Episode 91: SpongeBob SquarePants: Sponge Out of Water (2015)

Here we are again for yet another entry in the saga that is “Drawn Apart,” the fancy and academic study of movies that have both live-action and animated characters sharing the screen and interacting with one another.  Should be getting that grant from Wottsamatta U any day now.  This week we tackle that deepest and most profound question: who, in matter of fact, does live in a pineapple under the sea? Who indeed, my friends, who indeed . . .
Yes, we’re focusing our unfocussed brains on that 20 year phenomenon of animation, following a sentient sponge who lives in the aforementioned citrus fruit with many wacky friends, going on many a whacky adventure together.  This little fellow teaches us that we can all be a bit more yellow, absorbent and porous.  And yes, this is technically the second example of the SpongeBob oeuvre but we were informed that this one has more live-action/animation interaction than the first movie.  Were we right? Did it matter? Why does a sponge need to wear pants? Give a listen and maybe, just maybe, you might learn a thing or two (spoiler: you won’t).

Episode 90: The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000)

Back for more, huh? Well, strap in for another episode of “Drawn Apart,” the series that dares to address the controversial issue of live-action and animated characters living and working together. Yes, I said it! We’re asking if Mixed Movies can work, and this week’s example of the question if the cinematic version of the classic Jay Ward cartoon “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle.” Laurel and Hardy. Martin and Lewis. Tracy and Hepburn. Moose and Squirrel.  Sometimes an on-screen couple comes along that changes the game.  But how would Bullwinkle J. Moose and Rocket J. Squirrel deal with life in the Land of Three Dimensions? This movie attempts to answer this question.  Along with our titular stars, this flick boasts the presence of Rene Russo, Jason Alexander, and  . . . Robert Deniro? Wait, I must have read that wrong . . . no . . . no I didn’t. Robert Deniro is in the Rocky and Bullwinkle movie.  Because sure, why not? Wait, he was one of the producers, too? Wow. Well, I guess the progression makes sense: “Taxi Driver,” “Godfather II,” “Raging Bull,” “Rocky and Bullwinkle.” Hey, those last two both have the word “bull” in them! Sort of! Well, listen in and find out if this makes a lick o’ sense, and how many of those licks it takes to get to the chewy center of this movie. Watch us pull a rabbit out of a hat! Again!

Episode 89: Space Jam (1996)

Howdy howdy, folks; glad you could join us for another episode of “Drawn Apart,” where we spew forth on movies that combine animation and live action, woven together into the seamless fabric that is movie magic. Bugs Bunny.  Daffy Duck.  Wile E. Coyote.  If you’re like me, when you hear those names the first thing you think of is: basketball.
No, huh? Yeah, me neither, but someone did! Or rather someone looked at the early 90’s sneaker commercials with Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny together and said “You know, I must make it my mission in life to bring this to the big screen!” Yes, this is a thing that happened.  So, what do you get when you take classic Warner Brothers animated characters and mash them together with Michael Jordan, Bill Murray, and a collection of famous (in the 90’s) basketball stars? Oh, wait, and there’s aliens.  And Wayne Night as a bumbling assistant.  And a female version of Bugs Bunny named Lola, but she wears clothes, and her character is basically . . . um . . .  uhhh . . . what was the question again? Oh yes, you get all this jammed into one cinematic space, hence the title: “Space Jam.” Yes, I’m certain that’s what the title refers to.  So how do real-world sports stars and legendary cartoon characters work together? Do they, in fact, work together? Tune in and see! Sufferin’ Succotash!

Episode 88: Cool World (1992)

So our last series has come to an end. What to do now . . . what to do . . . what’s that, Mike? Start a new series? Y’know . . . it’s crazy but it. Just. Might. Work.

So yes, here’s the start of a brand new series: “Drawn Apart,” a collection of movies that blend live-action with animation as part of the central plot. Not just movies that have brief animated sequences in them, like Gene Kelly dancing with the animated mouse Jerry, or even “Phantom Tollbooth”, but rather movies that have both “real” actors and animated characters together for the majority of the movie.  Yes, yes, like “Roger Rabbit.” We’ll get to that one, but we’re starting out with the final film made by legendary (for better or worse) animator, Ralph Bakshi: 1992’s “Cool World.” This flick was built up as a sort of “Roger Rabbit For Adults” and tries to answer the question “what happens if a human and a cartoon . . . um . . . y’know . . . wink wink nudge nudge say n’more? With some wild animation and a cast that includes Gabriel Byrne, Kim Bassinger, and some kid named Brad Pratt? No, wait, it’s Brad Pitt. Pretty sure that’s right.  We’ll be talking about the movie as a whole, as well as how well it blends animation and live-action. So, Noids and Doodles alike, let’s dive right in and hope no one drops an anvil on us!

Episode 87: Forbidden Planet (1956)

Welcome to our late-night double-feature picture show! We’ve got androids fighting Brad and Janet, as well as Anne Francis stars in “Forbidden Planet”! It’s exactly like that, except it’s not a double-feature, and we have no Brad, no Janet, and no androids (yes, there’s a robot but a robot is not the same as an android, as Data tells us). In this, our final entry in the series “When We Wuz Kids,” Mike has chosen one of his favorite childhood (and adulthood) cinematic memories: 1956’s “Forbidden Planet,” starring (besides Ms. Francis), Walter Pidgeon, Leslie Nielsen (his first movie) and the legendary Eaaaarrrrl Holimannnn (best known for “Police Woman” and not much else).  This movie is alleged to be a science-fiction interpretation of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.  In fact, the filmmakers were so into that idea that they list ol’ Bill as a co-writer.  Shakespeare. As a CO-writer. Yeah, we’ll get to that.  But we also have amazing sets, animation by a Disney animator, and the first appearance of Robby the Robot (who was supposed to have been a TOTAL DIVA on set. Very hard to work with. Even today, Twiki and the Daleks won’t speak to him. No one really knows why; we’re waiting for Twiki’s tell-all autobiography).  So strap on your simple blaster, down a shot of rocket fuel bourbon and monitor this episode!

