss them all about! We’ll be back in two weeks with a more specifically spooky movie (well, sort of spooky sometimes) and a new type of themed cocktail challenge to accompany it. In the meantime as always you can like us on Facebook and rate us on iTunes and Stitcher.
What would you get if you set out to make a sequel to a cult movie that has a tenuous connection to the original movie, a wildly different plot and tone, only half of the same actors, and four or five of the same characters? Well, you’d probably end up with something like 1981’s Shock Treatment, the sort-of-not-quite-sequel to the midnight movie favorite The Rocky Horror Picture Show. See, instead of focusing on old horror movies and glam rock and Americana, Shock Treatment sort of focuses on, um, reality TV before it existed and consumerism and Reaganesque Americana. How will Leigh, Brendan, and Chris pitch a version of this movie that lends coherence and clarity to this ambitious but wildly messy and inconsistent musical? Well, it will involve a discussion over a sour cocktail, so, uh, listen and you’ll get the rest of the answer. HOOPLA!
Autumn seems to have finally descended on Boston (for the time being), but when we recorded this it was very hot and we had all had a busy few weeks so we’re pretty much just telling you what to expect two weeks from now (it’s the not-sequel-but-also-a-sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, spoiler alert). Also Leigh tries to remember the Jeff Wayne musical version of The War of the Worlds, which we haven’t ever really listened to. OH WELL SEE YOU ALL IN TWO WEEKS!
More than perhaps any other filmmaker, Tarsem Singh has masterfully demonstrated that no matter how bad a movie is, it can at least look visually stunning. With such an embarrassment of riches of gorgeous garbage to choose from, we watched his 2011 live-action adaption of the inside cover of an Everworld novel, Immortals. Starring an at-the-time-less-expensive Henry Cavill and an at-the-time-sensible-casting-choice Mickey Rourke, Immortals throws a bunch of mythic nonsense into into a dark gold filter and narratively throws its hands up in apathy. Leigh, Brendan, and Chris discuss the hunky white gods, the murky-yet-appealing aesthetics, and the cruddy characterization while downing cocktails and offering three ideas on how to make this movie at least mildly dramatically coherent. Remember, you too can witness hell by liking Why Did We Watch This on Facebook and rating us on iTunes or Stitcher!
This past Friday, we decided to partake in an activity our livers would not thank us for and watch the “original” “musical” “classic” Mamma Mia! at home with a Greek sangria and then see the prequel / sequel Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again in theaters while also drinking heavily. We had some initial thoughts about the movie a few weeks back and we’re all now kinda ashamed to admit that MM!HWGA is kinda… good??? And fun??? And not a complete train wreck??? Anyway, please enjoy our random thoughts about the movie, and forgive us for the end just sort of cutting out due to some technical difficulties, but it was late and we were tipsy and most of what we thought is here!
We’re deep in the thick of summer, and there’s no better way to beat the heat than watching a movie you’ve never heard of in a language you don’t speak with a lot of cultural references that will be lost on you. Leigh, Brendan, and Chris take things in a very different direction this episode with the 2012 Indian romance musical Teri Meri Kahaani (also known as The Story of You and Me or Two Actors in Search of a Fully-Developed Character Arc). Pour yourself a glass of a questionable-looking tamarind cocktail as we discuss each of the three segments in this movie, the perils of social media-based song and dance, and how to make a more tonally-consistent and less improbable romantic musical. Also, the usual, Facebook, iTunes, Stitcher, burger HAHAHAHA.
Sure, we all know sequels might not be as good as the original, but for this minisode we want to take a look at the least-likely sequels clearly made in a desperate attempt to grab cash. Leigh, Brendan, and Chris discuss ones where the lead(s) refused to returns, movies that had a premise that could not easily allow for a sequel, and the ill-fated attempts to make sequels to a successful adaptation of a stage musical (be sure to see Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again only in theaters July 20th). We’re also doing a very different sort of movie and drink for our next episode, so check in then for our own example of diminishing returns!
It’s the exciting vaguely-European future adventures of two pouty space teens who are apparently in love but look like siblings! That’s right, we’re discussing Luc Besson’s 2017 tax write-off, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets! Join Leigh, Brendan, Chris and a tiny alien that poops out multiple copies of whatever you feed it as they cover the weird tangental structure, the outstanding world building, and the wildly inconsistent characters. We also tried to make a frozen cocktail that melted upon blending, but if nothing else watching this movie has given us plenty of experience with disappointment so it all works out okay. Rather than insisting you marry us for no apparent reason, you can always rate and subscribe on Apple Podcasts and Stitcher, like us at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast and visit us at dratpack.com. Our thoughts and prayers go with you. Godspeed, and good luck.
