3 of these things?!
What up, MAMFam? We hope everyone had a fantastic Fourth of July full of fireworks, grilled meats, and NBA Free Agency mania! We have issue of the MAM Newsletter ahead for you with some great pieces from the guys. Do us all a favor, would you? Recommend a friend to this Newsletter, it's brief, it's fun, and it MAM--who wouldn't like it? Also, hop onto iTunes and leave us 5-star review and a little note if you haven't already. This always helps in the algorithm of things. We have a TON of content coming your way in the next few weeks, with some surprises around the fold. We're really excited for the next few months! Thanks for listening to/tolerating us. Always feel free to shoot us an e-mail at email@example.com or tweet to us at @MAM_Podcast.
You're all the best. I would kiss every one of you if I could. Thanks for everything! - RB
The Worst Things About Going to the Movies (Part 1 of 600)
Here on the show, we go to the movies every week. Sometimes multiple times a week. We’ve been doing this for 4 years, and by the way the show has grown over that time period, the forecast says we will be doing it for another 4 (at least). During that time, I have not only made genius/hilarious/spot-on observations about movies, but I have done so for the movie-going experience as well. Here is part one of what I believe are some of the worst parts about going to the movies.
This one should be a no-brainer as the absolute worst thing about seeing a movie in a theater. The price-gouging is absolutely out of control. I completely understand the split between the studio and the theater. Ticket sales are really the only way for the studio to make money off the movies they release (until the secondary DVD market and streaming/TV rights deals). That said, I get why they would want to charge as much as people are willing to spend...but there is no rhyme or reason to any of the prices. For example...one day I’ll go see “Deadpool” and spend $7 for the matinee screening. Still a little rich for my taste but whatever. Cut to: end of June, I go one weekday afternoon and paid $12.75 for “Finding Dory.” Not in 3D. Not even a prime time screening. It makes zero sense why one movie is nearly twice as much to see. Same format, same time of day. It’s as if the studio/theater said “A lot of people are going to see “Finding Dory.” We can make money off this!!” ----
Here’s my solution:
- $5 for non-3D matinee.
- $7 for 3D matinee.
- $7 for non-3D primetime.
- $10 for 3D primetime.
The amount of people who would pay $10 for a movie instead of $12.50 for a movie might surprise you. But theaters and studios want every dime (or $2.50) that they can get. Don’t worry...I’ll rant about concessions in my next post.
Where do I start with this one? Given the fact that I see a movie every week, sometimes odd hours of the day or night or whenever I can catch a screening, I see movies by myself quite often. A lot of the time I am the only one in the theater. Until the worst person of all time walks in, scans the theater like the Predator, and finds a seat for him and the girl he’s trying to impress by bringing her to see “Zoolander 2” on a Thursday at 11AM. Not even going to start the tangent on that one, but he has finally found his spot of choice. “Come on, babe.” He says confidently as they make their way up the stairs. I think to myself…”You better not...don’t do it you son of a….” and then BOOM. They cut into an aisle. The one behind me. “Seriously dude, don’t do it…” I think. And then I hear a faint “Will this work bae?” behind me as they sit down. Directly behind me.
“Where should we sit? How about directly behind that guy?”
I have experienced this way too many times. My go-to seat is very specific, and I’ll go into that in a “movie life-hacks” article on a future newsletter. But as of now, I sit on the back row, dead center, right under the projector. I am trying to avoid as much human interaction as possible, if you can’t already tell. More on this down the road...
Sometimes for us on the show, we don’t get to choose the specific time we see the movie. There is one screening time that will work, and if we don’t see it then, there won’t be an episode that week (we are freakin’ dedicated, right?!?). Having said that, we often show up and find out “Hey, this is a dine-in screening” or “Oops, it’s in 3D! Guess you get to see Dawn Of Justice in awful 3D!” But the biggest “ugh” of them all is the large-format screenings, “XD”, or Lie-MAX as it has been affectionately dubbed. Not only is it an upcharge, sometimes $4 or $5 more expensive, but it’s a lie. Most of the time, its the exact same format, disc, and resolution as a normal screening, but on a bigger screen. To compensate for the larger screen, the movie often seems stretched, blurry, or you can’t tell a difference at all. It’s like when you were in middle school and the teacher would hook up the projector but it would be too far from the screen to decipher any detail at all. It’s basically saying to the moviegoer “We’re going to show the movie you came to see, but charge you more money for a worse end product.” And the fact that they don’t specify which movies are XD/Lie-MAX in most apps makes it even more frustrating showing up and finding out you’ll have to squint your way through the movie. And even worse, they give the MOST UNNECESSARY MOVIES large format releases. Does anyone need to see “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” on a 75-foot screen? Nope. Hey studios...you’re only fooling the fools!
