TRANSCRIPT The Flop House Ep. 312 – Sonic the Hedgehog

Podcast: The Flop House

Episode number: 312

Transcript

dan

On this episode, we discuss—Sonic the Hedgehog.

elliott

The movie that finally answers the question: so if you had to make a movie about Sonic the Hedgehog, like, what would you do? Like, what—how would you do that? What would—I—where would you even start? To make a movie about Sonic the Hedgehog? This movie answers the question. [Dan laughs.]

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, Dan McCoy! It’s me, Stuart Wellington!

elliott

Hey guys! Elliott Kalan here from a little place I call… heaven! AKA— [Multiple people laugh.] —my house, stuck inside all the time, with a six-year-old and an almost-two-year-old! It’s amazing!

dan

[Through laughter] Okay. Uh, everyone’s cracking up. And uh— [All laugh.] —also—as a guest this week, we have, uh, Jamelle Bouie! He is a—a columnist for the New York Times. You may have seen him on television talking about serious stuff, and now he’s here [though laughter] to talk about Sonic the Hedgehog.

elliott

I’ll—that, uh—I’ll—if I could say very briefly, Jamelle, before you start talking, I just wanna say, uh, your, uh, I’ve been an admirer of your writing for a very long time. I’m a subscriber to your newsletter, which—if anyone is interested in trenchant thoughts on politics and history and recipes and also photographs of old buildings? Then this is the newsletter for you! Uh, but we—y’know, you’re someone who’s—you’re a piercing mind who has a lot to say about the issues of the day. So that’s why we needed you to come on— [Dan laughs.] —for our Sonic the Hedgehog episode. [Laughs.]

jamelle

I’m—I’m ready to bring, uh, ten years’ of writing experience and deep thought to the question of— [Multiple people laugh.] —a blue, animated hedgehog. [Multiple people laugh.]

stuart

Wait, he was animated?!

crosstalk

Jamelle: I mean, y’know. Elliott: Oh, boy. Stuart— [Laughs.] Don’t—I don’t—[Laughs.] Dan: I think— Jamelle: First things first. There are—he wasn’t real. Elliott: Don’t shatter the illusion! [Laughs.] [Multiple people laugh.]

dan

I think you have summed up the entire personality of Sonic as depicted in this movie. He is blue. [All laugh.]

elliott

But, uh, I believe—I believe what you mean to say, Dan, to extrapolate further from that statement is that he is blue, dabudeedabudi. Dabudeedabudi. Dabudeedabudi.

dan

Oh, uh, disclaimer—if Stuart seems like he’s bringing a different energy to the podcast, it is because he is standing up.

stuart

Oh, yeah! It’s also because my quarantine moustache is try—is threatening to strangle me at this point. [Multiple people laugh.] Now, Dan, normally on this show we watch a bad movie and talk about it. But would you say that this movie… fits that category? I mean, it is the second-highest-grossing movie of 2020. [Laughs.] [Elliott laughs.]

dan

Jesus.

elliott

That is the year that the movie theaters all shut down.

dan

Yeah.

stuart

Because Sonic!

jamelle

Even still. Even still. I—that sounds insane to me. [Elliott laughs.] Like, I—who—who are the throngs of people who went out there who were screaming—Give us Sonic! Give us Sonic! [Dan laughs.]

elliott

Well, it’s strange ‘cause they—those same people who were screaming “Give us Sonic!” but also screaming “Don’t give us Sonic with real human teeth and animal eyes! We don’t want that!” [Multiple people laugh.]

dan

I don’t know. Based on the internet, I am pretty sure everyone wanted a Sonic movie. Although they wanted one where he was pregnant— [Elliott laughs.] —possibly by Tails? Who knows.

elliott

I mean, that would’ve been the mystery of the movie. Was it Tails or Knuckles that did the deed? But then also—of course—Tails would die. [Dan laughs.] And Sonic would grieve him. ‘Cause that seems that the other main fanart is Sonic characters grieving each other? [Laughs.]

dan

Yeah. And also—sometimes they’re Christians.

stuart

Yep.

crosstalk

Elliott: Yeah. Sometimes. Jamelle: Yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

elliott

Well that was in the movie. You just had to read between the lines. Now, uh—Jamelle, do you have much of a history with Sonic the Hedgehog or the SEGA Genesis gaming platform? [Stuart laughs.]

jamelle

I do. I— [All laugh.] Very formal question! Um— [All laugh.] I—so… my—when I was a kid, we weren’t much of a Nintendo house. We were definitely a SEGA house. So my dad had bought a SEGA Master system, um, and we—I got a SEGA Genesis—I guess I woulda been like, y’know, second or third grade or something. So we always had a SEGA Genesis around. Uh, all the Sonic games. I’ve played like Sonic—Sonic 2, Sonic 3, and Sonic & Knuckles a million times. Um, I watched the cartoon a bunch? There were two different Sonic cartoons back in the mid-‘90s? One was sort of like a fancy cartoon and the other was like Looney Tunes?

elliott

But it was Jaleel White for both of them, right? As the voice of Sonic—

jamelle

I think—yeah. I think that’s right.

elliott

There was a brief period in the ‘90s where—if you—if your original role that you were famous for was not on anymore, you would become a Saturday morning cartoon star. So like, Mark Hamill was the Joker; and Jaleel White was Sonic the Hedgehog; and Mr. Belvedere was doing the voice of—I think Raphael? Of the Ninja Turtles? And—

stuart

Really?

elliott

Yeah. And then we had, uh, who else was there? Um, I—like, John Wayne was doing the voice of Denver the Last Dinosaur. And, uh, let’s see. John Wayne—John Wayne Gacy, of course, was doing other cartoon voices. But. [Stuart laughs.] [Through laughter] There was— [Laughs.] Anyway. [Dan laughs.] It’s interesting you say that because I grew up in a Nintendo household, and so to me Sonic always seemed weird and strange and I, like, couldn’t get it. And I was like—the premise of a fast hedgehog makes no sense to me! It should be about an Italian plumber who jumps [though laughter] on turtles! [Multiple people laugh.]

jamelle

I feel like this is like the rough equivalent of like growing up in a Protestant household and like knowing Catholics existed? [Elliott laughs.] Like, I just don’t—I just don’t get it. I don’t understand what it’s all about.

crosstalk

Elliott: Oh, man. Dan: I mean, I, uh—

dan

I—yeah. I grew up in a Nintendo household, too. Although I stopped at the original NES system. I don’t think I ever even got a Super NES. But I was—like, I—I was much more a Nintendo guy but I was jealous of… mostly Sonic when it came to Genesis. I also, y’know, enjoyed, uh—I enjoyed a little Strider. A little, uh, Golden Axe. But uh—

stuart

What about fucking Altered Beast, dude, where you get super jacked?

crosstalk

Dan: Oh, Altered Beast is a—yeah. Elliott: Yeah. Sure. Well that happens with Mario, too!

elliott

When you eat a mushroom, suddenly you’re like a monster, y’know? You’re so much bigger than you were before!

stuart

I think that is a unfair comparison. Although that [inaudible] suit is kind of like an altered beast.

elliott

Yeah, yeah— [Dan laughs.] —he is becoming a kind of merger of man and animal. A manimal, if you will. Or Mari-animal? Um… [Jamelle laughs.] But yeah. It’s—the—I—for some reason when I was a kid, my cousins had SEGA Genesis and the only game they really had was Ecco the Dolphin? So that was not as fun. That was a very exploration-based game.

dan

Yeah.

jamelle

Listen. Nintendo may have had Mario and Zelda and Final Fantasy, even, but could you play a game like Streets of Rage where you could get freshly-cooked turkeys out of trashcans? You couldn’t. [Multiple people laugh.]

stuart

Oh, the fantasy!

dan

I—I just— [Multiple people laugh.] I just remember that, uh, I—I won a— [Laughs.] I won a prize in Electronic Gaming Monthly

stuart

What?

dan

Because I, uh, I was supposed to name a Streets of Rage move and, uh… my move was the “Lead Pipe Cinch.” When you hit someone with a lead pipe. [Elliott laughs.] And I believe I got [though laughter] a controller for that.

crosstalk

Elliott: Wow! Stuart: Whoa!

elliott

You were vastly overrewarded for the amount of work you put in for that one.

crosstalk

Dan: I know. Jamelle: That entire sentence—

jamelle

—is, like, unintelligible to anyone like, younger than 32. [Multiple people laugh.]

crosstalk

Dan: That was the— Jamelle: I am the youngest—

jamelle

—person for whom that sentence made sense. [Multiple people laugh.]

dan

That was the first time I was paid for my writing, Elliott!

elliott

Oh, that—that’s pretty fair! Y’know? And that was when you knew—I’m a—of course! This is what I am. I’m a writer. And that’s where your—your novel Lead Pipe Cinch—which is kind of like a Bukowski—Hunter S. Thompson type thing. [Multiple people laugh.] Came out of. Uh—

stuart

Yeah. Where you’re always chasing that turkey leg! [Elliott laughs.]

elliott

Yeah! So Dan, your family stopped with the original SEGA?

dan

I—the—the original Nintendo. I think so.

elliott

Original Nintendo. I’m sorry. So your dad was like, 8-bit? That’s the only amount of bits that this household will hold!

dan

Y’know, I’m— [sighs.] I may be misremembering. It’s hard to say. Like, it’s all… my—my childhood is just a warm fuzz at this point. [Laughs.]

elliott

Alright. Well that was—I mean, that was a surprisingly, uh… steeped in possible trauma response. [Multiple people laugh.] So let’s move on from that.

crosstalk

Dan: No. No. I—I—my—my memory’s— Jamelle: Yeah, that was the thing!

dan

—just terrible. That’s all.

stuart

I’m like—I’m like thinking—while I was watching this movie I was thinking back to, like, playing the SEGA Genesis in my parent’s basement and like the smell of the carpet down there and the, like, weird sadness that the game gives me? And I’m like—was that—was I just sad? Or is the game sad? Like, is it sad for a little blue guy to get hurt and all his rings to shoot out of him? Like— [Elliott laughs.] [Laughs.]

dan

I think that’s just nostalgia sadness. Stuart. Like, I think that is you… despite the fact that childhood is a place filled with pain and misery, you still, uh, desire to go back there in some corner of your heart.

stuart

Mm-hm. Okay. Well, cool! Fun! I’ll—I’ll try and do that!

crosstalk

Elliott: Well, we—well, I think—here’s a way— Unknown: Yeah. I just—[Inaudible] magic!

elliott

[Laughs.] Yeah! I mean, perhaps if you could trick your childhood self into touching a magic skull at the same time you do? And your head—your brain would go into your child self’s body? Uh, you just have to redo this every few years ‘cause as you grow up you’d stop being a child. [Dan laughs.]

stuart

Oh man. Okay. So. Uh—I—think we should start this movie. Because it opens with a special logo! That’s right—

elliott

Uh-oh!

stuart

—instead of stars around that logo, it’s gold rings! That’s how you know it’s made by true fans.

