December 16

SNMS Presents the Side-Cast:Tracking Down that White Elephant at Christmas

To add to this festive Christmas season, Dion Baia ended up tracking down and recording a special Side-Cast edition Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers, enlisting his old friends Brian Zino and J. Marcus, the cohosts of his former podcast The Podwits. Now to get them together for a recording, Dion knew there was one topic that would coincide with this season and something the boys could go on and on about: TOYS!

SNMS Side CastSo for this SNMS special, Dion brought back his old cohorts to have a trip down memory lane and reminisce about the toys they grew up with and a time that children nowadays sadly may never know about: how awesome it was growing up in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s- a time when kids had a gun aisle in their local toy store, and could go buy candy cigarettes they could then ‘smoke’, just like their parents. The trio begin with chatting about the cartoons they grew up on, and some of the toys that came out of those francheses. They talk about the Mego toy empire of the 70s that had a monopoly on everything, and the segue that occured in the 1980s with the unstoppable titans Mattel, Hasbro and Kenner and their strong hold over the market, before others like Playmates and Galoob moved into the field. Along with toy figures, tThe Podwitshey also chat about building sets like Legos, Construx and Girder and Panel, and even touch on model-making and specifically superhero and movie character models, and the exciting products that were put out by companies like Aurora in the 70s and later on by Horizon in the mid 1990s. They also challenge each other by posing the ‘white whale‘ question: was there a toy they always wanted and never received? And how about the toy(s) that in theory were great but practically, either because of design or toy-playing, was frustating and annoying to say the least. Yes, they’re all over the spectrum in this special, Christmas time edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepover‘s Side-Cast. Come have a listen today!

Extras:

*The small battery powered 4×4 vehicles that Dion could not remember the name of from the early 1980s were called STOMPERS.

Check out J. Marcus in a segment where TV’s American Toy Scout Joel Magee drops by J’s apartment to take in the eclectic collection that is on display for all to see.

Here is the A-Team B.A. Baracus figure discussed in the podcast.

This is what the 1983 film Krull‘s weapon The Glaive actually looks like, that Brian attempted to make himself as a child. And here it is in the film.

As discussed in the podcast HERE, and HERE are the Star Trek, Laser Tag-esque game called Star Trek Phaser Battle.

And speaking of Laser Tag-esque play sets, here’s the imitation game Dion‘s parents got him called Phaser Force.

Straight out of J. Marcus vault, here are 2 UNOFFICIAL phasers: HERE is a resin Star Trek TNG Phaser 1 replica, and HERE is a working TOS Phaser 1 replica.

Now take a look at an OFFICIAL Star Trek TNG Playmates Communicator, next to a TNG Tricorder (Note the size difference!).

For more podcasts and specials with Brian Zino, J. Marcus and Dion Baia, check out Podwits.com.

 

 

December 9

Star Wars Holiday Special, 1978

Happy Life Day and welcome back to an all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! Well with Christmas time here, Dion Baia and J. Blake have decided to cover maybe their most controversial topic to date and the most anticipated event of the 1978 Holiday season: the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special, that aired Friday November the 17th, of that year.

Star Wars Holiday Special

So to cut right to the chase, why is this television special so controversial for the boys at SNMS? Well probably because of the stance Blake and Dion take on this almost universally-panned time capsule from ’78. After the boys chat about last week’s podcast with guest host Mike Vanderbilt, and a dive into Dion‘s food allergies, the fellas get right into the seasonal topic at hand. They set the table and interject the context of the latter half of 1978, a year after the original Star Wars had been released and almost a year and change before the sequel Empire Strikes Back would come out in 1980. Along with a ‘variety show’ template and the majority of the original cast of 1977 film reprising their roles, we get some pretty astounding cameos by such stars as Art Carney, Harvey Korman and Bea Arthur, performances by Diahann Carroll, the rock band Jefferson Starship, and even a pint-raising song by Ms. Arthur herself. The television audience was also treated to a 9+ minute cartoon that introduced one of the most legendary Star Wars characters of all time, the mysterious bounty hunter Bobba Fett. So why is this special so universally hated by critics and fans alike? How involved was George Lucas really (especially since afterward he completely disavowed himself and completely berated the special)? Why was the aforementioned Bobba Fett introduced in cartoon form, in this holiday special anyway? Another dirty little secret, was Han Solo actually supposed to be married to a wookie?! And to get right to the most controversial question: in the context of the era, was this special really as bad as everyone likes to remember…considering what else was going on in 1978? Well it could be a very interesting podcast to say the least for some hardcore Star Wars fans, as SNMS delivers another all new, holiday edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS!