Part 2 coming next month...
Movies to Cure your Summer Blues
It’s July 1st so obviously we’re mired in the most blockbuster-centric portion of the movie calendar. Now, listen, I don’t mind that. I love a good blockbuster. I like being reminded of why I fell in love with movies in the first place because, as much as I love a movie like Boyhood, I can guarantee you that 13 year old me would’ve rolled my eyes to death at the concept for Boyhood, let alone the actual movie. But there is a certain malaise that sets in every summer when we’ve been inundated with the big, dumb, and loud sequels that come at us in droves this time of year. They all start to blend together and if that particular summer’s offerings are subpar to begin with (I’m talking to you, 2016), then I start to feel all the more bombarded, like I’m experiencing the end of an Iron Man movie in real life.
So as we near the halfway point of the summer movie season, I thought I’d offer you a handful of films that shy away from the blockbuster fare you’re likely to get at the theater over the next two months but that still feel like summer. I may be tired of crazy explosions but I don’t really want to watch The Revenant when it’s 108 degrees outside, you know? (Okay, so I really don’t want to watch The Revenant ever but you get what I’m saying.) I have no real criteria for this list other than I tended to lean towards fun and light over dark and heavy, and I went in with the general idea that none of my choices could involve large doses of car chases, gun fights, or heavy special effects. Also, they are presented in no particular order. Enjoy and please tweet/email me some of your choices for this list.
Major League (1989) – Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Wesley Snipes
There’s nothing more summer-y than baseball. In the spirit of well-roundedness, I decided I’d only include one baseball movie on this list and wound up at Major League. It’s not my favorite baseball movie (61*) nor is it the best (Field of Dreams) but I think what Major League does best of all is give you a real sense of the marathon-like nature of baseball itself. It’s not just about winning the Pennant or reaching a milestone; it’s about the day to day life of a summer in a clubhouse and the slough that can be to get through. Also, if you were to put together a list of the “Top 10 Fictional Baseball Players From the Movies” (and I don’t know why you wouldn’t, honestly), Major League absolutely dominates that list and that seems important.
Chef (2014) – Jon Favreau, John Leguizamo, Sophia Vergara
One of my favorite movies of 2014, Chef exudes the essence of summer to me in a way I can’t quite put my finger on. I guess it’s the road tripping and the implied heat of the various settings and the overall feel of the excitement of summer. Regardless, Chef is a fantastic little movie (we did an episode on it back in 2014) that deals heavily in charm and mouth-watering kitchen scenes (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d say).
Almost Famous (2000) – Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, Patrick Fugit
I almost cut Almost Famous from the list because, as long time listeners of the show know, I love this movie so much that I can find a way to include it on just about any list. My “Top 10 Action Movies of the 70’s” would somehow involve Almost Famous. But at the end of the day, the central premise of the movie involves a teenager spending the summer (and the end of his senior year in high school) road tripping across America with a rock band. There’s nothing more summer-y than that.
The Way Way Back (2013) – Liam James, Sam Rockwell, Toni Collette
Again, longtime listeners will know of my affection for this movie. We did an episode on it near its original release date and I continued to gush over it for the rest of the year. My feelings have not changed. The Way Way Back should be the summer movie coming-of-age tale for its generation but unfortunately it hasn’t gained much traction with the younger crowd. Undaunted, I will continue to scream of its many virtues from every roof top to which I have access. It is one of my very favorite movies and it features a number of outstanding performances, especially that of Rockwell who will never not been great in pretty much anything he ever does, ever.
