April 28

Reservoir Dogs, 1992

Welcome back to another all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week J. Blake and Dion Baia go back to their film school roots and discuss a movie that literally changed their lives back in the 1990s. This is a very special installment of the podcast for them, as they chat about the #1 voted Independent movie of all time, Quentin Tarantino‘s classic Reservoir Dogs, from 1992.

As stated above, this is a very significant film for Dion and Blake– a walk down memory lane and a nostalgic talk, that in many ways is very different to the other casts they’ve done up until now. Almost becoming a ‘comic-book origins’ edition, the lads have an extensive talk about their formative years, their meeting, and the influences Tarantino‘s work had on them as teenagers; which led them to want to go to film school and make movies at a time when the Independent boom was in full swing within Hollywood. The boys discuss at length what it was like to be in film school in that era and the influence an auteur like Quentin Tarantino had on them and others, attempting to give a context, while lovingly looking back at their shared tastes of then versus now. All this weaves into talking about this highly influential director, his particular style, and this work, Reservoir Dogs. Blake and Dion chat about the origins of this script, and how it quickly went from being a very low budget, black and white movie and quickly blossoming into the iconic film we know today. They discuss the awesome cast and the potential “what-if’s?” that were in play, as well as reactions the film had once released. They also attempt to analyze the violence and gore within the movie and within one scene in particular, which may seem tame today but caused quite a stir when it originally came out. So what other heist films does this film pay homage, or ‘borrow’ from? How important was the casting in this film? How influential was this film, not only to the SNMS boys but to cinema fans, the industry and that entire decade overall? How key is the soundtrack to this and other Tarantino films? And what the heck is up with the director’s obsession with the N-word? Well buckle yourself in, because the boys are taking on a seminal work in one of the most unique installments of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers to date!

Extras:

Please check out our good friend and film school buddy Mike Maronna’s Podcast he cohosts, The Adventures of Danny and Mike!

Check out Quentin Tarantino, in his own word, discussing Reservoir Dogs!

Have a look at ALL the supplemental material from the 10th Anniversary Edition of Reservoir Dogs!

Take a look at this trailer for the brand-new upcoming video game called Reservoir Dogs: Blood Days!

Here’s The Simpsons’ take on Reservoir Dogs!

January 6

John Carpenter’s Escape From New York, 1981

Happy New Year and welcome to the 2017 season opener of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! J. Blake and Dion Baia decided to start the year off with a bang, tackling a cult classic that mash’s genres and became a forerunner for a decade or more for Future Noir / Sci-Fi films alike; forecasting a bleak future for the 1980s and beyond with its commentary on society. The boys are taking a trip to the Manhattan Island Maximum-Security Prison in futuristic 1997, in John Carpenter‘s classic, Escape From New York, from 1981.

Escape From NY

Having already designated director John Carpenter the ‘patron saint’ of SNMS, Dion and Blake mince no words when singing the filmmaker’s praises for his body of work in this era. After briefly lamenting about the format change MTV went through years ago, seguing from music video to reality show, the boys get right into the nuts and bolts of the film–laying out the historical context for when the script was first written and then the climate later, circa 1980, when it was eventually put to screen. Another resource the boys like to utilize while discussing a film is the movie tie-in novelization, to fill in the blanks to any exposition left out. Here they discuss, in detail, the immense backstory that is spelled out in the Mike McQuay book adaptation, giving us sizable background on the iconic character Snake Plissken (played brilliantly by Kurt Russell) and Police Commander Bob Hauk (played by the legendary Lee Van Cleef), as well as the third World War waged and the events that led up to the actual decision as to why that society ultimately turned the island of Manhattan into a Super Max Prison. They go through the various stories of how the amazing cast of supporting actors was assembled to fill out the other roles within the film, to help ground this fantastic tale with a firm foot in reality. They also explain the creative process John Carpenter goes through as a composer, using this film as example and his first-time collaboration with composer Alan Howarth. So what troubles lay ahead because of the shoestring budget? What corners (if any) had to be cut in order to get this movie finished? What city was this film actually shot in? What other established actors were considered for the lead role? And what up-and-coming director worked on the Special Effects Unit of this film; who would later go on to create some groundbreaking Sci-Fi films in his own right? Well grab your MAC-10 machine guns and molotov cocktails, your injections of micro-explosives that will, in 22 hours, rupture your carotid arteries and buckle yourself in, because we’re flying the Gullfire over Leningrad in this all new 2017 edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

Extras!

Take a look at the alternate opening of the film, a bank robbery scene that Carpenter ended up cutting and then was thought to have been lost forever.

Check out this great interview with director John Carpenter about Escape From New York.

