80s

Wonder Woman 1984 – Part 2

This week Danielle brings the conclusion of the 2020 film Wonder Woman 1984. When we last left our heroes they had just returned from a magical invisible jet flight to Egypt and had determined the best course of action was to either get everyone to unwish their wishes, or to kill Maxwell Lord, who had wished himself to become the magic citrine, lest we forget. Speaking of Max, he’s slowly unraveling mentally and physically, and finagles meeting with the President where he declares he’s a sovereign nation unto himself. Also, the President lets slip that they have a magic satellite thing that has a beam which will override the screen of any device the beam touches. And if you think the term “touches” is used there figuratively, boy would this magic wishing-citrine-now-human like to have words with you. While Diana as Wonder Woman shows up to stop Max, Barbara is there to foil her plans because she is also power hungry and won’t give up her wish-granted superhuman powers. Wonder Woman is defeated because her powers are waning due to her own wish to have her beau Steve back, who now inhabits the body of another man whom they have no regard for, and which is still totally not okay. While Max and Barbara fly to the satellite control island, Diana lets Steve go and renounces her wish (finally) and then lassos a jet plane to get her home. She also lassos lightening to travel, but this is a concept so astoundingly dumb that Sam refuses to acknowledge it’s a thing. Anyway, after Diana grabs some magic armor of a long dead (but not really dead because comic books) Amazonian warrior, she chases after Max and Barbara for a showdown on Satellite Control Island. Max has been broadcasting to the entire wold enticing them to wish using the magic of him touching them through a satellite beam video feed (seriously, how the wishes work in this movie is something beyond mortal comprehension). Chaos engulfs the Earth as wishes are granted willy-nilly, but before Diana can get to Max she must first fight Barbara, who has been transformed into a cheetah woman via the magic of the script says so. If you think their showdown is intense, wait until you hear how Diana defeats Max: Via the superpower of a very compelling, moralizing speech.

Wonder Woman 1984 – Part 1

This week Danielle brings the superhero craziness with the 2020 film Wonder Woman 1984. If you didn’t see the first Wonder Woman film, don’t worry, neither did Sam, and Danielle barely remembers it, so no context needed! Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) is your average working 80s girl, only she’s really an immortal Amazonian from Themyscira who is still pining for Steve (Chris Pine), the love of her life and a pilot who died in World War 1. When a botched robbery brings a mysterious citrine in to the Smithsonian where Diana works with her mousy new friend Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig), things start to go awry. While holding the stone, both Diana and Barbara make wishes in their heads and then a magic wind blows, foreshadowing the granting of their wishes. Barbara wished to be strong and beautiful like Diana, but Diana’s wish is a surprise for later. That’s when Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) rolls in, he’s the head of an oil company/Ponzi scheme who has just made a large donation to the museum, which seems to grant him carte blanche to just touch evidence, like the citrine, in an FBI investigation. He invites them all to a gala that night in his honor and Barbara is instantly taken with him and agrees while Diana declines. That night at the gala, Diana is now suspicious of Max and shows up anyway, and is immediately sexually harassed by every guy in there, since all men in this world are completely terrible. She brushes them off, but then one of them says a phrase that Steve once said to her, and Diana realizes her wish came true: Steve is back! Only, Steve is not himself, his consciousness has been shoved into the body of another man. What happened to the mind of the man whose body this was originally? Who cares, certainly not our supposed “heroes” Diana and Steve, who immediately drop everything to go have sex in that poor, possessed man’s home with his unable-to-consent body. Meanwhile, Max Lord (seriously, that name) has initiated a make-out session with Barbara in order to steal the citrine. With the citrine safely in his castle/home, Max does something absolutely bonkers and wishes to become the wishing stone. It might be reasonable to take a moment here to discuss the rules of the magic citrine, but the rules for this wishing stone are so arbitrary and crazy you’re just going to have to listen to all our rants to get it, there’s too much to include here. Maxwell then starts coercing others into wishing things that benefit him while touching him, and then also taking something from them in exchange for the “wish”, and if that’s confusing, get used to it. Anyway, Max jets off to Egypt while Diana and Steve, now back on the case, follow him in the dumbest way imaginable. This movie is so long, and chock-a-block full of nonsense, that Danielle has to end it there before Sam gets so angry at the inconsistent wishing rules and dumb Wonder Woman lasso tricks that he quits the podcast entirely.

