July 21

Robocop, 1987

Welcome back to another edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! The boys are taking on another fan-favorite, a movie that has become an absolute cult classic for a generation of filmgoers. This week J. Blake and Dion Baia discuss the future of law enforcement and OCP’s Crime Prevention Unit 001, aka Robocop, from 1987.

RoboCop

The fellas rebound quickly after some technical difficulties but quickly get down to business, attempting to unpack this legendary film that just turned 30 this very week. Dion and Blake reflect on their connections with this classic and their first exposure to this iconic film. They go through the history behind the project and lay out how all the stars aligned to make a movie that almost didn’t get made. The lads cover the amazing SFX within the movie, be it Practical, Visual and Stop-Motion. They compare the two cuts of the film, and discuss the subtle differences that had the censors going crazy. They contrast the difference between visual and visceral filmmakers and how that translates to a young child watching something like Robocop who might not understand the social satire, as opposed to an adult who may see this story in a completely different light. So, since modern audiences are of course familiar with the iconic title Robocop’ because it has transcended into the Urban lexicon, but out of context, did it actually sound like a B-movie script to some in the mid-1980s? What were the legendary problems with the robo-suit that actually shut down production so all the flaws could be ironed out? How many times was Robocop screened before it was able to receive an R rating and remove the scarlet letter X? And did the forced cuts that were made to appease the MPAA to get that R rating actually take the gratuitous violence (which was meant to satirize) out, and instead turn it into something completely different and all that more disturbing and graphic for audiences? Well grab your Cobra Assault Cannons, your tickets to see Bixby Snyder and the keys to your new 6000 SUX’ (all of course installed with Blaupunkts), because we’re headed to Old Detroit in this all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS:

Check out the original Robocop trailer, complete with the original 1984 Terminator score used in the background, since the former’s score wasn’t yet completed!

Watch Peter Weller get suited up in the Robo suit on Entertainment Tonight circa 1986!

Take a look at this great 1987 featurette on all the Special Effects for Robocop!

Have a look at Peter Weller in 2013 talking about how portrayed the character of “Robocop“.

Watch this great 2013 Robocop Q & A panel, set up by Nancy Allen, for a charity to benefit the weSpark Cancer Support Center.

Here is the first, brand new 2017 trailer for the epic documentary, RoboDoc: The Creation of Robocop, coming later this year. 

Last and far from least, check out all the specs on the various modified weapons in Robocop on the Internet Movie Firearm Database or IMFDB.com!

June 3

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Double Feature- 1990 & 1991

Has it been 2 weeks already?! Well then welcome back to another exciting, wacky, and in this week’s case, new and unique edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This time around J. Blake and Dion Baia are doing a bonafide double feature, something that was to weekend sleepovers as Jack Daniels was to Frank Sinatra. And after throwing dump truck-loads of money at Quinnipiac University polling and hosting scores of focus group studies, they came up with the perfect pair of films for their inaugural double feature. And what lucky pair did they choose? Well the 1990 and 1991 classics Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze of course!!!

TNMT Double-Feature

The boys are completely sleep deprived this time around but still working on all cylinders, trying to cram as much info as they can about this classic franchise into a tiny, humble podcast. After voicing their concerns about the growing intelligence of the machines on the Island of Sodor (which oddly has NOTHING to do with the TMNT), the fellas quickly jump right into the topic at hand, the backstory of the beloved Ninja Turtles. They discuss the Half Shelled Heroes’ incredible journey from comicbook page to the small screen, leap to action figures, and finally their landing on the 35mm big screen. After the original 1990 film became such a success, Blake and Dion reminisce about the Turtle phenomenon that overtook the world.  This popularity greenlit a second film, which made it to the screen just 10 days shy of a calendar year from the original’s release; making it possibly the quickest sequel put into production since the old studio system days of yesteryear.

So was the 1990 movie really an ‘independent’ film? How technically advanced and also cumbersome were the turtle suits, comparably, from one movie to the next? Was the original film really criticized for being so dark and violent, that it actually was censured in the U.K. and some other European countries because of it’s ninja connotations? And then was the 1991 sequel actually criticized for being too light-hearted and not as faithful to the source material.. wait, wha?! And will the lads actually get through the podcast before becoming too incoherent? Well order your pizza pies, grab your skateboards and your favorite pair of Nunchakus, because the guys are heading down into the sewers this week in this colossal double header, on another episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS!

Here is one of the original sketches of the TMNT, quite possibly the earliest sketch of the whole quartet, which in May 2012, sold at auction for $71,700.

Check out the 2014 documentary on the TMNT discussed in the cast, entitled Turtle Power: The Definitive History of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

Have a look at the deleted scenes from the original 1990 TMNT film!

Here are the fab four on Oprah, circa 1990, with an entire child audience!!

While we’re here, have a watch of the long out of print 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Coming Out of Their Shells Tour film!

Have a look at this amazing arrangement of the TMNT cartoon theme song, performed by Scott Bradlee and Post Modern Jukebox (from their Saturday Morning Slow Jams series), sung by Righteous Music Media‘s own Drue Davis!

Last but certainly not least, check out this rare gem, the music video for the 1990 Partner in Kryme single, Turtle Power!

April 8

Dick Tracy, 1990

The boys are back for yet another episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week Dion Baia and J. Blake are again going way down the alley, back to a huge franchise that was revisited during their childhood. A property that because of other comic book characters getting reboots around the same time, this beloved hero was able to finally see a well-deserved adaptation, with some big-time Hollywood clout behind it. We are of course talking about Warren Beatty‘s Dick Tracy, from 1990.