We once again try something different for a mini episode and tackle a recent video game release in our discussion. That’s right, we’re tackling David Cage’s Detroit: Become Human. Leigh leads Chris and Brendan on an in-depth analysis of Cage’s previous games, the twists of the plot, and the very deep well-conceived themes hidden in the game. For example, did you know the robots are analogous to people of color? Well, they are and it’s a very subtle comparison! As usual we also introduce our upcoming movie, an international flop of historic proportions, and offer you a hard drink to wash it all down with. You know the other stuff: like on Facebook, and rate and subscribe on Apple Podcasts and Stitcher.
An anonymous woman calls a sexy twenty-something on his cell phone and tells him unless he can help her, she and her family will be killed. Sound like a solid hook? Sure, as long as you avoid a lot of the other nonsense that gets thrown at you, like backstory, characters, and logistics. For our first summer blockbuster, Leigh, Brendan, Chris and returning guest Meghan Coyne watch the 2004 thriller Cellular starring Chris Evans, Kim Basinger, William H. Macy and a bunch of muscles sculpted into vaguely humanoid shapes. Join us as we sip our refreshing Gin RAZRs and try to punch up a not-so-great movie that we all kinda enjoyed, Dat Phan be damned. As always, you can mysteriously call us at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast or download and rate our show on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.
As three weirdos who make it a point to watch movies every four weeks for this podcast, Leigh, Brendan, and Chris naturally have a lot of specific occasions we like to watch other movies on, be it a holiday or that time in everyone’s high school career where some teacher made you watch Remember the Titans. We talk about the times we watch certain movies and the movies we like to watch on those times, and we also get off topic a lot because this was a very loose topic we came up very suddenly. Also we have a lovely summer drink recipe for a lovely dumb summer movie coming up two weeks from now. As with every occasion you listen to us, you can like us at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast or rate us on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.
If you’ve ever wanted to see lovingly-sexualized hairy aliens played by Jeff Goldblum, Jim Carrey, and Damon Wayans try to fuck Geena Davis, then wow do you have some oddly specific fantasies. For everyone else, though, there’s Earth Girls Are Easy, a bubbly slice of pop nonsense designed presumably to inform future generations of what living in the 1980s must have been like. Leigh, Brendan, and Chris down several shots and discuss their love of alien quirks, what kind of quasi-musical this is, and how dumb every woman in this movie seems to be. All this, and somehow Jim Carrey is weirdly attractive too! Have a mental margarita and like us at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast and rate us on Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. YEAH YEAH YEAH
Fandoms! They’re the inescapable parasite that our franchise-heavy movie world must support, lest all of the major studios crumble into dust. In this episode, Leigh, Brendan, and Chris talk about all the horrifying aspects of fandoms that have reared their ugly, shrieking, appeasement-seeking heads. From gatekeeping to temper fits to the mysoginistic dregs that flow through the Internet, we poke them all with pointed sticks and muse on the world they have left in their wake. Also it’s not all gloom and doom, because there’s a whopping three drinks for the frothy inanity of a movie we’ll be tacking next time, so enjoy that part! As always, subscribe and rate on Apple Podcasts and Stitcher and like us at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast. What have you got to lose???
We could tell you that the audio for this episode is a reference to our movie’s low budget DIY sensibility, but that would be an outright lie, and we respect you too much to do that to you. Instead, we apologize for this episode’s iffy audio and blame our microphone settings. Hopefully, none of it will deter too much from the quirky indie sensibilities of Hal Hartley’s 2006 sequel, the spy thriller satire (?!?!) Fay Grim. Never seen the movie that precedes it? Don’t worry, it won’t matter if you had! Leigh, Brendan, and Chris discuss the futility of criticizing auteur projects, the risks of satirizing something you are unable to actually make, and the saving grace that is Parker Posey. We hope you can choke down all this chatter and the thematically bitter cocktail too. Sorry, that’s just the kinda guys we are. Rate our endeavors online, like us at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast, and subscribe on Apple Podcasts and Stitcher.