Back again for more, are you? Well, we’ll soon fix that! This week, we’re hip-deep in “I Made From TV Love You!”, the series about movies inspired by their small-screen counterparts. And this week . . . ah, Jay Ward. You fine animator, you. You gave us so much. Rock and Bullwinkle. Dudley Do-right. Mr. Peabody and Sherman. Endless Captain Crunch commercials. So . . . what happened? What took you from pithy wit and subtle political satire to and brain-dead Tarzan parody? This show didn’t even last a year . . . and yet three decades later, The All-Conquering Mouse decided that the world needed a live-action big-screen resurrection of this sad aberration, starring no less than a very oiled-up Brendan Fraser. Oh, Jay. Sweet, sweet Jay. We’ll always remember you for Moose and Squirrel, not . . . that other thing. But is this a fitting tribute to this unfortunate misstep? Does the remake surpass the original? And why won’t Disney consider Super Chicken as a long-needed addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Why, I ask you! Well, I can’t promise you an answer to that last one, but we’ll try to answer the others. Give a listen!
Poll question: how much to a movie’s musical score (the background music, not the pop songs on the soundtrack) affect your cinematic experience? Tell, tell!
In the mid-1960’s, a television program appeared that would profoundly change the medium of tv, science fiction, American popular culture, and even scientific exploration. Its influence is still felt today among its legions of fans, who range from “devoted” to “psychotic.” I’m speaking of course of 1965’s “My Mother The Car,” starring Jerry Van Dyke. This criminally ignored, ground-breaking show was the first to consider the idea of the Singularity, where human consciousness and technology would subsume and be subsumed by each other, forming an entirely new form of sentience. But since Hollywood has blindly and stubbornly rejected all of my spec scripts, there’s no movie to discuss so I guess we should talk about Space Walk or whatever that other show was called.
This cinematic version of Star Trek represents a very daring and risky venture, wherein the film’s creators decided to take a venerable and frighteningly-beloved franchise . . . and almost completely rewrite it, changing the characters’ backstories, presentation, and even, in effect, discarding the history of the show itself. Does it succeed? Is it fascinating? Highly illogical? Be there whales here? Give a listen and find out!
Poll question: what fictional cinematic character would you most like to sit down and have a conversation with, maybe over lunch or drinks?
Holy cathode ray tubes! It’s a brand-new series here on “Max, Mike; Movies”! This time we’re checking out creations for the big screen that had their origins on the small screen. No, not on your phone, I’m talking about television . . . although recent technological and social changes really have redefined what the term “small screen” might refer to. Heck, it might even make people think I’m talking about their smartwatches! The cultural and linguistic ramifications are seriously . . . hey, but, movies! Movies that were spawned by tv shows! That’s what we’re talking about in this new series “I Made-From-TV Love You” [note: title of series is a clumsy paraphrasing of an old Mystery Science Theater 3000 quote. Patent pending]. This week we’re starting off with a movie based on a tv show based on a series of New Yorker cartoons based on . . . probably some stuff scribbled on a bar napkin: “The Addams Family.” This is the live-action one, not to be confused with the recent CG movies or the family’s appearances on assorted episodes of Scooby Doo. Give a listen and try to blot out the memory of the atrocities MC Hammer committed on the classic theme song.
Poll question: (a reversal of a question from a couple of shows ago) What is a movie that you love, or at least really enjoy, that everyone else can’t stand (or looks at you funny and edges away when you tell them you love it)?
And now we arrive at the end of our series “I’d Forgotten How Much I Hate Time Travel”! Or perhaps we’re just at the beginning . . . no, no, we’re really not. Mike and I have now remembered just how much we do hate time travel and we’re quite done with it. But not before we tackle one of the best-known and most beloved time travel movie of modern(ish) times, Robert Zemeckisisisisis’s’s’s original “Back to the Future”! We’ve got Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, and Crispin Glover! Great Scott! Yes, I’m sure there’s a guy named Scott in there somewhere and I’m sure he’s just great. That’s probably him sitting next to Huey Lewis. Anyway, this movie dares to ask the question: if you build a time machine out of a Delorean, how much cocaine does it take to power it? 80’s joke, heyoooo! Seriously, this movie does raise a number of interesting ideas about time travel, not the least of which is that apparently Polaroid photographs are incredibly sensitive, well-calibrated measurement tools for temporal anomalies. Hear that, Captain Picard? All that fancy equipment on the Enterprise and all you needed was a cheap photo! What the heck am I talking about? What the heck am I EVER talking about? Give a listen and find out!
Poll question: what’s one of your favorite examples of perfect movie casting? I mean, what was that one character where you saw who was playing them and went “Yep, they couldn’t have done better”?
Welcome! Well, we still haven’t forgotten how much we hate time travel but maybe we will forget once the timeline changes! Again! For the first or last time! But this week, we’re checking out another time travel epic from 2014 (a big year for time travel movie, as last week’s entry can support) “Edge of Tomorrow” which, despite its title, is not a long-running daytime soap opera but rather a Tom Cruise science-fiction vehicle that fortunately also has Emily Blunt along as another passenger. This has all the classic Tom Cruise elements: running, riding motorcycles, creepy chuckling . . . oh, and there’s aliens and time travel and soldiers in funky battle armor that no one seems to think they need training to use. But most of all, this movie has . . . the Spanus. What is the Spanus, you dare to ask? Give a listen and learn, but be warned! Once learned, this cannot be unlearned!
Poll question: what’s a movie that everyone else seems to love and adore but you either can’t stand it or it just strikes you as “meh….”?
