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.)
In honor of our two-year anniversary, this week we take on 1993’s artificial insemination comedy MADE IN AMERICA, another cinematic classic from Richard Benjamin, director of past episode highlights MARCI X and MILK MONEY. Whoopi Goldberg stars as a single mother who learns 18 years after the fact that–horror of horrors–her sperm donor was obnoxious white car salesman Ted Danson! And she may be falling in love with him! Let’s just say this is not a Spike Lee-level look at race relations in mid-90’s America, although Will Smith is around to to perpetuate offensive gay stereotypes. So just how bad is this movie? Wait until you hear co-host Luke’s rating, a first for our podcast. His hatred for the Benjamin is strong.
On this week’s episode, we tackle 1990’s superhero goof DARKMAN, directed by Mr. Evil Dead himself, Sam Raimi. Liam Neeson stars a brilliant scientist/liquid skin inventor who gets blowed up real good and becomes the disfigured vigilante known as Darkman, who will stop at nothing to thwart an evil real estate developer. Yes, that is indeed the plot of this film, which took five people to write. Think of it like BATMAN meets BREAKIN’, but with way more gore. It’s hard to hate any movie, though, whose plot hinges on something called The Belisarius Memorandum, which is only the fifth most ridiculous thing in this flick. We’ll have what Raimi is smoking, thanks.
To celebrate our 75th episode, we are going all the way back to 1937 to take on the classic domestic drama MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW, directed by Leo McCarey. When a pair of aging parents are forced to separate due to financial issues, they discover that their children are literally the worst people on the planet, and that the divide between generations may be impossible to bridge. How this film inspires an in-depth conversation about both the true definition of art appreciation as well as the origins of road head is beyond us, but that is pretty much par for the course for us here. Look, we’re not proud.
This week, the Big Top spells big trouble as we take on 1988’s beloved cult classic KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE, directed by Stephen Chiodo. What happens when an alien race that resembles clowns invades a sleepy college town? Mayhem, kidnappings, decapitations and murder, of course! So does this film still hold up 30 years later? Or has time only strengthened our love for a film where a man is murdered with acid-filled cream pies? Not to tip our hats, but simply typing that sentence filled us with unbridled joy. Bring on the popcorn guns!