July 17

The Towering Inferno, 1974

The summer is here and with it comes the big-mega blockbusters! And as a tribute to First Responders and to Firefighters specifically (and fittingly to the NYFD who turn 150 this year), Dion Baia and J. Blake are taking on a classic ’70’s epic, back when Special Effects weren’t just Computer Generated Images with actors in front of green screens, but when practical effects were the norm. Oh yes, once upon a time stunt men did it all for real, detailed miniatures and matte paintings expanded our world. No one did it better than legendary producer Irwin AllenSaturday Night Movie Sleepovers takes on arguably his quintessential film in his hugely successful series of disaster flicks… We’re of course talking about The Towering Inferno, from 1974.

The Towering Inferno

Blake and Dion analyse the film within the context of the mid-70’s, in a pre-Star Wars era, where the hottest thing going at the time were disaster movies and various procedural shows on television which spawned toys, action sets and board games. The boys also consider the film in the context of a post-911 world… is the romanticism of these movies forever lost? And is there actually a longer cut of the film made for television? Is composer John Williams‘ most sought after piece of music actually in this film? How do those practical effects hold up today verse modern CGI? And did Steve McQueen actually have a lisp when pronouncing “S’s”?! Well all these questions and many more will be answered in this brand new, epic edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

 

(Dion misspoke when referencing to the source material and said the The Glass Tower, when in fact he meant The Glass Inferno.)

 

(Check out the an entire site dedicated to this film, called The Towering Inferno Archive!)

(Have a look at the 1982 Atari 2600 Game Edition of The Towering Inferno!)

(Here’s Irwin Allen‘s NATO Film Presentation for The Towering Inferno)

(Take a look at this vintage interview with screenwriter Stirling Silliphant speaking about writing for disaster films, and specifically The Towering Inferno)

 

July 3

Flight of the Navigator, 1986

Happy Birthday America! To ring in the July 4th holiday, J. Blake and Dion Baia are pulling out a real old-school classic, the forgotten Disney gem, Flight of the Navigator, from 1986.

Flight of the Navigator

The boys bring a slew of knowledge and personal experience to this edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers, relaying the history of Walt Disney‘s company, especially in the context of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, be it in animated and live-action films. Dion and Blake relay their story of the private tour of the Disney Studios in Burbank CA that they took part in, and Dion’s fortunate (or unfortunate) meeting of Michael Eisner, ex-CEO of Disney Studios from 1984-2005 and how it panned out. How does Flight still hold up today? How about the Special Effects? Was this Disney’s answer to E.T.? And wow, Disney can be dark when they want to be, can’t they?! We’re traveling the cosmos in this 4th of July extravaganza, so come on down and have a listen!

(Here’s a great 1986 featurette for Flight of the Navigator)

(Check out the trailer to the must-see documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty, about the near-scuttling of Disney‘s Animation department.)

June 19

Maniac, 1980

Well boys and girls, this week Dion Baia and J. Blake have a real treat lined up, a personal favorite of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers, the 1980 cult classic Maniac, directed by William Lustig and starring the late, great, Joe Spinell.

maniac1980

The guys attempt to fit as much as they can into a humble little podcast about this movie, while not trying to go too overboard and show their true colors as absolute fanatics for this film. They discuss the amazing actor that was Joe Spinell, and how he hoped that this pet project of his would do for him what Rocky did for his close friend Sylvester Stallone. Dion and Blake also go on about how it all came together and who Spinell was able to get on board, like SFX legend Tom Savini and iconic director Bill Lustig, to name a few. And the love the boys have for this movie brings up very interesting topics: Is there really an homage to Spielberg‘s Jaws in the film? What were student reactions when J. Blake screened it for his college horror class? Does this movie maybe contain the best head explosion ever? How does the 2012 remake starring Elijah Wood compare? And why do the lads keep butchering actress Catherine Munro‘s name? Well all these questions and a few more get answered in this very exciting and quite informative all new edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

 

(Well here we go again- in lamenting his love for X-rated star Sharon Mitchell who cameos in the film, Dion mistakenly referred to her as “Shannon Mitchell”. Please except his apologies)

(Here’s Mr. Spinell being interviewed on The Joe Franklin Show about his new film, Maniac)

(PLEASE check out this great documentary by David Gregory calledThe Joe Spinell Story“, which is a MUST watch for any fan.)

(Check out the promo film to the unmade Maniac 2, aka Mister Robbie, starring Joe Spinell)

(Have a look at Tom Savini and others talk about his memories of Joe Spinell)

(Here’s Elijah Wood discussing Joe Spinell’s characterization of Frank Zito, verses is own.)

(Take a look at the International trailer for 1980’s Maniac)

(Please have a gander at Dion‘s exclusive interview with Randy Jurgensen where they discuss his iconic career as an NYPD Detective and then his legendary film career, Joe Spinell (among many others), and his book Circle of Six: The True Story of New York’s Most Notorious Cop Killer and the Cop Who Risked Everything to Catch Him)

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!