Have a look at the official 2016 John Carpenter music video for Escape From New York.

Here is demo footage of the never-released Namco Video Game, Escape From New York.

Lastly, have a listen to Episode One of Broken Sea Audio Productionsaudio drama of Escape From New York.

November 11

Batman: The Animated Series; Heart of Ice and Feat of Clay , 1992

Welcome once again to another all new installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! They boys were up really, really late the other night looking through their collection of old VHS tapes, deep down in the SNMS archive, and came across something that made them stop in their tracks. J. Blake and Dion Baia decided to call an audible, taking a left turn with the podcast to break new ground and cover a subject to that helped shape their preteen years- something they both consider not only one of the best animated series of all time but one of the best television shows of all time, Batman: The Animated Series, which debuted September 5, 1992.

Batman: The Animated Series

The boys realize that a task like this would produce a truly epic podcast, so for their purposes here they’ve picked two stories that are not only some of their favorites episodes, but also exemplify the ‘lightning in a bottle’ that was captured when this show came together, entitled Heart of Ice and Feat of Clay, Parts 1 & 2. Dion and Blake start off by remembering back in the day when kids would hang out with other kids just to play with those kid’s toys, and also Blake‘s recent trip to England and what he did on Halloween day, over across the pond. Then they get into Batman and set up the various factors brought together to bring to the small screen not only a unique take on the Dark Knight character, but also how this union of the minds brought us one of the most unique cartoons in animation history. They discuss the influences as well as the tone of the show, and particularly in these two episodes, the fact that even though these were installments in a children’s cartoon show, we have two stories that end up setting the bar, changing and even inventing some of the cannon for the entire franchise as it moves forward. So, how about the amazing performances given not only in these two stories, but throughout the entire series by the legendary actors brought in to voice the various characters in the show? Why does the animation in Heart of Ice and Feat of Clay in particular stand out from the rest of the series? How do these episodes showcase what is to come in this groundbreaking series? Well these are just some of the topics the fellas get through on this all new, and fun edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS:

As discussed in this episode, take a look that this rare and completely awesome limited-run vinyl record box set of the score to some of the best installments of Batman:The Animated Series, courtesy of Mondo.

Take a look some of the artwork from the box set saluting some of the various episodes, like Heart of Ice, and the Clayface episode Mudslide.

And since we’re here, have a look at another sweet Clayface art for Feat of Clay, Part 2.

Check out this re-envisioning of the iconic opening of the series, all done here with Legos!

September 23

The Rocketeer, 1991

Hello everyone, welcome back to another exciting and enthralling edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week J. Blake and Dion Baia are celebrating an epic milestone with an epic podcast! It’s SNMS’ two year anniversary and the boys have picked a film near and dear to their hearts, one that has gained a sizable cult following over the 25 years since it’s original release. This week they take on the classic action/adventure, The Rocketeer, from 1991.

The Rocketeer

Dion and Blake kick off the podcast with a pseudo-State of the Union, reflecting on the past year. They chat about the movies they’ve covered, the growing community of listeners and those who also frequent their Facebook page, and how humbling it has been for them. Then they seque into this epic anniversary cast, and setup the backstory of the Rocketeer. They discuss the creator Dave Stevens‘ journey getting character from comic to screen, and Disney‘s eventual involvement and the sparring that occurred between him and the company (aka the then Chairman and CEO Michael Eisner) over keeping the property as pure as possible with the transition to screen. The boys again explain the era of the 1980’s and how hard it really was to get a comic book movie done, let alone a character from an independent publisher. They also chat about the era the movie is set within, the pre-war 1930’s and the beautiful art movement that permeated almost every medium, Art DecoBlake and Dion also discuss the genius of creator Dave Stevens, and all the ‘historical fiction’ he injected into his original content. The guys go through the various details of the historical and famous figures involved in the material, leading them to another topic they have been waiting almost two years to talk about, and one of the things that they love about this film, the homage to the great B-movie actor Rondo Hatton. They explain his history, the illness that affected his physical appearance and how by the help of Rick Baker, Rondo was able to make a posthumous appearance in one more Hollywood film, albeit 49 years later (if you don’t count Scooby-Doo!). Well there’s a lot to unpack on this week’s episode and it’s admittedly a long one, but the boys have a lot to celebrate about: a fabulous film that the fans love, and lament about a growing audience that really blows the boy’s minds. So please come on down and have a listen to another hilarious, informative and engaging episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

*Dion accidently named the Chicago-era gangster Hymie Weiss, when intending to instead reference Murder Inc. co-founder Meyer Lansky.

