110 – Artemis Fowl

Our summer miniseries of Failed Franchises continues unabated with a look at an adaptation of a pretty popular children’s book that stagnated for years in development hell, had a wildly troubled production period, was unceremoniously dumped on a streaming service because of a plague, and was then taken off again in exchange for a tax write-off. Almost assuredly, you will not remember that this all describes Kenneth Branagh’s 2020 damp squib, Artemis Fowl! Journey to Ireland (well, mostly just a house) with Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as they discuss the manic attempts to alter this movie in post-production, the vague half-baked world building, and the nightmarish image of Josh Gad unhinging his jaw while devouring dirt and forcefully expelling it from his anus. By necessity, there’s obviously a cocktail involved here too since there’s no way we could sit through this whole drab ordeal while sober.

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109.5 – Problematic Faves

Whether it’s a husky-voiced puppet master creeping on his unrequited love’s daughter or a charming ’60s romantic comedy that also happens to periodically feature a ghoulish yellow-face caricature of a Japanese man, we’ve all got faves that simultaneously have some deep-seated issues. Listen in with Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as we discuss some of our own, be they characters with their own gross issues or movies that have aspects which have aged like a fine milk. Also, our summer of Failed Franchises continues unabated with our next episode, a long-gestating adaptation of a middle schooler book that surely seemed like a safe bet at one point, and the accompanying drink that will make the whole ordeal go down (mildly) easier.

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109 – Lost in Space

It’s humid and hot and wildly unpleasant to be outdoors, meaning that summer is thusly upon us and more importantly, that we’re starting yet another mini-series for the summer months. Our theme this year is Failed Franchises, where we focus on movies that were supposed to launch a wildly successful franchise but then just sort of embarrassingly fizzled out. Journey with Leigh, Brendan, and Chris through space and time back to the 1990s, a period where movie studios were actively courting nostalgic baby boomers by translating the TV shows of their youth to the big screen (with wildly inconsistent results), as we discuss 1998’s Lost in Space. Despite being the movie to finally knock Titanic out of the number one spot at the box office, there’s not much that works in this dull and bloated sci-fi adventure (and we’re not just talking about Blawp here, there’s way worse stuff at play). Is there a way to turn this overly-expensive piece of nostalgic excess into a better movie? Well, we think so! Listen in as we cover all of the above and more (along with a quasi-sangria cocktail to keep us all from turning into puddles of sweat).

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108.5 – New Media Resolutions (in Media Res)

Remember how back in January we made some resolutions for the new year involving media (movies, books, video games, television) of some kind? Well, we did. Go back and check if you doubt us, you Doubting Thomas, you. Anyways, we’re now halfway through 2024 so we figured we’d check in and see how all those empty promises were going. In addition, we’re doing yet another miniseries / theme for the summer, so listen up to hear more about that and how drunk we’ll need to be to watch our next movie.

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108 – Wish

What better way to celebrate 100 years of existence as an entertainment corporate entity than by making a film so crammed full of back-patting references to your own history that you forget to actually make a compelling movie? According to The Walt Disney Company, there is apparently no better way. Join Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as they watch the 2023 animated movie Wish, a wild misfire of a feature that doesn’t include logic, memorable characters, or good music, but hey, at least there’s seven characters who remind us of the dwarfs, right? We try to break down exactly went awry here, covering topics such as “What the hell is the logic behind wishes in this world?” and “Really, what is anyone’s actual personality?” and “Why did the animated aesthetic break so many brains?” And we actually come up with some (truly, only some) answers here! Also we drink a cool fruity cocktail that’s a perfect drink for the prelude to summer, so hey, it wasn’t all a loss!

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107.5 – Fall into the Age Gap

It’s been a week or so since The Idea of You has premiered on Prime, and the world has not been the same since (or maybe it has, we do this stuff in advance). But since only one of our hosts has seen it, we didn’t want to spend a whole episode talking about that. Instead, we’re talking about the something related to it- the concept of age gaps in relationships in media. What do we think about them? Do they feel gross? Are they actually fine? Are they, like so many other subjects, something that can done both well and horribly? (Spoiler alert: yes.) Listen up as Leigh, Brendan, and Chris go into all of this nonsense and briefly mention our next episode’s movie topic, one you’re probably going to wish was a lot better than it ended up being.

