55 episodes

Author and former The A.V Club and The Dissolve staff writer Nathan Rabin and co-host Clint Worthington bring the cult pop culture website Nathan Rabin’s Happy Place to the world of podcasts with Nathan Rabin’s Happy Cast, an audio wonderland for special snowflakes where we discuss bad movies, bad people (such as Donald Trump), new movies (lotta overlap with ‘bad movies’ on that one) and the happy places in pop culture and life that make all of the hassle worth it. Make our Happy Cast your Happy Place as we lovingly massage your eardrums all up in cyber space.

Travolta/Cage Nathan Rabin

    • Society & Culture

Author and former The A.V Club and The Dissolve staff writer Nathan Rabin and co-host Clint Worthington bring the cult pop culture website Nathan Rabin’s Happy Place to the world of podcasts with Nathan Rabin’s Happy Cast, an audio wonderland for special snowflakes where we discuss bad movies, bad people (such as Donald Trump), new movies (lotta overlap with ‘bad movies’ on that one) and the happy places in pop culture and life that make all of the hassle worth it. Make our Happy Cast your Happy Place as we lovingly massage your eardrums all up in cyber space.

    #5: Moment by Moment/Birdy (with Alonso Duralde)

    #5: Moment by Moment/Birdy (with Alonso Duralde)

    This week on the podcast, the tables turn for our intrepid young hunks, as John Travolta’s hot streak comes to a close with 1978’s Moment by Moment and Nicolas Cage gets a big, juicy, Cage-tastic role in 1984’s war drama Birdy. And we’ve got film critic Alonso Duralde (The Wrap, Linoleum Knife, Who Shot Ya?) in the passenger seat for this sizzling mix of May-December romance and homoerotic Vietnam melodrama!

    Moment by Moment is the third and final film of Travolta’s contract with Robert Stigwood, a languid romance between a half-witted, drug-addled beach bum (Travolta) and a recently-separated middle-aged woman (Lily Tomlin) who discovers herself in the arms of this hunkasaurus. Too bad it’s performed with all the urgency of a school play, and Travolta and Tomlin’s chemistry is more familial than erotic.

    Then there’s Birdy, Alan Parker’s 1984 adaptation of the William Wharton novel about two best friends (Cage and Matthew Modine) wrestling with their Vietnam trauma and using the power of only-slightly-heterosexual manlove, and the majesty of flight, to fix themselves and each other. Cage lost 15 pounds and pulled out two teeth (without anesthetic) for the role, and he throws every ounce of that baby-Cage madness into every scene.

    Which one reigns supreme? Listen and find out!

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    Podcast theme by Jon Biegen
    Podcast logo by Felipe Sobreiro

    • 1 hr 4 min
    #4: Grease (1978) / The Cotton Club (1984) with Jake Fogelnest

    #4: Grease (1978) / The Cotton Club (1984) with Jake Fogelnest

    This week on the pod, we continue our trek through John Travolta and Nic Cage’s early careers, when Travolta was hitting it big as a singing, dancing A-list movie star and Cage was still slumming it in weird supporting roles in his uncle’s ambitious films. To that end, we brought on Emmy-nominated writer, comedian and satirist Jake Fogelnest (Corporate, The Fogelnest Files) to talk about these distinctly disparate entries in our subjects’ oeuvre.

    For Grease, it was John Travolta’s big moment — a rip-roaring, gleeful Hollywood musical with killer choreography, catchy songs, and only a few major whiffs of problematic material when seen through 21st-century eyes. And then, there’s The Cotton Club, the Robert Evans-produced misfire that saw Francis Ford Coppola try to make a Gilded-Age melodrama about an aspiring musician (Richard Gere), a black tap-dancing performer (Gregory Hines), and the titular Harlem club where their paths collide. Oh, and Nic Cage is there too, paying Gere’s hotheaded brother who weasels his way into the mafia that owns the club.

    Grease is exuberant where Cotton Club is… less so, lean where the latter is bulky (though Cotton Club Encore at least restores some of Coppola’s intended vision), but both have a lot to discuss. And discuss we do, alongside tangents about The Fanatic, Blinded by the Light and Alan Carr, among other things. Take a listen!

    Pledge to our Patreon at patreon.com/travoltacage
    Follow us on Twitter @travoltacage
    Email us questions at travoltacagepod@gmail.com
    Podcast theme by Jon Biegen
    Podcast logo by Felipe Sobreiro

    • 1 hr 17 min
    #3: Saturday Night Fever (1977) / Racing With the Moon (1984)

    #3: Saturday Night Fever (1977) / Racing With the Moon (1984)

    This week on Travolta/Cage, We Hate Movies’ Andrew Jupin clears the dance floor to help Nathan and Clint through a groovy double feature of Saturday Night Fever and Racing with the Moon!