*Dion also accidently named the classic  1942 Humphrey Bogart film Across the Pacific, when he was actually referring to the 1941 great and little known Bogart film, All Through the Night.

EXTRAS:

Quickly mentioned in the podcast but completely forgotten to be brought up again before the conclusion and ripped from the headlines, check out this news story about a modern ‘Rocket man‘, that shows fiction becoming reality!

Take a look at this rarely seen 1991 television special entitled, Rocketeer: Excitement in the Air that aired to coincide with the theatrical release of The Rocketeer and help promote it. 

Check out the this now ended Rick Baker auction on PropStoreAuction.com for what they were selling from The Rocketeer concerning the Lothar makeup appliances, AND other items from the film, including one of the original Rocketeer helmets!

Have a read about the great Industrial Designer Henry Dreyfuss profiled by SNMS’ own Dion Baia for his old podcast site, Podwits.com!

Here’s actor Rondo Hatton’s 1913 High School senior yearbook photo circa 1913, before he was severely afflicted with acromegaly.

Take a look at the fabulous painting of Rondo Hatton by the legendary illustrator Basil Gogos, who was known for his covers for Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine

Check out this amazing animated fan film, celebrating the 20th anniversary of The Rocketeer‘s release!

And Please check out the fabulous 2010 book mentioned in the cast, Over Here!: New York During World War II!

August 26

Falling Down, 1993

Dion Baia and J. Blake are back for another must-listen to edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! The dog days of summer are wrapping up for the boys in the mean streets of the asphalt jungle, and they had the perfect film to cover at the end of August. This week they take on an urban classic, something near and dear to a generation of film goers, Joel Schumacher‘s Falling Down, starring Michael Douglas as William D-Fens Foster, from 1993.

Falling Down

Truly a poster child film for the frustrated 9-5 worker who is fed up with their job and maybe the system in general, Blake and Dion figured this would be a great movie to wrap up this hot and steamy summer season. They get right into it and chat about how the film almost became a TV movie because of Hollywood’s passing on the script due to the controversial content. They also frame the historical context of the era it was released within, hitting on the recent recession at the time, as well as the LA riots that occurred in the Spring of 1992 (while the film was being shot). They discuss the amazing choice of casting, the fantastic Michael Douglas and once again discuss the importance of the likeability of an actor playing a role, for the audience to be on board and like that character. Dion and Blake chat about the D-Feds character and if he’s actually the protagonist or perhaps the antagonist. And they compare him to his foil in the film, Detective Prendergast, played by the legendary Robert Duvall and how they both cope with the stress of daily life. They also discuss how this story translates to today’s audience; not just by how Douglas’ character is perceived and the glorification of some of his actions, but also how modern audiences in today’s highly politically correct environment may even jump to conclusions without fully understanding the context of the era, not only of 1993, but cinema in general and the background of D-Fens as a character. Well it’s a rip-roaring blast for the lads in this fun and exciting, all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! #wolfmansnards

* The David Hasselhoff TV movie Dion periodically references, is in fact called Terror at London Bridge, from 1985.

EXTRAS:

Check out the original trailer for Falling Down.

Now here’s an interesting review circa 1993 by Siskel & Ebert.

For alittle extra reading, have a look at this pretty thought-provoking thread on Reddit, as fans analyze Falling Down.

Take a look at Michael Douglas from the mid 90’s discussing the film with Jimmy Carter.

Have a look at another interview from the era of Michael Douglas discussing his role as D-Feds in Falling Down.

And here’s Barbara Hershey talking about Falling Down.

Here’s a pretty cool mashup music video using Falling Down footage edited to the Iron Maiden song Man On The Edge, which was written as an homage to the original film.

 

August 19

SNMS Presents The Side Cast: An Evening with Jurgensen

Jurgensen and Sinatra

Due to the astounding popularity and success of our last series of interviews with retired NYPD Homicide Detective Randy Jurgensen that aired here last December in 2 parts, and because of the content of last week’s SNMS episode on the 1980 film Cruising, we decided to reissue our first groundbreaking interview which originally ran in February of 2012 on our now defunct sister site, The Podwits.com.

