There are times we miss films. Perhaps they're released before our time. Sometimes their marketing passes us by. Then there are the movies we choose to skip because of genre, director, or actor preconceptions. It is our goal with Find That Film podcast to give you the chance to see a movie you didn't know you missed. Let us persuade you.
Find That Film: Overlord
I can’t believe we’re in season six. I’ve been slacking a bit and poor ManWithPez has been posting, writing, pulling clips…well, he’s been doing everything but recording my lines. I’ll try to return to form with episode 4 and the 2018 war horror movie Overlord.
Despite heavy Cloverfield rumors and the Bad Robot involvement, this story was originally penned by Billy Ray and further developed by Ray and Mark L Smith (Abrams is a red herring). It takes the oft put to film Allied Invasion and blends it with the Nazis occult scientists and the tiny town they occupy. The result is a pretty decent war movie and an entertainingly gory horror movie.
It stars Jovan Adepo as the good-hearted but terrible soldier Boyce. He wants to help and be brave but he just doesn’t have it in him to be as cold blooded as his brothers in arms. Wyatt Russell relunctantly leads the team as Corporal Ford: a soldier that’s seen enough battles to know how important staying on mission is. One of the best movie Nazi bad guys yet is Pilou Asbaek as Cpt Wafner. (This will make you wish he had been given more to do in Game of Thrones.) Mathilde Oliver makes you like Chloe almost as much as Boyce does. The small cast all do quite well in their roles. Sure, there are some tropes and obvious beats, but the sum of it’s parts outshines the minor annoyances.
The effects are damn fine. The framing, lighting, and overall cinematography impresses. The trailer does not do a sufficient job of advertising the movie. Be prepared for some body horror. Be equally prepared for the realities of war. Be prepared to like the movie more than you intended to before you hit play.
It may be part Wolfenstein, part The Keep, and part Re-Animator, but it is all good. This fall we encourage you to drop into the sales racks and find that film Overlord.
Find That Film: Evolution
Back in 2001, the film comedy as a genre that people regularly went to the theater for was beginning to change, and, in my opinion, not for the better. So leave it to Ivan Reitman, a director with a proven track record in comedy, to bring a throwback to one of his earlier films: Ghostbusters. Evolution is very much its own film, and yet, comparisons can and will be drawn, to Evolution’s detriment. And yet, Evolution succeeds on all fronts. It’s one of the funniest movies ever, the science fiction is science fiction-y enough, and it has a satisfying act structure. Hell, it made $100 million at the box office, and was still considered a misfire, what with its $80 million budget.
A meteor crash lands in the Arizona desert, bringing with it a lifeform that rapidly evolves from single-celled organisms to dangerous animals in a matter of days. Drs. Ira Kane (David Duchovny)and Harry Block (Orlando Jones), two professors from the local community college are on the forefront to protect Earth from this threat, before the military steps in (led by General Woodman played to smarmy perfection by Ted Levine) with a CDC representative (Julianne Moore) to place tight restrictions on their access. The monsters get underestimated, and Ira and Harry enlist the help of a fireman trainee (Seann William Scott) to help them save the planet. The chemistry between David Duchovny and Orlando Jones by itself is a solid reason to watch this movie, and they are remarkably funny together. By making a comedy first and backing it up with a solid science fiction action film, Ivan Reitman ultimately serves up a satisfying movie that is worth your time to find. Just remember to bring your Head and Shoulders.
Find That Film: Blood Simple
The Coen brothers are powerhouses of modern cinema, and here is their first movie: Blood Simple…and what a debut! Neon-drenched, bloody, violent, Texas-themed neo-noir, and man, does it pack a punch! Like a movie we covered last season: Miller’s Crossing, here, the Coens present us with a flick that is film noir on the surface, but reveals itself as a straight crime drama with a skin of noir on it.
Ray (John Getz)and Abby (Frances McDormand)are together now, and Abby’s husband (Dan Hedaya) doesn’t care for the pairing. To that end he hires an unscrupulous private detective (M. Emmett Walsh) to kill them both, but the P.I. has plans of his own. It’s a simple story that relies on its performances to pull it through, and boy, does Blood Simple deliver. Dan Hedaya especially is playing against type here in a way that he almost never would again. He is a ball of menace and avarice, and the Coens go out their way to show us that Ray will not be the hero here as they draw many similarities between Ray and Marty. M. Emmett Walsh is an affable, laughing man…right up until he isn’t, and Frances McDormand plays a doe-eyed Texas blossom who isn’t as nearly naive as she seems. Blood Simple should rank up with the Coens’ best films: No Country For Old Men, Miller’s Crossing, O Brother Where Art Thou…It all starts here, and boy, do we start with a bang!
