We all remember the also-ran movies from the 80's and 90's that filled our rainy days, and shaped our childhoods in profound yet subtle ways. Or do we? Welcome to You Deserve Medals, where Jay and Benny spend every episode biting down hard on the pop-culture pillow, to watch the has-been and might've-been movies from our childhoods, and talk about what made them great - or what made them disturbingly and aggressively less than great. Some of them are far better than we remember, and are definitely worth a serious Saturday night re-watch. Some of them make us hate all of humanity with a red-hot rage that never seems able to simmer.
No matter what, we take the pain and anguish - hard - so that you don't have to. So join us on a detailed trip down memory lane, as we explore and review the "oh yeah, I remember that movie, I haven't seen it in forever" flicks from yesteryear.
Heathers: Dark. Hilarious. Deep. Mineral Water.
Do you remember opening Christmas presents as a child, and every year you experienced that one trick gift? The one that looked like it should have been something else, but when you open it, you’re completely surprised by something entirely different? Well, call us Santa Claus, because we’ve given you a big shiny box labeled “Episode 12 - Heathers”, but we’ve filled it with almost 2 hours of deep philosophical discussions related to relationships, stereotypes, and other light and airy subjects. And is there really anything better than listening to two physically and emotionally broken men in their mid-40’s yammer on about deep topics in a semi-cheesy late 80’s movie for almost two hours?
A new entry to our list of phrases we never thought we would utter: Heather’s is another fan request. And boy howdy did it pretty much toss everything we expected right out the window along with our hopes, dreams, and life potential. Heathers is truly one of the most unique movies of modern cinema, ushering in grittier and more cynical 90’s flair while waving goodbye to the 80’s with complex ideas around popularity and suicide glorification. In between all of this is characters that have no business being as complex as they are, lines that shouldn’t be as eternally hilarious as they are, and Christian Slater channeling his inner Jack Nicholson as well as he did. This movie is weird yet entertaining, funny yet ominously dark, and absolutely worth a watch (or rewatch).
Based on feedback from one person, our episode write-ups will no longer feature key topics covered. We want our episodes to truly be a surprise, so that your absolute disappointment and rage can be maximized. And despite a deplorably wide chasm in terms of work and effort put into this show by Jay, Benny would love to do even less than he already is. So chug some mineral water, strip in the woods, and let Jay and Benny poison you into flavour country. Or something.
The Neverending Story: Not Even a Dumpster Fire of a Flying Dog-Thing Can Ruin This Classic
A young boy, overwhelmed with grief at the sudden and potentially violent loss of his mother. A newly widowed father, still struggling to cope with massive change, becomes cold and distant to his son. With his imagination the only thing allowing him to escape to some semblance of happiness, the boy shoplifts a valuable original print book from a kind old man’s shop, and proceeds to hide in his school overnight while hallucinating a fantastical adventure with talking rocks and wolves until the early hours of the morning. Is this a horror story? A semi-accurate description of the life trauma that made Benny the mess he is today? Or a seminal childhood classic which features a flying dog-dragon that holds up about as well as a ham sandwich you hid behind a radiator 20 years ago?
The Neverending Story is one of those rare childhood classics that not only deserves to be called one, but offers complexity, creativity, and a deep sugary nougat you usually have to suck on a Tootsie Pop to reach. From gorgeous set pieces, to solid directing and editing, right down to surprisingly deep characters, no amount of shade tossed onto it by two embittered middle-aged men can tarnish the shine this movie has. Yes, some parts are goofy, some moments don’t really survive the test of time too well, but for the most part it’s a solid romp down memory lane.
