Episode 280 – Female Trouble (1974)

Heeewack, campers! We’ve got another choice selection from the list of Filmaster Oswalt! He’s brought us obscure, powerful noir films, languid, elegant Japanese films, so what tasteful, understated lyrical selection has he made for us . . . oh. Oh. OHHH!!!! OH GOD MY EYES MY EYES WHAT’S HAPPENING WHAT THE HELL IS THIS OHGODOHGODOHGODOHGOD . . . Umm . . . I mean . . . well, this John Water’s . . . classic is certainly a change of pace for us. Yes. That’s what it is. Seriously, this film is . . . really something. I think the process of creating this film went something like this:

Hollywood: Well, it’s 1968 and we’ve finally done away with the Hayes Code! What kind of shock could possibly come of this decision?

John Waters in 1974: Hold my beer.

Yes, John Waters, the man who puts the “cult” in “culture” created this entry, which was astonishingly shocking and transgressive for it’s time. But now it’s fifty years later, so it probably seems very tame, even dull . . . right? Right? Mike, why won’t you look at me . . .?

Poll question: What is the cheapest made movie you’ve ever come to love?

Episode 279 – The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice (1952)

Once again, we are pleased to bring you a film selection suggested by one Mr. Patton Oswalt (and there is only one of him, at least until I perfect my cloning-and-memory-imprint-transfer device, which should be any day now; I just need to find one more set of old skee-ball machine gears . . .): Yasujirō Ozu’s 1952  work “The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice.” And just what is the flavor of green tea over rice? Does it taste like victory? Does it taste like the slow but inescapable realization that your favorite Aunt may have an online gambling addiction? Does it just taste like wet rice? Or does it taste like something else entirely? I’m positive it’s one of those three things (spoiler alert: according to Ozu, I got all three of those things wrong. Oh well. That’s why he was a director and I’m directionless). Patton chose this film out of all of Ozu’s films because . . . well, that would be telling, wouldn’t it? You’ll have to tune in to find out, and you’ll have to listen to all of it, because I won’t reveal the answer to that quandary until the very, very end of the episode (spoiler alert: that’s a lie; you’ll find out fairly early on).

Poll question: who is one actor whose success absolutely baffles you? Just makes you think “how did this person become a movie star?”

Episode 278 – Detour (1945)

Welcome to a brand-spanking-new series (a spanking! A spanking!), inspired by someone Mike and I both admire and enjoy: Patton! That’s right, when you put your hand in a pile of goo that five minutes ago was a movie’s guts . . . wait, hang on, wrong Patton . . . No, indeed, this series is inspired and shaped not by the legendary general and tank-commander but by legendary standup-comedian, actor, author, and inventor of those little plastic things that hold bread bags closed (well, he COULD have invented those! He’s just that good!), Patton Oswalt! Please, please hold your applause until the end. This series takes movies from Patton’s personal choices from the mythical Criterion Closet, that fabled collection of classic movies where angels fear to tread or eagles dare or Abbott and Costello meet the wolfman. One of those collections. And lest you fear that we are simply plagiarizing Mr. Oswalt’s list, let me assure you that I personally contacted Patton and he personally said “Of course, Max, use my list! We’re best friends now and you should hang out with me and Aimee Mann and Weird Al Yankovic in my secret solid gold orbiting pleasure satellite!” In my mind, that’s exactly what happened, rather than Mike’s silly assertion that I actually heard from some very nice people on Patton’s management team who managed to overlook my frothing at the mouth and my screams of “Patton! I would scorch the earth for you!!!” and said it was fine if we used his list for inspiration. And that’s just what we’re doing! We’re starting off with a lesser-known noir film from 1945, “Detour.” Give a listen and see what we (and Patton) thought of this one. Did it deserve a slot in our “Walk the Dark Street” series? And Patton, if you’re reading this (and in my mind, you are), please don’t worry. I wouldn’t ACTUALLY scorch the earth for you. But, if you wanted a small, uninhabited section of Billings, Montana slightly singed . . .

Poll question: what actor do you feel never got their due? Just didn’t get the big roles or the accolades?

Episode 277 – Barbie (2023)

Today, the laughter has died. Yes, we’ve come to the end of our “What’s So Funny?” series; we’re all sorry to see it end, as it means nothing will ever be funny again but we urge you all to stiffen that upper lip, square those shoulders, and do your best to carry on. We’re closing this out with another listener suggestion, the recent “Barbie” movie! This movie was immensely popular but as we’ve seen recently, not without controversy, and I think we all know what the issue is: where are the most significant iterations of Barbie?! Why were they left out of this tribute?! Where’s Kaiju Barbie, with Realistic Trample-able City? What happened to Soccer Hooligan Barbie (with Broken Beer Bottletm and life-like facial scars)? What about Shinsengumi Barbie with her Sparkle-Katana, attempting to bring law and order to Edo-period Japan? Ok, it’s possible I just imagined that last one. Ok, maybe I imagined all of them, but that’s not the point! My hallucinations should be canon and I know none of you will rest until this has been made right! Delusion Enabling Barbie told me so! Anyway, slip into something pink, grab a brewski-beer, and give a listen!

Poll question: what movie do you think SHOULD have won the Oscar for Best Picture but didn’t?

Episode 276 – The Cheap Detective (1978)

Welcome to our penultimate “What’s So Funny?” episode; this week we’ve got a Neil Simon-penned (or more likely typewritered) little number, the spiritual sequel, sort of, to a movie both Mike and I really enjoy, “Murder By Death,” another Neil Simon creation. This one focuses more on one genre: the hard-boiled detective movie, more specifically, the hard-boiled Humphrey Bogart detective movie. I mean, the detective in the movie is hard-boiled, not Humphrey Bogart. Hard-boiling Humphrey Bogart would be horrible. Really. Everyone knows that you should pan-sear your Humphrey Bogart for optimum flavor and mouth-feel. Mmmm . . . delicious first-half-of-the-twentieth-century-acting flavor . . . Oh, um, sorry, where was I, why am I drooling . . . anyway, give a listen and see if Mike and I think this one lives up to its predecessor or if it’s a case of cinematic . . . muuuuurrrrrrddderrrrrrr.

