In which we play a new game for the holidays, much like a gang of jolly penniless friends as a Victorian England Christmas party (except it’s about Hallmark movies which would have undoubtedly perplexed and befuddled the average citizen of that time period). There’s nouns and adjectives and drawing paper from hats and improvising the plots of Hallmark Christmas movies, and truly what more could you want? Also we briefly talk about our annual Christmas traditions (i.e. our upcoming Christmas movie and the mulled wine we will be drinking to accompany it).
Author Archives: Why Watch
Finally, we answer the question that has plagued humanity for like 15 years or so- who watches Watching the Detectives? Also, what is Watching the Detectives and is there a good reason no one has heard of it despite the pretty great cast? To fully dive into these difficult conundrums, we Unite the Five and drag out good friends / returning guests Meghan Coyne and Faith Johnson to dissect this 2007 romantic (?) comedy (??) starring Cillian Murphy, Lucy Liu, and a surprising amount of other funny randos. What makes this movie fail at nearly everything it attempts to do? What separates a screwball comedy heroine homage from a shitty manic pixie dream girl? Were the producers of this movie right to bury it in a New Jersey landfill so that no one would ever know this lame attempt existed? Also, how do you make a themed cocktail for a movie when the internet has mislead you as to what this movie is actually about? Well, you try your best. Now, please join us in listening to us talking about us watching Watching the Detectives.
With Halloween in our rearview mirrors and the evil demonic spirits we brought to our mortal realm after spending the night in that haunted house safely turned to statues when the first rays of dawn touched them, we can focus on the future: movies that we thought would suck but then didn’t! Now that we have created a Horrible New Normal and studios are starting to put bloated expensive crap back in theaters where it belong, Leigh, Brendan, and Chris discuss movies they saw that they fully expected to not be good but somehow were. You can call this the Paddington Principle. Also we start preparing for our next full-length episode, with a few old friends returning for a movie no one has ever heard and a autumnal update of a hardboiled gumshoe standby to drink along with it.
For our annual Halloween Spooktacular episode, we dredge the the cruddy marshes of early-2000s horror films and pull up 2005’s White Noise, a real piece of crap you might be dimly aware of because Michael Keaton was in it. Keaton stars as a widower who believes he can hear his dead wife speaking to him through the static of his phone, prompting him to phone in his performance for the next 70 minutes. Get yourself into a suitably spooky mood (but not too spooky because this isn’t really much of a horror movie despite all evidence to the contrary) and listen to Leigh, Brendan, and Chris moan about the movie’s weird understanding of electronic voice phenomenon, its steadfast commitment to ensuring no character aside from Michael Keaton have an identity or wants, and how it winds up being a pilot for a CBS procedural for about half of the running time. Also we make a white Russian because of course what else would you make for this, and get slowly drunker as we all pitch our own versions of this that are inevitably more suited to being a “horror movie.” Also please don’t listen to the silent parts of this podcast at boosted volumes lest you hear a bunch of grumpy ghosts naming streets near you.
In our latest minisode game premise, Leigh combs through the dregs of forgotten early cinema for movie names that seem just implausible enough and combines them with a list of her own fictional titles, then forces Brendan and Chris to wrack their brains in an attempt to determine which ones are real and which ones are fake. Games are fun and they don’t require all of us to do preparation for an episode (just Leigh), so we hope you like this frivolous bit of nonsense (and that you still like things similar to it when we try to do it again at some point). Also we try a really bizarre flavor of ice cream from a local ice cream parlor because why not and we introduce our upcoming 2021 Halloween Spooktacular movie! It sounds pretty crummy! Get spooked!
It’s September, which means it’s back to school season, which means that we get to drink our way through a really crappy movie about high schoolers! In our latest episode, Leigh, Brendan, and Chris watch sad sack misfit Freddie Highmore mope his through his senior year of high school in 2011’s The Art of Getting By. That is to say, he would be moping his way through it if he hadn’t neglected to do pretty much any of his school work for the whole year, having I guess not realized that this might somehow negatively affect him or something, whatever. Also there’s a whole lot of emotions and Emma Roberts shows up to teach Freddie Highmore that if a blank slate of a girl loves you, I guess it fixes your depression or something. We discuss our own teen angst, the horrible horrible characters, and we throw together a cocktail at the last minute in a manner befitting Freddie’s insufferable baby slacker character. Can any amount of alcohol and creative fixes actually improve this movie? Listen and find out!
