Are you adequately prepared for some sizzlin’ hot takes??? Hey, wait, where are you going? Look, we went through the trouble of defining the parameters and writing things down so please listen. This mini episode sees the Drat Pack tackling critically-acclaimed movies that they just don’t care about- not that they’re BAD or anything, but they just don’t do anything for us! We also do a brief thing about Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, so look forward to that one being an episode someday, and introduce the gender-swap-boner-joke teen comedy we’ll be doing next time. As always, validate us at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast or rate us kindly us on iTunes or Stitcher.
Category Archives: Why Watch?
What do you get when you take a studio desperate to reclaim its place at the top of the animated movie food chain and sell it on a pitch for a more grown-up action movie? Well, you get The Black Cauldron, or maybe Treasure Planet, or also possibly parts of Dinosaur, but in this specific case you end up with Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Join two-thirds of the Why Watch crew and their special auxiliary member Brendan as they try to figure out what the rules of the Atlantean crystal are, how successfully Mike Mignola’s style translated to an animated movie, why Mrs. Packard is the greatest Disney character of the 2000s, and then make a slightly better version of this movie. As always, take the dive with us at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast and rate us on iTunes and Stitcher.
The crew is, for a brief time, all together this week, and we decide to spend the time chatting about our favorite sequences from film and TV alike. Join us as Leigh remembers how to podcast again and Chris and Brendan threaten to derail the entire discussion with talk of sexuality research and favored San Francisco haunts, then prepare for a DEEP DIVE into Disney when we reveal our next movie. As always, please rate us on iTunes or Stitcher and find us at dratpack.com or facebook.com/whywatchpodcast.
Let us tell you about our day so far. A themed cocktail in Boston, sat through the 2008 Doug Liman movie Jumper, took a little nap about thirty minutes in because it was a real snooze. Oh, yeah, we got our special guest Meghan Coyne to join us from Portland. And then we jumped back to discuss the poorly-realized universe and rules of the movie, the stunning lack of chemistry between the two leads, and if we’d bone Hayden Christensen. We came up with some ideas as to how we’d make this into a watchable movie, and all that was before lunch. We could go on, but all we’re saying is, we’re standing on top of the world. Jump with us at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast and by rating us on iTunes and Stitcher!
No, but not the movie Home Alone. Look, life comes at you fast, and sometimes you end up having to record a mini episode where no one is actually available. So really, there’s nothing much to this one. It’s summer! We were all very excited and had a lot of difficulty scheduling! So anyway, here’s just Brendan letting you all know what the next movie and drink is. It’s like two minutes long, so there’s very little time commitment on your part. We’ll be back with an actual episode in two weeks! We promise!
Long ago, in the early year of 1978, the animator Ralph Bakshi forged a questionable adaptation of maybe 50% of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. The fellowship of the Why Watch join forces with special guest Faith Johnson to analyze the problems of this dull and poorly-conceived semi-animated misfire. Is there actually a way someone could condense Tolkien’s three dense volumes into two movies? The crew will certainly try to! Curl up with a delicious Mead of Moria and join our quest at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast and rate us on iTunes and Stitcher.
Look, it’s an entire episode of Brendan’s favorite segment, Looking to Score! Leigh, Brendan, and Chris gather together to discuss their favorite film scores, composers, the use of themes and leitmotifs, and sometimes even video game music because when YOU have your own podcast, you can discuss what YOU want. Also there’s a drink recipe for our next movie, a feature about a certain ring and the lord of said object! What could that be??? As always, please rate us on iTunes or Stitcher and find us at dratpack.com or facebook.com/whywatchpodcast.
HEADS UP: Apologies in advance for the audio problems due to our remote recording- we’ll explain in the episode, but enjoy a belated Star Wars Day (or The Force Aw8ens or whatever) with our Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones discussion! Leigh, Brendan, Chris, and Brendan sit down with a bloody sandy drink to discuss what specifically makes Anakin a bad character, what is Count Dooku’s purpose / motivation in this movie, and if the prequels were simply destined to be difficult based solely on the stories they had to tell. Also we don’t really mention Jar Jar at all, so you can be assured that we have bigger gooberfish to fry here. And you need not scramble code five to Coruscant care of the old folks’ home to reach us- simply find us at dratpack.com or facebook.com/whywatchpodcast.
