108 – The Firm(s)

The Firm (1989) vs The Firm (2009)

Jen and Tim look at two takes on football hooliganism called The Firm. The 1989 version is a masterpiece, the other, not so much! Hear the entire episode over at Patreon for a pledge as low as $2/month!

The 20-minute documentary Alan Clarke: His Own Man is a nice intro to the director. Also, many of his works can be found on YouTube, so happy hunting!

Jen referred to a film called “WarGames” when she actually meant The War Game, a 1965 dramatization of nuclear warfare against England that the BBC withdrew from broadcast until 1985. It did not star Matthew Broderick or Ally Sheedy.

She also sorta muffed the description of Ken Loach’s teleplay Cathy Come Home, which horrified the British public with its account of a homeless couple (to little material effect, according to Loach). This short article describes the production and draws from some of the news coverage of the time.

Also, “If you know what’s good for you…Weetabix!”

For more of bleak Britain, try our episode on nuclear horror film Threads!

106 – Planet of Storms

Still frame from Pavel Klushantsev's Planet of Storms (1962)

Tim and Jen return to Soviet filmmaker Pavel Klushantsev’s optimistic world of space exploration for 1962’s Planet of Storms! Hear the full episode on Patreon for a pledge of as low as $2/month and get access to all our other bonus content.

The original film is available on YouTube with English subtitles. If you’re curious about the 1955 Disney short Man in Space, you can watch it here, but you won’t actually learn much about the historical origins of rocketry.

See photos of the actual Venusian surface captured by some of the unfortunate Soviet probes we mentioned.

If you missed our Road to the Stars episode, listen to it here!

ERRATA: Jen speculates in the episode about the reason for the lack of cultural impact the film made in the United States. It turns out there’s a good reason. Planet of Storms didn’t arrive in the US in official, unadulterated home video form until some time in the 90s. As we mentioned, the film was cannibalized for two different American productions. One was Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet, with new footage directed by eventual New Queer Cinema trailblazer Curtis Harrington. The other, as we mentioned in the episode, was Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women. They both suck.

105 – The Astrologer

Jen and Tim are astounded by one of the most pompous auteur statements ever made— Craig Denney’s The Astrologer from 1976! Hear the whole episode over at our Patreon for a pledge of as little as $2/month, and get access to all our other bonus content as well!

More on The Astrologer (1976)

The Astrologer had a theatrical run from at least 1976 through part of 1977, but was considered lost for many years. It eventually resurfaced in 2021 on YouTube. Paramount appears to have a copyright claim on the picture (amazing that they’d even want it), but that doesn’t mean it can’t be seen if you know where to look.

The story of auteur Craig Denney is as mysterious as it is surprising. Jim Vorel has a good rundown at Paste Magazine. Long story short, Denney made a bold play for notoriety, only to disappear sometime in the 80s. No one knows when he died, if he’s actually dead, or even his real birthdate! And that’s just the start of the confusion! From the article:

Denney’s friend and associate Arthyr Chadbourne (who plays business manager Arthyr in the film) has disputed these figures, suggesting instead at L.A. screenings/Q&As that Denney was notorious for exaggeration and self-aggrandizing. As Chadbourne reportedly said then, “Craig was wonderful with hype. Everything was millions … you should read some of the things we used to send out to investors.”

Jim Vorel, Paste Magazine

Vorel’s article draws from this well-researched piece by Sean Welsh over at Matchbox Cine. Did Craig Denney fake his death? Where the hell did he get all his money? Which of his claims about his life were true? Was he even as successful as he claimed he was?

If you’re curious about our allusion to Romeo & Romeo, check out our episode about possibly the greatest addition to queer cinema in the last twenty-five years.

103 – Road to the Stars/Pavel Klushantsev

Road to the Stars poster

Tim attempts to convey the charm and innovative spirit of Soviet filmmaker Pavel Klushantsev to his lazy, lazy cohost! Listen to the episode over on Patreon for a pledge of as little as $2/month!

We mentioned the Klushantsev documentary The Star Dreamer, but don’t miss the original films! We loved the dog in a spacesuit in Mars.

Dog and hooman on the Martian surface, from Pavel Klushantsev's Mars (1968)
“I thought James Cameron was gonna meet us here.”

For the exact opposite of Klushantsev’s optimistic vision, check out our episode on Paul W.S. Anderson’s space-based nightmare, Event Horizon!

100 – Antichrist

For a SUPERSIZED one hundredth episode, Tim agrees with everything Lars von Trier has said and done because they’re both misogynists. Hear it over at Patreon for a pledge of as little as $2/month!

For the (swinging) lowdown on Willem Dafoe’s gifts, read this article about von Trier’s obsession with the actor’s wiener.

Thank you to all the listeners for supporting us for one hundred episodes and here’s to ONE THOUSAND MORE. If you want to see where it all began, you can check out our very first episode, about Elaine May’s little-loved Ishtar!

099 – Hammer House of Horror with a slice of Pi

Jen and Tim note the peculiar similarities between an episode of an obscure British horror anthology and Darren Aronofsky’s debut (NOT Life of Pi!!!!!). Also, Jen seizes an opportunity to talk about Rowdy Roddy Piper.

Hear the entire episode for a pledge of only $2/month and get access to all our other bonus content!

Hammer House of Horror is free to watch with ads over on Tubi!

If you’re looking for more British horror, why not try our episode on the controversial one-off TV special Ghostwatch?

097 – Disco Godfather

Sean Morris joins Tim and Jen to talk about an underseen movie from Dolemite himself, Rudy Ray Moore! Hear the entire episode for a pledge of as low as $2/month and get access to all our other bonus content!

Disco Godfather is easily viewable for free, and via a very nice transfer, courtesy of our favorite streaming service, Tubi.

For more on the Disco Godfather himself, Rudy Ray Moore, put yo’ weight on his official website.

And if you can’t get enough of the voluble Sean Morris, check out our episode on the unfairly forgotten Livin’ Large!

095 – Crash (the good one)

Jen and Tim welcome back Darren Herczeg to discuss one of the most controversial movies of the 90s— David Cronenberg’s arresting 1996 film, Crash.

Hear the entire episode for a pledge of only $2/month and get access to all our other bonus content!

For the record, J.G. Ballard wholeheartedly endorsed the film:

A journalist from Finland spoke up and attacked us in a novel way. Rather than excoriating us for making a film “beyond the bounds of depravity” (per Alexander Walker of the Evening Standard, who actually shook a schoolmaster’s disapproving finger at Jeremy from the back of the packed hall), he said that the movie completely betrayed the book, was a pathetic and weak skimming of a powerful work. Jim answered him: “The movie is actually better than the book. It goes further than the book, and is much more powerful and dynamic. It’s terrific.” An astonishing thing for an author to say. Abashed, the Finnish journalist sat down.

David Cronenberg

If you’re a Darren stan, be sure to listen to our episode on the musical white elephant Lost Horizon!

093 – The Sleeping Car

Jen welcomes special guest Keenan to discuss an ineffectual answer to Jason and Freddy. It’s The Sleeping Car, from 1990!

Hear the entire episode for a pledge of only $2/month and get access to all our other bonus content!

VHS cover for The Sleeping Car (1990)

As a bonus, here’s a look at Jeff Conaway’s role in the film as the most loathsome human being to ever draw breath.

If you love Kevin McCarthy as much as we do, listen to our episode on UHF!