Climb aboard that abhorrent piece of garbage Falcor, and chase some bullies into a garbage dumpster as we discuss such topics as:
Benny had absolutely no idea that this movie was originally a German film. Like, German German
There was not one, but two sequel films. The fact that you’re saying “really?” pretty much sums up how good they were
The character design is fantastic in this movie, far better than they have any right to be. Even the wolf, who has some awful motion effects near the end, still manages to elicit a sense of dread
The matte paintings in this film are honestly among the best we’ve ever seen, and it renewed our sorrow for this lost art form
Transitions, transitions, transitions. It’s a little thing, but the movements between the fantasy world and Bastion’s real world are smooth and perfectly timed, and really add to the effectiveness of the storytelling
Contrary to what Benny spent the past 26 years of his life believing, the horse that plays Artax didn’t actually die, and you’re a fool for believing that he did. But not Benny. Benny is no fool
We don’t care how fondly you remember Falcor; he is a garbage character who repeatedly annihilates any tension or gravity the movie builds. The producers also apparently blew their effects budget on the other characters, because Falcor looks like a grade 3 production of Marmaduke
It’s amazing what an adult perspective can give you with a movie like this. The inner battle with Bastion - real life vs imagination - is presented really well, and makes you think deeply about the moments we began to drift away from fantasy
Also, the Sphinxs’ at the first gate have nipples
Bastion, you have the power to grant yourself any wish you like, and as many as you could ever dream of. Oh, your first wish is to fly the crappy luck dragon? Really?
Monster Squad: When Classic Monsters and a Semi-Obscure 80‘s Kid Adventure Make a Beautiful Baby
Finding a $20 bill in the pocket of a jacket you haven’t worn in a while. Sliding into a hole in the wall restaurant out of desperation and having the best meal of your life. A negative paternity test, regardless of your age, location, or relationship status. Bringing home a pet cat and discovering it’s actually a dog. Life is full of pleasant surprises like these, so imagine our shock and pleasant surprise when this episode came to be. Not only did we receive confirmation that real, living human beings listen to our show, but one of them (You know who you are, Matthew) tossed us a flick neither of us even remembered, and it turned out to be way better than it has any right to be.
Monster Squad is the gripping tale of Dracula (who has unclear motivations) raising a small platoon of classic monsters (with no clear motivations) to terrorize a town in a quest to find a gem (with unclear motivations) and the only thing standing in their way is a small band of plucky kids (with no clear motivations). However, much like the obscene amount of ketchup you toss onto your wife’s cooking so you can say “yummy” through gritted teeth and visible tears, it just works - and works pretty darn well. The classic monster look, mixed with decent acting and comedic timing that’s on point, combine to make a movie that went from slipping under our radar, to gathering the kids for a classic 80’s movie night while they break their necks rolling their eyes and calling us old. Fatherhood is an eternal joy.
Turn the lights low, light some candles, and put the spooky music on, as Jay and Benny haunt their way through such scary topics as:
Matthew started the fire, and more of you have come forward with gasoline. If you listen to our show, and want us to watch something and talk about it, please reach out to us on Facebook, Tik Tok, Instagram, our website, carrier pigeon, horse courier, etc.
There’s something to be said about the monster choices in this movie. This is the classic 50’s Dracula, complete with broach, cape, and bat transformation. And he does a fantastic job of being menacing while still classy
Werewolf ends up being one of the most compelling characters in the entire movie. We love his arc, right up to his “thank you” at death
Rudy is a...perplexing...character. He’s an absolute badass of a stud, who also desperately wants to be part of a group of smaller, nerdy kids obsessed with monsters. That isn’t typically how life works
The interactions between Sean and his dad are fantastic, and remind us of a couple of great moments in The Gate. Family familiarity and chemistry are really hard to fake in a movie, and Monster Squad succeeds where so many other movies have failed
The comedic timing is great. Cuts between comments like “2,000 year old dead guys don’t get up and walk on their own” and an immediate clip of a 2,000 year old dead guy walking on his own. Or the monster squad joining hands with a dog paw thrown in and someone asking how the dog got up into the treehouse. These are little things, but they make a big difference in the quality of a movie
The 80’s musical montage of the kids getting ready to fight the monsters include Rudy making real, live, silver bullet ammunition in a school shop class. Methinks this would be frowned upon
If you aren’t kicking wolfman in the nards, we don’t know who you are anymore
One would think that the police would have a better strategy to fight these monsters than to lay down their firearms and charge into hand-to-hand combat
Do yourself a favour and watch this movie to the end, so you can enjoy the closing credits monster squad rap. This is real. It is a real song you will experience. For real
Transformers: Just When You Thought Chernobyl and Challenger Were the Worst Things from 1986
Have you ever been without something or someone for so long that you ache from places deep within yourself? And when you finally become reacquainted, the crushing realization that reality will never live up to expectation washes over every fiber of your being and leaves you a convulsing, sobbing waste of human life? Well put on some of that extra runny mascara and squeeze into your party dresses, because after a longer than anticipated hiatus due to all sorts of disasters only a middle aged family man would ever have to deal with, Jay and Benny are back! And what better way to celebrate our return than with an absolute dumpster fire of an animated movie, based on a flaming crap heap of an 80’s cartoon, which spawned frustratingly inarticulate action figures, all of which Benny somehow loves more than life itself?