Episode 86: The Phantom Tollbooth (1970)

Hello again to our listeners, both young and young at heart! Things in the real world are a tad . . . dramatic these days, so who among us isn’t fantasizing about hopping into a toy car, driving through a simulated highway fee collection station and traveling through a land of obvious puns, all animated by Chuck Jones?  . . . No one? Just me? Well, fine. I don’t care.  You’re all a bunch of dopey-heads. Because this week in our “When We Wuz Kids,” we’re taking a look back at an animated and (a little) live action adaptation of the beloved children’s book “The Phantom Tollbooth, written by Norton Juster and illustrated by Jules Pfeiffer (although you wouldn’t know that last bit if you watch this movie).  This is also one of the VERY few non-Bugs Bunny pieces directed by legendary animator Chuck Jones.  And it stars Butch Patrick! Man, how did they ever get Butch Patrick for this? Can you believe it? Butch Patrick!! Ok, for those (all) of you scratching your chins (stop that! No face-touching!) and wondering where you’ve heard that name, he was Eddie Munster on “The Munsters” and, perhaps more infamously, the main character in the Sid and Marty Kroft drug-trip of a Saturday morning show “Liddsville,” a show about sentient hats.  No, that’s not a typo.  Anyway, we’ve also got some voice acting royalty in this one: Mel Blanc! Daws Butler! June Foray! Hans Conreid! So, should you check out this movie or just read the book? Give a listen and find out for yourself! Insert linguistic or numerical pun here!

Episode 85: The Time Machine (1960)

Welcome, time travelers, to the year 2525 (assuming man is still alive). No, I’m just messing with you, it’s still 2020 and this is still Max, Mike; Movies with our series “When We Wuz Kids.” At these current spatio-temporal coordinates, we bring you one of Mike’s childhood cinematic influences: the 1960 film adaptation of H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine.” This movie has it all: time travel! Explosions! Eloi! Morlocks! . . . and that’s about it, really.  So let’s . . . huh.  That’s odd.  Some guy who looks just like me just appeared in my office; he claims to be me from the future and he’s warning me about posting this episode! If I do, some great cataclysm will . . . hang on, there’s another version of me now who is arguing with the first version, claiming that by interfering with the timeline, he/I’m just making things worse.  Aaaand now there are forty-five versions of me in the office (hard to move now), all arguing about causality and what should happen now.  Wow, they just won’t shut up. Geez, I’m really of long-winded! I never realized . . . Whoops, one of the distant future-me’s just said something about the release of “Cats 17: This Time It’s Purrsonal” so to hell with all of me and let’s get this episode up.  Give a listen and see if this episode has doomed us all.

Episode 84: The Great Race (1965)

Greetings, sports fans, and welcome back to “Max, Mike; Movies!” series “When We Wuz Kids.” This week we delve into a cinematic semi-precious gem that is solidly wedged into the psyche of one Max. This Max, to be more specific.  Yes, by golly we’re taking on “The Great Race,” a zany comedy from the mind of Blake “The Pink Panther” Edwards, involving a turn-of-the-twentieth-century automobile race (those dang horseless carriages will never catch on) from New York to Paris. Yes, I know. Try not to think about the geography too much.  But never mind geography! We’ve got Tony Curtis as the always well-coifed Great Leslie and his arch-nemesis Professor Fate, played with scenery-chewing relish by Jack Lemmon, as well as the stunning Natalie Wood as a plucky suffragette/journalist/damsel in distress. As a kid, I remember this being a great deal of fun, rather like a live-action cartoon (and it did end up being the inspiration for “The Wacky Races”).  Does it remain joyfully chucklesome? Or has it aged poorly, like mayonnaise left out overnight? Mmmm . . . overnight mayonnaise . . . Join us and find out! Click the link, Max!

Episode 83: Captain Nemo and the Underwater City (1969)

Welcome back to our collective trip down memory lane in our series “When We Wuz Kids,” where we jabber about the motion pictures that had an impact on us as wee tykes (some of them were even those new-fangled “talkies”!). This week sinks us into the Marianas Trench that is Mike’s formative years, when he loved him some “Captain Nemo and the Underwater City”, a . . . sequel? to the well-known “20,000 Leagues Under The Sea,” the popular Disney version of the Jules Verne story. And do any of the Disney stars reprise their roles? Do we get James Mason? Kirk Douglas? Peter Lorre? Well . . . no. Not as such.  But we do get Chuck “The Rifleman” Connors! That’s pretty much the same thing, right? And did “20,000 Leagues” have a giant underwater kaiju named Mobula? I think not! So, we got that goin’ for us.  So how does this one hold up to Mike’s rose-colored glasses of youthful memory? Is it a delight for the entire family? A marvel of ahead-of-its-time steampunk? A hard-hitting documentary about the degeneration of coral reef’s world-wide? A small pile of jello cubes with a bowler hat perched on top? Tune in and find out what’s wrong with me! I mean, what we think of this movie.  Yes.  That’s what I mean.

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!