As the Summer of Weddings closes, we decide to put some fresh eyes on some of the depictions of adulthood from movies and TV we watched and loved as kids versus how we feel about them today (surprise, we hate them!). Mostly, it’s a great excuse for Leigh to force Brendan and Chris to watch the truly cringeworthy film Dream for an Insomniac. Perhaps it should have been obvious to 12-year-old Leigh, but any movie that sets you on a beret phase is probably not a movie you should be sourcing any aspirational ideas of adulthood from.
Quick! What would you do if you were secretly in love with your horrible best friend’s fiancee for years and never told him, but then he told you he was also in love with you for years and never told you, but he seems to have no real interest in figuring out what he wants to do and his wedding is quickly approaching and also Jim Halpert keeps yelling at you? If your answer was “dither for weeks while indulging in flashbacks and refusing to make any of your own choices,” then congratulations, you’re as well-equipped as the idiots in this movie are. Join Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as we conclude our Summer of Weddings with 2011’s Something Borrowed, starring Kate Hudson, Ginnifer Goodwin, John Krasinski, and a JCPenney Sunday morning men’s shirt ad that was struck by lightning and achieved some minimal level of self-awareness. It’s a meandering and belabored romcom crawling with a bunch of rich white dummies who are incapable of making even the slightest decisions and a plot so unintentionally ill-conceived that at no point will you ever be sure what trope it’s attempting to indulge in. It’s a sunny piece of crap, to be sure, but a fascinatingly inept one ripe for discussion and improvement! Dream of your own doomed wedding as we discuss the stupid stupid characters and the various ways this plot could go whilst throwing down frozen margaritas to end our Summer of Margs. PUSH IT!
In which we take nonromcom movies we already watched for this podcast and romcomify them, so there are romcoms where we had naught but noncoms to begin with. Rom!
Our Summer of Weddings and Margs swaggers onward with a rom (?) com (??) that’s somehow so shitty it nearly circles back around to having something to say about masculinity and relationships (ALMOST). Listen in with Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as they watch and discuss 2008’s My Best Friend’s Girl starring Dane Cook, Kate Hudson, Jason Biggs, Alec Baldwin and a bunch of other poor bastards. Think back on our nation’s brief early-2000s love affair with the comedic stylings of Dane Cook as we cover the woefully unfunny jokes, a plot that somehow unintentionally makes everyone awful, and direction so lacking in nearly any sense of style that the movie seems to have burst forth fully-formed from the nostril of a coke-addled producer. Also, there’s the most basic-ass margarita you could ever imagine, one only fitting for a movie that can’t even muster the energy to be mediocre. On behalf on the city of Boston, we’re very sorry we allowed this movie to be shot here.
Our Summer of Weddings and Margaritas rolls on relentlessly like some fire-breathing atomic bridezilla, but for this episode we take a breather to focus on the subject of subtext in movies and how it relates to the viewer’s interpretation of the film and how a fandom can then take that and run manically with it all over fanfiction.net. As the movie Luca provides the starting point for this discussion, please be aware there are obviously spoilers for that movie (but really if you haven’t watched it yet, you should just do it, it’s very cute). Unsurprisingly, a lot of this ties into queer readings of ostensibly not-queer movies and the thrills and/or perils of shipping characters. In contrast to Luca, our next full-length episode’s movie is a real piece of crap, and we’ve got a suitably basic drink to accompany it (please be sure to take notes when we describe with painstaking clarity the many complex and varied steps necessary to create this craft cocktail).
Mon dieu! Le mariage- elle est trop grand! Alors, une question: que se passe-t-il lorsque les parents adoptifs divorcés d’un jeune homme adopté, sa mère biologique conservatrice et plusieurs autres membres de la famille à peine développés assistent tous à son grand mariage? Eh bien, rien de drôle, c’est sûr. Rejoignez Leigh, Brendan et Chris alors qu’ils regardent The Big Wedding en 2013, un remake Américain d’une comédie Française mettant en vedette un casting de pouvoirs dont personne ne connaît l’existence. Écoutez pendant que nous discutons de la prémisse banale, des styles comiques obsolètes et de la capacité miraculeuse du film à faire tourner ses roues pendant 90 minutes car cela complique et simplifie l’intrigue avec une ineptie éblouissante. Et, bien sûr, la première margarita de notre Été des Mariages et des Margaritas ! Vraiment, ce sera une série de mariages pas comme les autres. Ah, si seulement nous avions tous autant ri que les acteurs sur l’affiche.
