What could be more timely than a comedy where a millennial sacrifices her entire identity to fulfil the mad whims of a wildly wealthy older white couple? Don’t worry! She’s white and kind of well off and doing this voluntarily, so it’s fun!!! Yes, it’s The Nanny Diaries, a film à clef based on the chick lit beach read where recent college graduate Scarlett Johansson for some flimsy reason chooses to be the live-in nanny to Laura Linney and part of Paul Giamatti while being wooed by privileged hunk Chris Evans. Do we really figure out what these reasons are, or why she won’t leave, or if this all is the sort of thing we really want to watch in the present climate? Not really! But we all had a wine spritzer cocktail we made for the occasion and then tried to make this movie into a better version of itself anyway, like the podcast equivalent of so many Donna Murphy guilt trips.
Author Archives: Why Watch
We continue our miniseries of indeterminable length with another movie that we enjoy watching JUST BECAUSE, Carl Reiner’s 1993 sex thriller parody, Fatal Instinct. Also we talk about parody movies in general and why some of them work better than others. And this one doesn’t always even work all the time! But hey, where else can you get Armand Assante and Sean Young screwing recklessly while spinning plates? Also we’re doing a summery chick-lit movie adaptation next, so get ready for that.
As the disgraced knight Bowen says, “Dreams die hard and you hold them in your hands long after they’ve turned to dust.” Similarly, when some of us revisited the 1996 fantasy / CGI test feature Dragonheart, we also found that our memories of a beloved childhood film had also turned to dust. Take away the once-impressive (?) computer-generated costar and you’re left with a pretty trite story bogged down with vague world-building and Dennis Quaid’s Irish (?) accent work. Can Leigh, Brendan, and Chris break down where exactly Dragonheart goes wrong and make it better again by putting half of their own hearts into the script or some similar strained metaphor? Can they drink the spiciest of all margaritas? Can they manage to talk about this movie without the air conditioner on? Listen and find out!
Look, we really enjoy watching a bad movie but sometimes even we have limits. So while everything in the world is going to hell, we thought maybe we should watch a GOOD movie that not all of us have seen. Ergo this exceedingly wordy minisode miniseries, Why Don’t We Watch This. And for our inaugural ep, we got some food and drinks and decided to watch the 1966 Cold War comedy, The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming. For some reason, a comedy about people panicking over impending doom felt weirdly apt. Also, we appreciate how Alan Arkin is a god-damned smokeshow in it and reveal our first fantastical summer movie episode. Listen, won’t you?
Nothing better reflects the state of the world right now than a bunch of ominous and spooky events that have no real relation to each other and keep getting worse and worse, and boy, does The Mothman Prophecies have that in spades! Leigh, Brendan, and Chris try to make sense of the vague supernatural nonsense, piece together what the hell is trying to be accomplished by the weird-for-weird’s-sake direction, and like, what’s Mothman’s deal anyway? Also like who is Indrid Cold? How’s he connected to all this? Why does he get off on impersonating Richard Gere and the non-Denzel Washington coach from Remember the Titans? Also, cocktails, cherries, Animal Crossing, etc. etc.
One way to get through your social distancing quarantine to watch a lot of movies, and another way is to wildly speculate about how these movies could have been changed in some way. That’s our whole thing! This time, we tweak that whole thing a little bit by speculating about what movies would have been like if they had a different director behind them. Join Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as they speculate about what The Death of Stalin, The Country Bears, and Birdman would have looked like with someone possibly more hilarious or possibly better suited overseeing the film. Also we reveal our spooky May movie and an equally spooky cocktail to go along with it. Spooky DELICIOUS, that is (we hope)!
What better way to spend your COVID-19 quarantine than by listening to a podcast about a 1991 Kathleen Turner movie that no one remembers? Join hard-drinking gumshoes Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as they dredge up the celluloid carcass of V.I Warshawski from the Chicago River and conduct a post-mortem to determine what killed the whole endeavor. Could it have been the lack of a compelling mystery, the crux of any ostensible detective story? Perhaps it was the movie’s constant need to trot out “colorful” supporting characters in order to make the world feel developed and lived in? Or maybe the lumbering pace which manages to somehow be both hard to follow and wildly simplistic? Spoiler alert, it was all of the above. A true Murder on the Orient Express ending. And of course, there’s a themed cocktail recipe that’s probably V.I. Warshawski-approved and we work through the five stages of stay-at-home grief for your entertainment.
Truly, there is no easier way to shake up a movie industry mired in the safe and predictable AND enrage a certain sector of the Internet than by swapping the gender of one or more of your film’s characters. It is, literally, the easiest way to increase the representation of women or make male characters mildly less dull- all you have to do is some simple find+replace in Final Draft. So what movies would have benefitted from such a switcheroo? Leigh, Brendan, and Chris rattle off a few such changes they think would improve their respective movies while also preparing to tackle the next full-length episode, one where a hard-drinking tough-as-nails detective is played by… A WOMAN??? Fetch your smelling salts and join in!