elliott

That’s—because Paramount was like, mm, we’ve had this logo for just about a hundred years. What—when should we change it? When there’s a hedgehog that needs some rings! This’ll show the audience we get it.

dan

Now, Elliott, are you under the misapprehension that the Paramount logo is now changed forever? [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

Yeah. That’s—I think now every Paramount movie is gonna have rings instead of stars and it’s just like—I hoped it was worth it for Sonic! Y’know, I hope that—it’s like when you get a tattoo of someone’s name and then you break up with ‘em a couple weeks later and you’re like— [Jamelle laughs.] Hoo, boy!

crosstalk

Elliott: Okay, I can only—I can only date people named Charisse now! Stuart: Yeah Dan—Dan— [Multiple people laugh.]

stuart

Dan— [Laughs.] Dan, have you been to, uh, the movie theater and seen a new Paramount movie since Sonic?

dan

Y’know what? [Laughs.] You got me, Stuart. [Laughs.]

elliott

So we seem to be in a sort of Schrodinger’s Paramount logo situation, where—until we see one of these movies—we have to assume the logo has both rings and stars. Uh— [Stuart laughs.] And I guess only time will tell. Uh, Jamelle—your thoughts?

jamelle

The other thing is that, um, uh, since Sonic was a big hit, Paramount now demands—producers there—executives—want a hedgehog in every single Paramount film. So. [Stuart laughs.] When they eventually reboot the Dark Universe, there’s gonna be Sonic the Hedgehog.

stuart

Mm-hm.

elliott

Uh, I mean, Knuckles would fit right in. ‘Cause that dude is pretty scary. [Dan laughs.]

dan

I wouldn’t complain if it was a real hedgehog in every movie ‘cause those things are cute.

stuart

Mm-hm. Or if it was, uh, uh, you were saying how much you wanted Ron Jeremy to be playing the lead role [through laughter] in this movie! [Multiple people laugh.]

crosstalk

Jamelle: I mean, he’s kind of hedgehog-like, I guess? Dan: Can we stop—

jamelle

I don’t—

elliott

Yeah! Yeah, sure.

dan

Can we stop as a culture putting Ron Jeremy in ironic cameos in comedies? [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

Uh, Dan, how much is that really happening these days? [Multiple people laugh.]

crosstalk

Dan: I mean, there was definitely a high point in the ‘90s of, like, edgy comedies. Elliott: I think you gotta—yeah. I think you gotta put that—

elliott

—put that message in a bottle and send it back through a time window. ‘Cause I don’t think it’s happening too much anymore. [Stuart laughs.]

dan

Alright.

stuart

Okay. So we open—uh—we open media res. Sonic is running around the streets of San Francisco, running away from Dr. Wily. And we have our—

elliott

Uh, Dr. Robotnik.

crosstalk

Stuart: Oh yeah! Yeah. I knew I was gonna fuck that up at some point. Yeah. It’s Doctor—Doctor—Dr. Eggman Robotnik. He’s running away— Jamelle: Dr. Wily?! Elliott: Dr. Wily is from the MegaMan games, I believe. Right? That’s—that’s the MegaMan guy, right? Yeah. Dan: Now, I wanna—

dan

I wanna take a moment just to celebrate the fact that this is the first time that Stuart has said something that is open in media res when it actually has—[Laughs.]media res. [Laughs.] [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

[Through laughter] It’s true! Usually it’s opened very much in pre-res. But now, this is—uh—so—

stuart

So—so we have our, like, uh, I bet you’re wondering how we got here freeze-frame. And we’re about to do a flashback. But while Sonic is talking shit about Dr. Robotnik, we also learn that Sonic is familiar with the American Civil War, which is—was kind of chilling for me at that point. [Elliott laughs.] Like, this is a movie for children! [Laughs.]

dan

Now, this is—this will be a reoccurring theme? Uh, because I am baffled by… like, the degree to which Sonic does or does not understand, uh, Earth history and culture.

elliott

Oh, I mean, you just—just because he doesn’t seem to know that humans have names, but he does know about the Olive Garden franchise slogan? [Multiple people laugh.]

dan

Yeah. Stuff like that.

jamelle

Or—

elliott

Yeah.

jamelle

It was very strange to hear Sonic go on a long digression about the campaign at Vicksburg. [Multiple people laugh.] I’m just gonna throw that one out.

elliott

Well especially because he was so pro-Confederate. Which is a strange choice nowadays, for sure. [Multiple people laugh.] That he was like—that Sonic was like, all those brave man fighting for their ideals. Y’know. You don’t have to agree with everything they said—I was like, Sonic! This is intense! [Laughs.] This is—

stuart

Yeah. And he was saying something about how his taped-up sneakers is in solidarity with those poor soldiers who didn’t [through laughter] have shoes? [Multiple people laugh.]

crosstalk

Dan: Oh, weird. Especially for a major motion picture. Elliott: Anyway. So there’s two hours—

elliott

Two hours of, uh, apologia for the Lost Cause. [Multiple people laugh.] Uh, and then we finally get to the end of the flashback. Right?

crosstalk

Stuart: Yeah. So we— Elliott: Wait, no. The beginning of the flashback.

stuart

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So we go right into a flashback. Uh, we’re on like a forest planet. Sonic’s a little kid. Uh, we get a little bit of exposition; we’re introduced to Sonic’s mother, uh, Longclaw who is some kind of, uh—is not a sword, but in fact a, uh— [Elliott laughs.] —an owl? And, uh—

crosstalk

Elliott: And now this is a character who, I believe— Dan: They—yeah. I—I—

elliott

—was invented for—I believe this character was invented for the movie. Do you guys—is he—does she ever appear in any Sonic games or associated media?

jamelle

As far as I know, no. I mean, that was the point at which I was like, I have no idea what’s happening in this movie. Like— [Elliott laughs.] —I feel like I have a decent sense of Sonic lore in my head, just from like being a kid? And I was like, I don’t recognize any of this now. [Stuart laughs.] So I don’t know what’s—

elliott

Did you ever read any of the Sonic comic books where like Knuckles became one with the universe? And there was all this strange stuff— [Stuart laughs.] —that was going on?

jamelle

I… I did not? [Dan laughs.]

elliott

Okay. Well—much like the, uh, much like the Archie Ninja Turtles comics which spun off into their own, uh, bizarre continuity, the, uh, the Sonic ones did too. But uh, yeah. It’s—this was—so Sonic—right away, he’s like, I grew up on this planet and I always had special powers. And it was like, wait, are you not gonna explain whether you come from like a race of hedgehogs? Like, or it is—like—you’re not gonna explain how you got powers at all? He’s just—he’s just burst into existence. Right, Dan?

dan

Yeah. This is—well, this is a—alright. Look. I threw up my hands immediately during this movie? Uh, because of this prologue? Because it is like—

elliott

Wait. Were you eating your hands? And then you threw them up? [Stuart laughs.]

dan

I threw them up in disgust because it is the laziest… like… hero stuff that’s just thrown away at the beginning of the movie. Like, Sonic has powers but he thinks he’s one of a kind. Which—that seems like a weird choice right off the bat. I would’ve assumed that like this alien hedgehog would just come from a race of fast alien hedgehogs and he like gets stranded on Earth. He has this mother protector figure, uh—

elliott

Who’s an owl.

dan

Uh, this owl—

crosstalk

Stuart: Longclaw. Dan: Who, like, I—

dan

I assume is not his biological mother? [Stuart laughs.] Although I don’t know what—what—

elliott

Do not assume that, Dan.

crosstalk

Elliott: That’s unfair of you to assume. Well, like, you know— Dan: I do not know Sonic’s biology. Uh. And he’s being—y’know, he’s being—

elliott

Well we know that Sonic has no genitals, so it stands to reason that his species does not have genitals either. So maybe—maybe the owl is his biological mother and it’s a race where—it’s like if a—like, if a horse and a donkey mate and they have a mule and the mule is sterile? If an owl and a crocodile mate, you end up with a Sonic and Sonic is incapable of procreating? That’s just my theory. I’m just throwing it out there. Guys? I’m publishing it in the New England Journal of Medicine. We’ll see if it gets picked up. [Multiple people laugh.]

crosstalk

Dan: Okay. But the point is— Elliott: Peer review. It’s gotta be peer reviewed.

dan

Sonic is being chased by these, like, sort of, like, uh… tiki-styled-maybe like native, uh, people with—with bows and arrows. And—and—

elliott

You gotta look a little closer, Dan. Those are echidnas.

crosstalk

Dan: Okay. Well anyway, they’re—they’re— Elliott: That’s—that’s—

elliott

So you know, one of them is Knuckles.

dan

Yeah. So they’re being chased, though. And—and—the owl is like, hey, use these magic rings to escape to another planet. Like—planet where you’ll be safe and if you need to use them again, here’s a bag full of magic rings. And she’s like, no time to explain! Basically. And like pushes him into like this Earth portal?

crosstalk

Stuart: Yeah. Uh, a portal. Yep. Dan: And we were watching this—

dan

Audrey was like, I don’t understand in these movies why, like, if you know that this danger is coming, like, run a few, like, fire drills for it ahead of time and explain the things that need to be explained beforehand rather than being, like, mysterious and pushing Sonic through a portal.

stuart

And the thing is, Dan, we don’t actually know that Longclaw dies. Like, maybe Longclaw just needs some alone time!

elliott

Yeah. Fair. As a—

stuart

Maybe Longclaw isn’t cut out to be a parent! You don’t know!

elliott

Hey. Look. Someone could be a great parent and still need alone time.

dan

But this is like so much like… like… uh… fantasy… sort of almost Chosen One bullshit that’s thrown away so quickly at the beginning of the movie and not really important to anything else [through laughter] that happens?

elliott

Okay. I’m gonna make two points, Dan. One of support and one, a rebuttal. First, rebuttal: as we see form the movie, Sonic has very little attention span skills, so it’s very possible Longclaw tried to explain these things to him— [Dan laughs.] —and he just did not listen. That he was too busy making jokes about, like, about like professional football and Kenny Chesney and Heinz Ketchup— [Multiple people laugh.] —and whatever other American things happen to come into his head. Or, but—two—also—is—in support of you—this is a very lazy movie. [Laughs.] So—and the story is very, uh, is very, uh, paint-by-numbers. But Stuart, you were gonna disagree. You said you thought it was great.

stuart

I was just gonna say that—I was gonna say that the movie—like its protagonist—has gotta go fast.

dan

Mm-hm. [Elliott laughs.]

jamelle

I’ll—I—I will say—very paint-by-numbers. All those things are true. But I did deeply appreciate that this movie was 90 minutes. Or 100 minutes. [Multiple people laugh.] IT was—I was—when I rented it on iTunes I was like, I hope to God I’m not gonna be here for two hours. And I wasn’t. And that’s a blessing. [Dan laughs.]

elliott

That’s true. So you’re saying you don’t want the 2-1/2-hour Snyder cut of Sonic the Hedgehog. [Laughs.]

