Movie

The Secret Kingdom

This week Sam shares with Danielle the 2023 fantasy movie The Secret Kingdom. Peter is your average mopey teen with crippling anxiety and a bubbly younger sister. His family has recently arrived at a new house. We say “arrived” because the real mystery of this movie starts right away as Sam and Danielle try to figure out if the family is moving there, or just there to clean, or what. this mystery is compounded by the fact that when a moving truck arrives the dad drops the bomb that surprise! Their home was foreclosed on, so what does that makes this place? This utterly irrelevant detail completely baffling our hosts really sets the tone for the rest of this movie. Soon Peter’s sister Verity manages to get them both transported to a magic, subterranean kingdom inhabited by large, bipedal pangolins. Verity somehow already speaks their language, and soon Peter is blessed with the pangolin tongue when one of the creatures literally sticks their tongue in his ear. Peter is—surprise, surprise—the chosen one, the prophesied king of the pangolins who must go on an epic quest to defeat a creature of pure evil called the Shroud. How is Peter to do this? Why a fetch-quest of course! He needs to find five pieces of a broken clock hidden around this forgotten world and then fix the clock which will defeat the Shroud. Somehow. No time for questions, they have a quest to do! So off Peter, Verity, and their pangolin companion Pling go through this actually stellar looking world to find the pieces in a quest so utterly simple that it angers Sam and forces Danielle to repeatedly ask “Why couldn’t a pangolin do this?”

Holiday in Handcuffs

This week, Sam rounds out the Winter Bizarre with the 2007 ABC Family movie Holiday in Handcuffs. Melissa Joan Hart (character name unknown) is always trying to please her very demanding parents, but this year she’s excited because she’s bringing her successful boyfriend to the family Christmas trip to a rural log cabin. However, after tanking a job interview, Melissa is dumped by that same boyfriend mere hours before they were supposed to leave. What’s a girl to do? Easy: Kidnap the nearest available man, in this case Mario Lopez (character name also unknown). This sets Melissa on a wild ride where she has to convince her family that the very-much-not-happy-to-be-there Mario is actually her boyfriend, so they can all just get off her back, okay. This is, obviously, a perfect plan, and through a series of truly convoluted events, and aided by some remarkably oblivious family members and a Mario Lopez who could really be doing more to escape, Melissa mostly manages to keep up the ruse. However, things start to get serious when Melissa sees how much her family all love Mario, and Mario develops Stockholm Syndrome. Crazily enough, the movie doesn’t end when Melissa gets busted for kidnapping, but somehow there’s still a lot more to the story. Other highlights include: A strange family tradition involving a “key master”, a surprise interest in art from both characters, some sporadic narration, and a drunken grandmother threatening to shoot police officers with a flintlock pistol. Seriously, this movie is just all the bananas.

Next Stop, Christmas

Danielle kicks off our Winter Bizarre/Switcheroo season with the 2021 Hallmark movie Next Stop, Christmas. Angie is your average New York doctor whose life is terrible because her parents are divorced and, despite having good friends, is single. The horror. Luckily, the universe is here to fix Angie not living the life planned for her. More specifically, Christopher Lloyd gives Angie a magic ticket so that when she gets on the train to Yonkers, she falls asleep and wakes upon a much older train ten years in the past with her then boyfriend, soon to be rejected fiancée Tyler. Angie is, understandably, upset but goes with it and decides to use the opportunity to enjoy her last good Christmas (in her mind). However, things are not as rosy as she remembers as her parents are having marriage issues and she’s oblivious about how distant she is from her sister. It’s around this time that they run into Angie’s childhood friend Ben, and here’s where Sam smells a love triangle, but it’s really more of a Ben pining over Angie for far too long, verging on creepy. Angie quickly deduces that her rejection of Tyler’s proposal is why she’s back in time, and she also decides to parent trap her mom and dad into fixing their marriage. She accomplishes this in the most ludicrously infuriating way, but for some reason still isn’t returned to her own time. This tees the movie up for an ending that is so full of dread and psychological horror that Sam and Danielle can only conclude that the powerful time-imp Christopher Lloyd is exacting revenge for a stiffed tip.

Book Reshorts: The Great Switcheroo – The Second

The Great Switcheroo is back, now with a Winter Bizarre flavor! Danielle and Sam have each selected three holiday media options and their co-host must choose one for their Winter Bizarre episode. Sam has taken pains to find several time travel holiday movies to keep the Hyperion theme running, while Danielle has found, somehow, another holiday moving featuring a pro-wrestler for Sam. But will either of them pick those options? Find out on now, and then tune in during the Winter Bizarre to hear how they enjoyed their choices.