So the name Randy Jurgensen doesn’t sound familiar to you? Well, SNMS Side Castbelieve it or not you know him. The retired NYPD Homicide Detective and film icon has acted in and produced dozens of films, and has worked on some of New York City’s most famous cases. His book, Circle of Six, is his real-life tale of going against the system and practically the entire department brass in order to bring to justice the murderer of a fellow brother-in-blue, in what turned out to be one of the city’s most notorious cop killings. This passed April marked the 44th anniversary of the killing of Officer Phil Cardillo at Mosque #7 in Harlem, and the case that forever changed the seasoned detective as well as the fabric of the entire New York City Police Department. In this SNMS EXCLUSIVE, Randy sits down with Dion Baia and talks about his very colorful career as a homicide detective and his unlikely segue into the cinema. The NYPD veteran gives his opinion of the mindset of the police hierarchy that made it so hard to be a policeman in New York City in the 60’s and 70’s. He recounts his involvement in the Patsy Fuca case, Randy Jurgensenwhich became the 1971 film The French Connection. Perhaps for the first time, Jurgensen goes into detail of the sequence of events of the case he was assigned to, having to go underground into the gay leather-bar scene in the 1960s which eventually because the Al Pacino film Cruising. The Homicide Detective also discusses a crime scene that to this day still haunts him, and how he learned how to deal with ‘the job’. He then explains why it was so easy for him to make the gradual transition from detective to film consultant, actor and producer, examining his career in cinema. Mr. Jurgensen goes into his close friendship with legendary director William Friedkin, and actor Joe Spinell among others, and his memories working on films like The French Connection, The Godfather, Maniac, Cruising, Superman, and Sorcerer, among others. So what famous person was Jurgensen temporary pulled out from undercover to then go and arrest? What did his old childhood friend, legendary comedian George Carlin have to say about that notorious arrest? And what special message (through Dion) does actor Ed O’Neill have for Randy? Well come on and listen to a groundbreaking and highly educational episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers’ Side-Cast!

Here are Randy and Dion in 2012 after recording this interview.

Have look at Randy in Cruising, interrogating Al Pacino, as Paul Sorvino and Ed O’Neill look on. 

A young Ed O’Neill and Randy share a scene together in Cruising.

Gene Hackman in The French Connection, with Randy over his right shoulder.

August 12

Cruising, 1980

The boys are back, taking on a film that is legendary for it’s controversy, so much so that not only did it taint the actual production of the movie but also led to it being regarded as a ‘bomb’ at the box office, despite an entire cast and crew of A-list talent. Dion and Blake this week take a hard look at the Al Pacino classic, Cruising from 1980, by the auteur William Friedkin.

Cruising poster

Now the fellas are the first to admit that this wouldn’t top their list as the perfect nostalgic vehicle that a group of twelve or thirteen year old friends would knowingly rent (due to the subject matter) and watch at a sleepover back in the day, but they are also in agreement that Cruising has gotten a terribly raw deal ever since it’s first day of production. Blake and Dion start off by relating the facts of the real case that this film was partly based on, directly from the horse’s mouth so to speak, by chatting with their friend, former NYPD Detective turned actor, producer, stuntman and technical consultant Randy Jurgensen, who in real life was the one who actually went undercover into this world to solve a case, in an SNMS exclusive. They explain the backstory and the original book of the same name, and how it got into director William Friedkin‘s hands, eventually becoming a film he helmed. They lay-out the outcry that came from the gay community about the film and it’s subject matter, and the concerns behind that worry. Dion and Blake delve in and really dissect the plot, trying to flesh out all the twists and turns this noir thriller takes. So WHY was Cruising so controversial for Hollywood and the gay community in particular, and for the public at large? How “X-Rated” was this when it was first released? What about the new pseudo-documentary co-directed by actor James Franco called Interior. Leather Bar., and how much of it really focuses on Friedkin’s film that it was supposedly inspired by? What other personal and exclusive incite do the boys have from speaking with Paul Sorvino, Ed O’Neill and the great forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden about Cruising? And why the heck would the boys ever think of cosplaying with this film?! Well, come on down to find it all out, on an all new, highly informative and exciting episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

(Dion mistakenly referred to 1970 Cruising novel author Gerald Walker, as Gerald Butler…who knows why.)

EXTRAS:

Here’s the original trailer for Cruising!

Have a look at the rare TV trailer!

Check out this featurette on the making of Cruising !

Take a listen to the great soundtrack to this film, courtesy of YouTube!

Here’s our very own Dion Baia with legendary forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden around 2011.

This is the very rare Kenneth Anger film the boys referred to in the cast, called Scorpio Rising, from 1964.

Have a look at a great alternate, original poster for Cruising!

Here’s William Friedkin talking about the James Franco film Interior. Leather Bar.

 

April 8

Dick Tracy, 1990

The boys are back for yet another episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week Dion Baia and J. Blake are again going way down the alley, back to a huge franchise that was revisited during their childhood. A property that because of other comic book characters getting reboots around the same time, this beloved hero was able to finally see a well-deserved adaptation, with some big-time Hollywood clout behind it. We are of course talking about Warren Beatty‘s Dick Tracy, from 1990.

