TRANSCRIPT Flop House Ep. 313: Dolittle

You can’t have one of #TheTwoFriends without the other! In this episode, we’re joined by David Sims of the Blank Check Podcast and film critic for The Atlantic, to talk about Robert Downey Jr.’s next iconic blockbuster character, Dolittle. Meanwhile Dan makes a pitch for fart acceptance, Stuart forgets our mission statement, David gives us a taste of what it was like to see Dolittle in the theater, and Elliott does an extremely aggravating bit with a raccoon finger puppet.

Podcast: The Flop House

Episode number: 313

Guests: David Sims

Transcript

dan mccoy

On this episode, we discuss: Doolittle!

stuart wellington

Why do they call him “Do little”? I think he does a lot in this movie! [Laughs.]

elliott kalan

The—Stu, that’s exactly what I was gonna say.

dan

And it was what Audrey predicted was gonna be the gag. [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

That is the exact thing I have written in my notes to say, Stu, for this—for this part. Ah. Two peas in a pod.

music

Light, up-tempo, electric guitar with synth instruments.

dan

Hey, everyone, and welcome to The Flop House. I’m Dan McCoy.

stuart

Oh hey there! I’m Stuart Wellington.

elliott

Top o’ the morning! Or whenever you’re listening to this—midnight? I don’t know! I’m Elliott Kalan. And Dan, who’s joining us?

crosstalk

Stuart: Yeah, Dan. Elliott: Or Stuart.

dan

Uh…

elliott

Or Dan.

crosstalk

Elliott: Or Stuart? Dan: I thought we decided on Stuart—

dan

—but I can say it. It’s—it’s David Sims, of the Blank Check podcast and he is the, uh… film reviewer for The Atlantic. And that is a—that is a big, high-toned magazine. That is, uh, that is a respected publication.

stuart

That’s a two-monocle magazine.

elliott

[Laughs.] That’s just called “glasses,” Stu.

stuart

Oh. [Laughs.] Oh, what? [Elliott laughs.]

david sims

Hi, guys. Thank you for having me. Yes. I did—I did, uh, poop all over Doolittle[Stuart laughs.] —in the hallowed pages of The Atlantic[Dan laughs.] —which was founded by Ralph Waldo Emerson and people like that.

crosstalk

David: Just so I could do that. Elliott: I mean, it took a—such a—

elliott

It took such a brave stand against slavery. Before and during the Civil War. And now you’ve continued that tradition by taking a brave stand against Doolittle. [Laughs.]

david

Exactly.

stuart

I mean, I thought it was a—I mean, I think it’s kind of the Pixies’ best album, right?

crosstalk

David: Um… yeah! It sort of like— Dan: Yeah. That was—that was another of the jokes—

dan

—that I was gonna make, so we’ve all—

crosstalk

Dan: —round-robin’d on each other’s jokes! Stuart: I mean, it’s—it’s not my—

stuart

It’s not my favorite, but it’s probably their most accomplished.

dan

You’re a Surfer Rosa man, I assume?

stuart

No, I was a— [Laughs.] What, because of the nudity on the cover, Dan? The answer was when I was a kid, yeah. [Laughs.] [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

Now, I don’t know the band the Pixies particularly well, so I’m just gonna assume they have an album called “Out the Door, Through the Window” out of the line in It’s a Wonderful Life where he says—out you two pixies go! Out the door, through the window! And I’m gonna say that’s my favorite album. Does that—do they have that? Is that a real thing?

stuart

Uh, I’m gonna go check Metal Archives and see if it’s listed? [Elliott laughs.]

dan

I mean, the Pixies are on Metal Archives? [Laughs.]

stuart

Uh, actually, “No Results Found.” So no, I guess not. [Multiple people laugh.]

david

‘80s alt-rock not heavily influenced by Frank Capra, I guess? [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

Uh-huh. That’s disappointing. That’s very disappointing. Uh, I mean—but—you know that punk was, because John Doe—major punk figure—named himself—I assume—after the Capra movie Meet John Doe.

crosstalk

Stuart: Oh. Okay. Cool. Dan: Hm. Mm-hm.

elliott

I—and I have to assume if I ever meet him, I’ll be like, “Meet John Doe”? Like the movie? And he’ll laugh and laugh.

stuart

Yeah. So normally if you’re just tuned in you’re thinking this is an alternative music podcast. [Multiple people laugh.] But, no, in fact—

crosstalk

David: With four experts! Stuart: —we’re— [Laughs.] [Multiple people laugh.]

stuart

But no, in fact. We’re a movie podcast and we watched a movie and now we’re about to talk about it.

crosstalk

Stuart: And what movie did we watch? Elliott: What kind of movies do—

elliott

What kind of movies do we usually watch, Stu?

stuart

Uh, y’know. We kind of run the gamut sometimes?

crosstalk

Dan: Nope. Stuart: There are comedies.

stuart

Almost always they’re moving images with sound attached.

crosstalk

Elliott: Mm-hm. Okay. Very fair. Very rarely do we watch— Dan: Okay. It’s true.

elliott

—a silent painting. And then review it.

dan

We’ve never—or a silent movie! We’ve never watched a silent movie. Or Mel Brook’s Silent Movie. So.

elliott

Yeah. Or, uh, The Artist! The Best Picture winner I consistently forget existed. [Dan laughs.] Which is a mostly-silent movie.

dan

Now, guys, was that a French movie? Because I feel like when Parasite came out, they’re like—first foreign film to win the Oscar! [Stuart laughs.]

david

This is a good point. I believe The Artist is technically a French movie. Although—

elliott

I think that it has American actors in it. Like, John Goodman is in it. But I think what they were saying—

crosstalk

Elliott: —a lot of this first foreign was— Stuart: John Goodman’s in Parasite?!

elliott

Yes. John Goodman plays— [Dan laughs.] —he plays, the, uh— [Laughs.] He—he—he’s—y’know the guy who’s in The Host and Parasite and Snowpiercer? That’s John Goodman. Uh—

stuart

Oh. Wow. What reach.

elliott

Yeah, yeah. He’s—he’s in the makeup chair for hours and hours. It’s highly offensive. Uh, no. I think what they were saying a lot was “first foreign language film” to win the Oscar. And—

dan

Seems like a weird hairsplitting to me, honestly, but.

elliott

I mean, to be honest, they probably forgot that The Artist existed. [Laughs.]

dan

[Through laughter] Yeah, that’s probably it.

elliott

As I consistently do every time I look up past Best Picture winners and I’m like, oh, yeah! The Artist! Oh, yeah! Yeah! And they used the soundtrack from Vertigo in it and Kim Novack got all mad! Yeah, yeah! Sure! The Artist! Yeah!

crosstalk

Dan: Anything— Stuart: Yeah. I—

stuart

I just spit coffee all over my office wall imagining John Goodman being transformed magically into Kang-ho Song. [Elliott laughs.]

dan

So— [Laughs.]

elliott

I mean, it would take magic. It would take a spell of some kind or a cloak of disguise. [Multiple people laugh.]

crosstalk

Dan: Um, this is— Elliott: So what movie—

elliott

Yeah?

dan

No. I just—to—to finish the thing that you teed up for Stuart but he deliberately, uh, went—he zagged on ya. Uh, we normally watch bad movies and, uh, then we talk about them. And, uh, this week we watched Doolittle! [Stuart laughs.]

elliott

Now, uh, guys, uh, Doolittle—of course—as you all know, uh, is the stor—is—and a new adaptation of the classic story of Dr. Doolittle, the man who could talk to animals. And I just want to say—forewarning—this is going to be a slightly awkward episode for me because I know someone who was involved in the making of Doolittle? Uh, I know—actually, two—one person—one of the screenwriters and one animal. And I brought the animal with me just to like make sure it’s okay with everybody. So if you look on your screen, you’ll see—there’s a tiny racoon right there. [Dan laughs.]

dan

Oh, wow! [Elliott laughs.] Hold on, let me take a picture of those raccoons.

stuart

Oh, wow! I don’t know we were getting two guests!

dan

I didn’t know we were gonna have a celebrity for the—

elliott

[High-pitched voice] Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

david

Now was that—Catherine Deneuve played the racoon? I can’t remember. [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

Well, actually—uh—now—

david

They really brought ‘em all in. [Stuart frequently interjects “uh-huh” and “yep” in such a way that would suggest he’s not enamored of the bit; Dan grows increasingly impatient and makes corresponding noises of protest and complaints.]

elliott

Now—now, uh, now, uh, this is—uh—is—this is Rick Racoon. He used to be Ranger Rick but he was drummed out of the force, of course. [High-pitched voice] Yeah. I’d rather not talk about it. How I was once a park ranger and then was dismissed, uh, for causes that I would call unsubstantiated allegations. [Regular voice] That’s fair. And now your father was, of course, the famous Rocky Racoon. [High-pitched voice] Yeah, the Beatles wrote a song about him. It was called “Love Me Do.” [Stuart laughs.] Now—now, uh, Rick, you were in Doolittle.

dan

Jesus.

elliott

[High-pitched voice] Yes. [Regular voice] But I don’t remember seeing a raccoon in the movie. [High-pitched voice] No, they cut all my scenes. [Regular voice] Oh. Why did—why did they do that? [High-pitched voice] Well… there was a whole subplot about a raccoon that wanted to be a famous chef? And they thought it was too close to Ratatouille, and I was like—Ratatouille’s about a rat! But I’m a raccoon! [Regular voice] And—well, I gotta say— [Stuart laughs.] —I totally understand the point they’re—they made. But what was it like being on the set of Doolittle?

crosstalk

Dan: Jesus god. Elliott: [High-pitched voice] Oh, wow.

elliott

I mean, the craziest thing was—I was the only real animal in the whole movie. The rest was all computer-animated. So it was just me and Bobby Downs—that’s what I call Robert Downey, Jr.—just looking at a bunch of tennis balls and pretending there was like gorillas or ostriches or whatever there. [Dan sighs loudly.] [Regular voice] And who’s gonna be your celebrity voice, uh, when—when it was finally dubbed? [High-pitched voice] Oh, Catherine Deneuve— [Stuart laughs.] —uh, just like, uh, just like Mr. Sims said. [Regular voice] Oh, okay. Wow. So, uh, do you have any funny behind-the-scene stories about—

dan

[Emphatically] No, he doesn’t have anything funny about it. [Stuart and Elliott laugh.]

elliott

[Through laughter]Doolittle.

dan

Nothing is funny about this at all! [Laughs.]

crosstalk

Elliott: [High-pitched voice] Uh, well I think— Dan: Two things—

elliott

Well, Dan, well, Dan, if I can just talk please, Dan? Dan. [Stuart laughs.] Dan, if I could speak, please! Dan, you had your time. Now let me have my time. Excuse me! Excuse me.

crosstalk

Stuart: I don’t think he did. Elliott: Excuse me!

elliott

Excuse me, sir. Excuse me! [Dan laughs.] Excuse me. [Laughs.]

dan

Okay.

elliott

Now, uh, for the audience at home—I do have a tiny puppet on my finger. A raccoon.

crosstalk

Dan: Yeah. This is one of the things I wanted— Elliott: That’s the thing—that’s the thing you’re missing out on.

dan

—I wanted to mention. Is somehow it’s more annoying— [Elliott laughs.] —than if he was just doing the voice that he has a puppet on his finger that he is continuing to move around [through laughter] as he talks. And—

elliott

Y’know why I did it? ‘Cause—‘cause I’m a professional.

david

I’m just reeling from the news that this movie had subplots that were cut out and reshoots and stuff? [Multiple people laugh.] I—it didn’t show up—that was not, like, apparent at all when watching it.

elliott

[High-pitched voice] Oh, no. Wow. It was crazy. Originally, Doolittle didn’t even talk to animals! That was something they added! It was about a guy who thinks he can talk to animals but he can’t really and the animals are like, why does this guy think he understand us? We’re not saying that!

dan

Jesus god. How long is this gonna go on? [Multiple people laugh.] So—the—

elliott

Hey, Rick? Uh, I think it’s time for you to—for you to head out. Uh, I should probably start with a summary of the movie. [High-pitched voice] Okay, well. I’ve got some other funny stories. There was a time John Goodman stopped by but we didn’t recognize him ‘cause he had all this makeup on him. [Stuart laughs.] And we thought it was the guy from Parasite. [Regular voice] It’s the same guy! [High-pitched voice] Really? [Regular voice] Yeah, it’s the same guy. [High-pitched voice] Oh, wow. Okay. Well. I’m just gonna get going now. See ya guys! [singing in high-pitched voice] La da da duh dah. [Regular voice] He’s slowly walking off the screen. Mm-hm.

dan

I just wanna—

elliott

Still walking.

dan

Okay. [Laughs.]

elliott

Aaaand— [Laughs.] [Multiple people laugh.] And he’s off!

dan

I wanna provide a little more, uh, background just to say that this is—I mean, like, the… Dr. Doolittle novels are by Hugh Lofting. Uh, and they began in, uh, the first one was published in 1920. The final was published in 1952. There are 15 books. Um… and, uh, y’know, some of the books were posthumous, collecting, uh, stories that he left behind. Uh…

elliott

You gotta admire anybody’s work ethic when they keep writing after they’ve died.

dan

Yes. [Laughs.]

crosstalk

Dan: Hugh Lofting. Elliott: It’s like, him, and uh—

dan

An English—an Englishman? Uh, and it comes out through his stories they have a certain—I don’t know. They’ve got the same vibe as like Mary Poppins, I think, in a certain way. Like other English children’s stories of the same basic period. Um—

elliott

But there’s a little bit—there’s a little bit of, uh, Babar in it, too. In the sense of—it is the purpose of white Europeans to train all animals and people to be like them? Uh, which does not age well.

dan

Mm-hm.

elliott

Um, in the books. I remember loving those books when I was a kid, but I—y’know, I wasn’t really thinking about what it—y’know, what rights does a giant talking snail have? [Dan laughs.] When, uh, when Dr. Doolittle shows up to meet him.

david

I believe there’s a book where he goes to the moon? Am I right in thinking that?

elliott

Uh, probably!

david

Called Dr. Doolittle in the Moon and I’m reading—I just found this. Uh, first sentence of the plot summary: “Dr. Doolittle has landed on the moon!” [Elliott laughs.]

crosstalk

David: So I don’t know how he got there, but. Elliott: [Laughs.] Chapter one, page one. [Laughs.] [Multiple people laugh.]

dan

I mean, it gets down to business. You could say that for it.

elliott

Well, the thing was—they had found a sort of alien monolith on the moon and they needed Dr. Doolittle to come talk to it. Uh, and he was the only one who understood that language.

stuart

Mm-hm.

david

The great communicator.

stuart

Mm-hm. Yep.

elliott

And—so, uh, Dr. Doolittle is a movie. Uh, so yeah.

crosstalk

Elliott: This is a—and—that’s true. There’s— Stuart: Well, that’s a different movie. This is Doolittle. Dr. Doolittle has Eddie Murphy in it, right?

elliott

There’s two previous Dr. Doolittle movies.

