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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Episode 118: Monsters University (2013)

Ah, bright college days! Frisbee games on the quad, cramming for exams, trying to choose a major, learning how best to extract the last drop of mortal terror from children . . . truly, golden years.  All this can be found in this week’s example of “Pixar Pix,” “Monster’s University,” the sequel you didn’t know you wanted (but Disney did.  Disney knows your dreams. Disney knows your desires) to the highly enjoyable “Monsters, Inc.” Did you ever wonder how diminutive, one-eyed Mike became best chums with massive, hairy Sully? What do you mean, no? You definitely wondered that.  It says so right here on the Disney officially-approved Things You Wondered About document, which is of course a wrought-iron slab covered in mysterious hieroglyphics! Do not dispute the slab! You wanted this sequel, do you understand? Don’t give us any backtalk!

Anyway, so . . . monsters! They’re just like us. Seriously, according to this movie they’re just like us.  I mean, almost exactly like us, except that they’re monsters.  Join us as we join Mike and Sully as they enter Monsters U (interesting side-note: our own Bumpy the Wonder Pony was expelled from Monsters U after two days for being just too darn disturbing and horrible.  It’s true! He had to get his degree from the online University of Dark Phoenix!).  Give a listen as we discuss the sequel you WILL enjoy (or be subject to penalization by the Disney Corp.).

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Episode 117: Inside Out (2015)

Feelings.  Nothing more than feelings.  Trying to forget my feelings of love.  Or in the case of this week’s “Pixar Pix”, trying to forget my feelings of Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger.  Yes, we’ve got all the feels this week with “Inside Out”. Previously, Pixar has taken us to Scotland, Mexico and to infinity and beyond, but now they’re taking us to one of the most challenging and complicated locations of all: inside the mind of a pre-teen human.  Aaahhh! What kind of fiends are these? The children! Won’t someone thing of the children?! Oh. . . I guess they kind of are, with this movie.  We’ve had anthropomorphic representations of cars, so of course the next obvious step is anthropomorphic representations of human core emotions.  Sure.  So obvious.  But you’ve got Lewis Black representing Anger and people, this is the kind of casting gold that is up there with Ian McKellan as Gandalf.  Seriously.  But come along with us as we laugh and cry our way through this movie.  Well, Mike cried.  Cried like a little schoolgirl.  I didn’t.  Not at all. Well, ok, I may have allowed one manly tear to course slowly across my cheek but that’s really BING BONG! NOOOOO! WHYYYYYY? WHYYYYY? [dissolves in choking sobs] just listen to the stupid podcast already where’s the ice cream dammit why Bing Bong why?

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Episode 116: Brave (2012)

Wurra wurra, we’ve got us yet another “Pixar Pix”! This time, Mike takes the high road and I take the low road and we got to Scotland before Pixar! Seriously, we did; we visited Scotland decades before this movie.  But here we have an ostensibly “Disney” Pixar movie, which gave us Pixar’s only entry into Disney’s “Princess” line (the characters, not the cruise ships.  Or maybe both?).  Set in ancient Scotland, this is clearly Pixar’s most Scottish movie.  Wow, is it ever Scottish.  It’s as Scottish as a really Scottish thing.  You don’t ever get a chance to forget that the characters are in Scotland.  Never mind the brogues that are so thick you ladle them over your cullen skink, but we’ve got caber tossing, thistles, mystic will-o-wisps, Shire horses and, of course, haggis.  Jings! So come along and meet Merida of the Gloriously Animated Hair (seriously, they were so proud of the animation for her hair in this movie . . .) and a host of other characters who were definitely in this movie and see if we rank this as one of Pixar’s best, worst, or something else.  Spoiler alert: we do rank it as the most Scottish.  Jings.

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Episode 115: Coco (2017)

Here we are with another of our “Pixar Pix.”  This week, we examine this carefully crafted animated documentary about one of the great fashion designers, Coco Chanel.  This movie traces Ms. Chanel’s roots from her childhood home in Maine-et-Loire, France to . . . Mike, why are banging your head on the table? Is something wrong? Oh, excuse me, maybe you don’t think it’s worth studying a fashion icon just because she’s FRENCH? That is so anglo-centric! How dare you, sir? You make me sick.

[some time later, after Mike has finished hitting me with a claw hammer]

Ok, so, yes, it is in some way possible that I may have missed the general point of this movie.  Slightly. It may in fact be a richly layered Pixar story, deeply rooted in Mexican culture and tradition, dealing with the Day of the Dead and a young boy learning about how the importance of family can transcend even the mortal realm.  HOWEVER, I would like to point out that most of the characters in this film wear clothes.  And clothes are what Coco Chanel is really famous for.  Right? That was her thing, right? So I don’t think my original take on this movie was that out of line.  Oh dear, Mike’s reaching for the claw hammer again, so quick, give a listen to this week’s episode about the highs and lows of Pixar’s movies, many of which involve characters wearing clothes.

