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)!
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.
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)!
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?
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.
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.
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???
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
When an amnesiac woman and a hardboiled detective with a very heightened American accent discover through the magic of hypnosis that they were married in a past life (until a grisly murder by scissors cut things short), how long will they be able to maintain a relationship until one of them is dead… AGAIN? The answer, mercifully, is about 90 or so minutes. Join Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as they watch the 1991 neo-noir (?) gothic romance (??) mystery thriller (???) Dead Again, directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh, which affords him the luxury of going over-the-top in two separate roles. What’s the deal with all the lame pop psychology? What the hell is this movie going for in terms of tone or plot? Could anyone have taken this post-modern puree of Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Welles and made it into something consistent and entertaining? Well… we try to! Also our good friend Faith is back AND she brought cookies to accompany our cocktail, so hey, at least this has that going for it!
As the weather starts to heat up, the temperature of our takes go right with it! Get all warm and toasty with Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as we present a deeply-held opinion in the form of an absurdly hot take, and then attempt to defend it calmly and rationally. Slip on your oven mitts before you pick up your phone after listening to this, because these takes are… rather hot!* Also as per usual there’s a new drink recipe to accompany our next movie, so be sure to listen to that far more lukewarm bit before you scald yourself on these takes, babyyyyy!
*Editor’s Note: These takes may be less hot than previously stated.
Fourteen years ago in a city not very far away.…
THE FEMININE MENACE
Turmoil has engulfed the nuptials of Emma Allan and Olivia Lerner. After a minor clerical error results in their separate weddings being booked on the same day at the same venue, their friendship is in dispute.
Hoping to resolve the matter with a series of trite and vapid pranks, the two would-be brides have stopped all semblances of judgement and maturity.
While their two-dimensional friends and boring fiancees endlessly debate this humorless chain of events, CHRIS REVELLE has secretly dispatched his fellow Why Did We Watch This? hosts, LEIGH DELAHANTY, and BRENDAN DRISCHLER, to discuss the lamentable 2009 romantic comedy (?) Bride Wars, much to the chagrin of all parties….
It sure seems like video games, the hot new trend among today’s youths, are here to stay! In fact, it seems that these have become so popular, they’ve started to transform motion pictures into video games! It’s true! Granted, some of these adaptations have been… questionable in quality, to say the least. Join Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as they think back upon some of the video games we’ve played based on movies, and then have a discussion about what video games based on movies we’ve covered for this podcast might be like. How many of these shitty rom coms could have been mildly more interesting dating sims? Find out! And speaking of shitty rom coms, we kind of have one of those coming up next, and trust us, you’ll want to be drunk for this one.
How do you keep your franchise going when the lead actor has no interest in reprising the main character and you don’t want to recast them? Well, you simply shift focus to another character who has never been shown or mentioned before and has similar abilities to your former main character but got them through science and magic rather than practice and training. Feeling sweaty yet? Join Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as we watch 2012’s The Bourne Legacy, a tangent with big hopes and dreams that does all of the above and sadly much more. Perhaps if you watched any of the previous Matt Damon outings and wished that there had been less punching and more middle-aged white men yelling while looking at computers, you’ll find yourself in this movie’s heretofore undiscovered target audience. If not, well, at least we had a pretty good martini to drink while we tried to make sense of everything.
For our latest mini episode, we present part two of a part two mini episode. No, just go with it, it’s okay. Rather than cover all of our second Looking to Score discussion from four weeks ago as one long episode, we decided to do it in two for your listening convenience. This time, we’re ostensibly covering a piece of orchestral dance music by Stephen Sondheim and a ballet piece reconceived in a wildly different context for an animated movie. Also, we bullshit a lot about our next movie without having even seen it and introduce a cocktail that (much like said movie’s protagonist) should undergo a fascinating transformation as you watch it! Please, sip slowly for full effect.