jamelle

No, I didn’t— [Laughs.] Which—which, again—weirdly, an hour of that is Sonic going on about the army of Northern Virginia. [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

Yeah. Very strange. Very strange. Actually, now I—

stuart

Sonic can’t stay on topic often, but when it comes to that sort of thing— [Dan laughs.] —he’s on point.

elliott

Now, I wanna see, uh, I wanna see now the Snyder cut of this where Sonic is fighting Dr. Robotnik and one of them says “Longclaw?” And Dr. Robotnik is like, my mother was named Longclaw, too! [Multiple people laugh.] I guess we’re best buds now! [Stuart laughs.]

stuart

Uh, okay. So. And—and the basic thing is that we learn that Longclaw explains to Sonic that people are going to try and steal his power. That his power, uh, that Sonic’s power is magical. Um, so… we then—of course—cut to ten years later. We’re on earth. In a small town of Green Hills, Montana. Uh, and we’re introduced to Thomas—the donut-loving police officer—and Maddie, his supportive veterinarian wife. Uh—

elliott

Now, Thomas’s last name is Wakowski, which I assumed was a little tip o’ the hat to the filmmakers behind Speed Racer. What do you guys think? Coincidence or no?

stuart

Oh, probably. [Dan laughs.] Now—

crosstalk

Elliott: Okay. Well, then—thanks. That was fair. [Laughs.] Stuart: Now— Dan: Uh, I guess. [Multiple people laugh.]

stuart

Now—now Sonic is living in the woods like a hermit near this small town. He has come up with nicknames for Thomas and Maddie. Thomas, of course, is the Donut Lord because—you know what shape a donut is? A ring. Exactly. That’s movie making. Uh— [Dan laughs.] —now—now— [Elliott laughs.] Sonic lives in a hovel. Uh, he’s lonely. Uh, and—[Laughs.] I don’t know. Y’know, he’s sad but he has invented like, uh, a rich history and backstory for all the people in this town. Once again, he doesn’t really understand them, but he understands quite a bit about American history and pop culture. [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

And pop—he, uh, he, uh, so you mentioned that this, uh, cop he calls Donut Lord is played by James Marsden, who is—once again—criminally underused. Uh, I find James Marsden to be, like, such a likeable performer. And he gets—he doesn’t get to do too much in this movie other than be, like, Sonic, stop! Or, like, hey, c’mon Sonic. Cut it out. Uh—yeah.

dan

I mean, insomuch as this movie works at all? I think it works because the performers are all very likeable? But they—yeah. To a—to a man other than Jim Carrey, they’re given almost nothing to do. Like, he does not have a character to play here. He is just sort of pleasant.

stuart

Now the action really gets kickstarted when Thomas gets offered a, uh, a beat cop job on the mean streets of San Francisco. And Maddie, his wife, immediately starts using Zillow and talks about it. [Laughs.] In one of many advertisements. So they decide that they’re going to move to San Francisco. Sonic plays baseball by himself. Uh, which—I feel like is an interesting commentary on quarantine? What do you guys think? [Multiple people laugh.]

crosstalk

Elliott: I mean— Dan: Uh—

elliott

[Laughs.] Certainly Sonic is very lonely. The thing that drives Sonic through this is his loneliness and his need to reach out. And he lives in a cave and he watches a lot of TV. So yeah! I guess he’s—this is very, uh, prescient in its quarantining. Not since The Lighthouse have I seen a movie that so captured what it felt like to be living in quarantine. Y’know.

stuart

Now, uh, this—and the solo baseball scene, of course, makes Sonic sad. And his loneliness causes him to do a big blue electric explosion which shorts out the power grid and [dramatically] draws the government’s attention.

elliott

Now, shall we mention—now Sonic, up to this point—now he’s been living for ten years in—just watching other people and not—not having any friends. You would imagine he’s like kind of a dour, quiet type? [Multiple people laugh.] Like, real kind of—bitter and gruff? Doesn’t say very much, right? Is that pretty accurate?

dan

Uh, no. He is a—a jolly, uh— [through laughter] hedgehog. [Multiple people laugh.] He is—he’s full of vim and vinegar. [Laughs.] Uh, he’s played by—uh—his—the voice performance is Ben Schwartz and he does, y’know, a fine job I—like—there are some funny bits that I assume were just Ben Schwartz improvising? Because everything else is the blandest nonsense.

elliott

Well they throw so many—he’s constantly doing, like, uh, like, um…

dan

Schtick?

elliott

Schtick, yeah. Japes and jabs and constant running gags and jokes. And its’ like, they—they, uh—I can imagine being an eight-year-old and watching this and being, like, this is hilarious. Because it’s—because that’s how I felt when I would watch like the Ninja Turtles and they’d be constantly making jokes. But watching it as an adult I was like, shut up, Sonic! [Multiple people laugh.] Sonic, shut your mouth! [Through laughter] Come on!

jamelle

I mean, sort of on that point, this movie feels like a real throwback to like kind of like ‘90s—that kind of like late-‘80s, ‘90s, based off of some external video game property movie. Like, it—it has some bizarre mythology with no connection to the actual game. Like, it involves the character from the game going into a whole new world? Like, it feels like someone sat down, uh, with a script generator from like ’91 and was like, can we plug this in and see what comes out? And this is what would basically come up.

stuart

And there’s like—and there’s like a road trip element. Which I feel like is also a very ’90s, uh, [through laughter] property movie.

dan

Well, I—I put a review on Letterboxd and I think the key line to what you’re saying, Jamelle, is like—I was like, okay. Imagine a Sonic movie in your head. That’s what [through laughter] this movie is. Exactly. They didn’t enhance it in any way. They didn’t add any plot or characterization beyond what your vague idea of what a Sonic movie might be, and that’s this film.

elliott

The only thing it’s missing to be a movie that could’ve come out in 1990 is like an evil land developer who wants to get to Sonic’s home world so he can build condos there? Like, that— [Jamelle laughs.] That’s the one. Or like someone who’s gonna like—who’s like—I’m gonna merchandise Sonic. Come on, Sonic! Sonic dolls! Sonic games! Sonic yo-yos! And Sonic’s like, no way, man! I’m one of a kind!

stuart

Now one of the interesting things about the whole like evil land developer trope is that I feel like it just gave—like—y’know—there’s a lot of young people coming up, uh, in the late ‘80s, early ‘90s who saw those movies. And I feel like it gave them the idea. Because it’s not like there’s fewer evil land developers [through laughter] in the world now.

elliott

No, no! There’s much more of them and they are more powerful than ever before. So I guess—what—maybe we were looking at those movies wrong and those were actually the heroes the whole time! [Multiple people laugh.]

dan

I do also think that this might be the point, uh, to bring up that the screenwriters of this movie—there’s two screenwriters. They appear to be a screenwriting team because their IMDB pages are exactly the same with writing credits. And, uh—

elliott

So either a team or the same person getting two checks and they’re like, oh, Jeremy? I’ll go get him. And they leave the room and put on a moustache and they walk back in. Oh, Frank? I’ll go get him. And they—

crosstalk

Elliott: —go back out and take the moustache off. Stuart: Like Sonic playing baseball! Dan: Yeah. Probably. Elliott: Exactly.

dan

But these screenwriters, uh, have… a long career in things like—they wrote some Hot Wheels TV movies? And, uh, they’re the writers of National Lampoon’s Dorm Daze and Dorm Daze 2. Uh— [Laughs.] [Stuart laughs.]

crosstalk

Dan: And this is their— Stuart: Now, Dan, is “days” spelled “D-A-Z-E”?

dan

It is, in fact, spelled D-A-Z-E.

elliott

Oh, thank goodness. I was worried— [Dan laughs.] —they left some joke money on the table.

dan

And—and this is their first, uh, uh, big blockbuster movie. They got this huge, uh, plum screenwriting job from—I do not know what. Maybe they’re good in the room. Uh, and I do not want to, like, intimate that people can’t come up through, uh, exploitation movies, which is basically what the National Lampoon movies are the equivalent to. Uh, because, y’know, a lot of great, talented filmmakers came up through that! But it is strange that they seem to have jumped directly from… nonsense movies to, uh, the hugest blockbuster of this past year.

elliott

I would disagree. [Stuart laughs.] I think one—like you’re saying, you can’t really judge a writer just by their past credits.

crosstalk

Dan: No, I know. Elliott: But also, like— Stuart: Well, and—

elliott

To jump from National Lampoon: Dorm Daze to the Sonic the Hedgehog movie is not the quantum leap—

crosstalk

Elliott: —in career making that you seem to think it is, Dan! Dan: I’m not talking about quality, Elliott! [Multiple people laugh.]

dan

Elliott, you are misconstruing what I’m saying!

crosstalk

Dan: I’m not saying that it’s a better movie! Elliott: I know that—I know that—that—

dan

I would rather watch National Lampoon: Dorm Daze than Sonic, probably.

crosstalk

Elliott: No, but what—no, I’m saying what you described to me— Dan: I am saying that—

elliott

—as what a pretty common career progression. It’s not like they were like, Sonic the Hedgehog—we need only the top screenwriters! Get me David Koepp! Get me William Goldman! [Multiple people laugh.]

dan

That is totally wrong, Elliott! They put millions—like, hundreds of—like, put a hundred million dollars in this movie! They’re not, like, get me the [through laughter] writers of National Lampoon: Dorm Daze.

elliott

No, well, ‘cause I’ll tell—‘cause I’ll tell you how they did it. This is how they did it, Dan. They had a couple different groups of screenwriters come in and pitch their takes on the character. Then they made them come back and pitch it again, more fleshed out, and they narrowed it down. And their agents got them this meeting. And then—or they knew one of the executives. And then eventually they wrote the script and the network—network. And the studio said, mmm, can you make it blander? [Stuart laughs.] And then they rewrote it to make it blander, and then the studio said, mmm, can you put Zillow in there?

dan

I understand the pitching and development process. I’m saying this is a surprising leap that they have made in their careers. And congratulations. Congratulations— [Elliott laughs.] —after [through laughter] laboring in schlock. That you’ve managed to make big-budget schlock. [Laughs.]

jamelle

My understand is that this movie—or like a Sonic movie—has been in development for a while? And this is their like—there’ve been multiple groups of screenwriters who have taken a swing at this? And so this is—this—these guys are the ones who, I guess, cracked it.

elliott

Yeah. And unfortunately we’ll never get to see that Sonic movie that Richard LaGravenese worked on— [Multiple people laugh.] —twenty years ago. Y’know?

stuart

Yeah. Yeah. I’m assuming what happened is—

dan

John Patrick Shanley. Version. [Multiple people laugh.]

crosstalk

Elliott: [Through laughter] Yeah! The one that the Coen brothers doctored after a little bit. Y’know, and that Carrie Fisher did some punch-up work on. Jamelle: Or—or—or—or George Smith—George Miller’s take, which involved actually just like a human man painted blue. Stuart: Based on a Tracy Letts play. [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

