Teen

Can of Worms

This week Danielle returns to her comfort zone with the 1999 Disney Channel Original Movie Can of Worms. Mike is your typical angsty teen, he doesn’t feel like he belongs on Earth and no one understands him, especially his parents. He’s on the football team at his dad’s insistence, but he doesn’t like it and isn’t very good at it, though it does give him a chance to ogle the cute cheerleader Katelyn. Mike is also a massive computer nerd, but he gets bullied by Scott, the much more popular computer nerd/football player at school. After a series of insane, and quite lame, computer pranks, Katelyn takes a shine to Mike and asks him to make fancy, electronic Halloween decorations for the school dance. Oh also, Mike likes to tell stories and give PowerPoint presentations in his tree house about an alien baby that was launched into space after his home planet was invaded and the alien baby crash lands on Earth where it grows up and feels out of place. The alien baby is obviously supposed to represent Mike, and everyone knows Mike tells this story and freaking loves it. Anyway, the dance is a disaster and Mike runs home and steals his family’s satellite dish to send a message into space about how he doesn’t belong on Earth and wants to leave. What follows is a parade of absolute nightmares as a variety of grotesque aliens with horrific human teeth answer Mike’s call. One, a dog that speaks out of a mouth on its collar, invites Mike to live on its home planet of Puppis (ugh) to escape the onslaught. Mike refuses, and eventually a series of maddening sit-com level misunderstandings leads to Mike’s best friend’s brother being kidnapped by a frog-like alien for its exotic zoo. Mike, Katelyn, his friend, and even his former enemy Scott all team up to save the brother, though Scott is really more tricked into it than anything. Will they succeed and save they day? Who cares! So long as we can end the movie and get away from the insane, eldritch abominations this movie considers fun aliens for kids, Danielle and Sam will put up with pretty much anything, except maybe Mike’s useless prophetic alien dreams, that is.

Check out the excellent Rewatch Recap podcast on Twitter @dustin_holden, Instagram @dustincanread, and listen wherever you get your podcasts.

The Thirteenth Year

This week Danielle returns to the Disney Channel Original Movie well with the 1999 TV movie The Thirteenth Year. The movie opens with a mermaid being chased by a far too enthusiastic fisherman and abandoning her extremely human-looking child in a basket on a boat in a reverse Moses situation. We later learn that this may, or may not, be a natural part of the mermaid lifecycle, and already the first few minutes of this movie would require years of study to unpack. The baby is found and claimed by two humans who own the boat, they name him Cody and raise him to help them administer their fiscally unsustainable $5 boat tours. Cody is also on the swim team, and boy does Danielle have opinions about swim meets in this episode. Cody is eventually partnered up with the school nerd, Jess, on a marine biology project when he discovers his body is going through changes. The kind of changes every young man deals with: scales on his hands, Sith lightning from his fingertips, being able to tell fish to do circus tricks, and the ability to climb walls; you know, the classic merperson things of lore. Cody’s mom negligently avoids taking him to a doctor, and his kinda girlfriend Sam (no relation) at first doesn’t care, until she sees him with arm fins later (seriously, this movie has no idea how merpeople work). Cody struggles to understand his new identity while trying to hide his changes from Jess’ dad, the same fisherman who chased his mer-mom all those years ago and is now obsessed with finding proof of fish-people. Sam (yes relation) wonders if there’s some common heritage between merpeople and centaurs, and then makes a bunch of terrible fish puns which Danielle does not appreciate. Anyway, Cody tries to reconcile his burgeoning mer-identity with his human upbringing, and also just absolutely crush it at the most well attended state swim meet ever. However, a time comes when he must make a very difficult choice between his human life and and mer-heritage. Kidding! This is a Disney movie, so it goes completely bonkers trying to make it a happy ending for everyone. So get ready for an Olympic-sized swimming pool of aquatic nonsense!