No, no, not that one! The 2008 remake of the 1951 sci-fi classic where an alien shows up and warns us all to knock it off with all the
nuclear warfare global warming. Except in this one the alien Klaatu doesn’t really warn us so much as he just… scowls and runs arounds. Klaatu is certainly portrayed by Keanu Reeves, who adds another notch next to “emotionless cypher who looks really great in a suit” on his checklist of performances. Also Jennifer Connelly and Jaden Smith are here too. Join Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as we get day drunk and discuss how this misbegotten remake got off on the wrong foot almost immediately and then offer some suggestions for how this could have possibly turned out slightly less dull than it did- more like Klaatu BOREada Nikto, amirite?
What better way to celebrate the final days of February the Month of Love than by discussing a rom-com that finally pairs up Fran Drescher and Timothy Dalton, the Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks of February 1997? That’s right, at long last someone is giving The Beautician and the Beast the attention it shrilly demands. After all, what could be more romantic than traveling to a small formerly-USSR country, falling in love with their oppressive leader, and doing it all in garish stilettos and midriff-bearing tops? Anyways, join Leigh, Brendan, and Chris for this detailed deconstruction of a movie that was somehow against all odd released in theaters, and be sure to listen two weeks from now when we cover a sci-fi movie with a couple that has just as uncomfortable chemistry.
Hold on to your monocles, dear listeners, because this 2008 rom-com is about to flip your preconceived notions of what a bridal party can be like so many mini kilts during the Highland games! Just imagine this- what if maid of honor… but a MAN? If that concept just split your sides, then suture them back up again because you’re most assuredly the target audience for this bland and conventional piece of cinematic fluff. Leigh, Brendan, and Chris enjoy a very Scotchy cocktail while covering the movie’s bad takes on men and women as a whole, once of the flimsiest preludes to a marriage in modern movie history, and a plot less substantial than mist on the moors of Scotland. All this and dating sim discussions too? It surely is a Valentine’s Day episode!
THE WHY WATCH CREW SPEAK! One month after Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker premiered to a resounding critical “Oof,” Leigh, Brendan, and Chris finally do what every other podcast did like two weeks ago and gather together to try to make sense of whatever the hell that movie was supposed to be. Spoiler alert: it’s not great! There’s a lot of J.J. Abrams nonsense to sift through here, like the nebulous time-wasting questing and what the hell the Emperor is doing here alive and why won’t the spaceship battles take place in space??? Also next up is our annual Month of Love February Rom-Com so at the very least you’ll have a movie that tries to earn its kiss at the ending this time.
Dans notre dernier épisode de Why Did We Watch This, nous tournons notre regard critique vers la France et leur film Le Pacte des Loups de 2001, qui présente de nombreux acteurs français et une monstruosité générée par ordinateur recouverte d’une armure de cuir. Et apparemment, ce n’est pas un film de loup-garou! Quel titre trompeur! Rejoignez Leigh, Brendan et Chris alors qu’ils sirotent du vin chaud (très bien!) tout en discutant du rythme bizarre, de la parodie qui est la perte de Mani et d’un dispositif de cadrage vraiment étrange qui pourrait servir à souligner les thèmes du film mais décide de ne pas vraiment. Ne vous inquiétez pas non plus, cet épisode est en Anglais. Nous ne sommes pas capables de faire fonctionner ce bit sans l’aide de Google Translate.
As always at this time of the year, we are tired and have a bunch of other stuff to worry about, like shopping for presents and the distressingly low box office intake of Cats. So, we present for you all our annual year in review where we talk about our favorite and least favorite movies and drinks. Also since we forgot to mention in the actual episode, we’re kicking off 2020 with Brotherhood of the Wolf. Oops. Well, happy new year to you all regardless.
Snow hides a lot. It’s like the Spanx of weather. And ironically, no amount of snow (and there ain’t much) can hide the problems of Netflix’s 2019 holiday ephemera offering, Let It Snow. Yes, friends, it’s yet another direct-to-streaming Christmas movie, this time a baby Love Actually set in a midwestern town that seems to shut down in a panic upon receiving two inches of snow. Cozy up with a mulled cider cocktail as Leigh, Brendan, and Chris take an in-depth look at every segment of the movie, the differences between the film and the book (and oh are they many), and a character who may have finally usurped the place in our hearts Prom‘s Rolo once held. All this and Joan Cusack covered in tinfoil, too!
