Episode 127: Down With Love (2003)

Welcome to another in our “Isn’t It Romantic” series! This week, we are down with the street, down with our bad selves, and down with love.  No, I do not in fact have any idea what any of that means, but we’re discussing that tribute to the so-called “sex comedies” of the 60’s “Down With Love,” which I’m sure you’ve all seen. . . which I’m sure many of you have seen . . . which I’m sure some of you have seen . . . c’mon, it’s the end of January, how can I possibly be hearing crickets? Well, it stars Rene “You Had Me At Hello” Zellweger and Ewan “Please For the Love Of God Stop Asking Me About Star Wars” McGregor and at least Mike and I have seen it.  Some call this a tribute to the Doris Day/Rock Hudson sex comedies like “Pillow Talk.”  Some call it a parody of the same.  Some call it a schnauzer rolling around in Dijon mustard while declaiming in Aramaic but those people are getting the help and medication they need.  What do we call it? Give a listen and find out.

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Episode 126: When Harry Met Sally (1989)

Oh, Meg Ryan, you are truly the Meg-est of the Ryans! So adorable, with your tousled hair and your scrunched up little grin.  You’re just SO GREAT, aren’t you? You can just get away with anything, can’t you? Sure, when your character in this week’s “Isn’t It Romantic” fakes an orgasm in the middle of a deli, it’s “adorable” and an “iconic moment of comedy” but when I do the same thing in a supermarket, it’s “public indecency” and “an arrestable offense” and “don’t make me hit you with the taser again, weirdo.”  Sheer unfairness.  But that’s Meg Ryan all over . . . As you’ve no doubt surmised, we’re talking about “When Harry Met Sally,” one of the most well-known rom-coms of the late eighties, starring Miss Adorable over there and Billy Crystal.  Everyone knows the scene I mentioned earlier but how many of you have actually seen the entire movie recently? Does it hold up? It’s been a while.  Give a listen and please accept our personal guarantee that neither Mike nor I are faking our opinions in this discussion. 

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Episode 125: Crazy Rich Asians (2018)

Do you want to be rich? Sure, we all do! But how about being crazy rich? And also Asian? Well, do we have a movie for you.  Do we? Of course we do.  Why else would you be here? This week’s entry in our “Isn’t It Romantic” series is our most current movie . . . although 2018 does feel like a long time ago.  But anyway! This week’s movie is one of the most successful romantic comedies of the last decade, adapted from the first in the successful book trilogy by Kevin Kwan.  Is the story original? Weeeellllll . . . but the cast is certainly distinctive and the locations are remarkable and the moral is uplifting: being rich is great.  For those of you who were wondering, it seems that having a crap-ton of money can be really nifty.  I’ll let you absorb this shock.  Once you have, give a listen to us: we’re not Asian, we’re not rich, but . . . well, one out of three ain’t bad! Hmm, actually it is pretty bad.  Well, please listen anyway.

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Episode 124: Harold and Maude (1971)

When you think of the screen couples whose sizzling hot chemistry lit up the screen and made movie audiences curiously sweaty, you think of Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore in “Ghost”, Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger in “9 ½ Weeks”, and of course . . . Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon in “Harold and Maude”? . . . Did I read that wrong? Yes, in this week’s episode of “Isn’t It Romantic” we’re tackling the romance between a suicide-obsessed twenty-something and a free-spirited septuagenarian . . . as so many love stories do.  We’ve got a movie here with a rather . . . unexpected romantic relationship, loads of groovy Cat Stevens music and arguably (well, argued by me) one of, if not the, coolest cars in cinema history.  Seriously, forget the Batmobile, forget Bond’s Astin Martin . . . I want a Jaguar hearse and I want it now! Anyone got one? I’ve got a slightly used pony to trade! Give a listen and find out what we think about this unlikely screen pairing.  And hey, if you want to sing out, sing out!

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Episode 123: Pat and Mike (1952)

Welcome to another episode of “Isn’t It Romantic”. Well? Isn’t it? ISN’T IT?! I’m waiting.  I can wait all day if necessary.  Thank you.  That wasn’t so hard was it? Wait, was that you or was it one of the Voices? Um, anyway, this week we’re traveling back to the era of black-and-white cinema with “Pat and Mike,” a movie that puts the focus squarely where it should be: on the rising star that was Chuck Connors.  Yes, the Rifleman himself has a prominent role in this picture, dominating the silver screen with his brilliant . . . umm . . . with his subtle . . . with his height.  Yes, he’s definitely the tallest person in this movie and we’re here to make sure everyone remembers this.  Ok, sure there’s some flash-in-the-pan pair of actors called Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn in this movie, I think, and sure, I suppose some people might have watched the movie for their talent and chemistry but for true aficionados, the first hour and twenty minutes of this film is just an agonizing wait for the appearance of Mr. Connors and his mighty chin.  I suppose we should mention the stuff that comes before that in our discussion . . . give a listen and see if any of it lives up to the anticipation of Waiting for Chuck, as this movie should have been called.

