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The MFF Podcast #161: Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

December 11, 2018

You can download the pod on Itunes, StitcherTune In,  Podbean, or LISTEN TO THE POD ON BLOG TALK RADIO.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

The MFF podcast is back, and this week we’re talking about Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. These Christmas classics introduced the world to an industrious kid who had to do deal with neglectful parents and possibly immortal thieves who can survive pretty much anything. In this podcast, you will hear us talk about improvised tarantula theatrics, home renovation costs and the alternate dimension that these movies take place in. We were very lucky to have Jay Cluitt of Life Vs. Film and The Lambcast join us for this episode. If you have some free time check out the Scream franchise episode we recorded for his podcast (The Lambcast). You will love it.

If the Wet Bandits left Kevin alone they would’ve been fine.

If you are a fan of the podcast make sure to send in some random listener questions so we can do our best to not answer them correctly. We thank you for listening and hope you enjoy the pod!

You can download the pod on Itunes, StitcherTune In,  Podbean, or LISTEN TO THE POD ON BLOG TALK RADIO.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

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Which Kurt Russell Movie Should We Cover For Our 175th Podcast Episode?

December 9, 2018

Read my article about Escape From L.A.!

We need your help! Which Kurt Russell movie should we cover for our 175th podcast episode? We had a blast talking about Big Trouble in Little China during our 150th episode and we want to keep the Kurt Russell train rolling.

Also, if you have any random Kurt Russell questions we will be happy to answer them on the podcast. Make sure to rate, review and subscribe to the MFF podcast on Itunes. Thanks!

The MFF Podcast #160: Reign of Fire, Long Jumps and Grounded Dragon Movies

December 6, 2018

You can download the pod on Itunes, StitcherTune In,  Podbean, or LISTEN TO THE POD ON BLOG TALK RADIO.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

The MFF podcast is back, and this week we’re talking about a post-apocalyptic dragon movie that we love. Reign of Fire is the most grounded dragon movie ever made (we think), and stars A-listers Christian Bale, Matthew McConaughey and Gerard Butler. What we love about this movie is how it features a tattooed Matthew McConaughey driving around England in an attempt to kill dragons, while Christian Bale takes everything seriously (which we love). The movie looks brilliant, has solid CGI and features the longest jump in the history of cinema. If you are a fan of the movie you need to listen to this podcast.

If you are a fan of the podcast make sure to send in some random listener questions so we can do our best to not answer them correctly. We thank you for listening and hope you enjoy the pod!

You can download the pod on Itunes, StitcherTune In,  Podbean, or LISTEN TO THE POD ON BLOG TALK RADIO.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

MFF Special: The Collegiate Degrees of Kevin Bacon’s Cinematic Characters

December 2, 2018

TREMORS, Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, 1990

In honor of Kevin Bacon and his illustrious career, I decided to look into his filmography to see if his movies are better when his characters have collegiate degrees. Why? Everyone loves the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” game so I decided to take it a step further and see if his movies had better Tomatometer scores when his characters were highly educated. As always, please don’t expect correlation, causation or world changing calculations. Just sit back, relax and enjoy the dumb data about smart Kevin Bacon characters.

The data set includes 51 movies (37 total degrees) and I did my best to make sure no degree, certificate or certification went unnoticed. Since a lot of these characters are fictional, and the movies don’t spend a lot of time on his collegiate (or beyond) education, I had to make educated guesses for several movies like Crazy, Stupid, Love, Cop Car, The River Wild and The Darkness. The good news is I’m very happy with my conclusions and went into the data gathering with no assumptions or theories, which means I didn’t try to pepper my Bacon results with unwarranted collegiate degrees.

Here are the results!

Kevin Bacon movies where he has 0 degrees

  • Tomatometer Score – 58%
  • Domestic Box Office (inflated) – $85 million

There are 26 movies in this section and features Bacon as a student (Footloose), criminal (Murder in the First) or handy man who is great at battling subterranean monsters (Tremors).  The 58% overall score isn’t bad, with movies like JFK (83%), Animal House (91%) and The Woodsman (88%) doing the heavy lifting.

The most notable aspect of this category is his history of villainous characters or convicts. Movies like The River Wild, Sleepers, Super, Trapped, JFK, Murder in the First showcase the various ways Bacon can play squirrely and you need to check out James Gunn’s Super, because he makes some interesting decisions.