Two years ago, in the Before Times, we did this sort-of game thing where we prepared lists of movies that at least one person had seen but at least one other person had not. We then used that list to try to describe what we thought the plots of these movies were to see how close our cage impressions were to the real thing. With the long-awaited adaptation of Dune probably coming to theaters this fall (keep getting them vaccines!), we decided to brush this old chestnut off again and do another round. Also, it’s pretty hot out so who wants to plan out an entire discussion topic? Also also, we have a big wedding coming up in our next episode (or so the movie’s title would imply) and a classy margarita recipe to accompany it. So listen in and see if you could do a better job trying to distill multiple seasons of Lost into a brief coherent description!
Please, please, don’t confuse 1994’s I Love Trouble with Nothing But Trouble, though both are equally unpleasant movies (albeit in wildly different ways) and both spend about the same amount of effort on compelling romance. For our nicest episode ever, we watch this aptly-forgotten Charles Shyer / Nancy Meyers romantic (?) crime thriller (??) starring Nick Nolte, Julia Roberts, and a whole lot of intrigue about milk. Join Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as they discuss chemistry and miscasting, the specific reasons as to why having two reporters investigate a company making genetically modified cows was a mistake, and in what world there would be a Gap ad campaign featuring an aging unattractive Chicago columnist. Thankfully, there is no milk to be found in the themed cocktail we mixed up for this movie. Also we spend about four minutes talking about musicals, but hey, it’s a short episode so don’t give us that look.
With vaccines becoming readily available and the CDC spinning out new guidelines at a bizarre rate, it seems like our long international nightmare might finally be nearly over (but just that one). For this mini episode, Leigh, Brendan, and Chris all take a look back on how they spent their pandemic quarantines. What did we binge? What did we watch that we never thought we’d end up watching under normal circumstances? Can Korea make dramas fast enough for Leigh to watch most of them? Also, check out our upcoming summer prelude movie and the drink we’ll be making to ensure it ends up being more tolerable than the two leads’ working relationship.
On this episode of Why Did We Watch This, we welcome back both Michelle Pfeiffer and Catherine Zeta-Jones for their fourth (!) appearance in one of our movies (in so much as you can call it an appearance if they never actually show up on screen, but at least they both actually tried unlike the rest of the cast). That’s right, we’re watching Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, the (mostly) hand-drawn animated flick that was so poorly-received it made Jeffrey Katzenberg decide that DreamWorks should no longer do 2-D animation (and probably somehow indirectly lead to rise of Quibi but that’s for some other podcast to work out). Join the Why Watch crew as Leigh, Brendan, and Chris guzzle down a fruity fizzy cocktail and talk about what this movie was originally supposed to be, the original Sinbad mythos, and why in general this movie is such a dull episodic slog. But, on the bright side, Michelle Pfeiffer as the goddess Eris sure has some swell animation!
Going off of our generation’s love of 1980s nostalgia, it’s a sore spot that we’re not getting the glut of weird-ass original fantasy movies we were getting during that decade. In a world where the majority of fantasy movies that are kind of close to original are live-action remakes of Disney fairy tales, there’s a lot of fantastical crap to wade through. Leigh, Brendan, and Chris all try to think of more recent original fantasy films that managed to do a good job of creating their universes (along with come discussion of sci-fi world-building for good measure). Also we talk about the animated fantasy movie we’ll be covering next along with- you guessed it- another gin cocktail to wash it down.
We can all agree that two people in relationships acting as though they’re having some sort of affair is pretty questionable, but what if the universe itself demands that these half-dimensional wisps of character sketches should be together for some inexplicable reason? Well, then you’d have Serendipity, a charmless 2001 romcom starring John Cusack, Kate Beckinsale, and a lot of other wasted talent. Can these two dopes manage to find each other across time and the continental United States, significant others be damned? Spoiler alert, yes, but Leigh, Brendan, and Chris have a lot of problems with how they go about doing it and a couple of ideas as to how this could have been pulled off more successfully. Also, there’s a purple fruity cocktail, and what says unmemorable early 2000s romcom more than that?