The Goonies (1985) – Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Corey Feldman
HEYYYYY YOOOOOUUU GUUUYYYYYSSSS!!! Okay so I cheated a bit here since there is, in fact, a car chase at the outset of The Goonies. But the point of The Goonies is not the car chase or the special effects or the pulse-pounding action. It’s just a bunch of weirdos pooling their strange talents (street smarts, mouthiness, booby traps, cheerleading skirts, and the Truffle Shuffle) in order to save their homes from destruction and thereby preserve their respective childhoods. As a youth, I wanted nothing more than to be a Goonie and you’re darn right I’ve made the pilgrimage to Astoria to visit the Goondocks. Summer adventure at its finest.
Disturbia (2007) – Shia LaBeouf, David Morse, Carrie-Ann Moss
Be honest, this one caught you off guard didn’t it? A relatively forgotten Hitchcock remake/knock off from the few weeks between Shia’s Even Stevens days and his total meltdown, Disturbia is a fabulous piece of suspense with a fun conceit that indirectly plays on the “boredom” of summer. There’s really nothing ground breaking about this movie and yet it works because it is less concerned with the mystery element and more concerned with what happens when the mystery gets solved.
Moonrise Kingdom (2012) – Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis
Imagine what it must be like to go to Wes Anderson’s summer camp. With his absurd attention to detail, I would have to believe that would be the most summer-y summer camp of all time. Moonrise Kingdom is a gorgeous little taste of that. I think it is oddly Anderson’s most accessible film and probably my favorite overall. The setting, of course, reeks of summer but so do the themes (adventure, exploration, the vulnerability of childhood, drunken Scout leaders, etc.) and Anderson meshes them all together so incredibly well.
Love & Mercy (2015) – Paul Dano, John Cusack, Elizabeth Banks
If an alien landed on your property anywhere between 1960 and 1990 and asked you to explain the concept of summer in America, I’m pretty sure you’d just hand him a Beach Boys album. And he’d be like, “Oh wow, I totally get it now. I’m no longer going to destroy your planet.” Love & Mercy goes to some pretty dark places (usually a big no-no for summer-y movies) but in its flashback segments, the music of the Beach Boys and the creative genius of Brian Wilson washes over you and you forget you’re watching a movie about how a famous rock star went crazy for a couple decades.
Orange County (2002) – Colin Hanks, Jack Black, Schuyler Fisk
Someday (with all my spare time and even more spare money I have just laying around) I will start a Criterion Collection for regular movies focusing on the mainstream movies I love that have somehow been lost to the winds of time. Orange County will feature prominently in this hypothetical series. Pretty much no one remembers/cares about Orange County and that’s a crying shame because it is hilarious and also sometimes I reference it in conversation and people just stare back, blankly. (Side note: My wife got my Orange County reference the first time I threw it out in our early dating days and it is unquestionably a top five reason why we are still together.) It lands here ostensibly because it’s all about a young man’s quest to find himself as he embarks upon his last summer before college but really because I just want people to go rent Orange County so we can all talk about it.
Stand By Me (1986) – Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman
This is probably the quintessential coming-of-age summer movie, of course, but I’m not one to avoid clichés if they are apt so…here we are. Stand By Me is so committed to its coming-of-age-ness and so locked into its role in the lives of every child of the 80’s that I actually refused to watch it for a very long time. It felt like by my watching the film and seeing the end of these kids childhoods, I would in some way be forfeiting my own childhood and would be forced to head off into adulthood. Wow, that got way heavier than any of us were expecting, huh? But anyway, Stand By Me is great and everyone should be forced to watch it (and then immediately head off into the workforce, I guess).
Movie Review!! Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (Ultimate Edition)
(Editor's Note: Often times our opinions of a film differ, but often they are the same. This is when we bring in people with completely opposite opinions of ours because we want to make everyone happy. After all, what's a little heterodoxy amongst friends? - RB)
Every so often, professional film critics, general audiences, and the internet as a whole seemingly join forces to proclaim a particular film is utter garbage. Beyond redemption. Perhaps, even, the worst film ever made! Look no further than 2015’s Fantastic Four. Regardless of any merits (big or small) the film may have, society unanimously agreed that if you like any part of the film, you are wrong. Reactions to 2013’s The Lone Ranger were strikingly similar and even now, before the film’s release, it appears the upcoming Ghostbusters reboot is already doomed to the same fate.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, the latest film from director Zack Synder, is also stuck in that same boat. Hit with a number of bad behind-the-scenes rumors, mediocre early buzz, and a few over-eager trailers, BvS took a critical beat down on opening weekend, leading to less-than-thrilling box office returns for Warner Brothers, and even more yarns of panicked studio executives. It appeared the entire internet, including many who did not see the film, swiftly concluded it was a fitting fate for such a terrible film and an even worse director. End of story.
