The Oscars, 2020

We interrupt our childhood reminisces for something more timely: our take on this year’s Academy Awards. Yes, we’re right on top of things here at Max, Mike; Movies.  It’s been a mere two weeks since the 92nd Night the Stars Salute Themselves and we figure things have calmed down enough to offer our own opinions on the Academy’s choices for Best Picture Nominees, as well as what we think of the winner, because goodness knows that what people really want is OUR take on these movies.  Because what do those industry professionals know? No, we know what people want: the ramblings of a couple of movie nerds! Mike and I have watched the Oscars every year for over thirty years, so that qualifies us to  . . . watch it again this year and talk about it! And that’s what we’ll do! Just try and stop us (please don’t try and stop us; it would probably be pretty easy to do so).  So yes, we’re talking about the show itself, the lack of a host (hey, we’re both available next year, Academy! Just sayin’ . . . ), the music, the pageantry, and . . .  what am I forgetting . . . oh, right! The movies! What did we think of the Big Nine? What did we think of the winner? Do we think it’s an honor just to be nominated? Will the orchestra play us off before we finish this episode? Find out!

Episode 82: Oliver! (1968)

Ahh, 1968! Was there ever a better year for kids movies? Well, yes, of course there was, but for some reason all three of the movies in our “When We Wuz Kids” series seem to come from that year.  Was this accidental? Hah! Mike and I are professionals! You think we don’t have some clever, over-arching scheme in choosing three movies from the same year? You really think that? Really?
Well, of course you’re completely right.  It just sort of happened this way.  We were little kids around this time, so there you go.  And this week, our choice is the Oscar-winning musical “Oliver!”, a delightful song-filled romp through 1830’s London with back-breaking poverty, the systematic maltreatment of orphans and foundlings, devious men who turn children into criminals, thieves, murderers, domestic abusers . . . you know, a family movie! Yes, this is a charming musical based on Charles Dickens’ serialized children’s book.  And by children’s book, I mean it was a savage condemnation of England’s lack of child labor laws and the criminalization of poverty. So, yeah, that just screams “family movie musical,” doesn’t it? I really liked this movie when I was a kid; how does it hold up, after years of aging and a brief career as a Dickens scholar? Tune in and hear what we think!

Episode 81: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

Today we continue our journey into the twisted smoking ruin that is our childhoods . . . what? Why are you all looking at me like that? I’m fine. I’m fine. Seriously, this week we continue “When We Wuz Kids,” where we check out movies that we remember loving as kids to see how they hold up.  This week’s entry comes from Mike’s distant past: another 1968 entry, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”, a non-Disney kids’ musical with songs from the team that brought you “Mary Poppins” and includes Dick Van Dyke who wisely chose to forgo any sort of British accent in this movie (which makes it a little odd, as he’s the only one in the family without one).  This movie has it all: singing, dancing, candy, a magical car, a terrifying Child-Catcher, and several surprising connections to our last series, the one about James Bond. Seriously.  And it’s not just because the movie has a car that can float or fly. Give a listen and find out what we’re talking about!

Episode 80: Yellow Submarine (1968)

As one chapter closes, another begins . . . welcome to our new series, “When We Wuz Kids,” wherein Michael and I recall and review movies that we were enjoyed in our respective youths. Naturally, with our current level of maturity, we will be maintaining quiet dignity and a mature respect for . . . Miiiike! Quit it! Hey, Mike’s waving his hand in my face! It doesn’t MATTER if you’re not touching me, or if it’s free air, you’re still being a jerk! Oh, you are so going to get it! No, YOU are! Oh, yeah? Well, so’s your ol’ man! Quit it! Oh, you gonna cry now, big baby? You gonna cry? Gimme back my juice box!
So yes, Mike and I are regressing to childhood (yes, thank you, keep the “how far can that be” jokes to yourselves), starting with one of my favorites when I was a wee lad: the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine.” Ok, yes, when I first saw it as a child, the Blue Meanies scared me so much I had to be taken out of the theater.  But I got over it.  Really. I did.  I’m not scared of AAAAAAHHHH! BLUE MEANIEEEEEES! *ahem* Yes, well . . . look, they’re really scary when you’re little! Shut up, Mike, they are too! Oh, you are so gonna get it at recess . . . Anyway, give a listen as we discuss the animated creation based around the Lads from Liverpool.  Enjoy, and remember: Blue Meanies never take “yes” for an answer!