dan

Or Rex Harrison, depending on, uh—

elliott

There’s the Rex Harrison movie from the last ‘60s, which—there—in the great book, uh, Pictures at a Revolution and in the great book The Studio, they talk about respectively its Oscar campaign and the making of. I should’ve named the books in the reverse order. Uh, and it was one of these—it was kind of one of the last gasps of this studio system where they were like, we’re gonna make real big-budget, family-friendly musicals, and then we’re gonna force the Oscars to nominate them. And then there was the Dr. Doolittle with Eddie Murphy where—it’s pretty much just the name and the fact that he can talk to animals. And I think that’s the—‘cause he’s not—in the books, he’s not really a doctor. Is he? I can’t remember.

dan

Well, he’s a veterinarian.

crosstalk

Elliott: Oh. So like— Dan: Like this movie.

elliott

But he’s not, like, a people doctor.

david

Right. Whereas I believe in the Eddie Murphy—as in this—he is—in it—at any rate, he’s like a surgeon. He’s like a human surgeon who has long repressed his ability to speak to animals. Like, he’s ignored it his whole life until now.

elliott

That’s the other thing is in the Doolittle books and in this one, it’s a skill you can learn. Anyone who pays close enough attention to animals can learn to talk. But in Dr. Doolittle, it’s more of a, uh, Drop Dead Fred type ability.

dan

Now, hold on. I—I’m going back to the first book just to get a little context. He is a respected physician and a quiet bachelor living with his spinster sister Sarah in the small English village of Puddleby-on-the-Marsh.

elliott

Okay. See, I thought he was like a Doctor of Literature. OR something like that. Or like a—

david

It says “John Doolittle, MD” here. So I guess…

crosstalk

Elliott: Wow. Okay. Stuart: Mm-hm. Yeah. David: Yeah.

elliott

I mean, I’m kinda surprised they didn’t name this movie “John Doolittle, MD” and make it like a gritty reboot. [Dan laughs.]

crosstalk

Elliott: Of the Dr. Doolittle story. David: You mean like House?

elliott

Yeah. Where he’s like—

stuart

[Deep voice] “MD stands for Massive Dingdong!”

elliott

[Laughs.] I mean, that would be kind of gritty I guess. [Laughs.] [Stuart laughs.]

stuart

I mean, if you say anything it sounds pretty gritty—

crosstalk

Stuart: —in my cool gritty voice. Elliott: [Deep voice] I’m a doct—

elliott

I’m a doctor of penis-having! So the, uh—so let’s get into the—so this is the newest version of Doolittle and they make a few strange decisions with the story. And the performers make some very strange decisions with their performances and, well, let’s get into it. ‘Cause it’s kind of all over the place. We begin—as most great movies do—with a prologue that explains who all the characters are and all their backstory so that later when the other characters are piecing together the clues of why Dr. Doolittle has secluded himself from humanity, we—the audience—already know all of this and it is boring. But. Uh, and it—this—this is, though, the best part of the movie. It’s this animated prologue that looks beautiful. Uh, where they explain—it’s narrated by Emma Thompson who, of course, throughout the movie is a parrot. Uh, where it talks about how Dr. Doolittle—he was a famous doctor who could talk to animals. He had an explorer girlfriend named Lily and she’s kind of like a, um… I don’t know. What would you call? Like a—like a Cutthroat Island Geena Davis type? Y’know? Based on the way she dresses? And, uh— [Stuart laughs.]

stuart

What?

elliott

Like, kind of a lady—lady pirate buccaneer explorer? And, uh, they marry. Unfortunately, she dies at sea. Ooh. Shades of Frozen there. And he becomes a recluse with his animals in a sort of Tim Burton-esque Wonder Emporium of a house, uh, that has some like steampunk conveyer belts and things like that. And it made me realize—yeah?

stuart

I—it’s like—it’s like semi-rotoscope. So it’s kind of a good introduction for your kid before you show them a Scanner Darkly, for instance.

crosstalk

Dan: No, that is—that’s what I was gonna say. To the— Elliott: Yes. Thank you. Finally. Good.

dan

The computerized rotoscoping and the presence of Robert Downey, Jr. together make it impossible [through laughter] to not think of A Scanner Darkly.

elliott

And it is—I was talking recently to my wife about Scanner Darkly and how Robert Downey, Jr.’s performance in that is so good.

crosstalk

David: He’s incredible in that. Elliott: And part of it is because—

elliott

—he’s so great and it was at a time when he was coming back from rock bottom? And so he is not automatically the coolest, hippest dude in the world? He’s not Iron Man in it? And I was like—oh, I forgot he can play characters other than Iron Man! And he’s so good in it.

david

That whole phase of his career—sort of, like, starting with The Singing Detective and—up to Iron Man. Like, when it’s—like—it was basically just… I don’t know. It’s like when some basketball player like, y’know, tears their Achilles and they’re gone for a while and then they come back and you’re like—oh! Like, right! This guy is incredible! Like… we’ve—he’s just been untapped for like ten years! And then—

crosstalk

David: And then he was Iron Man. Elliott: I would call it the pro—

elliott

Yeah. I would call it the “proving they should insure me for the production” period. Of a career. [Dan laughs.]

david

But like, Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang; Good Night, Good Luck; um, Scanner Darkly; Zodiac, right? Like, that whole run… pre-Iron Man is—is very exciting.

elliott

He’s so good in—in Zodiac. And then he makes Iron Man and he’s great as Iron Man but it’s like, now—

david

He’s fantastic!

elliott

—it’s just—it’s—Iron Man is to him kind of what Jack Sparrow is to Johnny Depp? Where people were like, oh, we love this performance! Do just that from now on.

stuart

It’s so funny that you bring up Jack Sparrow because, uh, Robert Downey, Jr.’s accent in this movie—Doolittle—makes me yearn for the careful enunciation— [Multiple people laugh.] —of Captain Jack Sparrow. [Laughs.]

elliott

I mean, is it—and this is the—this is the major—one of the major performance problems. And we’ll—we haven’t—we’ll get to it when it’s more important, I guess. But Robert Downey, Jr. has made the decision to one, put on kind of a strange Welsh-y type accent and two, do every line in a hushed whispery tone. Even when he’s irritated. So instead of being, like—[assertively] animals! Leave me alone! [Lilting, querulous accent] Animals, leave me alone?

crosstalk

Elliott: And it was like, why does it feel— David: [Imitating the same accent] Animals, leave me alone?

elliott

[Laughs.] Why does it always sound like Shrek is whispering at me? I don’t understand!

crosstalk

Elliott: And I know Shrek— Stuart: Shrek’s ASMR tape. Dan: Yeah.

elliott

[Laughs.] Uh, so first, though, we meet Stubbins—a little boy who also loves animals even though his dad is—wants him to hunt all the time. Stubbins is what I ended up realizing is a totally unnecessary character? As we’ll find out. Uh, he accidentally shoots a squirrel and rather than put the CGI squirrel out of its misery like his heartless dad does, he instead follows Doolittle’s parrot Polly—Emma Thompson, who appears out of nowhere as if—like Mary Poppins or Nanny McPhee—a magical being—and leads him to Doolittle’s estate, which is full of CGI animals. And Stubbins—I gotta tell ya. Doesn’t seem particularly amazed to suddenly see elephants and giraffes wandering around an English estate. [Dan laughs.] He takes it pretty much in stride. The way you would take—like, he reacted to it the way I would—like, you’d see a busker on the street in New York? Where for an instant it distracts your attention and then you’re like, mm, not interested in that! And you turn your head away? [Laughs.] So. Uh, he gets caught in—

dan

He does—

elliott

Yeah?

dan

He does shriek at the presence of a gorilla.

crosstalk

Dan: As one would. Elliott: Well, who wouldn’t, Dan? Who wouldn’t? David: Yes. He has—he has a high-pitched shriek.

elliott

Uh, and he gets caught in a net. Uh… because they are—there’s a trap there. I guess for… I don’t know. Poacher or somebody. Okay. Doolittle—now we get to finally really meet him. He is recluse-bearded and his animals help him get dressed in a kind of weird take on the scene in—uh—what is it, Snow White? Or Cinderella where the animals help her dress? Or both?

crosstalk

Dan: I think it’s Cinderella. David: Possibly Sleeping Beauty, but also maybe all of those.

elliott

Look. Disney princesses cannot get dressed without the help of animals. We know that.

stuart

It was like a little bit of a, like, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure thrown in there.

elliott

Yeah. Well that’s the thing—it made me realize—so in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, I remember as a kid seeing that sequence where his breakfast gets made by his weirdo machines? And thinking it was so amazing—

crosstalk

Elliott: —and so funny. Stuart: Rube Goldberg is listening to our podcast.

stuart

And is so mad you just called them [through laughter] weirdo machines. [Elliott laughs. Dan joins in.]

elliott

He’s like, say my name, asshole! Say my name! [Multiple people laugh.] And—

dan

I had one legacy!

elliott

This is the one thing I’m remembered for! Uh, please. As a fellow Jew, remember me! [Multiple people laugh.] And I’m like, hey, buddy, I’ll put a stone on your grave. But like, leave me alone. So—

dan

[Through laughter] Not my appearance in Arson Models. [Elliott laughs.]

elliott

So—but that—the—I don’t think I’ve seen, ever since then, like, a kind of steampunk-y clockwork Rube Goldberg thing that has captured that level of magic? And why do you think that is? I was curious why you guys think that this—or unless this—this really hit you with a sense of wonder and possibility. This sequence. [Stuart laughs.]

dan

Well, I mean… the Pee-wee thing is actually—like—you think of that as like, kind of a frantic movie in certain ways but you—it takes it slow. You watch every individual thing happen. And you’re amazed—like, there’s a physicality to everything that happens. Like, it feels like that is an actual machine rather than some CGI creation ‘cause they didn’t use CGI. And also, like, it leads up to the joke where Pee-wee eats an incredibly small amount of breakfast before being— [Laughs.]

crosstalk

Dan: —full. Elliott: Oh. And then wipes his mouth—

elliott

—with a napkin very daintily? When I was a kid, my sister and I—that’s all we would do after we ate was we would just take napkins and lightly dab the corners of our mouths like he does? [Dan laughs.] And we’d leave all this food on our face? [Laughs.] [Dan laughs.]

david

He—it also, like, it reflects his personality, right? It’s like silly and overly busy and like, y’know. Like, he’s—he’s very invested in it and it’s funny. Whereas, like, I feel like Doolittle is, uh… not even… he’s so laconic and uninterested in his magical house full of magical animals. Like, it—it seems like these things are happening to him.

crosstalk

Elliott: Yeah. Dan: Yeah.

dan

And we talked about his dead wife before, but I do think that—I wanna take a moment and talk about how, like—so this is why he’s withdrawn from the world and I do not understand… this need for movies to give these kind of magical characters tragic backstories? Like… if you think about, say, Willie Wonka. Right? Like… uh, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Like… Willie Wonka doesn’t have the arc there. Like, Charlie has—what—the closest thing to an arc in that movie. Willie Wonka is just this… magical pixie who is himself and doesn’t need to have a reason to be that way. And—and—like, I feel like Doolittle, it should be the same thing. Like, Dr. Doolittle is Dr. Doolittle. No need to be, like, oh, he has a dead wife and that’s motivating the action of this movie to some degree.

stuart

Well, Dan, I was reading Variety the other day and there was this article saying— [Elliott laughs.] —how studios have all these fridges lying around? And you just gotta throw these wives in ‘em.

crosstalk

Dan: Yeah. Elliott: Mm-hm. [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

They’re losing money on those fridges if they don’t put wives, girlfriends, and assorted parents in there.

david

I—and also, remember, Tim Burton perverted that by giving Willie Wonka a tragic backstory, which was sort of an odd decision—

crosstalk

David: —in its own right because—no, it wasn’t that tragic. Elliott: I mean, it wasn’t that tragic. It was just that his dad didn’t let him eat candy, right? [Laughs.]

david

Yes. Exactly.

dan

But it was the—like, look. I have a weird… [sighs]. I’m a weird defender of that movie? I think it’s a bad choice—

crosstalk

Dan: —that Johnny Depp is making? David: It’s not a terrible movie. Yes.

dan

But otherwise it’s a pretty… good adaptation of the book, except for they add—they shove in this dentist shit [through laughter] in the middle of it.

elliott

Why—why do you think it’s a bad choice for Johnny Depp to make?

dan

Uh… I think it’s a little too creepy? Like, I think that… Willie Wonka is—should be this character who makes candy but his relationship to kids is… uh… hard to pin down? [Laughs.] Y’know? But like— [Stuart laughs.]

elliott

I mean, I feel like that’s what you got in that movie. I think—I—I admire that in a world where, uh, Gene Wilder’s Willie Wonka already exists, there’s no reason to do that Willie Wonka again. Because it’s perfect. But the, uh, that like—

crosstalk

Elliott: —he was like, who’s— Dan: Uhhhhhh—

dan

There’s a lot of shit in that movie that’s not Gene Wilder that’s not very good. [Laughs.]

crosstalk

Elliott: No, but I’m just talking about Gene Wilder’s—not—but I was talking about Gene Wilder’s— Dan: Gene Wilder’s amazing. Right. David: Right. Wilder had it down.

elliott

I’m just talking about Gene Wilder’s performance.

dan

Okay.

elliott

Just Gene Wilder’s performance is perfect in that, and I think it’s a valid choice for Johnny Depp to be like, hmm, who’s a recluse who lives in an amusement park and wants kids around? Michael Jackson. [Dan laughs.] I’ll make the character like Michael Jackson. And— [Laughs.] [David laughs.] I think that’s—it’s a—it’s a valid choice for that character even if it doesn’t totally work, ultimately, as an entertaining thing to watch. [Laughs.]

dan

[Through laughter] Yes.

david

Um… I think the dead wife—I mean, everything about this movie is a little shrouded in mystery because it was reshot and I’m sure we’ll all talk about, y’know—but Stephen Gaghan, I think, y’know, who is a bizarre choice to make a Dr. Doolittle movie, he’s probably the one who’s come in and is like, this should have pay phones. This should be about… trauma and working things out. He should be more of a brain doctor than a body doctor. Like, that—everything seems to stem from that. All of these weird, dark decisions.

elliott

I think that’s probably part of it. Well, there’s only three types of ways to adapt old stories now. You can either do a—a prequel that explains how he became Dr. Doolittle, and it’s all about him learning talk to animals. You do a gritty reboot like we talked about—John Doolittle, MD, where he’s talking about what a massive ding-dong he’s got and— [Stuart laughs.] —and someone’s killing the animals of London and he has to, like— [Multiple people laugh.] —find the Jack the Ripper of animals. Or, you do it like this where it’s like… remember the Doolittle stories from before? And he lived happily ever after? Well, whoever told you that must’ve lied. Because Doolittle’s got some sad stuff, too. But now he’s gonna come back!

crosstalk

Elliott: Whereas the kid rediscovered— Dan: You— David: ‘Cause life doesn’t work that may, baby. Way, baby. Stuart: You— [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

Yeah. Where it’s like the Return to Oz of Doolittle. It’s like, that’s the only other way to do it. And they chose the one they wanted, and of those three that’s the one I’m—it works the most for me, I guess. Uh—

dan

Elliott, you’re—you’re—there’s not the only way—you could do it the way that I think they’re—

crosstalk

Dan: I think the best— Elliott: Oh, no. I’m saying—

elliott

You can do it. I’m just saying now, those are the three studio-approved ways to adapt a story.

dan

No.

