Welcome to What the Kids Were Watching, a podcast dedicated to exploring the weird, wonderful, and terrible babysitter movies of Sarah and Rafael’s youth. In this podcast series, your hosts will revisit the movies they watched on repeat during their younger years, played in perpetuity thanks to their VCRs and HBO. Each episode includes a frank discussion about why the hosts loved the movie as kids, what they think upon revisiting the movie, and whether or not they’d recommend rewatching it. Not quite a gushing nostalgia-fest and not quite a harsh critical take-down, What the Kids Were Watching is funny, informative, and always honest.
"Flatliners": My Life with the Dead Med Cult
To paraphrase Nelson Wright's first line in the movie, today is a good day to talk about "Flatliners." This beautiful and bizarre 1990 film directed by Joel Schumacher captivated Sarah and Raf as young adults, and they have a lot to say about it. But does it hold up like the museum's giant sculptures...or more like the leaking ceiling?
Stylish and moody, "Flatliners" is the story of five ridiculously good-looking medical students who take turns stopping their hearts to experience the afterlife. They perform their deadly hobby in secret, surrounded by dramatic sculptures and murals of Greek gods in a museum undergoing renovations. So, yeah, it's not exactly realistic. According to Sarah, "It is absolutely gorgeous, and it makes absolutely zero sense." But -- at least to our hosts -- this movie doesn't need to make sense to be enjoyed. Its striking symbolism and what Raf dubs "tasteful excess" still look stunning, especially in the recent 4K transfer. "I recognize its flaws," Sarah admits (and the film does have a lot of flaws, like cultural appropriation and misogyny), "but I also love what works about it." Raf notes, "It is one of the front-line members of the goth army," following on the heels of 80s horror classic and fellow Kiefer Sutherland vehicle "The Lost Boys."
With Spooky Season just around the corner (or already here, according to our hosts), now's the time to grab your giant pumpkin mask and consider rewatching "Flatliners." It's not for everyone; but if you're in the mood to see character traits expressed in apartment decor, highly pettable hairstyles, and a lot of eerie-looking steam, you just might enjoy seeing it again. Just please don't celebrate with a bonfire on the museum steps.
"Beetlejuice": Springtime Is Spooky Season
Just in time for the 35th anniversary of "Beetlejuice," the second episode of Season 3 is here!
Released on March 30, 1988 (yes, it's technically a spring movie), "Beetlejuice" introduced the world to "the ghost with the most." Raf remembers this film really fondly, while Sarah was a little more apprehensive about it in her early years. But these days, both love revisiting it regularly, especially since it gives them the chance to talk about Tim Burton's overall career trajectory and goth representation in cinema. Plus, they've got hot takes on polyester blue leisure suits, Robert Goulet, and (yet again) Hot Topic. Sorry, Hot Topic.
Put on your favorite Harry Belafonte record, grab a shrimp cocktail, and enjoy the hosts' thoughts on "Beetlejuice." Because now, it's SHOWTIME.
"Scrooged": The Gift You Get Years Later
Welcome back to the couch! Season 3 of "What the Kids Were Watching" is here, and Sarah and Raf are getting into the holiday spirit with the 1988 film "Scrooged."
As with some of the previous films discussed on this podcast, "Scrooged" -- an 80s retelling of "A Christmas Carol" starring Bill Murray -- has proven a bit divisive for our hosts. Raf has wanted to talk about this movie since the podcast launched, while Sarah was resistant. "I didn't want to have to face how I just didn't love this movie," she admits. Ultimately, though, both hosts are surprised at how much they absorbed from a recent re-watch -- and at how much they missed when they were watching the movie over and over as kids.
So pop open a Tab and hit pause on "The Night the Reindeer Died" and "Bob Goulet's Old Fashioned Cajun Christmas," because you won't want to miss a minute of this podcast episode. After all, yule love it!
(Note: In the episode, Raf refers regularly to "The Christmas Carol" when he meant "A Christmas Carol." Our bad.)
"Die Hard" Part II: Unlocking the Vault (with Guest Star Eric Lichtenfeld)
In the final part of a two-part podcast episode, film historian and author Eric Lichtenfeld ("Action Speaks Louder") joins Sarah and Raf for the second half of their conversation about the 1988 action film and Christmas classic "Die Hard."
This time, the group dives even deeper into the important tropes and meaning found in the beloved film: what the music is really saying; how John McClane is pride and Hans Gruber is vanity; and the sheer delight of stealing a candy bar from the Nakatomi Corporation. Raf dares to ask if there's anything the group doesn't like about the movie (and yes, there are a few things). Sarah, meanwhile, gets to swoon while stating "I'm just basking forever now in this idea that Alan Rickman and I said the same thing, sort of, kind of."
It's also time to say "Happy trails" to Season 2 of What the Kids Were Watching, as it draws to a close with this episode. The podcast hosts send a heartfelt thank-you to everyone who's listened in, both during this season and the last one. It's been a lot of fun, and they truly appreciate all the love and support.
"Die Hard" Part I: Welcome to the After-Party, Pal (with Guest Star Eric Lichtenfeld)
For years, people have argued about whether or not the 1988 action masterpiece "Die Hard" is a Christmas movie. Sarah and Raf are not here to argue about that. They're here to close out Season 2 with an incredible guest star who provides in-depth insight into the film's production and ongoing influence -- someone who literally wrote the book on "Die Hard." (Well, he wrote the Library of Congress essay that accompanied the movie's induction into the National Film Registry.)
Film historian and author Eric Lichtenfeld ("Action Speaks Louder") joins the podcast hosts to discuss the enduring cultural legacy of "that thing in the building," from what set the film apart from other action movies to the connections it helped forge between family members. To say Eric is a "Die Hard" expert is a bit of an understatement -- in addition to writing the afore-mentioned essay for the National Film Registry, he also conducted the interviews for the text commentary track (yes, the one on your DVD!).
A fantastic raconteur, Eric shares delightful stories with Sarah and Raf about the film's subtext, its creators, and, yes, why we have turned it into a Christmas classic. Most of all, the hosts talk about why we're still talking about "Die Hard" 33 years later. It's a phenomenal movie with a ton of thought and care put into it; but as Eric states, it's also "a movie where things matter, [where] what happens to people matters." And that's just one of the many reasons why it still matters.
"The Addams Family" and "Addams Family Values": As Creepy as They Want to Be
The Addams Family: They're creepy, they're kooky, and now they're an essential part of Thanksgiving thanks to the 1991 film "The Addams Family" and especially the 1993 sequel "Addams Family Values." These goth-tastic films, both of which were released during the holiday season, were a much-needed seasonal respite from the season's treacly offerings when our hosts were growing up. "It was teenage catnip," says Raf. "Hot Topic: The Movie," adds Sarah.
Decades after their releases, the Addams Family movies remain beloved for several reasons. For one, the hosts love watching a family that rejects mainstream attitudes with a decidedly un-hipster earnestness, whether the Addams are trimming roses off the bushes or throwing knives at friends. Unlike the first film, the sequel died at the box office, but it found a new life thanks to its now-legendary Thanksgiving scene -- a scene that Sarah admits is still an important commentary on white privilege, but one with a slightly problematic perspective.
Filled with lively discussions about dumb 90s t-shirts, the genuine awesomeness of vultures, and Sarah's alarming knowledge of "Whoomp! There It Is" lyrics, this episode is sure to fester in listeners' memories in the best possible way. Just try not to judge the hosts for the record number of corrections. (And please don't send them to the Harmony Hut.)