Episode 204 – Lucy (2014)

“Looooothy!! What crazy hijinks you up to now, huh? Did you go and super-evolve your brain and develop god-like powers on the night I’m bringing Caesar Romero over for dinner?”
“Waaaaahhhh, Rickyyyyy! I went and perpetuated a false scientific theory that’s been disproved multiple times! Waaaahhhh!!!”

Now THAT would have been a film for the ages . . .  but sadly our final entry in “Focus On: Scarlett Johansson” does not follow my brilliant concept but does give us both Ms. Johansson AND Morgan Freeman and if you could bottle their combined voices and sell them, you’d have the world’s newest super-drug. Luc Besson, the man who gave us “Fifth Element,” “Taken,” and “The Professional” tackles the speculative fiction concept: given that we only use 10% of our brains, what would happen to someone whose brain suddenly began evolving to the point where she could use 100% of her mental potential? TL;DR – nothing, because that whole “we only use 10% of our brain” thing has been proven to be nonsense time and time again (with the exception of Bumpy who uses a percentage of his brain that is too small to be measured by any current scientific equipment). But if we can get past this rather large “I call no way!” aspect, is this movie fun to watch, given the cast and the director? Give a listen; you’ll barely have to use 2% of your brain to follow along.

Poll question: what’s an older movie that you enjoy that could just NOT get made today?

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Episode 203 – Rough Night (2017)

Welcome to our penultimate “Focus on: Scarlett Johansson” episode! This one’s a rough night! No, I’m fine, why do you ask? No, last night was fine . . . there’s no problem. What drinking? I meant the MOVIE is called . . . why are you all here sitting in a circle on folding chairs? What do you mean, “I have a problem”?! Maybe you’re the ones with the problem! You ever think of that?!

Ok, that took a darker turn than I had intended . . . just to make sure there are no misunderstandings, wacky, dark, or otherwise, we’re discussing the movie “Rough Night,” starring Scarlett Johansson and a remarkable cast who, quite frankly, deserved better. Oops! Spoiler! Quick, go listen before I give anything else away!

Poll question: who would you choose to play you in your own biopic? Any actor, living or dead, at any point in their career.

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ACLU: https://www.aclu.org/

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Southern Poverty Law Center: https://donate.splcenter.org/

Episode 202 – Lost in Translation (2003)

Another in our series “Focus on: Scarlett Johansson”! Ok, “Ghost World” may have been her breakout film but this week’s entry . . . is also seen as her breakout film. Because who says you only get one breakout film? Well, if you do, you should be ashamed of yourself! Here at Max, Mike; Movies we support everyone’s right to have as many breakout films as they want! And we will fight you about this! That is, Bumpy will fight you! Get ‘em, Bumpy! This one was nominated for multiple Oscars and confirmed the notion that Sofia Coppola belongs behind the camera, and maybe not so much in front of it (sorry, Ms. Coppola but we’re all thinking the same thing). In 2003’s “Lost in Translation,” we get to see a surprising amount of chemistry between Scarlett and . . . Bill Murray? Ok, before this movie came out, that is NOT a screen pairing I would have thought of. Does it work? Is it just creepy because Bill is almost three times Scarlett’s age at this point? Join us and find out! Hang on, what’s that, Mike? “More intense”? What the hell does that mean?

Poll question: what is a movie you feel like you “should” watch because of stuff tm and reasons tm but you’ve just never been able to get yourself to do it, and why?

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Episode 201 – Ghost World (2001)

Welcome, welcome to another brand new series (this one has no Bat-folk in it; we hope you’re not too disappointed): “Focus On: Scarlett Johansson.” Yes, we’re doing another short series focusing on the works of one particular performer, in this case the aforementioned Ms. Johansson. An acclaimed drama, comedy, and action star, the face of L’Oréal (because she’s worth it) and many other companies, Scarlett Johansson has played aliens, hyper-advanced human beings, bodiless AI’s, superheroes and animated porcupines. We’re starting off with one of her breakthrough non-child roles in Terry Zwigoff’s adaptation of Daniel Clowes award-winning graphic novel “Ghost World.” While Thora Birch plays the more featured character, Enid, Scarlett Johansson turns in a quietly subdued and internal performance as Rebecca.  How is the movie as a whole? Give a listen and find out!