An indispensable asset for any fans of the Holiday Special, here is an amazing website directly solely to the 1978 TV Special.

Check out this Black & White footage of the first screen test from 1978 of Bobba Fett.

Take a look at one of the BEST QUALITY versions of the Star Wars Holiday Specials SNMS has ever seen, in it’s entirety, courtesy of YouTube.

And here are all the original commercials that aired during the Holiday Special.

And speaking of rotoscoping, here is the ultra-rare and never released pre-MTV 1979 music video Tom Waits did for his song “The One that Got Away” with director John Lamb (who would go on to do American Pop with Ralph Bakshi). It was done as a test, using the pioneering ‘video rotoscope’ technology and then converted to animation, a technique that producers then brought to Bakshi to sell him on the concept for his next film, which audiences would see 2 years later in 1981, in the aforementioned, American Pop. The short ended up winning an Oscar in 1980 for Scientific and technical achievement.  More information about this story can be found here.

 

December 23

Gremlins, 1984

Welcome to another episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! Dion and J. Blake are taking on another holiday classic for their Christmas viewing this season, and have decided on an iconic genre mash-up. It’s a film that really goes to show you the 1980’s was a time when you could practically market anything you wanted to children, even a dressed up Horror film parading as a cute, Christmas/Comedy that subtlety pokes fun at American and Western culture in general. Of course we’re talking about Joe Dante‘s classic, Gremlins, from 1984.

Gremlins

The trifecta of Chris Columbus writing, Steven Spielberg executive producing, and Dante directing, gave us one of the most interesting and fun films of the 1980s. Blake and Dion try to flesh out the back story of this love letter to Frank Capra, B-Horror films of the 1950’s, and Warner Bros.’ Looney Tunes cartoons, among a slew of others, while trying to wrap their heads around some terrifying concepts layered within. How much darker was this film originally supposed to be? Does this movie really convey themes like anti-technology, as well as lament about the ignorance of Western society as a whole? Have some critics read into the film and actually injected elements of supposed racism which surprisingly, doesn’t even have to do with the culture that is presented within the story? How has the movie held up after 30+ years, as both a genre mash-up and holiday film? And is this a movie that could even be attempted in 2015 without severely changing the story itself and its primary antagonists? Well the boys are wearing their Santa hats and have their sleigh bells ringing in this all new, Christmas installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

(We’d like to give a shout out to Jason Derenick for recommending Gremlins, and we’d like to apologize for not remembering his name during the podcast. Thank you!)

(When speaking about New Line Cinema, Blake mistakenly said Friday the 13th, when he was actually referring to Nightmare on Elm Street.)

Extras:

Jason’s name isn’t the only thing we forgot this time around; we’d like to share straight out of the SNMS Archive, a clay Gremlin bust sculpted by Rick Baker‘s SFX team for Gremlins 2: The New Batch, something we completely forgot to bring up, and something we will touch on at the beginning of the next Podcast. Check out this bad-boy here, here, here, here, and here.

Check out the original theatrical trailer!

Take a look at the 1943 Merrie Melodies Bug Bunny short Falling Hare, which is credited by director Joe Dante as an influence on his 1984 film Gremlins.

Also mentioned in the podcast, please watch the HIGHLY RECOMMENDED documentary on the artist, animator and auteur Chuck Jones, entitled Extremes and In Betweens: A Life in Animation.

Go read the HUGELY RECOMMENDED book Outrageous Conduct, which examines the events surrounding the infamous filming of the John Landis short for Twilight Zone The Movie, where veteran actor Vic Morrow and two children were killed.

Here’s the cartoon adaptation of the book Monster’s Ring, mentioned by Blake in the Podcast.

Have a look at this absolutely hilarious parody of Gremlins mashed-up with Taken, courtesy of How it Should of Ended.

November 25

Dutch, 1991

Happy Thanksgiving! Here at Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers, J. Blake and Dion Baia have lined up another, albeit lesser known holiday film that not only celebrates the Turkey-Day Season, but also is a John Hughes movie to boot! This year the boys are talking up the classic Dutch, from 1991, starring Ed O’Neill and Ethan Embry.

