Rank #1: Clue (1985)
This week on Alcohollywood, Jared and Clint (with guest Theo) take a peek at the 1985 ensemble board-game comedy Clue!
Decades before Battleship, this board game adaptation sees the classic murder mystery game adapted into an Agatha Christie-esque murder-in-a-house whodunit. Headed by an ensemble of fantastic comedic actors from the 80s (Michael McKean, Christopher Lloyd, Madeline Kahn, Tim Curry, Leslie Ann Warren, Martin Mull and others), Clue is a hilarious and surprisingly bawdy caper with quite a bit of surprising Red Scare subtext.
Join us as we discuss the sexual politics of McCarthy-era America, the alternate names of Clue around the globe, who could have played Miss Scarlet, and what movies we think would be fun with multiple endings. Check out our multiple custom cocktails, tailored for each of the characters, grab your favorite turn-of-the-century weapon, and take a listen!
Rank #2: VIDEO GAME MOVIE MONTH: Mortal Kombat (1995) w/Nerd Outcast Podcast
For the month of May, we’re kicking off Video Game Movie Month, where every week we take on a new film adaptation of a video game!
To get us started, Chris from the Nerd Outcast Podcast joins us for Paul WS Anderson’s debut feature, Mortal Kombat, based on the bloody fighting game of the same name! Telling the tale of three warriors forced to enter a martial arts tournament that will decide the fate of the world, this film is cheesy as hell. However, it goes about its business in a recklessly charming way that allows it to overcome its many faults. Throw in some wonderfully campy performances and some competent fight choreography, and you have a surprisingly solid video game movie. Test your liver’s might with our custom cocktail and drinking rules!
Rank #3: Mallrats (1995)
This week on Alcohollywood, we head back into the 90s, land of Weezer, plaid shirts, and ripped jeans as we (along with guest Nick) revisit the 1995 mall comedy Mallrats!
This flawed throwback to hard-R teen sex comedies is the second film from Kevin Smith, and his first (and only) attempt to write and direct a major studio picture. Watching the film, it’s not hard to see why – Smith’s overly verbose dialogue is mumbled out by an ensemble of half-baked ‘90s actors, the director’s limited visual style makes the whole film look ugly, and it’s hard to watch all the comic book/film references that exist for their own sake. (Don’t even get us started on Jay and Silent Bob.)
Nonetheless, we manage to take a good look at this flawed-even-for-Kevin-Smith-standards flick along with our custom cocktail and drinking game. Take a listen!
Rank #4: O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
This week on Alcohollywood, we revisit the Coen brothers for the first time since our Big Lebowski episode, watching and drinking to the 2000 joyride O Brother, Where Art Thou? with our buddy Grant (of Chip and Ironicus and Let's Play Dungeons and Dragons)! A mythic melange of The Odyssey, Southern folklore, the Great Depression, and your standard road movie, the film follows a trio of escaped convicts (George Clooney, John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson) who embark on a journey across 1937 Mississippi to find treasure and bring Clooney back to his lady love (Holly Hunter).
Along with the crew of Coen Brothers characters along the way (a one-eyed John Goodman, a blind Stephen Root, Michael Badalucco, and others), O Brother also features fantastic color-corrected cinematography by Roger Deakins, a killer soundtrack by T-Bone Burnett, and the wonderfully offbeat script from the Coens themselves. If you haven't seen this film, you owe it to yourself to check it out, along with our custom cocktail and drinking game!
Rank #5: The Game (1997)
This week on Alcohollywood, we take on one of David Fincher’s lesser-known films, the 1997 thriller The Game! Uptight investment banker Nicholas Van Orton (a wonderful Michael Douglas) receives a 48th birthday present from his ne’er-do-well brother Conrad (Sean Penn) to participate in a service that turns his life into a thrilling ‘game.’ When the game starts to go too far, Nicholas is forced to fight for his life, while also trying to track down who’s behind these dangerous pranks. The film is wonderfully made, with very strong performances, crisp, slick direction from Fincher, and enough twists and turns to keep you genuinely guessing until the very end. Furthermore, we’ve got our own ‘game’ for you to play to The Game, along with our custom cocktail!
