2001: A Space Odyssey

2001 Space OdysseyIMDb

Join Mehul and me as we explore the vastness of space and discover it full of stars character actors! We contemplate the nature of the universe, discuss alien life and intelligence, talk about the film’s influence on our culture and movies, and generally have a very good time with this slow, contemplative, visual feast of a film.

Altho we discuss what we think could have made it better, and altho I don’t say it, I consider this to be a nearly perfect film. But is it entertaining…? Eeeee, maybe not as much as it could be.

We’re watching the DVD and streaming versions and pretty much stay in sync. Start after the MGM logo on the countdown.

Duck Soup (1933)

Duck SoupIMDb

Olly is back, and this time we’re discussing the distressing idea of incompetent clowns taking charge of a country. Will they be able to make Fredonia great again? Will they Frexit?

We compare it to other Marx Brothers movies—with and without Zeppo—commedia dell’arte, the Muppets, Bugs Bunny, MASH, Blazing Saddles, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. We figure out why comedies aren’t funny anymore (no hats). We argue over the name of the dog (Pastrami) and what women are wearing (underwear and a peignoir*). Olly constructs a conspiracy theory about Harpo doing radio. I repeatedly mix up the names of the brothers. Olly can’t think of a name (Davy Crockett). I urge temperance. Olly urges driving yourself to madness.

* As determined by a grueling and exhaustive search of lingerie pictures on the Internet.

I’m watching the Region 1 DVD; Olly is watching the Region 2 slowed down; and we roughly stay in sync. Start at on the countdown.

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Night of the Living Dead

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Join John Pavlich of Sofa Dogs as I (and some spoooky devil dogs) join him and together we wax poetical about George Romero and his zombie film, the one that all zombie films afterward use as a template.

We discuss the enduring format of the siege picture, the race and gender issues, the acting, the direction, the difference between zombies and ghouls (ghouls rule, zombies drool), and of course whether Harry & Helen are Homer & Marge Simpson or Thurston Howell III & Lovey (me: both; John: neither).

We compare it to all the other zombie movies, disaster movies, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. We discuss the social commentary, the social impact, and social media. Bonus: I explain women’s suffrage, altho frankly everyone should know about it already from the rockin’est School House Rock song of all time.

We’re watching streaming versions (great HD one on YouTube). Cue up the first frame before the title-card-on-the-road opening.

Titanic (1997)

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It’s the 20th anniversary of James Cameron’s tour de force romance-on-the-high-seas-gone-wrong Titanic, a film so big it made people briefly think James Cameron wasn’t crazy (he is).

I’m joined by Mike from Commentary Track Stars and Great Shot Kid and Mehul from the Internet! They love this movie, which more than makes up for the fact I think it’s flabby and stilted until shit gets real and a little movie star named Ice Berg shows up. We compare it to Cameron’s other movies, other water and ship movies, other romances movies, Stanley Kubrick movies, and Back to the Future. We praise the acting, the set design, the concept of limitations, and heroes of the actual, for-real tragedy that Cameron tacked an Aladdin-style street-rat-and-the-princess romance onto. We complain about the acting, the early CGI, the ham-handed dialog, and the nudity (Mike & Mehul; not me, I assure you).

We’re watching the disk and Netflix and iTunes versions and stay in sync. Start after the logos on the countdown.

Commando (1985)

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CommandoWatch along with Jimmy and me as we hark back to 1985 with our mullets and parachute pants and feast our eyes on Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime fighting bad guys and rescuing damsels and also being rescued by damsels.

We try to figure out who the real commando is. We count how many times “John Matrix” should have died (5). We laud the roles given to the female characters, even if they’re ludicrous and superfluous. We wax poetic about ’80s character actors and their credits. We applaud the ticking clock (a beeping watch) and the conspicuous lack of cell phones. And we duck and cover when all hell breaks loose at Harold Lloyd’s Victor Maitland’s Arius’s house. (Beverly Hills Cop was not filmed at the Lloyd mansion, but Young Lady Chatterley II was, and I highly recommend it for the scenery.)

I identify all the cars. Jimmy becomes confused by a sex position he’s never seen (he didn’t see Young Lady Chatterley II). I reveal my secret weakness (low-oxygen environments). Jimmy casts Schwarzenegger and Stallone as Holmes and Watson (and immediately disavows it). I reveal why I washed out of commando school (poor sense of smell). Jimmy repeatedly points out who’s not being nice (almost everyone). I insult the Scottish people by comparing them to the Amish (send your angry cards and letters to Tysto c/o Donald Trump, White House, America). And Jimmy insults the Scottish people by claiming Scotland has less history than the US (send your angry cards and letters to Jimmy B c/o Donald Trump, White House, America).

