Episode 270 – The Blues Brothers (1980)

The movie’s one hundred fifty-one minutes long. We’ve got a full box of Bumpy Pux, half a quart of YooHoo, it’s broad daylight and we’re wearing rainbow-sequined lederhosen. Let’s roll.

Welcome to another in our series “What’s So Funny?” The movie that tries to answer that question this week is John Landis’ “The Blues Brothers,” which may have one of Max’s favorite soundtracks of any movie ever, not to mention some of the greatest musical cameos and guest stars (in a movie?) of all time. So strap in, slip on some Ray-Bans, don’t let any Penguins smack you with a ruler (our man Vince knows all about that!) and join us on our righteous quest. After all, we’re on a mission from Pod(cast)! Give a listen!

Poll question: what movie soundtrack made you go “I’ve got to listen to more of this person’s music or this genre of music”?

Episode 269 – Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (2016)

Heeeyyy! Wakka wakka wakka! We’re DONE being hard-boiled and detective-y, so now we’re going to lighten up with a new series we’re calling “What’s So Funny?” Howaya, howaya, howaya? Saying things three times is funny! Hey, Mike! Bring that tray of priceless crystal goblets over here but watch out for that banana peel . . . OH GOD, MIKE! No! Are you . . . no, no, don’t try to move! Oh god, there’s so much blood . . . let me try to get you on your feet . . . AAAHHH! The glass punched right through my shoe!! I’ve never known such pain! AHHHH! I fell on patch of broken glass stems! It’s like a thousand daggers! Mike, Mike, don’t close your eyes! Stay with me now! Oh no . . . why, god, whyyyyyyyyy?!

Yes, we’re obviously masters of comedy here at Max, Mike; Movies . . . not! Oh, my sides! But we do love us some comedy ha-ha type movies, so we’re going to watch a bunch of movies by actual comic thespians doing actually funny things . . . or trying to, in some cases. We’re going to mix it up with some new, some classics, and a bunch of suggestions from YOU, our witty and elegantly-manicured listeners. We’re starting off with a pretty recent flick from Andy Samberg and his fellow Lonely Island denizens: 2016’s “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping,” a recent take on the rocku-mockumentary genre. Join us for many giggles, chortles and guffaws . . . or prolonged “huuuuhhh?”’s! Enjoy!

Poll question: What is your favorite cinematic fake band? Include movies, TV shows, cartoons . . .

Episode 268 – Night of the Hunter (1955)

As we come to the close of our “Walk the Dark Street” series, let us consider hunting. One can hunt for many things: gold, Red October, wascally wabbits . . . but what sort of man does it take to hunt for two adorable children and their cash-filled doll? I’ll tell you what kind: Robert Mitchum’s Preacher in “Night of the Hunter” and here’s hoping there aren’t a lot of his kind of man out there. Brrr. Regardless of what you might think of the movie overall, Mitchum’s performance is remarkable in its intensity and stress-inducement. So join me and Mike as we HUNT for the overall quality of this final film noir in our series (see what I did there? Of course you do. I don’t even know why I bothered to ask. I’m just so tired . . . when I try to sleep, I keep seeing Robert Mitchum standing over my bed, holding a stick of Mitchum deodorant . . . I think I need help).

By the way, to satisfy your burning need to know, “Walk the Dark Street” is the title of a stunningly bad “thriller” starring Chuck “The Rifleman” Connors that sort of tries to be an urban “The Most Dangerous Game.” We watched it; you don’t have to.

Poll question: who or what is the scariest movie character you’ve encountered?

Episode 267 – The Thin Man (1934)

Great googly-moogly, we’re at the penultimate “Walk the Dark Street” episode and what do we have? A muurrrrrrrderrrr. Murder most foul! Missing persons! Terrible deaths! Conniving relatives! What can possibly solve this confounding conundrum? The one thing that always helps: booze! Yes, booze, and lots of it! Booze makes you charming and enhances your deductive faculties! Booze makes everyone in New York, from cops to crooks, like you and find you delightful! Booze makes your terrier obedient and lets you ignore bullet wounds! Booze! [Disclaimer: all prior effects of booze are only applicable if you are William Powell or Myrna Loy and only in the 1930’s and 40’s. All the many negative medical effects of booze apply in all other cases. Not available in all states (sorry, Tennessee!). Only apply booze if you only take taxis, have your own chauffer, or your own private railway car]. Yes, join us for the first in the very successful alcohol-soaked “Thin Man” movie series. Drink deep of the only one of these many films actually based on a Dashiell Hammet novel. Chug this very early example of film noir (or is it?)! Come and knock back a few with Max, Mike, and Bumpy the Wonder Terrier (I’m working on a trade-in).