Oh man, that would be amazing.

stuart

Yeah. I’m assuming these screenwriters were rejected for their original script for Portrait of a Lady on Fire[Multiple people laugh.] —but they were better-suited for this. [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

Well the problem was—they went to the pitching session for Portrait of a Lady on Fire and they were like, okay. Spin us a tale. And they’re like, okay. So this lady, right? She’s on this fantasy world and her mom’s an owl and she has the ability to burst into flame. And they’re like, we don’t—did you read—did you take a look at our look book— [Multiple people laugh.] —about what the film is gonna be like? Yeah, yeah, yeah. We threw that away. Okay. But and—hurry this up ‘cause we got a meeting later for, uh, that Schindler’s List reboot [through laughter] that we gotta— [Multiple people laugh.]

jamelle

Reboot? [Laughs.] [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. [Laughs.] They’re hoping to turn it into a whole cinematic universe. [Laughs.]

jamelle

Yeah. The SCU. [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

[Through laughter] The SCU! And they’re—oh, man. It’s just like, uh it’s a—they’re trying to—look. There’s some studio that bought up a bunch of the rights to a bunch of different adult dramas? So they’re like, finally—Schindler. Carlito from Carlito’s Way. [Jamelle laughs.] Don Corleone and—uh—let’s say, uh, let’s say, uh… the sisters from A League of Their Own. They’re finally in one movie together. [Laughs.]

crosstalk

Stuart: So. So now—so now we finally have— Elliott: Okay. So Stuart. So we’re about 15 minutes into the movie. [Laughs.]

stuart

We finally have a villain: the US Government has to bring in their perfect agent. That’s right: Jim Carrey playing… Eggman Robotnik! And he’s kind of a loose cannon. They don’t wanna bring him in, but they have to because he always gets the job done. [Dan laughs.] And he’s like a super-scientist guy. He’s got a power glove on. He’s got an army of, uh, egg-shaped drones. Uh, he drives around in a bunch of trucks that are all covered, uh, covered in plates. Uh—

dan

Yeah. And this is one of the many, like, very hand-wavy moments in the script where they’re like, okay, we need to get to the next thing. Where like, everyone in the government seems to know that this guy’s crazy, but they’re like—yeah, but we [through laughter] need him anyway. [Elliott laughs.] And it’s like, okay. Sure.

elliott

When—if anything it would’ve been better—they could’ve had a real political moment here where they’re talking to the president and it’s clearly Trump but it’s done from behind his head like George Steinbrenner on Seinfeld. And he’s just like—Robotnik. And they’re like, no, he’s a crazy person! Like, why would—no, no, no. He tweeted at me. Robotnik. Get him out there. [Multiple people laugh.] Okay, you said so, Commander-in-Chief. But uh, instead, you’re right, Dan. They’re kind of like, let’s get Robotnik. What?! He’s nuts! And they’re like, mm, yeah, but—whatev—it’s—

crosstalk

Elliott: Have you not seen the original property? Dan: [Laughs.] Everyone of them—

dan

[Laughs.] Everyone in the room is basically like, that’s a terrible idea! Let’s do it!

elliott

I mean, I—I’m glad that the movie—it does do once—it does a couple things right. Which is one, it casts Jim Carrey in this role and there was something very, like, Chicken Soup for the Soul-comforting to me about seeing Jim Carrey do the kind of role that he did when I was a kid?

crosstalk

Elliott: But, uh, they— Dan: I totally agree.

elliott

But they weren’t like, “Get Dr. Robert Nikolas. Oh, he’s so crazy! He loves robots. They call him ‘Robotnik’ behind his back.” That they just are out-and-out, like, “His name’s Robotnik.” [Dan laughs.] “Let’s just do this. Whatever. Who cares?” [Laughs.]

stuart

And he—he—so he shows up to Green Hills and he takes over the investigation. Of course he has to supplant the local military leader, who is played by Neal McDonough. Hired, of course, for his blue, blue eyes. [Elliott laughs.]

dan

[Through laughter] His husky dog eyes. And by that I mean the dog husky, not that [through laughter] his eyes are fat and he has dog eyes.

elliott

Yep. Just big ol’ fat dog eyes. [Multiple people laugh.]

crosstalk

Elliott: Just like the biggest eyes from the fattest dog. [Laughs.] Dan: And he is— [Laughs.]

dan

He is thrown away in one scene, Stuart. I was like, okay. Neal McDonough is gonna come back at some point. But it’s like, no. He’s just there to be—like—humiliated by funny Jim Carrey. [Laughs.] And then he disappears.

elliott

Yeah.

stuart

He’s like, he was in Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li for god’s sakes. [Laughs.] [Elliott laughs.]

crosstalk

Elliott: Give him some respect! Dan: Show him some respect.

elliott

He played Dum Dum Dugan. Come on, everybody! [Multiple people laugh.]

jamelle

He was the villain in an entire season of Arrow.

stuart

Yeah! He was—and, uh, Justified!

elliott

Which—wait. Which character did he play in Arrow?

jamelle

Was it Damien Darhk?

stuart

Yeah. Yep. Yep.

crosstalk

Jamelle: Yeah. Stuart: Yep. Elliott: And did he play—

elliott

—the same character in Justified? ‘Cause I want Justified and Arrow to be in the same universe. [Multiple people laugh.]

stuart

Uh, he’s not that different in Justified to be honest with you.

elliott

[Through laughter] Okay. Sounds pretty good. Uh, and so they—so Dr. Robotnik is on the case. And where does Sonic go? Sonic knows he’s gonna be in trouble, so where does he go for help?

stuart

So he runs back to his cave. He packs up all his stuff. Uh, or most of his stuff. And he heads to the only house that he’s familiar with—that’s right! The house of Tom and Maddie. Uh, Tom is already preparing to go to San Francisco. Maddie has already gone ahead, uh, to find them an apartment I guess? Uh, Tom is so excited he’s—

elliott

And she’s staying with her sister, who does not like Tom. Despite the fact that he is—by all accounts—a very supportive and loving spouse. He took three jobs to help her get through veterinary school. But for some reason—because the movie wants jokes—her sister does not like him.

dan

Yeah. This is one of my least favorite stock characters in a movie. The sister that hates the lead, uh, husband character for no reason that anyone can see.

jamelle

Yeah. I mean, if you wanted to make the movie just like a little bit edgy she could hate him because he is a cop. [Stuart laughs.] She’s—

elliott

Yeah. I mean, that’s—I was kind of what I felt like they were hinting at but it never—it never came out? But—

jamelle

Like, this is a black lady in San Francisco? She hates him because he’s a cop. [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

And she does—she knows inevitably there’s gonna be a time when she’s gonna have some kind of interaction with him in her home city and their family and it’s gonna be really bad for all of them. So—

stuart

She knows his mask is gonna slip at some point. [Elliott laughs.]

jamelle

There should be a scene where she just whispers—“ACAB.” [All laugh.]

elliott

And, uh, and—he’s wearing a t-shirt that says “San Francisco” on it ‘cause he just cannot wait. He’s trying to become the city.

stuart

Which I kind of love. [Laughs.] [Elliott laughs.] Like, I love the idea of this dorky-ass dude who’s like, I can’t wait to move there! I’m gonna buy the t-shirt in advance! Like those guys who bought the Darth Maul shirt before seeing Phantom Menace.

elliott

Oh, so disappoint—what about the guys who bought the Watto shirt before Phantom Menace? And they were like—

stuart

You mean, you and Griffin Newman? [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

[Through laughter] Yeah! We saw him and we were like, this character’s gonna be so great and not at all offensive! [Dan laughs.] And then we saw him and I was like, well, I did pay for the shirt. I guess I’ll wear it. [Multiple people laugh.] He is—he is kind of like a, uh, he is kind of like a more realistic anti-Semitic Gonzo.

crosstalk

Dan: [Through laughter] You’re wearing it. Elliott: So I guess that’s okay. [Laughs.]

dan

You’re wearing the shirt around being like, look, I’m reclaiming Watto!

jamelle

Yeah. I guess it was a tipoff when the Watto t-shirt had gold coins on it. [Multiple people laugh.]

stuart

Oh, weird.

elliott

Yeah. The fact that he had gold coins and on the back it said, “More blood, please!” [Multiple people laugh.] It was like, this is— [Laughs.] This shirt.

dan

Oh, wow.

elliott

Hey, I didn’t make the shirt, Dan! I’m not the one who put those shirts out! [Dan laughs.]

stuart

Yeah. See, what—you got the shirt and you’re like, welllll…. I don’t like the character that much. I guess it’s gonna be my gym shirt. [Elliott laughs.] And you just didn’t go to the gym.

elliott

It was a very good excuse not to go to the gym. ‘Cause I was like, I can’t wear this shirt at the gym! This is crazy! If I don’t have another gym shirt—wait—I never realized this, guys. So Watto—clearly anti-Semitic. What about Gonzo? He’s got a similar nose. Similar coloring. He also is kind of an outsider. He just doesn’t fit in. And he has elaborate stunts that he always wants to pull off? Which is a big Jewish stereotype. That Jews always wanna get—

crosstalk

Dan: [Through laughter] What? Elliott: —shot out of cannons—

elliott

—or ride unicycles across tightropes. And that Jews love chickens. I mean, we do. Y’know.

dan

[Through laughter] Well, I mean, based on the sample size in this group, Jews do love chickens. But, uh, I— [Stuart laughs.] I—I mean, Gonzo is one of the most lovable [through laughter] characters in the Muppetverse. So.

elliott

Yeah. That’s true. It’s just him and Scooter. Two tops. [Multiple people laugh.]

dan

Oh, God. Jesus Christ.

crosstalk

Dan: Don’t get me started on Scooter. Stuart: Wow. They’re both tops?

elliott

And what’s the one from The Muppets? The first of the—of the Disney movies? Kevin?

crosstalk

Elliott: Wayne? What’s his name? Dan: Walter. Walter. Stuart: Walter.

dan

His name is Walter. He has no personality—

crosstalk

Stuart: And would you say Walter is more of a top or a bottom, Dan? [Laughs.] Dan: —and he stole Kermit’s spotlight.

dan

[Laughs.] Uh, weirdly he’s a switch. Anyway. Let’s go on. [Elliott laughs.]

elliott

He’s a Nintendo Switch! Alright. Let’s keep going. So. Uh, so—Sonic goes to, uh, James Marsden’s house. That goes great, right?

stuart

Well, James Marsden surprises him before he can run away and he shoots him in the leg with a tranquilizer dart. Uh, that he had to shoot a racoon, presumably. Um, and then that, of course, leads Sonic to accidentally opening up a portal to San Francisco ‘cause he reads it on his shirt and then he drops all of his rings in San Francisco—like ya do—and he passes out.

elliott

A reference to Tony Bennett’s classist song—classic song—“I Left My Rings in San Francisco.”

dan

Now, Stuart is saying this as if it is a normal thing. [Multiple people laugh.] So I feel like I need to clarify for [through laughter] the audience that—yeah. His magic rings he needs to escape to another planet have now gone through a portal to an entirely different city.