Robot Jox

To kick-off the new year Sam brings the 1990 Stuart Gordon mech fighting film Robot Jox! Welcome to the distant future, post World War III, where war has been outlawed, somehow. Instead, the world has decided the more sensible way to settle international disputes is via single combat in mechs. While undoubtedly cool as heck, Sam has several issues with the concept on a practical level. The capitalist Market is locked in a perpetual battle with the communist Confederation. The latest battle is for control of Alaska, but when an errant rocket fist leads to the accidental death of hundreds of spectators (why are there spectators?!), Achilles, the hero of the Market, hangs up his robot gloves and retires. This makes room for the genetically engineered super soldiers to step-up to the fight, but there’s only one problem: Achilles has the hots for one of them by the name of Athena. This leads to the most pressing question about this movie: Is it clever satire, or just another sexist 80’s flick? We may not have an answer to that, but we do know this movie has kick-butt robot fights, so that’s worth something for sure. So join us for some good ol’ fashioned, Cold War 80’s action!

The Monster Squad

It’s time once again for Spook Retorts! Sam kicks off this year with the 1987 ensemble monster movie The Monster Squad. We start in Transylvania where Abraham Van Helsing is attempting to banish Dracula and his menagerie of armadillos using a glowing amulet and a teen girl. Van Helsing fails spectacularly, for reasons that are entirely opaque, and Dracula decides to lay low for one hundred years. That’s just enough time for a group of snarky and unfortunately homophobic kids to form a monster club in small town America. These kids are somehow very selective for membership in their monster club, even though it seems to require only the barest minimum of basic monster knowledge to join. One of the kids comes into possession of Van Helsing’s journal which immediately makes them a target for Dracula, who is assembling a coterie of monster, which is, bafflingly, not the titular monster squad. After encountering the mummy, hearing about a werewolf, and befriending Frankenstein’s monster, the children decide to form the Monster Squad to take on Dracula using the instructions in Van Helsing’s journal and, worryingly, a fair bit of sexual blackmail. So join Sam and Danielle the premiere of this year’s Spook Retorts that will having you rooting for the monsters to defeat the real evil: Human children.

The Ice Pirates

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!

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

This week Sam introduces Danielle to the classic 1985 post-apocalyptic film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. The Mad Max franchise is well known for telling the gritty story of the collapse of society, a nuclear apocalypse, and one man who attempts to survive alone in the new world. Beyond Thunderdome takes that serious story and makes it delightfully goofy in every way. After having his camel-drawn cart stolen, the titular Max ends up in Bartertown, the most advanced city in the Australian wasteland. He quickly becomes embroiled in a political assassination plot that is wildly over-complicated as the queen of Bartertown, played fabulously by Tina Turner, wishes to have the bodyguard of the mechanical genius behind the city’s success killed. None of that is really important as it’s just an excuse to get Max into Thunderdome with the formidable Blaster for a fight scene that is as delightful as it is bizarre. After some contrived shenanigans and the application of laws that are notable mostly in their ability to be chanted by a mob, Max is exiled to the wasteland but is rescued both by a magic monkey and a tribe of teenagers and children that have formed a cult religion about a savior pilot after being abandoned in an oasis. The crazy only escalates from there as Max and the kids are forced into a conflict with Tina Turner and the Bartertown Bunch mostly as an excuse to have a climactic train/car chase through the desert. That all sounds ridiculous, and it is, but the costumes are amazing, the is action way over the top, and the plot is nonsensical, so really, what more could we possibly ask for?

Highlander

Sam shares his love for the film Highlander with Danielle, a cult classic from 1986. Have you ever wondered what it would be like if a secret race of immortals walked among us? Highlander posits that they spend most of their time popping out of thin air to surprise each other with sword fights as they battle to the death for the fabled prize. Why is this prize worth fighting for? Why do they have to fight to the death? Why are some people born immortal? None of these questions will be answered, but there is a punk-rock hedonist monster called the Kurgan, so we don’t really mind. Join us for Highlander where the rules, and the accents, make no sense, but we do know there can be only one!

Featuring a promo for the science entertainment podcast Petri Dish; find them on Twitter @dishpodcast and at https://anchor.fm/petridish