The Faculty

Danielle concludes Spook Retorts this week with the cult 1998 movie The Faculty. It seems like a perfectly ordinary day at an average high school in Ohio: The coach (Robert Patrick) is raging at the football team and stomping sprinklers, the teachers are complaining about the lack of funding for everything except the football team, and a new girl (Laura Harris) joins the school which is populated with your typical cliques. While looking for a scoop for the school paper in the teachers’ lounge nerd kid Casey (Elijah Wood) and cheerleader Delilah (Jordana Brewster) seem to witness the murder of the school nurse (Salma Hayek) at the hands of other faculty members. Of course, by the time the police show up everything is back to normal, but the kids are convinced something’s up. One clue is a worm one of them finds outside and which is immediately identified by the science teacher (Jon Stewart) as a strange, aquatic parasite. The students realize the faculty have been drinking tons of water, so clearly something like this parasite is infecting them and trying to take over the world. After jumping to this conclusion, not once do they question the logic of a a creature starting its invasion in Ohio of all places. Anyway, later the students are attacked by the science teacher, but learn that if you stab one of them in the eye with a pen full of drugs made by burnout-genius student Zeke (Josh Hartnett), they die. The students, proving that if jumping to conclusions was an Olympic sport they’d all have gold, surmise that the drugs must be deadly to the parasite, and also there must be, as freaking always, a queen parasite they can kill to immediately save everyone with no repercussions. So our motley crew of unlikely friends immediately put in action a plan to save humanity by…doing some of Zeke’s drugs. Things don’t really go much better for them from there, but what did you expect from Ohio?

Check out Danielle and Sam on Rewatch Recap podcast discussing the Snick show Roundhouse. Find it on Twitter @dustin_holden, Instagram @therewatchrecap, and listen wherever you get your podcasts.

Slugs

Spook Retorts is back, and this week Sam shares the 1988 cult horror movie Slugs! When people start dying in mysterious ways in a small town, it’s up to county health inspector Mike Brady to uncover the mystery. Why is it up to the health inspector to do this? That is among the many, many questions this movie steadfastly refuses to answer or even acknowledge. Anyway, Mike Brady first encounters the slugs’ work when he is called to help evict an old drunk. Why he was called to assist in an eviction is yet another mystery. The man, they find, has been reduced to a bloody skeleton, and it’s not long before more bodies show up. Mike eventually enlists the help of generic movie scientist John in his burgeoning murder slug theory, since John is an expert on slugs, and also everything else. It’s about halfway into the movie when Danielle and special guest Filip start to wonder how a slug invasion could be remotely threatening. Unfortunately, neither Sam nor the movie is able to demonstrate any way in which slugs could be threatening. Nevertheless, the slugs’ body count continues to rise, mostly by catching people who aren’t paying attention during sex, or by causing people to blow up their greenhouses/meth labs. So join us for this Spook Retorts romp into B-move fun as we see if an ordinary town can survive the slugs! Spoiler: the ultimate solution to the slug threat does way more death and destruction than the slugs ever would have.

Keep an ear out for a soon-to-be released Mind Duck Books episode where Filip, Danielle, and Sam all discuss the book Slugs on which this movie was based. Find Mind Duck Books on Twitter @mindduckbooks, Instagram @mindduckbooks, and listen wherever you get your podcasts.

Blood and Chocolate (Movie)

This week Danielle completes a double-feature with the 2007 movie Blood and Chocolate. Hold on to your hats werewolf fans, because we’re back with lycanthropes! If you hoped this movie shares more than a name with the book, prepare to be greatly disappointed. This time, our much more adult werewolf Vivian is in Bucharest, and while breaking into a werewolf church (go with it) she runs into Aiden, a graphic novelist making a new book about werewolves, of course. Aiden is super into Vivian but she doesn’t feel the same at first. That’s the boring stuff, the crazy stuff is that now the city seems to be run by the werewolves now called loups-garoux. They also seem to abduct people, possibly criminals, to hunt for funsies. Vivian is not into the hunts, but her cousin Rafe is, and the pack leader Gabriel really don’t like humans at all. Also, he wants to dump Vivian’s aunt Astrid to hookup with Vivian, but now it’s somehow even creepier than in the book. Anyway, as you might expect, Vivian and Aiden start dating in secret, but that secret doesn’t last long. When Gabriel finds out, he sends Rafe to confront Aiden in the bone cathedral (Sam’s favorite part) and utters possibly the greatest line in cinema history. While the plot seems thin, that’s because the movie is just stuffed full of irrelevant werewolf lore that Danielle loves and Sam is just confused by. So come learn if the movie is as good as the book (spoiler: it’s not). Oh yeah, there’s also a prophecy, but it super doesn’t matter. Enjoy!

