Episode 37: Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)

Welcome back, Pointers! This week’s “Guilty Pleasure” is one of mine: the John Cusack (and most of his family) vehicle “Grosse Point Blank,” a movie about a charming professional assassin attending his 10th high school reunion.
Yeah, I know.
I do recognize this movie as seriously flawed: plot holes, odd improvised dialogue, a tone that shifts so wildly and suddenly you might end up with whiplash but the characters are a lot of fun, the cast is very cool and the music is pure 80’s (in a good way. No, really).  It’s just . . . odd.  And really, are we supposed to be rooting for a murderer-for-hire to reconcile with his high-school sweetheart and find love? Really?
But where else will you find a movie with Alan Arkin, Dan Ackroyd and kick-boxing legend Benny “The Jet” Urquidez in it? Seriously, where? Give a listen, maybe we’ll tell you (spoiler: we won’t).

Episode 36: The Ninth Gate (1999)

And we’re back, with another in our series of “Guilty Pleasures,” movies that we know we shouldn’t enjoy but dang it, we just can’t help ourselves.  This week is Mike’s choice and this one is less a guilty pleasure because of its quality but rather because of . . . well, who’s involved in it.  “The Ninth Gate” is an intriguing possibly-paranormal thriller involving rare books, ancient codes, and a Satanic cult.  Where’s the guilt? Well, it stars Johnny Depp, who as we’ve seen in recent years is not one of humanity’s best and its directed by the brilliant director, if absolutely lousy human being, {shudder} Roman Polanski.  In this episode, we hearken back to the beginning and our difficulties with movies that are created in part by some wretched example of our species and whether we should even watch such things. Is this movie worth the discomfort it provokes? Give a little listen.

Episode 35: Strange Magic (2015)

Once again, we take a dive into the deepest darkest depths of darkness and depth . . . of midnight . . . of the soul.  Yes, that’s where I was going with this.  Welcome back to our series “Guilty Pleasures,” where each week one of us chooses a movie that we enjoy, even though there is absolutely no good reason that we do.  Really, no good reason at all.  Seriously.  We can offer no excuses.  These are movies that we get a kick out of even though it makes each of us a Mr. Wrongy Von Wrongerson of the House of Wrong.  This week’s particular bit of wrongosity is the 2015 animated musical feature by . . .  wait, that can’t be right.  George Lucas? Seriously? George Lucas woke up one morning and thought to himself “Y’know, I gave the world Jedis and robots and fish-headed aliens.  You know what the logical follow-up to that is? Yes! Animated fairies and goblins dancing and singing pop songs.  Everyone will love it, just like they loved Jar-Jar! I’m a super-smarty creative genius!”  The only thing dopier than the movie itself is the fact that I actually think it’s fun.  Clearly I need professional help. Give a listen and maybe you can suggest a nice anti-psychotic I could take.

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!