 

dicktracy

This Hollywood blockbuster is another example of a film with a huge cast of A-listers, and coming off the heels of 1989’s Batman, this property (which had been in the works at the time for over 10 years), had some much-needed life breathed into a then 50+ year-old franchise. Truly being a testament to a pre-CGI world, Tracy was one of the last big-budget features which utilized the old tricks of Hollywood, like SFX, matte-painting, use of miniatures, optical printing, practical sets, practical Effects, and of course, practical make-up. And because of Disney‘s involvement, boy did this movie use all of the above devices to their absolute fullest, making this film truly be a proper swan-song for old Hollywood before CGI muscled it’s way into the field. But why did Disney ultimately take it’s name off the title? Even though this movie would not have been realized without the true diligence of Warren Beatty, was he in fact miss-casted in playing the title role of the legendary police detective? How true was this film to it’s comic strip roots and creator Chester Gould‘s vision? Well all these questions will be answered it yet another epic edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

*Dion misspoke when he referred to 1920’s Irish Chicago gangster Dion O’Banion, as Dion O’Brien

EXTRAS:

Here is the 2009 TCM Leonard Maltin Dick Tracy Special which explores the history of the iconic sleuth, with Warren Beatty reprising his role as the man in yellow. And Info about the special can be found here.

Have a look at this fantastic 1990 making-of TV documentary: Dick Tracy: Behind the Badge, Behind the Scenes.

Have a gander at the evolution in Al Pacino’s make up for his character, Big Boy Caprice

Check out this very rare 1990 Evening Magazine TV show episode that covers the Dick Tracy Premiere at Disney’s MGM Studios in Orlando, along with some very rare interviews with the cast.

Look at this vintage 1990 commercial for the Dick Tracy toy line.

Check out this GREAT 1990 McDonald’s commercial, promoting Dick Tracy‘s tied-in marketing campaign.

Talked about in the podcast, here’s the indispensable 1980 book, The Celebrated Cases of Dick Tracy, 1931-1951.

Also covered in the cast, here’s the HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 1990 graphic novel prequel and comic book adaptation of the feature film, called Dick Tracy: The Complete True Hearts and Tommy Guns Trilogy.

And, have a daily dose of your favorite daily comic strip, found here at GoComics.com!

September 25

Batman, 1989

This week is a celebration here at Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers because we’ve turned ONE year old!

To usher in the monumental anniversary, J. Blake and Dion Baia have recorded a podcast that could be their most EPIC yet, presenting a film that played a huge role in their upbringing and practically revolutionized Hollywood moviemaking and marketing in the late 20th century; basically the 1977 Star Wars of their generation. If you haven’t guessed it already, we are speaking about 1989’s Batman, directed by Tim Burton.

batman

Dion and Blake start off by reflecting on turning a year old, and the humbling experience it has been to hear from the fans they’ve gained who share the same love for movies as they do. The fellas chat about being part of a nostalgic generation, and attempt to set-up what it was like for them to be 10 year-olds living in a pre-Batman era and then live through that unbelievable summer of 1989, a perfect storm which has been dubbed in the annuls of history as Batmania.

Then they get into all things Batman: The lads go back and setup the history of comic books, from dime-store novels, pulp magazines to comic strips, and detail the elements in the culture that helped Bob Kane and Bill Finger create the Dark Knight. The boys proceed to go through the various eras of Batman, from the post WWII 50’s era Fredric Wertham crusade to clean up comics, to the ‘Pop1966 show that defined an era, to the ’70’s and ’80’s push to bring the character back to his roots. Once they get to the main course, Tim Burton’s 1989 tour de force, they track the 10-year journey of getting the film made, the various casting challenges posed (with Dion and Blake playing the BIGGEST version of their ‘What If ? Game EVER), and even tackle the argument of who was a better JokerJack Nicholson or Heath Ledger? Not to mention the 26 year-old surprise that could ultimately send them both to the HOSPITAL to get their stomach’s pumped!

Yes, as epic as this description is, it barely scratches the surface of this MEGA podcast to commemorate Saturday Night Movie Sleepover‘s one year anniversary. Go ahead and have a spin today!

EXTRAS:

(As of this recording, some great news has been released about Bill Finger finally receiving the Batman credit he deserves!)

(Straight out of the Saturday Night Movie Sleepover’s Archive, here is an original sketch by none other than Bob Kane himself!)

(As mentioned in the podcast, another straight out of the SNMS’s Archive is an ultra-rare, one of a kind original piece of art done by the Hanna Barbara legend Bob Singer of Batman and Robin with Scooby and Shaggy.

(To READ MORE on artist Bob Singer and his role in developing Hanna Barbara’s cartoon library, please read this EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW the boys did for Podwits.com) 

(Check out the TRAILER that started it all, released Christmas of 1988 to build excitement for the June 23rd 1989 premiere)

(Have a look at various 1989 commercials to promote all things Batman, including toys, Nintendo games, the *cereal*, Michael Gough as Alfred in a Diet Coke commercial, and many more! Wow it brings back memories!!)

(Here’s an VERY RARE Warner Bros. Industrial Short [courtesy of 1989Batman.com] part of the 1988 press kit, which some say was made to show the stockholders how the tone and look of the film would be, which was shot while the project was still in preproduction, and has in-depth interviews with Production Designer Anton Furst, Director Tim Burton, SFX man John Evans, among many others.)

(For all everything else related to the 1989 Burton film among other things, check out 1989Batman.com)

(HERE and HERE are some photo’s of the actual cereal box the boys opened on set and tried during the recording of their Batman 1989 podcast.)

(As referenced to in the podcast, have a gander at the 2011 Podwits article Dion did arguing Tim Burton‘s Batman films over Christopher Nolan‘s trilogy. )

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