May 26

Over the Top, 1987

Hey there and welcome back to another all new edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This go around J. Blake and Dion Baia have a nifty ‘cast lined up, covering a movie that was a staple back in the late 80s but also one that might not always be praised for the reasons it should. The boys are exercising their arms this week, because they’re talking the sport of arm wrestling and the film many think brought it to the masses, Sylvester Stallone‘s classic Over the Top, from 1987.

Over the Top

The boys ease into the podcast by discussing the complexities of Metal Earth model kits, then get right down to business and all things arm wrestling, first by examining the wide-ranging breadth of the sports genre, before getting into the nuts and bolts of Over the Top. Dion and Blake go through the incredible backstory and genius of Cannon films, who in 1986, actually created a year-long circuit and series of event ‘qualifiers’ in cities all over the world, so that they could then have a final eighteen hour-long tournament in Las Vegas that they could film for the 1987 movie. Blake and Dion show their true colors as they gush over this picture and readily admit while other podcasts and forums might immediately disparage Over the Top, the lads pull no punches when showing this movie (in their opinion) some deserved love. They go through the film’s storyline, the father/son dynamic, and discuss the custody battle between Sly and his father-in-law, the legendary Robert Loggia, and also praise Stallone for some real subtle, nuanced acting that seems to channel a bit of Rocky in this performance. They also chat about the great 80’s soundtrack and the other stroke of brillance upon Cannon‘s part, the merchandising: the Lewco Toyline that had all the children in 1987 arm wrestling, and the money they pumped into local circuits to get people interested in the sport, so the public would be hyped when the movie premiered in 1987. So Over the Top has often been critized because of the heavy emphasis on product placement, *but* was it actually genius on Cannon‘s part? How important was the soundtrack to the film? What did Sylvester Stallone say he’d change had he directed? What insider knowledge do the boys have on the world of trucking and particularly the rig used in this film? And what’s Dion‘s Sylvester Stallone story? Well put on all those baseball caps and make sure they’re turned to the back, because here come’s another explosive and exciting episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!


For an in-depth read into what Dion and Blake discussed in the cast regarding the history behind the actual tournament that was coordinated and then filmed for Over the Top, have a read of this fascinating blog posting from Armwrestlers ONLY.

Check out the first Qualifier from August 25, 1985 in Beverly Hills, between John Brzenk and Clay Rosencrans, courtesy of Lori Cole‘s YouTube page!

Take a look at this amazing Arm Wrestling Exposition on MTV from the 90’s with Dan Cortese, featuring Sylvester Stallone, Danny Glover, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Evander Hollyfield, Jim Belushi and Melanie Griffith, courtesy of World of Arm Wrestling Channel on YouTube, and property of MTV.

Here are EXCLUSIVE PICTURES of the 1967 Autocar A64, Stallone’s truck in Over the Top, as it looks today: HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and in this last picture, you can still see the device setup on the cab’s roof for Stallone to work his arm while in the truck, HERE.

Here’s Dion with Sylvester Stallone, circa 2005.

Check out Blake with his Over the Top hat!

Here’s the Sammy Hager Winner Takes It All Music Video, with a Rick Zumwalt and Sylvester Stallone cameo!

Take a look at the 2009 documentary Pulling John, about the legendary arm wrestler John Brzenk, the man Stallone based his character in Over the Top on.

Whoa, Robert Loggia!” Here is the commercial circa 1999 maybe, talking Minute Maid Orange Juice

May 12

The Fifth Element, 1997

Hello and welcome to another all new, exciting edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This go around Dion Baia and J. Blake are celebrating the 20th anniversary of a Sci-Fi film that is held in a very high regard by many and conversely disliked by many others- so much so that upon it’s release it was hailed as both the best and worst summer blockbuster of all time! Wow, how polarizing! But the fellas are talking a SNMS audience favorite this week with Luc Besson‘s iconic film The Fifth Element, from 1997.

The Fifth Element

After briefly chatting about epic hair pieces and martial-art movies, Blake and Dion get down to business and reminisce about the summer of 1997 when this film was released and all the other movies they remember that were out that season. The boys both relate their experiences of seeing The Fifth Element in the theater, and discuss director Luc Besson‘s catalog, particularly his 2008 classic Taken, and their mutual love for the director’s film prior to this one, Léon: The Professional. They go into the background in the creation of Fifth Element‘s story, and the journey Besson went on getting this to the screen. They look at the gorgeous futuristic world that was created by French artists Jean-Claude Mézières and Jean (Moebius) Giraud, and the subsequential lawsuit that was filed against Besson after the film’s release. Dion and Blake gush over their mutual love for Bruce Willis and Gary Oldman, and attempt to contrast this movie against other futuristic, Future Noir, Sci-Fi properties that are comparable to this one. They speculate on Chris Tucker‘s potential real-life influences on his Ruby Rhod character, and also note Besson‘s reoccuring theme of older men helping younger women (or even young girls as in The Professional ) and how it oddly, in his case, mimics the director’s real life to an extent. So does the pairing of CGI, miniature and Practical Effects hold up, and because of their pairing, actually help the longevity? Why is this film so darn polarizing to fans and critics to begin with? And did John Carpenter actually successfully sue Luc Besson? Well grab your Multi Passes, your Zorg Industries ZF-1 Pod Weapons Systems, and make sure you’re blocking any incoming calls from Mr. Shadow, because we’re all going to the 23rd Century this week and an all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!


Here’s China Pop Diva Jane Chang doing the impossible, singing live the Diva Dance.

Take a look at Milla Jovovich’s screen test for The Fifth Element.

Have a gander at Milla Jovovich’s costume tests for Leeloo.

Check out Milla Jovovich talking about being 19 and being cast in The Fifth Element.

Take a look at Chris Tucker talking about playing Ruby Rhod.

Here’s some great behind the scenes footage of The Fifth Element.

Have a look at the official 1997 Cannes Press Conference with the cast and crew.

Now take a look at the MTV hosted Cannes Afterparty for The Fifth Element.