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Episode 114: Cars 2 (2011)

Welcome back to another edition of “Pixar Pix,” where we talk about the highs and lows, the hills and valleys, the pork and beans of one of the Great Animation Houses.  This week: cars.  You know, here in my car I feel safest of all     .  I can lock all my doors. It’s the only way to live.  In cars.  Well, with all due respect to Gary Numan, this movie may give the lie to that sentiment.  Yes, this week we’re taking on “Cars 2,” the sequel to . . . ok, you can figure that one out.  One of the first movies to come out of Pixar after it had been assimilated by Disney, this film is generally considered to be one of the . . . less spectacular efforts of Pixar and the last one to be directed by founder John Lasseter.  Enter a world where vehicles rule the earth and there are no humans in sight . . . or ARE THERE? Give a listen, hear what we think (and smell what we imagine) and also enjoy our ravings, I mean, the TRUTH about the terrifying secret of the world of . . . Cars 2.

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Episode 113: Toy Story 2 (1999)

So a few weeks ago we talked about Pixar’s masterpiece “Toy Story” as part of our “90’s” discussion and this made us realize (help us) that we had made a grave error by bothering to discuss any movie (please, call someone) other than those crafted by the geniuses at Pixar, which is now a part of that (the Disney troupers won’t let us go) most benevolent, kindly, and munificent family company, Disney (please, they’ve bolted electrified mouse ears to our skulls.  It hurts.  It hurts so much).  So we’ve started a brand new series that we’re calling “Pixar Pix” (mike can’t stop crying) dedicated to praising those magical and lovely artists (I can’t feel my legs any more) at Pixar.  We love you, Pixar. We don’t deserve to watch your glorious creations (please please please please help us help us).

Ok, in all seriousness we’ve decided to take a look at a number of the Pixar creations of the last twenty years or so.  We’ll be talking about the ones that are great and the ones that are . . . well, let’s face it, not so great.  Even Pixar can’t churn out nothing but winners, and we’ll be talking about that.  But we’re starting out with “Toy Story 2”, the sequel to what was effectively a surprise home run for Pixar’s first time at bat.  How does the sequel hold up? Are we talking “Godfather II” here or “Daddy Day Camp”? Give a listen and see if you agree with our notional notions.  To the podcast and beyond!

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Episode 112: Fargo (1996)

Oh, cripes, don’tcha know, we’re here for one last go-around with “In Ancient Times: The 90’s,” and I’ll tell ya that for free, oh yah, those nice Coen boys, Joel and Ethan, they’ve done it up real nice, you betcha.  While them Coen fellas may have done ok with their earlier flickers like “Raising Arizona,” “Blood Simple,” and “Barton Fink,” this was one of their first major hits, y’know, that the kids liked, garnering them a passel of Oscar nods and even a couple of wins.  Featuring a rather quirky script, a remarkable cast, and the inviting location of Minnesota in the middle of winter, if nothing else this movie really gives you a picture of the Twin Cities and Minnesota over all (such nice folks up in Brainerd, oh yah).  So hop on I90, but remember there’s construction around exit 41 so stay in the far left lane, make sure you’re careful of the flash ice, and then tuck into your favorite hotdish with a nice side of ludefisk and join us, oh yah? Or don’t.  Either way’s fine, don’t wantcha to go out of your way or nothin’.  No, no really, it’s fine. But take some ludefisk with you before you go.  Yah, no, I insist.

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Episode 111: Ed Wood (1994)

Transvestites! We need transvestites! Wait, no, that’s not it . . . listeners! We need listeners! And here you are, we hope, at Max, Mike; Movies in our penultimate episode of our extended run of “In Ancient Times: the 90’s.” This week we’re taking a look at one of Tim Burton’s more . . . eccentric film choices.  And that’s saying something.  The guy has done movies about a twisted afterlife (more than once, if you think about it), science-fiction based trading cards (remember “Mars Attacks!”? No? Good), and Steven Sondheim musicals.  But in 1994 he decided the world needed to hear the tale of Edward D. Wood, Jr., a director from the 50’s and 60’s who has been proclaimed the “Worst Director of all Time.”  This is the man who brought us “Bride of the Monster,” “Glen or Glenda” and of course, the science fiction extravaganza “Plan 9 From Outer Space.” This is the man whose movies never made a dime.  This is the man who thought giving Swedish wrestler Tor Johnson speaking roles was a good idea. This is the man that Tim Burton thought needed a biopic, and more than that, a biopic filmed entirely in black and white. In 1994.  To be fair, this movie actually won two Oscars! How? Why? Is it worth watching? And who is this Mike person anyway? For the answer to these and other questions, slip into your favorite angora sweater and give a listen.

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Episode 110: Groundhog Day (1993)

Hello, campers, and welcome to another Max, Mike; Movies entry in our series “In Ancient Times: the 90’s.” This week we’re discussing one of the shamefully few movies that celebrate our country’s most beloved and ancient holiday: Groundhog Day. Ah, the happy childhood memories . . . singing Groundhog carols, sipping traditional Nyquil-and-maraschino-cherry-juice punch, carving the stuffed groundhog at dinner, choosing which one of us would be sacrificed to appease the merciless Spirit of Winter . . . good times, good times. I’m sure you all have similar memories that wake you screaming in the night. Strangely, these beloved traditions aren’t even touched upon in this Harold Ramis film, starring Bill Murray, Andie McDowell, and, for reasons known only to the gods, Chris Elliott. A unique comedy, with an often-copied plot, this film asks the question “What would you do if you woke up to the same day, over and over again?” Give a listen and see what Mike and I would do, if we had an eternity of the same day (hint: Mike’s answer involves thumbtacks, Pokemon, and creamed herring).

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