Poll question: what is your favorite laugh-out-loud comedy?

Episode 266 – Le Samourai (1967)

Ah, oui . . . the way of le Samourai. Surely there is nothing more French than le code of le Bushido, non? For was it not Jean-Paul Sartre who said “Existence precedes and rules essence, and so I must cut my belly open.” How often have we thrilled to the exploits of that master of le dai-sho, Marcel Marceau, who slaughtered his enemies with his merciless blades while never speaking a word. Also while smoking. Of course, you silly Americans must think this strange, in your ignorance, assuming that le Samourai is a Japanese cultural creation. C’est l’absurd! Now, enjoy some fine sake from the rice paddies of Bordeau.

No, this week’s entry in “Walk the Dark Street” may not fit the traditional notion of a samurai film but, well, it sure as heck seems to fit the notion of film noir. I mean, it sure as le heck . . . ok, I can’t keep this going. Anyway, this film appears on many lists as an excellent example of film noir, even if film noir is pure ‘MURICA! . . . despite the fact that the term is French but never mind! Join your amis Maxamillion et Michel as we see if we agree with all of these folks who think this film is le bee’s knees. Alons-y!

Poll question: who is your favorite non-American actor?

Episode 265 – Tokyo Drifter (1966)

Kon’nichiwa, minasan, Makkusu, Maiku, eiga, soshite watashitachi no sirīzu `u~ōku za dāku sutorīto’ e yōkoso. Ok, that was supposed to say “Hello, folks, welcome to Max, Mike, Movies and our series, Walk the Dark Street.” However, apparently what it actually says is: “Hello, everyone. Welcome to Max, Mike, the film, and this series, Walking on Dark Paths.” At least, that’s how I hope it translates. If it’s something worse, I deeply apologize and it’s Mike’s fault. I kind of like the name Makkusu, though . . . And why are we butchering the language of the Land of the Rising Sun? Because that’s the origin point of this week’s film, “Tokyo Drifter.” The “Tokyo” part is kind of a giveaway. This is a groovy, swinging scene from the heart of the 1960’s, which proves the 60’s were the 60’s, no matter what part of the world you were in. But how well does this Japanese New Wave film handle the genre of film noir? Slip into your best powder-blue suit, tune up your harmonica, and join your bros/pals Makkusu and Maiku to find out.

Poll question: what is your favorite example of one country successfully making a movie in a genre associated with a different country? An American samurai movie? An Italian cowboy movie? A Russo-Finnish Sinbad movie?

Episode 264 – Dark City (1998)

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to today’s tour of Dark City, brought to you by Max, Mike; Movies, the podcast for your busy Dark City life, and their latest flavor . . . sorry, series, “Walk the Dark Street.” And how appropriate is that, folks, because all our streets are dark! Here. Because it’s Dark City . . . tough crowd. So, on your left, there’s a fine example of our city’s neo-classical architecture in the famous Sutherland Building, but you can’t see it . . . because it’s dark. Right now we’re going over the picturesque Connelly bridge which spans Sewell river but you can’t see either of those things . . . because it’s dark. Seriously, why does anyone shell out money for these tours? It’s dark here; that’s our whole thing! It’s in the name of city, for gosh sakes! No! Get off me! They have to know that these tours are a fraud! A fraud, I tell you!

But our podcast is not a fraud and is certainly not created by bizarre aliens wearing human forms, attempting to understand what is to be truly hu-man. What a silly idea. Or is it? This 1998 film is another non-standard choice as an example of film noir, as it’s science fiction (or fantasy, really; the science doesn’t bear a lot of scrutiny) and deals with the nature of the self and raises the question: are we nothing more than the sum of our memories? Whoa, deep! Does it work? Does the science fiction element help or hinder? And does this film belong in our Catalog of Noir? Give a listen to Mr. Max and Mr. Mike and find out!

Poll question:Is there still room for film noir in today’s cinema? Or has it all been said before? Is it still relevant?