Or is it?
Luckily, for rabid fans, vitriolic detractors, and everyone else in-between, Warner’s has now released the “Ultimate Edition” of Batman V. Superman to change the game. This new version, which adds over 30 minutes of footage back into the film, and brings the run time to just over 3 hours, is now rated R as it was always intended to be. Simply put: I cannot encourage everyone enough to watch this new version. Not since the director’s cut of Blade Runner or The Abyss has a different edit increased the overall quality of a film. Who knew 30 extra minutes could make such a difference?
To be clear: the Ultimate Edition of BvS is not perfect. It still has a number of issues; chief among them: It is still overstuffed with too many characters. The potentially powerful “Martha” moment remains bogged down with odd editing and unnatural dialogue. It’s still disappointing that Batman and Superman fight because they were manipulated, instead of coming to blows on their own clashing ideologies. And the random “teases” of future movies in the DC franchise still annoyingly play like commercials for other movies… in the middle of watching this one.
But this new version of the film fills in so many of the gaps and smoothes so many of the rough edges theatrical version had, it is truly a wonder that none of the principle cast and crew didn’t violently react to the bad reviews by screaming, “YOU SHOULD SEE THE OTHER VERSION!!”
Compared to the theatrical edit of the movie, which felt like most scenes randomly happened one after the other with little or no connection between them, the new version has a plot that works like a narrative should: scene A leads to scene B, which leads to scene C, and so on. For example, due to a number of added/extended scenes, especially the African warlord sequence in Nairomi, we now can see exactly how and why Lex Luthor’s plan to destroy Bats and Supes works, and it makes his character much more like the cold, calculating villain of the comics and less like the schizophrenic trust fund baby of the theatrical version.
We also now see both Clark Kent and Lois Lane actually do their jobs in the fashion of some good ole’ investigative journalism, which explains away the most leaps of logic the theatrical version presented viewers with, including why Superman dislikes Batman enough to fight him, why Wallace Keefe would blow himself up at the senate hearing, how Lois Lane was able to figure out Lex’s grand scheme, and who the heck the Russian guy with all the tattoos is. Most of the action sequences have also been nicely rounded out by the addition of a few new dynamic beats here or there, showcasing Synder’s true talent as a visualist.
For anyone like myself who wanted so badly for this film to be good, this new version is a breath of fresh air. While it makes total sense that Warner Brothers did not want to release a 3 hour, R rated superhero film in theaters this past March, they really should have. The Ultimate Edition of this film is far superior and clearly the version Zack Synder & Co. intended you to see. Love the film or hate it, your opinion should be based on THIS version of the movie, not the Frankenstein’s monster of a version that was released in theaters earlier this year. Do yourself a favor and give this new version the chance it deserves, and THEN we can all go back to collectively trashing the Ghostbusters reboot.
RELEASE: Digital – 6/28, DVD and Blu-Ray 7/19
- Contributing Editor Shane Bierley: Senior DC Correspondent & Chief Sydner Apologist
New to Home Viewing in July
Each month in this space, we take a look at what movies and TV shows you’ll be able to (legally) watch in the comfort of your own home in the coming weeks. I recommend a couple of properties I enjoy, highlight one I haven’t seen but I’m looking forward to checking out, and something I desperately want you to avoid. I’m just doing my part to help you make smart decisions with your precious free time. Am I a hero? I’ll let you be the judge of that.
WHAT I’VE SEEN AND YOU SHOULD, TOO: Everybody Wants Some!! – (Available on Blu-Ray and DVD July 12)
My favorite movie of the year thus far, Richard Linklater’s look at the early 80’s is a master class in the kind of filmmaking that won Mr. Linklater Best Director and Best Picture two years back. What’s that? Boyhood DIDN’T win those awards? I don’t believe you. Anyway, Everybody Wants Some!! is somewhat slighter than Boyhood but it is no less charming and authentic than its predecessor. It’s also highly enjoyable and features some outstanding performances from guys you’ve never heard of.
