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!
Author Archives: Why Watch
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!!!
Remember that thing that was going around twitter a while ago where people were listing the top five television shows that explained who they were as a person? Remember? Before all this other stuff that happened? Well, we do and so we’re doing it but instead of just saying what the five television shows that define ourselves are, we’re making everyone else guess what they would be. It’s a game! We loves games! And we love seeing how well we actually know each other (oh does it vary). Also we’re preparing ourselves for our impending Halloween spooktacular two weeks from now. It involves a big neat house and a hefty slathering of CGI. Start drinking now.
What do you get when you take Patrick Dempsey, the writers of The Hangover, the director of The Lion King, and a group of esteemed and notable actors and lock them all up together in a bank overnight? Did you guess Flypaper? No? You’ve never even heard of it? Oh. Well, you get Flypaper, a 2011 crime comedy that opened at Sundance and then everyone forgot about entirely. Everyone but Leigh. So naturally, she, Brendan, and Chris decided to watch this sweaty heist flick and see what the deal was. Listen, won’t you, as we discuss what the hell the tone is trying to be, what’s Patrick Dempsey’s assortment of quirks supposed to amount to, and the answer to the question that was on everyone’s lips the summer of 2011- WHO IS VICELLOUS DRUM??? And then we try to fix the movie and drink a cocktail in tribute to the film’s unnamed Swiss miss (RIP Swiss Miss).
No, we didn’t forget how to count, but we ARE going a bit off schedule this week to feature our final episode of Why Don’t We Watch This. This week we talk about Shane Black’s The Nice Guys, a rollicking mystery comedy adventure set in the 1970s if your average film reviewer or podcaster named Chris is to be believed! Turns out when you watch a great movie that gives you great laugh per minute mileage, you don’t always have a lot to talk about! In two weeks we’ll back to semi-normal with our Beauty and the Beast ep, so you’ll be treated to two main episodes in a row, you lucky ducks.
No, not that Beauty and the Beast, god forbid! The bad one. The one where all the charm and heart of the original animated classic was replaced with CGI glop and soulless autotune and Stanley Tucci as a harpsichord that shoots keys at people (we didn’t say EVERY change was bad). Leigh, Brendan, and Chris discuss the uncanny valley recreation of your childhood that has no reason to be other than to make over a billion dollars at the box office. Was there a way this movie could have been done well? Well, maybe. Was there ever a reason to do it? Well… no, but we made a drink to go along with it and discussed how we’d do it anyway.
In this continuation of our mini mini-series Why Don’t We Watch This, we discuss Strange Days. No, not the prolonged Kafka-esque fever dream that is 2020, the 1995 Kathryn Bigelow directed cyberpunk neo-noir film starring Ralph Fiennes and Angela Bassett. Heads up, this movie is Intense with a capital I, as in the optical organs you may want to avert, as we did, during some of the more violent and unpleasant scenes. If you are not okay with graphic depictions of physical and sexual violence, this may not be the episode (or movie!) for you. Otherwise, enjoy our humble addition to the many discussions and think pieces of this ever-timely would-be narrative of a systemically racist militarized police force wreaking on L.A. mired in a confusing virtual reality serial killer whodunnit.
It’s been over four months since we all started working from home, and it’s leaving us nostalgic for the things we used to be able to do, like physically touch our loved ones and ride public transportation to our places of work. Accordingly, we decided to put ourselves back in that state of mind by watching Jaume Collet-Serra‘s 2018 thriller The Commuter, starring an especially haggard-looking Liam Neeson as the titular character and Vera Farmiga as the woman who won’t stop trying to talk to him on the train, the most terrifying threat of all. A good premise is let down by some bad execution and lazy plotting, so we all do that thing we do and try to come up with ways this could have been the fun conspiracy movie it so desperately wants to be. Also, we have a COFFEE cocktail! COFFEE!! LIKE A COMMUTER DRINKS!!!
In which we continue our summer of watching things that are good but we haven’t all seen by watching Preston Sturges’s 1941 screwball comedy The Lady Eve, starring Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda and a cartoon snake. Also we use this movie as a jumping off point to talk about our thoughts on screwball comedies (good!) and the weird way Nancy Meyers structures her movies so that you can’t tell where you actually are in the plot (I mean, your mileage may vary!). Also next episode we’ll do a complete 180 and talk about a very big and loud action movie, but for now just listen to us all talk about how much we like a movie whose plot twist is predicated on an action being so outlandish that it circles back around and becomes believable again. Good stuff!
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.
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!