crosstalk

Elliott: Prequel. Dark reboot— Dan: Do it—

elliott

—or it’s 20 years later and somebody’s gotta shake ‘em out of their doldrums.

dan

Well, I guess this isn’t an American movie, but you can do it the Paddington way. Which I think at the—at this film’s best moments is what it’s trying to shoot for, honestly. And—and not really doing it. But like, just—just—just fucking accept the book for what it is. Accept the vibe of it. Like… um… not, y’know, explain why there’s this bear from darkest Peru who likes [through laughter] marmalade and wants to go to London too much. Just have that be who that is and have Dr. Doolittle be a guy who loves animals!

crosstalk

Dan: And goes on adventures! Elliott: See, ‘cause here—

elliott

‘Cause here’s—I haven’t seen the Paddington movies, but here’s the way I would’ve done it. So. You start in Peru. And it starts with Paddington’s grandfather.

stuart

I mean, you should—you should really watch the Paddington movies, dude.

crosstalk

Stuart: You have kids! Yeah! They’re great! David: You would enjoy the Paddington movies. Elliott: I will. You’re right.

elliott

I’ve got lots of time on my hands and I’ll watch—actually, every time I suggest watching ‘em to Sammy he’s not—he thinks they’re gonna be scary so he doesn’t wanna watch ‘em.

dan

I will say—honestly, for me the first one is good but I kinda got bored. The second one is amazing.

elliott

So here’s how I’d do it. Darkest Peru. It’s 30 years ago. An old bear shows up and tells a young bear—there’s a prophecy. [Dan laughs.]

stuart

Okay.

elliott

Your grandson—your grandson will be the chosen bear. And his name shall be… Paw…Ding…Tun. [Laughs.] And so then you cut—flash-forward to [singing] “I’m walking on sunshine!” [Regular voice] And Paddington is just kinda like in Peru, loving life. Just being like, hey, buddy! Hey! Look over there! And you just hear the voiceover—now it’s just Sonic at this point. Where he’s like—hey! I’m having a great, cool life! But uh-oh—what’s happening now? [Sound of record scratching] Er! Let me rewind a little bit. And you see how his family, like—so the movie would… end with him getting to London. ‘Cause that sets up the PCU, the Paddington Cinematic Universe. Uh, and that’s—and the next one is Pad—The Rise of Paddington. And that’s how he like meets the family. And the—

crosstalk

Elliott: —the last one of— Stuart: Starring Jeremy Piven. [Laughs.]

dan

Yeah.

elliott

Yes. Of course. And the last one is called, uh—aftermath. Paddington: Aftermath or like, uh, or Dawn of the Rise of Paddington. And that’s the one where he loses the family, but he becomes the hero that they all need him to be. So that’s Paddington.

dan

Now, wait. Hold on. I have a—I have a very important question for David. Uh, what is it like being on this podcast and sort of, like, having to endure… a Griffin, let’s say. But like, one that you don’t have years of friendship and— [Multiple people laugh.] —and history with?

crosstalk

David: No. You’re—you’re thinking about this all wrong! Dan: That helps you…

david

I’m just like, oh, someone else can handle any a thing else—I’m just here to, like, float and have fun and occasionally—

crosstalk

David: —interject with silliness. Like— Stuart: Yeah! You don’t—you don’t have to— Dan: Oh, great. Okay.

stuart

You don’t have to drive the car!

crosstalk

Stuart: It’s probably great! David: Exactly! I don’t have to try—

david

—and keep trains on time like I do on my show. I’m just—I’m just here having—listening, laughing. [Multiple people laugh.] It’s great!

elliott

I mean, that’s—that’s—

crosstalk

Elliott: It’s the thing that— Dan: Love it. [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

—my friend said to me once. I was like, would you babysit for us? She’s like, yeah, I love babysitting! ‘Cause the kids start crying? I know I’m going home at the end of the night! [Multiple people laugh.] And it’s like, oh, yeah. That’s…

crosstalk

Elliott: So, uh, Doolittle— Stuart: Yeah. That’s basically my approach to bartending [inaudible]. [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

Uh, Doolittle is playing chess with his gorilla, who is voiced by… Rami Malek? Uh—

crosstalk

Dan and David: Yes. Stuart: Yup. In another Oscar-worthy performance! Elliott: —and one of several— [Laughs.] Yeah!

david

And who has the great catchphrase, “I am not a prisoner of fear!” [Stuart laughs.]

elliott

Yeah. It’s—an, uh, they’re—for some reason, Rami Malek misunderstands what he’s being told and shows his butt to Dr. Doolittle while they’re playing chess? But, uh, ironically, a man who won an Oscar for lip-syncing is now doing just the voice while a gorilla lip syncs. Amazing! But, uh— [Dan laughs.] —it’s one—I—there are a lotta really good, talented actors in this that are for some reason chosen to do the voices for cartoon animals and have been directed to deliver the lines as if they are people who are standing in a booth trying to get their lines done in time to get out so they don’t have to be paid overtime? And I—it’s one of these movies where it really hit me how much they needed, like, cartoon voice actors to do the voices for these animals? Like, as much as I want, um… who was it who does the voice of the duck? Um—

crosstalk

Stuart: Octavia Spencer? David: Octavia Spencer. Elliott: Yeah. As much—as much as I want Octavia Spencer— David: Academy Award winner.

elliott

—to get a paycheck, ‘cause she’s great, she’s not my go-to person for the voice of a funny duck character? Um, but anyway.

stuart

Or like—and it’s—and they had—they had Ralph Ineson playing the human father of the kid. Like, that’s money on the table, dude! He’s got a great voice!

crosstalk

Stuart: Throw that voice in it! Elliott: He’s got a great voice.

stuart

That’s like a perfect, like—you’re—you cast John Cena to do the voice of a bear? He’s completely hairless! [Elliott laughs.] He’s not a bear! [Dan laughs.]

crosstalk

David: That’s crazy! Elliott: Get a hairy guy to do it!

elliott

Get the late Robin Williams to do it! A man covered in hair! Uh, so… the—and the other thing which we soon learn is that, uh, this movie takes place during the reign of Queen Victoria, and the humans all speak in a sort of, y’know, antique Victorian way. But all the animals speak in normal, modern slang. To the point where an Octopus later tells Dr. Doolittle—“snitches get stitches.” And the polar bear’s like, hey, bro! Yeah, you did it! Awesome! And it’s like… I don’t… so animals—so much as, uh, you watch—when I recently watched Paris is Burning for the first time and it was like, oh, all of our slang comes from drag culture of the 1980s—I didn’t realize all of our slang even further comes from animal culture of the 1880s!

crosstalk

Dan: Yeah. I mean—I gotta say, like— Elliott: Guys? We’ve been stealing from the animals!

dan

I don’t understand the problem, Elliott. I don’t know why you would expect animals, y’know, uh, dialect to have evolved in the same way that humans, uh, talk. Uh—

elliott

That’s a good point.

dan

Like, they have this whole separate, uh, idiom? Y’know?

elliott

Yeah. That involves, like, what almost—uh, like, I would—kept waiting for a pop culture reference to now and it never quite got that far. But they got pretty close, I think.

dan

Yeah.

stuart

Guys, I—I have a serious question. Now… I may have missed this, but they explain that the humans can, like—if they spend enough time around these animals and they study hard, they can learn how to speak animal language.

crosstalk

Dan and David: Yes.

stuart

Do they explain how all the animals can talk with each other? [Laughs.]

elliott

Uh, well they all speak Galactic Basic. [Multiple people laugh.]

stuart

But they specify that different animals speak different languages.

dan

Yeah.

crosstalk

David: Yeah. But they— Elliott: That’s true.

david

But at the same time, it’s like—he only has to pick up one thing. Which doesn’t make any sense. But you know what I mean? Like, when the—

crosstalk

Dan and Stuart: Yeah.

david

When the kid is describing how he’s learning all of the—the little idiosyncrasies? I mean, it’s—I prefer the Eddie Murphy—look, he’s touched by an angel. Like, that’s better. Like, just give me that.

elliott

I mean, the—the best—the best version of it is when we watched—years ago we did Zookeeper. With, um, the King of Queens. And he gets hit on the head and I was like, oh, he’s gonna get hit on the head and it’s gonna give him the ability to talk to animals! And the animals were like, no, we can always talk. We just don’t like doing it around people. And I was like— [Stuart laughs.] —why don’t you talk to people and tell them not to eat you and kill you? Like— [Laughs.]

david

So wait—so—they just hit him on the head just to hit him on the head? [Laughs.]

elliott

No, no. He has an accident and gets hit on the head and then the animals are, like, crowded around him. And I think it’s the lion, voiced by—I believe—Sly Stallone, who says, [Sylvester Stallone impersonation] Yeah, we just don’t talk around people ‘cause it freaks them out. [Regular voice] And it’s like, but you have—you’ve been imprisoned! [Laughs.]

crosstalk

Elliott: Y’know, why don’t you just— [Laughs.] Dan: Yeah. The thing is like—

elliott

—tell them. You could—you shouldn’t be there!

dan

The reason it freaks ‘em out is you haven’t [through laughter] been doing it. Like— [David laughs.] —if you did it all the time, like, it would just be part of the fabric of life.

david

Yeah, but they know it would just destabilize society too much at this point. It’s just awkward at this point.

elliott

I mean, the society that treats their lives as playthings and food. I—again, they have nothing to lose from this! Uh, so—except their chains. So, Stubbins, uh—the boy we mentioned before—he meets Lady Rose, an emissary from the Queen. The character who I believe should be in the Stubbins role. Because Stubbins is going to go on a quest with Dr. Doolittle and become his apprentice. And this Lady Rose character basically just shows up to say the Queen’s in trouble and then doesn’t get to go on the adventure. And how much better would this movie have been if it was like, a man and like a sassy little girl—or at least a brave little girl. Rather than like a man and Stubbins who—all due respect to the kid playing him—has no personality whatsoever. Y’know. Um… they also meet the scaredy-cat gorilla, whose name is Chee-Chee. Uh, I assume after the restaurant chain of the same name. [Multiple people laugh.] Or maybe he grew up to found that chain? I don’t know.

stuart

Uh-huh. Yep.

elliott

Anyway. Let’s get to the plot, shall we? The Queen is sick! Doolittle’s like, I don’t care. But after saving Stubbins’s squirrel from an operation, the squirrel vows revenge on Stubbins, uh, which—something which never pays off in any way whatsoever. Uh—

dan

I—I gotta say, though, the squirrel’s Craig Robinson. Like, I laughed at a fuck—a few of his, uh, lines. Like—

crosstalk

Stuart: Yeah, he’s funny! Dan: Later on he’s—

dan

Yeah! Later on he’s like… he’s like—day 24. I don’t know why I’m still following these lunatics. [Laughs.]

david

The thing is, everyone is giving the vocal performance of—okay, I’ll do a weekend in a booth for you, Robert. Like, sure. You’ll owe me—oh, yeah, y’know, you’ll owe me a favor. But—if—y’know, if you have a comedian like Kumail Nanjiani, Craig Robinson—at least they’ll be funny. It’s the—it’s the people like John Cena or Rami Malek where you’re like—what it is you’re looking for? Like, you’re not gonna get pathos from Rami Malek. Like— [Dan laughs.] I don’t know.

elliott

Well, it’s the same problem that the movie Ferdinand had. I know all you guys also talked—took your sons to see Ferdinand, uh, during the coldest winter in New York history. Uh, but the—or, y’know, in the last hundred years. I took my son to see Ferdinand and I was like, this is not a bad movie. But the voices are so flat. I mean, part of it is that they had, um, oh, what’s the football player’s name? Who’s in it?

david

Peyton Manning, I believe? He’s in it?

elliott

Peyton Manning. I mean, like, don’t cast Peyton Manning as a voice in your—in your funny animal movie. But like, the voices—the delivery was so flat that even like, um, I remember—I’m mis—I’m forgetting every single name in the world. Uh, from Saturday Night Live and Ghostbusters and… uh…

david

Kate McKinnon.

elliott

Kate McKinnon! Like, even her. Like, the—the reads were kinda off? And it was like—I don’t know what’s going on with voice directing these days. That, uh—

dan

Well, but also—I mean, the problem is—as Billy West would rail against if he were here—like, they’re employing, y’know, celebrities to do voices when that’s not necessarily their strong point! Like, there are actors who do this all the time and are very good at it. Y’know.

david

They have nice faces! That I like to look at. [Dan laughs.] That’s sort of a whole deal of being a famous actor.

elliott

Well that’s the funny—that’s, like, um, I thought it was—it’s such a funny thing that when an animated movie goes overseas, the actors from the American dub do press overseas? So like when Madagascar was in other countries, like, Ben Stiller and everybody would go do press there? Even though their voices were not even in the movie? So it’s like— [Stuart laughs.] They—‘cause they dub it with a local-language actor! So it was like, hey, so, uh, here’s this movie. I’m in it, except I’m not really in it ‘cause you’re not gonna see me or hear me, but I’m famous! So ask me some questions about it! [Laughs.]

david

Griffin—I’m sorry, but I have—Griffin told a story about Jesse Eisenberg, I think? Getting a call from his agent being told, like, hey, Rio! Is like the biggest movie in Brazil! Like, it’s—it’s huge! Rio! And Jesse Eisenberg had to be, like, I—I had nothing to do—like, I’m [through laughter] not involved in the Brazilian version of Rio! [Multiple people laugh.] You don’t need to call me!

elliott

I mean—and also, for a movie called Rio to be a big hit in Brazil is like—I mean, come on.

crosstalk

Elliott: If it’s not, you screwed something up. Come on. [Laughs.] Stuart: [Inaudible] David: Well that’s the thing!

stuart

Yeah, and the—there’s some—I don’t know if it’s like a sound design thing or maybe it’s just the—maybe it’s just the voice acting or direction. But like… I had a lot of trouble telling where any voice was coming from. Like, I had—it just—it all was just this mishmash where I could never tell if like a character was on the other side of the room, or—

crosstalk

Dan: Well—I don’t know if this is related— David: Yeah. This is—

dan

—or not, but like, the famous story about this is that, like, Stephen Gaghan is the original director of this after the—before the reshoots. Did not have it planned out where the animals would be on screen. [Laughs.] Which is crazy! A crazy way to do a movie with CGI animals. And so a lot of it is ADR’d, like, a lot of it is like… jerry-rigged after the fact.

david

Yeah. Gaghan was just like, we’ll figure it out. Like, he—he did not get, I think, that you need to plan pre-vis all this crap in advance.

elliott

‘Cause there’s a fair amount of, like, ostriches running by in the background and—with their heads off camera? While they say a line? And it’s like—yeah, okay. I guess they just—they just stuck that in ‘cause they had a line from the ostrich and he wasn’t in the scene at the moment. So they had to have him run by in the background and say it. Uh, but—they’re gonna go—they have to go save the Queen. Because here’s the thing—the Queen gave Dr. Doolittle the lease for this house. But if she dies, he’s gonna lose the house and the animals are gonna have to go to the zoo. And the animals shave him so they can go, uh, we’re introduced to the other animals. They’re Dab-Dab the duck; uh, Octavia Spencer. There’s Plimpton the ostrich, who’s Kumail Nanjiani. Channing Tatum as the polar bear whose name I forgot, and Stubbins kind of stows away in their trunk. Meanwhile, back at Buckingham Palace, the evil Dr. Müdfly—played by Michael Sheen—is leeching the Queen to ensure that she dies. Uh-oh! There’s some nefarious doings about. But luckily, Jips the dog—uh—smells something suspicious and then the Queen’s octopus—after telling Doolittle “snitches get stitches,” uh, tells them it’s poison. It turns out the only cure is the fruit from the Eden tree—the very tree of legend that Doolittle’s wife was looking for when she died in a storm. Bum-bum-bummm!