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107 – The Portable Door

At long last, a movie that seeks to answer the age-old question, “what if doors were towels?” Listen in with Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as we go down under to knock on 2023’s comic fantasy The Portable Door, an Australian adaptation of the first book in a long-running British series about what if magicians used their magical powers for mundane purposes / profit (we guess???). On the bright side, it offers Christoph Waltz and Sam Neill going full ham and cheese as two corporate wizards. On the dark side, boy do we have some story and tone issues to dig into here (along with some very frustrating goblin prosthetics from The Jim Henson Company). On the drink side, we have an effervescent spring-inspired cocktail to make everything better! How many more sides could you want???

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106.5 – ShadowLetterBoxing

It’s a game! Look, we like things with less pressure, so games are fun for us to do. This time, we turn our slightly-drunken eyes to that beloved cinephile website, Letterboxd. Fans as we are of its sometimes intelligent, sometimes glibly entertaining user reviews, Brendan has assembled a list of short, pithy reviews for movies we have covered on this podcast and challenged Leigh and Chris to guess the movie the blurbs refer to. It’s a game! It’s fun! Also we cover our next movie, a fantastical YA-adjacent adaptation about a door that’s portable. No, we hadn’t heard of it, either.

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106 – The Truth About Charlie

Alors! What do you get when you take the bones of the 1963 comedy / romance / thriller Charade and filter them through a Nouvelle Vague sensibility? Well, you certainly get something worth talking about, one way or another. Listen in as Leigh, Brendan, and Chris crack open The Truth About Charlie, Jonathan Demme’s 2002 attempt at doing just that. We run the gamut on this one, covering what Demme’s original intent was, why Mark Wahlberg looks like a such a lost dope in his little beret, and if the central conceit of creating a French New Wave adaptation of Charade even makes sense (kind of, but also not)! Naturally, there’s also a drink involved (and truly, a movie of this length with so much to cover really necessitates some kind of liquor).

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105.5 – Rom or Com?

So a few weeks back we had a brief rumination about if a rom-com has failed if it’s not actually very funny, and so we decided to speak on that for a bit. For example, are there rom-coms that are actually funny? Of our favorites, which ones fall closer to rom than com (or manage to skillfully split the difference)? Is Scott Pilgrim vs. the World by definition a rom-com (technically, yes!)? Sure, this might have been better around Valentine’s Day as opposed to St. Patrick’s Day, but planning is hard and shut up! We also introduce the focus of our next episode, which aptly enough, is a remake of a movie that kinda drains much of the rom and com aspects of the original. Get ready for some truths dropping in two weeks!

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105 – Domino

What happens when you toss Tony Scott, Richard Kelly, the true story of a model-turned-bounty hunter, and an eclectic mess of talent into a blender with a heaping helping of meth? Well… nothing conventional, that’s for sure. Team up with Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as they are pummeled into submission by 2005’s Domino, starring Keira Knightley and directed by Tony Scott at his most manic. We take a look at the aggressive direction, a defiantly non-linear screenplay, and the vague feeling of unpleasantness that hits you when viewing a movie playing fast and loose with reality that’s also based on a real person who died under tragic circumstances during production. It’s a lot to talk about! Thankfully we also made a spicy (and suitably very yellow) cocktail to keep things rolling.

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104.5 – You Who Comments

It’s a game! We play another game! Leigh takes slightly-vague top comments from trailers of recent movies on YouTube and Brendan and Chris try to guess what movie the trailer in question is for. It’s fun! We like games! Also as always, our next movie is mentioned and we share a recipe for an appropriately spicy and yellow cocktail to accompany it. Games!

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104 – Just Like Heaven

Ah, the early 2000s! A special time in the history of cinema that spawned a plethora of high-concept romantic comedies. One need only look to Mark Water’s 2005 effort Just Like Heaven, in which Mark Ruffalo must deal with that bane of all apartment subletters, being haunted by the ghost of Reese Witherspoon (except she’s maybe not actually dead, it’s a whole thing). Plop yourself down on a comfortable couch with Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as they discuss the perils of balancing the frivolous with the emotional, the vague rules of the afterlife (or the almost-afterlife), and the question of why Reese’s character seems weirdly racist toward Asian people. All this mess and hot toddy cocktails aplenty, too!