 

dicktracy

This Hollywood blockbuster is another example of a film with a huge cast of A-listers, and coming off the heels of 1989’s Batman, this property (which had been in the works at the time for over 10 years), had some much-needed life breathed into a then 50+ year-old franchise. Truly being a testament to a pre-CGI world, Tracy was one of the last big-budget features which utilized the old tricks of Hollywood, like SFX, matte-painting, use of miniatures, optical printing, practical sets, practical Effects, and of course, practical make-up. And because of Disney‘s involvement, boy did this movie use all of the above devices to their absolute fullest, making this film truly be a proper swan-song for old Hollywood before CGI muscled it’s way into the field. But why did Disney ultimately take it’s name off the title? Even though this movie would not have been realized without the true diligence of Warren Beatty, was he in fact miss-casted in playing the title role of the legendary police detective? How true was this film to it’s comic strip roots and creator Chester Gould‘s vision? Well all these questions will be answered it yet another epic edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

*Dion misspoke when he referred to 1920’s Irish Chicago gangster Dion O’Banion, as Dion O’Brien

EXTRAS:

Here is the 2009 TCM Leonard Maltin Dick Tracy Special which explores the history of the iconic sleuth, with Warren Beatty reprising his role as the man in yellow. And Info about the special can be found here.

Have a look at this fantastic 1990 making-of TV documentary: Dick Tracy: Behind the Badge, Behind the Scenes.

Have a gander at the evolution in Al Pacino’s make up for his character, Big Boy Caprice

Check out this very rare 1990 Evening Magazine TV show episode that covers the Dick Tracy Premiere at Disney’s MGM Studios in Orlando, along with some very rare interviews with the cast.

Look at this vintage 1990 commercial for the Dick Tracy toy line.

Check out this GREAT 1990 McDonald’s commercial, promoting Dick Tracy‘s tied-in marketing campaign.

Talked about in the podcast, here’s the indispensable 1980 book, The Celebrated Cases of Dick Tracy, 1931-1951.

Also covered in the cast, here’s the HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 1990 graphic novel prequel and comic book adaptation of the feature film, called Dick Tracy: The Complete True Hearts and Tommy Guns Trilogy.

And, have a daily dose of your favorite daily comic strip, found here at GoComics.com!

March 11

State of Grace , 1990

Welcome back true believers to another exciting and enthralling episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! The boys noticed that St. Patrick’s Day is around the corner and figured they’d roll out a podcast about a long-forgotten, classic gangster film (surprisingly the first in the genre for Dion and Blake), that has its climatic scene coincide with the St. Patty’s Day Parade. Haven’t guessed it yet? This week their chatting up the Irish-American Mob film State of Grace, from 1990. 

State of Grace

The boys reminiscence about the 1990’s era of gangster movies, and the connection this one has to that timeframe. Truly an unorthodox choice and certainly not the first on anyone’s list when remembering gangster films of that period, this video store staple boosts a very impressive cast of principle and supporting actors that makes it a truly forgotten gem that is certainly worth a visit (or revisit). Blake and Dion talk about their unbridled love for costar Gary Oldman, focusing particularly on his early body of work, which the boys feel doesn’t get its deserved do. Often cited by Oldman himself as one of his favor roles, why did this film literally come and go in the cinema? Did Martin Scorsese‘s Goodfellas (out the same year) actually have anything to do with it? Or is that just speculation? What inside stories do the boys themselves have from people they know who worked on this film and others around this time, that paints the picture of what was happening behind the scenes for the lead actors during this period? And how much foresight did this story have about the revitalization and gentrification that is currently happening in New York City, that had its roots in this film’s backdrop, Hell’s Kitchen circa 1989-90? Well get your favorite gun, leather jacket and your flasks, cause this week the lads are paying a kailee to their favorite Hell’s Kitchen public house in this edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! Erin go Bragh!

 

EXTRAS:

Spoiler Alert! Here’s what you may call a 1990 ‘Red Band’ Trailer for State of Grace coming to video, complete with 3 or 4 scenes that do not show up in the theatrical cut of the film!

Have a watch of a rare, fascinating 1997 television documentary series called The South Bank Show with this episode dedicated to Gary Oldman, where at the 26:30 mark, he speaks about his role in State of Grace 

Here’s some great highlights from a Q&A with Gary Oldman at Film Independent at LACMA where he discusses his characterizations and his methods of finding a character through their ‘voice’.

And here’s Mr. Oldman‘s full interview from A Life in Pictures at BAFTA, a MUST watch for any fan of this legend’s work.

Have a look at Colin Quinn talking up State of Grace and Gary Oldman

Take a look at the official trailer for the film.