Episode 177: Clash of the Titans (1981)

We’re still here in “That Sure Was 1981”, and what were all the kids into in the early 1980’s? Mullets? Lycra? Rubix Cubes? Well, sadly, yes, but we really hip people know that what the youngsters went gaga over was ancient Greek mythology! Woo! Remember those epic street battles over Hesiod vs Homer? All those Saturday morning cartoons about the Peloponnesian War! Sophocles ‘n Pals! The Aristophanes Smile Time Joy Hour Variety Show! Ah, memories . . . I wish mine still worked.  In the wake of the success of “Star Wars,” it was of course a natural progression to do a movie about . . . the myth of Perseus.  And people love special effects, right? So let’s get Ray Harryhausen, that master of special effects . . . of the 1950’s and 60’s.  “Star Wars” had Alec Guinness.   Hah, only ONE great British Shakespearean actor? “Clash” got a whole bunch of them! Laurence Olivier! Maggie Smith! Claire Bloom! Eat that, George Lucas! Sure, all of their combined screen time is going to be less than Guiness’ but still! This can’t lose! Give a listen and find out! {spoiler: maybe it wasn’t such a sure thing . . . }

Poll question:  Is there a type or genre of movie that you feel has just been overdone? One that makes you go “Oh, geez, not ANOTHER [fill in the blank] type of movie!” If so, what is it?

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Southern Poverty Law Center: https://donate.splcenter.org/

Episode 176: My Dinner With Andre (1981)

[Deep, impressive movie trailer voice]: Now.  In “That Sure Was 1981.” Two men.  One restaurant.  One dinner.  Two hours of pulse-pounding, mind-shattering . . . conversation! They’re breaking all the rules . . . of cinema! When everyone else said “things have to happen in a movie,” these two men dared to say no! Wallace Shawn IS Wallace Shawn! Andre Gregory IS Andre Gregory! In “My Dinner With Andre: Please Pass the MURDER!” [note: secondary title may only exist strictly in this writer’s imagination]. Yes, this is the movie so many have referenced, mocked, parodied and so much more.  There’s no way this movie should work; it’s literally just two guys sitting in a restaurant discussing a long series of largely disconnected subjects from Scottish alternative learning institutions to Japanese monks to the nature of human intimacy to electric blankets.  This shouldn’t work.  And yet it consistently shows up on many “Best Independent Films of All Time Lists.” Roger Ebert loved this movie; he said it was the best film of 1981.  Does it hold up? Do we end up loving it as much as the Blessed Ebert did? Give a listen and find out! Oh, and speaking of ol’ Roger . . .

Poll question: how much, if at all, do the reviews of “the critics” influence your desire to see any particular movie? And in what circumstances?

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ACLU: https://www.aclu.org/

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Southern Poverty Law Center: https://donate.splcenter.org/

Episode 175: Stripes (1981)

Once again, welcome to our deep-dive into the wild wooly winsome world of “That Sure Was 1981.” Herein, forthwith, and wakka-wakka, we discuss the Bill Murray comedy from Ivan “I Did Ghostbusters! Yay me!” Reitman.  Bill, along with his buddy (at the time) Harold Ramis, plunge into the rich mine of comedy that is all-volunteer U.S. Army, two years after the reinstatement of the selective service act.  Yes, this was the era of “Be All That You Can Be” and “It’s Not Just a Job, It’s An Adventure,” where there was an almost desperate attempt to make the army look cool and exotic, with a downplaying all the potato-peeling, latrine-digging, and shooting people.  This movie actually makes the army look . . . zany? Fun? Something that gives you a chance to sleep with Sean Young? So yes, there’s a certain question to the degree of realism in this film, but is there supposed to be any? Maybe it’s just wacky hijinks? This film was a major hit of 1981; how well does it hold up after all these years? Well, we’re here to tell you! That’s the facts, Jack!

Poll question: What movie do you think would be improved if it was told from the point of view of one of the side or supporting characters?

