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.
2010: A Textbook Example of How Not to Screw 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?
Labyrinth: You Remind Us of the Babe
30 years ago, if you were to tell us that one of our favourite movies of all time would feature ridiculous looking puppets, a young woman struggling with the emotional burden of having to grow up, and a tarted up rock star complete with musical acts and dance sequences, we would have called you crazy and stomped off to play with our Transformers and Star Wars toys. 30 years later; 30 years of additional movies, TV shows, books and comics, video games and magazines, and still...very few things come close to the imagination, quality, and brilliance of Labyrinth. Very few properties conjure feelings of awe, excitement, and dread, while thoroughly entertaining and constantly making the audience think of underlying ideas and concepts, the way that Labyrinth does. We’ll be the first to admit - this movie isn’t for everyone. But we promise you that a more unique, creative and well-executed film you will have a difficult time finding.
Travel into the Goblin King’s domain with us as we revisit a timeless classic we had almost forgotten about. If you’ve never seen Labyrinth before, grab your kids and snuggle in for a fun and charming journey, complete with humour, adorable characters, and a magical view of the struggles of growing up. If you’ve seen Labyrinth before, you can remind yourself of how incredible Jim Henson’s creations were, and how much this movie shaped your childhood - even if you didn’t think it did. Regardless, you will laugh, you will smile, and you will be entertained. No jokes or self-deprecating commentary in this episode write up; Labyrinth is awesome, and we love every bit of it.
Saddle up Ambrosius and ride into battle with us as we talk about things like:
Benny is a simple man. A very, shockingly simple man. As such, he absolutely didn’t put it together and realize that the entire story was about Sarah ‘s struggle to let go of childhood and grow up
Sarah lives with her dad and stepmom, and her younger baby brother is a half brother. It’s a level of familial complexity we didn’t expect from a movie of the time
There are some classic roles that make it almost impossible to imagine anyone else playing them; the Goblin King is one of them. David Bowie is fantastic, and everything about him is perfect for the role
The amount of work he put into it, including showing up with complete scores, is a level of dedication no one was expecting. And based on his performance, you can tell he loved every second of it
Yes, they’re Muppets. Yes, real humans acting alongside them makes this even more abundantly clear. And yes, they look incredible and suit the movie perfectly
With the exception of one song (YOU know which one we’re talking about) the musical numbers are fun and whimsical
Unbelievably, the character of Hoggle has a full character development arc, and is deeper and more sympathetic than most characters in movies we’ve reviewed to date (*cough* Remo *cough*)
We are almost positive that Jim Henson made Ambrosius specifically for Benny
Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins and Ends - Thank Goodness
Is it an homage to classic 70’s kung-fu movies, complete with an old master teaching a young and impatient prodigy the mystic and ancient ways of combat? Perhaps it’s a tongue-in-cheek popcorn action movie, poking fun at itself while projecting chaotic and entertaining action sequences with reckless abandon? Or is it a poignant commentary on shadow organizations and the futility - and risks - of embracing an assassinate evil policy to address the world’s issues? Well, your guess is as good as ours, and we’re pretty sure the people who made this movie didn’t know either. Just like the pile of vomit Benny’s dog helpfully deposits on the one patch of carpeted floor in the house every week, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins is a jumbled patty of everything mentioned here - vomit included.
Hold on to Ferris wheels, steel pipes hanging off the side of the Statue of Liberty, and any other ridiculous object you can grasp as we try our best to understand what the hell is going on in this movie. We’re pretty sure Remo Williams was supposed to cash in on all of the crazy action movies tearing up the box office at the time, but fell victim to a combination of starring someone no one has ever heard of before (or after), and being absolutely bonkers-level insane. Seriously, we have no idea what happened in this thing, or why, or how. We just know that it was two hours of absolute insanity. And not good insanity, like a pile of puppies all fighting to give you kisses. We’re talking bad insanity, like when you drop napalm-quality farts in the car, and secretly lock the windows so you can revel in your family members crying, frantically fumbling with buttons, and dry heaving uncontrollably. Happy summer!
If you can stomach it, strap in while Jay and Benny waste your time discussing such things as:
Remo’s elderly Asian instructor wasn’t played by an Asian person. Let’s just get that out of the way
Remo Williams won an actual, for real Oscar for makeup, because of the work done to make someone non-Asian look Asian. We’ll get that out of the way as well
One final thing to get out of the way: Chiun is far and away the best character in this movie, and almost makes it worth the watch. Joel Grey’s acting is fantastic, the lines he delivers are well-timed, and he’s the most likeable person in this entire disaster
While completely unintentional, this movie does a great job making the audience really think about the implications of assassination. Killing off the world’s worst people sounds great in theory, but is it?