Transformers - the 1986 cartoon, not the abominations that Michael Bay crapped out after a night of shooting motor oil into his g******s - really is a movie from our youths that should never have existed. From half the Autobots we grew up loving being gang executed in the first 5 minutes, to Orson Welles gasping out Unicron lines while being resuscitated on a hospital gurney, this movie is a shining example of the power of nostalgia. Sure, Optimus Prime rocket jet-leaping into battle and “arise Rodimus Prime” are goosebump-inducing moments, but this is one of those movies that we love solely because of the time in our lives that it represents. When we had all the time in the world. When our biggest concern was having to eat an extra veggie for dinner. When our main sorrow came from having to put Optimus Prime and Megatron down for dinner. All of those moments before growing up, getting a job and raising a family absolutely annihilated our wills to live. It sure as heck isn’t because this is a good movie, because it absolutely is not.
Transform and roll out with us, and watch this movie through the lenses of a 9 year old as we dive back into our childhoods and talk about things like:
Can this movie’s cast calm the #$%@$ down? Orson Welles, Eric Idle, Judd Nelson, Leonard Nimoy, Robert Stack, Casey Casem...say what you will about the movie, but the production team didn’t skimp on the talent
We feel as though there was a better way to introduce new characters than having most of the ones we loved getting unceremoniously gunned down in cold blood. Ironhide getting a Megatron cannon to the skull? Cold blooded
While we’re on the subject, it isn’t as if they committed genocide so that awesome new characters could take their place. Is Arcee better than Ratchet? Is Kup better than Ironhide? Should Blur even be allowed to exist in this world? We think not
Jay can kiss Benny’s posterior; Stan Bush wrote the soundtrack to our lives. I dare you to play Dare and not rock the heck out
This entire mess of a movie produced two moments that you will Youtube again and again. Optimus exploding into the air to gun down Decepticons is the animated kids movie equivalent of Rambo opening up a 50 cal on Myanmar soldiers
Ultra Magnus is far more of a repugnant coward than we remember him being. From aggressively not caring about comrades presumably dying, to clawing away at the Matrix while he’s gunned down into pieces, he’s sniveling and worthless
Most of the side stories are completely pointless. The ocean world gives us an annoying child to entertain Hot Rod, Kup, and Grimlock, and the junk planet gives us horrible looking robots who conveniently have interstellar spaceships ready to launch. Yes, we get it...here are shark and motorcycle robots for you to consume, little piglets
The final fight between Hot Rod and Galvatron/Unicron is cheesy, terribly animated, and makes no sense. It’s also one of Benny’s favourite moments in all of movie history, so take that however you like
B-Sides and Other Rarities - The Lost Episode
Imagine being present during the golden age of the dinosaurs, or traveling back to witness the rise of Athens, the fall of Rome, or the incredible first flight of the Wright brothers. The awe and wonder you would feel watching those first few moments of the moon landing, or the emotional ride of Banting and Best taking their first steps towards saving the lives of millions of people every year. Well, now is your chance to turn the clock back and witness a moment that is of equal gravity and impact on the history of the human species.