At what point is a mini episode no longer a mini episode? Probably at this point. This point, when you have what is ostensibly a “mini” episode that’s longer than some of our actual episodes. In our defense, there’s a lot to cover here! With the Christmas season upon us, Leigh, Brendan, and Chris gather in front of a roaring fire to discuss the glut of direct-to-streaming-service holiday movies available at your fingertips. From the twisting supernatural romantic thriller The Spirit of Christmas to the sack of garbage topped with a festive bow that is Santa Girl to some movie Disney dumped on their new streaming service when it became apparent no one would pay to see it, we run the gamut of these Christmas flicks of questionable quality. Also we talk a lot about Netflix’s attempt to horn in on this racket by use of Vanessa Hudgens and movies where everyone is horny AF for the holidays. Aptly, we also announce the movie we’ll be doing for our impending 50th episode and wouldn’t you know it it’s also a Netflix Christmas movie. WE SIMPLY CANNOT GET ENOUGH OF THE HOLIDAYS.
For this episode, we take you back to the halcyon days of 2014, when it seemed like a novel idea to make a live-action adaptation of a Disney animated movie but a slightly more stale idea to make it like Wicked but Sleeping Beauty. That’s right, we’re talking about Maleficent, Disney’s revisionist fairy tale starring Angelina Jolie’s prosthetic cheekbones and that guy from District 9 who we were all kinda into for a brief period. Leigh, Brendan, and Chris all find out that despite what they initially thought and believed, it’s not that bad of a movie! Well, aside from some of the weird choices made regarding the non-Maleficent parts, and so as usual fixes are offered over a round of Princess Aurora-level sweet cocktails. So you see, the movie is not quite as you remember, and we should know, for we are the ones who are doing this podcast called Why Did We Watch This.
In our latest mini-episode, we we cover the sequel to a movie we’ll be doing for our next full-length episode. It’s like Memento, but instead of your favorite Christopher Nolan trappings it’s got Angelina Jolie and her prosthetic cheekbones. That’s right, we paid money to see Maleficent: Mistress of Evil in theaters, which is more than most of America is doing. Join Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as we discuss a whole secret island full of Maleficents, Michelle Pfeiffer’s underdeveloped and vague motivations, and also how we can pretty much wave away genocide attempts once the person responsible is turned into a goat.
For our Halloween spooktacular this year, we’re not going to be a ghost movie podcast, but a podcast with ghost movies in it. And if that means anything to you, you may be familiar with Crimson Peak, Guillermo del Toro’s 2015 half-written love letter to gothic fiction that Universal Studios would really rather prefer you to think was a horror movie. Leigh, Brendan, and Chris whip up a tea cocktail that is certainly NOT poison and an accompanying tray of high tea terrors while they discuss the movie’s uneven tone, total lack of surprises, and the multiple red flags that Jessica Chastain displays throughout the movie that REALLY should have tipped everyone off much earlier. Also Charlie Hunnam just won’t stop being in del Toro movies for some reason. Happy Halloween!
It’s finally happened. We’ve run out of things to say about scary movies for Halloween. It’s a real kick to the shins, it is! Anyhow, in lieu of that and springing from a tangent about horror films, we all talk about the things in film that make us not want to see a movie with no further information needed. No matter how open minded we try to be about these things, there’s always a genre, director, or actor who will stop us in our tracks and make us cry to the heavens “WILL NOT WATCH!” Also we’re planning a creepy high tea for our October episode spooktacular, so check out our latest mini and get ready to be immersed in a movie that has so much atmosphere the gravity eventually crushes the plot and character into a Gothic singularity.
For our extra special forty-seventh episode (sure, why not?), we’re trying something no podcast has surely ever tried before- having two special returning guests to total FIVE white people talking over each other about a movie. It’s okay, though, since three are women and that’s still more than any other podcast has ever had on together at the same time. And what a movie for us all to discuss! We tackle Leigh and special guest Meg’s nostalgic fave, Danny Boyle’s 1997 romantic (?) screwball (??) dark comedy (?!?), A Life Less Ordinary. There’s a lot to chew on here, from Holly Hunter’s boundless enthusiasm for a bizarre role, Cameron Diaz’s questionable character traits, and Ewan McGregor’s, uh, general weird British late 90s mod nonsense. To wash this movie and our suggestions for improving it down, we also made a pretty tart cocktail. And pretty soon, we’ll be spooning it down and asking for more like all the other kids.
Friends, nostalgia is the most dangerous drug and none of us can get enough of it! But, for about forty minutes anyway, Leigh, Brendan, and Chris will doff their nostalgia goggles and discuss times they revisited a movie they loved growing up and later revisited. Will it hold up like so many movies broadcasted incessantly on Comedy Central in the early 90s? Or will it be more like rewatching the 1995 classic Mighty Morphing Power Rangers: The Movie, a feat so deeply upsetting that all you can do is call your parents after and apologize for making them take you to see it? Either way, we get another blast from the past next episode where we tackle a movie from Leigh’s formative years with some friends from our own yesteryears. Rest assured, the goggles will be off for that one.