dan

And—and, like, Doolittle explains it as like—oh, it’s, like, from a tree no one has seen on an island no one knows exists. And like—like, he does this whole thing. And I’m like, well than how—like, how do you know about this island? [Elliott laughs.] Like, if— [Laughs.]

david

Is it supposed to be, like, the Tree of Life? Like, is that the idea?

crosstalk

David: Of—this is— Elliott: I have to assume so! David: Yeah. Okay. Alright. Well, fine. Dan: Yeah. Elliott: I feel like that must have been an idea—

elliott

That must have been an idea in the movie at some point. That was either elided or changed. But also they say, like, it can cure anything and gives eternal life. But that’s not what the fruit from the tree in Eden did. Like, the tree in Eden, the fruit gave you the knowledge of good and evil. Uh, which is—the Queen, I assume, already knows good and evil or she shouldn’t be in charge of a country.

stuart

[Laughs.] Uh—

crosstalk

Dan: So you’re saying being nude is evil, Elliott? Stuart: I hate to break it to you, dude! [Laughs.] [Elliott laughs.]

stuart

Uh, so—I—I have to say, I was expecting Doolittle to have to go get in a riddle contest with Wotan— [Multiple people laugh.] —in order to get this fruit, but I guess I was disappointed. There’s no mythological happenings at all in the rest of this movie. Right?

elliott

No—uh—well, we’ll see! Perhaps there’s a mythological animal later on! Uh, Stubbins, he sneaks along as Doolittle’s apprentice on this journey. There’s a brief giraffe chase where a French dog? Right? Or fox or something? Is riding a giraffe and it’s—it’s—

david

Yes. That is Marion Cotillard.

elliott

It’s one of those things where I was—at the end, the card’s like “Marion Cotillard” and I was like—not only do I not know why Marion Cotillard was chosen; I don’t know why that character was in the movie. ‘Cause all she does it—she just does that one scene with the giraffe, right? Where I assume she’s the giraffe’s, like, lover? And that’s why she’s riding on the back with Stubbins? Like, it doesn’t make any sense.

stuart

Was that—and the giraffe was Selena Gomez, right? [Long pause.]

david

Uh, yes. The giraffe is Selena Gomez.

stuart

Thank you.

david

Uh, I just have to imagine there’s a whole, like, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern plot with them. That they had to cut. I—why else would you bring in Academy Award winner Marion Cotillard as a French fox named Tutu?

elliott

For all those kids who loved La Vie En Rose. And wanna see her in more of their movies! Uh—

david

Of course.

elliott

It involves them jumping onto Doolittle’s bridge—uh, boat from a bridge. Uh, it’s all very unnecessary. Uh, and Polly—the parrot—Emma Thompson—tells Doolittle, you need a human around you to remind you that you’re human. Uh, meanwhile, this evil aristocrat played by Jim Broadbent wants to kill the Queen and take the throne. I don’t know if he really understands how monarchy works. If the Queen dies, it’s not gonna be this random Chamberlain dude who becomes the king. Like—

crosstalk

Elliott: That seems pretty basic. Dan: Yeah. It seems like— [Stuart laughs.]

dan

Kind of a military coup? Is what he’s planning? I’m not really sure.

crosstalk

Dan: But he— David: Well, I mean—

david

Y’know, to weigh in with my knowledge of British history. If this is young Victoria—

dan

Wait. Dave—David. Did you live in England or is that—

david

I did. I did live in England.

crosstalk

Elliott: Oh, you lived in England! So you grew up in England! Interesting! Oh! David: For much of my life. Yes.

david

Yes. And that’s—that’s something that’s normal and well-known about me and it’s regular news. [Dan laughs.] Um—if Queen Victoria—I mean, how old is she supposed to be here, right? She’s in her 30s. This is young Victoria.

elliott

This is young Victoria. Yeah.

david

Um, y’know, so her kid would be, like, 10 years old if not, y’know—so maybe—maybe he’s looking for a regency. Y’know? He wants to, like, sit on the throne while there’s a child king.

elliott

Maybe, but it’s like—I don’t know if Victoria had any siblings, but usually the younger sibling would then—

crosstalk

Elliott: ‘Cause I don’t know that she had any children at that point. But I don’t know that she— David: No, no. I—I—no. It goes kids first, then siblings. I’m the expert in royal primogeniture. [Stuart laughs.]

elliott

But I don’t know that she had any kids at that point! Okay.

crosstalk

Elliott: Stu? Stu? I’m gonna need you to use your famous research skills— David: She—well, I can’t remember when she got kids.

elliott

—to look up how old Queen Victoria was during the events of this movie, which is based on true facts. [Multiple people laugh.] I mean, it was just—it was just so strange to me to see Queen Victoria presented as a young woman. When—in my mind—she is a stout, dowdy old lady who says “We are not amused!” to Sherlock Holmes. Yeah.

stuart

So, I’m, uh, I just—I plugged that into the search bar in the Metal Archives. [Multiple people laugh.] No results! Okay!

elliott

That’s disappointing. Especially since—since—Britain has such a strong presence on the metal scene. But. Y’know.

stuart

Yeah! You would think. Uh—so—and Jim Broadbent, y’know… I’ve seen him play bigger, crazier characters? But, y’know, it’s fun to see him. Uh, and he’s got, uh, he’s got Michael Sheen delivering his best, like, John Hodgman-style character? As, uh— [Elliott laughs.] —an evil doctor-general? Right?

elliott

Yeah. Yeah. And, uh, so—my—and Michael Sheen—Dr. Müdfly—is obsessed with how Dr. Doolittle always got everything he wanted and everyone thinks he’s so great but he’s so crazy and he—Dr. Müdfly’s gonna get it. And Dr. Müdfly seems to keep forgetting that Dr. Doolittle lost his wife to a shipwreck— [Dan laughs.] —and has lived as a recluse for years. So he’s like—at the end of the movie, he’s like—Dr. Doolittle, now you’re gonna see what it’s like to not get what you want for a change! And it’s like… he’s a widower! Come on, man! [Multiple people laugh.]

crosstalk

Elliott: [Through laughter] Read the room! David: He’s a widower, and also—

david

You are doctor to the Queen! Like, have you not ascended to your highest honor? [Elliott laughs.] Like, you’re like, what is your—what’s the—what more could you be?

elliott

Maybe he just always wanted a pet gorilla. I don’t know. [Laughs.]

david

Yeah.

dan

That said, Michael Sheen is one of the—one of the best things about this movie. I feel like, uh, even—

crosstalk

Dan: —reviews at the time. Yeah. David: I think inarguably the best thing. Stuart and Elliott: Yeah.

elliott

I mean, he’s—Michael Sheen is acting in the movie that this wants to be? ‘Cause look, guys. I’ll put some of my cards on the table. I did not find this to be as disastrous a movie as I had been led to believe. Partly because it looks beautiful. It’s bright and colorful. It’s not grim and grey and beige and—and brown everywhere. And like black and white and with no colors. But it’s like—it wants to be this, like, cartoony—or it should be this cartoony romp. Like you’re saying, Dan. But instead it’s like… it’s weighted down by all these elements that don’t really fit into that. So by the time they are like, literally running from Barbary Coast pirates, uh, it’s like… why is this boring? Like, I don’t understand why they’re— [Dan laughs.] —they’re in a—they’re in a pirate—they’re on a pirate island fighting a tiger and it’s boring. For some reason.

david

Um, I will say I watched this film again. Thanks, guys. Um… [Multiple people laugh.] [Inaudible] podcast.

elliott

Thank you for putting the work in!

crosstalk

Elliott: I appreciate it! Even Dan doesn’t always do that! David: Um, and, uh—

david

Right. I rented it on iTunes and I just got an alert from iTunes that my rental period’s almost up, so, y’know, obviously— [Multiple people laugh.] —I gotta keep an eye on that. But, uh—and— [Dan laughs.] —on my TV, I did not think it—I think this is a quite bad movie. But it’s pretty easy to ignore? Like, you can just kind of like have it on and like, oh, what’s—okay. Antics. Okay. Yeah. The animals are making jokes. Seeing this in a theatre, you really—it really felt like being imprisoned with it. [Elliott laughs.] Like—and—and really—it really—like, when you’re really locked in with it? Really highlights how bizarre some of the editing and some of the sort of story, uh, smoothing is. Like, it will jump from scene to scene with the parrot trying to like fill in narrative gaps really quickly? In this way where you’re just like—is an act missing? Like, what happened?

elliott

Oh, that’s right! I forgot that like—to mention—this comes up especially with the Pirate Island where they’re like, we’re gonna have to sneak into that Pirate Island! And Polly is like—so they did sneak into the Pirate Island. [Multiple people laugh.] And then this is what happened. And it’s like—was there gonna be a scene where they snuck into the Pirate Island? Like—

david

It feels like there’s whole reels that they were just like, I don’t know. They must have fallen off the truck. Who cares. Just put it out.

dan

See—that’s very interesting to hear that it was a different experience. Because, uh, to your point, like, when we were watching it Audrey was like, see, this would be a perfectly fine thing to take a nap to on a Sunday. [Laughs.] Like—

elliott

Yeah. I was—I was like, oh, man this is gonna be disastrous. And then I was like—I—my—I briefly considered watching it with my son and I was like, ehh, I don’t want to subject him to it. But now I’m like, eh, he could’ve watched it and it would’ve been fine and y’know. He would’ve—I’m sure he would’ve enjoyed parts of it. Like, this is—

crosstalk

Elliott: I—not—not— Stuart: Yeah. I mean, he—

stuart

He might’ve been—there is that, uh… that is that like kind of erotic scene where Antonio Banderas is just languishing amidst, uh, beautiful tigers? Like, I don’t know. It’s pretty erotic.

crosstalk

Elliott: Oh, the post—the post-tiger orgy scene? Where you know that he’s fucked a bunch of tigers? Stuart: I don’t know if you’d want it—yeah— [Laughs.] I don’t know if you wanna—

stuart

—introduce children to that. It’s a little intense.

elliott

I’m—I mean, the real problem is my—is my son, during the giraffe chase, would be like—what voice is that? Where have I heard that voice? Is that Marion Cotillard? [Multiple people laugh.] Wait a minute. Hold on. No, it can’t be—

crosstalk

Elliott: —and he—it would really bother him. David: Of Two Days, One Night? [Dan laughs.]

elliott

The same way that we watch Big Hero 6, uh, yesterday. And I hadn’t seen it and I was like—who is that voice? And it bugged me the whole movie. I’m like, oh, James Cromwell. That’s who that voice is. And then I said to him—oh, that’s the farmer from Babe! And he was like, whatever. Uh— [All laugh.]

dan

Whatever, Dad.

elliott

Anyway. Uh, they’re on—so—Jim Broadbent sends Müdfly to go after Doolittle to stop him from saving the Queen at all costs. Doolittle is on the ship. He’s boxing the gorilla, trying to teach it to be brave. Uh, ‘cause—y’know. It’s a gorilla who’s afraid of things! It’s hilarious! Uh, then he heard an eerie whistle at night and remembers his wife. This—I don’t quite know what they were getting at for sure here. Uh, but it happens. And they’re—and that’s when I realized one of the monkeys on the ship is named Elliott. So I was like, that’s cool. Um… [Stuart laughs.] Doolittle calls a whale to help them with a warship that Dr. Müdfly is commanding. Uh, and they tie a harness to the whale to move their ship faster and the warship fires and Chee-Chee, the gorilla, gets scared and drops Doolittle’s scuba rope ‘cause he’s in kind of like a steampunk, uh, scuba suit. Uh, or, y’know, one of those aqua lung type, uh, Bathys Fear suits. Uh, but he survives just fine, thanks to Stubbins. And they escape. Uh, and that’s when we really learn that Müdfly is obsessed with Dr. Doolittle and Müdfly establishes himself as the funniest character in the movie. Um, but there’s a lot of like… a lot of Müdfly just going like, “Hmm! Hoo! Doolittle! Hmm!” And I wasn’t sure if liked how single-minded he is? Or if there were times when I was like—I wanna see a little more about what Müdfly does when—

crosstalk

Elliott: —he’s not fuming about Doolittle. Dan: I mean, there was that good gag—

dan

—where he was, like, looking through his, uh, telescope and Doolittle had said something about like how he was chinless or something. [Through laughter] And—

crosstalk

Dan: And like way [inaudible]. David: [Inaudible] about my chin!

dan

Yeah. That was—I—that was funny.

elliott

Yeah. That was funny.

david

I think that there’s a sort of a meta-funniness to it as well? Because it’s fair for the other characters to be like, why is there a fuss about this Doolittle guy? Downey is barely trying! [Dan laughs.] Like, y’know, like—are—y’know, the performance is so baffling that it, like I can under—like, Sheen should probably just be Dr. Doolittle! He’d be a good Dr. Doolittle.

elliott

He would’ve been a great Dr. Doolittle. Like, he would’ve been a fantastic Dr. Doolittle. The fact that—that, uh, Robert Downey, Jr.’s performance—it’s not just—like, Doolittle’s not just a reluctant hero? He’s a luctant—reluctant living being? Like— [Multiple people laugh.] You expect—

crosstalk

Elliott: Like, I don’t—I don’t know why— Dan: Well also—

elliott

—this guy didn’t—didn’t do—still, like—just stop breathing and see if—and pass out ever—over and over again just to get away from day-to-day life. Like, he seems to hate just existing.

david

What I rem—that’s—the death comparison makes sense, too. Where it’s like—I feel like both these stars because kind of almost hostile to their own charisma? They just got sick of… their usual thing? And were like, well, how about I just tie all my limbs behind my back and see if, y’know, the movie’s still a hit? Like, how—how anti-fun can I be?

elliott

Well, there must be something—it’s similar to, uh… yeah. When somebody is so—it becomes so… effortless to be successful that you try to sabotage yourself to see what it is—or—or—

crosstalk

Elliott: —you’re so worried— Stuart: [Through laughter] Oh, I know all about that, Elliott. [Multiple people laugh.] David: Like, I am sure—I am sure the studio was like— Elliott: Or you’re—you’re so—

david

—just do Iron Man! That’ll be great! Just be Tony Stark! And—and, like, for whatever reason obviously he did not want to do that.

elliott

I mean, because he had just been Tony Stark in like nine movies over two decades? So he’s like—

crosstalk

Elliott: —maybe I’ll do— David: And all it made him was a billion dollars! [Elliott laughs.]

dan

The other thing about his performance, though, is like—just get a fucking English guy! Like, Robert Downey, Jr. is great. But him trying to do a Welsh accent—like—this is—this is a little better than his terrible English accent in the Sherlock Holmes movies. But I—he’s not a character guy in that way, I don’t think. So… why put that on him? Like—

elliott

And I think Michael Sheen… uh… is he Welsh? Yeah. He is. So like—

crosstalk

David: Yes. He is Welsh. Elliott: You gotta—

elliott

You got a Welsh guy who’d be really great at it right there! But Michael Sheen doesn’t open big blockbusters, Dan. Because without a big star, what do you have to convince kids to go see a movie about a doctor who talks to animals and goes on an amazing adventure with pirates? [Dan laughs.] What possible reason would a kid wanna see that for unless it has a big, boffo, box office name in it like Channing Tatum?