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Episode 122: Notting Hill (1999)

Ah, “Notting Hill” . . . the sweet, coming-of-age story of a boy scout earning his merit badge in Knot-Tying-Specifically-Done-On-The-Side-Of-A-Hill, one of the rarest merit badges is all scoutdom.  Naturally, they had to drop the “K” in the American version of the film due to censorship and you’re not buying even a word of this, are you.  All right, fine, this end-of-the-nineties rom-com brings together the box office powerhouse that is Julia Roberts with Mickey Blue-eyes himself, Hugh Grant in a story of lovers from two different worlds (middle-class London and the third moon of Jupiter, I think), surrounded by quirky characters and starring a fabulous soundtrack.  Ok, maybe not “starring” but the soundtrack has some really good songs on it.  Can these two crazy kids struggle through the vicissitudes of fame, the fear of vulnerability, an adorably annoying Welshman, and Alec Baldwin so that love will conquer all? It’s a Hollywood romantic comedy: take a wild guess.  But it’s the journey not the destination, so give a listen as we go on our chatty journey, won’t you? Can we get you some tea? Perhaps a Chagall?

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Episode 121: It Happened One Night (1934)

Romantic comedies.  A staple (or at least a paperclip) of Hollywood movies since the Pre-Cambrian era.  This genre has survived world wars, Great Depressions, and bell-bottomed pants.  We love us some meet-cute, will-they-or-won’t-they, will she marry the rich snob or the snarky but hunky pipe welder type movies.  And it’s funny! In this, our latest series “Isn’t It Romantic,” we’re going to be looking at a whole bunch of these film mainstays and trying to figure out if they hold up, if we buy the romance and if we laugh at the comedy.  From the classics to the recents to the ones that some say almost killed the entire genre, we’re going to be looking at them.  With our eyes.  And then we’ll be talking about them.  With our mouths.  Oh, and we’ll be listening with our ears, too, don’t want you to think we’d forget that.  This week, we’re kicking things off (and badly bruising our toes) with one of the classics: Frank Capra’s “It Happened One Night,” starring Claudette Colbert and some guy named Clark . . . something . . . some kind of roofing term . . . I want to say Cornice? Turret? Slate? Well, it’ll come to me and when it does we hope you’re there listening with your ears (or whatever orifice you prefer to listen with; we don’t judge).  Enjoy!

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Episode 120: The Good Dinosaur (2015)

Well, it’s been fun and we all had a good laugh but now we come to the end of our “Pixar Pix” with this week’s entry “The Good Dinosaur.” Oh man, remember Halloween 2015, when all the kids were dressing up as Arlo the Apatosaurus? Sigh….. good times.  So this movie is based on a fascinating premise: what if dinosaurs had never gone extinct? What if the Extinction Asteroid had never hit the earth all those hundreds of years ago? (it was hundreds of years, right? Yeah, I’m pretty sure it was) Yes, what if dinosaurs had continued to evolve, developing high intelligence, consciousness, and self-awareness, while at the same time humans were doing the same? Wow.  Think of the fascinating intellectual, philosophical and moral issues that would arise! What kind of society would dinosaurs form? Would they develop their own brand of technology? How would they change physiologically? Well, finally we have a movie that answers all these . . . hah? Excuse me? Oh . . . I see.  So it’s basically just a sort of boy-and-his-dog, Fantastic Journey story but with dinosaurs.  Huh. Ok . . . that’s fine! This is Pixar, right? No doubt they’ll come up with some sort of unique, challenging perspective on this incredibly familiar, dare I say hackneyed, story concept.  Pixar wouldn’t let us down, would they? I mean, this came out the same year as “Inside Out”! Right? . . . . right? Well, give a listen and see how it all worked out.  They wouldn’t . . . right?

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Episode 119: The Incredibles (2004)

Holy campy tv catchphrase! It’s another episode of “Pixar Pix”! When last we left our Dyspeptic Duo, they were dangling above a vat of radioactive mayonnaise while Lord Doctor Baron von Naughtyguy was launching into hour three of his detailed description of his plan for world domination . . . or maybe they were just watching movies, I dunno, I wasn’t paying attention; I was just waiting for the post-credits sequence.  So, we’ve seen Pixar tackle monsters, self-aware toys, and sentient hell-mobiles but this week we discuss their take on a very tricky genre: superhero movies.  Keep in mind, mainstream superhero movies are a comparatively recent phenomenon, given that special effects have reached a level where the costumes don’t look as ridiculous and Spider-Man’s webs don’t just look like a fishing net thrown by an off-camera stagehand.  Some of these movies really work and some of them . . . really don’t.  So, what sort of take are we going to get from Pixar? Well, this is pre-Disney Pixar, so it’s a fairly daring take: it’s a movie about family.  Ok, this family happens to be made up entirely of super-powered beings, but it’s definitely a movie about family.  How well does it work? And how well does it hold up? Join us right now, same Max, Mike; Movies time, same Max, Mike; Movies channel!

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