In an effort to do justice to those characters long shunted to the side for various reasons, Leigh, Brendan, and Chris talk about their favorite side characters in movies and TV shows. Who are these champions of protagonist support, so often doing the heavy lifting of keeping the plot interesting or the jokes a-popping? Why are they often so much more interesting than the leads they’re so thanklessly holding up? Why does it not work as well when you try to shove them front and center for their own movie (hello, two inexplicable Pirates of the Caribbean sequels that for some reason focus entirely on Jack Sparrow)? And what will Leigh, Brendan, and Chris be watching and drinking come April? Will it involve John Cusack and luster dust (but probably not together)? Let’s hope so!
Imagine, if you will, a world where Disney was so desperate for a franchise that they threw a bunch of cinematic spaghetti at the wall and ended up with “a sort-of prequel to a movie we don’t own but not really and it will star James Franco and be directed by Sam Raimi and cost over $200 million.” Well, you don’t have to imagine it, you just have to struggle to remember that yes, in fact there was a Disney movie in 2013 entitled Oz the Great and Powerful. It exists! Journey somewhere that legally cannot be over the rainbow with Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as they discuss the wild miscasting of the title role, the twin perils of trying to be distinct from the 1929 movie but also cashing in on American nostalgia for it, and why yet another Disney fantasy movie must be slathered in layers of CGI goop and Avatar-reject goblins. Also, we make one of the finest cocktails we have ever made, so it’s got that going for it!
WE’RE BACK with consistently better sound quality (comparatively speaking) and a mini episode that mandated we actually put effort into this. That’s right, it’s the return of the Pitcher’s Mound and this time Leigh, Brendan, and Chris are all attempting to pitch feature-length adaptations of fairy tales. FUN FACT, many fairy tales don’t follow any sort of story structure and it can be very difficult to attempt to graph that onto them! Anyways, listen, won’t you, and we’ll also go into the next episode’s themed cocktail and movie (also featuring the return of Mila Kunis).
In advance, we apologize for the questionable audio of this podcast and the questionable decision to have a bunch of bros make a movie about how they’re suffering in the friend zone. But also it’s Christmas (yes, once again, as time isn’t real) and we’ve got Julie Hagerty! Join Leigh, Brendan, and Chris for 2005’s Just Friends, a Ryan Reynolds romcom with the least rom that’s ever been in an annual Valentine’s Day spectacular. Can the genuine moments of com overcome the underdeveloped rom? Is this whole thing worth it just for Anna Faris as a pop star and the surprisingly entertaining family antics? How could this movie have been less of a lumpy dated attempt at blending actual romance with raunchy comedy? Or could it not have?? Why are questions still being posed when you could just listen to this episode??? Hello, Joyce?
With the entire world on fire and everything going to hell, it can be comforting to take solace in movies (and television) you’re familiar with rather than risk feeling new sensations by indulging in the unfamiliar. For this mini, Leigh, Brendan, and Chris discuss their rewatching habits- what movies they liked but will never want to see again, and what they turn to whenever they need the visual equivalent of grandma’s warm afghan blanket. Also we finally, finally, finally decide to watch a movie Leigh has wanted to do since we first started this and create a sickeningly-sweet alcoholic milkshake confection to be enjoyed alongside it for our upcoming Valentine’s Day Month of Love Rom Com Spectacular episode.
Lace up your hoverboots and strap on your black villain cape complete with voluminous sleeves, it’s time for Why Watch Ascending! That’s right, we’re kicking off 2021 with the Wachowski’s 2015 sci-fi-space-opera-which-feels-like-a-fan-fic-but-somehow-isn’t, Jupiter Ascending! Join the three Dratpaxus siblings Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as we discuss how a movie can have too much plot and yet too little plot, why the titular ascending character is such a fucking dull tabula rasa, and the deal with all them floaty bits sticking off the rich people spaceships. Also we drink a hot tea cocktail while bathing naked in a warm gooey pit of RegeneX. And please, please, please, do not spoil the secret truth of what RegeneX is made of to your friends.