Also, if you get a chance check out Jayne Mansfield’s Car. Billy Bob Thornton directed it and it stars Bacon, Robert Duvall, John Hurt, Robert Patrick, Ray Stevenson and Frances O’Conner. The movie got zero theatrical play but there is enough in it to make a watch worthwhile.

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Kevin Bacon movies where he has 1 degree

  • Tomatometer Score – 43%
  • Domestic Box Office (inflated) – $50 million

This category has the lowest Tomatometer average of the three because of R.I.P.D., Death Sentence, Quicksilver, The Air Up There, The Darkness and Criminal Law. None of these movies have a critical score above 31% and if it wasn’t for Frost/Nixon, Cop Car and Mystic River the overall score would’ve been much worse.

This category helped me realize that Kevin Bacon has played a lot of cops, detectives or FBI agents throughout his storied filmography. If you get a chance check out Cop Car because Bacon is fantastic in it and I loved every second of him running around like a maniac. Also, I think his Mystic River performance is underrated and didn’t get enough respect because everyone focused on the scenery chewers around him.

 

Kevin Bacon movies where he has 2 or more degrees

  • Tomatometer average – 64%
  • Domestic Box Office (inflated) – $177 million

This section has the highest Tomatometer score and box office because of Apollo 13 (95%), A Few Good Men (82%), Patriot’s Day (81%), X-Men: First Class (86%) and Black Mass (73%). Bacon isn’t the main character in any of them, but having him around certainly helps because he has no problem holding his own alongside Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp or Tom Hanks.

I love that his two twisted scientist characters in Hollow Man and X-Men: First Class are named Sebastian. If you are going to watch one of them, stay away from Hollow Man because it isn’t Paul Verhoeven’s best and there is nothing likable about Bacon’s character. I tried to watch it again for research, but I couldn’t make it all the way through because the movie has not aged well.

If you get a chance check out Taking Chance. It features a very understated performance from Bacon and is worth a watch.

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The more degrees the better! There are outliers like Tremors and The Woodsman, but the data proves that Kevin Bacon movies featuring him with multiple degrees are appreciated more by critics. You are welcome world.

If you like this article make sure to check out my other data pieces!

  1. Jet Ski Action Scenes Are the Worst
  2. Analyzing the Unsuccessful Trap in Predators
  3. How Far Did the Shark Travel in Jaws: The Revenge?
  4. The Dolph Lundgren Front Kick Spectacular
  5. How Far Did the Creature From It Follows Travel?
  6. How Many Bullets Missed John Matrix in Commando?
  7. How Fast Does the Great White Swim in Shark Night?
  8. Zara the Assistant and Jurassic World Had a Bad Day
  9. A Look at Elektra’s sandbag trainer in Daredevil
  10. How Far Did Nic Cage Run While Dressed as a Bear In The Wicker Man Remake?
  11. Breaking Down The Mariner vs. Sea Beast Battle in Waterworld
  12. How Long Did it Take The Joker to Setup the Weapon Circle in Suicide Squad?
  13. Michael Myers Hates Blinkers
  14. Jason Voorhees Can’t Teleport?
  15. Michael Myers Loves Laundry
  16. How Far Did the Merman Travel in The Cabin in the Woods?
  17. How Far Did Matthew McConaughey Jump in Reign of Fire?
  18. How Fast can Leatherface Run?
  19. Deep Blue Sea and Stellan Skarsgard
  20. How Far Did Michael Myers Drive in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later
  21. How Did the Geologist Get Lost in Prometheus?
  22. People Love a Bearded Kurt Russell
  23. A Closer Look at Movies That Feature the Words Great, Good, Best, Perfect and Fantastic
  24. An In-Depth Look At Movies That Feature Pencils Used as Weapons
  25. Cinematic Foghat Data
  26. Explosions and Movie Posters
  27. The Fast & Furious & Corona
  28. Nicolas Sparks Movie Posters Are Weird
  29. How Do You Make the Perfect Kevin Smith Movie?
  30. Predicting the RT score of Baywatch
  31. The Cinematic Dumb Data Podcast
  32. What is the best horror movie franchise?
  33. How Fast Can the Fisherman Clean a Trunk in I Know What You Did Last Summer?
  34. It’s Expensive to Feature Characters Being Eaten Alive and Surviving Without a Scratch
  35. How Long Does it Take Your Favorite Horror Movie Characters to Travel From NYC to San Francisco?
  36. What was the Guy’s Blood Pressure in Dawn of the Dead?
  37. Why Were There So Many Lemons in National Treasure?
  38. How Far Does The Rock Jump in the Skyscraper Poster?