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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 174: Blow Out (1981)

In our latest episode of “That Sure Was 1981” we’re taking on a movie from . . . 1981! Ha! Bet you didn’t see that coming! What an unexpected twist, what a thrill ride! This short of shocking stuff is par for the course in Brian De Palma’s “Blow Out.” And what’s the big twist in this movie? John Travolta is in it and he DOESN’T DANCE! Not even once! Eat your heart out, M. Night Shyamalan! Ok, this thriller isn’t exactly packed with twists but it does give us a glimpse into the dark, twisted world of . . .  movie sound editing! Oddly enough, this is more interesting than you’d think.  John Travolta plays the very slappable Jack, alongside Nancy Allen, who plays Mrs. Brian De Palma . . . I mean, Nancy, right, Nancy.  This is before she took on her famous role as Officer Lewis in “Robocop.” That role was famous, right? We’ve also got John Lithgow being absolutely terrifying and lots of De Palma signature camera work (who doesn’t love split-screen shots? Anyone? Anyone?).  So give a listen as this movie, and our podcast, teaches you that you can’t really trust what you think you hear.  Or smell.  I swear, that was Bumpy, not me. Honest.

Poll question: What movie do you think is great just the way it is; no plot threads to pull at, no weak performances, no explanations for things that don’t make sense.  This is a movie you wouldn’t touch at ALL.  Not necessarily perfection, but something that when you watch it, you think “they just got everything 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 173: Time Bandits (1981)

Here we are, still in “That Sure Was 1981” (because Mike was a spoilsport and said we shouldn’t do 1781 just because “movies hadn’t been invented yet” or some nonsense).  This week’s entry comes from the . . . unique mind of Terry Gilliam, a movie that would set the tone for . . . most of his other movies: “Time Bandits.”  It’s a story of a young boy and six dwarfs (not seven, because Disney owns every combination of the words “dwarfs” and “seven”) with a magical map that lets them travel through time, meeting famous historical figures and fantastical beasts and, well, robbing them blind.  And there are ogres, giants, firing squads, people getting their arms ripped off, and a dog exploding.  You know, for the kids! Who was this movie for? Well, obviously it was for us . . . to talk about . . . forty years later.  Terry Gilliam, you prescient mad genius, you! So come, listen in, and find out what the heck Sean Connery and Sir Flippin’ Ralph Richardson are doing in this movie! And whether we should turn peas into beans! Jolly good!

Poll question (yes, it’s the same as last time for Stuff and Reasons):  What movie cameo by a movie star or other famous figure caught you most by surprise or was the most fun?

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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 172: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Ahhh, Dr. Jones! So nice that you could join me at my evil table! Pull up an evil chair and have a tall cold glass of evil, brought to you by our most evil waiter. As we enjoy this evil breeze, let me welcome you to the latest series at Max, Mike; Evil . . . I mean, Movies: “That Sure Was 1981.” In this series, our evil hosts have decided to focus on one single year, chosen at random from a list offered up by our most diabolical listeners, and focus just on the major movies of that year.  Which year, you ask? Why, 1981, of course, that most evil of years. What makes it so evil, you ask? Because it’s the year that “Raiders of the Lost Ark” came out, and what could be more evil than that? It just is, understand? Evil! Now hand over that priceless vintage Captain Crunch whistle ring and we’ll . . .  no! He’s getting away! After him you fools! In the meantime, give a listen and see how well this forty-year-old movie . . . oh lord, really? Forty years? Give a listen.  I have to sit down before my hip spontaneously breaks.

Poll question: What movie cameo by a movie star or other famous figure caught you most by surprise or was the most fun?

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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 171: Scooby-Doo: the Movie (2002)

Now we come to the final episode in our “I Made From TV Love You!” series.  And what TV show-turned-movie are we discussing? Wait, “Hello, Larry: the Movie”? That can’t be right! I thought so! This episode is wearing a mask! Let’s see who this movie really is! {rip!} All together: Old Man “Scooby-Doo: the Movie!” Zoinks and jinkies! Of course! This 1993 live-action version of the classic cartoon spawned in the late 60’s was trying to scare everyone away from this old roller disco rink so it could search for the hidden trove of Bumpybux buried somewhere inside! And it would have gotten away with it, if it weren’t for us meddling podcasters and our idiot pony! So, let’s not split up gang, but get yourself a Scooby Snack and give a listen to how this surprisingly enduring TV series, which has remained with us for over half a century, makes the transition to live-action.  How bad could it be? I mean, Scooby-Doo has teamed up with the Addams Family, Batman, Josie and the Pussycats, the Three Stooges, Phyllis Diller, and Weird Al Yankovic; how bad could it be working with Hollywood? ….. Ruh roh . . .

