Episode 71: Strictly Ballroom (1992)

Here we close our “Special Guest Star” series with none other than the talented and charming Valerie Kuhns, a woman with everything going for her with the exception of the fact that she is related to Mike.  Specifically, she is his sister.  Shudder for a moment as you think of what that was like.  Val has overcome this considerable obstacle and has brought one of her favorite movies for our discussion: Baz Luhrman’s directorial debut “Strictly Ballroom”, a charming, slightly off-kilter romantic comedy about the world of Australian competitive ballroom dancing.  Doesn’t sound that thrilling, does it.  Well, this movie may surprise you! It may stun you! It may steal your heart and your wallet and possibly your shoes! Your dancing shoes! Someone please stop me! Listen in and hear what Val and your usual hosts have to say about this movie.  And let me stress: there are NO NEW STEPS!

Episode 70: In Bruges (2008)

Welcome back to another episode in our “Special Guest Star” series! This week we sit down with the intelligent, witty and annoyingly tall Ned Martenis (also known, in some circles, as my godson).  Ned has chosen one of his favorite movies, the often-underrated “In Bruges,” a dark comedy starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson as two hitmen hiding out in Belgium, in the picturesque city of Bruges.  Even if the performances weren’t as good as they are, the movie is worth watching just to see how amazing Bruges looks.  Ned leads us through a discussion of the merits and flaws of this very affecting movie, while Mike and I make dopey jokes and point out how many actors from the Harry Potter movies show up in this film (there’s a bunch).  Give a listen: enjoy Ned, and tolerate us.

Episode 69: All About Eve (1950)

And here we are with another “Special Guest Star” to do some of the heavy lifting of . . . well, talking about movies.  Hey, some of those scenes can get pretty bulky! This week it’s another of Mike’s Michigan crew, the insightful Haley King; she’s chosen to discuss one of her favorite movies of all time, the 1950 Bette Davis classic “All About Eve”.  Haley is young, ambitious, driven and oh god, Mike’s brought her in to replace me.  Haven’t you, Mike? HAVEN’T YOU? Seriously, tune in and give a listen to Haley’s thoughts (and ours) on this remarkable piece of cinema.  I assure, it won’t be a bumpy night at all.

Episode 68: Man on the Moon (1999)

After the carnage that was “You Can’t Make Me, You Can’t Make”, we gratefully stumble into a brand new series “With Special Guest Star . . .”, where we take the winners of our “Host With Max and Mike” contest and CRUSH THEIR SPIRITS WITH THE WORST MOVIES  . . . *pant* *pant* *pant* . . . sorry, that last series is kind of sticking with me. No, for the next few episodes we’re turning the movie choice over to each of our contest winners and hearing what they have to say about why they chose the move they chose.  Is it a favorite movie? An important one? That kind of movie you just have to watch every so often? This week, it’s Mike’s buddy The Weezil and his choice is 1999’s Andy Kaufman biopic, starring Jim Carrey.  Does this movie hold up? What kind of picture does it give of the controversial comedian/performance artist/whatever-the-heck-Kaufman-was? Give a listen to the Weez’s words’es.

Episode 67: Freddy Got Fingered (2001)

It’s been a long, dark road but we’ve arrived at the final, some might say most foul, entry in our “You Can’t Make Me, You Can’t Make Me” series.  Last week, Mike did some serious harm to my psyche with his cruel and unusual “Baby Geniuses” frontal assault, so this week, I reply with the cinematic poisoned dagger of the soul that is “Freddy Got Fingered,” the most dismal (and one of the only) entries in the “career” of Tom Green, a name that strikes a shuddering chill into the hearts of movie-goers.  This movie is Tom at Tommy-est.  Mr. Green at his Green-est.  There are those who say this movie is a satirical masterpiece, an ironic work of genius.  Here at Max, Mike; Movies, we respect all opinions.  We know there are no right or wrong ideas . . . except for this one.  Those people are wrong.  Just. Plain. Wrong.  You want evidence? Listen to the sad, tattered remnants of Mike soul dribble out into his microphone.  Did I top “Baby Geniuses” with this monstrosity? Listen . . . and find out.

Episode 66: Baby Geniuses (1999)

Pray for us, dear listeners! More specifically, pray for poor Max who had to endure Mike’s cruel strike in this week’s “You Can’t Make Me, You Can’t Make Me” series; Mike has chosen a serious garbage fire of a movie, “Baby Geniuses,” a movie based on the “premise” that babies under the age of two years old (that EXACT age, by the way; that’s a plot point) are actually hyper-intelligent creatures who can understand any language and know the secrets of the universe.  Because, sure.  The film’s Bad Guys, who by some cruel trick of the universe are played by the amazing Kathleen Turner and Christopher Lloyd, are trying to exploit infantile wisdom with infantile script writing . . . I mean evil plans.  There’s Uncanny Valley levels of weird effects to make it look like the babies are speaking (did I mention this was live-action and not the badly-animated cartoon it sounds like it should be?), wardrobe montages, baby martial arts, bad and often inappropriate jokes . . . yes, this movie has it all.  Seriously, this is so bad, it took me an hour into the film to realize I was watching the wrong movie.  Huh? For the answer to that and other questions, dive in with us!