Episode 79: View to a Kill (1985)

Soooo Mr. Bond.  We have come to the end of our little game, haven’t we.  Yes, this amusing little series . . . what did you call it? “Get ‘em, Jimmy”, yes? Following the highs and lows of your career? How droll.  Would you call this a low? Heh heh heh. And how appropriate, for now you are the one who have been “got.” “Gotten.” “Gotted?” Never mind!  We’re not so different, you and I, Mr. Bond; both of us . . . what?! No! How did you get loose?! Guards! Seize him! Don’t let him get to the Big Villain Lair Destroying Button in the center of the room! WHY do we have that again?

So, while the guards are attempting to seize ol’ Jimbo, let us welcome you to the last installment in our Bond series, 1985’s “View to a Kill.” And of all the Bond films we’ve discussed, this is certainly one of them.  The (some might say long overdue) last of the Roger Moore Bond films, this film has . . . a lot in it.  We’ve got Christopher Walken in an unfortunate blond wig as the villain (that is to say, Walken is the villain, not the wig.  Probably), the fabulous and intimidating Grace Jones as the main henchperson, Patrick McNee as a sidekick, and the stealthiest dirigible in film history.  Oh, and Tanya Roberts is the main “Bond Girl”, and if you’re asking yourself “Who’s Tanya Roberts?”, well, good for you.  Regardless of what we think of the quality of this film (and that should become clear fairly quickly), there ain’t much there, there so we close out the episode with a discussion suggestion from one of our loyal and well-coifed listeners (a Mr. Cheeseboy, I believe).  What is this discussion about? Well, pull up a comfy and needlessly complicated death trap and listen while Mike and I monologue extensively about our evil scheme.  Wait, there are two of us, so it can’t be a monologue.  Di-monologue? Duo-monologue? There must be a term for this . . .

Episode 78: Skyfall (2012)

Welcome to another episode of our study of the James “Shaken Not Stirred” Bond film genre in our series “Get ‘em, Jimmy!” Last week we had the absurd, so this week we have . . . ok, I can’t really say it’s sublime, but it’s a hell of a lot better than last week’s bolus of a movie.  This week’s film is another in the Daniel Craig collection and it’s safe to say it’s a high point for him. Not to say all his Bond films were gems (I’m looking at YOU, “Spectre”!) but he has a pretty high average.  In this outing, we’ve got Bond going up against a mysterious enemy, someone who has a particular grudge . . . not against Bond but against his boss, M, played to perfection by Dame Judy Dench.  The gadgets aren’t ridiculous, we get a guest appearance by the Aston-Martin DB5 (who apparently was a REAL diva on set, but everyone had to put up with it because, y’know, it’s DB5), and we actually a glimpse into James Bond’s past, something few if any Bond films have done.  Plus, there’s Albert Finney! Holy crap, that’s really Albert Finney! And Lord Voldemort takes over MI6! Ok, that sounded a lot less misleading in my head . . . just give us a listen and I’m sure we’ll make even less sense.

Who The Hell Are You Guys?

Y’know, we’ve been doing this podcast for a while and it occurred to Mike that, hard to believe as it might be, there could be folks out there who might be wondering who we are and why anyone would want to listen to what we say. After I stopped my hysterical laughter at such an absurd notion, I realized that, like the top of his head, Mike has a point. Who are we? Why are our opinions so vitally important? It’s possible that people might actually be interested in a brief summary of what makes us tick and what makes us go “Huygleflamdoof!” (so many, many things make us do that).  So here, at the request of none, is a short, special episode where Mike and I discuss ourselves, our love of movies, and why independent film discussion might actually be something that matters.  Enjoy!

