Episode 209 – Enemy of the State (1998)

On the surface, it would seem that we’re starting a new series. Maybe, to the untrained eye, this new series is called “Conspiracy!” and focuses on movies that involve so-called conspiracy theories, nefarious plots spun out by the so-called government . . . or maybe that’s just what They WANT you to think! Wake up, sheeple! These movies may be labeled as fiction but they reveal the truth that the lizard people/Aliens/Illuminati/Rosicrucians/Lilliputians don’t want you to know! It’s true! I saw it on a blog!

We’re kicking off this new series with “Enemy of the State”, an eerily prescient movie about the Surveillance State made in the halcyon pre-Patriot Act days of the late 90’s. Starring Will Smith, this movie really slaps you in the face about the disturbing reality . . . oooooohhh . . .  too soon? Give a listen and see if this movie is just paranoid . . .  or just not paranoid enough! And make sure you weren’t followed.

Poll question: What do you think is the most tense, edge-of-your-seat, forget-about-popcorn-or-using-the-restroom scene of any movie? The kind of scene that makes your heart race and your hands dig into the armrests of your chair?

Extra-special link: wondered what we were talking about when we mentioned the “Vestron” video opening? Check it out here:  Vestron (you might want to turn down your volume)

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 208 – The Suicide Squad (2021)

Alas, we have come to the end of our “Focus On – Viola Davis” series; farewell, Ms. Davis and thank you for making us laugh at love . . . again. Well, maybe not so much laugh as stare open-mouthed at your ability. And lest you think that Viola Davis only appears in gritty, serious, deeply moving films, this week’s entry proves that she really, really doesn’t. Directed by James Gunn, 2021’s “The Suicide Squad” is both a sequel and a sorta-kinda-maybe reboot of the 2016 original comic book movie, based on a concept that stretches back to 1959 but didn’t really come into its own until writer John Ostrander revived it and made it his own in the late 80’s. The comic deals with a black ops team made up of second- (often third- or fourth-) string super villains who are offered a reduced sentence in exchange for doing insanely dangerous, dare I say, “suicidal”, missions for The Government.  Viola Davis plays the cold-hearted end-justifies-ANY-means head of the team Amanda “The Wall” Waller and she clearly demonstrates that she doesn’t need to plant a micro-explosive in someone’s head to get them to do what she wants. So, does this version surpass the rather messy, studio-meddled-with 2016 version? Do we end up rooting for the bad guys? Are we just happy that Viola Davis is part of a big-budget franchise (spoiler alert: we are!) Join us and find out!

Poll question: what’s your favorite cinematic car chase sequence?

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 207 – Widows (2018)

Widows. A tragic word. There are so many kinds of widows. Black widows. Grass widows. Golf widows. But this week we’re interested only in movies called “Widows” starring Viola Davis. Yes, we are nothing if not highly specific here at Max, Mike; Movies as we continue with our highly specific series “Focus On – Viola Davis.” And this week, highly specifically, we’ve got Ms. Davis in an actual lead role (‘bout bloody time)! With no wig, no body suit, just all Davis, all the time and that’s what we crave. Be warned: this is a heist movie (in part) but it’s no light-hearted quip-heavy “Ocean’s 11” sort of thing. It’s tough, unflinching, and gritty . . . just like Mike and me. We’ve seen it all and we’ve got nothing but lumps of old iron where our hearts ought to be and BAAAASSSHH! WHY? WHY DID BASH HAVE TO {collapses sobbing}. ‘scuse me, I need a weighted blanket and an emotional support possum . . .

Poll question: is there a movie that’s ever made you want to get INTO show business, whether it be acting, directing or some other aspect?

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 206 – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020)

We’ve got the blues here at Max, Mike; Movies. Not because of our series “Focus On: Viola Davis,” because Ms. Davis could never give us the blues. No, we’ve got that movie-podcasting blues, the kind where you’ve got the blues so bad, you just want to find the most annoying pony you can find and shave your initials in his hair a foot high, that’s the kind of blues we’ve got. Those Bumpy Shavin’ Blues . . . but this week we’re checking out a movie about a REAL blues singer, as seen through a film adapted from an August Wilson play starring Ms. Davis and Chadwick Boseman. August Wilson . . . well, it’s not like a movie about the blues could be depressing or unhappy, right? I mean, that’s just silly talk . . . join and and see just how silly!

Poll question: if you could project yourself to live in the actual world of one movie, what would it be and what would your place in it be? Would you want to be an elf in Elrond’s hall or work in Rick’s Café American? You’d have to be your own character, not take the place of an existing one!

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 205 – The Help (2011)

Well, we’ve been focusing on specific actors for the last couple of series . . . so we’re going to do it again! It’s so predictable, they’ll never expect it! This time we’re focusing on the multiple Oscar-nominated performer Viola Davis (who is NOT, I just found out, the inventor of the stringed instrument of the same name. I thought I’d better mention that as there’s no way I’m the only person who thought that, no matter what Mike keeps screaming at me). Ms. Davis is a remarkable actor with range, subtlety and class . . . which gives her nothing at all in common with Mike and me but we’re going to talk about her anyway. We’re starting off with a film that garnered her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, Tate Taylor’s “The Help,” based on the novel by Kathryn Stockett. This movie has an amazing cast. Yup, great cast, and not just Viola Davis. Very nice pacing, too. The story? Um . . . did I mention how great the cast is? This movie is . . . difficult. What do I mean by that? Well, what do I EVER mean? Give a listen and find out in this instance.

Poll question: was there ever a film that you left at the end feeling angry and what about it made you angry?

