Commentary: Pirates of the Caribbean 1

PiratesNetflix IMDb
Join me for a rollicking Halloween pirate/ghost/zombie or whatever adventure as Disney has the bright idea to turn a mediocre amusement park ride into a gigantic movie franchise. This might be the film that kills Disney, since it kind of became their strategy to create tent-pole films out of existing properties with a big Johnny Depp-like (often Johnny Depp himself) star and forgot that you kind of need a good script to get the ball rolling.

I analyze the plot, the curse, and the characters. I point out where the flab is (it’s kind of overlong) but mostly have a lot of fun with it. I compare it a bit to the other films in the series, to other pirate movies, to romantic comedies, Master and Commander, commedia dell’arte, and the Muppets.

I’m watching the R1 DVD version. Start the commentary after the studio logo along with the wisps of flame, on the countdown.

Commentary: Total Recall (2012)

Total RecallNetflix IMDb
Join me for a sight-unseen analysis of the 2012 version of Total Recall. I claim that I won’t play spot-the-differences but I kind of do. I analyze the different styles, the subtle differences in plot, and the believability of Colin Farrell as a superspy-turned-freedom-fighter-turned-welder. And I examine the influence of Minority Report, Blade Runner, and the Chinese market.

I mix up the three gorgeous brunettes (I’m not always sure I can separate Colin Farrell from Kate Beckinsale). I might mistakenly call Jessica Biel “Jennifer Beals” at some point, I don’t remember. I still mix up Michael Ironside and Michael Rooker.

I’m watching the HD DVR version. Start the commentary after the Total Recall title card just coming up, on the countdown.

Commentary: Hunt for Red October

Hunt Red OctNetflix IMDb
Join Faldor of The Extended Edition podcast and me for a look at the Tom Clancy bromance that is Hunt for Red October. We praise the pace despite the fact that it’s mostly people talking to each other. We discuss the way the opening hides Ramius’ intentions. And we wonder whether or not the silent drive helps Ramius.

We’re watching streaming and DVR versions. Start the commentary after the Paramount logo, on the countdown.

Commentary: Trading Places

Trading PlacesNetflix IMDb
It’s the heartwarming story of a streetwise con man and a upper crust commodities broker and the hooker he falls in love with and also his butler and their boss. Watch along as I explain how the story is set up very carefully to make us like the right people at the right time and turn things around in the right way when it’s time. I love a tight screenplay and this is both tight and very funny.

I talk about similar stories, discuss the careers of the various players, including the wonderful Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy, and examine the verisimilitude of its depiction of the 1980s commodities market. I call it nearly perfect and point out ways that it could be slightly better.

I’m watching an HD version recorded from a movie channel. Start the commentary after the Paramount logos, on the countdown.

Commentary: Hudsucker Proxy

Hudsucker ProxyNetflix IMDb
Join me as I join Mike and Max for a close examination of Coen’s foray into screwball comedy. Close doesn’t mean accurate, of course, and we fact check each other thruout.

We discuss the Coen Brothers in general, the film’s homage-heavy story, the choice of actors, the actors’ choices, and the real history of the hula hoop. We consider the mish-mash of myth and fantasy, the stunning set design, how the stock market works, and basic physics.

We’re watching streaming and DVR versions. Start the commentary after the Paramount logo, on the countdown.

Commentary: Atlas Shrugged 1

Atlas ShruggedNetflix IMDb
Join me (or don’t, if it’s not in your self-interest) for a romp thru part one of Ayn Rand’s garden of selfish delights. It’s the heartwarming tale of two star-crossed corporate executives and their quest to figure out why the heck they can’t get the steel and train engines they need and who this guy John Galt is. I explain who the heck Ayn Rand is and why she is so woefully wrong about economics, politics, and industry. And I compare the movie to 2-Headed Shark Attack and soap operas.

I generally praise the sets and effects and acting, unlike the communists who write most of the reviews, but I admit that it’s about as dull as people talking can be when your villain is wrongheaded government economic policies. But I have fun with it and keep it light. For example, I propose that Packers and Vikings fans would be the first to break down and resort cannibalism.


I’m watching on Netflix. Start the commentary after the production logo, on the countdown.

Commentary: Bourne Supremacy (with Faldor)

Bourne SupremacyNetflix IMDb
Faldor joins me again for the second of the Bourne movies (unless you count the TV movie with Richard Chamberlain, WHICH NO ONE DOES). Faldor claims that it’s a bad movie. I claim that it’s a good movie—specifically: Frankenstein. We compare it to the first film, Frankenstein, Bond films, Close Encounters, The Story of Anne Frank, Pirates of the Caribbean, Ronin, and—very slightly—the book it’s supposedly based on.

We agree on almost all points and yet disagree on the overall quality of the film itself. We discuss various locations in Europe, and whether or not the plot is actually necessary to the story in this case. We rewrite the film to be more character-oriented. And we touch on how technology has advanced to the point that nearly all the “high tech” stuff could be done on an iPhone.

Look for 2014 Frankenstein on the SyFy channel in the fall!. Unfortunately, The Diary of Anne Frankenstein already exists!

We’re both watching the Blu-ray, so we stay in sync. Start the commentary after the Universal logo, on the countdown.

Commentary: A Bug’s Life

A Bug's LifeNetflix IMDb
Join me for a gushing lovefest for Pixar’s second feature film, A Bug’s Life. I compare it to The Seven Samurai, The Magnificent Seven, The Three Amigos, The Wild One, and Disney and Warner Brothers cartoons. I praise the cinematography, story structure, cast, and anything else I can think of. And I call it nearly perfect several times.

I discuss the scale of the picture, how the story elements work together, the various arcs of different characters. I explore other possible avenues for telling the story. I condemn cats. And I nearly drown myself.

Start the movie after the Pixar logo has faded, on the countdown.

Commentary: Community 1×06 “Football, Feminism and You”

CommunityNetflix IMDb
Join me as I again join John Pavlich of Sofa Dogs to watch the sixth episode of Community.

We discuss how this episode feels out of place, girl bonding, Greendale’s weird football field, Jeff and Annie. And say goodbye to Troy’s interest in sports.

Start the commentary at the very beginning of the episode, on the countdown.

Commentary: Austin Powers 1

Austin PowersNetflix IMDb
Join me for a lighthearted romp thru the annals of espionage and adventure with everyone’s favorite international man of mystery, Austin Danger Powers. I analyze the film as a spy movie, a spoof, an homage, a pastiche, and a romantic comedy. I say I’m not going to play “spot the reference” but in fact I do. I forget to mention which actor who was one inspiration for the character of Austin Powers played his father in the third film (spoiler: Michael Caine).

I point out the arcs of Austin, Vanessa, and Dr. Evil. I admire Elizabeth Hurley a bit too much. I make a few too many complaints about the other films in the series. And I reference the director’s commentary a little too much. A good time was had by all until it became known that George W Bush liked doing Dr. Evil impressions.

I’m watching the old flipper region 1 DVD. Start the commentary after the New Line Cinema logo and Eric’s Boy title card, on the countdown.