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103.5 – New Media Resolutions

With January 2024 now well underway, we decide to discuss those lies we all tell ourselves we’ll commit to in the new year- that’s right, it’s time for resolution chat, babyyyyyy! But what with this being a podcast ostensibly about movies and other media, we’ve all made some specifically entertainment-related resolutions. Also like, those will probably be more fun than saying you’ll “improve yourself” and all that other crap. Will we read more books? Will we finally finish a particular video game? Will all those Criterion Collection movies bought during Barnes & Noble sales finally get watched? Listen and find out!

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103 – Two Night Stand

As a snowstorm hits the northeastern United States, we prophetically chose to watch a movie that deals with a freak blizzard that keeps two twenty-somethings snowed in after initially looking for a quick hook up. That’s right, as you surely can guess, it’s 2014’s Two Night Stand, a low-stakes sort-of rom-com directed by Mike Nichols’s son. Get snowed in with Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as they remotely watch this movie (thanks, Covid!) and discuss how rom-coms have mutated over the last decade or so, our thoughts on Miles Teller, and the genuinely unhinged act-three-romantic-gesture (truly, it’s nuts). But, uh, at least there’s a cocktail (actually, we didn’t actually get to drink our cocktail, thanks Covid!). Remember, please mask up and stuff!

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102.5 – The Closing of the Year VII

Look, we’ve done this seven times now, so we don’t need to mince words. We talk about our favorite movie of the year, our least favorite movie of the year, and then do it again but with the drinks we made. Look, it’s the end of the year! We’re trying to relax! Also our first movie of (shudder) 2024 is thrown into the ether along with a hot wintery drink to accompany it. Now please, it’s Christmas, go eat some cookies or something.

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102 – Christmas Eve

If nothing captures the true spirit of the holidays like being stuck in an elevator for an extended period of time, then 2015’s Christmas Eve is sure the holly jolliest piece of bland seasonal ephemera we’ve encountered yet! Sadly, there’s very little of said holiday spirit actually to be found here, unless you count “Patrick Stewart does a one-man Christmas Carol” or “musicians play some Christmas music” or “doctor and nurse snipe about the existence of God while an orderly tries not to piss himself.” For our annual holiday spectacular, Leigh, Brendan, and Chris briefly touch upon religious cinema, the perils of making a movie from the pitch “what if Love Actually but trapped in elevators,” and how New York looks very similar to eastern Europe. We also manage to capture the true spirit of the holidays (inebriation) with a seasonally-appropriate spritzer. Seasons greetings!

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101.5 – The Holiday Trash Movie Tier List

What better way to kick off the holiday season than with a mini-episode-in-name-only that involves ranking all the TV Christmas shlock we’ve watched over the last few years? THERE IS NO BETTER WAY. DO NOT SUGGEST OTHERWISE. Anyway, Leigh, Brendan, and Chris spend a long time mulling over a list of festive made-for-TV ephemera to decide once and for all which ones might actually approach something close to “being a good movie” and which ones are more “shit.” And much like the movies we discuss here, we’ll also be covering a Christmas movie that pretty much no one has heard of (don’t worry, you can find it on YouTube!) for our impending Holiday Spectacular (and natch there’s a drink recipe too)!

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101 – The Law and the Lady

For our latest episode, we dust off an old chestnut that’s based on an even older chestnut, both of which cumulatively are such moldy old chestnuts that you’ve probably never heard of either. We dug deep, baby! This time, we go way back to 1951’s The Law and the Lady, a very loose adaptation of a 1925 play starring Greer Garson, Fernando Lamas, and Michael Wilding as the biggest simp ever committed to celluloid. Thrill as he spinelessly pines after his partner in crime as they attempt to steal a necklace from a blustering old American lady! Cheer as both he and his partner refuse to ever act upon their emotions for no solid reason! Laugh as the old rich lady bellows loudly at anyone within ear shot! Is there a way to dust off this weirdly-unbalanced and endlessly-retooled bit of theatrical ephemera? Well, sure, probably, but no one involved here really did it. Also we drink a tea cocktail, and those are always fun.