Poll question: What sidekick, second banana, or flunky do you think deserves their own movie?

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ACLU: https://www.aclu.org/

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Southern Poverty Law Center: https://donate.splcenter.org/

Episode 170: The Fugitive (1993)

Max and Mike, accused of a crime they didn’t commit: the murder of an innocent podcast.  Seen fleeing the scene was a mysterious one-legged pony (seen not so much fleeing as hopping away in a very suspicious manner).  Now Max and Mike must travel the country, seeking out this pony to clear their names, pursued relentlessly by no one at all as no one has really noticed.  Yes, this week we’re blathering on about the 1993 adaptation of the classic 60’s tv thriller starring David Janssen, the show everyone remembers but nobody has watched for years.  Taking over for Mr. Janssen and Barry Morse (the intrepid marshal pursuing him) are the chiseled Harrison Ford and the grizzled Tommy Lee Jones (whom I suspect was born grizzled).  Does this tense, drawn out suspense show work as a tight action-filled thriller? Did Mr. Jones really deserve the Oscar he won for this film? And most importantly: which “Babylon Five” actor shows up as a major character in this movie? That’s what the people want to know and by gum, that’s what we’re going to tell you! Give a listen, right after we deliver this evil pony to justice! Or perhaps a glue factory. Move it, Bumpy! “Whinny!” “I don’t care!”

Poll question: what historical inaccuracy in a movie, whether it’s narrative, costume-based, technological, or other, really hacks you off every time you see it?

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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 169: Masters of the Universe (1987)

Welcome, young listeners! Today’s lesson is that it’s nice to be nice! Isn’t that nice? Now watch us blow things up but somehow not actually hurt anyone! Hurrah! Lashings of ginger beer for everyone! So this week’s episode of “I Made From TV Love You!” is about a movie based on delightful 80’s children’s cartoon: “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe,” a show that taught us the values of friendship, teamwork, and obscenely over-developed thigh muscles (and chest muscles, arm muscles . . . pretty much all of them).  What few of you may know is that this tv series was actually based on a series of toys! I know! I was shocked too! It was certainly not based in any way on Conan the Barbarian ha ha what a silly thing to suggest.  Anyway, shortly after the poorly-animated TV show ended, the combined, staggering genius of Mattel and Golan-Globus decided that hey, 130 episodes just wasn’t enough of this gem: we need a live-action movie! And from this, we were given “Masters of the Universe,” starring the massively-thewed Dolph Lundgren and the inexplicably present Frank Langella.  Is the movie live? Does it have action? Find out! Because knowing is half the battle! . . .  hang on, that’s not the right one. . . because this movie is more than meets the eye! . . . no, no, dang it, that’s not right either . . .well, listen in and find out if we ever figure this out.

Poll question: what is the movie you’ve seen the greatest number of times, and how many times would that be? And by “seen,” we mean “watched all the way through,” not just glanced at a scene when you were channel flipping or had on in the background.

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 168: Mission: Impossible (1996)

Good afternoon, Mr. or Ms. Listener (and all the ships at sea).  Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to listen to very special after-school episode of “I Made From TV Love You!” The movie you see before us is “Mission: Impossible,” the 1996 adaptation of yet another classic 60’s spy show that spawned a movie franchise that continues to devour everything in its path.  It has propelled the career of Tom Cruise to new heights . . . oh, um, sorry Mr. Cruise, that was insensitive . . . The show starred the ivory-haired, granite-faced Peter Graves (alumnus of the University of Minnesota) as well as a pre-Space 1999 Martin Landau and Barbara Bain as part of the IMF (“Independent Meatball Fondlers”) who went after Enemy Agents from the country of Enemyland (no real country is ever named in the show) and overcame them with cunning, meticulous planning, and brilliant disguises [disclaimer: “brilliant disguises” tended to mean rubber masks).  The film adaptation(s) do contain some meticulous planning but also way, WAY more explode-y parts.  Can Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt fill the brogans of Peter Graves as Jim Phelps? Well, Tom Cruise did not attend the University of Minnesota, so that’s a pretty big disadvantage to overcome.  Tune in and find out! This podcast will self-destruct during your next operating system update.

Poll question: Has there ever been a movie about a profession that made you say “I want to do THAT!” Conversely, has any movie about a profession ever made you say “I NEVER want to do that!”

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/