david

Like—are kids like, “Downey Jr.’s in it? Okay, but who voices the polar bear.” It’s like, John Cena! [Multiple people laugh.] Alright! Let’s go! Friday night!

elliott

They’re like, is anyone from The Big Sick in it? [Multiple people laugh.]

stuart

Yeah. They’re like, I’m real into alt-comedy? Is Jason Mantzoukas in this movie? [Multiple people laugh.]

crosstalk

Elliott: Uh, they’re in luck. David: With Jason Mantzoukas clearly added very late in the game.

stuart

Yeah, yeah, yeah. That feels like—that—didn’t—I mean, I was just glancing through the trivia. Didn’t like Seth Rogen or somebody take a stab at a couple rewrites? And I feel like—

david

Yes.

stuart

—Jason Mantzoukas’s part either got completely added or totally bulked out because… I mean, it’s—it’s funny, but it doesn’t add anything to the story of the movie. [Laughs.]

elliott

I mean, he does wake up a tiger at one point.

stuart

Oh, that’s true.

elliott

Uh, now—speaking of—it’s time for the side quest that involves Jason Mantzoukas. ‘Cause they can’t just go straight to the Eden Tree! It’s on an island that never exists that nobody has ever heard of ‘cause it’s not real or whatever! They’ve gotta go to Pirate Island to steal Lily’s journal. Because that’s the only place that says where the island is. Uh, this island, it’s called, uh, what—Monteverde? I think it’s called? And it’s run by King Antonio Banderas, whose character’s name I don’t remember. But he is Lily’s father. And so he’s especially mad at Doolittle because he blames him for not being there when Lily died, as if Doolittle would’ve been able to save her from the shipwreck. It’s a little unclear why he thinks Doolittle should’ve been there at the time? I don’t know. Anyway. But he blames him.

stuart

And kids can tell that, uh, Antonio Banderas’s character is gonna be an evil king because he already has multiple statues celebrating himself before he’s dead. And that’s never a good sign. And kids are aware of that.

elliott

Yeah. Kids are—kids remember their Roman history. And they were like, mm, shades of Caligula, perhaps? As they nudge each other. [Multiple people laugh.] Uh—

stuart

And then the tiger orgy happens and they all get it.

elliott

Yeah. And then they were like, oh, this guy’s super cool. Uh, so they team up. Stubbins sneaks in with the help of some mafia ants and a heartsick dragonfly. Uh— [Dan laughs.] But accidentally, they wake up the king and his lions. Oh, they’re lions! Not tigers. I’m sorry. It’s tiger—a tiger later. Uh, and he wakes up and he locks them all in a dungeon. He lets Stubbins go, but, uh, he wants Doolittle to be eaten by a tiger named Barry. Uh, meanwhile Doolittle is being taunted by a criminal rabbit who is also in jail with an eye patch? And it’s one of those things where it’s like, wait, so is this rabbit like a rabbit that talks and is a criminal and commits crimes? ‘Cause the other animals don’t have—like, the other animals, the idea of locking them up in a jail cell seems crazy.

dan

Yeah. What was his beef with Doolittle? He seemed to have a personal dislike of—

elliott

Which? The rabbit or the tiger?

dan

The rabb—well—

crosstalk

Dan: —either one of them. Elliott: The rabbit? I’m not—

dan

I wasn’t really clear.

elliott

Well the tiger is a former patient of Doolittle’s, and for some reason Doolittle abandoned him. Uh, and his—and his—his feelings of never living up to his mother’s, uh, expectations for him. That’s the tiger. The rabbit just seems to be a jerk. And the rabbit has the line that made me wish—made me glad my son didn’t see the movie, ‘cause it would’ve become his favorite line. Where the tiger walks in and the rabbit goes, “Ohh, did Doolittle do a little doo-doo? I think you did do a little doo-doo!” And I was like, oh, boy. Okay.

dan

I was—the thing was—I was actively appreciating the fact that this movie didn’t seem to have any toilet humor for a long time? And then it all came at once.

crosstalk

Dan: In [inaudible] ugly. David: Yeah. It’s—it’s backloaded.

elliott

Yeah. Rushing—rushing out to you like a blocked up dragon-size—fu—suddenly releasing a huge gas fart. Uh—right in your face. Uh, there’s also the—this is the part where, uh, uh, he’s being attacked by this tiger. He tries a couple different funny ways to stop him but he can’t. Uh, Chee-Chee the gorilla finally overcomes his fear and kicks Barry in what Barry refers to as his “Barry berries.” Uh, and it’s almost like at this point with doo-doo and Barry berries, yeah, Dan. The movie just kind of like… is like, you know what? We’re just doing the toilet humor. It’s like the story Albert Brooks tells about opening for a band and not getting laughs and he goes—so I did it. I said “shit.” And then the audience goes crazy because he starts swearing [through laughter] on stage? [Dan laughs.] And they love it? Uh, so they fin—they steal Lily’s journal. Uh, but Müdfly takes it and he’s like, yeah. I’m a bad guy. I’m gonna kill Queen Victoria. See ya! And they sink Doolittle’s boat. Uh, and the polar bear saves the ostrich, thus cementing their friendship. A subplot that— [Dan laughs.] —was not really set up too far ahead of time? But it was set up a little bit. That they had—were kind of prickly with each other. But now they’re best buds. Um—

crosstalk

Elliott: Doolittle—yes? Stuart: Now—now—

stuart

Why—why is Michael Sheen going to get the magical thing that can cure… the Queen if he’s just trying to kill the Queen?

elliott

He—to stop Robert Downey, Jr. from getting it. And maybe he’s also gonna be a, like, look! I made this discovery! I’m famous now!

crosstalk

Elliott: Alas, too late to save our beloved Queen. Stuart: Ohhhhh. Dan: Yeah.

dan

Well, but also… they—they try and explain it. They say that this, uh, island has all these, like… like, unknown flora and fauna that, like, because he’s a scientist, too, he will get all the glory of… of—of studying it, I guess.

elliott

I wish they had gone even farther. And made Charles Darwin the villain of the movie. And— [Dan laughs. Stuart joins in.] Martin Sheen was playing—Michael Sheen was playing—not Martin Sheen. Or maybe Martin Sheen! Was playing—was playing Charles Darwin and it was like, no! If animals can talk to humans, it throws my whole theory of evolution and natural selection out the window! I have to defeat Dr. Doolittle. Like, that would be very funny to me. [Laughs.] [Dan laughs.] And so he has to go and he’s gonna make this big scoops. He’s like, it’s gonna be a second Galapagos! This, uh, this magic island. Oh, I’ll call it—On the Origin of the Species 2: The Re-Origining! Okay, guys, I think we have Dr. Doolittle 2 [through laughter] already ready in the can. Uh, so Dr. Doolittle’s ready to give up, but uh, the pirate king, he says—hey, look. We both miss my daughter. Uh, so you need to keep going. And he gives them a ratty old pirate ship. They use whales to track Dr. Müdfly to Eden Island. And they finally get there and the soldiers that are with Müdfly capture them and Müdfly’s like, heh, heh, heh! I finally beat you! I guess not everything comes easy to Dr. Doolittle! Again, as I mentioned earlier, forgetting that Dr. Doolittle is a depressed widower? [Laughs.] [Multiple people laugh.] And has lost the single-most important thing to him—

crosstalk

Elliott: —in the universe? David: Basically has no will to do anything whatsoever. Stuart: Yeah. He’s really— Dan: Who—who would’ve been a hermit— [Multiple people laugh.]

dan

—if not for their plot to kill the queen? [Laughs.] He—

stuart

Yeah. He’s just scraping by at this point. He almost got eaten by a tiger. [Laughs.] [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

It’s like—it’s like, uh—I imagine somebody being like—hating Franklin Delano Roosevelt and being like, see what it’s like to not be the golden boy who gets everything! And Roosevelt being like… I can’t walk. Like— [Multiple people laugh.] —look at me, dude! Like—I’m in a wheelchair! Did you forget about that? Uh, so—but then—uh-oh! There’s a guardian for the Eden Tree. It’s a dragon! That’s right, everybody! Someone mentioned dragons offhandedly once earlier in the movie! That was all the foreshadowing we needed! Dragons! The dragon scares the soldier away and so Doolittle instantly picks up dragon language. Uh, ‘cause he’s just that good. They bond over having both lost their spouses because in this world, even mythological creatures have a certain amount of trauma and survivor’s guilt. Uh—

dan

Yes. This was exactly the end of, uh, of, uh, Batman v. Superman, basically. [Laughs.] Where they’re both like, your mom was Martha? My mom was Martha! [Multiple people laugh.]

crosstalk

David: I didn’t even make that connection. Dan: Like, we’re both widower—

dan

Widows or widowers?

elliott

Uh, he, uh, manages—

stuart

And the dragon eats one of the British soldiers. Which I think is kind of a stirring commentary, uh, on anti-colonialism. [Dan laughs.]

david

And yet apparently has a lot of the Spanish army digested in her belly? There’s a whole—there’s all these axes and helmets getting pulled out of her. [Dan laughs.]

elliott

The dragon? Yeah. Has devoured a lot of Spanish and now at least one British soldier. Um, and dragons, we learn, like snakes, just swallow up the whole thing whole and digest what they can from it. Because… guys? It’s time for the apex of the fart humor. This dragon has a blockage in its rectum and Dr. Doolittle—using only a leek, because he’s Welsh—will have to release it. And so he manages to remove all this armor. Thus freeing an enormous fart that hits him square in the face and every character seems to get their line where they talk about how smelly it is. And it was like—I get it. Just pick one. Just have one character comment.

dan

[Through laughter] I will make a not—not full-throated defense of this fart joke, because I hate—

crosstalk

Dan: —fart— Stuart: Go on.

dan

Well, I don’t hate fart jokes. I—I don’t think they’re necessary in a movie like this. Um—

elliott

Dan, do you think your throat should be the part—the orifice you’re using to, uh, defend this? [Laughs.] [Stuart laughs.] Or the passage in your body—

crosstalk

Elliott: —to defend this fart joke? Dan: You’re right. Let me—

dan

—position my butt to the microphone. [Stuart laughs.] No. I— [Laughs.] The one thing I like about this fart joke—

elliott

Dan’s butt sounds just like his regular voice! [Laughs.] [Stuart laughs.]

dan

Yeah. The—the one thing I liked about this fart joke is how matter-of-fact everyone was after the fart joke? They were like, the—it—they were all, like, oh, y’know. It happens to everyone. Nothing to be ashamed of. Like— [Stuart laughs.] —everyone was like trying to make the dragon feel better about the giant fart? I’m like, oh, that’s kind of—kind of sweet. There’s a little Everybody Poops sort of, uh, reaction to this.

elliott

Yeah. I mean, it’s a real—it’s a real strong tolerance and anti-bigotry message that we all fart. So are we really that different after all? [Laughs.]

david

Even murderous dragons who devour humans whole. [Stuart laughs.]

elliott

Uh, well, protecting some kind of quasi-mystical thing-fruit? Because then she says—hey. You have proven to me—by helping me—both psychologically and anally—that you deserve— [Dan laughs.] —this Eden Fruit. And so they have the Eden Fruit! They finally get there, to Buckingham Palace, just in time! The Queen is just on her deathbed! Her life meter above her head is—is just blinking that last bar as it—as it disappears!

david

Right. The—the Sonic music is playing. The “dun-DUN-dun-Dun-dun-Dun”—that that’s where she’s at. [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

Yeah.

dan

And Jim Broadbent has literally declared her dead at this point, too. [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

Yeah. I mean, he jumped the gun a little bit on that one. But he had his reasons. Uh, the bad guy—Jim Broadbent—he tries to have them arrested. But the animals clear a path for Stubbins, who manages to like slide through someone’s legs and catch the Eden Fruit and squeeze a drop to her lips. I would’ve just smashed the whole thing into her mouth.

crosstalk

Elliott: Like—but he decides— Stuart: Yeah. You would’ve spiked it.

elliott

He decides to hope that this one drop makes it to her lips, uh, but it does. She revives. And a stick insect—who Dr. Doolittle left on a painting there days before—rats out the chamberlain. And the chamberlain does the classic bad guy thing of—once he realizes they’ve got him dead to rights, instead of continuing to deny it, he pulls out a knife and tries to fight his way out. Which is the guiltiest thing you can do. [Dan laughs.] He’s caught by the—‘cause instead of being, like, well I’m the chamberlain of London and that’s a stick insect— [Multiple people laugh.] —that you say is talking. None of us can hear it! Like, I don’t know if it’s gonna hold up in a court of law, you interpreting for a stick insect. Uh—

stuart

And like—and how can he trust this stick insect? All it did was sit around on a painting all day? Like… what a boring thing! Like…

elliott

I—I wish it went to trial and he was like—ladies and gentlemen of the jury; can we trust an insect that’s already trying to deceive us into thinking it’s a stick? [Multiple people laugh.] I rest my case. Your witness! And Doolittle’s—

david

If Broadbent had kept his cool, he might’ve gotten away with it.

elliott

Yeah. The prosecutor for the state is like, he just eviscerated our case. We’ve got nothing now. [Multiple people laugh.]

david

Shit! Our lead witness is a bug? Who came up with this?! [All laugh.]

elliott

Uh, okay. Let me— [Laughs.] Bring in—bring in the next witness. Uh, he got stepped on. What?

dan

Yeah. At worst, uh, they—y’know, like, they would—they would cut a deal with the prosecutor in the situation. [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

But the idea that everyone’s like, yeah, yeah, Doolittle says this bug said that thing. I guess he got ‘im! Uh—Doolittle takes on Stubbins as an apprentice and he reopens his home as a pet hospital and also leaves the movie open for a sequel. During the credits we see paintings that seem to depict Doolittle and some of the animals being knighted by the Queen? Uh, so there’s a Sir Doolittle and a Lady Dab-dab I guess? And, uh, in the—there’s a mid-credit scene that did not go the way I thought it was. Where Dr. Müdfly is still alive in the cave. And it seems like—it seems like he’s picked up the language of the bats in the cave. And it was like—oh, so he’s gonna come back in the sequel as a bad guy who talks to mean—like, evil—sinister animals! But then the bats—it’s implied, I guess, eat him. [Laughs.] So—

crosstalk

Elliott: —they just swarm all over his— Stuart: Yes. Well they turned him into—

stuart

They turned him into Morbius, the Living Vampire.

crosstalk

Elliott: I guess so. They swarm all over and then he’s gone. Dan: It’s a terrifying image.

dan

[Through laughter] They, like, cover him! [Stuart laughs.] The swarm of bats in this children’s film! Yeah! Presumably they eat him to the bone. [Laughs.]

elliott

And, uh, that’s—and that’s the end of it! And I guess we’ll never find out what happened to Dr. Müdfly ‘cause I don’t think there’s gonna be a Doolittle 2? Or 2-little, I guess, is what they would call it?

david

No.

dan

Yeah.