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100.5 – A Why Watch Retrospective

Nothing is more spine-chillingly terrifying than a look back at the past! SPOOOOOOKY!!! To commemorate doing one hundred movies (yeesh) for this podcast, Leigh, Brendan, and Chris look back on their favorites and least favorites. Everyone has different definitions of these things and some people chose more than one because, you know, we like to shake things up here. Naturally we also briefly cover our next movie that we’ll tackle and we SPILL THAT TEA (or hopefully don’t because that would make a mess) with the tea-based cocktail that will accompany it. To one hundred more (I mean, sure, why not aim big)!

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100 – Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Like a full moon occurring on Halloween, this year our annual Spooktacular episode coincides with our 100th episode. How exhausting to think about! To commemorate this occasion, we dust off a movie we’ve kicked around covering for years, dunked in a vat of eels and amniotic fluid, and brought it to horrible, horrible life. That’s right, it’s Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Kenneth Branagh’s turgid adaptation of the classic sci-fi / horror / sin against God novel. Leigh, Brendan, and Chris go back in time to discuss Hollywood’s brief infatuation with prestigious horror movies based on literature, the film’s tendency to deliver dialogue as though it’s playing to the last row of the balcony, and Branagh’s inability to keep the damn camera still. We also make a suitably sour cocktail to mimic the sensation of being brought back to life by the jolt of a swarm of electric eels. SHOCKING, isn’t it?

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99.5 – Pitcher’s Mound – Jukebox Musical: What’s Up, Doc?

At long last, closure! Our jukebox musical mini-episode miniseries comes to a manic conclusion with the ultimate theatrical cop out- a jukebox musical based on a movie. That’s right, for Brendan’s turn he’s taken the Great American Songbook-esque tunes peppered throughout the 1972 Peter Bogdanovich screwball throwback What’s Up, Doc? and attempted to turn them into the spine of a theatrical adaptation. There’s also some other changes in there, so don’t worry, it’s less lazy than it sounds on paper. We’re also prepping for our annual Halloween spooktacular (and 100th episode), and we can think of no better way to do so than by getting pretty drunk for the occasion so be sure to try out the cocktail we’ll be making for it.

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99 – I’m with Lucy

In today’s increasingly fragmented society, one fact is sadly becoming more and more evident: you are either with Lucy or against Lucy. To get to the bottom of this hot-button issue we decided to watch Jon Sherman’s 2002 romantic comedy, I’m with Lucy, a fairly simple movie bogged down by multiple gimmicks designed to make everything more intriguing than it actually is. Join Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as we talk about Monica Potter and her coterie of five potential love interests- a sexy douchebag, a misogynist jock, a horny international-type, a nerd, and miscellaneous. We spend a lot of time covering the five dates, but also discuss bogging your plot down with a load of high-concept nonsense and how the blond WASPy Monica Potter was somehow begat by uber-mensch Harold Ramis. And hey, it’s a pretty easy cocktail we made to accompany this one, because we all deserve a lil break.

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98.5 – Pitcher’s Mound – Jukebox Musical: The Bacchae

As our summer murder mystery miniseries has ended, our entirely different mini-episode miniseries is still well underway, and in this episode there’s a lot of ancient drama served up with it. This time, we continue our individual jukebox musical pitches with Chris stepping up to bat. Get ready for a lot of 80s alternative / pop / punk mixed in with some ancient Greek drama- a night of theater with plenty of singing, dancing, and messy dismemberment! Also we introduce our lower stakes movie for September and an equally lower stakes cocktail to accompany it, because we all know things will get more hectic as the holiday season kicks in so for the love of god can’t we just relax for a bit now???

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98 – Young Sherlock Holmes

As with all good mysteries, our murder mystery-themed summer is drawing to its natural conclusion with a not-good mystery. In this episode, we’re going back in time to both the 1980s and the 1870s with Barry Levinson’s Young Sherlock Holmes, a prequel featuring the famous detective but younger and with a less involved mystery. Enroll in a Victorian boarding school with Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as they discuss the Sherlock Holmes mythos, the Temple of Doom-style vibes the mystery itself gives off, and how every character here is maybe .5 dimensional at best. Also, it turns out the villains are a murderous cult of Egyptians seeking justice because a bunch of British dudes destroyed their homes, which definitely holds up when viewed through a contemporary lens. Naturally, we also drink a tea-based summer cocktail to get ourselves into the mood of “England during a snowy winter,” which really helps when it’s like 90 degrees and constantly muggy outside.

