Welcome back to another exciting edition of the Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! Dion Baia and J. Blake are doing a double feature this week, covering a forgotten but classic franchise, F/X from 1986 and FX2 from 1991, both starring Bryan Brown and Brian Dennehy. The boys discuss the many legendary character actors who fill out both movies, and amazing premise that has become a common theme on the podcast, the fascination movie audiences had/have with practical SFXs—specifically makeup FXs; and the terrific rollercoaster rides these films take us on. So come reminisce about 2 forgotten gems on another enthralling installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!
Welcome back to another exciting episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week Dion Baia and J. Blake are exploring one of their favorite franchises -talking all things Star Trek– and taking a deep-dive into the 1991 film, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country !
Blake and Dion jump right in, unpacking this huge topic- from the original series, to the feature films, and all the other elements that led to this movie, Star Trek VI , as well as utilize the fantastic novelization. They also lay out all the social and geopolitical events that were unfolding around the world at the time that played into this film (which the boys consider one of the best of the series). So watch your Romulan Ale intake, and monitor any enormous neutron radiation fields, because the lads are dissecting one of their absolute favorites in this all new installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!
(During the episode Dion and Blake excitedly referred to the great character actor Ward Bond as Wade Bond and his fabulous show Wagon Train as Wagon Trail – yes they can get overzealous at times.)
(Brock Peters was not the voice of the Kingpin on the 1994 Spiderman animated series, but instead it was Roscoe Lee Browne.)
Welcome back to another installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers ! Dion Baia and J. Blake are taking on a popular fan request, a real favorite from their childhoods that was a blockbuster when it was released. The boys are getting their asses to Mars this week as they cover the Arnold Schwarzenegger epic, Total Recall, from 1990!
Blake and Dion jump right into it, revisiting this classic and discuss how happy they are that this movie still holds up. They compare the finished version to the original Philip K. Dick short story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale as well as the differences within the novelization, and explain the long process of getting this from the page to the screen. They unpack the massive Practical Effects in all their splendor, something that probably will never be seen in a Hollywood film like this again- along with a whole lot more. So come on down and check out another really late night meditation in an all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers !
*During the podcast, actor Michael Champion was mentioned as perhaps the villain in the 1991 film The Hard Way, when it was in fact the great Stephen Lang.
Hello and welcome back to another all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! With summer upon us, Dion Baia and J. Blake have decided to chat about an absolute fan favorite which turns 30 in August- a film that immediately adored itself to multiple generations of women and fans alike. Well the boys are putting on their Cuban heels and stepping onto the dance floor this week with the 1987 classic, Dirty Dancing !
After joking around about keeping their parents up all night long while hosting sleepovers growing up, they segue into the meat and potatoes of the podcast. They frame the period in which the film takes place, and touch on some of the themes layered within. They analyze not only the idea of the ‘scandalous’ music that swept through the country at that point in history (first through the lower-economic communities and the gradual and eventual infiltration into the white middle-class in the 1950s and early 60s, influencing a generation), but also discuss the bygone era of the Catskills destination resort getaways, and the boy’s serendipitous connection to it. Blake talks about his own grandfather Al Fisher, who was part of a comedy duo known as Fisher and Marks, who along with members of the Rat Pack would tour the country and particularly the Catskills/Poconos Circuit that thrived in the middle of the last century, where our 1987 Dirty Dancing takes place. The boys then unpack the movie and explore the various layers of the film’s individual characters and their relationships, set against the aforementioned August of 1963. Dion and Blake also take care in tackling the controversial aspect within the film and chat about how they feel the filmmakers handled it. Dion also brings in some extra insight as just having seen the touring stage version ofDirty Dancing this passed April at the famed Shubert Theater in New Haven, and they mull over a new subplot added into the stage play and speculate as to why they think this heavy plot-point was wovened into our classic story. They also discuss the impact the film’s amazing soundtrack had on a generation of fans and also the resurgence in the late 80s of everything 1950’s and 50’s Doo-Wop music, and the part this film might of played in that. So, what problems did this film have before it’s release- did it really have everything and everyone against it? What major company backed out of sponsoring the film due to a major controversial plot point within the story that the filmmakers refused to delete? And what is Blake‘s touching story about this film’s soundtrack and the part it played in a major moment in his young life? And to the overall point, how do the fellas feel about the movie after watching it this go-around? Well everybody start stretching, find your dancing partners and ditch your parents, cause this week the boys are sneaking over to the other side of the tracks, to do a little Dirty Dancing on this all new installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!
