Happy Holidays, everyone! J. Blake and Dion Baia are back to end 2022 with a zinger. The boys get together and each make a list of 5 Christmas-themed films and television shows they both love that haven’t yet been covered on the show. The also look back at the prior holiday films they’ve examined, and at their favorite Christmas TV specials and holiday films– some of which are off the beaten track. So come on down and wrap the year up with some warm, holiday fun with Blake and Dion on another festival and exciting episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!
It’s that time of year again! J. Blake and Dion Baia are getting ready for the holidays at Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers and bringing down the decorations from the attic! They have on deck, an iconic film that has become an absolute cult classic, and one that turns 30 this year. So, this week the boys are taking on Chevy Chase‘s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, from 1989!
Dion and Blake jump right in, exploring the history of National Lampoon Magazine, and how it went to presenting movies, and how a short story by a young writer named John Hughes morphed into an epic and iconic franchise. So come listen to the fellas put the Christmas lights up outside on the house, in this all new exciting, informative, and hilarious edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!
(*In the cast Dion mentioned that Chevy Chase left SNL after the First Season– in fact, he did perform in a handful of episodes of Season 2 before he jumped ship.)
Welcome back to another all new edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers’ Summer of Sequels! This week J. Blake and Dion Baia are getting crazy with the cheese whiz, and doing an epic double-feature! They’re taking on a film that has been called the most watched movie of all time, the MGM 1939 classic, The Wizard of Oz, AND its unofficial Disney sequel which has now become a cult classic, The Return to Oz, from 1985!
In their longest running podcast to date, Dion and Blake attempt to do this massive topic some justice. On the 100th anniversary of author L. Frank Baum’s death, they discuss the original book published in 1900; the fellas unpack the 1939 MGM movie that turned 80 this year; and analyze the 1985 film which people deemed too dark and scary for a Disney film, even though it was the closest rendition of the Baum material to date. They chart what is faithful to Baum‘s original work and the incredible impact his book series has had on the world. So you better hit the bathroom now and do some stretching, because this is gonna be a long one as the boys ‘ease on down that yellowbrick road with Dorothy, in an all new exciting, hilarious and informative edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!
*(Okay, with a podcast this long, the boys are bound to misspeak: They accidentally referred to the 1900 book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as The Wonderful World of Oz. They regret the error. Also, Dion misspoke when bringing up Shelley Duvall’s Faerie Tale Theatre, calling it Shelley Winters’ Faerie Tale Theatre–-which would be a completely different thing; Dion also accidentally referred to Jack Haley as the Cowardly Lion when discussing the make-up scars on Bert Lahr‘s face; and, when mentioning Deanna Durbin‘s 1945 film Lady on the Train, Dion called it The Stranger on the Train– his apologies.)
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Welcome to another Holiday Edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! To close out 2018 J. Blake and Dion Baia are showcasing a cult Christmas classic that is getting some much-deserved love in recent years. They’re tackling the Jim Henson holiday classic, Emmet Otter’s Jug~Band Christmas, from 1977!
The boys lovingly unpack this once lost holiday gem that is celebrating its 40th anniversary in ‘the states’ this year. Dion and Blake utilize the original 1971 source book by Russell and Lillian Hoban for reference, and can’t hold back their utter amazement at the technical prose of the Jim Henson team and the unbridled magic they are able to create. Mixed with the genius that is Paul Williams and his music, they layout a Christmas Special that may have more film cuts than Blade Runner. So come pull up a chair and a have a listen as the boys grab their Mom’s washtub and head down to Waterville and Frogtown Hollow, on an all new holiday installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!
Welcome back to another episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! With the holiday season in full swing, J. Blake and Dion Baia have delved quite deep into the video store racks, and found a lost Christmas classic, the ABC made-for-TV movie, The Night They Saved Christmas, from 1984, directed by the great Jackie Cooper!
This lost gem starring Art Carney, Jaclyn Smith, Scott Grimes, Mason Adams, June Lockhart and Paul Williams has largely and sadly fallen through the cracks of history and subsequently been lost to time – but not forgotten by the SNMS boys! After Dion and Blake reminisce about some of the classic holiday specials they grew with, the boys jump right into this fabulous film, which the fellas jokingly argue might be the ‘lost’ or ‘unknown’ sequel to the last film they covered on their previous episode, William Friedkin‘s 1977 masterpiece, Sorcerer. They take a deep-dive into this 80’s TV-movie classic and marvel over all those mythical, usually unanswered question regarding the Santa legend, that this film tackles with ease. The guys are equally astonished by the SFX within the film, be it matte-paintings, stop-motion and/or miniatures. And Blake and Dion also offer up some of their unique musical suggestions for the holiday season, to help make the ultimate 2017 Christmas mix-tape. So which one of the boys actually has a huge affinity for Hallmark Christmas movies? Did the boys actually forget to mention that Jackie Cooper was a Little Rascal? Does this film achieve that “Christmas Spirit” that so many look for in a holiday movie? And who the heck is this unseen super-villain Gaylord we keep hearing about?! Well, all these dire questions will be answered in this fun, hilarious and warm, feel-good holiday edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!