Dutch, 1991

After letting off some steam about dealing with disrespectful movie patrons while at the cinema, the boys get down to business. Often forgotten as both a Thanksgiving movie and one penned by John Hughes as well, Dutch is a fun road film that first teamed O’Neill and Embry, who would go on to reunite in a 2003 Dick Wolf/Dragnet reboot. But what the heck happened to this film? Why did it bomb at the box office and then fall through the cracks of time? Did Ed O’Neill’s hugely successful TV show Married… With Children actually help spell doom for this film perhaps because of a kind of type-casting of O’Neill? How does this stack up to the other titles in the John Hughes catalog, and does it share similarities to another Hughes/Thanksgiving film? And can this be added to the list of classic holiday movies? All these questions will tried to be answered in this all new, and hilarious edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! #nothingburpsbetterthanbacon

EXTRAS:

Who Do You Love is the other 2008 film that came out along with Cadillac Records that documented the Chicago Blues scene and Chess Records artists in particular, that the boys couldn’t remember the name of.

Check out the original theatrical trailer for Dutch!

Who knew?! Here’s Jiu-Jitsu practitioner and Gracie Academy Black Belt Ed O’Neill, with Ryron and Rener Gracie breaking down the moves of the 2012 UFC Belfort/Jones match.

Speaking of Jiu-Jitsu, listen to Ed O’Neill tell the story of his VERY First Class at the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy with Grandmaster and UFC co-founder Rorion Gracie.

Take a look at some of the 1985 TV pilot Popeye Doyle, the spin-off sequel to The French Connection police officer of the same name, that was never picked up and made into a series.

June 5

Weekend at Bernies, 1989

The guys kick-off the summer season with a cult classic, a ‘must’ for all those summer comedy fans, Weekend at Bernie’s from 1989!

Weekend at Bernie's

Dion and J. Blake have their hands full this time around! They reminisce on the long-forgotten ‘beach comedy’ genre and explore their favorite entries into this ’80’s phenomenon. Why don’t we see films like this anymore? Could this style of movie even be done nowadays? And speaking of phenomenons, the boys also get into the great time period when New York City based comedies would satirize the crime-ridden Big Apple of the ’70’s and ’80’s, an element which now may seem forgotten by some but very nostalgic for thoses generations who lived through it. And is the director, Ted Kotcheff, who also helmed (Rambo) First Blood, actually of one the most versatile directors as Blake purports? Well come on down and have a listen to a brand new, summer extravaganza, on this installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

Have a look at veteran actor Terry Kiser on The Actor’s Arena, explaining a lesson from his teacher, legend Lee Strasberg‘s emotional recall exercise, for crying on cue.

Check out Rom/Com author Jenny Colgan‘s hit book, Looking For Andrew McCarthy!

And here’s our very own J. Blake, hanging out with Terry Kiser, aka Bernie Lomax!

March 27

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, 1971

The boys are back, kicking in the door with a beloved classic for this week’s all new edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers, and it is a trip to a world of Pure Imagination, with 1971’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

wonka poster

Dion and Blake dig deep into the dark side and undertones of this film which, to be fair, has some pretty surprising things going on in a 1971 child’s film. Based on renowned author Roald Dahl‘s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, what evidently led to Dahl practically disowning the movie, even though he was signed on to write the screenplay? How important was the casting of Mr. Wonka in this film, and more to the point, how awesome is Gene Wilder? What about the 2005 Tim Burton remake? How does that fair to this version, and what does Wilder himself thing of the ’05 version? Dion and Blake also reminisce about their own experiences in meeting the cast of this classic film.  So come on down for an all-across-the-board audience favorite, in this all new installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

(Don’t believe us? Check out this 2013 interview with the legend Gene Wilder, as he talks about his film career, and the 2005 reboot.)

(Here’s a complete video courtesy of LuckPennyShop, demoing the 1971 Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory Candy Maker Kit!)

(Do you think this 2014 50th Anniversary edition cover for Roald Dahl‘s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory warranted the controversy?)

(Have a look at the 2013 musical production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory… and decide for yourself…)

(Take a gander at Dion‘s once-in-a-lifetime chance of meeting Mr. Wilder in 2008!)

 

December 21

Ernest Saves Christmas, 1988

This week, in part 2 of our Special Christmas Edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers, J. Blake and Dion Baia take on an Oldie-put-Goodie Christmas Classic, Jim Varney’s Ernest Saves Christmas, from 1988.