UP ON THE KNEES OF A SERGEANT MAJOR
RIDE THROUGH THE WOODS WITH THE WIND IN YOUR HAIR
SILVER BELLS ON A STOLEN REINDEER
WHILE WE RACE TO THE CASTLE OVER THERE
It’s our usual lazy day look back on the year in review, an awful awful year full of awful awful movies and some pretty good drinks. What were our favorites and what should be consigned to the dustbin of oblivion? Look, listen and find out, I’m not going to type the entire episode. Also, a warm drink recipe designed to counteract the coldness of space for our first movie of 2021.
Finally, the prophecy has been fulfilled. No, not the prophecy that a human would become the elf king and lead them all to salvation (hey, not at all played out or uncomfortable!), but the prophecy that we made ages ago when we said we’d do The Christmas Chronicles 2 as a follow-up to the OG Christmas Chronicles episode we did two years ago. So, here it is. And there it lies like a glossy piece of mass-manufactured fruitcake, flavorless and glossy and almost completely without reason to be there. Except for Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, they’re fun. How could this slog through the arctic snow have been made more enjoyable? Well, we have some vague ideas. We also have a Secret Santa cocktail exchange which is easily as fun as Santa singing a duet with airport employee Darlene Love. Enjoy the annual Christmas extravaganza and happy holidays to everyone. OH, CHRISTMAS TREE!
December is almost upon us, and with it a plethora of original holiday-related programming. Instead of focusing on of of the ones with a Christmas ghost or some other supernatural hook (next time!), we discuss a Netflix original miniseries we all found ourselves binging very very quickly, Dash & Lily. As another adaptation based off of a jointly-written Rachel Cohn and David Levithan young adult novel, this could have easily been Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss Christmas but somehow blessedly it ended up being delightful and charming and fun. A TRUE CHRISTMAS MIRACLE! Listen to us gush about what we liked, the few things we didn’t care for, and plan our annual Christmas spectacular movie (and corresponding elaborate drink exchange).
Back in the Before Times when movies were actually a thing you could go to, it was customary for studios to start dropping Oscar bait movies in late fall and continue throughout the holiday season. It’s always fun to look back on which ones never ended up getting the little golden men they were angling for, and for our November episode we look at a recent example, 2013’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty directed by and starring Ben Stiller. Do you remember this? Maybe? There was a vague trailer demanding you feel things while the dulcet tones of Of Monsters and Men played underneath, perhaps reminding you instead of Where the Wild Things Are? Anyway, why did this movie end up sort of fading from public consciousness and not getting the award Paramount believed it justly deserved? What didn’t work about it, and what could have made it work better? That’s what our podcast is about, remember, so we get into that while enjoying TWO drinks. Reflect on the current lack of awards season by joining our conversation, getting drunk, and feeling some early 2010’s brand of forced cinematic hygge.
OOOOOO PRETTY SNARKY, EH? It’s been over a year (or maybe like three months time isn’t real anymore who knows) since the finale of Game of Thrones aired and disappointed nearly everyone with its rushed plotting, shoddy characterizations, and shots of Dany making it look like she has dragon wings. Since then, we’ve all entered into a collective pact to not think about it anymore. Well, we’re smashing that agreement, and all because Leigh kept reading Jaime/Brienne fics while bored during quarantine. That mild event launched a chain reaction that prompted us to devote an entire mini (in name only) episode to the end of Game of Thrones– what went wrong, what went right (I mean maybe something did???) and what could have made it better. Yes, we know people have had these discussions before, but with *gestures to everything* all this happening, we needed something to focus our energy on to stop our brains from melting.
Welcome, boys and GHOULS, to our annual Halloween Spooktacular featuring The Haunting! Yes, this is Jan de Bont’s 1999 CGI-encrusted remake of Shirley Jackson’s classic story of horror and pulsating doors, not the 1961 classic, or the Netflix series based off the same source material, or The House on Haunted Hill, or the remake of The House on Haunted Hill, or The Legend of Hell House. Leigh, Brendan, and Chris curl up with a bloody good cocktail (complete with glass to put over your eye lest you get blood in it) and try to reshape this aimless and incomprehensible attempt at terror into something that might actually be worth watching. Also there’s curly tails, tulip mania, and we anoint America’s new sweethearts. BLEAHHH!!!