Episode 104: Being John Malkovich (1999)

Welcome back to another episode of Max, Mike; Movies in our series “In Ancient Times: the 90’s.” Say, do you want to be John Malkovich? Sure, we all do! But how many movies have addressed this very question? As far as we know, only 1999’s “Being John Malkovich” has dared to do this! Directed by Spike Jonze and written by Charlie “Normal? What Does That Mean?” Kaufman (a first effort for both), this movie is . . . different.  One of the reasons we’ve been talking so much about movies of the 90’s is that while this decade brought us some major trend-setters and blockbusters, it also brought us some remarkably edgy, daring, and experimental wide-release movies.  “Being John Malkovich” is decidedly one of the latter.  Dealing with both the painfully mundane and a sort of magical realism where crawling through a tiny door can land you inside the brain of John Malkovich (like you do), this movie brings us some strange and often uncomfortable ideas, intriguingly executed, and some remarkable performances by the likes of John Cusack, an almost unrecognizable Cameron Diaz, and playing the role of John Malkovich . . . John Malkovich! Interesting choice.  Me, I would have gone with Pee Wee Herman, but they didn’t ask me.  I’m sure that’s one of the director’s major regrets.  When will Hollywood learn that most important of lessons: always ask Max.

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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 103: Wayne’s World (1992)

It’s Max, Mike; Movies! Max, Mike; Movies! Party time! Excellent! Random excited noises! It’s Monday, it’s “In Ancient Times: the 90’s” and it’s time to party! I’m your excellent host, Max Levine. With me as always is Mike. Party on Mike! . . . Party on, Mike! . . . Mike? Mike? . . . Dammit, you’re ruining this for me! Just say “Party on”! Why are you leaving me hanging? Did Bumpy put you up to this? Well, fine. I hope you two are very happy on the Mike an’ Bumpy Super Happy Smile Hour . . . for Jerks! Anyway, yes this week we’re partying down with a major comedy from the 90’s, a movie so meta it’s basically one big meta.  What’s a meta? Why, it’s where the cows graze, thank you! We’re here all week! Tip your waitresses! “Wayne’s World,” one of only two successful movies based on ANYTHING from Saturday Night Live.  Born out of a time when SNL was . . . what’s the word I’m looking for . . . right on the tip of my tongue . . . oh yeah, “funny.”  Remember those days? No? Not surprising.  So pop in that cassette tape of Queen, cruise on down to Aurora, Illinois and join us for a sedate, low-key, erudite discussion of “Wayne’s World” . . . not! Wow, that joke has just has not aged well. . . 

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 102: Dazed and Confused (1993)

Booyah! Welcome back to another totally tubular episode of “In Ancient Times: the 90’s” here at Max, Mike; Movies.  Wait . . . tubular is from the 80’s, right? Oh, who knows.  It’s not like anyone from that era is alive today.  Whatever. Totally. This week we’re tackling Mike’s choice of an early Richard Linklater ode to the 1970’s (because that’s what we were into in the 90’s: Richard Linklater and the 70’s.  Don’t dispute me) “Dazed and Confused,” the movie that single-handedly took a handful of river clay and crafted it into the chiseled creature that is Matthew McConaughey.  Yes, he’s not actually in much of the movie, but by MC’s hammer, he’s what you remember.  The plot? It’s the last day of school in 1976 in a small town in Texas.  Yes, that’s pretty much it.  But is the plot the reason to watch the movie? Is it the characters? The feeling of a small football-based town in Texas? The brief appearances by a painfully young Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, and Parker Posey? The blink-and-you’ll-miss-her cameo by Renee Zellweger (playing the immortal role of “Girl in Blue Truck”)? Or is it the fabulous 70’s wardrobe? Give a listen and see if you think we’re all wrong or if we’re  . . . all right, all right, all right!

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 101: Titanic (1997)

Whew! We conquered episode 100, now we go forward . . . to the past! Welcome to a new series on “Max, Mike; Movies” where we check out films of a surprisingly innovative and influential decade, back in the dim and distant misty times: the 1990’s, in a series we’re calling “In Ancient Times: the 90’s” (we were going to do the 1890s but there’s only so much you can say about a film showing Thomas Edison’s assistant sneezing). The 90’s were, in our opinion, one of the last decades of truly experimental, daring films, before studios began focus-grouping the hell out of everything and basically just trying to establish easy-to-replicate cash-pooping formulas.  This is not to say there isn’t still innovation out there, but it’s harder to get such movies made.  This week we’re starting off with Max’s pick of a cinematic achievement that chronicles one of the greatest maritime tragedies of the 20th century.  Of course, I’m talking about Boaty McBoatface.  I don’t think any of us will ever lose the scars from that . . . wait, hang on, that’s not right.  No, we’ll be yammering about the movie that made James Cameron the king of the world, a quiet, small-scale little period piece called “Titanic.” Sit back and let us paint you like one of our French girls!

And please, do keep in mind:

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/