It’s Sam’s turn in the Great Switcheroo to share the 1991 Christopher Pike book Bury Me Deep. Jean is your average horned-up teenage girl who was written by an author who’s definitely human and totally understands how human girls work. Jean is excited for a trip to Hawaii with her friends, but finds herself delayed a few days for reasons too stupid to be real. Finally on the plane to Hawaii, the boy, Mike, in the seat next to Jean dies violently, leaving Jean shaken. But there’s no time for trauma when there are cute boys giving scuba diving lessons at the hotel, so Jean puts aside her experience and tires to enjoy the time with her friend Mandy and also Michelle, the random girl who just invited herself along on the vacation and now spends all her time locked in their shared hotel suite bedroom having sex with Dave, the older of the two diving instructors. Jean starts having spooky dreams about Mike, and is drawn to a particular underwater cave off the Island of Lanai. When Jean recklessly dives to the cave alone she finds a human skull and promptly freaks out. Neither of the cute instructors, Dave or Johnny, believe she saw the skull, and upon investigation Dave can’t find it in the cave. Is jean falling apart from her traumatic experience? Are Dave and Johnny more than simply cute dive instructors, and what happened to their missing partner Ringo (yes, Ringo)? What does any of this have to do with Mike? Will Mandy ever be treated with respect in this book? Help Sam solve this mystery (spoiler, it’s not that mysterious) in the conclusion of our first Great Switcheroo!
In the first of our Great Switcheroo episodes, Danielle shares her pick of the 1984 movie The Ice Pirates. What do you get when you can’t decide between being a goofy lampoon of Star Wars or just a knock-off? It might very well be The Ice Pirates. The galaxy has inexplicably run out of water, the remaining bits of ice from comets are controlled by the Templars, a group of chain-mail wearing space knights. The annoyingly rouge pirate captain Jason (really) finds himself captured by the Templars and at risk of castration at the hands of the Castratomatic machine. Luckily, he’s saved by the princess Karina who wants his help to find her lost, and possibly dead, father the King of something, who knows what. At this point, some of Jason’s crew also escape with him, but run into a robot pimp with a TV showing scantily ladies in its stomach. The robopimp doesn’t really matter to the movie, but Sam thought it important to mention that it’s basically a horny Teletubby. Anyway, the crew and the princess escape to the pirate moon, there’s a space herpie on the ship but it doesn’t matter. Really, the thing that matters most is that the group eventually makes their way to possibly the best named character of all time; a lover of baby donkeys and teenage ducks, the one, the only, the indomitable Lanky Nibs. There’s a bunch of stuff after that about finding Karina’s father and the Seventh World, but after Lanky Nibs it’s all just a blur until a finale that screws with time in ways that make our heads hurt. Also, did we mention Anjelica Huston has a minor roll in this movie, as well as Ron Perlman in his second ever film credit? So come enjoy Danielle grapple with explaining why she didn’t love a movie that seems to have it all, and tune in next week for Sam’s turn on The Great Switcheroo!
This week Sam brings along Danielle on a trip through the Nic Cageiverse in the 2009 film Knowing. In 1959 a little girl scrawls a bunch of mystery numbers on a paper placed in a time capsule. This note is acquired by John (Nicholas Cage) fifty years later in the undetermined time period of “present day”, who, as a depressed astrophysicist, immediately cracks the code. The paper details the dates and locations of every massive disaster (supposedly) in the last fifty years. The real problem is that there are three disasters that are scheduled for the future in the next few days. John sets out to stop the disasters and utterly fails to prevent the first two. He then decides to learn more about the writer of the note by spending some time stalking a woman and her young daughter; a plan that works about as well as you’d expect. Suddenly there’s an apocalypse coming and the government knows but doesn’t seem to care and John can only think about how to save his son, who has started hearing mysterious whispers and seeing strange men following them. None of this really matters as the ending is wild and seems to render the whole movie pointless. However, Sam did manage to find a description for the movie that seems to have come from a parallel universe, and that really excites Danielle.
