Greetings Earthlings. We come to you from the planet Remulak to provide mass quantities of discourse around the film known as Coneheads, starring Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin, and a myriad of fun SNL cameos. It’s a movie that’s held up remarkably well, and has in fact gotten better as the years have progressed. There’s an earnestness to the absurdity that becomes endearing and it’s hard not to fall in love with this picture as you watch it. Can you believe that people didn’t care for this movie when it came out? We’re a bit surprised, too.
For our Where Have They Been Doing segment we go back and watch a few of the original Conehead sketches to get a sense of the movie’s origins, and we gotta say that the movie did a great job adapting to the big screen.
We’re doing something a little bit different from our usual “filmmaker of the month” and taking a deep dive into the Saturday Night Live library of films. To start off we’ve got our sights set on the absolute best of the bunch, the cream of the crop: The Blues Brothers, featuring stellar performances from Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, and a whole slew of cameos that will put a smile on your face. Prepare to laugh out loud at the excessive police car damage, and groove along to some exceptional music from some exceptional musicians.
To finish up our month of Taika Waititi we talk his most recent film Jojo Rabbit. It’s certainly a weird one, but we love it all the same. The acting is superb, the sets and costumes are powerful, and the comedy works well to offset the rather dark subject matter. We have a few quibbles here and there, but overall this one is a must see and we can’t recommend it highly enough.
We don’t really have much of a “Where Have They Been Doing” other than watching more of What We Do in the Shadows. Turns out we covered most of his other films in the previous weeks.
The trajectory continues upward in our month of Taika Waititi as we discuss Hunt for the Wilderpeople. There’s a lot to love in this movie and we struggle to come up with any significant complaints. Sam Neill, Julian Dennison, Rachel House, and frickin’ Rhys Darby all give stellar performances, and even the director himself pops in for a bit to play perhaps the worst (or best) priest I’ve ever seen committed to screen. Wilderpeople also continues the trend of showcasing a New Zealand that’s more than just Hobbit holes, although the movie makes a clever LOTR reference that nearly did this shownotes writer in.
Talk about a jump in quality! This week in our Taika Waititi retrospective we discuss Boy, his feature-length follow-up to Eagle vs. Shark set in New Zealand in 1984. It’s a story about overcoming grief, growing up, and being there for your family, all told from the point of view of the title character. Taika has a larger role in this film compared to the last and his energetic and comedic touch REALLY work. Could say more, but you should probably just dive into the episode.
We also talk Team Thor, Team Thor Part 2, and his Flight of the Concords episode “New Zealand Town,” all of which are pretty funny but maybe don’t pop in the way we’ve come to expect from a Taika Waititi venture.
A new month means a new filmmaker, so for this month we’re talking Taika. We begin with his feature length debut Eagle Vs. Shark, which at first glance looks like the next Napoleon Dynamite. Instead it’s much more down to earth and features characters that are more than just dorky caricatures. Doesn’t mean the film is without flaws and we note that were this movie made today it would end quite differently.
We also talk Thor Ragnarok, which provides an interesting look at the filmmaker and gives us a little bit of an idea about what to expect for the rest of the month. Boy, oh boy, are we in for a treat.
We end our John Singleton month with Four Brothers, a movie that never quite finds its tone and never really hits its stride. It’s a well-directed movie, and the acting is fun across the board, but the script drags the experience down by playing more to caricature than to character. We also discuss his entry in the Fast series: 2 Fast 2 Furious and why despite his obvious skill as a director, he was not right for the job. Toward the end of the podcast we wrap up our thoughts on the month and what we found interesting about his career. There’s quite a journey from Boyz in the Hood to Four Brothers.
We take a bit of a turn in our John Singleton retrospective with the film Shaft, not to be confused with Shaft, or the more recent film Shaft. It’s a film that features a lot of dirty cops and dirtier criminals and the sum of all these interesting parts leave us feeling uncomfortable. It’s a film that features the line “It is my duty to please the booty” along side a frat boy version of Patrick Bateman beating a black man to death and getting away with it. Well, at least until the end of the movie. There’s a lot here, and while some of it doesn’t quite work, and awhile some of it is tough to watch in 2020, it stands out as another strong piece of filmmaking from John Singleton.
This week in our John Singleton retrospective we’re discussing his sophomore film Poetic Justice, starring Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur. There’s a lot here to like. In fact, there’s a lot here in general. The film doesn’t feel nearly as focused as his previous but despite that feels very unique and very personal. The leads do marvelous work here, especially Tupac, and for those of us who are only familiar with him by name it’s enough to make us want to look into the rest of his career.
We also briefly discuss Abduction, starring Taylor Lautner. It’s not good, but John Singleton does what he can and his direction makes you wish that he had been given a Bond or Bourne film instead of this well-directed clunker.
In light of the current political climate we decided it would be best to educate ourselves and expand our perspectives. To do this we chose director John Singleton as our filmmaker this month, who gave us the intense and illuminating Boyz n the Hood. Everything about the film was astounding and took us out of our comfort zone. It was wild seeing the talent at play in front of the camera and behind it. If you haven’t seen this film yet, please do so before listening. Join us in widening our perspective.