Episode 34: Van Helsing (2004)

Greetings, Children of the Night! This episode kicks off our new series “Guilty Pleasures”, where each of us takes turns choosing a movie to discuss, and not just any movie! No, these are movies we really like even though we know, deep down, that we just shouldn’t.  Some of the movies are bad, some are just dopey, and some are . . . problematic.  This week’s entry isn’t problematic (unless you look at the dialogue, the plot, or the acting): it’s the 2004 Hugh Jackman supernatural action debacle “Van Helsing,” where Mr. Jackman plays Gabriel Van Helsing, a professional monster hunter who works for . . . the Vatican? Sort of? Oh, and the Vatican is some sort of cross between MI6 and Hellboy’s BPRD.  And who do they send him after? Dracula! Frankenstein’s monster! The Wolfman! Mr. Hyde! . . . Wait, was Mr. Hyde a Universal Movie Monster? Where’s the Creature from the Black Lagoon? And what about Scarecrow’s brain?! Give a listen and find out what most of that means.

Episode 33: Trailers!

Yes, trailers.  Such a part of the American driving, and cinematic, experience.  These mighty hauling vehicles have been featured in such films as “The Long, Long Trailer” and “Trailer Park Boys,” where they have . . . hm? What’s that? Oh, MOVIE trailers! That’s what we’re talking about! Of course . . . that makes more sense, doesn’t it.  Ahem.  So this week is a special between-series episode where we examine the released previews for half a dozen of this season’s most anticipated blockbusters.  We’ve got movies about rock stars, movies about superheroes (a bunch of those), and more! We’ll discuss the trailers, see if they’ve inspired us to see their respective films, and down the road we’ll have a show where we’ve actually seen all of the movies shown in these previews and we’ll talk about if the trailers delivered, over-promised, or flat-out misled us.  Enjoy us, won’t you?

Episode 32: The Lord of the Rings

Pass the mushrooms and the lembas bread, members of our bold fellowship! Our grand and glorious quest “In Search of Dungeons and Dragons” draws to its dramatically dramatic and epically epic close as we brave the barrows of the wights, the gates of Barad-dur, and the bathrooms of the Prancing Pony to discuss Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.  Surely we can cover over 11 hours of movies in one episode, right? Right up there with Robert E. Howard’s “Conan”, “Lord of the Rings is one of the clearest influences on D&D, so much so that TSR, um, “borrowed” (without permission) many of the elements of the books for the game (hobbits, ents, orcs, etc).  So, this should be a movie that truly captures the essence of the game . . . or does it? Listen and find out; also, at the end of this episode, we reveal which movie of this series best captures the sense of being a D&D Adventurer.  We know the suspense must have been agonizing for you!

Episode 31: Dragonslayer

What ho and well met, mysterious wanderers! In this, our penultimate chapter of our grand and obstreperous quest “In Search of Dungeons and Dragons,” we pit sword and spell against 1981’s “Dragonslayer,” that rarest of beasts: a Disney live-action sword-and-sorcery film. Starring the very . . . pale Peter MacNicol (who some might remember as The Biscuit on the show “Ally Mcbeal”) and the very awesome Sir Ralph Richardson, who walks away with every one of the (very few) scenes he’s in. We’ve got wizards, warriors and a dang cool (non-cgi) dragon. What more could you want? Why, us talking about it, of course! Hearken and stuff!

Episode 30: Krull

Hail once more, legendary warriors! Once more we embark on our quest “In Search of Dungeons and Dragons,” wherein we search for movies that can be said to truly embody the spirit of the role-playing game we love so well, verily, forsooth, ipsofacto, e pluribus unum.  Today, we marvel at the cinematic creation that is 1983’s “Krull.”  We’ve got cyclopses (cyclopsi?), magic horses, a brave hero, a comic relief magician, and a magic weapon that looks like it would turn the user’s hand into cole slaw.  What could be better? Huzzah and gadzooks, join us!

Episode 29: Dungeons and Dragons

Once again, bold travelers, you join us on our quest “In Search of Dungeons and Dragons.”  This week, it should be pretty easy.  I mean, we’re talking about the 2000 film NAMED AFTER THE GAME! It’s got elves! Wizards! Beholders! Some guys who are probably supposed to be Orcs! And it’s got Jeremy Irons, so you know it’s going to be good; just look at his work in . . . Eragon.  Oh dear.  Oh, this is going to hurt, isn’t it? Give a listen and find out.  I mean, this should be a sure thing, right? It’s a movie that claims to be based on the game! It’s got to work.  Right? . . . . . right?

Episode 28: Wizards

Journey with us once more, brave adventurers, as we continue “In Search of Dungeons and Dragons.” This week, we travel back to 1977 to discuss a classic fantasy/science fiction movie about an intrepid group who try to stop a terrible dark lord from destroying a world with his new ultimate weapon.  You remember that 1977 classic, with Mark Hamill, right? That’s right, Ralph Bakshi’s animated film “Wizards”! What, was Mark Hamill in some other movie in 1977? Huh.  Can’t have been that successful . . . Ok, Mark Hamill is only in one scene and it’s just his voice, but still!
Come with us, and avenge the death of Fritz!

Episode 27: Willow

Welcome back, noble heroes! Time for another edition in our series “In Search of Dungeons and Dragons”! Herein, forthwith (fifthwith even!) we shall chat up an epic saga about the 1988 fantasy film “Willow,” directed by Ron Howard, written by George Lucas, and starring Warwick Davis, the only person to play two separate characters in the “Harry Potter” movies.  Oh, and Val Kilmer’s in it too.  Join us as we ask the question: does the quest of the Nelwyn fledgling sorcerer capture the flavor of a D&D campaign? Follow the bird and find out!

Episode 26: Conan the Barbarian (1982)

Know, o princes and princesses, that in the time before Atlantis knew extreme humidity, two men strode the internet in search of movies that represented the spirit of the game Dungeons and Dragons.  Know too that in their quest, they encountered a mighty warrior whose accent was thicker than his muscles and who would one day wear the crown of California on a troubled brow.
Yes, this week we’re talking about the breakout film of the Governator, “Conan the Barbarian.” Give a listen and see if we consider Conan a true murder hobo.

Episode 25: Eragon

Hail and well met, noble listeners whose deeds are glorious and whose thews are mighty.  Man, check out the thews on you guys.  Wow.  Welcome to our new series “In Search of Dungeons and Dragons”; Mike and I are life-long role-playing gamers and we got to thinking about which, if any, movies really capture the spirit of what it is to be an Adventurer, like the ones in the games.  A doer of daring deeds!  A buckler of swashes! In short: a murder hobo.  This week we’re facing the manksome foe “Eragon,” the 2006 fantasy movie adapted from the book of the same name.  There’s definitely a dragon in it, and one character gets locked in a dungeon so maybe . . . . Enjoy!