Legacy of Lies – Part 2

This week we’re back in Wisteria, Maryland for the thrilling conclusion of the Elizabeth Chandler teen novel Legacy of Lies. After her spooky dream, Megan and Matt start to grow closer, closer than kinda-family even. Megan’s grandmother is not happy that Megan and Matt have started to connect, but not because of the creepy pseudo-incest implications, but because that means they’ll be united against her. To no one’s surprise, the grandmother continues to, and will always, be the worst. Objects in the house start getting moved to places they shouldn’t be, as if someone was moving them in the middle of the night. Spoiler: it’s not a ghost and is, in fact, much dumber than that. Meanwhile, Megan and Sophie decide to go to a party with Matt and Alex, although Danielle and Sam can’t agree on if this qualifies as a double-date. On the way there, even though Megan is going with Alex, he and Sophie start getting a little snuggly in the back of the car. Megan is unperturbed since she is starting to really crush on her sorta cousin anyway. Eventually, Megan starts to learn a little of her family’s history, and that her great aunt Avril and her grandmother Helen actually competed over a boy back in the day by the name of Thomas. Thomas was originally with Helen, but then cheated on her with Avril, and then he went back to Helen after Avril died of an overdose of a cosmetic known as Red Creep. Sam is much more interested in the Red Creep as a superhero (villain?), but nonetheless is still flummoxed why Helen would ever get back with Thomas, whom Helen eventually married and is Megan’s grandfather. Megan goes back to the not very impressive psychic of Mrs. Riley, who tells her that Megan is the reincarnation of Avril. This leads to Megan concluding that Matt is the reincarnation of Thomas, Sophie is the reincarnation of Avril’s best friend Angel, and Alex in the reincarnation of Angel’s lover who died in World War II (the whole town is chock-a-block full of reincarnations apparently). Megan also learns that Thomas was just after Avril’s money, but poisoned her (maybe with the help of Helen) because Avril wasn’t going to marry him, and now Megan (as the reincarnation of Avril) must kill the reincarnation of her killer (Matt, as Thomas) or be killed by him again because fate or something. If you think that’s the craziest thing this book has to offer, just wait until you hear the end and all the weird, nested reincarnation incest that results. So join us for a conclusion that is sure to leave you with one word rattling around inside your head: “What?”

Legacy of Lies – Part 1

This week Danielle takes us to Maryland, or possibly England, in the Elizabeth Chandler teen novel from 2000, Legacy of Lies. Meet Megan, a teen whose whole personalty could be described in one word: sassy. Megan is the adopted daughter of an interracial couple, and her maternal grandmother does not approve of such things (this grandmother is, as should be clear, the worst). However, for some mysterious reason this grandmother has invited Megan to come stay with her in the small town of Wisteria. Even more mysteriously, Megan goes after her father inexplicably thinks it’s somehow a good idea. Megan arrives in town and meets her grandmother who doesn’t really seem to want Megan there. Megan also meets her cousin Matt, who is staying there and is, like, so super cute, and also super rude. Basically, her whole extended family is awful. Megan is also shocked to discover her grandmother’s house is the same one she’s been seeing in her dreams for years. While wandering around the family graves, as ya do, Megan notices a figure in her bedroom window, but dismisses that as nothing. At dinner, Megan’s relatives continue to be the worst and Megan leaves and finds herself given a job in a local secondhand store. There, Megan meets who new bestie, and then Matt and his friends walk in, and one of them of them is totally into Megan, while Matt pretends not to care. At the store, Megan learns that her grandmother’s sister died many years ago in the very house she’s staying in under mysterious circumstances, and supposedly her ghost still haunts the house to this day. That night, Megan hears a voice in the dark, she gets up to look and finds no one, but when she returns to her room there’s a girl in her bed: herself! Then she wakes up. Was it all a dream, or are ghosts real? Will Matt hook up with his “sorta cousin” Megan? The answer to both questions is almost definitely yes, but find out for sure next time in part two!

