The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: Indie Movies of Summer 2016

Everyone thinks of summer as blockbuster season for movies, but the truth is, May, June, July, and August always see the release of a ton of indie movies, often of high quality. For the second year in a row, Marisa, Sara, Nathaniel, and Jesse got together in Brooklyn to talk about the smaller-scale fare they watched over the past few months, blazing through hot take after hot take on over a dozen recent releases. If you’re sick of Suicide Squads, pets with secret lives, and Jason Bournes, go ahead and find out what we thought of The Lobster, Cafe Society, A Bigger Splash, The Neon Demon, Hell or High Water, and more indie movies you can add to your Netflix queue (or in some cases, still catch in a theater near you) as fall approaches.

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Watching the Rio Olympics—Maybe Just Don’t?

I have watched exactly one night of the Rio Olympics. And, after doing so, I cannot put myself through another. Some of my problems with the Games are with the events themselves, most of them have to do with NBC broadcast, and the two combine to make the whole thing unwatchable for me; call me a curmudgeon, but I’m not the only one who thinks so, since Olympic ratings are down (although that might be because of streaming).

“But Marisa,” you say, “you never watch sports. Obviously there’s no way you’d ever be into the Olympics.” Wrong. I can muster enthusiasm for sports spectating once every couple years, because: 1) Olympic stories are often inspirational, and I’m not made of stone. I like me a good tear-jerking backstory. 2) There is something genuinely thrilling about seeing people at the peak of their athletic prowess being the best at what they do. Even I can appreciate that. 3) I have good memories of watching the Olympics with my family as a kid—together, we’d all ignore sports regularly (except for my Dad who is a Giants fan and would bother us all by hogging the TV during football season) and then get together to get excited about gymnastics or ice-skating. 4) I can certainly get into things we watch together-but-separately and tweet about; if I can do it for Grease Live!, which has source material that I actively hate, I can easily do it for the Olympics.

Basically, I want the Olympics to be like the Oscars. Sure, the broadcast has problems—the same problems every year, which will probably never be fixed—but we can all hold our nose and watch because we can enjoy it together. Yet, while I know some of you are having a good time with this year’s games, this is not like the Oscars. These are the reasons I just can’t have fun with it, not even with a saucy wink.

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Continue reading Watching the Rio Olympics—Maybe Just Don’t?

The SportsAlcohol Podcast: Suicide Squad

By the time you listen to this, The Suicide Squad movie will have set a box office record for August while receiving such bad reviews its fans are petitioning to shut down review aggregate site rottentomatoes.com. So is it any good? There’s actually a lot to break down here:

  • Studio meddling
  • Racism
  • Ike Barinholtz
  • Sexism
  • Soundtrack cues
  • The triumph of Margot Robbie
  • Unnecessary DC vs Marvel comparisons
  • The many lives of Jai Courtney’s career
  • How much worse Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice was
  • Hollywood It Boy Joel Kinnaman
  • Method Acting
  • Ike Barinholtz again for good measure

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The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: Saturday Night Live at the Movies

Hey, have you guys heard about the new Ghostbusters movie coming out this week? Many of the film’s cast members have one obvious thing in common… that’s right, many of them were on Saturday Night Live (is there some other difference you were thinking of?). The casting of Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, and (in a supporting role) Cecily Strong establishes a clear lineage with the 1984 original, which featured Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd acting out (and riffing on) an Aykroyd-cowritten script. The first film remains one of the most successful to star Saturday Night Live alumni, which got your SportsAlcohol.com crew thinking about how cast members on that program have made the transition into movies. Nathaniel, Sara, Marisa, Jesse, and Jon got together to talk about this rich history for roughly the length of a Saturday Night Live episode to talk about official SNL movies, unofficial SNL movies, and a whole lot of actors.

Listen and find the answers to the following questions, and more!

  • Does Mike Myers work without makeup?
  • Which one of us saw Bordello of Blood in the theaters?
  • How young is too young to watch Beverly Hills Cop?
  • What movie is an even less distilled expression of Aykroyd-ness than Ghostbusters?
  • Have Tina Fey and Amy Poehler really made it in the movies yet?
  • Which SNL players do we want to see star in their own movie?

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SportsAlcohol.com Founders in the Wild

There’s a new ARG that’s sweeping the nation where you have to try and find the SportsAlcohol.com founders in the wild. Here are some cheat codes.

Nathaniel Will Be at Kevin Geeks Out

12036970_1673214976245526_3521092882304315489_nNathaniel will be featured on Kevin Geeks Out, Brooklyn’s favorite video variety show/salon of nerdy ideas. The theme of the evening will be Star Trek, and, as KGO’s resident Planet of the Apes expert, Nathaniel will talk about the optimism of Star Trek vs. the pessimism of Planet of the Apes as two poles of ’60s sci-fi. It goes down at 9:30 pm on Wednesday, July 13 at the Nitehawk Cinema in Brooklyn. BUY TICKETS HERE RIGHT NOW, SUCKERS.