Hey, once this series is done, we’re doing one more “Focus On” series and this one will focus on an actor chosen by you! Yes, you! No . . . not you . . . the one over to your  . . . look, could you move to your right a bit? Thanks! Yes, YOU! Who would you like to see us focus on? Suggest an actor! Suggest some of their movies! Ignore that weirdo who thought we were talking to them and let us know!

Poll question: what movie, that you’ve never seen, looks so disturbing that you never even want to give it a try?

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ACLU: https://www.aclu.org/

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Southern Poverty Law Center: https://donate.splcenter.org/

Episode 200 – Batman IS a Wonderful Toy! And Also Very Pale (Chapter 4)

Citizens, we commend you on your fortitude, courage and strength of character: you have stuck with us through all four parts of our commentary about His Royal Batness (sidenote: most people don’t know that was the nickname Prince was originally going to use. It’s true. Trust us. Don’t bother to look it up). In this the FINAL segment of our 200th episode, we cover the end of the Bale-Nolan trilogy, the thrilling courtroom drama that was “Batman v. Superman” (in a moment, the results of that trial), the surprisingly entertaining “Lego Batman Movie” and the even more surprising, and most recent, incarnation of Batman, played by the pale and somewhat wispy Robert Pattinson. Note for parents: at no point does Mr. Patterson sparkle during his portrayal of Batman. I don’t know about you but I was really worried about that. And then we wrap it all up with a brief discussion of the character of Bartman, sorry, Biffman, wait, Blortman . . . dang it, this has gone on so long I can’t remember who we’re actually talking about . . . Forbushman? No, no, that doesn’t sound right. Anyway, we are so grateful that you’ve stuck around for this Director’s Cut of an episode and we promise that we’ve learned our less and episode 300 will just be a description of an old Chef Boyardee commercial that should last about 20 minutes. But you’ve come this far (we hope) so join us for the grand bat-finale! Pow! Zap! Biff! Conclude!

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ACLU: https://www.aclu.org/

Black Lives Matter: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ms_blm_homepage_2019

Southern Poverty Law Center: https://donate.splcenter.org/

Episode 200 – Batman, Animated and Live! (Chapter 3)

Well, we hope all our old chums are hanging on to their bat-ropes as we charge ahead into the third part of our 200th episode (don’t ask me how math works). In this one we move from the last of the Burton-esque Batman movies, including the one that sank the franchise, as well as the much-loved Animated Series and then make a start on the Bale-Nolan Batman revival of the 2000’s. There’s a lot to cover here: we’ve got Jim Carrey as the Riddler, Ahhhhnold as Mr. Freeze (complete with agonizing ice puns), the introduction of Harley Quinn, the introduction of Batman’s gargling-with-hot-gravel voice, and the performance may in fact out-Joker Jack Nicholson. So join us for more Bat-lore and bat-tastic discussion! Batfully!

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ACLU: https://www.aclu.org/

Black Lives Matter: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ms_blm_homepage_2019

Southern Poverty Law Center: https://donate.splcenter.org/

Episode 200 – Batman And His Wonderful Toys (Chapter 2)

Holy multi-part-episode! It’s part two of our 200th episode here at Max, Mike; Movies! It’s still episode 200 and we’re still talking about the Man of Bats; in this segment we’re talking about the Batman’s first animated appearances in such classics as “SuperFriends” (in all it’s many, many . . . MANY incarnations) as well as his team-up with perhaps his greatest ally . . . Scooby-Doo! We’re also covering the return of the Gotham Guy (someone must have called him that at some point) to live-action cinema with the Tim Burton movies of the late 80’s and early 90’s. Grab some bat-popcorn, enjoy some bat-cola, and join us for Chapter Two of our tribute to the many screen-forms of Batman! Alfred! Run me a bat-bath!