The MFF Podcast #159: Batman Returns

November 30, 2018

You can download the pod on Itunes, Stitcher, Tune In, Podbean, or LISTEN TO THE POD ON BLOG TALK RADIO.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

The MFF podcast is back, and this week we are talking about one of the darkest superhero movies ever made. Tim Burton’s Batman Returns was a financial success in 1992, but its dark themes and lack of Batman turned many people off and left them never wanting to eat fish ever again (The Penguin eating fish = horrible). We love this movie and the all-in performances from Michelle Pfeiffer and Danny DeVito never get old. In this podcast, you will hear us talk about the muddled production process, Keaton cutting his lines and Christopher Walken saying the word “Bauble.”

Pfeiffer crushes it.

If you are a fan of the podcast make sure to send in some random listener questions so we can do our best to not answer them correctly. We thank you for listening and hope you enjoy the pod!

You can download the pod on Itunes, Stitcher, Tune In, Podbean, or LISTEN TO THE POD ON BLOG TALK RADIO.

If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

John’s Horror Corner: The Hills Have Eyes Part II (1984), Wes Craven’s surprisingly tame cannibal cult classic sequel.

November 29, 2018

MY CALL: For lessons in horror film history, this film is a deserving classic. But for raw entertainment value, I’d instead turn you to the brutal remake and its sequel. MOVIES LIKE The Hills Have Eyes Part II: I’d stay really close to home if you liked this movie. You could start with the original The Hills Have Eyes (1977), another classic which today feels overly tame. Then go with movies like Just Before Dawn (1981), The Hills Have Eyes (2006), The Hills Have Eyes 2 (2007), the Wrong Turn franchise (2003-2014) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise (1974-2000s).

I love that this opens with the disclaimer that this film is based on “fact,” followed by an amusingly dramatic narration reviewing the disturbing events of the 1977 original. We even enjoy the credits with the same style of silhouetted southwestern desert mountains and disturbing sounds to create unease, and stock footage with the previous film’s highlights recounted in therapy sessions as Bobby (Robert Houston; The Hills Have Eyes) works through his survivors’ guilt.

But it seems that Bobby is only here to remind us of part 1. It turns out Bobby has developed some sort of fuel being tested by a motorcycle racing team. Everything should be fine, right? But on their way to the races, much as Bobby’s family did in 1977 (and so many twentysomethings in the Wrong Turn franchise), they take a short cut through an old bomb testing range and run out of gas in the desert wilderness… right where Bobby’s family ended up years earlier.

Among the racers are Hulk (John Laughlin; The Lawnmower Man, Space Rage), Foster (Willard E. Pugh; RoboCop 2, Puppet Master 5), Harry (Peter Frechette; The Kindred, The Unholy), Roy (Kevin Spirtas; Friday the 13th Part VII, Subspecies II-III) and his blind girlfriend with psychic senses, and Jane (Colleen Riley; Deadly Blessing), along with Beast (the German shepherd from the first movie) and a reformed Ruby [who now goes by Rachel] (Janus Blythe; The Incredible Melting Man, Drive In Massacre, Eaten Alive, The Hills Have Eyes). But no one knows of Ruby’s history with the cannibals, including Pluto (Michael Berryman; Weird Science, The Hills Have Eyes, Deadly Blessing)—who also survived at the end of the first movie.

After encountering Pluto, Ruby/Rachel informs the gang of her and Bobby’s history. Clearly not appropriately phased by her story, the guys decide to do some dirt biking reconnaissance and end up chasing Pluto and meeting Reaper (John Bloom; The Dark, The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant), the last two survivors of the desert cannibal clan.

Like its 1977 predecessor, the action and violence probably won’t entertain today’s fans very much. This often feels as much like a watered-down Mad Max as it does horror. Despite all the chases, booby-traps and scuffles with cannibals, this really isn’t very exciting. The death scenes are really weak. A rock falls on someone and we don’t see anything happen, another falls off a cliff (off-screen impact and no body shown), a guy gets speared in the chest in about as lame a manner as possible, a girl is crushed to death by a bear hug (but you wouldn’t know it were it not for the obvious sound effects), and then there was one hardly redeeming on-screen throat slit.