In our latest episode, we return to that fertile well of 1980s fantasy movies and pull out a big sloshy bucket of Willow, George Lucas’s long-gestating story about a little person who wants to be a wizard and some other magic shit as filtered through the generically-competent lens of Ron Howard. Listen in as Leigh, Brendan, and Chris talk about a movie that we were all dimly aware of but had never seen before, despite being made of a lot familiar tropes that we have, indeed, seen many many times before. Topics for discussion include the ambitious and occasionally confusing world being featured, the sheer amount of acting that’s going on, and why Sorsha is one of the worst female characters we’ve encountered in quite a while (and we’re watched a LOT of terrible rom coms). And of course, despite having to record this episode virtually thanks a to grab bag of illnesses, we enjoy a lovely purple cocktail to temper things slightly. Remember, please don’t drink if you plan to STEAL A BABAAAYYYY.
Our oft-featured discussion on film music (and music from other forms of media) returns with a mighty vengeance in our latest mini. LISTEN, won’t you, as we discuss some scores used in both movies and video games and try to avoid having this episode taken down for copyright infringement by talking over the music. It’s hard! Also, next episode will tackle a movie that seems to be a beloved cult classic in some way but none of us had actually seen until recently. Naturally, we’ll be drinking a themed cocktail to help us get through a potentially-messy 80s fantasy world.
It’s time for our annual Valentine’s Day rom com episode, and nothing says romance like two duplicitous people enacting horrific deceptions upon each other in an attempt to advance their positions at work. This horrific web of deceit is the plot that forms the backbone of 2003’s How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, starring Kate Hudson, Matthew McConaughey, and a bunch of supporting actors in thankless roles. Join Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as they revisit this beloved (?) romantic comedy that’s just slightly heightened enough to be mildly interesting but just unpleasant enough to leave you slightly loathing everyone involved here. Take your shoes off and breathe out as we discuss the state of the rom com in 2003, the cinematic forefathers of a romance built entirely on a horrible foundation of lies, and our continued reevaluation of Kate Hudson’s career. Perhaps fittingly, our themed cocktail this month is almost entirely alcohol, so get ready to frost yourself pretty hard.
Look, Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and we couldn’t think of any rom com con(versation)s to have, so Leigh very kindly whipped up yet another round of our patented (patent pending) game where we have to decide what titles are real and what ones are fake. But THIS time, there’s an eastern Asian twist to it, as all the titles are for K-Dramas (or J, or other countries, there’s fertile ground here). As Brendan and Chris know not a lot about this topic, it becomes a real guessing game and so anyone could win! Not that there’s anything to win here, but still, bragging rights are something. Also, our re-evaluation of the Kate Hudson canon continues with our upcoming February rom com episode.
What if we kissed 😘 at the Magnolia 🎹 at midnight 🕛 on New Year’s Eve 🎉 as part of an elaborate lie 😳 that was in actuality not a lie because we have been in love for our entire lives 🙈???
What do you do when you’re a pair of radio hosts who are both secretly in love with each other but unable to admit it, despite the fact that everyone else in your life already believes you’re destined to be together someday anyway? If your answer is “create an elaborate charade designed to boost your radio show profile while jointly promoting your family business,” congratulations, you’re qualified to host a morning show on 98.8 BREEZE FM in Chicago. Join Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as they (remotely) watch and discuss the 2020 Netflix Lifetime-pastiche Midnight at the Magnolia, a half-hearted attempt to do to New Year’s Eve what Hallmark has done to Christmas. We talk about the perils of the “friends to lovers” trope, the challenges of doing a romcom where everyone already assumes the two characters are together, and the nightmarish world where your families have been champing at the bit for years for you to marry your best friend. And of course, the two of us who aren’t testing positive for the coronavirus drink a cocktail that, much like Jack and Maggie, combines two distinct flavors that might not seem to work together BUT DARN IT, THEY DO!
