Every week, join Clint and Jared (and selected guest panelists) as they discuss, disseminate and make drinking rules for films both good and bad. Sit down with each film's signature cocktail and enjoy!
CHRISTMAS SPECIAL: Batman Returns (1992)
Happy holidays, listeners! Every year, we take on an unconventional Christmas movie around the Yuletide season, and this time we (along with returning guest Mark Soloff of Blastropodcast) dip back to investigate Tim Burton's deeply strange, fascinatingly weird superhero flick Batman Returns!
After Burton's first Batman revitalized the superhero movie as a pop culture phenomenon, he decided to get real strange with it in Batman Returns. Ostensibly, the film features a pitched battle between the Caped Crusader (Michael Keaton) and his arch-nemeses, the Penguin (Danny DeVito) and Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer); but it manifests itself in a strange story about mayoral races, masquerade balls and fake news campaigns to discredit Batman. The most dastardly plan anyone has in the film is Trumpian billionaire Max Schreck (Christopher Walken), who schemes to, like... build a power plant?
None of the plot dressing matters, though, since the film itself is a dazzling display of Burton's biggest idiosyncrasies - pale outcasts with mountains of guyliner, Gothic cityscapes, and mountains of quirky Danny Elfman scoring. This is the least Batman-y Batman film to date (and we should know), which might well be the biggest point in its favor.
Anyway, listen to us debate the film's finer, freakier points, along with our custom drinking game!
(Thanks to our sponsor Safehouse Chicago as part of the Chicago Podcast Coop!)
CONNICKUH SPECIAL: Memphis Belle (1990)
Every year, the Alcohollywood podcast takes the week before Christmas to celebrate the life and works of Sir Harry Connick Jr. - actor, musician, Renaissance Man.
Harry Connickuh, listeners! For this episode, we take our appreciation for Harry Connick Jr. all the way to the beginning - his breakout film debut in the 1990 WWII drama Memphis Belle. Connick joins a cavalcade of other young 90s stars (Matthew Modine, Sean Astin, Tate Donovan, Eric Stoltz, Billy Zane and more) as the crew of a B-17 bomber on its last mission before ending its tour of duty.
While director Michael Caton-Jones (Asher) does an admirable job replicating the oo-rah spirit of old WWII pro-US propaganda films, that's also what keeps Memphis Belle from really taking off. It's hard to make a movie all that compelling when you have to keep track of ten similar-looking white dudes with one personality trait, all working as a unit to accomplish a pretty tension-free mission. The claustrophobic action, which mostly takes place inside the cramped bomber of the title, is novel, but it all gets dull after a while. Still, Connick's his laconic, charming self as always, and he even gets a couple songs to sing!
Check out our thoughts on this WWII homage, along with our custom drinking game for the film, here.
(Thanks to our sponsor Jackbox Games as part of the Chicago Podcast Coop!)
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
We only had time for one episode last month, so we're double-dipping this week by extending 00-vember into 00-cember! We move from Timothy Dalton to Pierce Brosnan with the 1997 007 flick Tomorrow Never Dies!
Sure, Goldeneye revitalized the Bond franchise, introduced a stellar new Bond in Pierce Brosnan, and updated the secret agent to reflect more on his "sexist, misogynist dinosaur" nature. But then Austin Powers came out and made a bunch of money, so 007 had to get goofy again with his next adventure. And goofy he gets, as Tomorrow Never Dies is a quaintly dated spy caper in which James Bond must stop a mincingly evil media mogul (Jonathan Pryce) from starting a war between Britain and China just to soak up all the ratings.
Still, for all its goofiness, it absolutely has its charms - from David Arnold bursting onto the scene with a bombastic score, a couple of great theme songs at both ends of the film, and Michelle Yeoh kicking ass as one of the most capable Bond girls to date.
It's an ugly duckling that Clint loves far too much for his own good. Hear us talk about its pros and cons on the podcast, and check out our drinking game!
(Thanks to our sponsor Jackbox Games as part of the Chicago Podcast Coop!)
