We are back! 2021 is a new year, and after taking a break due to Covid, we are ready to talk weird summer movies once more! This month, we are looking back at the very strange summer movie season of 2020 and kicking things off by tackling Christopher Nolan’s TENET. Yes, this movie is indeed confusing as hell, but is it any good? We attempt to get to the bottom of it all, leaving no inverted bullet unturned. We are still no closer to understanding anything. Thanks, Nolan.
This week, as the world goes to Hell in a handbasket, we return to a simpler time to tackle a guy who doesn’t seem all that bad nowadays: 1989’s FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN, directed by Rob Hedden. Jason is back, and this time, he’s headed to the Big Apple–although it takes him 65 friggin’ minutes to get there, and he spends all of 45 seconds in Times Square. Mostly he’s on a cruise ship/oil rig carving up bland teenagers, one of whom has visions of him as a child, and honestly, none of it makes sense. This is simultaneously the most ambitious and pretentious entry in the series, which are two words we never thought we would associate with Jason Voorhees, although a dude does get his head punched off at one point, which is pretty cool.
Apparently we have become the Neveldine/Taylor podcast, as this week, we take on yet another entry in their storied filmography, 2009’s futuristic sci-fi action flick GAMER. A natural extension of a brand that prides itself on video game aesthetics, we now have a film in which video games have literally come to life, with wealthy gamers controlling lower-class “actors” to enact their deepest desires, namely violence and sex. Gerard Butler works himself into the proceedings, as does a shockingly buff Michael C. Hall, but what proves most surprising is how preachy and didactic everything is here. What happened to the offensive dude bros we know and love?
This week, check out our annual Oscar predictions episode, in which we try to help you win those 2020 office pools. We’ve got you covered on all of the major categories, with thoughts on not only what will win, but also what should win. And if history has taught us anything, you should probably listen to Luke–just don’t tell him we said that; his head is already too big.
Sequel month continues here at SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER!?! as we tackle 2009’s absolutely deranged action-comedy CRANK 2: HIGH VOLTAGE, directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. Jason Statham is back, and as the tagline helpfully explains, “He was dead…but he got better.” This time, some bad guys have stolen his strawberry tart–that’s heart to you neanderthals–and his artificial one is low on power, meaning he has to keep electrocuting himself to stay alive. And then Bai Ling shows up and scares everyone. Look, we admit that this film is about as politically incorrect as they come, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t an absolute blast. It even inspires a thoughtful discussion on Statham’s…uh…brown eye. Yeah, this movie had a terrible influence on us, our apologies in advance.
It’s sequel month here on SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER!?!, where we tackle sequels to films previously covered on this podcast. This week, we’re taking on 1995’s EXCESSIVE FORCE II: FORCE ON FORCE, directed by Jonathan Winfrey. We will just let the following IMDb synopsis do the heavy lifting for us: “Stacie Randall plays Harley, a Special Forces agent-turned-investigator, who arrives on the scene of an apparent mob hit to help the local police. In actuality, she’s hunting down Francis Lydell, her former C.O. and lover, who shot her in the head when she turned down his offer to become part of the freelance assassination squad he was forming. Ignoring the need for surgery to remove the bullet fragment which still causes her to have occasional bouts of disorientation, she continues her quest to bring down Lydell before he has the chance to kill a Mafia informant being held at the police station.” So, yeah, it’s glorious.
This week, celebrate the joys of both Christmas and New Year’s as we take on 1983’s TRADING PLACES, directed by John Landis and starring Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd. We take a deep dive into what is considered by many to be a comedy classic. How does it play in 2019 to two guys watching it for the very first time? We discuss everything from its racial politics to its portrayal of women to whether it not it actually made us laugh. We may be in the minority on this one.
On this week’s episode, we attempt to get into the Christmas spirit by taking on 1942’s HOLIDAY INN, directed by Mark Sandrich and starring Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby. Despite featuring Irving Berlin’s classic tune White Christmas, it turns out that this film tackles all of the major holidays, from Easter to Thanksgiving to…Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, of which the less said, the better. But it certainly inspires a myriad of conversations, including couch surfing, hotel cleanliness, propaganda, censorship, 13 REASONS WHY and, uh, blackface, which plays a bigger role in this film than one could ever imagine. Yes, Christmas is in the air!
Just in time for Thanksgiving, we have the ultimate turkey for our listeners: 1985’s GYMKATA, directed by Robert Clouse. Olympic gymnast Kurt Thomas stars as an elite athlete recruited by the U.S. government to participate in a top secret competition where the winner will be awarded a major advantage in the Cold War. Or something. Honestly, nothing in this film makes a lick of sense, including the titular fighting style, which is described as, “The skill of gymnastics, the kill of karate.” But it sure is a lot of fun, especially if you’ve had a couple of brewskis. Warning: the word ‘taint’ is repeated an abnormally large number of times in this episode. We apologize.
This week, SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER!?! gets into the holiday spirit as we take on 2005’s Thanksgiving-set revenge tale FOUR BROTHERS, directed by John Singleton. Mark Wahlberg, Tyrese Gibson, Andre Benjamin, and Garrett Hedlund star as foster brothers who return home to Detroit to bury their mother, who was gunned down execution-style in a robbery gone wrong. They will stop at nothing to find the killers, including elder abuse, animal abuse, child abuse…really, any and all forms of abuse. Did we mention this film is also incredibly misogynistic and homophobic? Yep, get ready for an overload of the festive warm and fuzzies!