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97.5 – Pitcher’s Mound – Jukebox Musical: Underclass Heroes

As summer draws to its unbearably hot closure, we dust off an old mini episode topic chestnut, Pitcher’s Mound! That’s right, that thing where we pitch a movie, or in this case, a MUUUUUUSICAL! A jukebox musical, point of fact. The first of three (!) mini episodes kicks off with Leigh pitching her very specifically-focused punk rock jukebox musical featuring a lot of music you might remember from the early 2000s and such. Sorry about the air conditioning, to repeat, it was VERY hot. Almost as hot as the ticket sales will be when this baby hits Broadway! Also we announce our final Summer of Murder Mystery movie and the drink that will accompany it, wot wot.

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97 – Death on the Nile

Much like Kenneth Branagh’s recently-discovered passion project of making Sad Boi adaptations of Hercule Poirot mysteries, our Summer of Murder Mystery continues unabated with 2022’s Death on the Nile, a limp effort starring a cast that couldn’t be more cursed if they desecrated a pharaoh’s tomb. Hope aboard the S.S. Karnak with Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as we try to solve the dual mystery of who killed Gal Gadot (honestly, you probably don’t need Poirot for this one, it’s pretty easy to work out on your own) and why Gal Gadot keeps getting cast in things. Also up for discussion- the weirdly lumpy plot structure, how successful the movie is at updating certain elements, and the lengthy prologue in which the origins of Porot’s mustache are at long last revealed. And of course, we drink enough champagne… to fill the Nile! Or at least enough to fill a few champagne flutes, anyway. Listen up and have your immmmmorrrtal longings fulfilled!

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96.5 – Getting Dahled Up

Hey, did you hear about how the UK publisher of the Roald Dahl books did some weird overcorrections that no one seems to have asked for and removed words like “fat” or the mystery of why women might wear wigs from their most recent editions? Or how Disney apparently is censoring language from the streaming version of The French Connection, lest you be shocked that New York cops in the 70s tossed around racial slurs? Well, we did and we decided to talk about it, so please Hollywood allow us to record introductions to this sort of material placing it in context, our prices are cheap. Also we introduce the second movie of our Summer of Murder Mystery and the drink we’ll be guzzling to make it feel like a well-paced plot.

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96 – Radioland Murders

The sweaty misery of summer is finally upon us, and what better way to forget our reality than the comforting escapism that only murder can provide? (We see you, Albert Camus’s The Stranger!) Our Summer of Murder Mystery kicks off with the forgotten 1994 mystery / slapstick comedy / farce / comedy of remarriage / so much other crap, Radioland Murders, straight from the minds that brought you American Graffiti (and Howard the Duck). Leigh, Brendan, and Chris dive into this exhausting mess of over-the-top shtick and antics, attempting to make some sense of what the hell this movie was supposed to even be. Truly, there’s something for everyone here (provided you are a baby boomer who loves old radio programs and farcical comedy), including an appropriately old-timey cocktail accompaniment, so heck, give it a watch and you’ll probably find SOMEthing that works for you.

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95.5 – Raiders of the Lost Media

In this Why Watch mini episode, we’re living in the Land of the Lost! And by that, we mean we live in a world where we were initially promised that streaming content online would allow unimaginable access to movies and television, only to find shockingly that we actually live in a world where exclusive content can be taken down and hidden on a hard drive somewhere to suit the whims of large horrific media conglomerates. While the concept of “lost media” is nothing new, we seem to be entering an entirely different way of classifying things as such. For example, what happens when you spend a bunch of time and money making a Batgirl movie, then your new corporate overlord decides to bury it in a box somewhere for tax purposes? Anyway, we use recent events stemming from these sorts of decisions as a springboard to talk about a variety of topics related to what happens when you can no longer watch something legally (or indeed, if you’re not allowed to ever see it at all). As is fitting for such a mysterious topic, we also reveal the theme of our summer block of movies along with an old-timey drink to accompany our next subject, which will surely bring you back to the time when media was mostly considered lost because no one thought to record it or left the film in a shoebox in Argentina or something.

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