That’s right, we’re back again with our end-of-the-year lazy finale episode, the Closing of the Year! Listen in as we talk about the previous year, including favorite and least favorite movies and drinks, and discuss a little bit about what the next year will bring. More themed summers! Crazier cocktails! Long lost lovers reappearing during multiple weddings! And a moratorium on made-for-TV holiday romcoms that will go into temporary effect after our first movie of 2023, so don’t worry, we’re not planning some sneaky wild stealth retheming of our podcast or anything.
At long last, our Holiday Spectacular episode focuses on a real piece of made-for-TV Christmas trash with the nebulously named A Date by Christmas Eve! Is it about a young lady attempting to find a date before Christmas only to realize love was in front of her all along? Uh, well, no, that would make a lot more sense, though. Look, so there’s this lady who works for a Christmas dating app and then a sexy cougarish Mrs. Claus makes the app magic so that the lady can warp reality to teach people lessons and stuff and for some reason no one is terrified by the implications of all this. But hey, that’s Christmas, baby. Join Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as they try to make sense of this overstuffed piece of mass market holiday nonsense and discuss the genre in general, the horrifying undertones of this ostensibly frivolous romcom, and how all these movies seem to already think apps are magic. Also, mulled wine cocktail, natch. Happy holidays!
In which we play round two of last year’s winter party game, the Hallmark Christmas Movie Generator Game! We’ve got all the same hats and slips of paper, but this time with a NEW category to make our titles even more cumbersome and difficult to find when scanning through a list of vague nonsensical titles on Hulu. Naturally, we also introduce the subject of our 2022 Christmas Spectacular, where we finally dip our toes into the made-for-TV holiday movie cesspool. Truly, it was destined to happen. Unsurprisingly there’s still yet another mulled wine cocktail to accompany it, because why wouldn’t there be.
Journey with us, won’t you, back in time to both medieval times and 1963, a veritable dark ages for the citizens of England and the Walt Disney studios. For this episode, we cover the movie that sits at the center of this Venn diagram, The Sword in the Stone. Is this a charming bit of nostalgic fun, or weak effort built upon an episodic screenplay and boring protagonist? Spoilers, it can be two things. Turn into a fish along with Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as they discuss what led to the disjointed visual style of this movie, the wet sheet that is young Arthur, and what lessons we were supposed to learn by being turned into squirrels (just that fat old horny lady squirrels are funny???). To adequately do justice to this movie, we also make THREE different cocktails, so like us you should get pretty drunk while watching this, perhaps even drunk enough to not notice that three different actors play Wart at various points throughout this film (jk there’s not enough alcohol in the hemisphere to have that slip by unnoticed).
Yes, we’re sorry, we know it’s Halloween but we have no more ideas for Halloween mini episode topics. We’re open to suggestions! Until then, we’re going to do another Pitcher’s Mound mini where we each pitch an updated modern adaptation of a classic piece of literature / drama. That’s right, until Hollywood gets its act together and makes the teen comedy version of Cymbeline that we’ve all been clamoring for, we’ll just have to put our own ideas out into the ether. So please, don’t steal our contemporary high school version of The Great Gatsby. It would just be impolite. Also next up, we tackle the oldest movie we’ve ever covered (and also possibly the shortest) in our return to the Disney animated canon, this time focusing on their middling ’60s output.
For our annual Halloween Spooktacular, we chose a movie so terrifying, so unnatural, so deeply unsettling- oh, wait, no, it’s just Vamps, a 2012 horror (?) comedy (??) movie (???) about vampires, written and directed by Amy Heckerling. Ah, you might think, at least the idea of vampires filtered through Clueless sounds fun! Well, you’d be wrong, because Amy has left her “good movie” period and become firmly lodged in her “I got a lot of grievances to get out” period. Join Leigh, Brendan, and Chris as they discuss what vampires might conceivably be useful for in fiction, who Amy Heckerling has it out for this time, and why the hell the crux of this movie is about a vampire spontaneously deciding she wants to settle down and have a baby. Well, raise a baby, not like “have a baby for dinner” like Lucy in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Remember, the only thing scary here is how trite the whole endeavor is.