Episode 77: Octopussy (1983)

And now this series, “Get ‘em, Jimmy!,” a study of the best and worst of Bond, has brought us here: the one Bond movie with a title that is almost impossible to say out loud without giggling. Ah, but just watch the movie! Yes, watch the movie and realize that huh, the title is actually not the silliest thing about the movie.  Pretty impressive, when you think about it; just don’t think about it for too long; it can cause facial tics and acne. Here we have the penultimate Roger Moore Bond and . . . well, they’re really just running out of ideas here.  The studio had long since run out of actual Ian Flemming novels to adapt, so this one is cobbled together out of a couple of unrelated short stories by Flemming and whatever navel lint they had lying around.  But are there any good points to this movie? We’ve got Louis Jordan as the villain! Yes, the romantic lead from the classic musical “Gigi” is in this as the heavy! And boy, does he enjoy the heck out of saying the title character’s name.  Because Octopussy is a person. No, really.  Apparently, “Octopussy” is the childhood nickname her father gave her.  Try not to think about that one too much. She’s played by Maud Adams, and in every scene with her and Roger Moore, watch and marvel at the Battle of the Cheekbones! And yes, that’s the most interesting part of their interaction.  Their cheekbones are the best characters in the movie.  Well, at least Maud Adams is actually close to Roger Moore’s age, unlike . . . well, we’ll be getting to that eventually.  So, invite over an Indian tennis pro, grab your buzz saw yoyo, keep an eye out for very dated Barbara Woodhouse references, and give a listen!

We Interrupt This Series To Bring You . . . Cats!

No, this podcast has not been hijacked, you read that title correctly.  And sadly no, this episode is not just an hour of Mike and I talking about how much we like the animal felis catus (although we do). Strap yourselves in tightly because we went and saw the new “Cats” movie. Yup, that one. “But Max,” you may cry “Why did you and Mike subject yourself to what some people are calling the worst movie of all time?” Well, I invite you to think about what you just said (or rather, what I imagine you just said).  This is us, dig? If someone says “there is no way anyone can sit through this movie,” our response is usually “Challenge accepted!” I’m not proud of this. No one should be.  But we kept hearing about how insanely terrible this adaptation of Dame Andrew Lloyd Weber’s long-running musical was and we felt we owed it to you, our beloved, well-groomed, beautifully dressed listeners.  This movie has a remarkable cast: Ian McKellen, Judy Dench, Idris Elba . . . and the rest! So how bad could it be? Seriously, is it REALLY that bad? We found out, so you don’t have to. So honor our sacrifice and have a listen. And I leave you with the lyrics of that most famous Cats song:
Meow meow meow meow,
Meow meow meow meow,
Meow meow meow meow, meow meow meow meow.
                                — “Meow Mix of the Night”

Episode 76: Goldfinger (1964)

Goldfinger.  Y’know, I hear he’s the man with the Midas touch. Although some people say it’s more of a spider’s touch.  Not sure what that would mean; does he have spinnerets and leaves traces of webbing when he shakes hands? Pretty fond of gold, that fella is, that’s for ding dang sure. [end Scandahoovian opening]
So yes! We’ve got us a gold-plated edition of the “Max, Mike; Movies” series “Get ‘em, Jimmy!”, the highs and lows of the James Bond series.  Today brings us to one of the most iconic of all James Bond movies, and arguably the best of the Sean Connery era, 1964’s “Goldfinger.” When you think of James Bond, you think of the fabulous Aston-Martin DB5 (with optional machine guns and ejector seat), silent, menacing henchmen who throw bowler hats to deadly effect (so much cooler than having steel teeth), beautiful women covered in gold paint, one of the greatest villain one-liners, and so much more. Whatever you may say about this movie, and there’s plenty to say, especially about the infamously named Bond girl, um, Prissy Velour (yes. That is the name of Honor Blackman’s character.  That is what I’m willing to write down. Shut up), and the, shall we say, VERY dated manner in which women are treated, this is the movie that defined James Bond for many years.  Its effects are still felt in modern Bond movies; the Aston-Martin appears in both “Skyfall” and 2020’s “No Time To Die.” Give a listen and see if we think this film holds up, and if so, how well?