elliott

They’re on the top of the Transamerica Pyramid. And also—as within real life—when you are hit with a tranquilizer dart, you must read whatever words are in front of you at that moment. [Dan laughs.] That’s the only way your brain can regain purchase on reality. So like, for instance— [Multiple people laugh.] If you’re— [Laughs.] So if you’re standing at a pool. And you get hit with a tranquilizer dart, you would say—[woozily] Uh, lifeguard on duty. And then you’d pass out. Or if you were at, uh… like… a baseball stadium. And you got shot with a tranquilizer dart, you’d be like, [woozily] uh, Budweiser. $12. And then you’d fall down.

crosstalk

Elliott: Like, they just read whatever’s in front— Stuart: Very athletic choices coming out of Elliott. [Multiple people laugh.]

dan

You’re at, like— [Laughs.] You’re at the Jersey Shore and you’re like, [woozily] uhhh, Female Body Inspector! [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

Yeah. Again, you’re at the Jersey Shore—when I was a kid, in like, 1986. [Dan laughs.]

crosstalk

Dan: Alright. Elliott: I like—

elliott

The idea that Dan has—he’s like an—

dan

You’re like, uhhh, mesh—mesh tank-top!

elliott

That Dan is like an Encino Man or Blast From the Past type or a—but he just—or like a Rip Van Winkle but he was just in cryogenic freeze for like 20 years? [Laughs.]

dan

I’ll tell you something. Uh, writing for a younger, hipper, uh, talk show host has been great [through laughter] for me lately. Uh, with all of [through laughter] my 40-year-old man references. [Laughs.] [Elliott laughs.]

elliott

You’re like, you’re like, uh, Trevor—and then we’ll have a quick joke to the scene in Just One of the Guys where—and he’s like, I don’t know what that is. [Dan laughs.] And you’re like, Trevor, we all watched it on HBO when we were kids! And he’s like, I didn’t do any of that.

dan

[Laughs.] It had nudity and it played during the day! [Elliott laughs.]

jamelle

Trevor, I have a joke here about Zima and Crystal Pepsi. [Multiple people laugh.] The kids will get that, right? That’ll—

elliott

Oh. We—the show—the show I’m working on right now, we have a Zima joke in one of the episodes and I’m like, I love it! Great! But there was a younger writer in the room who’s like, what’s Zima? And I’m like, I’ll [through laughter] tell you about it later. [Dan laughs.] [Laughs.] There’s like—the guy like to—had words that start with Z. Anyway. It aired around the same time as those Richard Lewis Boku ads. [Dan laughs.] And they were like, what?

dan

He had a hat! [Laughs.] [Elliott laughs.]

crosstalk

Elliott: Hey, Stuart— Stuart: Cool. So. Uh—

stuart

Our—Sonic and, uh, Sonic wakes up. He talks to Thomas. They immediately decide, okay. We gotta get, uh, we gotta save this guy. Robotnik’s on his trail. Uh, Robotnik shows up to Thomas’s house and, uh, tricks his way into the home. Uh, they knock out Robotnik and go on the run together! Did I skip over anything?

elliott

No. All you need to mention is Robotnik has an army of robot drones and also that he manages to get his hands on one of Sonic’s quills.

stuart

Oh, that’s what that was! [Laughs.]

elliott

Yeah. What did you think it was? Like, his—his—like, uh, his tail? Or, uh—

stuart

I thought it was like a shard of his essence. [Elliott laughs.] Like in The Dark Crystal. [Multiple people laugh.]

crosstalk

Elliott: [Through laughter] That’s [inaudible]. Dan: Or like—

dan

Or it was like a crystal that he’d have to take down, and, uh, build a fortress of solitude with, maybe?

stuart

Mm-hm. Or just like, leave on his nightstand to heal the energy of the room.

elliott

Or like if Sonic is—if Sonic is anything like my children, they’ll just pick up broken pieces of plastic off the ground and carry it around all day. [Dan laughs.] And then leave it in their room and I’ll step on it and I’ll be like, [through laughter] what is this? [Dan laughs.] Why is this in my house? [Multiple people laugh.] But no, it’s one of Sonic’s “power quills.”

jamelle

Uh, Stuart, you did miss one thing, which is how, uh, Robotnik’s demand to go into Marsden’s house was a violation of the Posse Comitatus. [All laugh.]

stuart

Yep. Now, I—I had that written down in my notes and I just skimmed right over it. That’s [through laughter] my mistake. [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

He is—how many—that’s true. How many amendments is he breaking at that point? That’s unreasonable search and seizure for sure! ‘Cause he—

crosstalk

Elliott: It’s not like he went to a judge— Jamelle: Right. Absolutely.

elliott

—and he said, I have reasonable suspicion that there is a—that there is a magic hedgehog in this man’s house. [Through laughter] I need a warrant to search the premises.

stuart

And I love their like subtle dance when they first meet each other? Because you’re like, either of you could address the fact that [through laughter] you are, like, you’re either a police officer or working for the government. You don’t have to hide that information. [Multiple people laugh.] But they’re like, nope! I gotta tease this situation out. Um, okay.

elliott

I love that Jim Carrey’s like, I’m here to read the meter. And he’s like wearing a long black trench coat. He has black leather gloves on his hands. It’s like, what crazy world are you from— [Multiple people laugh.] —where people dress like Dracula to read the electricity meter? Like, come on!

stuart

Uh, cool! So. They, uh, they’re on the run. Uh, they… reluctantly decide to team up. At first they have this moment where you’re like, oh shit, they’re already breaking up with each other? But no. Y’know. They pretty quickly get over that. Uh, Sonic runs—

crosstalk

Stuart: —into the ocean and runs back. What’s up? Dan: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.

dan

Yeah. I don’t wanna get—I do not wanna gloss over this moment because this is one of my actual major problems with this movie? Where, like… James Marsden’s like, hey, I saved your life. That’s all I’m gonna do for you. Like, I don’t wanna go on the run with you or anything. And Sonic’s like, oh, okay. Uh… alright. I guess I’ll go to San Francisco on my own. Like, I guess I’ll find it somehow. And like, and James Marsden is like, just go west! You’ll hit it. And he like—Sonic zooms off, comes back immediately with a fish on his head ‘cause he ran into the ocean and he’s like—see? I can’t do it on my own! And I’m like, fucking give him a map! Like, there’s—this movie does not adequately explain… like… why they like… go off together. And I feel like it could do it— [Stuart laughs.] —fairly easily by like… later on, like, they blame James Marsden for, like, they say he’s a domestic terrorist. Like, there are reasons that they could give at this point that they’re stuck together. But they do not. And I never feel like they [through laughter] truly bond in this movie. No matter how much work they put into it.

jamelle

The easiest thing to have done—given what’s already in the script—is for the tranquilizer or the electric explosion to sap Sonic’s speed. There ya go. He can’t run as fast anymore so he needs to be driven. Problem solved.

dan

Yeah.

elliott

Yeah. Actually, that’s pretty good. I will say, uh, what I bumped against was that James Marsden’s like, okay. There’s a talking, bipedal hedgehog— [Dan laughs.] —that wears gloves and sneakers— [Stuart laughs.] —but no other clothes, and he’s suddenly in my house and he’s blue and he runs really fast. Okay! Just one of those days! I’m not helping you! Like, he—he accepts the existence of Sonic so quickly. And there’s not even the—and it’s pretty cliché. The moment of, like, what are you? But they don’t even do that? It’s just like, dude, get outta my house. Take the fact that you are some kind of abomination of nature— [Multiple people laugh.] —that no human—and you—and proof of life in other dimensions and other planets. You’re the first—this is the first contact between a human and a sentient being that is not human. Get outta my life. I’m a busy man. I’m moving to San Francisco! Like, it’s such a strange— [Laughs.] It’s a strange choice to have him be so nonplussed by the existence of Sonic.

stuart

I’m sure there’s an early version of the script where they’re like, and here’s the part in the script where Sonic loses his speed [through laughter] and the executives are like, uh, mm, Sonic’s fast. And they’re like, no, I know, but he’ll— [Elliott laughs.] —y’know, he’ll get it back. They’re like, mm, nope, that doesn’t work for us. They’re like—okay. So can the villain be fast? [Elliott laughs.] Yeah, that’s okay. That works.

dan

Well—and we’ll get—we’ll get to it later, but there is like… like, a Quicksilver from X-Men sequence in this movie? That shows Sonic to, like, not only be fast but basically a superhero himself. And it’s like, why does he need James Marsden? Like— [Laughs.] [Stuart laughs.]

elliott

‘Cause he doesn’t know where San Francisco is, Dan! And there’s no way for him to learn that information otherwise! It’s locked inside James Marsden’s head like the map on the back of the girl in Waterworld! There’s only one way to find out!

dan

[Through laughter] Okay.

jamelle

That’s a good point because it sort of like gets to the funda—well, the fundamental problem with any property that involves someone that fast? Which is that like—they’re no longer bound by the laws of physics? And so there are no problems anymore. Right? Like, all things can be solved. Right? Like—oh! Oh no! Someone died? I’ll just use speed to break the time barrier— [Multiple people laugh.] —and fix the problem. Oh, I don’t know where San Francisco is? Well I can—apparently—traverse the entire Earth in a minute— [Multiple people laugh.] —so let me do that. And figure it out. [Multiple people laugh.]

stuart

Yeah! I’ll just do that!

dan

If he had simply gone directly to San Francisco, like… there would’ve been no time for Robotnik to do any of the things [through laughter] he does in this movie.

elliott

No, but Dan, they had to stop off at a roadhouse to get into a bar brawl.

crosstalk

Dan: Well, we’ll get to that, I guess. Elliott: It’s—I— Stuart: I’m sure that—

stuart

I’m sure in the goof section of this movie somebody’s like— [Multiple people laugh.] —like, “If Sonic is fast enough, this movie shouldn’t have lasted this long.” [All laugh.]

elliott

I think—uh, guys, I want to rebut my own statement from earlier. I just realized this movie is better off if James Marsden just accepts Sonic because it spares us from a scene where he’s like, get out of that costume! And he’s grabbing him all over and he goes, here’s the zipper! And Sonic goes, that’s not a zipper! [Someone laughs.] And then he like pulls his hand back. Because there’s a worse version of this movie that has that scene in it. I guarantee you. So. So I’m glad that didn’t happen. Oh, actually, Stuart, I have another goof for you to put in the IMDB entry!

stuart

Okay. Let me just type that up. Okay.

elliott

Okay. In real life, hedgehogs are not fast. [Dan laughs.]

stuart

“Real-life hedgehogs are not fast.” Okay.

elliott

Or—actually—put that under “factual error.” [Laughs.] [Dan laughs.]

stuart

Okay.

dan

Yeah. [Jamelle laughs.]