In this special bonus episode Danielle and Sam pick out weird media which the other person will have to explain, while still not having seen or read the media they’re suggesting. Given the choice would Danielle rather watch the animated film The Elm-Chanted Forest or the sci-fi comedy The Ice Pirates? And which Christopher Pike book will Sam pick to read: See You Later or Bury Me Deep? Listen to find out, and be sure to stay tuned as Danielle and Sam cover their choices in a future episode.
This week Danielle takes Sam through the 2012 dark comedy film It’s a Disaster. When Tracy (Julia Styles) brings her new boyfriend (David Cross) to a regular brunch to meet her friends, they all quickly find themselves trapped inside the house together as a series of disasters threaten the world around them. However, they won’t let something like the end of the world get in the way of their interpersonal drama. This one is short, weird, and really needs to be experienced to be fully understood, but Sam is nonetheless impressed by the cast’s comedy chops, and the way the story makes life-threatening circumstances funny. Danielle really only cares that the cast contains America Ferrera. But the thing the two of them agree about the most for this brunch-pocolypse is “don’t be late”.
This week Sam takes Danielle on an adventure through the 2004 made for TV movie The Librarian: Quest for the Spear. If you take Indiana Jones, mash it up with Warehouse 13, add Noah Wyle and a touch of historical mysticism, you’ll get something akin to The Librarian. Flynn is a perpetual student with an unbelievable 22 academic degrees, a fact Sam refuses to accept. When he’s forced out of school by his teacher, for some reason, he struggles to find purpose until a magic letter invites him to a job interview at a library. At the interview, Flynn spouts some nonsense and then a magical Bob Newhart as Judson appears from a wall to tell him he’s hired. Bob shows Flynn around the library, which is really more a heavily guarded museum of mystical artifacts, and also the Mona Lisa for some reason. This “secure” facility is immediately broken into by a librarian splinter group—which must the be the least intimidating kind of splinter group—and a piece of a powerful spear artifact is stolen. Instead of actually trying to recover the stolen spear piece, Flynn is instead sent to track down the two other spear pieces which, until now, have been safely hidden in other locations because the spear was too powerfully dangerous to be kept in one piece. Predictably, things don’t go smoothly as Flynn and his sexy bodyguard Nicole go to the Amazon to recover the spear, but Sam is more upset that they even lunched this unnecessary quest to begin with. Things only get more ridiculous as stupid evil plans collide with stupid good plans and no one seems to do any actual librarian work. All we can say is: Snake, Snake! Snake, Snake!
This week Danielle takes Sam through the truly bizarre finale of the 2020 Ernest Cline novel Ready Player Two. Wade Watts is trapped in the OASIS in his ONI VR headset by Anorak and his “infirmware” and is being forced by Anorak to find the seven shards hidden by Halliday on various media worlds Kira—the late wife of Ogden and romantic obsession of Halliday—had a hand in creating. And if that sentence doesn’t sum up Ready Player Two, nothing does. The purpose of this latest scavenger hunt is still unclear, but Wade now has 12 hours to complete it before he dies, so naturally he completely ignores the help offered by his biggest fan L0hengrin. Wade and his friends set off to various media worlds, including the not-much-of-a-challenge school world, and the fever dream of the Prince world. Eventually, Wade figures out that Anorak wants the shards because he—the A.I. consciousness of Halliday—wants to use the shards to resurrect an A.I. consciousness of Kira which Halliday created without her consent. Anorak wants to live in eternal bliss with this A.I. Kira even though she never loved Halliday, even when reconstituted virtually. We won’t spoil how the space ship full of frozen embryos figures into all this, but it’s wild. Anyway, Wade and his friends find a convenient magic sword that Ogden, and only Ogden for some reason, can use to defeat Anorak, and embark on a pretty simple heist to free Ogden and bring him to the Oasis to fight Anorak. All of this is pretty standard, but then Wade discovers there are A.I. scans of every person who has used an ONI device, and his solution to this is probably the most ridiculous, and most irresponsible, part of the whole book, which is really saying something.