Rock & Rule

This week Sam brings Danielle the 1983 animated rock adventure film Rock & Rule. In the distant future, mutant animals have taken over the planet, and they only want one thing: To rock out! Well, most of them do. Semi-retired super-rocker Mok (who looks like an old rat version of David Bowie) wants to find a magical voice that will activate the Armageddon key so he can summon a monster of destruction from another dimension for reasons that are spectacularly unclear. Anyway, when Mok’s magic ring (just go with it) detects the voice of down-and-out rock band member and rat singer Angel’s voice, he knows he’s found the right person. So he promptly kidnaps her and escapes in a zeppelin that transforms out of his home (this movie is bananas). They are perused by Angel’s band mates, including her kinda boyfriend Omar, who follow them to Nuke York on a rescue mission. However, Mok has both tricks and magic up his sleeve to thwart them, so they’re in for a real fight. If this movie seems light on plot, that’s because it’s heavy on rock with many original songs by Cheap Trick, Lou Reed, Debbie Harry, and Iggy Pop. It may be short, but Sam certainly has a blast with this insane animated rock-venture, and Danielle is just amused to hear Sam reciting so many lyrics. There’s only one question left: Are you ready to rock?!

Sleepless in Seattle

This week Danielle brings Sam the classic 1993 Nora Ephron movie Sleepless in Seattle. Sam, the Tom Hanks character henceforth referred to as Tom to avoid confusion, recently lost his wife. In his grief, he decides it’s a good idea to move him and his eight-year-old son to Seattle from Chicago. Also, Tom is an architect because he’s a romantic interest in a 90’s movie. Anyway, in Seattle Tom’s son calls into to a national radio therapist show (somehow this isn’t Fraiser) to lament that his dad hasn’t found a new love in the mere 18-months since his mother died. Coincidentally, Baltimore based…journalist? Annie (Meg Ryan, of course) hears the radio show and immediately becomes creepily obsessed with Tom despite already being engaged to the perfect man: future president and ghost mansion owner Bill Pullman. Annie decides to abuse her journalistic position and also hires a private investigator to track Tom down. She also writes him a letter saying they should meet on the Empire State Building on Valentine’s Day, so she’s gone full wacko. Tom, meanwhile, has begun dating a lovely woman, but his son is determined to break them up because he read Annie’s letter and thinks they should be together instead. And here’s where the movie takes a hard turn into crazy town. Annie lightly stalks Tom and his son, his son continues to be a jerk and manages to run away to New York. Annie is also just the worst to her fiancé, who’s just the nicest and best person, as she waffles back-and-forth about whether she should run off to the Empire State Building to maybe meet a man she has only heard on the radio and dump Bill Freaking Pullman. So join us to hear Sam and Danielle lose their minds as they try to figure out why anyone would root for these people to get together.

Crater

This week Sam brings on the Disney with the 2023 direct to streaming movie Crater. In the not too distant future, humanity has just gotten kind of bored with Earth and decided to invest everything in a new planet Omega. This movie is not about that, instead we follow some kids, and specifically Caleb, living in a mining colony on the Moon. Caleb’s father recently died in a mining accident, and since his mother died a few years earlier, Caleb is awarded a one-way trip to Omega, hooray! Only Caleb doesn’t want to go to Omega and leave all his friends behind. Friends like Dylan, Marcus, Borney, and the new addition, Addison. Caleb’s father always told him about how he used to take Caleb’s mother to visit a special crater, so Caleb and his friends decide to steal a rover and take a road trip during a meteor storm lock-down. They make their way across the moon’s surface, stopping briefly to play baseball (sure), and then also to use their oxygen tanks to play jetpacks (what?!). The jetpack game, predictably, goes awry, but once everyone is back safe inside the rover, they head to an abandoned model home showcase to restock. It should also be mentioned that, although this is a largely upbeat children’s movie, this society is freaking dark. We learn that the miners on the Moon are essentially indentured servants laboring for a ticket to Omega that never comes and passing down that burden of servitude to their children. There’s also no entertainment on the Moon, no books or music, the children only learn about mining in school, and are never allowed to leave the small colony dome. And lest you think Earth is doing any better, Addison recently moved to the Moon from Earth after her parents divorced and her mom took her younger brother to Omega (a 75-year trip in stasis) so then her dad took her to the moon to spite her mom. Absolutely terrible. Anyway, the children continue their adventure to the crater, but what they find there is totally bonkers, as is the ending of this movie which left both our hosts completely baffled.