Listen to our Everybody Wants Some!! episode here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/everybody-wants-some!!/id600020121?i=1000367640031&mt=2
MAY I ALSO RECOMMEND: The Sting - Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Robert Shaw (Available on Netflix)
There are few things better than a well-executed con and The Sting truly might be the greatest con movie of all-time. 1973’s Best Picture winner features some of the best work that Red ford and Newman ever did (together or separate) along with a fantastic score and a beautifully paced script (director George Roy Hill and writer David S. Ward both picked up Oscars for their efforts). I don’t tend to heap praise on the films of the 70’s as most of my attention goes toward current or recent fare. So take that into account when I say The Sting is a perfect film and I demand that you give it the attention it deserves. So say we all.
WHAT I HAVEN’T SEEN BUT INTEND TO: Bojack Horseman: Season 3 - Will Arnett, Aaron Paul, Alison Brie (Available on Netflix July 22)
So last summer I was renovating my house to get ready for a sale. (I am very grown up, as you can tell from that sentence.) I had run out of Audiobooks and podcasts so, instead of re-watching The Office for the 30th time (which is always worth doing, by the way), I decided to give Bojack Horseman a try. A few hours later I had run through all 25 episodes and had accomplished virtually no home repair. I’m not sure I’ve ever been more surprised by a show like I was with Bojack. It’s not funny, it’s absolutely hilarious. The humor is biting and topical (the Bill Cosby episode is brilliant) but also off the wall and wacky. It’s like an animated version of 30 Rock with even more abstract leanings. And Vincent Adultman might be my favorite sitcom character since Michael Scott. If you like the kind of jokes you get on 30 Rock, The Office, Parks & Rec, and Family Guy when it was at its best, I can’t imagine you wouldn’t dig Bojack Horseman.
WHAT I’VE SEEN SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO: Batman V Superman - Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, So Much Zack Snyder (Available on Blu-Ray and DVD July 19)
*Heaviest of sighs* Any listener of this show knows how I/we feel about the absolute clustermess that is Batman V Superman so I probably don’t need to say anything more. But just to reiterate perhaps my biggest gripe with this trainwreck: it should be very, very difficult to make a bad movie that involves both Batman and Superman. You should be able to bring in any aspiring filmmaker from across the country, give him/her decent actors and an iPhone (but like a really good iPhone, not a 5c) and expect him/her to turn in a passable movie. So the fact that Zack Snyder gave us the steaming dumpster fire that is BvS and he STILL gets to direct Justice League is just mind blowing. (Also there are like 37 different versions of this movie that will be made available on the 19th so choose wisely and don’t buy any of them.)
Listen to our Batman V Superman episode here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/batman-v-superman-dawn-justice/id600020121?i=1000365641032&mt=2
July 5th – I Saw the Light, The Dark Knight Trilogy, House of Cards Season 4, By the Sea
July 12th – Allegiant, Green Room, Miracles From Heaven
July 19th –Person of Interest Season 5, The Magicians Season 1, Orphan Black Season 4, Miles Ahead
July 26th – The Boss, Hardcore Henry, Criminal, Barbershop: The Next Cut, The New World (Criterion Collection)
NETFLIX – Back to the Future I-III, Bad Boys II, Batman The Movie, Beavis and Butthead Do America, Between Season 2, Beverly Hills Cop I-II, The Big Short, Big Trouble in Little China, Catwoman, Cinderella Man, Dreamcatcher, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Gladiator, Insomnia, The Italian Job, Jackass 2, Lethal Weapon 1-4, The Longest Yard, The Lovely Bones, Marco Polo Season 2, Mean Girls, Nick of Time, Phenomenon, Rumor Has It, Scooby-Do, The Shannara Chronicles Season 1, Turner and Hooch, Working Girl
AMAZON – 48 Hours, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, Battle for Terra, Captivity, Casino, Clear and Present Danger, Dirty Work, Escape from Alcatraz, Flashdance, Hackers, Hannibal Season 3, Kill Bill Volumes 1-2, Little Monsters, Mr. Holmes, O, Out of Time, Patriot Games, Rosemary’s Baby, Saw VI, Scary Movie, Shall We Dance?, Snake Eyes, Star Trek I-VI, Stir of Echoes, Suits Season 5, Terminator Genisys, The Brothers Bloom, The Hunt For Red October, The Shining, The Thing Called Love, Trekkies, Vikings Season 4, Z for Zachariah