Episode 104: Being John Malkovich (1999)

Welcome back to another episode of Max, Mike; Movies in our series “In Ancient Times: the 90’s.” Say, do you want to be John Malkovich? Sure, we all do! But how many movies have addressed this very question? As far as we know, only 1999’s “Being John Malkovich” has dared to do this! Directed by Spike Jonze and written by Charlie “Normal? What Does That Mean?” Kaufman (a first effort for both), this movie is . . . different.  One of the reasons we’ve been talking so much about movies of the 90’s is that while this decade brought us some major trend-setters and blockbusters, it also brought us some remarkably edgy, daring, and experimental wide-release movies.  “Being John Malkovich” is decidedly one of the latter.  Dealing with both the painfully mundane and a sort of magical realism where crawling through a tiny door can land you inside the brain of John Malkovich (like you do), this movie brings us some strange and often uncomfortable ideas, intriguingly executed, and some remarkable performances by the likes of John Cusack, an almost unrecognizable Cameron Diaz, and playing the role of John Malkovich . . . John Malkovich! Interesting choice.  Me, I would have gone with Pee Wee Herman, but they didn’t ask me.  I’m sure that’s one of the director’s major regrets.  When will Hollywood learn that most important of lessons: always ask Max.

George Floyd Memorial Fund:  https://www.gofundme.com/f/georgefloyd

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 103: Wayne’s World (1992)

It’s Max, Mike; Movies! Max, Mike; Movies! Party time! Excellent! Random excited noises! It’s Monday, it’s “In Ancient Times: the 90’s” and it’s time to party! I’m your excellent host, Max Levine. With me as always is Mike. Party on Mike! . . . Party on, Mike! . . . Mike? Mike? . . . Dammit, you’re ruining this for me! Just say “Party on”! Why are you leaving me hanging? Did Bumpy put you up to this? Well, fine. I hope you two are very happy on the Mike an’ Bumpy Super Happy Smile Hour . . . for Jerks! Anyway, yes this week we’re partying down with a major comedy from the 90’s, a movie so meta it’s basically one big meta.  What’s a meta? Why, it’s where the cows graze, thank you! We’re here all week! Tip your waitresses! “Wayne’s World,” one of only two successful movies based on ANYTHING from Saturday Night Live.  Born out of a time when SNL was . . . what’s the word I’m looking for . . . right on the tip of my tongue . . . oh yeah, “funny.”  Remember those days? No? Not surprising.  So pop in that cassette tape of Queen, cruise on down to Aurora, Illinois and join us for a sedate, low-key, erudite discussion of “Wayne’s World” . . . not! Wow, that joke has just has not aged well. . . 

George Floyd Memorial Fund:  https://www.gofundme.com/f/georgefloyd

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 102: Dazed and Confused (1993)

Booyah! Welcome back to another totally tubular episode of “In Ancient Times: the 90’s” here at Max, Mike; Movies.  Wait . . . tubular is from the 80’s, right? Oh, who knows.  It’s not like anyone from that era is alive today.  Whatever. Totally. This week we’re tackling Mike’s choice of an early Richard Linklater ode to the 1970’s (because that’s what we were into in the 90’s: Richard Linklater and the 70’s.  Don’t dispute me) “Dazed and Confused,” the movie that single-handedly took a handful of river clay and crafted it into the chiseled creature that is Matthew McConaughey.  Yes, he’s not actually in much of the movie, but by MC’s hammer, he’s what you remember.  The plot? It’s the last day of school in 1976 in a small town in Texas.  Yes, that’s pretty much it.  But is the plot the reason to watch the movie? Is it the characters? The feeling of a small football-based town in Texas? The brief appearances by a painfully young Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, and Parker Posey? The blink-and-you’ll-miss-her cameo by Renee Zellweger (playing the immortal role of “Girl in Blue Truck”)? Or is it the fabulous 70’s wardrobe? Give a listen and see if you think we’re all wrong or if we’re  . . . all right, all right, all right!