stuart

So our heroes are on the run. Of course they stop at a roadhouse. Uh, that has some very energetic, uh, bikers and— [Elliott laughs.] —hot-wheelers out front. Uh, they talk about how Sonic needs to work on his bucket list. Introducing children to the concept [through laughter] of dying one day. [Multiple people laugh.]

dan

Well, and this is one of the things that Sonic doesn’t know. Put that in the column of “Sonic does not know this.” [Stuart laughs.] As opposed to all the other things that he seems to be intimately familiar with.

elliott

Well he’s seen—we know he’s seen the movie Speed ‘cause we see him watching it. And we know that he’s familiar with The Olive Garden, but he hasn’t seen The Bucket List. And you know what? He’s not the target demographic. Like, The Bucket List—the movie was like for older people. The same people who really love like Grace & Frankie or, uh, what’s that movie that we watched where the old people go to Las Vegas and it’s Kevin Kline and Robert De Niro?

dan

Last Vegas.

elliott

Last Vegas. Is that what it was called? Last Vegas?

crosstalk

Stuart: Or Lost Vegas. Dan: It was called Last Vegas.

elliott

‘Cause the implication was that they were all [through laughter] gonna die afterwards? Uh, so—so like, he’s not gonna go see The Bucket List. He’s gonna be, like, that’s an old man movie! I want to watch Speed or Speed 2: Cruise Control.

dan

Yeah.

stuart

So, uh, this is where, of course, they get into a big, uh, y’know, they have a little montage of Sonic, uh, crossing things off his list in this, uh, y’know, pretty populous roadhouse. And then—

crosstalk

Stuart: —they, of course— Elliott: [Through laughter] It is a packed roadhouse. Stuart: I mean, it’s a big road there Dan: A roadhouse that—

dan

—also has, like… basketball games like you would find at like Coney Island or—or any—like, uh, or a Chuck E. Cheese? [Laughs.] Um. And, y’know, like, this is—this is a confusing roadhouse to me in terms of— [Laughs.] The entertainment there versus the crowd—

crosstalk

Dan: —that it seems to— Elliott: Well it’s a—

elliott

It is very much a children’s movie version of a roadhouse. Where it’s like—it’s supposed to seem super tough and super crazy, but like, you can’t show—it’s not the—it can’t be From Dusk Till Dawn. You can’t have like a strip show going on.

crosstalk

Elliott: Or like, guys with guns. Stuart: It’s not the— Dan: Yeah.

stuart

It’s not the Double Deuce or anything. [Laughs.]

elliott

Yeah. Exactly. [Laughs.] So it’s just like—uh-oh! This roadhouse is pretty crazy! Well let’s just play this basketball game and get enough tickets so that we can get a big novelty comb and then we’ll leave. [Laughs.]

stuart

So of course this is where they get in a bar fight. And this is where we have that moment where Sonic moves so fast he’s able to stop time and we get that full-on Quicksilver moment that Dan was talking about. I mean, we knew this was coming. Right, guys?

dan

Yeah.

crosstalk

Elliott: It had to. Stuart: That scene—

stuart

That scene was the breakout star of that X-Men movie. It has to be replicated.

dan

I mean, and the scene here is fun enough? Some gags are set up. But it is—it did immediately raise the question to me of like—okay. Well, Sonic is like much faster [through laughter] than I thought he was. [Multiple people laugh.]

crosstalk

Dan: Like, he can stop time fast. Elliott: He can—he—

elliott

He can walk between seconds? Yeah. I think that’s— [Dan laughs.] Also, so here’s the thing. If you were moving super fast, could you push, like, bullets and missiles out of the way like Quicksilver and Sonic do? Because it—or would you like go to touch it and it would go right through your finger? ‘Cause it’s still moving really fast! Does your speed really cancel out the speed of the projectile?

jamelle

Right. If your velocity is as such that you can do that, then at which point you are generating enough force to be able just to like move it.

crosstalk

Elliott: ‘Cause that’s also—‘cause— Unknown: Yeah. That—that—

elliott

My also—wonders, like, if you slam your hand onto a knife, the knife’ll go through your hand. Like, are you moving so fast that your velocity is adding to the velocity of the bullet or missile and it is that much more of an impact?

dan

I mean, he does—now this—this probably has nothing to do with it? [Laughs.] Like, in terms of real-life physics? But I will say—he is—y’know, he—like, in these movies like they do push the bullet away from the side. Rather than—they do not put their hand in front of the bullet.

elliott

You’re right. That’s probably it. Because that’s a force that only moves in one direction, I think. So.

crosstalk

Stuart: Mm-hm. Yeah. Dan: I’m just, y’know. Elliott: I mean— Stuart: Yeah. Do you, uh—

stuart

Should I—so I have the—I already have the document open. Should I add this to the “goofs” column, guys? [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

Yeah. Put it—I guess as—as—make it—call it “incorrectly regarded as goofs.” [Multiple people laugh.]

dan

[Through laughter] Okay.

elliott

And it is—it is—I feel like this is the stupid thing in movie viewers’ brains where I’m like, magic rings. They create portals. You got it. Okay. [Multiple people laugh.] Speedy blue hedgehog? Yes. Mm, could he really do that with his superspeed? Like, it’s the dumbest thing for me to fixate on. [Dan laughs.]

jamelle

The, um, one thing we shouldn’t neglect to mention about this whole sequence is that—thus far—the only human who has met Sonic is, uh, James Marsden’s character. They go into this bar, and Sonic is just hanging out and people look at him and have no reaction to the fact that he is a talking blue space hedgehog. It is— [Multiple people laugh.] It is—it is so normal to them that it suggests—well, what it actually suggests about the world is that there are lots of Sonic-like creatures in the world. And that this Montana town just happens to have never gotten one before. [Elliott laughs.]

elliott

Well, it’s like, uh, it’s like Citrusville, Florida. Home of the man thing. Which happens to be the nexus of all realities. So there’s always like Howard the Ducks and barbarians walking through. So I guess this little part of Montana—yeah. They’re just used to trans-dimensional visitors. But it does—it is very strange that Sonic’s like, no one can ever see me. And then all he has to do is put on a hat and a jacket and people are like, ‘sup, little dude? Can I get you a drink? [Stuart laughs.] It’s like—I wonder if at any point he’s like, all I needed was a hat. Why didn’t I just put a hat on all this time? Especially since you know he’s a fan of Sunday in the Park With George and of course its iconic song “Finishing the Hat.” So he’s familiar with the concept of hats. Because we see him later singing that song, right? Or did I dream that?

dan

You may have dreamed it. Since we’ve opened this door, I do wanna read three actual goofs from the IMDB page.

crosstalk

Elliott: Okay. Stuart: Mm-hm.

dan

Um, “When Sonic and Robotnik arrive in Egypt near the Giza pyramids, there’s nothing but desert visible in all directions. The pyramids and the Sphinx are actually surrounded by roads, numerous other monuments, and city on three sides. There’s a Pizza Hut less than 1,000 feet from the Sphinx itself.”

crosstalk

Stuart: Oh, that’s interesting! I wonder if— Dan: So that’s an interesting goof.

stuart

But I wonder if that—I mean, that raises the question of—did that ring take them to a different time period?

dan

Sure.

elliott

Oohhhh, yeah.

crosstalk

Dan: I mean—that— Elliott: And that’s why there was a—

elliott

That’s why the Pharaoh did a double-take— [Multiple people laugh.] —looking at them? And then there’s a hieroglyphic in the pyramid of a Sonic-type figure running from a man with a moustache? [Laughs.]

jamelle

There’s an Israelite slave pushing up a block and he looks up— [Dan laughs.] —and is just sort of like, weird. And keeps on? [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

He goes—he goes, let my people go! And he just walks away? [Multiple people laugh.]

dan

I may laugh at this goof, but I did learn something from it. So that’s useful. Um—now—

elliott

Yeah! You learned where to get pizza if you’re ever in Cairo! [Laughs.] [Stuart laughs.] Or Giza, I guess.

dan

Uh, now this is a minor goof but in the end credit music listing for Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now,” Freddie—that’s with an I-E—Mercury’s first name is misspelled as “Freddy” with a “y.”

elliott

Okay.

crosstalk

Dan: So that’s a minor goof. But, uh. Elliott: Fair. That’s a fair goof.

elliott

That’s a fair goof.

dan

Here’s one—even if Sonic’s electromagnetic pulse didn’t knock out cell phones themselves, it would affect the cell towers, making them useless. Tom calling Wade during the blackout would not have happened either way.

elliott

Oh, that was a question I had! Was that there’s a blackout. Everything’s out, yet the phone at the police station works fine. So I wondered if—

crosstalk

Stuart: Well that’s a— Elliott: Do those phones—

elliott

Do those phones still work during blackouts?

crosstalk

Elliott: Does a regular landline— Dan: That’s a landline.

dan

A landline would, in fact, uh, you’re not old enough to know this, Elliott. But a landline would still be working. [Laughs.] During a blackout.

elliott

No. It’s just that I’ve forgotten it, Dan. Like, I’m—I’m almost 40 years old. I know—I lived through landline phones! [Multiple people laugh.] And I’ve lived through blackouts!

stuart

The thing that was great about a landline, Elliott—

crosstalk

Stuart: Is that it had this long—it had this long cord? Elliott: Elliott— [Laughs.] [Dan laughs.]

stuart

And you could like spin it while you talked? [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

Yeah. That’s pretty cool. That’s pretty cool.

dan

Now— [Laughs.] Now, you don’t see this, but, uh, but [through laughter] Stuart was sort of spinning it like, say, a burlesque dancer— [Elliott laughs.] [Through laughter] —would be spinning a feather boa. [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

Yeah. Now—now I’m, of course, too young to remember this; but at the time, they had real hoverboards that they were going to sell in stores but parents said it was too dangerous. [Multiple people laugh.] And so they were removed from the market.

dan

Now we did get those shoes from that movie, but they didn’t automatically lace up like they were supposed to.

elliott

No, no. No. Instead they just laced the normal way. By you yelling at your mom to do it for you.

dan

Okay. Well anyway, let’s [through laughter] get back to this movie before Stuart explodes. [Laughs.]

stuart

Promises undelivered. So. [Elliott laughs.] Uh, okay. So. [Laughs.] Uh, so… we—we get introduced to—there’s one last element on Sonic’s bucket list and then of course he can die. Which is— [Multiple people laugh.] --[through laughter] he wants to make a real friend. Uh, and at this point—I think at this point we can address—Sonic can die for real, right? Because he doesn’t have any rings in his body! So, um… [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

[Laughs.] Now, he never—now—now, that’s videogame lore. He never ingests the rings. I think it’s just—it’s just assumed that he’ll die if he gets blown up or shot or poisoned or autoerotic asphyxiation or drowns—

stuart

Any of these things. Yep.

elliott

Or any of those things. The same ways normal people die.

