This week, SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER!?! reveals their softer side as we take on 2003’s romantic comedy DOWN WITH LOVE, directed by Peyton Reed. An homage to the screwball comedies of yesteryear, Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor show off their flair for both verbal and physical comedy, which inspires both of our co-hosts to go into complete film nerd mode. Seriously, the degree to which Luke geeks out is borderline unsettling, although the biggest argument erupts over whether or not Mr. McGregor possesses that ever-elusive “edge.” Things get ugly.
This week, we head to the movie theater to check out the latest divisive thriller from Ari Aster, 2019’s MIDSOMMAR. The writer-director of HEREDITARY returns with more artsy horror, as a group of grad students heads to a small Swedish village for its annual mid-summer festival and discovers all sorts of bizarre and violent shenanigans. Grief, feminism, toxic masculinity, dance competitions, inbred oracles–all are present and accounted for, although whether they cohere into something substantial is certainly up for debate. The discussion gets heated. WARNING! THIS EPISODE CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS FOR MIDSOMMAR!!
Christian Bale Month comes to an end this week here on SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER!?!, so we decided to go out with a roar as we take on 2002’s dragon epic REIGN OF FIRE, directed by Rob Bowman. Bale and Matthew McConaughey butt heads as two alpha males desperately trying to survive in a dragon-ravaged England. How the dragons got there, or if they’ve always existed, or just their entire damn history–no one involved in this production could even be bothered to address these most basic questions, resulting in a frustrating viewing experience. Needed more swing dancing Nazis, that’s all we’re saying.
This week, Christian Bale Month continues as we tackle 1993’s WWII-era tale SWING KIDS, directed by Thomas Carter. In 1939 Berlin, Bale and Robert Sean Leonard play best friends who rebel against the Nazi uprising the only way they know how: by swing dancing! And while we would like to report that this film is as bonkers as that synopsis might imply, it actually plays more like a semi-interesting Wikipedia footnote brutally stretched to feature length–although it’s hard to fully hate any movie that repeatedly features the phrase, “Swing Heil!” Yeah, you read that correctly.
Christian Bale Month continues this week as we’re talkin’ about 2000’s SHAFT, directed by John Singleton–you damn right! Samuel L. Jackson stars as the titular hero, a smooth-talking police detective who delivers his own special brand of justice when an overprivileged and racist trust fund baby (Bale) commits a hate crime on the streets of New York City. The only thing he can’t defeat, though, is a script that crosses the blaxploitation elements of the ’70’s original with what basically amounts to a Very Special Episode of Law & Order. But we sure do love Jeffrey Wright in this movie. Somebody give the man an Oscar!
June is Bale Month here at SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER!?!, where we tackle a few of the films of the talented–and temperamental–Christian Bale. First up is 1992’s NEWSIES, directed by Kenny Ortega, the heart-warming Disney musical about the 1899 Newsboys’ Strike in New York City. Nothing screams ‘uplift’ quite like watching a group of orphans sing and dance about child labor laws and unionization, although an even more impressive feat of tap dancing is listening to co-host Luke defend this trainwreck. His love of this film knows no bounds, and frankly, it frightens us. Not as much as Bale’s ‘Santa Fe’ number here, but a close second.
This week, class warfare becomes quite literal in 1986’s forgotten teen thriller DANGEROUSLY CLOSE, directed by cult filmmaker Albert Pyun. When a group of wealthy, overprivileged teens take it upon themselves to rid their high school of its “undesirables”–i.e. the poor and/or racially diverse–one lone student will stand up and fight for what’s right, all while a really impressive soundtrack of ’80s pop hits plays in the background. That this film is even more relevant today than 30 years ago says a lot about the current world we live in, although to be completely honest, it’s not always entirely clear what the hell is going on in this movie due to sheer filmmaking ineptitude, courtesy of our old pals at Cannon Films. But it sure is a hell of a ride!
On this week’s episode, Jim Carrey plays a dangerous–but hilarious?–sociopath who can’t get enough of that sexy Matthew Broderick in 1996’s dark comedy THE CABLE GUY, directed by Ben Stiller. When a film is both this thematically messy and tonally unbalanced, the possibilities for discussion are endless. So it goes without saying that this episode is filled with the thoughtful commentary you’ve come to expect from this podcast, with deep dives into topics as varied as hair plugs to nipples to dental implants. Oh, and Jim Carrey impressions. So. Many. Impressions. You’re welcome.
This week, Mike Myers tries his hardest to capture that old Austin Powers magic–and fails spectacularly–in 2008’s infamous THE LOVE GURU, directed by Marco Schnabel. Myers plays Guru Pitka, a self-help master who is brought in by the Toronto Maple Leafs to help their star player regain his mojo. But instead of enlightenment, what the viewer finds is juvenile jokes, offensive stereotypes, and a completely laugh-free 85 minutes. This is truly one of the most repugnant comedies ever made, which may be why we find it difficult to focus on anything except Justin Timberlake’s schlong and Jessica Alba’s questionable comedic chops. But it sure is fun to discuss.
In honor of Mother’s Day, this week we take on 1992’s infamous sci-fi sequel ALIEN 3, the debut feature of director David Fincher. Ripley is back, and she’s got a bun in the oven! Only problem is that it’s a bloodthirsty, acid-spewing monster. So, you know, basically your average child. And what Mom can’t relate to a tough-as-nails Sigourney Weaver in full ass-kicking mode? Sure, the film itself may be a bit of a “dumpster fire,” a label lovingly given by co-host Luke, but hey, it’s all a metaphor! (Trust us, you’ll get that joke once you’ve listened.)