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.
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.
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.
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!
Welcome back to another all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week Dion Baia and J. Blake are going deep into the video store rack in the SNMS vault, and bringing out an 1980s classic which was quietly rebooted on the Disney Channel in 2016- a Chicago-based film that integrates 80’s teen-high school drama with action, comedy, intrigue and the seedy, funky-electric blues… that’s right, the boys are showcasing the legendary movie, Adventures in Babysitting, from 1987.
The podcast starts out with the fellas reminiscing about the old days of film and television and the analog equipment that predated the modern digital era; buying novelizations on the web; and then after receiving a care package from SNMS friend and cohort, the Chicago-based Mike Vanderbilt, they segue into this epic movie, Adventures in Babysitting. Blake and Dion play their famous “What-if” game, and try to figure out if any of the conjecture online of the many other supposed actresses vying for the Elizabeth Shue role were truly factual. They discuss the similarities between this project–the directorial debut of Chris Columbus–and the characters and themes of another famous influential writer, producer and director of that era, the Illinois-based John Hughes. They also go into the other eccentricities related to the fabulous city Adventures takes place in, such as the fabulous R&B and Electric-Blues based soundtrack. The lads also discuss the long forgotten unsold 1989 CBS TV pilot based off the film that only aired once, and the amazing cast that starred in that spinoff. So was this Chicago-centric film really even shot in the Windy City? How long had this property ‘supposedly’ been laying around in Hollywood? And what hilarious and awkward Keith Coogan story does Blake have? And did Dion date Debbie Gibson?! Well get ready, cause the boys are talking teens-on-an-adventure, the Blues, and Playboy…among other things, in an all new edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!
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.
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!
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.
Welcome back to week two of Saturday Night Movie Sleepover‘s October-Halloween month of Horror, where for the four weeks of the Autumn month, J. Blake and Dion Baia are giving you four podcasts to help fill you nightmares with nostalgic terror! This installment the boys are showcasing a classic, and also the first Hammer Studios production to be discussed on the podcast. This week they chat about the iconic 1959 movie The Mummy, starring the legendary Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.
Dion and Blake chat again about their love for the classics and set the table and explain (within the cycle of the horror films) how the Hammer Studios helped revitalize the waning genre, and breathe new life into the catalog of monsters that Universal Pictures established some twenty years before. They go through the backstory of how a small British company like Hammer was able to successfully ‘borrow’ the classic monsters like Frankenstein’s Monster, Dracula, and this film’s central character, The Mummy and helped catapult them into the iconic status that we know them as today. The fellas also compare the template that we see these type of franchises cycle through, to the same template in films we see today like with the current trend of superhero movies, highlighting the similarities- e.g. first, the single-character ‘tent pole’ movies, then morphing into the multi-character team up installments. They also gush over their love for legendary actors Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, and how without these men who went on to endear themselves to over 8 decades of cinema lovers, there might never have been the monster revival that Hammer brought forth, and the lasting impact these amazing horror characters had on us, film fans, having been firmly cemented into our pop culture. But how was Hammer even able to swing using these monster icons and get around Universal’s copyrighting in the first place? How was this film revolutionary, not only within the monster sub-genre but in the overall horror genre in general? How does this film and story hold up today? And is this version of the Mummy actually the precursor to characters we see in decades to come like Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers? And what impact have these movies left upon cinema? Well come one down and listen to week two of the horror extravaganza in another all new edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!