stuart

So they get in yet another fight. This time they get in a fight about, uh, Tom wanting to move to San Francisco. Uh, because of course Sonic believes that small towns are better than big towns and why would he ever want to leave Green Hills. Uh, this—

dan

Well this is another thing that like—sorry. I—I do wanna address this quickly. Sonic is, like, obsessed with how nice this town is that, uh, that James Marsden’s character wants to get out of. And—like—Sonic—as we have established—I don’t know if you know this, guys; he’s fast! [Multiple people laugh.] He could see the rest of the world. Apparently he has had no curiosity about planet Earth beyond Green Hills.

elliott

I mean, in his defense, the last thing his adopted—possibly biological—owl mother said to him was—hide yourself. Don’t let anyone see you. So he has been living in seclusion on purpose. Uh, now can he move faster than the human eye can see? Of course he can. So, yeah. But—then he’s gonna get, what a split-second view of Brussels before he’s gotta spin around and turn back? ‘Cause he’s gotta stay moving fast enough that no one can see him? Is he gonna see Tokyo for one day? What is he, my brother? Come on! [Stuart laughs.]

dan

I don’t understand why you’d think that Green Hills is the only place where he can be stealthy and hide, though. Like, see the world, Sonic! Y’know? Maybe you don’t want to stay down on the farm.

elliott

It is one of many movies that takes it for granted that, y’know what? It is wrong to leave your hometown to go to the big city. Which is the exact opposite of the lesson that life gives you. Ohhh! [Laughs.]

stuart

So… while they’re in this fight, Dr. Robotnik’s car drone catches up with them and Sonic just blows the shit out of it. Right? He does that like roll thing and lightning flies everywhere and then we have an increasing, uh, or decreasing in size series of robots that keep chasing them. Uh— [Sirens begin audibly in background of Skype call.]

elliott

This was a really funny concept, I thought. That it keeps—every time they blow it up a small thing comes out and goes after them. Also I should notice—I should mention—as soon as I said “cities were better than small towns”—as if—as if God wanted to, uh, get back at me, one of you guys had a police siren go off in the background? [Stuart laughs.] So it’s like, alright. I get it. Okay. Thanks for—thanks for getting back at me, reality. But yeah, I like the idea that like each time they blow up a thing there’s a smaller thing that comes out after them. There’s something kinda Looney Tunes-y about it.

stuart

Sonic does some flossing so you know that kids are into it. Dan was into it. Dan loves TikTok. Um—

dan

Mm-hm.

elliott

Wait. Explain to me what you’re talking about ‘cause I don’t—I don’t remember that—at first I thought you meant he actually flossed with something and I was like—does—

crosstalk

Dan: You don’t know flossing? Hold on. Stuart: No, he does the little dance!

stuart

Yeah. Dan. Show us the dance!

elliott

Oh, that dance. I didn’t know that that was called flossing. Okay.

dan

Yeah. That’s the dance! Yeah. [Laughs.]

stuart

Yep.

crosstalk

Dan: I’m doing it perfectly. For people— Elliott: Yeah, I see it, Dan. Still doing it. [Laughs.]

dan

For people who can’t see me I’m doing it 100% perfectly.

crosstalk

Dan: Uh, it’s not herky jerky at all. Elliott: I like that Dan said—

dan

It’s like—I’m not really thinking about it while I’m doing it. [All laugh.]

elliott

Dan said people who can’t see me, which means—all six billion people in the world except for three other people. [Laughs.] [Stuart laughs.]

dan

Yeah. The audience of this stupid thing. [Laughs.]

elliott

So that’s called flossing?

stuart

Yeah. That’s called flossing. So Sonic then manages to get, uh, the—the final drone turns into a little bomb and Sonic manages to get hurt in the explosion and knocked out.

dan

Mm-hm.

stuart

Uh, and then Sonic is whisked away to San Francisco, where Tom takes him to be healed by his veterinarian wife, who—as I mentioned before—is staying with her sister in San Francisco. She is obviously nonplussed about a blue alien monster that just appeared in her home. Uh, or her sister’s home. Her sister is not very happy because of course Tom is there. Uh, her sister’s daughter has tied her up to a chair. Uh, which, y’know, is just a running goof. Like, it’s—y’know, that’s the kind of jokes we get in this movie.

elliott

I mean, later on she’s like—I have to go to the bathroom! And then hours later she’s still tied up and it’s like, that’s torture. They are torturing this woman. Like, that is the definition of torture. Like, come on.

dan

Also—also, the sister may unreasonably like Tom just in general? But—

stuart

Dislike Tom.

dan

—to be fair, at this point he is—

elliott

You can’t unreasonably like James Marsden. He’s giving you so many reasons to like him. There’s nothing unreasonable about that.

dan

Yeah. But at this point, he is… a wanted man, uh, who is on the news for, uh, domestic terrorism carrying an alien into her home. So. She has more reason at this point to be disturbed [through laughter] by his presence.

elliott

Yeah.

stuart

Uh, so they make a plan to go to the Pyramid Building and get the rings. So Tom and Maddie go along with Sonic. They— [Laughs.] I wrote this sentence before, uh, before the end happened here; but I wrote “They find the rings; become best friends; and get interrupted by Robotnik.” Which I wrote moments before Robotnik [through laughter] actually showed up. [All laugh.] ‘Cause I knew it was gonna happen.

elliott

Now, uh, before this point, also, Robotnik, uh, he did an experiment on Sonic’s quill and it was so powerful he overloaded his entire mobile lab. Uh, and so… he, uh, he knows he can power all of his machines with Sonic’s energy if he can capture him.

dan

Yeah.

stuart

Yeah. I—I been kinda—I been kinda glossing over the Robotnik elements of this movie. But Jim Carrey gives it his all. I mean, I feel like… he gives such a big performance that I feel like Sonic and Robotnik—the whole time I’m just like, get these two annoying people together so I don’t have to [through laughter] deal with them anymore. [Multiple people laugh.]

dan

Uh, see, but like, I—I—I liked Jim Carrey’s performance in this. I agree with what Elliott said before. Like, I found it very, like, comforting to see Jim Carrey giving a Jim Carrey performance again? Because, like… Jim Carrey is like… like, he has proven in a few movies that he’s, y’know, a—quite a good dramatic actor. But then he got kind of sidetracked into doing bad dramas. Like—unlike, say, Eternal Sunshine where he started out, like, kind of in that zone doing good—good stuff. He’s been in bad dramas and children’s movies exclusively? And this is a children’s movie but it’s more of like, I think, like, a crossover children’s movie where it’s not just like… I don’t know. Mr. Popper’s Penguins or something where like it’s fun to see him do a big silly… performance again. And he’s committing.

elliott

I think—the fact that Mr.—I was about to say “Mr. Robotnik.” I forgot about his PhD. [Laughs.]

crosstalk

Dan: Please. That’s his father. Elliott: That Doctor— [Laughs.] [Stuart laughs.]

elliott

Yeah. [Through laughter] Mr. Robotnik is my father. Call me Dr. Robotnik. [Dan laughs.] That’s a joke they shoulda had in the movie! Uh, that Dr. Robotnik is never presented as a scary or in any way realistic character? He’s just a over-the-top cartoon villain and Jim Carrey is the perfect person to do that? And that there’s never—and also—and like, Jim Carrey seems to be the one person in the movie who I don’t remember them making any, like… pop culture references that kids wouldn’t get? Like, his jokes are all—so much of it is just him either insulting people or like saying things in a funny way? There’s the—there’s a part where his assistant, who he’s mean to, says something about, like, I brought you this latte! With Austrian goat milk! I thought you might like it! And he goes—am I an idiot?! Of course I want one! I love the way you make it! And he just shouts it as loud as possible? [Stuart laughs.] And then I was like, that’s… that’s a dumb joke. Like the joke is just that—of course he loves it. But like the way he delivers it [through laughter] is so huge that I laughed at it. [Multiple people laugh.] And it’s just like… it’s real—it was very fun to me to see him like just doing that kind of character and like—he is—he’s really good at like certain types of movements that, y’know, uh… like, real, like—

crosstalk

Elliott: Clown body movements? Stuart: Would you say he’s a—

stuart

—physical comedian, Elliott? [Laughs.]

elliott

Uh, I mean, he’s certainly a comedian who uses his body as an instrument more than, say, Steven Wright.

crosstalk

Elliott: A comedian who— Dan: I mean— [Stuart laughs.]

elliott

—who could do—be doing the same act if he was a brain in a jar. But— [Laughs.]

dan

He was doing—he was doing some dancing around, Elliott, in the scene that you were just now referencing where he discovers the, uh, energy powers of—of Sonic. That I was, like, y’know, Jim Carrey’s not a young man at this point and I was amazed at some of the physical stuff he was doing. In that scene.

elliott

I think—well, he is—y’know. He’s in good shape. He’s the J-Lo of—of male comedy performers in that at his age his body is impeccable. But uh—the, like, but I think—it’s like—there’s that scene in Bloodshot that we watched recently where the bad guy is like dancing to “Psycho Killer”? And the whole point of it is—this is like a cliché thing? And when Jim Carrey does it, it is cliché for the villain to have like a little dance? But Jim Carrey is so good at moving himself that I was like, oh, I could watch this for a while. So it was just—I—I liked those—I liked seeing him as—if it was called the Dr. Robotnik Movie, I would’ve been, like, alright. Maybe I’ll like this movie. But then instead Sonic’s gotta come in and spout out, like, forty, like, quick jabs. Constantly. And it’s too much.

jamelle

I’ll just say that, uh, Jim Carrey is great in this? But the fact that he was cast as Dr. Robotnik is again—like, a very ‘90s element of this movie. Like, that casting is straight-up like an issue of Wizard Magazine[Multiple people laugh.] —from like, 1990. [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

Because if it was—yeah. It would be—he—Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik. Howie Long as Venom. Of course. Uh— [Multiple people laugh.] Glen Danzig as Wolverine. And—and probably Glen Danzig as Knuckles. Who would—who do you think Wizard would cast as the—in the Sonic movie? Who else—who would they cast as Sonic? Like…

stuart

Uh, I mean, I feel like they would get some—who’s that, uh, wrestler with the slicked-back hair? That guy would be, uh [through laughter] that guy would be Knuckles.

elliott

Oh, Slicky?

stuart

I can’t remember his name.

elliott

For Sonic it would either be, like, Danny DeVito or—‘cause he’s short—or it would be like, um… I don’t know. Who—somebody who—‘cause they would either cast it just on appearance where it would be on, like, someone that they thought was cool ‘cause they were a wrestler or a football player. But, uh—

jamelle

Right, right, right, right, right. Right.

elliott

Gambit would be Jean-Claude Van Damme, which is actually great casting. Um… and…

stuart

Uh, Gam—this is--we’re still casting [through laughter] the Sonic movie, right? [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

Yeah. The Sonic movie. Yeah. But I don’t know the Sonic characters. So. Uh, and Tails would be like, um… what, like… I don’t know.

jamelle

Macaulay Culkin.

elliott

That’s who I was thinking, too. Macaulay Culkin. Yeah. Let’s—this is Wizard casting! They can get big stars!