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ACLU: https://www.aclu.org/

Black Lives Matter: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ms_blm_homepage_2019

Southern Poverty Law Center: https://donate.splcenter.org/

Episode 200 (Part 1) – Batman, Batman, Batman!

What’s this? Our dyspeptic duo has actually produced two hundred episodes? Our Cape-less Crusaders have bivouacked a burgeoning bicentennial of cinematic barbs? Holy milestone! An event like this must have a worthy subject, something grand, something spanning decades, something like . . . a guy who dresses up like a flying Chiroptera and beats up insane snake-clowns! Of course! Yes, we’re taking on the Dark Knight himself: Batman! Which version, you ask? Why, pretty much all of them, of course! In a fit of masochism Mike and I have decided to discuss, converse, and otherwise hobnob about every major screen appearance (well, a lot of them) made by Batman. From the movie serials of the 40’s to the animated series of the 90’s, from Adam West to Michael Keaton to Robert Pattison, no one is immune to our analysis!

Now, there’s a lot to say about this literary/television/cinematic character and by Aunt Harriet’s bloomers, we said a lot of it! So much so that it’s too bat-much for one bat-episode so we’re splitting it up into not one, not two, not three, but four separate bat-episodes. Collect them all! Trade them with your friends! In Chapter One, we cover the Batman movie serials of the 40’s up through the famous/infamous TV show (and movie!) of 1966! Zap! Bow! Bam! Enjoy!

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Southern Poverty Law Center: https://donate.splcenter.org/

Episode 199: Singularity (2017)

And we come to the end of our “Focus on: John Cusack” series and a short but wild ride it’s been. Wasn’t “High Fidelity” cool? Didn’t you just love Lloyd Dobler as a character? Wasn’t the Savannah setting in “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” intriguing? Yeah . . . welp, that about sums up the series, thanks for joining us! For next time . . . hm? What’s that? THIS week’s movie? 2017’s “Singularity”? Yeeeeaaahhhhh . . . right . . . that one . . . uh . . . sure, I mean, we can talk about it. If you really want to. I mean, John Cusack’s in it . . . pretty much. For some of it. He’s prominently featured in the credits and on the DVD cover, so, ok, this is technically a John Cusack movie. Um. But you know, maybe we could talk more about the actual music choices in “High Fidelity”! Yeah! That’d be cool, right? Like how many of the albums that got mentioned are albums you’ve actually listened to? Let’s do that! Oh. Really? Well, ok, if you insist. I mean, “Singularity” is kind of an interesting indicator of John Cusack’s recent career trajectory. And there’s robots in it. And . . . well, you’d better just give a listen, find out what’s going on. We do need to finish this up.

Poll question: What is your favorite filmic representation of Batman?

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Southern Poverty Law Center: https://donate.splcenter.org/

Episode 198: High Fidelity (2000)

And here we are, thundering along in our series “Focus On: John Cusack” with a thundering new thunderous episode featuring “High Fidelity.” Thunderously. Check out this throwback involving Mr. Cusack as a character who owns some business called a “record store” where he sells some sort of ancient music format involving pressed disks made of vinyl. Man, the past was weird. Not like we’d ever see anything like that these days . . . Of course, these “record albums” are not the only focus of the movie, no; adapted from Nick Hornby novel of the same name, the story follows Robb (Cusack) as he endeavors to determine the reason for his history of romantic failures and edges closer to the possibility that, um, maybe it’s not a failing in the women in his life but perhaps with … himself? Nah, can’t be. Also featuring Jack Black and Todd Louiso as two characters you will both enjoy and want to beat with a sock full of quarters. Marvel along with us and ask yourself: how the heck did this Robb guy ever date someone played by Catherine Zeta Jones?

Poll question: besides musicals, what movie do you think has a KILLER soundtrack? Doesn’t have to be a good movie, just a great soundtrack.

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ACLU: https://www.aclu.org/

Black Lives Matter: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ms_blm_homepage_2019

Southern Poverty Law Center: https://donate.splcenter.org/