Episode 43: Charade/The Truth About Charlie

Welcome back to our “Then and Now” series (also called “What, This Again?”) where we compare and discuss a classic movie and one of its remakes. This week it’s the romantic comedy/thriller “Charade” and its 2002 remake “The Truth About Charlie.” Both movies have the same plot, of course: a young woman in an unhappy marriage returns to Paris to find both that her husband is dead and he was not who she thought he was. The original has Audrey Hepburn, Walter Matthau, and Cary Grant as the leads. The remake has Thandie Newton, Tim Robbins, and . . . Mark Wahlberg. Want to take a guess as to which is the better film? Well, don’t bother! Listen to us and we’ll tell you. Isn’t that easier?

Episode 42: The Thomas Crown Affair (1968, 1999)

Welcome to a new series here at Max, Mike; Movies! This time we’re tacking “Then and Now,” wherein we discuss a classic (or at least “old”) movie and one (or more) of its remakes and compare, contrast, convulse, confusticate and consommé the two. This week we’re talking about the classic heist movie “The Thomas Crown Affair,” filmed originally in 1968 with Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway and remade in 1999 with Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo. Two very different takes on what is essentially the same crime story, although one involves banks and one involves museums and strange Magritte jokes. Join us for this new chapter, won’t you?

Episode 41: Anchorman: the Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

I’m Ted Baxter; here now, the news.  Flawless impression, right? This is one of my Guilty Pleasures, the Will Ferrell comedy “Anchorman.”  Yes it’s juvenile and as lowbrow as you can get without being a neckbeard but it makes me laugh and the cast is amazing, as are the cameos.  Seriously, how many movies are there that have appearances by Tim Robbins, Danny Trejo, and Jack Black. Oh. Really? That many? Huh.  I had no idea.  Well, anyway, this one is a lot of dopey fun and it’s the movie that spawned a thousand memes (“Well, that escalated quickly!” “I love lamp.”) So slap on some Sex Panther, put on some jazz flute and dust off your many leather-bound books as we tackle the movie that asks the question “Why even bother trying to be classy?”

Episode 40: Kentucky Fried Movie (1977)

Herein, forthwith, etc, is another Guilty Pleasure; this time it’s one of the earliest works of the writers Abrahams, Zucker and Zucker, the mad minds behind the “Airplane!” movies.  Heavily influenced by sketch comedy (this movie premiered the same year as “Saturday Night Live”), “Kentucky Fried Movie” is a series of vignettes parodying all sorts of tv, movie, and commercial styles, from martial arts movies to sexual coaching tapes to . . . porn?! Is it tasteful? No. Is it a bit dated? Yes. Does it drag at times? Sure. Is it funny? Well, give a listen (spoiler: yes it is!) It may all seem a bit much but in case of emergency, this podcast comes equipped with Big Jim Slade, so there’s nothing to worry about.  So join us, and find out how zinc oxide affects your life. Film at eleven.

Episode 39: Mallrats (1995)

Kevin Smith is a celebrated director.  “Clerks” is often credited with jumpstarting the indie film movement.  “Chasing Amy” is a Golden Globe nominee.  “Dogma” is one of my favorite movies.  But . . . this one.  “Mallrats” is, shall we say, not one of his best.  This one, however, is my pick, partly because it is supposed to take place in the Mall of America, that monument to shopping that opened while I was living in Minnesota.  The movie is dopey, the plot and dialogue are juvenile, but it’s still quite a bit of fun.  The movie introduced us to Ben Affleck, tried to given Shannon Doherty a film career (ok, bit of a misfire there), AND it included a speaking performance by the great Stan Lee that’s more than one line! Also, this is the movie that is referenced by the Stan Lee cameo in the recent MCU film “Captain Marvel.” So . . . that’s gotta mean something, right? Right? Um . . . so anyway, join us and maybe you too will be able to see the sailboat.