crosstalk

David: I think this movie lost about a hundred million dollars. Dan: I expected—

david

I don’t think anyone’s getting any sequels.

dan

I expected a mid-credit sequence where we find that his wife is still alive. Just shipwrecked somewhere. And I—I would’ve been willing to lay a bet on it. But instead we get [through laughter] death by bat. [Elliott laughs.]

stuart

Yeah. I was hoping—yeah. That she was gonna walk out onto a beach and be, like, [aggressively] It’s gonna be carnage! [Elliott laughs.] [Regular voice] And we’re like, ohhhh, shiiiiit! [Elliott laughs.]

crosstalk

Dan: Yeah. [Through laughter] I don’t know what that means in this context! Elliott: That would make more sense if you knew that—

elliott

—if you knew the comics already, that would make a lot more sense! And also why Woody Harrelson is wearing that crazy Wendy’s from Wendy—Wendy from Wendy’s wig! [Multiple people laugh.]

david

Raggedy Ann wig? [Elliott laughs.] Oh, God.

elliott

That is—it is—one of the—one of the—it is so goofy to me to—get—talk about Venom for a moment. This is a movie that has already decided that Venom—a character whose sole existence is to get revenge on Spider-man—does not need Spider-man in his story? But Carnage does need to have curly red hair. Because that’s— [Multiple people laugh.] —what it’s like in the comics. [Laughs.] Even though he’s played by a famously bald actor. Like, it’s— [Stuart laughs.]

crosstalk

Elliott: Comic movies are dumb that way. So Doolittle. Dan? Dan: Okay. Let’s—let—

dan

Let’s do our next, uh, segment that ties up the movie talk about Doolittle. And that is to decide—final judgments. Whether it’s a good-bad movie, a bad-bad movie, or a movie you kinda like. Guys? I’m not gonna say it’s a movie I kinda like, but here’s the thing. I come down… where Elliott is, where he’s like, I thought this was gonna be a fiasco and I was like, y’know what? Whatever. Like— [Multiple people laugh.] Here’s the thing. I think… I think that this movie is not—has a lot of problems? But it would not have been viewed as such a huge fiasco if it wasn’t the movie that Robert Downey, Jr. decided to make directly after his hugely successful run as Iron Man/Tony Stark. Like, it—it—it has… problems, but it—it—it’s making a stab at a kind of, like… high adventure… children’s thing that I like? In general? Like, it doesn’t have, like, the pop culture… a-minute references of a Sonic? And I kind of appreciate it for that. Like, if this movie… was basically the same movie, but they made it animated? Y’know. Pretty good.

dan

I—I don’t know. [Stuart laughs.]

elliott

I mean, no. I kind of feel the same way. And I know that there’s movies that I really liked as a kid that are no better than—than this movie? Like, and there are movies that people I know liked a lot from when we were kids—[fake coughs] Goonies—that I think is—this is a better movie than. Come at me and hate me on the internet, guys! I think this is a better movie than Goonies! But, uh, I think it’s—I think, um… the movie—I—the—I don’t know. I don’t know. Actually, I’m curious, David to hear—you were saying your experience in the theatre was different.

crosstalk

Elliott: That you felt kind of like trapped with it. David: Well, the experience in the theatre—

david

It’s—I will—just—as I was saying, like, there’s a lot of hasty editing and sort of strange—y’know, cuts to the animals like singles on the animals that are just saying a joke. That just suggest, like, whatever the initial concept was here, it’s lost. Like, so… instead, like, sort of several steps. There’s the, y’know, dark, y’know… he’s a sad, depressed guy and his animals are sort of depressed too and they all need to figure out how to weather emotional pain together. There’s that through line. But then there’s also the ripping, high seas adventure kids’ movie. And then there’s the sort of… we’ve gotten a bunch of celebs to say funny stuff. Like, it just feels like there’s a studio movie; there’s the original director’s movie; and then there’s this sort of, like, salvage job, okay, Robert Downey, Jr. movie. And… I would take any of them and call it just a regular old bad movie that is perfectly entertaining for kids. Putting ‘em all together makes—makes it feel pretty, like, wince-inducing. But I—I know what you guys are saying. The Downey—the Downey thing really hurt it. Like, the sort of, like, oh—if people were sort of waiting, y’know, they were smelling blood. They wanted a bomb. Just to ding him with.

elliott

Yeah. I kept seeing in reviews that point that Dan was saying. That, like, this is the movie that Robert Downey, Jr. decided to make? As if he owed it to the world to—to make—he owed it to each individual reviewer to make the movie they wanted to see him make? Whereas like, I don’t know. Maybe he’s always loved the Dr. Doolittle stories. Or maybe he was like—if—uh—like, he was a—I think his—

crosstalk

Elliott: —his company—the what? Stuart: What was that—what was that movie he made?

stuart

The Rural Juror or whatever? The Judge?

crosstalk

Dan: It was— David: [Dramatically] The Judge. Dan: Oh, The Judge. Stuart: Yeah. People want more of The Judge? [Laughs.] Elliott: Oh, the—

elliott

Well, like—just—it’s just that like, uh, but it was—it was one of those movies where, uh—I was—I was just expect—I was like, this—I mean, the trailers for it made it look like an—even more of a mishmash than the movie was? ‘Cause the trailers were done up as if it was like a big, dramatic adventure movie? But then you’d have the quips from the animals? But with dramatic music over them? So it was like, who made this trailer? What’s going on? But, uh, I found myself, like, kind of… thinking it was going to be more of a disaster than it was. Stu? You’re the—you’re the tiebreaking vote here since—since—

crosstalk

Elliott: —David gets three votes. Stuart: Well, that’s not technically correct. [Laughs.]

stuart

Oh, okay. [Dan laughs.] ‘Cause yeah. It’s two to one right now. I’m gonna be on Team David here. I will give this movie a B-. That’s right! Not enough Tony Banderas. Uh… [Multiple people laugh.]

dan

A B- still seems really generous!

elliott

No, that’s a very generous grade. Yeah.

stuart

I’m just joking. No. I didn’t like this movie at all. Um, worse than Sonic the Hedgehog, raves Stuart.

stuart

Yeah. It’s—I mean, it’s sloppy and…

stuart

Uh—like it—yeah. [Laughs.] It—like, it doesn’t even seem to care that it’s on there. On the screen. It’s, y’know. It’s barely a movie.

elliott

See, if you had this movie and you put Jim Carrey’s performance from Sonic the Hedgehog in it as Dr. Doolittle, you would have—you’d—I’d be, like, sure, yeah. I’ll let my kids watch that any day of the week. Sure. That’s fine.

david

It would at least have a sort of consistently manic energy in that, y’know—there’s two things that I’ve found sort of googling around. Is one—Robert Downey, Jr. decided to be Welsh because of the famous… Welsh, like, neo-druidic doctor guy from Victorian era William Price. Is someone that Robert Downey, Jr. think is a cool dude, I guess. Or is fascinating. So he’s like—

elliott

David: That’ll be my vibe. Right. Stuart: Is like, an actual Dr. Doolittle. Right? Like—

crosstalk

David: Right. And like, that’s a funny idea. Elliott: Who, again, did a lot of stuff!

elliott

The name is not a good name! But anyway. Yeah. You’re saying. Good?

david

It’s a funny idea but not for this movie. Like, not the—y’know. It feels like he just had sort of a fun idea that relate—does not relate to a movie about a farting dragon. But then the—

crosstalk

Elliott: I mean, I think it’s a little unfair— David: —Hollywood Reporter

elliott

—to call the movie “about” a farting dragon. [Multiple people laugh.]

crosstalk

Elliott: The farting dragon is in one sequence. David: Well, the thing is—

david

The Hollywood Reporter’s sort of, quote-unquote “expose” about, like—what went wrong with Doolittle? Said that Downey met up with the guy who’s rewriting it; tore up the script’s pages dramatically; said—I have some new ideas, with a twinkle in his eye, and proposed the farting dragon conclusion. So—I don’t know what to believe! Like, did he wanna make a weird Welsh doctor biopic or did he want to make a farting dragon movie?

elliott

Uh, I mean—maybe he wasn’t—maybe he wasn’t sure himself. Y’know? Uh—

crosstalk

David: This movie is a little unsure of itself, I would say. Stuart: Oh, to be a—oh to be a stick bug— Elliott: I—I would say—

stuart

—on the wall of that conversation. [Multiple people laugh.]

crosstalk

Dan: Yeah. I—I would assume— Elliott: [Laughs.] But then you—you’d need Robert Downey, Jr.—

elliott

—to translate and you’d be like, well you could just be saying this, Robert Downey, Jr. Like, I don’t know if the stick bug really thinks that.

dan

I mean—this is just a guess on my part. But I would assume that, like… yeah. The goofier shit in this movie was the stuff that was quote-unquote trying to “save” it. And—

crosstalk

David: Right. I think there was— Dan: —the original movie—

crosstalk

David: Right. Was dark. There was a fear, like—uh-oh! Elliott: Oh. I—I mean, I—yeah.

david

This isn’t gonna be a kids’ movie that plays. We need to juice up the jokes.

elliott

That makes it—but I—still, like, it could’ve—I mean, I had—I—if anything, now I’m like… it doesn’t fully work at the end of the day? But I like give them credit for trying to kid it up? And lighten it up? So that we didn’t get a super-dour Doolittle movie where, like, his—where it’s—where, like, uh… I’m trying to think what else would happen in it. Where like he has to murder someone at the end? [Multiple people laugh.] Or, like—

david

With a pillow? He just puts a pillow over Queen Victoria’s face? [Elliott laughs.] [Through laughter] And cries and says, I’m sorry?

stuart

Yeah. I mean—

elliott

Or he like turns his back on humanity and the last you see of him is just naked wandering into a jungle to be with the animals? [Laughs.]

stuart

I mean, I’m—so much of it felt like the—the—Robert Downey, Jr. most likely came on set. He had this very low-energy kind of weird character that he had dreamt up. And nobody want—like, could talk him out of it and they’re just like, oh, fuck it.

crosstalk

Stuart: Okay. Let’s just get this shot— David: You—you can’t say no! Right.

stuart

Like, we’ll shoot it and then we’ll fix it.

david

Um, that combined with Stephen Gaghan being, like, yeah, we can do an emotional $200 million movie. And because he had Downey’s backing, he was allowed to with that caveat of, like, well, y’know what? We’ll just do reshoots. Like, if it doesn’t work we’ll just do reshoots.

elliott

I mean, the thing is, you can do a huge emotional blockbuster movie with Robert Downey, Jr. in it. It’s called Avengers: Endgame. Boom. In theatres now.

stuart

[Through laughter] Oh, wow. Is it?

elliott

Actually, it’s not in theatres now. It’s been out of theatres for a while, I guess. [Dan laughs.]

david

And also, theatres are largely closed. [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

Don’t go to theatres right now! Go again when it’s time—when things have opened up. I guess what I’m saying is, uh, don’t… go…

stuart

What are you, a—

crosstalk

Stuart: What are you a [inaudible] commercial right now? David: What you’re—what you’re saying is— [Multiple people laugh.]

david

—wasn’t it nice when Avengers: Endgame was out and there was no pandemic and we went to see movies and Robert Downey, Jr. was in them and they were nice?

elliott

Back when he could do no wrong! Um… so I guess Dan—does this fit into our rubric at all? Shall we try to give it ratings?

crosstalk

Dan: Nahhh. Elliott: ‘Cause mine is also some—

elliott

I wouldn’t quite call it a movie I kinda liked, but I don’t—I don’t think it’s good-bad or bad-bad. So.

dan

Yeah. Same here. But these guys think it’s bad-bad, that’s fine.

stuart

I think the bad-bads have it.

elliott

Uhhh, I don’t know about that. I mean, I would—no, that’s right. Davey gets extra votes. Yeah.

music

Light, up-tempo, electric guitar with synth instruments.

promo

Music: light, mid-tempo rock. Jesse Thorn: Hey, MaxFunsters! It’s Jesse Thorn. This week on my public radio interview show Bullseye, I’m talking with Tina Fey and Robert Carlock about creating Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, 30 Rock, and also just kind of…why they’re the best at everything. [Laughs.] Tina Fey: There was a window of time when we—we’d just go to awards things and pick up our prizes and party with the people from Mad Men. Jesse: You can find Bullseye at MaximumFun.org or wherever you listen to podcasts. Just search for “Bullseye with Jesse Thorn.” [Music finishes; cheers in background.]

promo

Ben Harrison: Alright, Adam. Uh, Maximum Fun wants us to record like a promo to tell people that they should listen to The Greatest Generation. You wanna do that? Adam Pranica: No! I am tired of all the extra work. I just wanna talk about Star Trek with my friend. Ben: I—I think it—it would be good to, like, try to get some new listeners by appealing to the audiences of other shows? Like, this—this will only take a minute or two. It could be good for us! Adam: We sit down for an hour every week and talk about a Star Trek episode and make a bunch of idiotic fart jokes about it. It’s embarrassing. If it got out that we made this show, I think it would make us unemployable. Ben: Adam—I have bad news for you. We have tens of thousands of listeners at MaximumFun.org. Adam: Oh, my god. I think I’m gonna throw up. [Sound of office telephone plays quietly in background.] Ben: The Greatest Generation! A Star Trek podcast by a couple of guys who are a little bit embarrassed to have a Star Trek podcast. Every Monday on MaximumFun.org. Adam: I’m really gonna be sick.

dan

The Flop House is sponsored in part by Squarespace. The service that allows you to turn your cool idea into a new website. Blog or publish content; sell products and services of all kinds; and more. And they do this by giving you beautiful, customizable templates created by world-class designers with everything optimized for mobile right out of the box. Your site will look great on all sorts of devices. A new way to buy domains and choose from over 200 extensions. Free and secure hosting. So—if you’re looking to make a website with Squarespace, head to Squarespace.com/flop for a free trial and when you’re ready to launch, use the offer code “flop” to save 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.

elliott

Uh, Dan, I—just very briefly, I had a website. I was actually wondering if Squarespace would be able to help me with. Uh—

dan

Uh, sure. Ask your—ask away.

elliott

I was inspired by this movie. Uh, I have an idea for a website. It’s called www.DoLess.com. The only website that will match you up with an animal that will do your chores for you, so you don’t have to do as much! Look. We are all doing too much these days. I know I’m taking care of two kids; holding down a job; and trying to finish a jigsaw puzzle. It is a nightmare! [Dan laughs.] If only I could hire a hedgehog to finish that jigsaw puzzle or watch my children for me! Welcome to DoLess.com, the only website that matches you up with an animal that can do that stuff for you! Dan, uh, what—is there anything going on in your life that you wish that like a lemur or a slow lorris or a, a—uh—

crosstalk

Elliott: —cassowary could take care of? Dan: Oh, geez.