What’s this jazz? A mini episode that’s effectively just a regular episode? Sure, why not! The movie may have come out a few months ago, but the two Brendans and Chris have still been mulling over La La Land a lot. What precisely was it that had the three of them leaving the theater thinking “Meh?” Sit down with the guys of the Why Watch crew as they discuss the characters, the songs, and how the movie works (or doesn’t work) as a musical. How would the three of them make La La Land work better AND save jazz from dying? Listen for the answer to the first question, and scat with us at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast and @whywatchpodcast on twitter and slipping us some sweet, sweet reviews on iTunes and Stitcher.
We’re gonna watch a bad James Bond / We’re gonna drink some cocktails / We’re gonna fix this movie / We’re gonna discuss this film now / I guess it’s Die Another Day? That’s right, podcast listeners, our movie this month is the 23rd James Bond movie, the woefully incoherent Die Another Day. Leigh, Brendan, Chris and other Brendan kick back with some drinks and talk about the glaring issues at hand: needlessly invisible cars, the unclear politics of North Korea, and the atrocious contributions of Madonna. How will this Bond movie be turned from A View to a Kill to Casino Royale? Listen and find out! As always, you can bond with us at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast or following us on Twitter @whywatchpodcast or reviewing us on iTunes and Stitcher. THE WHY WATCH CREW WILL RETURN.
Heeya! Pow! Hi-keeba! These are just some of the noises that someone might make in an action movie. To hear the others, please listen to our discussion minisode on the subject! There’s a whole bunch of conversation starters at play here, including acting, story, and what flavors of action make your pectorals flex with excitement. We’ll announce the upcoming movie we’ll be punching up along with TWO kickass drink recipes to accompany it, and friend of the podcast James Mason just might drop in to offer some thoughts! Remember, the best action you can take is liking us at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast or following us on Twitter @whywatchpodcast or reviewing us on iTunes and Stitcher. KICK SOUND!
An incomprehensible sci-fi plot, sex as an economic commodity, and an indie sensibility that just won’t quit- take all these ingredients, throw in a winter sangria, and what do you have? Regrettably, you have the 2005 Hal Hartley movie The Girl from Monday. Harkening back to last year’s Bunraku, Leigh puts forth this mopey mess for Brendan and Chris to make sense of. How could this Dutch-angled dystopia have been improved? Listen and find out! Also, we talk about TaleSpin for some reason. You can spin it by reviewing us on iTunes and Stitcher, following us at @whywatchpodcast, and liking us at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast.
Sometimes, you want to get an episode in the can and so you record it before the Academy Awards. This is one of those times. In lieu of any discussion about that CRAZY Best Picture thing last night, here is the second part of our conversation about romantic comedies. Because really, what else can we talk about for March if not the Oscars? St. Patrick’s Day movies? 45 minutes about Darby O’Gill and the Little People and The Boondocks Saints? PLEASE! Anyhow, enjoy this and enjoy not ever hearing of our upcoming March movie and give us enjoyment in turn by liking us at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast or following us on Twitter @whywatchpodcast or showing us some belated Valentines love by giving us reviews on iTunes and Stitcher.
Back in 2011, there was just one question on everyone’s lips: how many dudes have you fucked? Leigh, Brendan, and Chris take on What’s Your Number?, a rom com that deals with the fallout from this very question with their special Valentine, Caitlin Crain. Is the movie actually slut shaming the main character? How much unclothed Chris Evans is too much unclothed Chris Evans? Will Leigh ever stop talking about Just Friends? All of these questions and a delicious hard coffee beverage will be tackled in our Very Special Valentine’s Day episode! As always, be our own special Valentine and post reviews on iTunes and Stitcher, follow us at @whywatchpodcast, and like us at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast.
