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.
"Speed": Finding a Community on the Commute
Pop quiz, hot shot: What deliriously fun, fast-paced film released in the summer of 1994 made Keanu Reeves an action star? The answer, of course, is "Speed." (Or as Homer Simpson called it, "The Bus That Couldn't Slow Down.") The movie also served as the directorial debut of "Die Hard" cinematographer Jan de Bont. Plus, it made the world fall in love with Sandra Bullock, and it inspired Sarah's love of retro cat-eye glasses.
"Speed" is one of those movies that's so improbable and over-the-top, there's no point in dissecting it too much -- you'll miss all the fun. Upon rewatching it, Sarah and Raf are struck by how much they still enjoy the film, even with its ridiculous scenarios. And all these years later, Reeves' and Bullock's performances remain explosively great.
But what truly surprises the hosts is the sense of community they now see within the film. Unlike action movies with a lone wolf-type character, Reeves' police officer and the bus passengers work together to survive and thwart the villain. Camaraderie and compassion develop in the commuting micro-community, with Reeves' character using words before bullets and the passengers working together to protect one another. It's an inspiring message that still holds true today, even if the film's plausibility remains as thin as a bus pass.
Tooning In: Three Animated Movies (and One TV Show) That Sold Us Toys
Get your air horn ready, because Season 2 of What the Kids Were Watching is finally here! Sarah and Raf are back on the couch, ready to discuss the films they watched ad nauseam as kids -- and, as usual, they have a lot to say about them.
But the inaugural episode of the second season is more animated than usual, as the hosts find themselves drawn to talking about cartoons for the first time in the podcast. They tackle three animated features that were created to sell lines of toys: "The Care Bears Movie" (1985), "Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer" (1985), and "My Little Pony: The Movie" (1986). The Care Bears -- who Sarah dubs "the NSA of goodness" -- use tricks like great Carole King songs and a genuinely creepy villain to win the hosts over. Raf remembers the Rainbow Brite film fondly, but Sarah can't get over how the titular character is "pretty, but kind of useless." Then there's the My Little Pony movie, which -- according to our hosts -- made "The Care Bears Movie" look like "Citizen Kane."
However, in an extra-special bonus, the hosts also talk about a half-hour TV special that's better and more fascinating than any of the three feature-length films: "My Little Pony: Rescue at Midnight Castle." "It's like My Little Pony meets Dungeons and Dragons," says Raf, while Sarah adds, "It's like a Rush song come to life." It's a weird, wild little cartoon that's more Dethklok than dainty -- and the hosts are here for it.
"Jurassic Park": Dino Mighty
In the Season 1 finale of What the Kids Were Watching, the hosts finally find a dino-sore spot: a film they vehemently disagree on. The 1993 dinosaur action/adventure/thriller/total special effects game-changer "Jurassic Park" had so much influence on Sarah that she talks at 1.5 speed for most of the podcast. Raf, meanwhile, is ready to roar with critiques and complaints about the movie.
But as the hosts discover, there's a lot to love AND dislike about the original "Jurassic Park." For example, sexism clearly abounds, from the mean jokes at Lex's expense to the numerous Ellie Sattler butt shots. However, the film does a great job of building tension by slowly revealing the monsters (a la "Jaws"). Sarah also argues that the film is one coming-of-age metaphor after another, especially with its presentation of possible romantic partners. "If you watched this movie at the age that we watched it," she says, "you found yourself shockingly attracted to one of four characters: Sam Neill as Alan Grant, Laura Dern as Ellie, Jeff Goldblum as Ian Malcolm, or the velociraptor."
Yet it's hard to ignore the film's larger message about how humans are the real problem, especially in this day and age. As Raf quips, "It's all fun and games until someone tries to destroy a civilization." But between groan-worthy dinosaur puns, hot fashion takes, Halloween costume suggestions, and the terrifying truth about pelicans, things never get too gloomy in the podcast. After all, the hosts want to end the season on tricera-top.
"Who Framed Roger Rabbit": A Dark Noir Thriller 4 Kidz
The incredible 1988 live-action-meets-animation film "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" may be too gritty and frightening for many kids; but its special effects are still pretty impressive, and its story -- part Merrie Melodies, part "Chinatown" -- captivates the podcast hosts more than ever.
"The Crow": Caws for Remembrance
The hosts take a long loving look at "The Crow," one of Raf's favorite films from high school, and discuss the movie's tragic history and legacy as well as its cheesy moments, iconic soundtrack, and contribution to dorm room posters.
"Interview with the Vampire" and "Bram Stoker's Dracula": Sucks to Be Them
Have a bloody good time as Sarah and Raf sink their teeth into “Interview with the Vampire” and “Bram Stroker’s Dracula,” two gorgeous but gloomy films from the early 90s that portrayed vampires as more misunderstood than monstrous.