Episode 38: Hudson Hawk (1991)

Here it is folks: if you look in the encyclopedia under “guilty pleasure,” all you’ll see is a picture of Bruce Willis and the words “Hudson Hawk.”  It’s true.  Don’t bother actually checking an encyclopedia (right, like anyone has one of those lying around anymore) and most importantly don’t ask anyone who owns an encyclopedia to actually check because they are lying to you. Yes, this week we’re talking about the movie that dares to ask the question “ . . . wait, what just happened?” A remarkable cast, some great locations, David Caruso in a blissfully silent part, and a script that is so dang bazonkas it’s hilarious.  Yes, this is a terribly made movie but . . . darn it, the thing is just so much fun.  Forget about suspending your disbelief, lock your disbelief in the basement, nail the door closed and come and listen to us.  C’mon; you could be swingin’ on a star!

Episode 37: Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)

Welcome back, Pointers! This week’s “Guilty Pleasure” is one of mine: the John Cusack (and most of his family) vehicle “Grosse Point Blank,” a movie about a charming professional assassin attending his 10th high school reunion.
Yeah, I know.
I do recognize this movie as seriously flawed: plot holes, odd improvised dialogue, a tone that shifts so wildly and suddenly you might end up with whiplash but the characters are a lot of fun, the cast is very cool and the music is pure 80’s (in a good way. No, really).  It’s just . . . odd.  And really, are we supposed to be rooting for a murderer-for-hire to reconcile with his high-school sweetheart and find love? Really?
But where else will you find a movie with Alan Arkin, Dan Ackroyd and kick-boxing legend Benny “The Jet” Urquidez in it? Seriously, where? Give a listen, maybe we’ll tell you (spoiler: we won’t).

Episode 36: The Ninth Gate (1999)

And we’re back, with another in our series of “Guilty Pleasures,” movies that we know we shouldn’t enjoy but dang it, we just can’t help ourselves.  This week is Mike’s choice and this one is less a guilty pleasure because of its quality but rather because of . . . well, who’s involved in it.  “The Ninth Gate” is an intriguing possibly-paranormal thriller involving rare books, ancient codes, and a Satanic cult.  Where’s the guilt? Well, it stars Johnny Depp, who as we’ve seen in recent years is not one of humanity’s best and its directed by the brilliant director, if absolutely lousy human being, {shudder} Roman Polanski.  In this episode, we hearken back to the beginning and our difficulties with movies that are created in part by some wretched example of our species and whether we should even watch such things. Is this movie worth the discomfort it provokes? Give a little listen.

Episode 35: Strange Magic (2015)

Once again, we take a dive into the deepest darkest depths of darkness and depth . . . of midnight . . . of the soul.  Yes, that’s where I was going with this.  Welcome back to our series “Guilty Pleasures,” where each week one of us chooses a movie that we enjoy, even though there is absolutely no good reason that we do.  Really, no good reason at all.  Seriously.  We can offer no excuses.  These are movies that we get a kick out of even though it makes each of us a Mr. Wrongy Von Wrongerson of the House of Wrong.  This week’s particular bit of wrongosity is the 2015 animated musical feature by . . .  wait, that can’t be right.  George Lucas? Seriously? George Lucas woke up one morning and thought to himself “Y’know, I gave the world Jedis and robots and fish-headed aliens.  You know what the logical follow-up to that is? Yes! Animated fairies and goblins dancing and singing pop songs.  Everyone will love it, just like they loved Jar-Jar! I’m a super-smarty creative genius!”  The only thing dopier than the movie itself is the fact that I actually think it’s fun.  Clearly I need professional help. Give a listen and maybe you can suggest a nice anti-psychotic I could take.

Episode 34: Van Helsing (2004)

Greetings, Children of the Night! This episode kicks off our new series “Guilty Pleasures”, where each of us takes turns choosing a movie to discuss, and not just any movie! No, these are movies we really like even though we know, deep down, that we just shouldn’t.  Some of the movies are bad, some are just dopey, and some are . . . problematic.  This week’s entry isn’t problematic (unless you look at the dialogue, the plot, or the acting): it’s the 2004 Hugh Jackman supernatural action debacle “Van Helsing,” where Mr. Jackman plays Gabriel Van Helsing, a professional monster hunter who works for . . . the Vatican? Sort of? Oh, and the Vatican is some sort of cross between MI6 and Hellboy’s BPRD.  And who do they send him after? Dracula! Frankenstein’s monster! The Wolfman! Mr. Hyde! . . . Wait, was Mr. Hyde a Universal Movie Monster? Where’s the Creature from the Black Lagoon? And what about Scarecrow’s brain?! Give a listen and find out what most of that means.