SNMS cannot recommend enough, for those interested to check out the classic radio shows (commonly referred to OTR, meaning Old Time Radio) on archive.org that are now public domain. On this .org site, enthusiasts compile the best surviving sources for each particular show and add new ones or discover better quality episodes everyday. Have a mozy and see if you can find a genre and/or show that you’d love today; and we guarantee that if you take the time, you will find a show you’d love. The rest is on you.
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.
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
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, believe 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, which 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!
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.
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.)
It’s that time once again… Welcome back to another, exciting edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week Dion Baia and J. Blake are covering a true epic, a film that was meant to return a property back to its original source material, and also reinvigorate a franchise that had been around (at the time) close to seventy-plus years. This go around the boys are taking on Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, from 1984.
Blake and Dion have a lot on their plates to get through: first laying out the backstory that legendary writer Edgar Rice Burroughs set up in his original 1912 novel Tarzan of the Apes when creating the title character, and the bigger role Burroughs played as one of the original pillars in the Pulp Tradition. They give an overview of that groundbreaking genre, and explain the vast influence it still has on the entertainment we seek out today. They also discuss sci-fi writer Harlan Ellison‘s scathing review of this film Greystoke, and use that critical essay as a template in comparing this 1984 version to Burroughs’ original work, and if it is indeed appropriate to label this work “the definitive version“- is it a fair criticism? The lads also go into depth about Rick Baker‘s groundbreaking contribution to this project, and how his help specifically was the key in getting this production off the ground. But what was the reasons for having the screenwriter, Robert Towne who penned this script, sacked as director of this adaptation? What other problems did a production like this run into while trying to get this project off the ground? What exactly is the Wold Newton Family, and how is it connected here? And is Dion really a Lord ? Well come on and have a listen as the fellas match an epic movie with an epic cast as they attempt to answer all the questions in this all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!
Welcome back to another exciting episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week J. Blake and Dion Baia are celebrating their 50th podcast (well, sort of) and what better way than to tackle a movie that has become an absolute classic in the annals of 80’s fantasy films. In the crosshairs this week is the sleepover classic, The NeverEnding Story, from 1984.
Dion and Blake jump head-on into this very nuanced, multi-layered adventure, trying to psycho-analyze this “children’s movie”, which has themes and metaphors textured within that one wouldn’t really think would be included in what was again purported to be a “children’s film” ; but heck, this was the 80s! Regardless the boys delve right in, discussing the original novel and the differences from page to screen, that eventually made author Michael Ende take his name off the feature film. They also speak about German Cinema in general, and as this was the product of West Germany, NeverEnding Story became the biggest film outside of the United States and the U.S.S.R. upon release. The fellas also chat about the blossoming technology of ‘green-screening’, and the major differences between practical effects (which were utilized in this production), versus the upcoming CGI revolution which was literally around the corner. So to the big question: how does the film hold up today? AND, is it as messed up as we all remember? What was the German’s plan to make sure this was a hit with International audiences? What role did Steven Spielberg have in the film’s production? And what surprising element was NOT in the original German cut, which actually became one of the most enduring aspects of the English-speaking version? Well grab your popcorn and soda, sit back and put your feet up and come celebrate with Blake and Dion as they answer all your questions, and unveil the 50 edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!
The fellas are back yet again for an all new edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! Dion Baia and J. Blake are taking on a movie that, on the outset, looks to be your typical teen-angst drama, depicting the day-to-day trials and tribulations of young adults. But actually, it has layered within some pretty smart and frank commentary about adolescent ascension to adulthood and all the insecurities and pressure that accompany that transition. We are of course talking about the quintessential 1980’s teen film, The Breakfast Club, from 1985 written and directed by the great John Hughes.