Being rather hokey (like part 1), this film just doesn’t feel like it was made by a mature filmmaker. It’s hard to believe that Wes Craven (The Hills Have Eyes, Scream, Cursed, Deadly Friend, Deadly Blessing) did this and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) in the same year, with the latter so inspired compared to the former.

It’s interesting how the “seemingly” abandoned cannibal lair is approached by our protagonists much as the apparently empty house in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)—which also featured a culturally displaced and disfigured family of cannibals butchering twentysomethings—yet The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) seems to have borrowed and vastly improved the underground lair and its macabre accoutrements found in this film. This chain of borrowing butcher’s blocks festooned with human parts and disgusting subterranean lairs would additionally be followed by Wrong Turn (2003) and House of 1000 Corpses (2003) among others, but as far as I can tell, we owe the disfigured cannibal family motif to Wes Craven’s 1977 classic.

Unlike the original, this sequel ends with a stronger sense of finality in ending the threat of the cannibal family as our survivors and Beast walk away. Sadly, that might be the only redeeming quality of this film. However, much as other classics that feel so much “slower” and “tamer” today (e.g., Suspiria, Halloween), this film’s impact on the genre remains undeniable.

Ranking the 2018 Revenge Movies With One Word Titles

November 27, 2018

‘Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

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2018 has been a great year for revenge movies with one word titles. Between Mandy, Upgrade, Revenge and Peppermint the world has been blessed with ultra-violence, chainsaw fights and a beer can phoenix tattoo. In honor of these movies, I decided to rank them in an effort to get more eyes on them (watch Mandy now!). I had a really hard time ranking Revenge and Upgrade because they are both exceptional movies that are expertly directed and performed. So, don’t think that being placed at #3 is a bad thing because every movie in the top three is worth owning.

Here is the list!

4. Peppermint

Peppermint was supposed to be Jennifer Garner’s Taken, however, it played more like her Taken 3. I was really excited for this movie because after Alias and Elektra we all know that Garner can beat up stunt people with ease. I’ve been waiting for her to get back in the action game and thought her teaming up with director Pierre Morel (District B13, Taken, From Paris With Love) would result in a fun action film with lots of revenge inspired mayhem. However, Peppermint is a dour little thing that looks drab and features good actors saying dialogue in somber tones. It features none of the fun of Taken and I hope another director is able to capitalize on Garner’s skills in the future.

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3. Upgrade

Upgrade is a bloody breath of fresh air that features top-notch production value, inspired violence and a solid lead performance from Logan Marshall-Green. It is a tiny-budgeted  ($3-5 million) exploitation movie that showcases the DIY talents of director/writer Leigh Whannell.  Whannell is the man responsible for the  Saw, Insidious, Cooties and Dead Silence screenplays and you can tell he has been fine-tuning his craft to get to Upgrade. What I appreciate most about Whannell is how he can maximize his tiny budgets and create new worlds that feel heavily borrowed and totally unique at the same time. I can’t think of the last time I wanted a movie to succeed so badly because I’d love to see what Leigh Whannell will do next.

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2. Revenge

Revenge is a badass revenge movie that spins the genre on its head and builds to a bloody and bonkers finale that is 100% memorable. Director/writer Coralie Fargeat does a find job creating INSANELY unlikable villains and then using the barren desert locations perfectly to create an expansive sense of dread and hopelessness. Revenge puts actress Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz through the wringer and she was clearly up to the challenge. I can’t think of the last time I’ve seen an actress go all-in like this, and you will find yourself cheering for her as she fights, crawls, grunts and fights more to achieve revenge. Watch this movie now!

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1. Mandy

Mandy is so much more than a “Nic Cage freaking out” movie, and I’m certain it will become a cult classic that is celebrated at midnight screenings full of loving fans who celebrate every blood splurt that sprays in Nic Cage’s face. It can best be described as a thrilling experience that bombards your senses with bright colors, loud noises and ultra-violence, that will either make you cheer or cringe. Director Panos Cosmatos has created a movie that feels familiar with its Mad Max, giallo and Clive Barker/Nicolas Winding Refn vibes, and totally alien with its fever dream cinematography, heavy metal score and dedication to anarchy. I love how Cosmatos found a way to combine the grindhouse aesthetic (lots of blood and heightened performances) with an unconventional arthouse style that will alienate the masses and gain a very loyal audience who embrace how niche Mandy is.

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Which 2018 revenge movie do you like the most?

 

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