Hey there, true believers! It’s our pulse-pounding penultimate pulchritudinous package of “I’d Forgotten How Much I Hate Time Travel” limited edition, foil-covered mini-series! And we’re dealing with an entry in that Merry Mutant Marching Society “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” Excelsior! ‘nuff said! Other catch phrases! Why this one, Lissome Listeners? Because this X-Magnum Opus is the one that deals most blatantly and obviously with time travel. Based on one of the most beloved (and re-written) X-Men comic book storylines of the same name, this movie follows the X-Men as they attempt to rewrite a terrible historical event from the 1970’s that resulted in a dreadful post-apocalyptic world. What is this event, you ask? Obviously it was the invention of bell-bottoms, that fashion nightmare that doomed humanity. We . . . we didn’t know . . . we just didn’t know! Now which X-Men are we dealing with, you may ask? The Patrick Stewart/Ian McKellen X-Men or the James Macavoy/Michael Fassbender X-Men? You’re both right! It’s two! Two! Two X-Men in one! With a glistening drop of mutant retcin! Yes, this movie attempts to serve as a bridge between the older cinematic X-Men and the newer ones, with time travel thrown in. Does it work? Does the time travel mangle our minds? Does this movie contain the absolute best version of Quicksilver ever to appear on screen? (spoiler for the last question: yes. Yes it does). For the answer to the OTHER questions, give a listen! ‘nuff said . . . again.
Poll Question: What movie do you think should be protected by state, federal, and church law from EVER being remade?
Welcome back to another in our non-linear, temporally unfixed series “I’d Forgotten How Much I Hate Time Travel”! This week’s entry is “Looper,” the story of a young commercial airline pilot who refuses to give up his dream of constantly flying his plane in loop-the-loops, to the dismay of the stodgy airline “establishment,” as well as the terror of his passengers. Well, that’s what this movie WOULD have been about if Hollywood could recognize the visionary nature of my spec script and wasn’t run by a bunch of calcified old men . . . well, that’s neither here nor there . . . nor is it now or then, because this movie, directed by Rian Johnson, the fella who brought us “Knives Out” and some space movie or other about yetis or something, dares to ask the question: when Joseph Gordon-Levitt ages thirty years, will he look like Bruce Willis? Spoiler alert: the answer, apparently, is a resounding “yes!” Some might argue that’s not the central issue of this movie, which also deals with some nonsense about time travel as a tool for criminals, telekinesis, and the nature of causality, but really it’s the “growing up to look like Bruce Willis” question that really encapsulates the horror of this movie. Brace yourselves and give a listen!
“Poogaloo, the Singing Pangolin” will not be heard tonight so we can bring you the following special presentation, brought to you commercial free and in living (auditory) color. We’re interrupting our current time-travel series for this extra-ultra-mega-super-lifesize-retcin-free episode where Mike and I partake in a classic piece of Americana: the Drive-In Movie! What with living in this time of modern plague it’s still not safe to go to the movie theaters yet so what could be better than cramming the whole family into an SUV, smuggling in easily-spilled snacks and drinks, hooking a tinny-sounding speaker to your window and watching a massive outdoor screen be attacked by moths? Ah, memories! Well, Mike and I happened to be in the same place at the same time (a sadly rare occurrence) and we took the opportunity to see if this cherished cinematic format still exists (it does!) and what was like now, as neither of us had been to a drive-in in far longer than we care to admit. So after we all go to the lobby, after we all go to the lobby, after we all go to the lobby . . . dammit, sorry, clamber into the car trunk so we can sneak you in with us [disclaimer: you don’t have to do that anymore; they charge by the car, not by the number of passengers].
Poll question: when was the last time (if ever) that you went to a Drive-In Theater and what did you see?
We’ve got another episode in our “I’d Forgotten How Much I Hate Time Travel” series. So far we’ve seen time travel mechanisms in the form of weird rotating portals, self-storage lockers and even phone booths. So the obvious next phase in this progression is . . . a hot tub? Because sure, why not. In this cinematic gem, we see a trio of friends (and another guy) travel back from the 2000’s to 1986. Are they there to benefit the human race by trying to remediate the awful aspects of this time in history? Do they go to warn people of the AIDS crisis? Do they want to hasten the end of the Cold War? Do they try to get Americans to avoid the nightmare that was acid-washed jeans? No, they go back to relive a night of hedonistic abandon where they drink, pound down fistfuls of drugs, leap into bed with women they barely know, which they have decided was the high point of their lives. How depressing is that . . . And via the magic of time travel, they get to re-experience this time in their lives as they try to learn what is best in life (spoiler: it doesn’t involve crushing your enemies) and the true meaning of friendship (which is done without the use of any pastel-colored equines, so clearly this effort is doomed to failure). We’ve seen one time travel comedy that worked very well. Is this another? Give a listen and find out!
Poll question: If you could recast any single movie role with any actor you wanted, what role would it be and who would your casting choice be?
Continuing in our careful study of spatio-temporal mechanics as depicted in popular cinematic culture, we come to one of the more intriguing scholarly examples from the late nineteen-eighties. We have before us a meticulously researched opus on the fixed-timeline theory as regards the practical uses of temporal adjustment technology vis a vis academic research as opposed to the more radical theory of temporal manipulation for historical revisionism. Of course this film is most famous for it’s ground-breaking quantum equation that has led to so much brilliant research:
Be=Excellent 2 Other(each) / Partyon D[ude]
It is almost impossible to judge the impact this equation has had on time travel theory but my esteemed colleague Mike and I will be discussing it herein. Please join us. It will be, in my opinion, most triumphant.
New poll question: can you think of a mediocre or even bad movie that has one really great scene or really great performance that almost saves it?