Don’t Look Under the Bed

This week Danielle brings the tween horror with one of her favorite movies, the 1999 Disney Channel Original Movie: Don’t Look Under the Bed. When teen Francis Bacon (yes, seriously) wakes up one day to find all the clocks in her completely average town have been moved forward by hours, and all the neighborhood dogs coaxed on to the roofs of the houses, she knows she’s in for a weird day. Only the weirdness comes not from those events but from how all the adults instantly blame this innocent child for the hijinks. Oh also, she starts seeing a boy named Larry Houdini (yes, still seriously) that no one else can see, and who claims to be an imaginary friend, but not her imaginary friend. Francis being the logical sort, decides to tell just everyone around her about the invisibly boy and constantly ask if people can see the boy that only she can see. To no one’s surprise but her own, this does not work. Larry reveals that he was her brother’s imaginary friend until she recently (or not recently, the timeline makes very little sense) convinced her brother not to believe in imaginary friends so he could focus on his leukemia treatments. This movie is amazingly insane. Anyway, Larry is upset by that, but also reveals that the person framing Francis for all the pranks is the Boogeyman, or rater a particular Boogeyman (Boogeyperson?), who has a vendetta against Francis. Also, she can see Larry for no reason other than that he thinks “she needs him”. Eventually, Francis and Larry construct an anti-Boogey weapon called a Temporalfuge and some Boogey bait called Boogey Goo. Now Larry and Francis need to travel into Boogeyworld to try and save her brother by venturing under the bed, but Larry is struggling with an unwanted transformation. Hopefully, Larry and Francis can make it out of Boogeyworld alive, otherwise Larry may end up dressed as a Victorian lord speaking in rhyming couplets like the other Boogeyman. How has this movie not won all the awards?

Romie-0 and Julie-8

This week Sam brings the classics, sort of, with the 1979 animated TV special Romie-0 and Julie-8. The classic Shakespeare tragedy Romeo and Juliette has been adapted innumerable times, and this is certainly another one. In the far future—or maybe the distant past, who knows—there are two warring robotics companies getting ready for a highly competitive robotics conference. The Mega Stellar Corporation is releasing the Romie-0 robot, and Super Solar Cybernetics is releasing the Julie-8. What is the purpose of these teenage humanoid robots? That is never explained, but Danielle and Sam have some entirely unwholesome theories about the market for these things. At the conference the two CEOs, Mr. Thunderbottom and Ms. Passbinder (which Sam misheard as Ms. Fassbinder due to poor audio quality, he was paying super good attention he swears) and their quadruplet clones perform a large musical number where each try to insist their robot is the best. However, when a creepy thief dude named Gizmo in the audience tries to walk off with Julie-8, Romie-0 comes to her rescue and they instantly fall for each other. Later they decide to run away to be together and end up going with Gizmo on his space garbage barge to the junk planet while the two CEOs blast off in Mr. Thunderbottom’s corporate building, which is also a rocket ship, to track down the wayward robots. On the junk planet Julie-8 is kidnapped by the ruler of the planet, a giant robot named Sparepartski, who disposes of Romie-0 while Gizmo tries to persuade Julie-8 to marry Saprepartski. We won’t spoil the twist ending, but it’s clear that while this animated special may have only been a half-hour, it packs enough insanity for a feature-length film.

Book Reshorts: Bonus Break

After tackling to very long books, Danielle and Sam need a break to recover. So, please enjoy this bonus episode about the Christopher Pike book Bury Me Deep that was released for our Patreon supporters. We’ll be back next week with your regularly scheduled nonsense!