Love is in the air and rom coms are in your ears on our latest minisode! Leigh worked long and hard to break down romantic comedies into ten cloyingly-named categories for her, Brendan, and Chris to discuss: from Chance Encounters of the Third Kind to Rom Com Cons. Slip into something more comfortable as we reveal our special Valentine’s Day romantic comedy movie and drink recipe, and rate us on iTunes or Stitcher, like us at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast, or follow us on Twitter @whywatchpodcast to spread the love.
The wives of Stepford have a secret, and if that secret is how to remake The Stepford Wives as a dark comedy, they’re certainly not sharing. Nonetheless, Leigh, Brendan, and Chris are as eager as a trophy wife is to clean her kitchen to tackle this half-baked coconut cake of a movie. Topics for the discussion group include a comparison to the original satirical thriller, what the hell happens to the wives, and what do we do with those nice gays who moved to Stepford? Be sure to enjoy your hot spiked tea and come prepared to speak your mind (until your husband tells you to stop). We’ll politely not turn you into a robot, but do politely ask that you post reviews on iTunes and Stitcher, follow us at @whywatchpodcast, and like us at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast.
It’s a new year, and as is befitting the end of 2016 we are all very tired and / or sick. The entire Why Watch crew used text-to-speech apps to record this very short episode with no additional information other than our January movie and drink recipe. Enjoy the bleak and horrible future represented by this minisode, and rate us on iTunes and Stitcher, follow us @whywatchpodcast, like us at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast, and we’ll be back in two weeks with our actual voices and an actual episode.
Odds are, at some point you’ve had to sit through at least one amateur production of The Nutcracker. However terrible it may have been, the Why Watch crew will still guarantee that it’s less inept and woefully executed than The Nutcracker in 3D. Curl up with your spiked hot cocoa as we discuss Tim Rice adding lyrics to Tchaikovsky’s score, the casting of Nathan Lane as Albert Einstein as Dr. Drosselmeyer, and the mind-numbingly horrifying inclusion of Nazi allusions. Also, John Turturro in an Andy Warhol wig is the Rat King for some reason. Happy holidays to everyone who tries to comprehend this, and as always gift us with reviews on iTunes / Stitcher, follow us at @whywatchpodcast, and like us at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast.
With Toys but a fond memory , the Why Watch crew turns to visions of sugar plums and mixed drinks with a discussion on holiday movies. Sit and drink your cocoa as Leigh, Brendan, and Chris talk about what makes a good holiday movie, what their favorites are, and how hard it is to come up with a pun-based drink name. Also as our special present, we tease our Christmas movie spectacular, a movie that Brendan is more excited to see than Rogue One. Please be holly jolly and rate us on iTunes and Stitcher, follow us @whywatchpodcast, and like us at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast, which we actually use.
Watching “Cool as Ice” with the Drat Pack crew was one of the most disappointing movie watching experiences I’ve ever had.
You’d be forgiven for thinking the fault lies with the movie itself, because let’s face it: despite its title, “Cool as Ice” is a hot, meandering, perplexing mess. But I knew that going in, because I was the only one who had seen the movie before – in a different time, in a different place, with a different group of friends – and I enjoyed the hell out of it. I thought it would be as enjoyable, if not more so, to watch with my more “filmy” friends.
I was wrong.
As we approach the closing of the year, we take time to look back on a hotly-anticipated whimsical 1992 Robin Williams comedy. Yes, we are of course referring to the classic holiday (?) movie Toys. Not Aladdin. Sorry for the confusion. Pour yourself a shot and strap on your woozy helmet as the Why Watch crew and recurring special guest Brendan Nystedt tackle the movie’s surprisingly sexual undertones, Yolonda and Steve’s brief reign at the top of MTV’s charts, and Joan Cusack’s wonderful performance as an autistic robot that designs baby doll clothes. Are there any salvageable loose toys in this flea market bargain bin of a movie? Hopefully! Remember, if you cannot bring us comfort, then at least you can bring us good ratings on iTunes / Stitcher, followings at @whywatchpodcast, and glad likings at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast.