This week Danielle starts Sam on a VR adventure with the 2020 Ernest Cline novel Ready Player Two. In this sequel to Ready Player One, Wade Watts is the freshly minted owner of the OASIS, a massive virtual realty universe that dominates the cultural and commercial landscape of a dystopian Earth. That’s when Wade’s late predecessor, Halliday, sends him a hitherto unknown technology: The ONI, a neural interface VR system for the OASIS that kills you if you use it too long. This all sounds great to Wade who immediately launches it as a commercial product, and this is why Danielle and Sam feel that you probably shouldn’t pick the successor to your multi-billion dollar essential planetary infrastructure via pop culture scavenger hunt. At this point, a new scavenger hunt appears in the OASIS, seemingly just for Wade and created by Halliday (seriously, does he have any other ideas?). Wade is tasked with finding seven shards but is stumped by the clue and so kinda just ignores if for a few years, like a true hero. During that time, Wade finds his friends divided over the ethics of the ONI devices, and Wade drifts away from Samantha, his girlfriend for all of a week, due to her reservations. Finally, a fan of Wade’s, L0hengrin, clues him into where the first shard is, and helps him recover this first quest item. Things only get weirder from here, and that’s without mentioning the Olympic swimming pool’s worth of 80’s and 90’s pop culture references to slog through, or the spaceship full of frozen embryos. Sam has many questions, and while there are few answers in part one, we can only hope part two will shed some light on his most burning question: How big a jerk was Halliday? (Spoiler: absolutely massive).
This week Sam takes Danielle on a mystical adventure through the 1997 movie Warriors of Virtue. Ryan Jeffers is an ordinary teenage boy who dreams of playing football and impressing girls. He also reads comics in his bathroom while home alone and hangs around at a Chinese restaurant’s kitchen with the chef who cooks with Kung Fu. This chef gives Ryan a mysterious scroll (which is actually a book) of Tao and some wise words of advice, then Ryan heads off to meet up with the cool kids who invited him out for an initiation that night. Ryan and the cool teens break into a building whose purpose is unclear, but there is a strange, open whirlpool in one room which Danielle is super excited about. Ryan falls into this whirlpool and is transported to the magical world of Tao which is under threat from the evil Komodo who wants to drain all the Life Springs of their energy sustaining element Zubrium so he can use it to stay young and powerful while the rest of the people in Tao die. Sam doesn’t get it either, but is all about the word Zubrium and Angus Macfadyen’s amazing acting choices as Komodo. Ryan eventually meets up with the titular Warriors of Virtues who are, in fact, Kung Fu Kangaroos and nothing has delighted Danielle or Sam more than that simple phrase. However, one of the five warriors has left to be a hermit in a swamp after failing to uphold the vow of never killing anyone. Now it’s up to Ryan to reunite the Warriors, mostly by berating them, and to try and find a way home all while learning absolutely no Kung Fu. You can also join Danielle’s quest to have a watch party where Sam re-dubs all the sound effects in the movie; he will not do a good job.
This week Danielle brings a little Halloween in July with the 2014 film Vampire Academy. Rose Hathaway is a teenage Dhampir (mostly human vampire) and is guardian-in-training for her best friend Princess Vasilisa (Lissa) Dragomir, a Moroi (pacifist full vampire). They have run away from their titular school after a deadly car accident left Lissa without her family. They are soon tracked down and returned to school, because they’re teenagers, where they arrive in the middle of a Strigoi (evil, non-pacifist vampire) attack at the school gates. At this point, Sam has reached his limit of nonsense fantasy words and exposition, but the movie, and Danielle, aren’t even close to done. Back at school there’s some sinister force harassing Lissa who uses her magic powers (of course she has magic powers) to manipulate everyone into liking her and becoming like, so totally popular you guys. There are some dreamy, broody vampire (and half-vampire) boys, of course, but none of that really seems to matter. In fact, none of the plot of this book really seems to matter as it serves more as a vehicle for vampire world exposition. And boy, does Sam have questions about that vampire world, questions for which Danielle has too few answers. Lissa’s life is eventually endangered in a predictable twist, there’s some almost sex that is surprisingly responsible in terms of power structures, and something called Psi Hounds make an appearance, which are basically just regular dogs with glowing eyes that are psychic in ways that are subtle and irrelevant. So listen and enjoy as both Sam and Danielle examine the finer points of vampire caste systems and reproductive habits. We could seriously use a biologist, and maybe a sociologist, to help figure this one out.