George Floyd Memorial Fund:  https://www.gofundme.com/f/georgefloyd

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 101: Titanic (1997)

Whew! We conquered episode 100, now we go forward . . . to the past! Welcome to a new series on “Max, Mike; Movies” where we check out films of a surprisingly innovative and influential decade, back in the dim and distant misty times: the 1990’s, in a series we’re calling “In Ancient Times: the 90’s” (we were going to do the 1890s but there’s only so much you can say about a film showing Thomas Edison’s assistant sneezing). The 90’s were, in our opinion, one of the last decades of truly experimental, daring films, before studios began focus-grouping the hell out of everything and basically just trying to establish easy-to-replicate cash-pooping formulas.  This is not to say there isn’t still innovation out there, but it’s harder to get such movies made.  This week we’re starting off with Max’s pick of a cinematic achievement that chronicles one of the greatest maritime tragedies of the 20th century.  Of course, I’m talking about Boaty McBoatface.  I don’t think any of us will ever lose the scars from that . . . wait, hang on, that’s not right.  No, we’ll be yammering about the movie that made James Cameron the king of the world, a quiet, small-scale little period piece called “Titanic.” Sit back and let us paint you like one of our French girls!

And please, do keep in mind:

George Floyd Memorial Fund:  https://www.gofundme.com/f/georgefloyd

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 100: Star Wars… All of it!

Great jumping midi-chlorians! We’ve made it all the way to episode 100 of Max, Mike; Movies! Who’d have believed it? Seems like only yesterday we were at episode 34.  They said we’d never make it; they said that we were mad! Mad, I tell you! They said we had to wear pants to the grocery store! Well, who’s wearing pants now, huh? Huh?

As this is an extra special, super-deluxe, chocolate-fudgy episode, we had to do something epic, something massive, something spanning decades, yet so simple and enjoyable that no one could ever, ever disagree about it or have conflicting opinions that would fill countless internet forums, web sites, or endless blogs.  You guessed it, we chose “Star Wars”! (I lobbied for “Twilight” but Mike wouldn’t stop crying and biting himself when I suggested it). But which of the eleven official Star Wars movies could we discuss? How could we choose just one? Well . . . we couldn’t! So, we’re doing ALL OF THEM! That’s right, we’re talking about Star Wars, episodes 1 through 9, as well as “Solo” and “Rogue One.” Man, we must be really good to fit a complete analysis of the entire Skywalker Saga into one hour! Uh . . . well, we’re not actually that good.  This is one of our longest podcasts ever.  I mean EVER.  Like, almost 3 hours long (hey, the movies got progressively longer as they went on, so we’re just honoring them. Yeah, that’s it). You’ll need plenty of roast Porg sandwiches and a big thermos of blue milk for this.  We’ll be trying to discuss as much about all the movies, in context, as we can.  Please note, we’re not going to try to cover the tv shows, animated series, novels, comic books, fanfics, neckties, tattoos, or stained-glass windows.  We’re only Bothans, after all, and many of us died to bring you this podcast.  Well, not really.  

Now, a podcast of this magnitude needs more than just additional time; Mike and I like us some Star Wars-ing, but we’re not experts on the subject, so we found one of the most knowledgeable, reasonable, and well-dressed Star Wars enthusiasts we know: our special guest, Dr. Tyler Hutchinson.  Dr. Hutchinson knows more about Star Wars than Calvin Coolidge put together, and he has very kindly agreed to lend his perspective, his knowledge of the Star Wars Universe, and his elegant vocal stylings to this episode.  Don’t get used to it; next week it’s back to the dull screechings of Max and Mike.  So, don’t go forming any Tyler fan clubs . . . unless we get a piece of the merchandising rights.

And for those of you who don’t want to deal with one huge, choking mass of our ponderous pontificating, Mike has neatly divided this podcast into three downloadable, easy to digest, bite-sized files that you can find here below, on our website.  So, stock up on kyber crystals, light up a death stick, and give a listen to find out if these are the droids you’re looking for!

Episode 100 – Part 1
Episode 100 – Part 2
Episode 100 – Part 3


George Floyd Memorial Fund:  https://www.gofundme.com/f/georgefloyd

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 99: Blade Runner (1982)

Sushi.  Cold fish.  That’s what my ex-partner used to call me before he ran off with Bumpy the Wonder Pony.  Now it’s just me, alone, hunting podcasts and wondering . . . am I a podcast as well? Welcome to this week’s episode of “Max, Mike; Movies” and the last in our brief series “A Few of Our Favorite Things,” leading up to next week’s super-spectacular 100th episode! This week we’re hooking up the old  Voight-Kampff  testing equipment and chatting about one of Mike’s most-watched, most-beloved movies, Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner,” a cheerful, upbeat romp about a wacky razor delivery boy trying to make it in the big city . . . you’re not buying any of this, are you.  Set in the distant future of . . . last year, I think, we follow the adventures of hard-boiled former cop Rick Deckard as he is called out of retirement to hunt down a group of renegade replicants, aka humanoid androids, now outlawed on Earth.  Deckard has to face opponents who are almost indistinguishable from ordinary humans, and who are smarter and stronger than ordinary humans.  Why, that’s just like our listeners, who are also more charming and better dressed than ordinary humans! “Blade Runner” has been released in no fewer than four cuts (maybe five) and Mike has chosen what he believes to be the best one (all I know is that it’s the one without the annoying voice-over narration, which puts it streets ahead of the theatrical release). Come listen to our annoying voice-over narration, won’t you?