Welcome back to week 4 of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers‘ October Halloween Horror Movie Extravaganza! To bring to a close SNMS‘ month of horror, J. Blake and Dion Baia decided to take on a fan favorite, particularly a cult classic for the ladies. The fellas are getting on their brooms and heading to Salem, Massachusetts, as they cover Walt Disney‘s Hocus Pocus, from 1993.
The boys get right into it by setting up the backstory of the film, and how it was originally pitched as a Disney television movie, then languished in developmental hell for ten years until it was brought in front of Bette Midler. They debate the theory of how some seasonal-themed films become cult classics, holiday staples because of repeated viewings on television and cable. They analyze the elements within the film that showcase another example of Disney tip-toeing into somewhat dark, erotic material- cleverly disguised inside a light-hearted fairytale. Dion and Blake unpack the historical context of this story, briefly summarizing about how Wiccan and Pagan religious ideologies were deemed to be akin to being in league with the devil, and the horrible witch-hunts that swept through Salem, Massachusetts, at the end of the 15th Century. They also compare the tone of Hocus Pocus to other properties at the time, like Eerie, Indiana and Are You Afraid of the Dark?. So, what is the fan speculation behind this story: going to the How and the Why of the Sanderson Sisters becoming witches? Was Leonardo DiCarprio once considered to star in this movie? Playing their own What if Game, could this film have been envisioned as a Tim Burton/Danny Elfman vehicle at the time? And are the fans finally going to see a sequel to this film, and why would Disney actually not be interested in making a sequel/reboot to this beloved property? Well, you better make sure no virgins are trespassing and lighting any candles, hide your children, and actually listen to that black cat trying to talk to you… because the boys are back with the Halloween-specific episode of SNMS‘ October Halloween Horror Movie Extravaganza!
Here is the 1973 book mentioned in the podcast that digs excessively into among other things, the history of Wiccan, Pagan and Witchcraft religions, entitled The Devil and all his Works, by Dennis Wheatley.
And lastly but far from least, for more info on the 1977 John Carpenter‘s Halloween Michael Myers House that is now a museum, click here.
Welcome to a surprise installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepover’s October Halloween Horror Movie Extravaganza! J. Blake and Dion Baia decided to do an impromptu episode and look back at their childhoods, particularly during the Halloween season. More specifically, they wanted to cover a television special that has endeared itself to an entire generation of cat-lovers, who secretly would love nothing more than to sit around all day watching TV, while being served pasta and lasagna. That’s right, the boys are talking about everyone’s favorite orange & black house cat, Garfield and his cult classic, Emmy award-winning primetime special, Garfield in Disguise, or more widely known as Garfield’s Halloween Special, from 1985.
Another special near and dear to Dion‘s heart, the boys start off by discussing their memories of the Jim Davis comic strip. They discuss other popular comic strip stars, Garfield‘s primetime television specials, and the many other holiday specials of the era. The boys reminisce about their own childhood Halloween memories, the old costumes they wore, and what other thoughts come to mind when discussing this spooky Autumn holiday. They get into creator Jim Davis‘ original inception of Garfield the cat, the evolution from newspaper comic strip to book form, Davis’ genius in merchandising his creation and Garfield‘s journey to Primetime television. They chat about the eerie narrative theme recur in the various Garfield specials–where a child is lulled into a false sense of security until the third act goes completely off the rails, and becomes anything BUT what you’d think would wind up in a children’s cartoon special. So how scary was this for children growing up? Did this special actually push the limits of what the CBS Broadcast’s Standards and Practices would allow in a children’s cartoon? And how do the boys feel about this compared to the other holiday specials of the era? Well you better get your Halloween costume’s together, make sure you have your partner to go trick-or-treating with, and be careful not to trespass on any small islands that contain abandoned houses with cursed pirate treasure…on the exact night when said pirates’ ghosts are rising from the dead to claim what is their’s…because Blake and Dion are back with a special surprise edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers’ October Halloween Horror Movie Extravaganza!
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!
So 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, they 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!
As discussed in the podcast HERE, and HERE are the Star Trek, Laser Tag-esque game called Star Trek Phaser Battle.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
The boys lay out the history of Ernest P. Worrell, how the zany character even came about and explore the world he created in movies and on the small screen, which leads them into a digression of television shows of the 1970’s and ’80’s. They compare Ernest to another beloved character of the time, Pee-Wee Herman. But unlike Paul Reuben‘s iconic character, because of Jim Varney‘s untimely death in 2000, has the world forgotten the pure, lovable Ernest P. Worrell? Well come on down and listen to a dissection of another Christmas classic, on an all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!
In a very exciting Christmas Edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers, Dion Baia and J. Blake explore the highly underrated and highly influential Bob Clark film- no, not the uber-iconic A Christmas Story- but his other Christmas movie from 10 years prior, his brilliant horror, Black Christmas from 1974.
What cinema secrets does this lesser-known gem hold that now have become cliched? Having been released 4 years prior to the landmark horror film Halloween which is usually deemed the first slasher film, does Black Christmas instead deserve that prestigious title? How does the director of such a legendary Christmas film like A Christmas Story direct such a drastically different and brilliant genre-film centered around the same holiday, nearly a decade before? Well, all the answers to the questions posed and the boy’s love for the late and great Bob Clark are all revealed in this special, Christmas edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!