dan

Yeah. Uh, y’know, there’s a lot of dishes that pile—I mean, y’know, a lot more cooking at home. Dishes pile up. Uh… laundry, because I’m trying to wear actual clothes every day so I don’t, uh, slip into depression. Uh, those things would be great. I thought it interesting that you wanted your animal to possibly do the jigsaw puzzle for you. Which—it seems like the recreational thing [through laughter] that you listed—

crosstalk

Dan: —out of all your stuff. Okay. Elliott: Dan, all I’m saying is I’ve got too much on my plate and this animals’—

elliott

—gotta take something off my plate. If that means eating my dinner for me off a plate? Then go ahead, aardvark. Do it. So, Dan— [Dan laughs.] —I think maybe, uh, you’re looking for, like, mmm, I don’t know. Like a salamander or perhaps a, uh, like a mockingbird who will do that laundry for ya! And let—let me just put that into, uh, DoLess.com. [Makes computer beeping noises.] That’s the sound it makes, uh, when you put it in. And— [Multiple people laugh.] —it looks like there are… squirrels in your area that would be happy to wash your dishes for you! [Stuart laughs.] Now again, DoLess.com—let me just get the legal stuff out of the way. [Dan laughs.] DoLess.com cannot guarantee that these animals will do the job well and we are not legally liable if they break anything or soil anything in your apartment or house. But—look. We’re just a middleman. We’re not—we’re not legally liable. We’re just here to connect you with the animals that wanna do those jobs. Think of it like TaskRabbit— [Laughs.] With actual rabbits! DoLess.com.

stuart

[Through laughter] Oh, shit!

dan

Now, uh—Snow White notwithstanding, which I happen to be re-watching because, uh, I’ve been reading a Disney biography—uh, I don’t think that squirrels have the body strength to do the things that you are assigning them.

elliott

I’m not assigning anyone anything. Dan.

crosstalk

Elliott: You put your— Stuart: I think I read in the book—

stuart

—they can lift, like, ten times their body weight.

elliott

Yeah, yeah.

stuart

Or wait—am I thinking of ants?

crosstalk

Dan: Ants. Is what you’re thinking of. Stuart: Oh. Elliott: But maybe—maybe an ant can do the dishes. Stuart: And what did—what did he say?

stuart

What did he say?

elliott

Squirrels.

stuart

Oh, okay. They sound alike.

elliott

They do sound very similar. [Dan laughs.] Dan, I’m not assigning them anything. You put your job on the website; animals offer to do it for you; you pay them in acorns or whatever. Just stop putting this on me. I’m not legally liable. [Dan laughs.] I’m just the middleman. That’s DoLess.com. Okay. Let’s move on.

crosstalk

Dan: Uh—I believe— Elliott: Trying to promote my new website—

elliott

—that I hope Squarespace can help me with and you gotta start telling me it doesn’t work. And you haven’t even tried it yet.

crosstalk

Dan: Alright. Well— Stuart: Okay. I think the next—

stuart

The next part of this podcast is the jumbotrons! That’s where you tell us something to say! And in this case, uh, what I am saying is— “I am a freelance graphic illustrator who specializes in fantasy and sci-fi portraits. My pieces make great gifts for anyone who likes tabletop, fantasy, videogames, or their own special fandom. Just visit Illustratian.com to check out my commission work.” Now I need to clarify the spelling of this, uh, this URL is—I-L-L-U-S-T-R-A-T-I-A-N.com. Uh, and I just checked it out and it’s really great and you’ll see some familiar faces in the commission work, including, uh, some of our friends over at The Adventure Zone. Um, and I’m assuming Dan gave me this, uh, Jumbotron to read because—out of all of us—I’m the only one who has commissioned a portrait of one of their roleplaying game characters [through laughter] from an artist. [Multiple people laugh.] Uh, no. That’s just a guess. I don’t wanna sully you guys. I don’t wanna paint you guys with a brush, but… is that true? Have you—uh, any of your favorite roleplaying game characters, have you paid to have them drawn by an artist?

dan

Stuart, I—I have essentially one roleplaying [through laughter] game character. [Elliott laughs.] You know him. The only art that’s been done, I, uh, has been done by listeners. It’s not, uh, yeah. I did not commission anything.

crosstalk

Elliott: I recently—I recently hired someone to— Stuart: Well may—maybe that’s so, uh—

elliott

Yeah?

stuart

I’m just saying, maybe this’ll give you the, uh, the opportunity to, uh, get that character drawn over at Illustratian.com.

elliott

Okay. Uh, well, I will… not continue my story. ‘Cause it would’ve been pointless! [Stuart laughs.] ‘Cause I’ve got another Jumbotron! This is a message for Jen, last name withheld, and it is from Kevin, last name withheld. And the message goes like this: Happy birthday to the most amazing, sweetest, most beautiful love of my life. There’s nobody I’d rather be trapped indoors with, and especially nobody I’d rather be sharing the world and my life with. I love you with all of my heart, and all of my other guts, too. And promise you an unlimited amount of face-bonks and ghost-kisses forever. So that’s for Jen from Kevin! How sweet! That’s really lovely! Do you guys have any stories about love that you wanna share?

stuart

Uh… eh.

dan

No. No.

elliott

Okay . [Stuart laughs.] Then let’s move on to—we got one final thing to promote. Flop House listeners—have you ever wondered what it would be like to see a live Flop House show in your very own home and maybe the hosts haven’t showered and are wearing pajamas or haven’t shaved recently? I don’t know. Look. There’s a lot going on and we’re not taking good care of ourselves. Well, here’s your chance! June 6th at 9PM Eastern—6PM Pacific—we are going to be doing a live, over-the-computer Flop House talking about something show. We’re gonna put up a link at TheFlopHousePodcast.com, where, uh, you can find out where to go to see it. We’re still working out the tech details. That’s right—the Flop House boys are bringing their patented brand of “don’t really know what we’re doing but we’re gonna try it anyway” to live, online shows. Guys, is this gonna be with, like, presentations before it, just like a regular live show in person would have?

dan

Yeah. We’re gonna have, uh, our usual comedy PowerPoint presentations. Uh, I mean, this is gonna be as close to a live show as we could do over Zoom. So people who… have seen a live show can enjoy one from the comfort of their home, but people who, y’know, don’t live where we’ve come before—this is your chance to get that experience. Or close to it.

elliott

Guys, are we—

crosstalk

Elliott: Are we gonna talk about— Stuart: Uh-huh. Without having to commit—

stuart

—to like leaving your home to do it. Now you’ll realize whether or not, uh, we’re just gonna waste your evening! [Laughs.] [Dan laughs.]

elliott

You’ll know that you never have to leave your home again to see us. Uh, guys. Are we gonna talk about Howard the Duck? The movie that introduced the world to the idea of ducks with boobs, which they wouldn’t need ‘cause ducks don’t bear live young; they lay eggs? [Dan laughs.]

dan

[Through laughter] That’s—that’s correct, Elliott. Good point! [Laughs.]

elliott

And guys, are we gonna do this for a charity yet-to-be-determined because the three of us have not yet been able to agree on a charity to do it for?

dan

That is correct. It will be free to watch; however, throughout we will be encouraging, uh, donations to charity. We will have a place to send folks and, uh, we will have some sort of raffle—

crosstalk

Dan: —uh, associated with the charity. Stuart: Yes. And we’re offering some kind of prizes.

stuart

Like this prize I keep threatening, uh, where we’re going to set up a website called OnlyDanFans? [Dan laughs.] Where if you’re a fan of Dan’s, uh, you can come and we’ll just see pictures of Dan. Maybe chat. All that kind of stuff.

elliott

Oh, my son would love that. He’s a big fan of Dan. Not me, though. So that’s June 6th at 9PM Eastern time/6PM Pacific, and just go to TheFlopHousePodcast.com for more information about where and how to see it!

dan

Uh, okay. So let’s move on to letters from listeners. Listeners… like you. And—

elliott

[Singing] Ba-da-buh! It’s a long show; don’t have time for a song—do little! Letters. [Stuart laughs.]

dan

This first letter is from James, last name withheld, who writes:

crosstalk

Elliott: Corden. James Corden. Dan: Flop-stars.

dan

Elliott’s mention The Light House was surprisingly relatable in this time of isolations. But is it the best thing to watch? There’s some things I can’t go to the CDC for, so I come to you. What’s the best thing to watch now? Something similarly isolating? Something totally freeing, with crowds and normal life? Something that can uncomfortable enmesh itself into my now-fragile psyche, sending me into a downward spiral of an unending fever dream trapped in repetition with no end in sight? I hope you can help us make sense of life in the way you always do—with film. Sincerely, James, last name withheld. Um… I—I—it’s weird. I… during quarantine have been going in two opposite directions? Uh, I have either watched things that sort of echo life as it is right now in interesting ways, or I have gone for, uh, total lightness? I think that the one thing I can’t stand right now as much as I could, maybe, is something that takes a lot of… intellectual… uh… or emotional energy? From me? But, uh… but—

crosstalk

Elliott: Like Sonic. Dan: —Y’know, I watched—

dan

Yes. [Laughs.] Like Sonic. But I watched, like, um, a movie called, uh… what was it called? Await Further Instructions? Which is about a family trapped inside during a disaster that they know very little about and there’s themes of, uh, scapegoating—racial scapegoating—like, stuff—there’s a—authoritarian but not very bright, perhaps, uh, father character who sways people very easily? Like, there are, uh, uncanny parallels to life right now and I… kind of enjoyed it for that, in a grim way. And then on the other side of things I’ve been watching, like, I don’t know. Audrey Hepburn musicals and re-watching 30 Rock. Uh— [Laughs.] So I think both are—are good ways to go. How have you guys been choosing your entertainments right now?

elliott

Uh, just speaking for myself I’ve been watching a lot of, um, some light things. But also—and I’ve been watching Newsies over and over again ‘cause that’s what Sammy wants to watch, so, uh, if you look at the pie chart of movies watched over— [Multiple people laugh.] —the quarantine, like, fully 35% of it is just Newsies. Um, but at the same time, uh, I don’t know. I think I’m trying to achieve a sort of normalcy by just watching the things I would normally watch? Y’know? Uh—during our Last Blood episode I remembered that I hadn’t watched a lot of Japanese movies in a while and so I’ve been watching a bunch of Japanese movies that I have on my cable box. Uh, I’ve been trying to, uh, just kind of like… make a little pocket of normal for myself where I just watch the movies that I would be watching if nothing else was going on. Uh, but that’s just—my one way of coping with it. Stu? David? What have you been watching?

stuart

Well, uh, I’ve been watching a lot of TV with Charlene. We’ve been doing, a, uh, we’ve been doing a—well, it’s a re-watch for her. But we’re re-watching The Shield? The early 2000s FX, uh, Michael Chiklis, uh police—I guess—procedural? And it was—it was kinda like—it was pretty important when it was originally released and I’m assuming it was important because the fashion choices are incredible. [Laughs.] [Elliott laughs.] And like, every other episode begins with like a sad Alice in Chains song. But, uh, but it’s, uh, it’s great. Uh, I like it a lot. And, uh… and we’re punctuating that with weekly, uh, releases of the What We Do in the Shadows TV show, which is the best television show currently on. [Laughs.] So watch that, if you have it!

david

Yeah. I—I’ve been all over the place. We did watch the entirety of The O.C., me and my partner, so it’s not like I’m not bingeing old TV that I enjoyed when I was young and fancy-free. But, uh, I do—I’ve been wavering between, like, watching, uh, sort of comfortable classics that I enjoy and trying to, like, knock off, y’know, things on my Criterion watchlist. Y’know, trying to fill in gaps. Y’know, take advantage of the time. I wrote a piece on The Atlantic about Westerns? I had a whole, like, couple weeks where all I watched was Westerns just ‘cause I wanted stuff that was set outside? Like, anything with like vistas and sweeping landscapes was, uh, was sort of doing it for me. That—that was probably the most fun phase.

stuart

So, like, Wild Wild West? [Dan laughs.]

crosstalk

Elliott: [Laughs.] Yeah. Yeah. Lone Ranger. Sure. David: Wild Wild West and then—y’know—I mean— [Laughs.] Yeah. Lone Ranger. [inaudible.] [Laughs.] Dan: Maverick.

david

No. Like, a lotta—a lotta, y’know, a lotta old classics—y’know, Red River. Uh, Rio Bravo. Things like that. Like, just—y’know. Just fun stuff.

elliott

The, uh—I will find—watching movies I’m being—not—triggered is the wrong word, but like, kind of shocked by little moments—things that I didn’t expect to? Like, Dan, uh, my wife and I were—are in the middle of watching a movie you recommended a while ago, The Best Worst Thing That Ever Happened.

crosstalk

David: Oh, that’s a great movie. Elliott: Right? The one about, uh—

elliott

About Merrily We Roll Along? And there’s the part that’s weird about seeing, like, a theatre full of people watching a play. But it’s even weirder to see television news covering a play in previews that is having trouble with its production? And being like— [Dan laughs.] —oh, the news used to cover stuff that wasn’t like the end of the world. Like, the news would sometimes cover that these famous people are making a play and it’s a musical and it’s not going great. [Laughs.] And like—it was just—that was the most shocking thing to me. Uh, but in a nice way.

stuart

I was just watching, uh, I was just watching that Underwater movie? The monster movie set underwater? And, uh—

elliott

The Abyss.

stuart

And there’s—there’s some stuff in it that I really like, and, uh, all the interiors are great but specifically when they’re like walking around in these cool robosuits underwater, uh, and you’re like, kind of trapped inside this little shell with the actors. That stuff’s all really great and it was kind of more affecting for me, uh, but, yeah. And then—then the movie had the little pullback and you get this big sweeping vista with Marvel-style chyrons and you’re like, oh, that’s not as good. [Multiple people laugh.]

dan

Uh—

david

I enjoyed Underwater. I like it when a movie doesn’t have a first act. I’m always a fan of “No first act” movies.

stuart

Yeah. It throws you right in it. And, uh—

crosstalk

David: Yeah. It’s basically—so we’re underwater—oh no! The whole thing exploded! Stuart: And also— [Laughs.]

david

Like, that’s the beginning of the movie. [All laugh.]

crosstalk

Stuart: Like, well and like a lot of times a movie like this will— Elliott: I guess we’ll introduce ourselves while we deal with this! Hi, folks! See ya later!

stuart

Well, normally a movie like that would explain, like, oh, let’s spend the first third of the movie explaining why this thing is so important and, uh… like…

crosstalk

Stuart: —why it’ll never explode later on. David: Yeah. How it works and—right. Yeah.

stuart

Uh, no. You just wanna see it explode. That’s—that’s all I’m here for.

elliott

Well that’s funny—it’s—it’s funny how, um, movies will get complimented for opposite things? Like, I feel like I’ve seen so many reviews where they’re like, the great thing about this movie is it really takes its time and explains who the characters are before the action happens. And other reviews were like—the best thing about this movie is it really gets into the action right away and doesn’t waste time explaining all the characters. And it’s like—wait a minute. I guess it’s whether they do it well or not. [Multiple people laugh.]

stuart

Yeah, yeah. There’s always the reviewer who’s like—I wish they’d spent more time explaining who the babysitter was before she died— [Elliott laughs.] [Through laughter] in Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead. [Laughs.]

elliott

Well that’s—you’ve reached—talked about my gritty reboot of Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead. When are we gonna finally tell the babysitter’s story? So it ends with her getting to the house. So you know—it’s like a Joker-style thing. Where the movie ends just as the character becomes remotely interesting. [Laughs.] Uh, so I guess—yeah?

dan

No, I was just imagining a much, like, grimmer version of Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead now where they’re like—put her in one of those, like— [Laughs.] Those big, like, uh, freezers in the garage? And [through laughter] they like have to do all this—I don’t know.

