In this 4th of July Weekend installment of An Alan Smithee Podcast, Andrew and I talk about the best movie to take place on July 3rd, 1984 – The Return of the Living Dead! Being my favorite film the commentary is not very scene-specific. We talk about O’Bannon’s Guide to Screenplay Structure as applied to the film, his career relationships with contemporaries like John Carpenter and Tobe Hooper (who almost directed Return), plus the film’s monumental place in zombie movie history. As Clu Gulager says, “Fourth of July weekend buddy boy, gotta move!”
This week on An Alan Smithee Podcast we return to a magnificent obsession that began with our first good-movie / bad-movie episode, the wonderful world of Mannequin. In keeping with that milestone, this is also our first non-special commentary track. Yes, we just did one for Silent Night Deadly Night Part 2 but that was for Christmas and this isn’t for National William Ragsdale Appreciation Month or anything.
The first Mannequin is sort of fondly remembered by pubescent fans of the very non-threatening Andrew McCarthy. What pubescent girl is going to dream of William Ragsdale? This is an important question as the target audience for the McCarthy-less Mannequin Two surely must have been undiscriminating girls being taken by their moms to the Saturday matinee. Or Andrew Wickliffe, whom it turns out was at such a screening in the unholy year of 1991. Even Kim Cattrall knew to stay away from this one, much to the chagrin of Crow T. Robot, since she can always brighten up dark stains on cinema like City Limits or Split Second. Or not.
Among topics discussed in the film’s excruciating 95 minutes are consumerist fantasies, 80s teen heartthrobs, Comedy Central’s movie programming in the 1990s, the city of Kill-adelphia, the awful filmography of Stewart Raffill, Meshach Taylor’s courageous portrayal of African-American Homosexual-American “Hollywood” Montrose, Terry Kiser’s awfulness, real dolls, the semantics of Two/Too/2 in the titles of unrelated 80s sequels, excising homosexuality through film editing, the lamented career of Zach Galligan, and much much more!
NEXT WEEK: WHIZ KIDS OF 1985 DOUBLE FEATURE! MY SCIENCE PROJECT (1985, JONATHAN R. BETUEL) / REAL GENIUS (1985, MARTHA COOLIDGE)
We the hosts of An Alan Smithee Podcast do not take the responsibility of heralding Batman ’89 over Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins or The Dark Knight lightly.
Nor do we waver on the Solomonesque division of Tim Burton’s career into one brilliant period (1985 – 1996) and one banal (1999 – present.) The recent release of Alice In Wonderland 3-D has reminded us that everyone and their dog has an opinion on Tim Burton just as The Dark Knight gave everyone an opportunity to spout their two bits on Batman and Batman vis-a-vis Tim Burton, as the two names are after all forever related. The funny thing is that almost everyone is simply repeating something they heard from someone else or read on the Internet.
Listen, we mustn’t compare ourselves to regular people. We’re critics.
That’s why this week on An Alan Smithee Podcast we’ve recorded our second commentary track special since Rick Rosenthal’s Halloween II, so as to better enlighten the masses.
With incredible new “start the movie and this MP3 at the same time” technology, you’ll be privy to two hours and 6 minutes of hardened analysis from the two most level headed Batman and Tim Burton fans on the planet. Aspects mentioned in our commentary track include the The Dark Knight‘s plagiarism of the film, the hammy performances of William Hootkins and Jack Palance, the utter brilliance of Sam Hamm, Kim Basinger’s golddigging, the influence of Warner Brothers gangster movies, the tyranny of Prince, the tyranny of Jon Peters, how to quote Robert Wuhl in your everyday life, our mixed feelings on the Batwing, Batman and The Joker’s (separate) sex lives, how to quote Joseph Stalin in your everyday life, and the crazy eyed greatness of Michael Keaton.
NEXT WEEK: BLACK NARCISSUS (1947, MICHAEL POWELL & EMERIC PRESSBURGER) & COBRA (1986, GEORGE P. COSMATOS)