Remo’s training throughout the movie feels like it’s less martial arts, and more a mix of goofy parkour and kids on YouTube risking their lives for a few likes
At one point, the bad guys pay three random construction workers $20 each to literally murder a human being. And they have absolutely no problem with this arrangement
Remember in The Matrix, when Neo dodged bullets and it was the coolest thing you had ever seen? Well, Remo dodges bullets as well. It is absolutely not the coolest thing you have ever seen
Someone get me the name of the dog trainer used in this movie, because the guard dogs that attack Remo are smarter than Benny. That isn’t saying much, but still
Fred Ward, who played Remo, has a filmography with Tremors and Joe Dirt at the top of it. Just saying
Innerspace: Amazing Concept and Effects Filling in a Turd Sandwich
Imagine inventing a technology that can shrink anything, like a manned submarine, to the point where it can exist within another living creature. Aside from the childlike wonder and excitement that would come from a new frontier of exploration, the implications to healthcare, biomechanics, civilian and military engineering, would be absolutely staggering. Hold that image in your heads, dear listeners. Now imagine collecting the contents of a neglected septic system, carelessly attaching it to an industrial pump, and absolutely dousing this magical technology with steaming, horrific no-no juice halfway through a demonstration. Welcome to Innerspace - a frontier that would have been awesome if most of the movie didn’t get in the way.
Join us as we do our best to make it through a movie that is a fantastic concept and stunning special effects, supported by the shaky legs of a convoluted plot, poorly developed characters, and absolute wastes of actors we grew up loving. What started as a slightly light hearted heist/sci-fi journey into an unwitting human subject’s body inexplicably transformed into a shoddy slapstick, from Martin Short basically being Grimes to the main villains being literal ankle-gnawing gnomes. Toss in a shockingly unstable relationship that turns into a poorly conceived and unbelievable love story? At this point, why the hell not.
If you can stomach it, stick yourself into syringe and inject yourself into this disappointment as we discuss such hard hitting subjects as:
We cannot stress enough how dysfunctional the romance between Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan is. A psychologist could make their career writing about it
The primary baddie takes his queues from the Terminator, from his stiff robotic movements to his weapon appendages. He also loves killing people in a mall with a finger gun, so there’s that
One of the redeeming qualities of this film are the sequences inside the body. The red blood cells, the arterial walls, and the submersible all look absolutely fantastic. It’s a shame they were wasted
Innerspace shares something in common with Flight of the Navigator: Both films hit a sudden fork in the road, with one direction leading to a competent, coherent and entertaining movie, while the other direction leads to bonkers slapstick and visual garbage. And both films steered HARD to the bonkers side
Martin Short, Andrea Martin and Joe Flaherty - SCTV alum all - combine in a scene and do absolutely nothing of value. It’s like buying a Ferrari and then parking it in a dark garage, never to see the light of day
The Cowboy. This is a character that exists. What his purpose is, we cannot tell you
Talk about a complete opposite; Tuck’s fight against the bad guy inside Martin Short is one of the best moments we have seen in a movie to date. Short and Ryan’s fight against ridiculous shrunken bad guys while driving a car just makes us feel sad
One good thing came of this movie; Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan fell in love and got married. Theirs is a legendary love, one that lasted throughout the age
Space Camp: It's Hard to Imagine that Worse Things Have Happened to NASA
Are you ready to blast off into outer space for a rip-roaring adventure that’s out of this galaxy? Setting your phasers to stun...ning acting and character development, resulting in roles you actually care about and are emotionally invested in? Initiating warp speed to get through every moment of a well-written and even better paced story with depth and memorable moments? Well, Return of the Jedi was three years earlier than whatever this abomination of a film is trying to be, so you might want to break out your trilogy DVDs, toss on that abandoned Chewbacca hoodie you left in your dog’s crate as a blanket, and cry yourself to sleep, because this ride is going to burn you up on reentry.
This week’s movie is Space Camp. You probably don’t remember it, most likely because your mind has erased the memory to protect your fragile psyche. All of the ingredients of a solid movie are there - brilliant kids attending NASA space camp, a plucky robot sidekick, and a space walk to remember. But just like every meal that Benny tries to cook for his ungrateful family, the ingredients don’t work if you literally poop them onto a tray without any strategy or care. Honestly, we don’t even have the heart to write some elaborate description of this one. It just hurts.
