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!

May 12

The Fifth Element, 1997

Hello and welcome to another all new, exciting edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This go around Dion Baia and J. Blake are celebrating the 20th anniversary of a Sci-Fi film that is held in a very high regard by many and conversely disliked by many others- so much so that upon it’s release it was hailed as both the best and worst summer blockbuster of all time! Wow, how polarizing! But the fellas are talking a SNMS audience favorite this week with Luc Besson‘s iconic film The Fifth Element, from 1997.

The Fifth Element

After briefly chatting about epic hair pieces and martial-art movies, Blake and Dion get down to business and reminisce about the summer of 1997 when this film was released and all the other movies they remember that were out that season. The boys both relate their experiences of seeing The Fifth Element in the theater, and discuss director Luc Besson‘s catalog, particularly his 2008 classic Taken, and their mutual love for the director’s film prior to this one, Léon: The Professional. They go into the background in the creation of Fifth Element‘s story, and the journey Besson went on getting this to the screen. They look at the gorgeous futuristic world that was created by French artists Jean-Claude Mézières and Jean (Moebius) Giraud, and the subsequential lawsuit that was filed against Besson after the film’s release. Dion and Blake gush over their mutual love for Bruce Willis and Gary Oldman, and attempt to contrast this movie against other futuristic, Future Noir, Sci-Fi properties that are comparable to this one. They speculate on Chris Tucker‘s potential real-life influences on his Ruby Rhod character, and also note Besson‘s reoccuring theme of older men helping younger women (or even young girls as in The Professional ) and how it oddly, in his case, mimics the director’s real life to an extent. So does the pairing of CGI, miniature and Practical Effects hold up, and because of their pairing, actually help the longevity? Why is this film so darn polarizing to fans and critics to begin with? And did John Carpenter actually successfully sue Luc Besson? Well grab your Multi Passes, your Zorg Industries ZF-1 Pod Weapons Systems, and make sure you’re blocking any incoming calls from Mr. Shadow, because we’re all going to the 23rd Century this week and an all new episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

Extras!

Here’s China Pop Diva Jane Chang doing the impossible, singing live the Diva Dance.

Take a look at Milla Jovovich’s screen test for The Fifth Element.

Have a gander at Milla Jovovich’s costume tests for Leeloo.

Check out Milla Jovovich talking about being 19 and being cast in The Fifth Element.

Take a look at Chris Tucker talking about playing Ruby Rhod.

Here’s some great behind the scenes footage of The Fifth Element.

Have a look at the official 1997 Cannes Press Conference with the cast and crew.

Now take a look at the MTV hosted Cannes Afterparty for The Fifth Element.

January 6

John Carpenter’s Escape From New York, 1981

Happy New Year and welcome to the 2017 season opener of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! J. Blake and Dion Baia decided to start the year off with a bang, tackling a cult classic that mash’s genres and became a forerunner for a decade or more for Future Noir / Sci-Fi films alike; forecasting a bleak future for the 1980s and beyond with its commentary on society. The boys are taking a trip to the Manhattan Island Maximum-Security Prison in futuristic 1997, in John Carpenter‘s classic, Escape From New York, from 1981.

Escape From NY

Having already designated director John Carpenter the ‘patron saint’ of SNMS, Dion and Blake mince no words when singing the filmmaker’s praises for his body of work in this era. After briefly lamenting about the format change MTV went through years ago, seguing from music video to reality show, the boys get right into the nuts and bolts of the film–laying out the historical context for when the script was first written and then the climate later, circa 1980, when it was eventually put to screen. Another resource the boys like to utilize while discussing a film is the movie tie-in novelization, to fill in the blanks to any exposition left out. Here they discuss, in detail, the immense backstory that is spelled out in the Mike McQuay book adaptation, giving us sizable background on the iconic character Snake Plissken (played brilliantly by Kurt Russell) and Police Commander Bob Hauk (played by the legendary Lee Van Cleef), as well as the third World War waged and the events that led up to the actual decision as to why that society ultimately turned the island of Manhattan into a Super Max Prison. They go through the various stories of how the amazing cast of supporting actors was assembled to fill out the other roles within the film, to help ground this fantastic tale with a firm foot in reality. They also explain the creative process John Carpenter goes through as a composer, using this film as example and his first-time collaboration with composer Alan Howarth. So what troubles lay ahead because of the shoestring budget? What corners (if any) had to be cut in order to get this movie finished? What city was this film actually shot in? What other established actors were considered for the lead role? And what up-and-coming director worked on the Special Effects Unit of this film; who would later go on to create some groundbreaking Sci-Fi films in his own right? Well grab your MAC-10 machine guns and molotov cocktails, your injections of micro-explosives that will, in 22 hours, rupture your carotid arteries and buckle yourself in, because we’re flying the Gullfire over Leningrad in this all new 2017 edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

Extras!

Take a look at the alternate opening of the film, a bank robbery scene that Carpenter ended up cutting and then was thought to have been lost forever.

