Max commissioned one of his beloved films from high school (shout out to the Class of ’95!), Hackers. Directed by Iain Softley and starring Jonny Lee Miller and Angelina Jolie, Hackers is a mostly ridiculous look into mid-90s hacker culture that’s core plot is a rehash of Office Space, which is to say it’s a rehash of Superman III. We discuss the film as contemporary computer nerds and as grown men looking back at the naivety of early hacker culture and the weird prescience the move shows.
Today’s commission is courtesy the kind support of Sean Ray, a five time commissioner! He selected It Follows, an extremely clever and inventive horror flick written and directed by David Robert Mitchell. It has big ideas, and while it struggles to live up to them in places, the concept and performance of the plucky cast of likable yet relatively obscure young actors really makes the film shine. It’s fun to watch, it’s fun to think about, and it’s fun to talk about. How would you survive being hunted by “It”? That and a few beers is a topic that can easily kill a whole evening of hanging with your friends.
Special thanks to our buddy Jason Shankel hailing from the Nattercast for commissioning this podcast for the 1986 sci-fi action fantasy film Highlander, directed by Russell Mulcahy and starring Sean Connery and Christopher Lambert. Jason and his friends also did a deep dive on Highlander, so please check that out if you’re looking for a very affectionate and informed take from life-long fans of the franchise. As for us, we thought Highlander was cheesy fun. The film boasts an excellent soundtrack, exciting and varied sets for the extended sword fights, and some of the sturdiest and most interesting fantasy bones to hang a franchise on. We walk away wondering why hasn’t anyone rebooted this?
Special thanks to Stephen Moore, whose original commission of Home Alone we thoughtlessly trampled upon during our holiday revelries. For his make-good podcast, he has selected the classic 1973 horror film, The Exorcist. Directed by William Friedkin and starring Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, Max von Sydow, and Jason Miller, it tells the harrowing tale of a mother who turns to Catholic priests as her last hope when her daughter gets possessed by an ancient evil spirit. I’ve got to be honest, I was skeptical that the film would hold up, but does it ever. Not only does it still manage to be genuinely disturbing, but it elevates the form of the horror flick into a generally excellent film in terms of art.
Special thanks to Freddy C, friend of the pod and one of the heroes from our recent Groundhog Day charity drive, who commissioned the epic 1995 crime thriller, Heat. Directed by Michael Mann and starring Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Val Kilmer, among many, many other notable stars, it features some of the best looking and sounding action ever committed to film, not to mention an inspired mano a mano acting showdown between some of the greatest actors of their generation.
Thanks to Melonusk for commissioning the 2005 french crime drama, De Battre Mon Cœur S’est Arrêté, or The Beat That My Heart Skipped. It tells the tale of a criminal operating in the lowest levels of French crime that has an unexpected opportunity to follow his dreams of being a concert pianist. Pulled in two directions by the expectations of his father and his equally demanding, far less criminal piano tutor, director Jacques Audiard (director of Bald Move fave Un Prophète) finds clever ways of increasing the tension between the two paths that lie open to him. We enjoyed the cyclical themes of father/son, teacher/student, infatuation/love and are once again impressed with Audiard’s storytelling ability, even if Jim questions how much story we’re actually being told.
Today’s commissioned podcast is Looper, the 2012 sci-fi action thriller directed by Rian Johnson and starring, Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Emily Blunt. We have David Babulak to thank for this, as he’s the one who pulled the trigger and made the commission. This movie is really, really great, thought provoking, well made, and entertaining. It’s one of those podcasts where we sit back and think about time and space and what it’s like to meet yourself from the future, which is always fun. It’s not perfect, but it may not be possible to make a better time travel movie that’s this much fun to watch.
Special thanks to Saylor from Santa Cruz, the latest Bald Move Fantasy Football champ to claim their prize for winning the league. Emerging from the pile victorious, he has selected the 1997 vampire flick, The Lost Boys. Helmed by Joel Schumacher and chocked equally full of cool and hilarious moments and extremely questionable decisions, the film manages to confound and delight. Why is 16 year old Corey Haim taking baths and being tucked into bed by his mother? Why is there a shirtless oiled up, muscle bound sax player? Why is Rob Lowe gazing seductively from Haim’s bedroom closet, and more importantly, why is Jim completely oblivious to his siren’s call? Is the grandpa a vampire or what? All these questions and more are explored in the depth to which they deserve.
Today’s podcast was commissioned by Rylan, by virtue of his victory in the famed Bald Move Fantasy Football league. To the victor go the spoils, and Rylan has claimed the 2000 slasher/satire/thriller, American Psycho. Directed by Mary Harron and starring Christian Bale, the movie is dark, disturbing, hilarious in places, and provoked a lot of thoughts and opinions from Jim and I. What does it mean to be a sociopath, how much of this film is reality and how much is fantasy, what does it say about society and the conflict between our stated and actual values?
Special thanks to Sean Ray (previous commissioner of the Insidious series, and Blood Simple) for commissioning this late 80’s Ridley Scott crime thriller, Black Rain. Michael Douglas plays a cop alongside Andy Garcia that gets mixed up in a gang war between the Yakuza and a rival upstart over counterfeit US currency. The film explores the intercultural exchange as Douglas’s corrupt and brash NYC cop runs into the brick wall of Japanese police decorum and honor, but how successful it is in that exploration is an open question. The film is great looking, has some solid action sequences, and hilarious Michael Douglas hair, and it’s concepts don’t quite stand the test of time. But Andy Garcia’s chest hair is magnificent.