    In Saturday Night Fever, John Travolta grooves and twists his hips through his first big superstar role as Tony Manero, a blustering Noo Yawker who dreams of stardom and only gets a taste of it when he dances at the local nightclub. Everyone knows this one for its banging Bee Gees soundtrack and its groovin’ reinvigoration of disco as a trend, but it’s easy to forget that it’s also a grim, gritty take on ‘70s New York and the perils of toxic masculinity.

    On the other hand, we’ve got Richard Benjamin’s Racing With the Moon, where Nic Cage plays third fiddle to Sean Penn and Elizabeth McGovern, the reckless best friend of Penn who gets the both of them into trouble as they spent their final weeks before leaving for war in small-town 1940s America. It’s a shockingly sweet and layered picture, with Cage eking out as much pathos as he can out of a character who, in any other movie, would have a big stinking ‘I’m Going to Die in the Second Act to Motivate the Protagonist’ sign on his back.

    It’s an interesting double feature to be sure — one film is that star’s big breakout, the other a meaty supporting role in a pleasant, but otherwise obscure melodrama. But between both film’s tales of misspent youth (and a curious abortion subplot that crops up in each of them), there’s quite a lot to chew on between this pair of oft-underappreciated classics.

    Pledge to our Patreon at patreon.com/travoltacage
    Follow us on Twitter @travoltacage
    Email us questions at travoltacagepod@gmail.com
    Podcast theme by Jon Biegen
    Podcast logo by Felipe Sobreiro

    • 1 hr 22 min
    #2: The Boy in the Plastic Bubble (1976) / Rumble Fish (1983)

    #2: The Boy in the Plastic Bubble (1976) / Rumble Fish (1983)

    Welcome to episode two of Travolta/Cage! This week, film and TV critic extraordinaire Noel Murray (AV Club, The Dissolve) joins us to discuss the next two films in Travolta and Cage’s oeuvre.

    First up is 1976’s The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, a surprisingly effective TV weepie-of-the-week starring Travolta as Tod Lubitch, a boy with no immune system who has to live his life in — you guessed it — a plastic bubble. Will he find love with the relatable girl-next-door (Glynnis O’Connor)? Will he escape his life of isolation? And most importantly, will he finally get to jerk off in private?

    Then, of course, there’s Rumble Fish, Francis Ford Coppola’s avant-garde followup to The Outsiders, a film that behaves like Ponyboy’s pretentious French cousin. While the bulk of the story follows teenage ruffian Ricky-James (Matt Dillon) flirting with teenage delinquency to impress his mysterious older brother Motorcycle Boy (sorry, The Motorcycle Boy) (Mickey Rourke), Nic Cage shows up in his uncles’ movie as the surprisingly perceptive gang member Smokey. It’s moody and beautifully filmed and sports a killer Stewart Copeland score, but can it keep all that atmosphere up for two hours?

    Pledge to our Patreon at patreon.com/travoltacage
    Follow us on Twitter @travoltacage
    Email us questions at
    travoltacagepod@gmail.com
    Podcast theme by Jon Biegen
    Podcast logo by Felipe Sobreiro

    • 1 hr 7 min
    #1: Carrie/Valley Girl (with Scott Weinberg)

    #1: Carrie/Valley Girl (with Scott Weinberg)

    Hail, friends, and welcome to the first episode of Travolta/Cage!

    Think of it as Happy Cast, renewed and refreshed, with a groovy new purpose! It’s the same old Nathan and Clint, but this time, we’re going through the filmographies of John Travolta and Nicolas Cage — two of the strangest, most fascinating pop culture figures, warts and all — in chronological order.

    For our premier episode, we bring on ‘80s pop culture expert Scott Weinberg (‘80s All Over, now Science vs. Fiction) to help us talk about two of Travolta and Cage’s first big movie breakouts: 1976’s Carrie and 1983’s Valley Girl. In the former, we’ve got Travolta as pervy, evil teen Billy Nolan in Brian De Palma’s lurid horror classic; in the latter, we’ve got chiclet-toothed Nic Cage as a punky hunkasaurus chasing Deborah Foreman’s titular valley girl in Martha Coolidge’s surprisingly sweet and nuanced teen sex comedy. Who wins out? Listen and learn, my sweets!

    Pledge to our Patreon at patreon.com/travoltacage
    Follow us on Twitter @travoltacage
    Email us questions at travoltacagepod@gmail.com
    Podcast theme by Jon Biegen
    Podcast logo by Felipe Sobreiro

    • 1 hr 40 min
    Special Minisode Announcement: We're Pivoting!

    Special Minisode Announcement: We're Pivoting!

    • 17 min

Customer Reviews

Benstruff ,

Good podcast

Sometimes Nathan is too quiet but other than that it’s fine

Tbowns ,

Killer podcast

These guys blow my mind. I’m constantly laughing and learning. I can’t get enough, keep’em coming!!!!

Joro Gen ,

Love this cast!

I can listen to Rabin wax philosophical about pop culture all day.

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