Jesse on CBC Radio

JH film criticJesse was invited to chat on the CBC’s “Day 6” radio program about the sexism inherent in pre-release Ghostbusters bashing, because he’s woke as shit. LISTEN TO THE SHOW HERE, SUCKERS.

The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: Independence Day: Resurgence and Long-Gap Sequels

Happy almost Independence Day! And, perhaps, less-happy Independence Day! That’s right, the 1996 blockbuster is back with Independence Day: Resurgence, a direct sequel that’s already underperforming compared to the original (at least at the U.S. box office). Undeterred by bad buzz or lack of press screenings, Marisa, Nathaniel, and Jesse went to see it, then reconvened to discuss the movie, as well as what goes into an effective twenty-years-later sequel. We talk about what we thought of Independence Day: Resurgence, of course, but we also touch upon Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Dumber and Dumber, Wild Wild West, Space Jam, and lots of other stuff you might not expect.

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WIENER-DOG inspires the bold question: Does Todd Solondz hate us?

Twenty years on, and I’m still having trouble getting a bead on Todd Solondz. Wiener-Dog is not exactly a twenty-years-later sequel to 1996’s Welcome to the Dollhouse to accompany this weekend’s twenty-years-later sequel to 1996’s Independence Day. Yet briefly, it totally is. One quarter of the movie’s dog-connected anthology follows Dawn Wiener, the awkward twelve-year-old played by Heather Matarazzo in Dollhouse, as a thirtysomething woman played by Greta Gerwig.

Close followers of Solondz’s work will not a discrepancy: We were told at the outset of his film Palindromes that Wiener gained a bunch of weight and killed herself. It was a non-grace note in a movie that wasn’t even about Dawn Wiener, but did have its main character (her cousin) played by eight different performers. Since that movie, he made one called Life During Wartime that is a direct sequel to the movie Happiness, except with every single character recast. In Dark Horse, Selma Blair quietly reprises a character she played in Storytelling who no longer looks or acts much like she did in the earlier film. The title of the Dawn-resurrecting Wiener-Dog is also the cruel nickname the character was given at school in Dollhouse, but here actually refers to an actual wiener-dog, who scampers through a series of owners, including Dawn Wiener.

So, again I ask: What the hell is going on with Todd Solondz? Does he think of his filmography as an ongoing, mutating art project, where recasting characters throws them into ever more fascinating contexts? Or do a lot of actors not want to work with him again? Does he compulsively revisit aspects of Dollhouse to tweak expectations about how his movies will compare to his still-biggest success? Or can he not leave well enough alone? And am I being a nerdy pedant for finding it kind of annoying, for not ginning up the interest to see Life During Wartime because I thought Happiness was great and had no desire to see a different rep company inhabit and sequelize those roles?
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TRACK MARKS: What the Hell, You Weirdos Are All Too Good For “Creep,” by Radiohead?

I used to have a long-ish commute. As expected, sometimes traffic would snarl to a halt. On one particularly backed-up day, I looked up and realized I had no idea where I was. Even though I was overly familiar with every inch of scenery on my way to and from work, having driven the same route every day, I never really had the chance to stop and look closely at some of the things I was passing.

After seeing our Best of Radiohead list, I realize that “Creep” is that stretch of landscape. People pass by it so often that they don’t stop to really listen to it anymore.

Continue reading TRACK MARKS: What the Hell, You Weirdos Are All Too Good For “Creep,” by Radiohead?

The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: Peak TV Season Wrap-Up, 2015-2016

Summer doesn’t just mean blockbuster movies; it also brings about the official end of the TV season. Even though the era of “peak TV” means that the traditional TV-season model is crumbling, we still thought the summer would be a good time to circle back and examine some shows and trends from the past nine months. We talk about shows we love and shows we think get too much love! Where do Last Week Tonight, Girls, The Last Man on Earth, Better Call Saul, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The People vs. OJ Simpson, Catastrophe, and, yes, Love fall on that spectrum? Listen to Marisa, Sara, Nathaniel, and Jesse talking TV to find out!

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The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: Summer Movies from 1996

Summer is here! It may not technically start until June, but Memorial Day Weekend is sort of the cultural kick-off to summer. It used to be when the first big summer movies would start to roll out, but those have been moved up to the first weekend in May. Our latest podcast throws back to a time when that tradition wasn’t quite in place; as per our now-annual tradition, we took a look back at the ten highest-grossing movies from summer 1996. Summer 1996 saw the release of a variety of audience favorites and forgotten non-gems; please enjoy our thoughts about a bunch of old movies and in some cases, what we were up to twenty years ago. What’s our favorite Michael Bay movie? What summer 1996 movies wouldn’t fly today? Which stars had hot streaks continue or crash and burn? These are the questions this podcast will endeavor to answer.

Spoiler Warning: Lots of spoilers for movies that are two decades old.

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