December 8

The Night They Saved Christmas, 1984

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!

The Night They Saved Christmas

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!

Extras!

Check out this original promo for the ABC premiere of The Night They Saved Christmas!

Here’s another original TV promo for The Night They Saved Christmas!

 

December 23

Santa Claus: The Movie, 1985

With Christmas just days away, J. Blake and Dion Baia decided to seek out a film that actually was the first to attempt to lay out the backstory of old St. Nick; a movie that sadly came and went, and like any good holiday film, it’s a perfect time capsule for the era it was made within. We’ve got Santa pitted against the evil and greed of the 1980s, in Jeannot Szwarc‘s Santa Claus: The Movie, from 1985.

Santa Claus the Movie

This forgotten gem starring the great Dudley Moore, David Huddleston and John Lithgow immediately have the boys thinking back to the Christmas’ of their childhood, and the memories that come along with those experiences, like the Sears and J.C. Penney catalogs and their toy sections, or shopping with Mom and watching her use coupons for everything and then get rainchecks for what was on sale but had been 86-ed. And because of the product placement and connected marketing campaign, it has Dion and Blake longing for a McDonald‘s meal circa 1985, and all it’s unhealthy heavenly glory. They discuss the superhero-esque origin story, and relish in the glorious pre-CGI practical effects, and the beauty that has been lost in those antiquated Special Effects. So playing the SNMS-patented What-if ?” game, who were some of the other directors considered to helm this film? Was a legendary horror director actually topping the list to, at one point, oversee this project? Was this entire movie, including the parts in New York City, shot on a soundstage in another country entirely? And is it really unheard of to have that many wild reindeer pull a sleigh? Well, this week the boys hook up with the Vendequm and watch them fulfill their centuries-old prophecy, in an all new Holiday Edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRA:

Check out the original trailer for Santa Claus: The Movie!

Take a look at an original 1985 TV spot.

Here’s a great example of the product endorsements tied into the movie, where we have the elves selling Kodak Disk Cameras!

And here’s local reporter Roy Leonard from WGN Channel 9 reviewing the film on the nightly news, circa 1985.

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.

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.

Ernest_saves_christmas_poster

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!

(Check out some hilarious Bloopers from Ernest’s 1980’s commercials.)

Category: Adventure, Childrens, Comedy, Holiday, Television, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Ernest Saves Christmas, 1988