Nothing says instant chemistry like the classic pairing of a heterosexual woman and a gay man, the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup of our modern complicated times. And nothing makes a more compelling case for why this premise alone is not enough to hang a story on than 2015’s Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List, a movie that’s as wildly unlikable and messy as the millennial burdens at its peanut butter center. Leigh, Brendan, and Chris play an equally juvenile drinking game while discussing the movie’s incomprehensible structure, the gaping black holes of charisma that anchor the story, and how odd it is to call your movie Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List and then not really focus too much on Ely or the No Kiss List. Also there’s a weird public domain rip-off of “Pour Some Sugar on Me” that truly can’t be adequately explained without hearing it.
Finally, an entire episode dedicated to the songs and performances of Tone Loc! Whether it’s “Funky Cold Medina” or showing up for one scene in FernGully: The Last Rainforest, Tone Loc has- oh, wait, never mind. It’s about tone. Tone in cinema. Like movies feeling “big” or “intimate” and the cultural and critical baggage that entails, that kind of thing. Also our upcoming back-to-school movie and a game we’re playing with various nips and mixers to make it a lot more watchable (because boy is it not watchable).
In Hollywood, nothing is a more surefire hit than an adaptation of a book from the 1890s that the majority of your audience probably haven’t read but are maybe familiar with just from cultural osmosis. Once you’ve locked in this successful blockbuster, be sure to alienate fans of the source material by also removing any sort of subtext or metaphor that the original novel had so that no one ends up getting exactly that they want. Mix that all up with some bronze filters and you get 2002’s The Time Machine, directed by the great-grandson of H. G. Wells so you know it’s going to work out! Leigh, Brendan, and Chris drink some era-appropriate cocktails and discuss the plausibility of the time travel itself, the changes made for the movie, and why the Morlocks look so expensive yet so very mediocre. Remember, if you listen to our podcast, by the time you’ve finished you’ll be in THE FUTURE. Truly, there can be no more exciting hook.
Whether telling an impossible ad intellectually-stimulating tale using the realities available to us through science fiction or wringing jokes from a mom wanting to fuck her son who was sent back in time by his elderly scientist friend using wildly unsafe experiments funded by aiding international terrorists, time travel movies have been an important part of film history for decades. As a prelude to our upcoming episode with deals with a certain MACHINE that can travel through TIME, Leigh, Brendan, and Chris discuss their favorite time travels movies, the different kinds of time travel movies, and what makes a compelling time travel movie. Also, we talk about Primer. Anyhow, join us next TIME for a science-fiction romp through the ages you won’t soon forget (not a guarantee).
With all the political turmoil that surrounds us every waking moment of our lives, what better way to forget your troubles than an action movie with Clive Owen and Naomi Watts where, uh, it turns out it’s not really an action movie but a windy conspiracy thriller about how a large untouchable bank is making the entire world miserable just for the sake of profits? Yes, it turns out The International is not the gun-shooting cross-country trip we were made to believe it was by the advertisements, but oh well, we’re committed to this thing now. Join Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as they discuss the at-times nebulous plot, the shifting stakes, and whether or not everything would have just ended the same had Clive Owen not done anything at all in the last act. Don’t worry, we’ll do something dumber next time around.
For this mini episode, we decided to do something a little different and play a game that would lead to discussion. Well, it’s kind of a game and kind of a discussion, but not like in the strict sense of either. Well, there are actually aspects of both to it, but- look, we work from a list of capital-I Important Films and ask those amongst us who have NOT seen the movie in question to try their best and guess what the movie is actually about based off what they do know of it. Look, why are you reading this anyway when you could just listen to it? We don’t deviate a WHOLE lot because we also do talk about our upcoming conspiracy thriller movie and what we hope is a sufficiently globe-trotting drink to accompany it. But we’ve never seen this movie, so uh… we’ll see how all that goes!
“I’m here to reap souls and eat peanut butter, and I’m all out of peanut butter!” says Brad Pitt as Death as he shows up at Anthony Hopkins’s door, shortly before macking on his vacant-eyed daughter and mocking old Jamaican ladies. Or something like that. Leigh, Brendan, and Chris pour some classy cocktails and sit through all three hours of this ponderous meditative slog, then discuss the source material, what exactly the movie is trying to say, and why the hell it’s so damned long. At the end of it all, the most important thing to remember is that this podcast is still only about 40% as long as the movie it discusses, and you can’t beat a bargain like that.
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.