Episode 159: Looper (2012)

Welcome back to another in our non-linear, temporally unfixed series “I’d Forgotten How Much I Hate Time Travel”! This week’s entry is “Looper,” the story of a young commercial airline pilot who refuses to give up his dream of constantly flying his plane in loop-the-loops, to the dismay of the stodgy airline “establishment,” as well as the terror of his passengers.  Well, that’s what this movie WOULD have been about if Hollywood could recognize the visionary nature of my spec script and wasn’t run by a bunch of calcified old men . . . well, that’s neither here nor there . . . nor is it now or then, because this movie, directed by Rian Johnson, the fella who brought us “Knives Out” and some space movie or other about yetis or something, dares to ask the question: when Joseph Gordon-Levitt ages thirty years, will he look like Bruce Willis? Spoiler alert: the answer, apparently, is a resounding “yes!” Some might argue that’s not the central issue of this movie, which also deals with some nonsense about time travel as a tool for criminals, telekinesis, and the nature of causality, but really it’s the “growing up to look like Bruce Willis” question that really encapsulates the horror of this movie.  Brace yourselves and give a listen!

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Episode 158: Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)

We’ve got another episode in our “I’d Forgotten How Much I Hate Time Travel” series.  So far we’ve seen time travel mechanisms in the form of weird rotating portals, self-storage lockers and even phone booths.  So the obvious next phase in this progression is . . . a hot tub? Because sure, why not.  In this cinematic gem, we see a trio of friends (and another guy) travel back from the 2000’s to 1986.  Are they there to benefit the human race by trying to remediate the awful aspects of this time in history? Do they go to warn people of the AIDS crisis? Do they want to hasten the end of the Cold War? Do they try to get Americans to avoid the nightmare that was acid-washed jeans? No, they go back to relive a night of hedonistic abandon where they drink, pound down fistfuls of drugs, leap into bed with women they barely know, which they have decided was the high point of their lives.  How depressing is that . . . And via the magic of time travel, they get to re-experience this time in their lives as they try to learn what is best in life (spoiler: it doesn’t involve crushing your enemies) and the true meaning of friendship (which is done without the use of any pastel-colored equines, so clearly this effort is doomed to failure).  We’ve seen one time travel comedy that worked very well.  Is this another? Give a listen and find out!

Poll question: If you could recast any single movie role with any actor you wanted, what role would it be and who would your casting choice be?

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Episode 157: Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)

Continuing in our careful study of spatio-temporal mechanics as depicted in popular cinematic culture, we come to one of the more intriguing scholarly examples from the late nineteen-eighties.  We have before us a meticulously researched opus on the fixed-timeline theory as regards the practical uses of temporal adjustment technology vis a vis academic research as opposed to the more radical theory of temporal manipulation for historical revisionism.  Of course this film is most famous for it’s ground-breaking quantum equation that has led to so much brilliant research:

Be=Excellent 2 Other(each) / Partyon D[ude]

It is almost impossible to judge the impact this equation has had on time travel theory but my esteemed colleague Mike and I will be discussing it herein.  Please join us.  It will be, in my opinion, most triumphant.

New poll question: can you think of a mediocre or even bad movie that has one really great scene or really great performance that almost saves it?

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Episode 156: Primer (2004)

Welcome to this week’s installment of “I’d Forgotten How Much I Hate Time Travel”! Or, if you’re stuck in a causality loop, welcome back to this week’s installment.  Or you will be welcome to this week’s installment when it arrives sometime in your future.  Again.  To paraphrase Calvin, time travel weirds language. This week’s example of time-bending and mind-bending is “Primer,” suggested to us by our great buddy from the Great White North, Vince! Thanks a lot, Vince.  Thank you so very . . . very . . . much.  This is the movie that proves you don’t have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a movie about time travel to hurt your audience’s frontal lobes; this flick was made for about seven thousand smackeroos and it hurts plenty! Are you listening, Christopher Nolan? No, no, of course you’re not, let’s not kid ourselves.  But we hope you’re listening because this is a pretty intriguing film and we’re two darn intriguing guys here to intrigue you intriguingly into intrigue! Words! So give a listen, eager young Time Cadets!

Poll question: if you could own any one prop, set item, or Maguffin from any movie production, what would it be?

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Episode 155: Tenet (2020)

Welcome to a brand new series here at Max, Mike; Movies.  We’re starting “I’d Forgotten How Much I Hate Time Travel” this week . . . or maybe we started it years into the future and it’s only arriving at this point in the timestream, or timecreek, or timepuddle, right now.  But when is now? What is time? Is it a river? Is it made up of “wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff”? Is it a wreath of pretty flowers that smell bad? No, wait, that’s logic.  And how does one travel in time? We all do it forward, at one second per second but we’re also kind of obsessed with the notion that you can travel to the past or the future and we see that in approximately eleven kabillion movies.  But unless I can finally perfect my time machine (which I will, once I can get the giraffe to stop moving around.  Did I mention they all laughed at me at the Academy?), we only have time to discuss a few movies, movies that use time travel as a major narrative device and not some single even to trigger the plot.  Not so much the “welcome to Roman Times!”, more “Quick, back onto the Time Velocipede so we can stop Napoleon from murdering Da Vinci! And make sure Sparky the dog doesn’t get in more mischief!” sort of movie.  We’re starting off with Christopher Nolan’s mind-mangling, anagrammatically-named opus “Tenet,” a movie about . . . look, just listen to the podcast, ‘cause I ain’t trying to explain this thing twice! Enjoy!

Poll question: what sad or touching movie scene, no matter how many times you’ve seen it, still makes you tear up?

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