The Living Daylights (1987)
As a busy Thanksgiving month winds down, we realized that we haven't talked about a James Bond film for literally 200 episodes. To that end, we decided to get in a little 00-vember action with the severely underappreciated James Bond film The Living Daylights!
The first of Timothy Dalton's two films as 007 (a criminally short tenure), The Living Daylights is one of the most thrilling Bond pictures no one talks about. Sure, the story is a bit muddy and convoluted - a disorienting spy caper involving botched defections, diamonds, opium, arms deals, cellos and two different villains (Joe Don Baker and Jeroen Krabbe)- but Dalton's stripped-down, intense take on the secret agent is a breath of fresh air after 14 years of Roger Moore camp.
The Living Daylights also has some of the most exciting, comparatively grounded action scenes in the franchise, and a cracking final score from John Barry that mixes electronic sounds in an unobtrusive way long before David Arnold came along. This film tends to be one of the unsung children of the Bond franchise, but damnit, we're going to sing its praises till the opium comes home.
Check out our thoughts on the film and its legacy in the Bond franchise, along with our custom drinking rules!
(Thanks to our sponsor Cards Against Humanity as part of the Chicago Podcast Coop!)
Interview with Olympia's Cast and Crew (Chicago International Film Festival)
As we continue to wrap up our coverage of the Chicago International Film Festival, it's important to take a look at some of the smaller stuff that came out of the fest, especially those set in the city the festival calls home. Gregory Dixon's vibrant, energetic indie coming-of-age dramedy Olympia is a rather fun breath of fresh air - the tale of a conflicted thirtysomething (writer/star McKenzie Chinn) struggling to make ends meet at a dead-end job, dealing with a dying mother in the hospital, and fighting with her boyfriend (Charles Andrew Gardner) about whether Chicago is really the right place for her.
Chinn's script is relaxed and acerbic, the performances are naturalistic and witty, and Dixon's stylized approach captures the verve of Chicago alongside the jazzy, pop-infused score from Josh Coffey and Otto Sharp. (You can read our capsule review from our CIFF dispatches here.)
While at the festival, I got the chance to sit down with Chinn, Dixon and Gardner to talk about the struggles of getting the film made, Chicago as an vital artistic resource, and the importance for women of color to tell their own stories.
Thanks to our sponsor Overcast as part of the Chicago Podcast Coop!)
Episode 3 - True Grit
Howdy, listeners! Today we're saddling up and sucking back some moonshine to an old Western classic, 1969's True Grit! (NOTE: I have used my pun quota for this episode; the rest of this post is safe for consumption).
Along with guest panelist Gavin, Jared and Clint tackle the impertinence of Mattie Ross, a little history of Oklahoma, and the nuances of a John Wayne performance, as they provide their signature drinking rules for this film.
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This Is The Title For A Podcast Review
Clint and Jared are not just film critics. They are not just mixologists. They are not just frequently hilarious. They are all those things. And some more things. Things like: quality guest bookers, solid celebrity impressionists, carbon-based humanoid lifeforms, and et cetera.
My only qualm is I am broke, and cannot afford the raw materials to construct the delicious cocktails they tailor to the movies they review. I do, however, possess an active imagination, and frequently pretend my Miller High Life is a Mothzilla.
You guys take yourselves way too seriously. Concerning 16 Candles, it’s just a movie, not a directive on how to live your life. I was in high school during the 80’s and yeah the movie exaggerates a lot, but who cares? It’s a fun and funny movie. Yes, teenagers are horny. High school is a time when teenagers start becoming curious about their sexuality and because their so inexperienced about it, they’re really bad at it. You act as if they should act like worldly-wise 20 or 30 year-olds such as yourselves. The way you talk, you must have been prim and proper during high school. Do us all a favor and take the sticks out of your butts and stop being just kill-joys.
FYI, the kid who plays the little brother also played the kid in Kramer vs. Kramer and earned an Oscar nomination for it. You inferred that he was a failed actor. I beg to differ.
Always a fun and insightful time
Every review feels like having cocktails with a group of friends after weekly movie night. The production value is great, the reviews are entertaining, and the drinks and rules are inspired. I always look forward to the next episode.