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 204 – Lucy (2014)

“Looooothy!! What crazy hijinks you up to now, huh? Did you go and super-evolve your brain and develop god-like powers on the night I’m bringing Caesar Romero over for dinner?”
“Waaaaahhhh, Rickyyyyy! I went and perpetuated a false scientific theory that’s been disproved multiple times! Waaaahhhh!!!”

Now THAT would have been a film for the ages . . .  but sadly our final entry in “Focus On: Scarlett Johansson” does not follow my brilliant concept but does give us both Ms. Johansson AND Morgan Freeman and if you could bottle their combined voices and sell them, you’d have the world’s newest super-drug. Luc Besson, the man who gave us “Fifth Element,” “Taken,” and “The Professional” tackles the speculative fiction concept: given that we only use 10% of our brains, what would happen to someone whose brain suddenly began evolving to the point where she could use 100% of her mental potential? TL;DR – nothing, because that whole “we only use 10% of our brain” thing has been proven to be nonsense time and time again (with the exception of Bumpy who uses a percentage of his brain that is too small to be measured by any current scientific equipment). But if we can get past this rather large “I call no way!” aspect, is this movie fun to watch, given the cast and the director? Give a listen; you’ll barely have to use 2% of your brain to follow along.

Poll question: what’s an older movie that you enjoy that could just NOT get made today?

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 203 – Rough Night (2017)

Welcome to our penultimate “Focus on: Scarlett Johansson” episode! This one’s a rough night! No, I’m fine, why do you ask? No, last night was fine . . . there’s no problem. What drinking? I meant the MOVIE is called . . . why are you all here sitting in a circle on folding chairs? What do you mean, “I have a problem”?! Maybe you’re the ones with the problem! You ever think of that?!

Ok, that took a darker turn than I had intended . . . just to make sure there are no misunderstandings, wacky, dark, or otherwise, we’re discussing the movie “Rough Night,” starring Scarlett Johansson and a remarkable cast who, quite frankly, deserved better. Oops! Spoiler! Quick, go listen before I give anything else away!

Poll question: who would you choose to play you in your own biopic? Any actor, living or dead, at any point in their career.

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 202 – Lost in Translation (2003)

Another in our series “Focus on: Scarlett Johansson”! Ok, “Ghost World” may have been her breakout film but this week’s entry . . . is also seen as her breakout film. Because who says you only get one breakout film? Well, if you do, you should be ashamed of yourself! Here at Max, Mike; Movies we support everyone’s right to have as many breakout films as they want! And we will fight you about this! That is, Bumpy will fight you! Get ‘em, Bumpy! This one was nominated for multiple Oscars and confirmed the notion that Sofia Coppola belongs behind the camera, and maybe not so much in front of it (sorry, Ms. Coppola but we’re all thinking the same thing). In 2003’s “Lost in Translation,” we get to see a surprising amount of chemistry between Scarlett and . . . Bill Murray? Ok, before this movie came out, that is NOT a screen pairing I would have thought of. Does it work? Is it just creepy because Bill is almost three times Scarlett’s age at this point? Join us and find out! Hang on, what’s that, Mike? “More intense”? What the hell does that mean?

Poll question: what is a movie you feel like you “should” watch because of stuff tm and reasons tm but you’ve just never been able to get yourself to do it, and why?

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 201 – Ghost World (2001)

Welcome, welcome to another brand new series (this one has no Bat-folk in it; we hope you’re not too disappointed): “Focus On: Scarlett Johansson.” Yes, we’re doing another short series focusing on the works of one particular performer, in this case the aforementioned Ms. Johansson. An acclaimed drama, comedy, and action star, the face of L’Oréal (because she’s worth it) and many other companies, Scarlett Johansson has played aliens, hyper-advanced human beings, bodiless AI’s, superheroes and animated porcupines. We’re starting off with one of her breakthrough non-child roles in Terry Zwigoff’s adaptation of Daniel Clowes award-winning graphic novel “Ghost World.” While Thora Birch plays the more featured character, Enid, Scarlett Johansson turns in a quietly subdued and internal performance as Rebecca.  How is the movie as a whole? Give a listen and find out!

Hey, once this series is done, we’re doing one more “Focus On” series and this one will focus on an actor chosen by you! Yes, you! No . . . not you . . . the one over to your  . . . look, could you move to your right a bit? Thanks! Yes, YOU! Who would you like to see us focus on? Suggest an actor! Suggest some of their movies! Ignore that weirdo who thought we were talking to them and let us know!

Poll question: what movie, that you’ve never seen, looks so disturbing that you never even want to give it a try?

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 200 – Batman IS a Wonderful Toy! And Also Very Pale (Chapter 4)

Citizens, we commend you on your fortitude, courage and strength of character: you have stuck with us through all four parts of our commentary about His Royal Batness (sidenote: most people don’t know that was the nickname Prince was originally going to use. It’s true. Trust us. Don’t bother to look it up). In this the FINAL segment of our 200th episode, we cover the end of the Bale-Nolan trilogy, the thrilling courtroom drama that was “Batman v. Superman” (in a moment, the results of that trial), the surprisingly entertaining “Lego Batman Movie” and the even more surprising, and most recent, incarnation of Batman, played by the pale and somewhat wispy Robert Pattinson. Note for parents: at no point does Mr. Patterson sparkle during his portrayal of Batman. I don’t know about you but I was really worried about that. And then we wrap it all up with a brief discussion of the character of Bartman, sorry, Biffman, wait, Blortman . . . dang it, this has gone on so long I can’t remember who we’re actually talking about . . . Forbushman? No, no, that doesn’t sound right. Anyway, we are so grateful that you’ve stuck around for this Director’s Cut of an episode and we promise that we’ve learned our less and episode 300 will just be a description of an old Chef Boyardee commercial that should last about 20 minutes. But you’ve come this far (we hope) so join us for the grand bat-finale! Pow! Zap! Biff! Conclude!

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/