Check out this great interview with director John Carpenter about Escape From New York.

Have a look at the official 2016 John Carpenter music video for Escape From New York.

Here is demo footage of the never-released Namco Video Game, Escape From New York.

Lastly, have a listen to Episode One of Broken Sea Audio Productionsaudio drama of Escape From New York.

December 16

SNMS Presents the Side-Cast:Tracking Down that White Elephant at Christmas

To add to this festive Christmas season, Dion Baia ended up tracking down and recording a special Side-Cast edition Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers, enlisting his old friends Brian Zino and J. Marcus, the cohosts of his former podcast The Podwits. Now to get them together for a recording, Dion knew there was one topic that would coincide with this season and something the boys could go on and on about: TOYS!

SNMS Side CastSo for this SNMS special, Dion brought back his old cohorts to have a trip down memory lane and reminisce about the toys they grew up with and a time that children nowadays sadly may never know about: how awesome it was growing up in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s- a time when kids had a gun aisle in their local toy store, and could go buy candy cigarettes they could then ‘smoke’, just like their parents. The trio begin with chatting about the cartoons they grew up on, and some of the toys that came out of those francheses. They talk about the Mego toy empire of the 70s that had a monopoly on everything, and the segue that occured in the 1980s with the unstoppable titans Mattel, Hasbro and Kenner and their strong hold over the market, before others like Playmates and Galoob moved into the field. Along with toy figures, tThe Podwitshey also chat about building sets like Legos, Construx and Girder and Panel, and even touch on model-making and specifically superhero and movie character models, and the exciting products that were put out by companies like Aurora in the 70s and later on by Horizon in the mid 1990s. They also challenge each other by posing the ‘white whale‘ question: was there a toy they always wanted and never received? And how about the toy(s) that in theory were great but practically, either because of design or toy-playing, was frustating and annoying to say the least. Yes, they’re all over the spectrum in this special, Christmas time edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepover‘s Side-Cast. Come have a listen today!

Extras:

*The small battery powered 4×4 vehicles that Dion could not remember the name of from the early 1980s were called STOMPERS.

Check out J. Marcus in a segment where TV’s American Toy Scout Joel Magee drops by J’s apartment to take in the eclectic collection that is on display for all to see.

Here is the A-Team B.A. Baracus figure discussed in the podcast.

This is what the 1983 film Krull‘s weapon The Glaive actually looks like, that Brian attempted to make himself as a child. And here it is in the film.

As discussed in the podcast HERE, and HERE are the Star Trek, Laser Tag-esque game called Star Trek Phaser Battle.

And speaking of Laser Tag-esque play sets, here’s the imitation game Dion‘s parents got him called Phaser Force.

Straight out of J. Marcus vault, here are 2 UNOFFICIAL phasers: HERE is a resin Star Trek TNG Phaser 1 replica, and HERE is a working TOS Phaser 1 replica.

Now take a look at an OFFICIAL Star Trek TNG Playmates Communicator, next to a TNG Tricorder (Note the size difference!).

For more podcasts and specials with Brian Zino, J. Marcus and Dion Baia, check out Podwits.com.

 

 

May 20

Commando, 1985

Welcome back to another exciting episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week the boys are kicking the Summer Season off with a ‘bang’, taking on an epic action extravaganza, one that has become an out-and-out classic in cinema history and for some, the complete embodiment of the 1980s action genre on a whole. Dion Baia and J. Blake are going all in with absolutely no regards as they cover the Arnold Schwarzenegger exemplum, Commando, from 1985.

Commando

The fellas are unabashed about their love for this film, and as some attribute this movie a classic only because of it’s supposedly ‘camp’ valve or consider it a ‘guilty pleasure’, Blake and Dion instead firmly put their feet down and gush about their love for this Schwarzenegger classic. There’s so much to talk about here that they carefully break the film down, scene by scene, so not to miss any fan cherished moments, performances, or legendary dialogue. They explain the background behind the making of the film, realizing very quickly that this vehicle could be called the original version of the Liam Neeson fan-favorite, Taken. They methodically and painstakingly analyze the pacing, structure, and winding journey, leading to it’s eventual climax. So… how does this film hold up after 30+ years? Is it really ‘the gold standard‘ for action films of the time, and can it actually represent that genre perfectly on a whole? And is it the apex of that trend of 80s action-hero movies? Aside from Arnold, how are the other performances? And what the heck does the legendary silent film comedic star Harold Lloyd have to do with all of this? Well, grab your favorite Kalashnikov, RPG, combat vest and some burnt cork, because the boys are taking no prisoners in this brand edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS:

Take a look at the original trailer!

Have a look at this short documentary on Commando.

Check out this unbelievably awesome 1/6th statue of John Matrix, for sale courtesy of Sideshow collectibles.

Here’s Dion in 2013 with Cheech Marion and Tommy Chong.

Brought up in the podcast, take a look at his highly recommended 2010 documentary entitled Marwencol.

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!