Burlesque is a tricky animal. It starts seeming like a Chicago-style musical where the music is all diegetic or in the protagonist’s head. We see our main character Alice, played by Christina Aguilera, closing down the restaurant she works in while singing an upbeat song. It’s fine, if a little bland. Aguilera’s wig looks a little awkward, but it’s not the worst. We’re kept going at a breakneck clip that takes Alice from wherever this is (the Midwest?) out to California where she drops in on a performance at a burlesque club run by Tess (Cher). The nature of the musical changes slightly in this moment as we’re treated to a fairly classic table-setting number where Tess introduces each dancer and character of the club with their name and a kicky little line while they do about a four second dance display. Are we about to see frothy musical that’s as fun as it is sloppy?
Well, yes, and also no. Continue reading
In our last full episode, we tackled a movie that I practically shouted with joy when I suggested it for our schedule. As I said in the episode itself, I love this movie. I own it, I’ve watched it a million times, I think it’s a delight. Are there flaws? Sure, but I would like to argue here that most of those flaws make the movie more interesting in their failures. That and how it’s campy nature, intentional or unintentional, should be celebrated.
We name-dropped the Merchant Ivory films and for those of you who don’t know, they’re deeply cheesy period pieces (and occasionally literary adaptations) that were a big deal in the early-to-mid 90’s. They essentially corralled as many classically-trained English actors they could find, sew them up into sumptuous costumes, and let everyone play to the cheap seats. That influence definitely lives in this movie, but for one key element that I think makes it much more fun: the long shadow of Hammer Films horror movies.
Hammer horrors were bonkers, but they also epitomized a classic telling of horror tales. They mined spookiness less from jump-scares and more from frightening imagery. They would also indulge in some serious gore now and again, but I find that many of their images succeeded for being bold and sometimes a little crazy.
It’s my firm and ardent opinion that Bram Stoker’s Dracula is the essential child of these two things. While unmistakably modeled on the Bela Lugosi classic, the movie itself is so 90’s and possesses a campiness that makes it’s lineage more complicated in my eyes. What could’ve been a very staid, laced-up Merchant Ivory-alike becomes a stranger, much more daring creature with a healthy infusion of operatic Hammer Films.
Look no further than the arc of Winona Ryder’s Mina. She starts off the movie a breathless, aggressively virginal ingenue who’s all wide doe eyes and shocked gasps. Hanging around with her best friend (and my personal role model) Lucy hasn’t changed her much and you get the sense that Lucy probably tried. She’s saucy, bubbly, and fun with her shameless flirting and copy of the Kama Sutra. It’s around the halfway mark that Mina encounters Count Vlad and becomes a smoldering sex-pot. Seriously, take a look.
The transformation is a little on the fast side; I exclaimed out loud during my most recent watch, but I love it. It tracks the trajectory of the movie as it goes from very theatrical period piece to full-on bananas blood-opera. It’s this willingness to play with a formula and inject something wild and inventive into it that I find so attractive.
What also must be pointed out is the special effects. Almost everything you see done in this movie was practical effects. Even a shot of a train running over a bridge with an open diary imposed in the background. Even the transformation scenes. Even the scene of Monica Bellucci rising through the world’s craziest bed.
The imagery of this movie is also so stunning to me. It offers you a smorgasbord of delights in one shot and then strikes you with a gorgeously simple one. The colors pop with luscious saturation in some shots and flicker with faded sepia in others. The costumes, the sets, the general mis-en-scene is exciting, sometimes evoking a freaky doll-house and other times looking like a vivid dream. There’s a motif of dreaminess in this film where colors will sometimes fuzz and bleed and motes of light seem to whir past. It allows the movie to take more risks and leaps and to tell this story that way is so intriguing and interesting that even when it doesn’t quite work I’m still enthralled. This visual vocabulary is so adventurous that I can’t but love it. They even did something as weird and inexplicable as making Lucy’s wedding/burial gown inspired by a frilled lizard. I mean…
That’s ballsy and crazy and I love it to death.
I’ll close this lovefest by reiterating something I brought up during the episode. This movie probably couldn’t be made today. It’s so earnest and ridiculous and an amazing wellspring of camp. There’s something so vulnerable about how bravely weird this movie is and I think that should be applauded. Camp, true outrageous camp, struggles to exist today in quite the same form. That’s a bit of a shame and I think that’s why this movie was worth a watch. Is it always perfect? No, but there’s something to experience in it that I don’t think should be missed. Love it or hate it, I invite you to watch this deliciously 90s camp gem with some spectacular sights to show you.