Jay and Benny are proud to present a B-Side more anticipated and coveted than anything hacks like The Beatles and NIN ever crapped out. While we sort out a couple of mid-life crisis situations, and while Jay uses medication to hold down his vomit while editing our upcoming Transformers (1986) episode, please enjoy this short introduction prologue - the first episode we ever recorded, which has lain dormant and unreleased until this moment.
Join us at the very start of our podcast journey, before movies like Krull and Remo Williams crushed what little happiness and hope we held in our hearts, as we explore such random garbage as:
How stupid Loot Crate and its ilk are
Collecting something you love is fine. Collecting it until your bank account is empty is...not fine
Did you know that they made a Babylon 5 John Sheridan action figure?
A lot of people like us are bringing their kids up with the original Star Wars, not the new trash fire being presented. What will Disney do in 5-10 years when they start demanding more Luke, Han and Leia?
FYI; in the 90’s, there was no Star Wars. People like us kept it alive by slogging through games like Rebel Assault. You’re welcome
Simpler times, when we were younger, and thoroughly enjoyed watching someone else play a video game like Dark Forces. While having to eat chips in the kitchen. Long story
Please read the Expanded Universe Star Wars books. Please. If you are even remotely unsatisfied with where the new trilogy went, these books will cleanse your soul
Us spending 10 minutes trying to justify the structure and content of our show
2010: A Textbook Example of How Not to Up a Sequel
Since the dawn of cinema, sequels have always been a dicey proposition. As the media is oft to tell us, fans are absolute monsters and barely register as human, and as such, can be fickle and unreasonable with how they receive follow-ups to their favourite properties. Some sequels meet even the most jaded fan expectations, and provide quality and worthy continuations of fantastic starts - think Winter Soldier, Terminator 2, and Wrath of Khan. In other cases, you get movies like Last Jedi, Speed 2, and Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, all being served by Howard the Duck in a Miniskirt as he squats over your table and colon-dumps onto your plate. However, once in a long while, you get a sequel that not only manages to reach the level of expectation set upon it by demanding fans, but in many ways surpasses the original source material and becomes legendary in its own right. Empire Strikes Back is an obvious example of this, but in this episode, we get to talk about another absolute gem of sequel legend - 2010: The Year We Make Contact.
Strap into your command chair and join Jay and Benny as we blast off into Jupiter orbit, and enjoy one of the best sequels in movie history. 2001 is a tough act to follow because of the whole...you know...absolute artistry and generation-defining storyline. However, 2010 inexplicably knocks it out of the park with a compelling follow-up to the events of the previous film, while adding incredible acting, solid storytelling, and themes of unity and camaraderie against all odds. 2010 is a rare gem in the world of sequels for an obvious yet often overlooked reason - it respects and honours the original material, using it as a springboard to continue a story that makes existing fans happy, while providing an accessible journey to new ones. We wish more studious would take note of this *cough Disney Star Wars cough*.
Avoid staring directly at the monolith as we explore such topics as:
With two minutes of computer mission review text, the viewer is perfectly brought up to speed on the events of the previous movie. If you never saw 2001, these two minutes would have you perfectly positioned to enjoy the movie. Why don’t more sequels do this?
Russia and the US are close to an all out war, yet the scientist interactions between both nations are presented with the right amount of intrigue and cooperation. The growing friendship between the two nations’ crews is one of the best parts of this movie
If you’re like Benny, and you have an abnormally strong dislike of women with pronounced chin dimples, you’re going to HATE Floyd’s wife
Dave is a returning character, playing a pivotal role in story development. He is a beloved character that is treated with respect and dignity. Last Jedi is absolute garbage
Enough good things cannot be said about the growing relationships between space crews. From Floyd’s fatherly comforting of a young Russian officer to John Lithgow’s buddy Max, the viewer is treated to enemies slowly becoming friends in a universe that doesn’t allow it
Dear NASA: We get it. There’s clay on Mars. Awesome. How about you get around to launching a drill probe so we can all say hello to the sentient squid race under Europa’s icy crust? Pretty please?