Flat-Out Love

business. Not that there isn’t business to get into, what with the youngest daughter carrying around a cardboard cutout of the eldest brother, Finn, since he’s traveling in Africa. Meanwhile, the parents are totally checked-out and most of the responsibility of taking care of Celeste falls to their middle, college-aged son, Matt. Everyone refuses to tell Julie anything about why Celeste needs Flatt Finn, and Matt tells her to leave it alone, but leaving things alone is beyond Julie. She starts talking to human Finn on Facebook, but he is equally unhelpful. Meanwhile, Julie decides to mess with Celeste by using Flat Finn to manipulate her into doing things outside of her comfort zone. After some confusing shenanigans involving a fear of heights, or possibly just escalators and elevators, Julie dumps her perfectly nice barista boyfriend because she’s falling in love with Finn on Facebook, something which is clearly a good idea. However, the family’s big secret around Flatt Finn will shake Julie to her core, only not really since it’s pretty obvious and also not really terrible or shameful, but since everyone in this book kinda sucks (except Celeste and Flatt Finn, who only gets a pass because he’s cardboard) there is, of course, drama. So join us for a book that begs the question: Why are there two more sequels, and when can we read them?

Be sure to check out I Drink Your Podcast, especially the Into the Wild episode featuring Danielle. You can find them on Twitter @IDYP_Podcast, Instagram @idyp_podcast, and listen wherever you get your podcasts.

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer

In the finale of this year’s Spook Retorts, Danielle shares the 1998 movie I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. If you remember anything about the first I Know What You Did Last Summer, it’s about a hook-wielding fisherman seeking bloody revenge against a group of teens that hit him with a car and left him for dead. For this sequel, just forget all that, it’s doesn’t matter. Julie James (Jennifer Love Hewitt) is now at college and trying to put the trauma of the previous summer behind her, despite her boyfriend Ray’s (Freddie Prinze Jr.) best efforts. However, when she wins a radio contest for a free tropical vacation in the middle of hurricane season, she brings her friends along to a deserted island hotel. People start predictably being murdered and Julie catches sight of the hook-wielding man who is now, for some reason, killing random people who didn’t hit him with a car. A hurricane rolls in trapping everyone on the island, and while the hotel knew this was coming, it is inexplicably still open. The murderer also demonstrates some hitherto unknown hacking powers on a karaoke machine for the sole purpose of spooking the teens, because apparently revenge is the last thing on his mind just behind pranks. Predictably, the bodies pile up as Julie and her friends try to survive and as Ray somehow magics himself onto the island to help. There is a particularly dumb twist at he end, but Sam is really more interested in the story that isn’t being told: An average day in the life of the hook-wielding murder.

Wolves

In the penultimate Spook Retorts episode of this year, Sam brings the fanged action with the 2014 movie Wolves. Cayden is your average teen living an idyllic high school life. He’s quarterback of the football team, has a great girlfriend, and rad parents. Unfortunately, after having some nightmares, he finds himself turning into a werewolf and attacking his girlfriend before blacking out and apparently murdering his parents. Now on the lam, Cayden seeks answers as to his wolfy origins. Cayden is led to the very subtly named town of Lupine Ridge, and wouldn’t you know it, it’s just chock-full of werewolves. It should be pointed out that these are less werewolves and more wolf-transformers as they seem the be able to change at will, and none of the werewolf lore applies to them, much to the consternation of Danielle. Anyway, Jason Momoa plays the also subtly named Connor Slaughter, who’s been terrorizing and dominating the town for years, and takes an instant dislike to Cayden. But Cayden can’t leave yet because there’s a pretty werewolf girl with the extremely subtle name of Angel whom he just can’t stop thinking about. Anyway, when another wolf, Carter, tries to warn Cayden to leave, Connor has Carter killed and eaten for revealing too much to Cayden. At this point there are so many C-names in this movie neither Danielle nor Sam can keep them all straight. All that is before we even get to the twisted family tree that relates all these people and seems to defy comprehension. Rarely has a move had so many werewolves in it, and yet has so much non-werewolf relationship drama. So stick around to hear about Cayden’s true origins, and allusions to much more interesting sounding , but sadly never seen, imperialist werewolves. Oh, and also improvised manure mines, because there’s a little Home Alone in every werewolf, apparently.