Join us in our latest discussion as Leigh ineloquently asks Brendan and Chris “How you watch?” After making sense of that, the Why Watch crew reflects on viewing habits in various settings and name drop movies or shows we’ve walked out on, fallen asleep to, or couldn’t stop watching. We also announce the penultimate movie of 2016- this time, it’s a movie that Leigh is looking forward to and Chris and Brendan are… well, we’ll worry about THAT in two weeks. As always, please give us some iTunes or Stitcher ratings and hit us up on yer fave social medias @whywatchpodcast and facebook.com/whywatchpodcast.
Pop in your glow-in-the-dark plastic fangs and pour yourself a glass of sangria as the Why Watch crew tackles their first Halloween feature! Rarely has the beloved vampire noise “BLEH” been more appropriate than as a descriptor for Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula, or at least as far as Brendan and Leigh are concerned. To serve as the oppositonal Van Helsing to their rubbery screaming vampire, Chris and special guest Michael Messina make their best attempts to argue the virtues of the film’s campy (?) weirdness, romantic aspirations, and the casting of human beagle Keanu Reeves. Can these four mortals reassemble this cinematic corpse into something more spooktacular? Wish us a happy Halloween by rating us on iTunes / Stitcher, following us at @whywatchpodcast, and liking us at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast.
What can truly be said about this movie that hasn’t already been said? The film is a cult legend and is one of the classic go-to titles when anyone talks about “so-bad-it’s-good.” It’s a true camp disaster. It’s the most aggressively un-sexy movie ever made about sex. Almost everything about it is disgusting and off-putting and it was a large part of the deathblow that put a studio into bankruptcy.
I love it. I love it so much.
They’re coming to get you, Barbra! Join Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as they sit in front of the fireplace in an old, abandoned house they broke into and have a scarifying discussion about what makes a movie 2spooky. Listen, if you dare, to the Why Watch crew talk about the difference between supernatural and realistic threats, the effective use of a haunting atmosphere, and the strange beauty of a dead body, like, bent up in a weird way or some shit. Then prepare yourselves for our upcoming Halloween episode and cocktail- perhaps a pina GHOULada? Sex on the SCREECH? BLOODY MARY BUT LIKE THE URBAN LEGEND? There is only one way to learn the shocking answer! Give us a fright at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast, stalk us @whywatchpodcast, and send us feedback via ouija board, iTunes, or Stitcher.
Take one part Glee, stir in a liberal helping of Mamma Mia!, mix with a drunken night at a Los Angeles karaoke bar, and what do you get? Something probably more entertaining than Rock of Ages, Adam Shankman’s ill-fated attempt to make a movie that 12-year-old girls, soccer moms, and heterosexual dudes can all see together. Rock out with the appropriately drunk Why Watch crew as they tackle two dull leads, Tom Cruise’s sexless performance, and the surprisingly effective romance between Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand. At the end of this Journey, will the film be too Poison to improve, or will the crew have everything coming up Guns N’ Roses? Listen to find out, and stick it to the man by rating us on iTunes / Stitcher, like us at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast, and follow us on Twitter @whywatchpodcast. ROCK ‘N ROLL!
How do you do, fellow kids? Grab your packs (both snack and back) and join Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as they travel way back (well, slightly back) in time to discuss teen / high school movies. Topics for today’s lesson will include the reality of the genre, the asexuality of Jughead, and a pitch from Leigh for a youth movie of our very own, as we are hip and happening! Prepare for an even greater trip back through time next time to the year of our births and a very alcohol-heavy themed drink to accompany our Journey (hint!). For extra credit, check us out at facebook.com/whywatchpodcast or follow us @whywatchpodcast and grade us on iTunes or Stitcher. Remember to show your work.
Embedded here for your viewing pleasure is exclusive footage from the world premiere of the beloved timeless musical smash, Eliza Rocks. Not since the gang bang sequence in Lars von Trier’s The Idiots has there been such a convoluted and nightmarish cinematic melange. Please… try to enjoy yourselves.