And to think...we always thought the Challenger incident was the worst look NASA could wear. Woof.
Let’s all chant “don’t choose any more movies that only Jay watched” while we discuss such galactic topics as:
Did you know that, before knocking it out of the park in roles like in The Joker and Gladiator, Joaquin Phoenix used to be a human child? And a garbage actor at that?
The main characters of this movie might as well have been copied out of a cliché textbook; hot brainy chick, strong ambitious woman ready to learn humility, brilliant practical guy who is always second guessed, and carefree loner who has to learn how to be a leader. And by copy, we mean badly scribbled in crayon
We both relate to the Rudy character...we all adore science, but don’t have the brains for it. That’s why Benny majored in ancient fart jokes for his undergrad. Student loans well spent!
Little Phoenix thinks that the world is Star Wars and he’s Luke Skywalker. That is until the loner/leader rips his heart out and craps all over it
The robot...we don’t have adequate words to express how annoying and bizarre the robot is. Equally baffling is the complete indifference all characters have to what amounts to sentient AI
In order to get little Phoenix into space, the robot causes a space shuttle error during a test firing that only has “full and complete launch into outer space” as the solution. This sounds like a bit of a design flaw
For all our complaining, some of the NASA scenes make us feel like giddy kids all over again. Seeing teams of scientists scramble to solve problems with cool and calm, right down to communication and reentry windows reminds us of just how incredible our journey into the stars has been
Space Camp continues the baffling 80’s tradition of ending a movie with absolutely zero closure or coherence - simply some stock footage and an abrupt credit role
The Gate: When Unsettling Horror and Heartwarming Family Make a Film Baby
Normally, the terms “campy 80’s horror” and “heartwarming solid story telling” go together about as well as “Jay” and “healthy gastro-intestinal operation” or “Benny” and “underwear devoid of faint brown streaks”. However, this is one of those rare and beautiful exceptions to the rule, and also serves as a fantastic palate cleanser after we had to choke down the dry turd-nugget that was Buckaroo Banzai. The Gate is, quite honestly, one of the better light-horror movies you could hope to watch - an interesting idea, fantastic characters, and unsettling scenes mixed with some genuinely frightening moments result in a well paced, well acted and memorable film that succeeds in extolling the virtues of family and friendship as much as it promotes unease and fear.
Join us as we jump into that symbolic hole in the ground and explore a movie that really had it all going for it. The story is simple and mildly cheesy, but that makes it easy to follow and light to digest. Solid casting gives you a family unit that actually feels and acts like a core group that cares deeply about one another. The special effects, while a bit...80’s...at times, are some of the best effects we have seen in a movie ever, let alone one from 35 years ago. Sure, it has its “what the hell” moments, but we enjoyed the heck out of it. If you’re eager for an 80’s scare flick without unnecessary gore, graphic nudity, or vapid and poorly written characters, The Gate will not disappoint you.
Throw on your patch-covered football jacket and grab your ridiculously detailed death metal album as we dive headfirst into the gaping maw of hell to discuss things like:
Before he was giving Blade a hard time as Deacon Frost, Stephen Dorff was an adorable kid cutting his teeth in movies like this. We always assumed he was just born as an early 20’s vampire
Even if you refuse to watch this quality movie, please search Youtube for a short clip of the minions. We cannot stress enough how absolutely jaw dropping their design and effects are
Benny loves dogs more than he loves his own kids. If you’re like Benny, you’re going to have a hard time with this movie. The family has a dog, and the dog definitely doesn’t experience a smooth ride to put it very mildly
Forget Stranger Things; The Gate NAILS the 80’s look, from wardrobe to makeup and everything in between
We know that vinyl is a thing again, but this movie really takes us back to when record albums were works of art, complete with exclusive photos and themed write-ups
Whoever was responsible for casting deserves a shout out, at the very least. Dorff and his sister have some genuinely warm moments that give you pause and make you think that they are actually family
First, Leviathan made us dry heave by putting a toothy mouth onto a hand. Now The Gate doubles down with an incredibly articulated eyeball in Dorff’s palm. Forget jump scares and decapitations - this is REAL horror
The Gerry character is surprisingly deep and nuanced. His life is a mess, and is crushed under his circumstances in a way that makes the viewer sympathize for him as much as they do the main characters
SERIOUSLY: LOOK UP A VIDEO OF THE MINIONS. We still can’t believe how incredible they look, and how spectacular they integrate into the movie