November 9

Coming to America, 1988

Hey there! Today on this week’s all new episode of Saturday Night Movie SleepoversDion Baia and J. Blake are ringing in another anniversary, celebrating an iconic comedy classic that is turning 30, which set the bar. The fellas are talking Eddie Murphy‘s creation Coming to America, directed by John Landis, from 1988.

Coming to America

Blake and Dion unpack this quintessential cult classic, discussing the collaboration between Eddie Murphy and John Landis, and history of both men leading up to this epic and the confrontation that occured between the two on set. The boys also analyze the dirty comedy and R-rated moments within the story, and question how today’s audiences might react to some of the racy situations. Well, come and pull up a chair as the fellas follow proper royalty as they travel from their native Zamunda, Africa, all the way to Queens, New York circa 1988 in search for love, in an all new and exciting installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! Also a big thank you to this week’s sponsor, Green Chef!

 

Extras!

Check out the original trailer, which includes scenes not in the theatrical cut.

Have a look at this rare interviews of Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall in 1989 while doing press for Coming to America.

Take a look at Eddie Murphy talking about Coming to America with Arsenio Hall on the show BIO, on Biography.

And as promised, here’s That’s My Mama!

And of course, the infamous Coming to America TV pilot, starring Tommy Davidson.

 

August 10

The Blues Brothers, 1980

Welcome to a very special episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week J. Blake and Dion Baia are covering a classic Chicago-centric film and to ground them and give it some historical city context and for this gigantic sleepover, they brought in the Windy City’s very own, Mighty-Mighty Mike Vanderbilt to lend a hand. We’re all ‘on a mission from God’ this go-around when we take on the musical phenomenon The Blues Brothers, from 1980!The Blues BrothersHaving Mike Vanderbilt over is very exciting for Dion and Blake, and after a quick catch up, they all jump right in. Mike and Blake bring an added layer to the conversation as they are gigging rock and blues musicians themselves with their own bands, and they talk shop about fronting various groups and their gear preferences when performing live at various venues (Dion tries to add his input as he played the alto saxophone in 4th grade, and the drums for 4 years in elementary and middle school). The fellas then focus in on the significance of this film and the history of The Blues Brothers and Jake & Elwood, discussing their roots on Saturday Night Live, and the direction of John Landis on the 1980 film. Mike brings his unique Chicago input, giving some great context to the various locations that highlight the Windy City, making it almost a third star of the film. So, make sure you’ve got your converted 1974 Mount Prospect Dodge Monaco gassed up, your cheese whiz, and your Night Train Wine, ’cause the boys have a long ride back, as they examine another classic, on an all new fantastic Chicago-edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS!

Please check out J. Blake’s musical endeavors here, as he keeps the blues arrive in New York City!

Please check out Chicago‘s very own, Mike Vanderbilt on TWITTER, on FACEBOOK,  at The A.V. Club where he is a writer and contributor, at The Daily Grindhouse where he is an editor, and tending bar at the Rock Island Public House!

Take a look at this fabulous documentary on the making of The Blues Brothers.

Here’s a playlist of the deleted scenes from the iconic film!

Have a look at The Blues BrothersFull Concert at the Winterland, on December the 31st, 1978!

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!

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.

November 13

Harry and the Hendersons, 1987

The boys are back for an all new, exhilarating and enthralling episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! J. Blake and Dion Baia are both digging back into their childhoods and taking on the legend of the Sasquatch. Instead of looking at him as a terrible monster, they pick a film that makes everyone wish they could have a big, cuddly bigfoot of their very own… 1987’s Harry and the Hendersons.

Harry and the Hendersons

Dion and Blake discuss the mythology of the creature, particularly as it relates to cinema and the small screen of the 1970’s-80’s. They get into the mixed reviews that this feel-good film received upon its initial release, and frankly don’t hold back their opinions regarding the matter. They chat about the overall themes, and how it related then (and now) to the social and ecological movements of the era. They also segue to the other elephant in the room, the genius that is SFX pioneer Rick Baker and his body of work, and their mutual disgust that he announced earlier this year that he is retiring because…wait for it… there is not enough work out there because of the use of CGI today in moviemaking. And again, the lads don’t hold back on their thoughts on the subject. So get your tent, outdoor gear, and a pair of binoculars because we’re off looking for Sasquatch and Yeti’s in this weeks all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

Extras:

Listen to the complete novelization here, courtesy of Audiobooks for the Damned!

Take a look at the Harry and the Hendersons 25th Anniversary Panel, featuring SFX Artist Rick Baker and director William Dear!

Here’s Rick Baker in 1987 sculpting Harry!

Check out the Up Close look at Harry and the Hendersons Prop Animatronics Head With Rick Baker, from 1987!

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.)