Rank #6: Unlawful Entry (1992)
This week, regular guest Derek Jarvis joins us to talk about the little-seen (but surprisingly effective) home invasion thriller Unlawful Entry! When a couple (Kurt Russell, Madeleine Stowe) narrowly survive a home invasion, they run into a shady cop (Ray Liotta) who seems all too willing to abuse his power to take over as man of the house. A creepy post-Rodney King erotic thriller about police brutality and white flight, we actually dug Unlawful Entry quite a bit. Check out our review, along with our custom cocktail and drinking rules!
Rank #7: Eddie and the Cruisers (1983)
This week, we strap on our guitars and talk about the forgotten 1980s musical drama Eddie and the Cruisers!
Telling the fictional story of a one-hit wonder band in 1960s New Jersey, Eddie and the Cruisers follows the remaining members of the band (including Tom Berenger) trying to piece together their lives after the untimely death of frontman/visionary Eddie Wilson (Michael Pare).
Equal parts The Day the Music Died, Bruce Springsteen and Jim Morrison, Eddie and the Cruisers is a bafflingly dull music biopic with a few glimmers of inspiration (and an ambitiously soundalike soundtrack courtesy of Springsteen knockoff John Cafferty). Listen to us break down this cult favorite, along with our custom cocktail and drinking game!
Rank #8: ST. PATRICK'S DAY SPECIAL: The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns (1999)
Erin go bragh from Alcohollywood! To celebrate everyone's favorite drinking holiday, we invoke the luck of the Irish with the Hallmark TV special The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns, a three-hour epic slog starring Whoopi Goldberg and Randy Quaid! The movie follows a dumpy American visiting Ireland, falling in love, and interfering with the class warfare of magical Irish creatures. Along the way, we see a bevy of beloved Irish and Scottish actors shaming themselves, while terrible special effects and school-play production design assaults the eyes. Luckily, we've got just the drink and game to endure the magical legend in time for St. Patty's Day!
Rank #9: HORROR OCTORBOR: The Wolf Man (1941) / The Wolfman (2010)
The full moon is out, and this week on Alcohollywood we’re scaring up some strange (along with guest Jesse) for Week 2 of this year’s Horror Octorbor! This week, we’re looking at the 1941 Universal classic The Wolf Man, starring Lon Cheney Jr., and the 2010 Joe Johnston reimagining The Wolfman, starring Benicio Del Toro!
While the 1940s movie has quite a bit to love (fun performances, great makeup and prosthetics for the time), Johnston’s flick suffers from incredibly flat performances (especially from Del Toro and Emily Blunt), dim cinematography, and a tone that goes all over the place – evidence of the film’s troubled production history.
Either way, it’s a howling good time, especially with our drinking rules and custom cocktail below – also check out our episode!
Rank #10: InnerSpace (1987)
The main podcast is back, baby! Since Ant-Man and the Wasp has us thinking about all things shrinking, we decided to look at 1987's fun-sized adventure comedy InnerSpace!
Film critic for HollywoodChicago.com (and now Alcohollywood!) Jon Espino joins us to dive into a movie from our 80s-kid childhoods - a Joe Dante romp of the finest order that sees hotshot pilot Tuck Pendleton (Dennis Quaid) shrunk down to a microscopic level and injected into the body of nebbish hypochondriac Jack Putter (Martin Short). Together, the two have to evade corporate spies, silent Terminator-types, and navigate a very strange love triangle with Tuck's girlfriend Lydia (Meg Ryan).
In classic Joe Dante style, InnerSpace features a wonderful blend of surprisingly mature elements for a PG film (Dennis Quaid butt!), a charming sense of whimsy and lightness, and his signature stable of actors, from Dick Miller to Robert Picardo. Dante's a master of these kinds of breezy high-concept adventures, so it was a real treat to finally visit his delightfully devious oeuvre.
We had a blast talking about this crazy time capsule of a movie, so take a listen and check out our custom cocktail and drinking rules!
