June 23

Who Framed Roger Rabbit, 1988

Welcome back to another exciting edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers. This week J. Blake and Dion Baia are going “way down the alley“, to discuss a monumental film that marked a seminal event in cinema history, something that to this day has never been replicated. What is it you might ask? Well have a listen as the boys talk the film noir/live-action/animated mash-up, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, from 1988!

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Dion and Blake jump right into things, reminiscing about the late 80s, discussing the time period this film was released within. Another movie highlighting the glory of the pre-CGI era, the fellas analyze the various practical methods used to bring this amazing story to the silver screen, from the hand-drawn cell animation, to the practical SFX, to the sheen ILM applied to help make the finished product look that much more ‘real’. The boys go through the 1981 Gary Wolf book the film is based on Who Censored Roger Rabbit? and the similarities and major differences in plot and tone. Blake and Dion attempt to add perspective and really underscore how amazing this project was to be able to bring together various characters from Warner Bros., Disney and Tex Avery‘s troupe at MGM– a colossal feat that still 29 years on, hasn’t again been achieved. They also discuss meeting pioneering animation Ink and Painter Martha Sigall, who personally knew icons like Chuck Jones and Mel Blanc, as well as meeting Hanna Barbara legend Bob Singer. So how dark is this film really, even though it was billed as a children’s picture? And is the book actually much darker? What is the real-life plot point in Roger Rabbit that audiences forget actually happened, and how is it somehow related to Robert Towne‘s Chinatown series? And what is Dion‘s Bob Hoskins story- did he actually carry him around on his back, Yoda-style for a day? Well get ready and make sure you take your heart medicine, because the lads are taking you on a trip into Toontown in this all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

*Dean Cundey actually directed Honey We Shrunk Ourselves, not the original Honey I Shrunk the Kids.

EXTRAS:

PLEASE check out our EXCLUSIVE interview with the late legendary Ink and Painter Martha Sigall about her career in the animation business, in a time when the industry was still in it’s infancy.

PLEASE check out our EXCLUSIVE interview with Hanna Barbara legend Bob Singer, as he reminisces about his work at the animation studios, and discusses the iconic characters he helped create.

Here is Dion with the amazing Bob Hoskins in 2005, when the former carried the latter on his back for a day while undergoing his Jedi training.

Have a look at this great 1988 behind-the-scenes TV special, Roger Rabbit and the Secrets of Toontown, hosted by Joanna Cassidy.

Take a look at this rare deleted scene, entitled the “Pighead Sequence.

Check out the three rare Roger Rabbit post-film shorts: Tummy Trouble, from 1989; Roller Coaster Rabbit from 1990; and from 1993,Trail Mix-Up!

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.