Episode 65: The Emoji Movie (2017)

Hello, listeners! Smiley-face, pray-hands, smiley-face-with-cat-ears . . . wow, this is harder than I thought. How come so many people are into these emoji things? They take forever! Yes, in this new episode of the back-alley fight we’re calling “You Can’t Make Me, You Can’t Make Me,” I inflict the animated colonoscopy that is “The Emoji Movie” on poor, unsuspecting Mike.  Yeesh.  This may have been cruel, even for me.  Yes, this is another movie in the vein of “Toy Story,” “Wreck-it Ralph” or “Inside Out” which involves the disturbing trope about “things you didn’t know were actually sentient.” Apparently there’s an entire world in each of our smart phones; you know those little pictures you send when you don’t feel that dumb old “words” will do the job? They’re actually self-aware creatures, forced into servitude by the all-powerful phone users . . . huh.  This is starting to sound like “Tron.” Well, is it like Tron? Is Mike still speaking to me? Come, find out! Heart, cat-head, bandicoot.

Episode 64: Pixels (2015)

Welcome back to “Max, Mike; Movies”, and here we are slap-bang in the middle of the mind-mangling fray we call “You Can’t Make Me, You Can’t Make Me,” where Mike and I are facing off against one another.  Not with bullets or blades but with the weapons we know best: bad movies.  In this series, we’re choosing the worst movies we can find and forcing each other to watch them.  This week, Mike strikes back at my “Mazes and Monsters” stab with a savage riposte called “Pixels,” one of the most Adam Sandler-y of the Adam Sandler oeuvre.  This movie is based on a two and a half minute short with the simple premise of an alien invasion/attack.  However, for some reason, the aliens are manifesting as avatars from classic video games, such as Pacman and Space Invaders.  Two and a half minutes, and you know what? It works.  As a short. As one hundred and six minutes of movie? Starring (of course) Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Josh Gad and Peter Dinklage (oh man, Mr. Dinklage, please forgive me for in any way reminding people that you were stuck in this film.  I hope the paycheck covered your children’s’ college tuition.  And grad school), this movie follows the “Ready Player One” model as a fantasy for those who grew up in the eighties.  Hi, guys! Remember all those hours you wasted in the video arcade playing Centipede? Turns out it wasn’t a waste of time! Those “skills” are the very thing humanity will need to fight off an alien invasion! See, it’s a GOOD thing you never went outside!
Hoo boy.  So, this film makes me question if there is truly any good in humanity.  Um, I mean, come listen and see if I liked it or something.  Oh dear, was that a spoiler?

Episode 63: Mazes and Monsters (1982)

You find yourself in a dark forest at the border of the fabled kingdom of “Max, Mike; Movies!” The supremely evil yet disturbingly handsome necromancer SauruMax has cast the terrible ninth-level curse of “You Can’t Make Me, You Can’t Make Me” on the half-gnome, half-smurf Mikey the Pantsless, forcing the poor creature to endure the torments of yet another terrible movie.   Will you embark on an epic quest to help the tragic yet flatulent Mikey? Will you endure the agony with him? Will you remember to loot the bodies? Will you cast Magic Missile at the darkness?
Yes, this week I subject my unfortunate colleague to a gorge-risingly dull piece of tripe, based on the “Let’s Take Advantage of Parents’ Fears About Dungeons and Dragons” novel by Rona Jaffe and starring a bunch of nobodies, with one or two notable exceptions.  One of them is this kid named Tom Franks or something; seems like he might actually make something of himself, once he scours the stench of this stinkfest off himself.  For a movie that’s supposed to terrify parents, it seems more interested in slowly boring its audience to death.  Well, that’s one way to earn experience points, I guess.  It’s got all the elements of D&D: clueless eighties parents, no real concept of how role-playing games work, and hats. Lots of hats.  Hearken unto us and see if this movie captures the essence of D&D or if it just captures the essence of a TV movie that should be avoided at all costs.  Roll for initiative!

Episode 62: Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008)

Ding! And we’re here for another bone-cracking, skull-crushing, eye-gouging (self-inflicted, most likely) round of “You Can’t Make Me, You Can’t Make Me” here at “Max, Mike; Movies!” This week’s chosen cinematic rusty knife has been chosen by Mike and shoved into my intestines for my watching agony. I mean pleasure . . . no, no I don’t.  This week, Mike’s chosen “poker hand” is the 2008 musical “Repo! The Genetic Opera.” This movie . . . how does one describe it? Well, how does one describe your average slag heap? We have an . . . unusual cast: Paul Sorvino, who was actually trained as opera singer (a LONG time ago), Anthony Stewart Head (Giles, from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), Alexa PenaVega (from the “Spy Kids” movies), Paris Hilton . . . no, that’s not a typo, and Sarah Freakin’ Brightman.  Sarah Brightman. Acclaimed Broadway star, major voice from the original cast of “Phantom of the Opera”, is in a movie with Paris Hilton. Because when you think “Sarah Brightman,” you immediately think “Paris Hilton” in the same breath.  Those two go together like fine champagne and the Wankel Rotary Engine. Somehow they got her in this movie.  I can only hope that they released her family unharmed afterwards.
The plot? Picture s-f writer Larry Niven’s “organlegging” storylines but make it legal, throw in a predatory payment plan, guys in hazmat suits based on fetish bondage gear who “repossess” organs, and fifty-eight, count ‘em, fifty-eight songs.  There’s a bunch of other plot, too.  Is it engaging? Did I end up caring about the plot, the characters, the songs or the sets? Or did I just care about someday getting my hands around Mike’s throat? Tune in, turn on and find out.