Poll question: what’s your favorite musical moment in a movie, either a staged number or spontaneous playing or singing?

Episode 275 – Dolemite Is My Name (2019)

Well now, homefellows. I must suggest that you “step off”, lest you find yourself labeled a “jive turkey.” I am not funning with you, my siblings. I would deeply appreciate it if you would each and every one of you pick up what we are “laying down,” as it were; Max and Mike are our names and discussing movies is indeed what you might in fact refer to as “our game.” As you can no doubt deduce, Mike and I are most assuredly “down” with “the street”. (What do you mean, “Sesame Street, maybe”?! Shut up, Bumpy! Nobody asked you! Don’t make me stick out my tongue at you!). This week’s entry in our series “What’s So Funny?”, we’re “taking a look at” an Eddie Murphy “movie” from “2019,” a “biopic” (sorry if I’m losing you with all the hip lingo) about a comedian named Rudy Ray Moore who created one of the most legendary (some might say infamous) Blackspoitation characters: Dolemite. Does the movie do justice to this cinematic pioneer? Does it have production values? Am I crying? Give a listen, or we might, I don’t know, muss up your cravats! Don’t make us do it!

Poll question: who is your favorite film director?

Episode 274 – Seven Psychopaths (2012)

YEE HAW! Howdy, pardners! I’m Big Max and that there is Big Mike and we’re “Big Max and Big Mike’s Big House O’ Psychopaths”! And we’ve got so much inventory this month that we’ve gone PLUM CRAZY! Come on down and see what we’ve got! We’ve got masked vigilantes tossing playing cards! We’ve got bald Vietnamese guys dressed as Catholic priests! We’ve got dog nappers! We’ve got gangsters! Heck, we’ve even got us Colin Farrell! Now who don’t want a Colin Farrell on their front lawn? And our prices can’t be beat! How many psychopaths do you think you get for $99.99? Two psychopaths? Hell, no, pardon my French! Four psychopaths? Partner, don’t make us laugh. Hold onto your propellor beanies because this week only you’ll get SEVEN, count ‘em, SEVEN psychopaths for $99.99! Great balls o’ fire! You better take advantage of these prices before our medication kicks in! Come on down this weekend to “Big Max and Big Mike’s Big House O’ Psychopaths” and as a special offer, one of our psychopaths will personally punch you in the head! And if you bring the kiddies . . . well, you’re a TERRIBLE PARENT and someone should call Social Services on your ass! YEE HAW!

Poll question: who is your favorite cinematic bad guy?

Episode 273 – Love at First Bite (1979)

Welcome back to our “What’s So Funny?” series. And you know what’s funny? The blood-sucking undead. Oh, my sides! Yes, the 70’s brought a resurgence of Dracula movies (not that he ever really went away) and 1979 brought us one! Two! Three! Four! Five! Five Dracula movies! Ah ah ah! {sound of thunder}. And of all of them, “Love at First Bite” was certainly one of them. A rare attempt (if not the first attempt) to make Dracula funny (because what’s wackier than a humanoid apex predator who rips open peoples’ jugular veins and turns them into thralls? Forget Oscar Wilde, forget the Marx Brothers, we’ve got a guy with an unquenchable thirst for human blood! Oh, my sides! We do have Tanmaster Supreme, George Hamilton as Dracula, Arte Johnson giving us a hilarious Renfield, and Susan St. James doing a creditable job impersonating a blonde woman. Sadly, we also have . . . disco. Disco. We must never forget the horror that came before us . . . Give a listen and see if the humor holds up! Join us, master! I mean, mister!

Poll question: what is your favorite vampire movie of any era?

Episode 272 – The World’s End (2013)

Our entry in our series “What’s So Funny?” this week is the third in the famous (or infamous) Cornetto Trilogy from Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright. Sadly, we’ve skipped right over “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz” (for now) but we’re focusing on this rather odd, surprisingly emotionally complex comedy. This film starts as a High-School-Friends-Reunited-in-Bittersweet-Circumstances story and then very suddenly veers into . . . well, let’s just say: some other sorts of stories. Featuring a stellar cast and sharp writing, this is still probably the most divisive of the Cornetto Trilogy: some folks loved it, some really didn’t. Give a listen and see what we thought. Barkeep! Two pints of bitter, over here! Mike, you want anything?

Poll question: What film has the best final or ending scene?

Episode 271 – Eurotrip  (2004)

Guten jour, me old mates-comrades! Welcome to our wonderful country of Europe! Yag shamash! Here in Europe, we Europeans so much like to see Americans come here to enjoy our foodthings, purchase our geegaws, and desecrate our many famous monuments and landmarks! Do we mind? Nyet! As long as it is for funny Tik Tokking or Instafacing, we of Europe are oh so much good sports! Come to our capitol, Europe City! Enjoy our ancient confusing traditions, customs, and language that you have not bothered to learn anything about and feel free to have many sexings on all of ancient historical sites! Don’t bother learning European; everyone everywhere speaks American! Salud, merci, gesundheit! Hello Europe!

We’re continuing to ask “What’s So Funny?” with this week’s entry “Eurotrip.” Is it funny ha-ha? Funny strange? Funny uh-oh? Or funny not-so-funny? Give a listen and become edumacated!

Poll question: What is your LEAST favorite comedy movie? One you just found really unfunny, even if everyone around you was laughing?