crosstalk

Dan: Like, they—they fear that they’re gonna be suspected by the murder, y’know. Stuart: Yeah. And they’re kids—they’re kids—

elliott

Yeah. And the little—and the youngest kid thinks that the body is talking to him and his psyche is breaking down? Yeah.

dan

Yeah.

crosstalk

Dan: Anyway. Elliott: Babysitters of the Flies, we’d call it.

dan

Uh, this second and final letter is from—I believe—I’m gonna try and pronounce this “Kire”? [Pronounces it “Keer,” rhyming with “deer.”] I don’t know. It’s K-I-R-E. Apologies if I’m doing it wrong. Um, but. Kire writes: Hi! I’m a Toronto filmmaker and my new feature—The Last Porno Show—just premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. I just listened to your latest podcast on The Joke Thief. Thought it was great. A little story about The Joke Thief. Apparently, the script was ten pages. [Elliott laughs.] One of the—

elliott

I mean, apparently? [Through laughter] That makes perfect sense! [Multiple people laugh.]

dan

One of the actors told me the script consisted of a few scenes and a bunch of spots where it just said: “Scene will be added here.” Which I believe. I’ve had to transcribe three of Frank’s scripts. Oh, Frank writes his scripts by talking into a voice recorder until he’s bored, and whatever he comes up with is the film. [Elliott laughs.] There’s no revisions. It’s fucking insane. The reason—uh, the reason why I’m reaching out is because Frank’s—I’m Frank’s second-largest fan (the first being himself). I’ve been obsessed with him for years. So much so that I casted him—cast him in my film. Not only is this the first time Frank has acted in someone else’s film, but it’s the first and only time he got invited to TIFF. He plays a method acting teacher in my film and it’s easily the best acting he’s ever done. Aside from casting Frank in my film, I’ve had the fortune/misfortune of helping him on his own films—easily the most stressful thing I’ve ever put myself through. I could go on for days, but just to give you an idea: we shot his new—his two new feature films in two-and-a-half days. [Elliott laughs.] And one of them is a hockey film. [Multiple people laugh.] Uh—

crosstalk

Elliott: Oh, man. Dan: Y’know. Anyway.

dan

Uh, Kire promotes, uh, their movie, uh, The Last Porno Show. I can’t, y’know, speak to its quality but, y’know, it has a couple reviews on—online. Seems like it, uh, got pretty good reviews. Uh, and you can see Frank D’Angelo in a different film! Not directed by himself!

crosstalk

Elliott: That’s amazing to me. Stuart: Yeah, David. Are you, uh—

stuart

David, are you familiar with the works of Frank D’Angelo?

david

I mean, familiar in—in that I know… of—I have never encountered—I have never actually put myself through them. Do you think I should? Do you think it’s, like, y’know, a nice quarantine project for me? [Multiple people laugh.]

dan

Uh… they’re—

stuart

I mean, The AtlanticThe Atlantic is looking for articles, right? [Laughs.] [Elliott laughs.]

david

It’s true! I mean, y’know, you gotta make content about something.

elliott

No, no. I mean, I guess you could just go to the theatres and write about what’s playing there. Oh, hold on a second. Yeah. Looks like Frank D’Angelo is your new best friend. [Multiple people laugh.]

david

I mean, a movie called The Wretched has been the #1 movie two weeks in a row at the box office. It’s playing in, like, some drive-ins in Florida.

elliott

I think, uh, No Deposit is probably worth watching. Right?

david

Noted.

crosstalk

Dan and Stuart: Yeah. Dan: That one’s—that’ the closest one to an actual movie? Stuart: That’s probably the best. [Elliott laughs.]

dan

While still being, like… amusingly… bad? Uh, the—like—you just—it—it is a trend downward. [Laughs.]

elliott

Yeah. Don’t see The Joke Thief. And, uh, and Sicilian Vampire is only worth it for the scene where James Caan asks him to bite him so that he can make him into a vampire and doesn’t seem to think there’s anything weird about that.

david

That does sound pretty good, but I’m seeing that—I’m seeing here that No Deposit is 80 minutes to Sicilian Vampire’s 124? [Elliott laughs.] So I think I’m gonna go with No Deposit.

elliott

No Deposit does have—does have two of the best lines in cinema history, and I won’t tell you what they are.

stuart

Do not spoil them.

elliott

Let’s just say—Frank Langella’s—Frank D’Angelo—says, um, uh, Robert Loggia says one of ‘em.

dan

Yeah. [Stuart laughs.]

crosstalk

Elliott: Frank Langella. If only— David: Another big endorsement.

crosstalk

Elliott: If only he could’ve been in a Frank D’Angelo movie. Stuart: Yeah. Robert Loggia’s—

stuart

—last role, right?

elliott

I believe it is. Yes.

crosstalk

David: Oh, my god! Elliott: Uh, Frank D’Angelo—

elliott

—specializes in giving famous actors their [through laughter] last roles. [Laughs.] [Dan laughs.]

dan

It’s true. [Laughs.] Uh— [Laughs.]

crosstalk

Elliott: Every—every one of his movies— Dan: Because he pays them.

elliott

—doubles as a “Last Known Photo” for a former Hollywood star. [Stuart laughs.]

dan

Yeah. Okay. So, guys? Uh, time for our final segment and that is recommendations of movies… uh… movies that you should watch. Probably instead of Doolittle. Unless, I don’t know—you’re like, a seven-year-old? Uh, in which case you shouldn’t be listening to this show. [Stuart laughs.]

elliott

Not at all. Not at all.

dan

Uh, I’m gonna recommend a movie that we watched just recently. Um, Audrey is a big fan of… Henri-Georges, uh, Clouzot, but has not seen, y’know, several of the movies. And she was interested in The Wages of Fear, which is one of my favorite movies but I was like, no, not two-and-a-half hours of that tonight. Let’s watch… this movie that neither of us had seen that was 90 minutes, called Le Corbeau? Or the—

elliott

Oh, The Raven!

dan

The Raven, yes. Uh, and it’s about, um… there’s a doctor in a small town who, uh, becomes the target of some poison pen letters? And then sort of everyone in the town becomes the target of these, uh, letters, uh, all signed by The Raven. And… it creates chaos. No one knows who it is. It’s, um… it—y’know, uh, he’s talked of as the French Hitchcock? This movie is kind of right at the corner of Hitchcock and film noir avenues? With, uh, with a lot of French-ness thrown in. And, uh… it’s sort of a thriller, sort of a—just a drama about the way mobs can tear things apart. And it’s also, um… it was—it was banned for a while. It has, like, very frank talk about abortion and sex—sexuality in it for a movie that was made in 1943. And I think it’s kind of interesting, too, because, uh, it—it feels absolutely no need to make its protagonist likeable? [Laughs.] In any way? Which, uh… y’know, makes it very easy to sort of like suspect everyone in the film of—of some sort of wrongdoing. But it’s—it’s—it’s—y’know, like, I said. 90 minutes. It’s on Criterion. Uh, we liked it a lot.

elliott

Stuart, whatcha got?

stuart

Oh, uh, I will recommend, uh, the recently-released-on-HBO Bad Education. Uh, starring everybody’s favorite jacked man—Hugh Jackman—uh— [Laughs.] [Multiple people laugh.] Ray Romano, Allison Janney, uh, it’s, uh—

crosstalk

Stuart: —the second movie— Elliott: Every time someone says “Allison Janney”—

elliott

—I think they’re gonna say “Alice in Chains.” Every single time. [Stuart laughs.]

dan

Had that experience right now. [Stuart sings “Hey na na naaa.”]

stuart

Um— [Elliott laughs.] So—

dan

[Through laughter] Stuart, look up Allison Janney on your metal, uh—website. [Laughs.]

elliott

Yeah. Metal Archives. [Laughs.] [Stuart laughs.]

crosstalk

Stuart: Uh, let’s just give me a second—it’s—uh—that’s— Elliott: Mm. Just known for one recording of “The Jackal.” [Dan laughs.]

stuart

Wow. It’s—it’s— [Laughs.] So, uh, yeah. It says “No Results”? Um, the— [Elliott laughs.] Yeah. So it’s, uh, it’s the second, uh, it’s the second movie directed by the director—uh, Cory Finley who directed Thoroughbreds. Um, and it’s this great thriller based on… based on an article which is based on a true story about a—uh, what is it—Long Island, uh, superintendent who had been, uh, skimming money from the district. Um, and it’s this thriller about corruption that slowly reveals the story, uh, in such a careful and specific way so that you are kind of dragged along, uh, like—this conspiracy slowly unfolds for you, the viewer, almost just like it does for the, uh, the characters in the movie. Uh, it’s really great. Um, and in a time when there’s not a lot of new stuff coming out, it’s, uh, it’s a real gem. So if you get a chance, check it out.

elliott

Uh, I am going to recommend a movie—I mentioned earlier that I’m watching more Japanese movies! ‘Cause I realized I haven’t seen a Japanese movie in a while. And I finally got to see Floating Weeds. That’s right—Floating Weeds! It’s an Ozu movie. Uh, starring Gangirō Nakamura and Machiko Kyō—yes, that’s right, that Machiko Kyō from Gate of Hell and Ugetsu Monogatar, one of my favorites. Uh, and this is the 1959 version. This is a story that Ozu told twice. This is the version that’s in color and with sound, uh, and it’s the story of this kind of… pretty low-rent acting troupe that shows up in a small seaside town, uh, for a run of shows of old-fashioned, uh, kind of Kabuki-style, uh, drama. And… in that town, unbeknownst to almost everybody else, the head of the acting troupe has an illegitimate son and—uh—and an ex-lover. And the son does not know that it’s his father. He thinks that this is his uncle who shows up every, y’know, twelve years or so. Hasn’t been there a long time. And it’s about what happens when that secret starts to come out. And the movie is told—like—a lot of Ozu move… very, like, deceptively simply and deceptively slowly? But it’s a beautiful-looking movie. And he’s one of those directors where—when I was young, I, like, didn’t—wasn’t quite on the right wavelength for it? But now that I’m older I really love the way that he just… photographs things and the way that he lets the stories play out. And so I thought it was really great, and, uh, it has comedy moments. It’s got heavy dramatic moments. Uh, and the acting’s really great in it. It’s called Floating Weeds.

dan

David?

david

Love Floating Weeds. Um, I will recommend Mid-August Lunch? Um, uh, which is a little Italian movie from 2008. I interviewed, um, Barry Jenkins for The Atlantic a couple weeks ago. Just asking him, like, hey, what are you watching? Like, ‘cause again—I gotta write about something! Um… and— [Elliott laughs. Stuart joins in.] —this was a movie he recommended to me that I had never even heard of? Um… it’s by Gianni Di Gregorio? And he said he’d seen it at a film festival and sort of vaguely remembered it and he was thinking about Italy a lot. About the sort of small towns in Italy and the older population ‘cause of what was going on in the world. And he flipped on this—it’s—I think it’s 80 minute, uh, sort of like… sweet, sad little comedy about a guy who starts looking after everyone’s cranky relatives in his town when they all wanna go on vacation in August? And it kind of is just one of those, like, clever little comedies that creeps up on you. Like, a real sense of place; real sense of character. Gianni Di Gregorio. Y’know, it’s on Amazon. Mid-August Lunch.

dan

Great. Okay! Well—we’ve come to the end of this marathon. David.

david

Yes.

dan

Do you have anything you wanna plug?

david

Oh, y’know, Blank Check with Griffin and David, my podcast. Um… we take directors who were given a blank check by Hollywood at some point in their careers in order to make some kind of insane passion project-y movie. Uh, and we go through their whole filmography up and down. You guys were on The Manchurian Candidate episode? Uh, for our demi-miniseries recently. Uh—

stuart

Oh, that was fun.

david

And, uh… we’re just wrapping up George Miller now, and, uh, y’know.

crosstalk

David: Quarantine is— Stuart: Oh, has he made any good movies? [Dan laughs. Elliott joins in.]

david

Does he have one of the wildest filmographies of— [Multiple people laugh.] —a blockbuster director? Yes. Yes, he does. Um, so… uh, enjoy that!

dan

It’s a—it’s a—it’s such a good show. I think I’ve alarmed, uh, Griffin and David by tweeting too much about how I’ve been [through laughter] listening? Uh—

crosstalk

Dan: Like, uh— David: No. I am—

david

I am unalarmable.

dan

Okay. Good. I—Audrey, like— [through laughter] like, came out of the room once being like, are we gonna—is—am I just gonna hear David Sims and Griffin Newman all quarantine? I’m like— [Multiple people laugh.] Hey, man.

david

Hell yes!

dan

It’s making me feel good! It’s comforting me during this time! So check it out, I say. Um.

david

Thank you.

dan

Yeah.

crosstalk

Elliott: You said—you said we’d be listening— Dan: So I guess—

elliott

—to more Allison Janney if she had a longer metal discography, but I guess that’s not happening. [Multiple people laugh.]

stuart

Yeah.

dan

So guys, that’s it! Uh… y’know, check out the other shows at the Maximum Fun, uh, network. MaximumFun.org. Um, stay safe. Wear a mask. Uh… be good to each other. All that stuff. Um—

stuart

[Through laughter] Yup.

dan

Yup. And, uh—for The Flop House, I’ve been Dan McCoy.

stuart

I’m Stuart Wellington!

elliott

I’m Elliott Kalan!

crosstalk

Elliott: [Whispering] David! David! Dan: And David is David.

david

I’m David Sims!

crosstalk

Dan: Great. Elliott: This is the kind of thing—

elliott

—that we’re supposed to tell our guests that they’re gonna do—

crosstalk

Dan: Shut up! Elliott: —at the end of the episode. Stuart: [Inaudible.] David: I was, like—

david

—-80% sure I was supposed to say something? But I—then I—

crosstalk

David: —then I was a coward. Elliott: What I like is—

elliott

I have to assume there was a voice in the back of your mind that was like, if I’m not supposed to say something and I introduce myself at the end, they’ll yell at me. So I better not do it. [Multiple people laugh.]

stuart

Yeah, yeah.

dan

We’re pretty mean. Anyway. Bye, everyone!

music

Light, up-tempo, electric guitar with synth instruments. Music continues to play in background as hosts chat.

dan

I don’t know why you feel the need to interrupt my kind, uh, invitation for socializing for a neighbor, but, uh—

elliott

Consider it revenge for when you interrupted me thanking him for being on the show! [Laughs.]

dan

Okay.

stuart

So yeah, there’s like two hours of this shit you’re gonna— [Elliott laughs.]

crosstalk

Dan: This is the kind of energy you’ve— David: Very excited. [Music finishes.]

speaker 1

MaximumFun.org.

speaker 2

Comedy and culture.

speaker 3

Artist owned—

speaker 4

—Audience supported.

About the show

The Flop House is a bimonthly audio podcast devoted to the worst in recent film. Your hosts (Elliott Kalan, Dan McCoy, and Stuart Wellington) watch a questionable film just before each episode, and then engage in an unscripted, slightly inebriated discussion, focusing on the movie’s shortcomings and occasional delights.

Follow @flophousepod on Twitter and @theflophousepodcast on Instagram. Email them at theflophousepodcast@gmail.com.

People

Host & Producer

Associate Producer

How to listen

Stream or download episodes directly from our website, or listen via your favorite podcatcher!

Share this show

New? Start here...