George Floyd Memorial Fund:  https://www.gofundme.com/f/georgefloyd

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 98: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

Hello, good evening and welcome to another edition of “Max, Mike; Wombats,” the show where it’s not what you know that counts but rather how many navy beans you can fit inside this week’s special marsupial guest.  Today’s episode, another in our VERY POPULAR “A Few of Our Favorite Things” series, is brought to you by Whizzo Butter.  Four out of five housewives can’t tell Whizzo Butter from a dead crab, and neither will you, good evening.  As you may have gathered from this pithy banter (and the actual title of the podcast episode), we are ‘avin’ a little chat about one of my favorite bits of the cinema, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” a glittering and absolutely faithful recounting of the fabled Arthurian Legends.  This film is hailed by medievalists and literary scholars across my living room as one of the greatest and most caramel-filled interpretations of the so-called while you were out Grail Quest narrative ever created by any organization called Monty Python.  So turn down the volume so as not to wake up your Norwegian Blue (beautiful plumage), crack a tube with Bruce, Bruce, Mike and meself and enjoy our llama-rich podcast with the world’s first great taste of fish, oop, damn, you can edit that out, can’t you?

And on a more serious note:

George Floyd Memorial Fund:  https://www.gofundme.com/f/georgefloyd

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 97: What’s Up, Doc? (1972)

Welcome to another episode of “A Few of Our Favorite Things,” with another movie based on raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens . . . which would be a lot weirder the other way around. Whiskers on roses . . . how would that even work . . .? Let me check . . . and yes, of course, there’s fan art on that very subject. Regardless, we’re going to be talking about one of Mike’s all-time most-groovy flicks, Peter Bogdonavich’s “What’s Up, Doc?” a throwback to the classic screwball comedies of the 30’s and 40’s. Starring Ryan O’Neil, and featuring the glorious Madeline Kahn’s first film role, this film also has . . . dang it, I know I’m forgetting somebody. Who else is in this? Austin Pendleton, yeah . . . Kenneth Mars . . . he’s in it, but that’s not who I’m thinking of . . . Oh right, some lady named Barbara . . . I want to say Steinman? Sonderland? Barbara Stressman? Heck, it’ll come to me; whoever she is, she has a heck of a voice. Too bad she went into acting; I bet she could have done okay as a singer. Well, I guess we’ll never know . . . or will we? Give a listen and see if we figure out whatever became of Barbara Summersand!

And no, we haven’t just “moved on”:

George Floyd Memorial Fund:  https://www.gofundme.com/f/georgefloyd

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 96: Casablanca (1942)

Welcome back. No, I can’t say that the world is all better now. Not even close. But we’d still like to offer you something to listen to, and this is what we have to offer.  This is how we approach the world, this is what we have to share, this is something we love.  So we’re putting it out there for you.

We’re starting a new, short series this week: “A Few of Our Favorite Things,” where each week we take it turn to suggest, watch, and chat about one of the movies that we just never get tired of watching. Comfort is a little scarce these days, and these are movies that offer us comfort; they remind us of the remarkable things people are capable of creating.  I can’t speak for anyone else, but I could use a little reminding these days.  So this week, my choice is 1942’s Humphrey Bogart/Ingrid Bergman classic: “Casablanca.”  I can’t really say that this is my favorite movie of all time, because I don’t really believe in having a single favorite movie.  But if I had to pick a movie that checks all the boxes for me, this is it.

Come and listen. Also, below we’re including links to organizations that could use your help in these difficult days.  Listing links may not be much, but it’s something we can do with this site, so we’re doing it.

George Floyd Memorial Fund:  https://www.gofundme.com/f/georgefloyd

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/

June 8th, 2020

Hello again, friends.  We once again don’t feel it’s appropriate to post an episode this week, given the current events and protests that continue and will, we hope, bring about some sort of meaningful change.  Ours aren’t the voices that should be listened to at this point. We’ll be posting again soon. Until then, our thoughts are with you. Stay safe.