Rank #11: OSCAR SPECIAL: The Shape of Water (2017)
It's Oscar season once again, and like we do every year, we do a deep dive into one of the Best Picture nominees! This time around, Michael Snydel of The Film Stage joins Clint (who's a little stuffy this episode, apologies in advance!) and Jared to talk about Guillermo del Toro's nomination-sweeping fantasy love story The Shape of Water!
Set in a Cold War-era America filtered through del Toro's intricate dark-fantasy lens, The Shape of Water follows Eliza, a lovesick mute girl (Sally Hawkins) who falls for an man-like fish creature (Doug Jones) imprisoned in an American military research facility by the evil Strickland (Michael Shannon). Along with her band of outsiders and misfits, Eliza schemes to break the fishman out of the facility and get him home.
Opinions vary on whether this is one of del Toro's mythic masterpieces or a flawed blend of mish-mashed tones and influences, but it makes for an intriguing discussion all the same. Check out our episode, as well as our custom cocktail and drinking game!
Rank #12: HORROR OCTORBOR: Dracula (1931) / Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)
Happy Alcoholloween everyone! Clint and Jared (along with returning guest Craig) polish off Horror Octorbor with their final double feature of a Universal classic monster movie and its modern counterpart!
This time, we delve into the one that started it all: 1931’s Dracula, starring the inimitable Bela Lugosi as the titular vampire, whose thirst for blood leads him to seek out a life in London. Then, we sink our teeth into 1992’s bold (if flawed) Bram Stoker’s Dracula, directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Gary Oldman as the shape shifting Dracula (now literally Vlad the Impaler, complete with tragic girlfriend backstory).
In this episode, we talk about the origins of the vampire mythos, Keanu Reeves’ infamously bad performance, Anthony Hopkins’ surprisingly great performance, and the “Spanish” version of Dracula that was filmed at the same time. It’s all great stuff, so sit down and enjoy your spooky holiday with our signature custom cocktail and drinking game
Rank #13: HORROR OCTORBOR: Frankenstein (1931) / Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994)
Happy hauntings, listeners – it’s Horror Octorbor once again at Alcohollywood! This year, we’re doing something a little different: taking the major Universal monster movies from the Golden Age of Hollywood and comparing them to a modern adaptation/reimagining and seeing how they stack up. We’re starting out this week with everyone’s favorite stitched-up modern Prometheus, Frankenstein – along with guest Nathan of The Right Brain Project, we resurrect both the 1931 James Whale classic (starring Boris Karloff) and the melodramatic, big-budget costume drama Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, directed by and starring Thor’s Kenneth Branagh (and Robert De Niro as the creature)! Take a listen to the episode to find out what we thought, and be sure to make our drink and follow our rules!
Rank #14: Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame (2010)
This week, we continue Mystery Month with the 2010 wire-fu historical action flick Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame!
In 7th century China, in the wake of a series of mysterious spontaneous combustions, Detective Dee (Andy Lau) is brought in to stop an assassination attempt of Empress Wu on the eve of her coronation. Director Tsui Hark and fight director Sammo Hung provide some great wire-fu action sequences among the convoluted plot that is typical of these kinds of Chinese epic modern films.
Despite the sometimes-confusing nature of the plot and the dry characters, there’s plenty of great action choreography and some insane images (watch for some deer-on-man kung fu action) to make it worth a watch. It’s available on Netflix, so be sure to watch with our review and drinking game below!
Rank #15: HORROR OCTORBOR: Single White Female (1992)
Horror Octorbor keeps a-chuggin' along this month, as we continue to break down the seven deadly sins! This week, we take a look at Envy in the context of 1992's erotic psychological thriller Single White Female!
In the vein of other 90s domestic horror films like The Hand that Rocks the Cradle and Unlawful Entry, Single White Female explores the kind of dangers that could happen even in the safety of your home. Here, that's manifested in Hedy (Jennifer Jason Leigh), the mousy new roommate of recently-separated fashion designer Allie (Bridget Fonda). The more time Hedy spends with Allie, though, the more she affects Allie's speech, mannerisms and appearance - right down to making moves on her estranged husband Sam (Steven Weber).