Find That Film: The Flamingo Kid
Welcome back to season 6 of Find That Film! And to kick things off, here’s a coming of age summer film from 1984 starring Matt Dillon called The Flamingo Kid. Matt Dillon through the 80s was known for being a broody, wrong side of the tracks pretty boy, and in The Flamingo Kid, he plays Jeffrey, a good card player who can spot an opportunity and exploit it without coming off like a complete douchebag. The difference here is that Jeffrey is a likeable man who isn’t up to his neck in angst.
Back home, Jeffery’s father Arthur (a delightful Hector Elizondo) is disappointed in some of his son’s choices, but isn’t the overbearing Brooklyn father stereotype we were normally presented with through the 70s and 80s, and it is a wonder to behold. Richard Crenna plays the man Jeffrey would like to become, even if he’s a total prick…like Richard Crenna was good at portraying. The Flamingo Kid has a lot going on in it…more than can be gone into here. So hear what we have to say about it, and then find that Garry Marshall film. If you like the slice of life that Happy Days was, check out a slightly more grown up version of it in The Flamingo Kid.
Find That Film: The Boogens
For episode 23, we are finally closing out season five by discussing the 1981 not-horror-classic The Boogens. This low budget monster flick is best remembered for its monsters. For the record, ManWithPez fully objects to its inclusion in the Find That Film pantheon (remember how upset he was about Ice Pirates?). Warning: This episode has a hostile witness.
The Boogens shows us the cold dreary week of two college-aged men on a mining contract, the women who join them to limit the boredom, the old timers heading up the job, a creepy local, and a dog. While the advertising and creepy local would hint at a slasher flick, this is in line with the cheesy monster movies of the past. It opens with newspaper clippings explaining the history of death in the mines and one unfortunate recent victim who is simply presumed missing. As is standard, people go about life not knowing anything’s amiss while more people fail to appear when they should. It culminates in a basic monster vs humans moment within the reopened mines.
The inclusion of this movie has little to do with the plot or underwhelming effects and everything to do with the pure charm and professionalism coming off the cast. I give quite a bit of credit to director James L Conway for getting solid reactions from the actors without having a creature on set for most of the scenes. Jeff Harlan and Anne-Marie Martin may have flat characters but convince the viewer they are terrified and in fear for their lives. Rebecca Balding is great as the perky reporter. Fred McCarren nails the awkward every man part. Even though they’re pretty one dimensional, all the characters seem realistic and of average intelligence. It’s nice to see regular people in a horror movie.
Come for the monster madness. Stay for the chocolate cake. Then ignore the monsters and find that film The Boogens. It’s neat.
Find That Film: Impulse
At the tail end of Summer of 1984, an intriguing psychological thriller slipped in and out of theaters. Even though it had sex, murder, and small town insanity, season five episode 22’s Impulse was completely overlooked.There was simply no way it was ever going to make a name for itself with the incredible movie landscape of 1984.
Meg Tilly stars as Jennifer, a ballet dancer, who travels home with her doctor fiancé Stuart (Tim Matheson) when her mother attempts suicide. Her arrival finds her father Bob (John Carlen) and brother Eddie (Bill Paxton) are at each others’ throats more than usual. There’s something wrong; the small town and its people begin to seem menacing instead of quirky. As Jennifer and Stuart ask more questions, Dr. Carr (Hume Cronyn) agrees that the town is at its wits’ end. With people being killed in broad daylight, Jennifer worries neither she nor her loved ones will make it out alive.
Impulse was directed by Graham Baker and written by Don Carlos Dunaway and Nicholas Kazan. Though it may seem slow at times, the screen is masterfully painted by cinematographer Thomas Del Ruth. It’s a beautiful film with lots of sunlight and muted tones of a worn small town. The budget was more akin to a TV film, but this creative team made the most of what they were given (watch for an amazing arson scene).
Sure, Impulse is derivative. It’s also well acted and unique enough to be a worthy find. Med Tilly gives just enough naivety and subtle strength to make me, not a Tilly fan, want to find that film Impulse.
I love this couple. They are knowledgible and learning the Podcast lifestyle as they go and I see much potential with them. I can't wait to hear more and I know they will share some fun information with us.