We’re watching the Blu-ray and Amazon Prime Video and stay in sync. Start after the 20th Century Fox logo on the countdown.

Star Trek 51 “By Any Other Name”

Star Trek TOSIMDb

Space: the final frontier. Our five-year ten-episode mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

Any day aboard the Enterprise, another fake distress call. What are you gonna do? The money is running out, and sets are thin, but the crew makes the most of what they’ve got. Olly and I discuss the big ideas (not killing everyone and taking their stuff!), the futuristic fashions (backless coveralls! combovers!), and pacing and dialog (“What is this hu-man emotion called love?”).

Oh! And cuboctahedrons galore! More cuboctahedrons than you can shake a stick at!

I’m watching the Netflix streaming version; Olly is watching a DVD; and we pretty much stay in sync. Start at 0:00:00 on the countdown.

Star Trek 44 “Trouble w Tribbles”

Star Trek TOSIMDb

Space: the final frontier. Our five-year ten-episode mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

Would you like to buy a small, furry ball of purring love? Just 10 credits, my friend. Olly tries to sell me on this episode, and I’m as grumpy and possible drunk as Kirk is in it. He seems to view Spock as enough of a pet. McCoy can’t figure out how to keep animals from procreating. No one recognizes Trelane. All this is Uhura’s fault, but how can you blame her: it’s the only shore leave she ever gets. Scotty and Checkov fight “Klinguns” in the longest nonsense sequence in the series. I’m bothered by Spock’s extraneous math, and Olly explains bisexual reproduction math to me. We try to imagine Klingon button manufacturers and invent various theories about and uses for tribbles.

I’m watching the Netflix streaming version; Olly is watching a DVD; and we pretty much stay in sync. Start at 0:00:00 on the countdown.

Star Trek 30 “Amok Time”

Star Trek TOSIMDb

Space: the final frontier. Our five-year ten-episode mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

Episode 30: “Amok Time”, in which Spock once again but most spectacularly comes under the influence of something (hormones) that causes him to show emotion! Olly and I delve into the logic, the character development, the world building (it’s literally one building on another world, but hey), and so much more. Checkov! Checkov’s wig! Chapel’s burning lust for Spock! Spock’s lava lamp! Vulcan’s principle export (lava lamps)!

This has the beautiful Arlene Martel as T’pring, Celia Lovsky as T’Pau, and a guy as Stonn (okay, not a great character). Olly and I battle to the death over whether production order or broadcast order is most important. And I sing the fight music!

I’m watching the Netflix streaming version; Olly is watching a DVD; and we pretty much stay in sync. Start at 0:00:00 on the countdown.

RoboCop (1987)

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robocopJoin me as I join John Pavlich of Sofa Dogs for Paul Verhoeven’s shoot-em-up classic (no not that one, and no not that one–okay he made a LOT of shoot-em-ups) RoboCop. This is the 1987 one, not the remake that is definitely terrible even tho we didn’t see it.

It’s the heartwarming tale of a simple law enforcement officer caught in the strange machinations of a major corporation and finding love, laughter, and many, many bullets. We discuss its relevance to today (timely!), it’s similarity to traditional stories (Frankenstein, Pinocchio, and Showgirls), and how close this came to being a terrible movie.

We’re watching the Blu-ray. Cue up the first frame of black after the Orion Studios logo fades and start with the countdown.

Star Trek 29 “The City on the Edge of Forever”

Star Trek TOSIMDb

Space: the final frontier. Our five-year ten-episode mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

Join Olly and me as we look into episode 29: “The City on the Edge of Forever”. We question the nature of the time portal—sorry: “Guardian of Forever” (nice guarding there, pal, by the way). We question why Kirk brings only part of the landing party thru the portal. We question the use of soft focus on Joan Collins. And we question the problem with a device that records video but can’t play it back without being hooked up to a series of old radio tubes. Also, we forget to mentioned “Let’s get the hell out of here” was the first time “hell” was used as a curse word on American TV.

I’m watching the Netflix streaming version; Olly is watching a DVD; and we pretty much stay in sync. Start at 0:00:00 on the countdown.

Running commentaries that you listen to while you watch the movie.