Does she want to be like Allie? Does she want to become Allie? The answers are surprisingly grotesque, and more than a little complicated - rooted in some clumsy, but well-intentioned, queer subtexts and a couple of deliciously arch performances from Fonda and Leigh, directed with a certain lurid sensibility by Barbet Schroeder.
Check out what we thought about this ominous tale of female sexuality and psychological desire, along with our custom drinking game!
- Any time you see a red flag (Hedy adopts another Allie-ism)
- Every time you see a scene outside the apartment
- Whenever you see nudity (this is an *erotic* thriller, after all)
Hedy looks into a mirror and says, "I love myself like this."
Join us next week as we conclude our Seven Deadly Sins edition of Horror Octorbor with Greed - best personified by Michael Mann's bat-nuts crazy 1983 film The Keep!
Rank #16: HORROR V. OCTORBOR: Alien vs. Predator (2004) w/Grant of History Honeys and Chip & Ironicus
This week, Grant of History Honeys and Chip & Ironicus joins us once more for Horror V. Octorbor, continuing our month-long breakdown of 'versus' movies with Alien vs. Predator! Paul W.S. Anderson's limp, ill-advised match-up movie combining Fox's biggest sci-fi monsters forgets what made the other two series good in the first place, basically remaking Resident Evil in an ancient Mayan-Aztec-Antarctican(?) temple, complete with paper-thin characters and dated effects. Still, we have a good time with our custom cocktail and drinking rules!
Rank #17: Dante's Peak (1997)
This week on Alcohollywood, we're watching the 1997 disaster flick Dante's Peak, starring Pierce Brosnan and The Terminator's Linda Hamilton as a rockstar volcanologist and a small-town mayor, respectively, who attempt to escape a rampaging volcano terrorizing the small town of Dante's Peak. Basically Jaws with a volcano, the film is a cheesy rollercoaster ride, but not nearly as obnoxious as its volcano-film partner, Volcano. The effects hold up well, the stakes are clear, and the filmmakers actually go for the gut with some of the deaths.
With that in mind, it's certainly an interesting artifact to explore: a perfect encapsulation of a time when coffee was ubiquitous, everyone dressed like Blossom, and science robots were still a fascinating gimmick. Check out our rules and custom cocktail, as well as our review below!
Rank #18: The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990)
This week, our friend Jane Dempsey joins us to talk about the notorious 1990 flop The Bonfire of the Vanities, directed by Brian De Palma and (inexplicably) starring Tom Hanks and Bruce Willis! An adaptation of the biting satirical novel by Tom Wolfe, Bonfire opts to dull the edges off any salient points it wants to make about the uncaring nature of the bourgeoisie and make it a big, campy comedy about rich, adulterous Tom Hanks trying to beat an assault rap against a poor black youth. Oh, and Bruce Willis is in it sometimes too, though he doesn't look like he knows that. Check out our breakdown along with our custom cocktail and drinking rules!
Rank #19: Space Camp (1986)
This week, playwright Dusty Wilson joins us for one of the most poorly-timed movies of all time, 1986's Space Camp!
A Spielberg pastiche that's equal parts E.T., Apollo 13 and Porky's, Space Camp follows a group of teen misfits (including Tate Donovan, Kelly Preston, Lea Thompson and a young Joaquin Phoenix) and their teacher (Kate Capshaw) as they learn the ins and outs of Space Camp. Thanks to some well-intentioned sabotage from a literal-minded robot (JINX, voiced by Frank Welker), the cadets find themselves flung into space, with only their wits - and some helpful Star Wars references - to aid them.
Released six months after the Challenger exploded, Space Camp suffers from some poor timing and even poorer scripting. But are there enough charms to make it watchable? Check out our podcast, along with our custom cocktail and drinking game to find out!
Rank #20: All the Queen's Horses (feat. interview with Kelly Richmond Pope)
(This review and interview originally ran as part of On Tap's previous run as its own separate feed. We're re-running it here in conjunction with All the Queen's Horses' release on Netflix.) This week for our On Tap minisode, Clint discusses the new indie doc from Kartemquin, All the Queen's Horses. Plus an in-studio interview with All the Queen's Horses director/producer Kelly Richmond Pope!