May 22

Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, 1985

Continuing with their Wilfred Brimley double-feature, this week around Dion Baia and J. Blake take on an 1980’s classic, and a pretty remarkable film on its own right (if not downright puzzling), 1985’s Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins.

remo williams

With a title like that, the boys are all in! Especially since Bond directing legend Guy Hamilton was brought in to helm this project. But Dion and Blake are kinda confused… Exactly what audience were the filmmakers aiming for- Kids or adults? Or was it purposefully muddled in that ’80’s sort of way?  Why did it flop? Was there any blowback for a caucasian to play an asian in 1985, even though that was what the film was nominated for? And does Adam West have a cameo in it or not? And how about that ABC TV pilot from 2 years later? Well we’ve got a lot of questions, and hopefully enough answers to go around in this all new adventure that begins here, on this edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

(Here is the 1987 ABC TV pilot, starring Roddy McDowall

(Check out this overture for Remo Williams written by Craig Safan especially for the 2014 International Film Music Festival in Cordoba, Spain)

(Have a look at the 1985 TV spot for Remo)

May 8

Hard Target, 1993

Welcome to another edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week J. Blake and Dion Baia delve way into the video racks and bring out a long-forgotten classic from the early 1990’s back when long, wet mullets were in style, and we didn’t question when villains were able to acquire scores of loyal and nameless henchmen with automatic weapons. Of course we’re talking the 1993 Jean-Claude Van Damme film Hard Target, which also debuted badass Action director John Woo to the Western Hemisphere.

Hard Target, 1993

The “Muscles From Brussels” puts in a Grade A performance in this entry into the sub-subgenre of hunting-men-for-sport films. The boys get into the career of JCVD, and talk about his highs and lows (the controversy of his off-screen beefs with other actors and the debate about his actual martial art ability, and the fascination he has for having twins in many of his films), and the age-old burning question of everyone’s minds: it is a slyly disguised mullet or just slicked-back long hair here? Hmmm…   And how awesome are Lance Henriksen and Wilfred Brimley in this movie? And what’s a Zanenabe? We got a lot going on in another exciting and highly informative episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

Here is the original source material for what has begot practically an entire subgenre of film, the short story The Most Dangerous Game, by Richard Connell (which Dion mistakenly referred to as ‘The Deadliest Game” in the cast).

Check out pre-fame JCVD (in the black tank-top and short, tight biker shorts) as he busts-a-move in the 1984 film Breakin’.

Have a look at this behind the scenes making of Hard Target.

Take a gander at a link to some deleted scenes from the film.

 

April 24

The Trial of the Incredible Hulk, 1989

The boys deliver a Special Edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers this week as they go way down the alley and explore the Marvel character Daredevil‘s live-action roots (as well as The Kingpin‘s for that matter), leading them to the 1989 Bill Bixby classic, The Trial of the Incredible Hulk.

The Trial of the Incredible Hulk, 1989Dion Baia and J. Blake go into an in-depth analysis of the 2nd in the post-Incredible Hulk series TV movies, which was originally supposed to serve as backdoor pilot for a potential Daredevil TV series, which also starred Lou Ferrigno, Rex Smith and lastly John Rhys-Davies as Wilson Fisk himself. And because they are tackling Daredevil’s small-screen origins, the boys include the 1994 Spiderman Animated Series two-parter from Season Three, which debued the Man Without Fear to cartoon viewers everywhere. They also discuss the resurgence in popularity that has occurred in the past fifteen or so years for the superhero film (and television show), as well as strive to showcase the genius thespian and director that was Bill Bixby, or as they affectionately call him, “the Bix“.  Come on down and enjoy a sporadic, exciting and highly informative installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

(Check out this great Incredible Hulk TV Series Documentary)

(Here’s Stan Lee discussing the origins of the Incredible Hulk Television series.)

(Have a look at a great flashback of Mister Rogers visiting the Incredible Hulk set! And here’s Part 2!)

(Bill Bixby on the Arsenio Hall Show in April of 1989 to promote the Trial of the Incredible Hulk, speaking in great detail about The Courtship of Eddie’s Father)

(And please check out the final interview with Bill Bixby)

April 10

The Monster Squad, 1987

This time around for an all new installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers, Dion Baia and J. Blake are going back to the basics. They’re covering a film which is a forgotten cult-classic and true Saturday Night Sleepover material if their ever was one because for their age group, they were the targeted demographic upon the movie’s release. This week the boys tackle Fred Dekker‘s 1987 film The Monster Squad.

monster squad

Why did this movie very quietly (and very quickly) fall through the cracks and be all but forgotten? Has it finally received the immortal status it rightly deserves? Would today’s children and (for that matter) today’s adults, enjoy the film as it was intended in 1987 or is it too –politically incorrect? Is this Fred Dekker, debut screenwriter Shane Black, and Stan Winston‘s love letter to the Universal Monsters, Abbott & Costello‘s hilarious monster-teamup series and to the 1950’s monster-era on a whol