stuart

Yeah. I mean—I feel like when I—uh—when I said that Robotnik is annoying, it isn’t an indictment of Jim Carrey’s performance. I feel like the character is meant to be annoying. Like a non-threatening villain [through laughter] in a children’s movie is.

elliott

Oh, yes. Very much so. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

stuart

Um, so they—they have a big fight. Sonic pushes his, uh, his friends off a building. Uh— [Elliott laughs.] —he plays drums on a bunch of bullets. Uh, and then he starts to run away and we learn—uh-oh! Robotnik has managed to supercharge his—uh, his little spaceship thing. Now he’s just as fast as Sonic. Or is he? We’ll find out! So we are now back at the beginning of the movie, where Robotnik is chasing him around San Francisco.

elliott

Full circle! It’s a real Last Year at Marienbad.

dan

I wanna make it clear. He did not push his friends off of a—the building to their death. [Laughs.] [Multiple people laugh.] He did it with—he did it with a ring that sent them back to Green Hills.

stuart

Yeah.

elliott

Well, but we don’t know that at first! At first we just see him push them off the—he says, you’ve done your use to me. I’m done with you. And he pushes them off the building.

crosstalk

Dan: Oh, wow. Jamelle: Right, right, right, right, right. He pushes ‘em off— Elliott: That was cold, Sonic!

jamelle

And then he looks at the camera and goes—ain’t I a stinker? And that’s— [Multiple people laugh.] —that’s the show. [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

And then James Mar—and then both their bodies splat on the ground and he’s like, ehhh!

crosstalk

Elliott: [Through laughter] That’s—that’s the end of it! Stuart: And then he dabs! [Multiple people laugh.] Elliott: [Through laughter] He dabs! And then he goes— Dan: Yeah. The next we see them—

dan

—they’re crawling out of a James Marsden-shaped hole in the cement. [Laughs.] [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

Yeah. And yeah. And they’re like, oohhh! And there’s little Tails-es fluttering around their heads. Y’know.

jamelle

Oh, that’s great.

stuart

Yeah. So they’re running around the—running around San Francisco. They take this fight out of San Francisco, of course. Uh, Sonic—

crosstalk

Stuart: —starts throwing rings— Elliott: Let me say—I wanna—

stuart

What?

elliott

I wanna mention—only—sorry to interrupt that. San Francisco—a notoriously overcrowded city with—where the—and that’s why the real estate prices are so high and everything—the streets are so empty. There’s maybe one car per road ‘cause they have to CGI the whole thing. And I was like, it is a slow day in San Francisco. Maybe this is happening during the quarantine. [Multiple people laugh.] Like, there’s nobody out on the streets!

stuart

So, uh, they throw a ring and they go to Egypt. Uh, where else do they go before—they eventually just end up back in Green Hills ‘cause Sonic has a limited imagination. Um—

elliott

Did they go to—yeah. Where—where do they go, aside from Egypt? I was waiting for them to be, like, all over the world, but they don’t go that many places.

stuart

No. They—uh, the Great Wall. That was on his bucket list.

elliott

Oh, that’s right. And they run the Great Wall. And he’s like, finally I can open up! And, uh—and—and he doesn’t—again, they should be knocking over tourists left and right but there’s nobody on the Great Wall.

stuart

No.

dan

For a big special effects, uh, movie, the—the—the—the imagination of this film is limited in terms of scope.

elliott

Yeah. I mean, he should’ve opened a portal to the moon; runs past Neil Armstrong and he’s like, “One small step for man; one giant leap for—a hedgehog?!” And then Ground Control is like, what was that? And then he goes through Paris and they run up and down the Eiffel Tower and a mime goes “Sacre bleu!” And then covers his mouth with his hand ‘cause he’s not supposed to talk. He’s a mime!

dan

Oh, there is a mime joke, right? Like, they do go to Paris.

elliott

Oh, you’re right! They do go to Paris and there is a mime and this girl does not enjoy this mime and then she sees Sonic behind the mime and laughs? That’s not the mime joke they should do. They shoulda done my mime joke. And then like they go to… I don’t know. Japan and there’s samurai or something. Y’know. Kid’s ideas of what countries are like. Countries are still what we think they— [Dan laughs.] —it’s—there was a—

crosstalk

Stuart: They go to the Wild West. Elliott: I remember once—

elliott

I wrote a joke once for The Daily Show that did not make it on the air, I think. That was during the big, uh, uprising in Tahrir Square that overthrew Mubarak? And I was like, so now there’s a new thing for us to know about Egyptian history. And I had a timeline of Egyptian history and it said, “Pyramids, 3000 BC.” And then nothing until now. [Multiple people laugh.] And then, like, [through laughter] ‘cause all Americans know about Egypt [through laughter] is the pyramids, which is thousands of years ago. But they didn’t—instead they just did the pyramids and the Great Wall and that one moment in France. Yeah. But not as good as mine.

stuart

Okay. So Sonic eventually—

crosstalk

Stuart: —ends up back in— Elliott: They go to—

elliott

They go to Rio and it’s Carnival and Sonic is, like, hiding behind ladies’ butts. Like, also—you would love that, Dan! [Laughs.]

stuart

So they—they end up, in, uh, Green Hills. All the locals show up. Uh… it looks like—it looks like Sonic gets blasted and he’s lying on the ground and we’re like, whoa, Sonic’s dead. And then like— [Dan laughs.]

crosstalk

Stuart: —Tom starts to stand up— Elliott: [Laughs.] Wait. Hold on. Wait.

elliott

If I get to—so, Jamelle. Did you think Sonic was dead at this point?

jamelle

Uh, I did not. No.

crosstalk

Elliott: Okay. So Stuart— [Laughs.] Jamelle: [Inaudible.]

elliott

[Through laughter] So Stuart’s just speaking for himself, then. [Laughs.] [Dan laughs.]

stuart

So everybody—everybody assumes Sonic is dead. He’s covered in scorch marks and you’re like, man, he got roasted. Um— [Elliott laughs.] And then Tom uses a ring to jump on the back of Robotnik’s thing, and, uh, you’re like, oh, wait, oh, that didn’t work. And then, uh, Tom pledges his eternal friendship, which—of course—wakes Sonic up in friendship lightning. [Elliott laughs.] Sonic like is totally cheesed out. He’s, like, super yoked. And he starts bouncing all around and blasting Robotnik before knocking him onto the Mushroom Planet. Uh, the locals rally around Sonic. Uh… after one crazy weekend they all decide to just move back to Montana. [Laughs.] [Elliott laughs.] A government official shows up with an Olive Garden gift certificate.

elliott

[Laughs.] To thank them for covering up the situation. And—I assume—getting rid of Robotnik.

stuart

Yeah.

dan

Yeah. I—I—this—this seemed unclear to me. Like, what the hell? [Laughs.] Like, why the government—who sent in Robotnik—is suddenly like, uh, we’re cool with you just keeping this alien and, uh, thanks for everything you did. And it’s like, okay. Like… I—I would appreciate at least one scene before that where they’re like calling him and being like, Robotnik, you’re destroying cities! Or like some—I don’t know. It just seemed very strange that they just turned around immediately and are like, thanks for your service!

elliott

It was also around this time that I started wondering—how old is Sonic supposed to be? [Dan laughs.] Like, is he a kid? Or is he a grown-up? ‘Cause if he’s a kid there’s something very weird about James Marsden like sharing a hotel room with this kid that he just met? But—

dan

Yeah.

crosstalk

Elliott: If he’s a grownup then it’s very weird that he’s like— Dan: I think he’s like a—

elliott

—just wearing shoes and no other clothes? [Laughs.]

crosstalk

Stuart: It’s a ‘90s movie. Dan: I feel like he’s a young teen.

dan

A young teen is the vibe I got. I don’t know.

elliott

Okay. He’s ageless and eternal. Okay. Yeah.

dan

Yeah.

stuart

Uh, yeah. So they welcome Sonic into their home. We get a post-credit scene where Jim Carrey fully goes, uh, Dr. Robotnik. He looks just like the guy in the videogame, which is like… such a classic, like, adaptation of a property where they’re like, we’re gonna introduce you to the bad guy before he actually looks like the bad guy [through laughter] you’re familiar with? [Elliott laughs.]

dan

Yeah. To that end, I just wanted to say—like—him, with his crazy moustache, like, growling to himself on this really kind of fun-looking mushroom planet—I was like, this is the movie I wanted to watch the whole time!

elliott

Yeah. It’s kinda how I felt when I saw Joker and at the end he’s the Joker and I was like, okay, I’m kinda interested to see what the Joker does now! And then the credits started? [Laughs.] And I was like, wait, what?! [Dan laughs.] I just watched this guy be sad for two hours? Now he’s finally the Joker and the movie’s done? [Multiple people laugh.] But it—

stuart

And then we get, uh, we get our second post-credits scene and that’s Tails, babyyy!

elliott

[Through laughter] Yeah. Tails hops through and goes—my—reader device says that Sonic should be here! And flies off into the distance. And that was when I turned to my wife—uh, she was not watching the movie with me but she happened to be in the room. And I turned to her and I was like, so… when the first Avengers movie ended and Thanos turned around and I got really excited? Is this that? like, was that as dumb as the idea that the audience would get excited— [Dan laughs.] —that Tails is gonna be in the next movie? Like… is my stuff that I’m passionate about as stupid as this stuff? And guys…

crosstalk

Elliott: I gotta— Dan: Probably, Elliott.

elliott

Probably. I gotta hope that they—that Jim Starlin’s, uh, philosophical work in the Thanos comics? Uh, did not make it so? But there was part of me—it really brought me down to be like… okay. So when I get excited when one of my characters shows up, it’s just as stupid as if I was there and like Tails showed up and I was like—Tails?! Yeah!!! [Laughs.]

stuart

I mean, I’ll defend the difference there. Because, like, Thanos is like… kind of a deep cut? Like, not every single person who’s familiar with supe—like, Marvel comics would know who he was prior to that? Uh, and Tails is, like, in the title of the second or third Sonic game. Right?

elliott

Yeah. Okay. Yeah. That’s true.

crosstalk

Elliott: Yeah. There’s a Sonic— Dan: So that makes it better?

dan

[Through laughter] That they’re introducing esoteric characters? I don’t—

crosstalk

Stuart: No— Jamelle: It—it makes it—

jamelle

You’re right. Go ahead, Stuart.

stuart

I was just gonna say, Elliott, uh, it’s not the same.

elliott

Okay. Thank you.

jamelle

I—I—I was watching this with my wife and this is the point at which she looked up and goes, the fuck is that? [Multiple people laugh.] And I, uh… [Multiple people laugh.] I said—I said, it’s a fox.

dan

Yeah. Similarly, as long as we’re telling, uh, stories about watching this with our, uh, significant others—I, uh… [Laughs.] Like, toward the end, Audrey was like—so do you think we’re gonna—I guess—are we gonna see Tails? And I’m like, no. [Stuart laughs.] I guarantee you— [Elliott laughs.] —the last thing in this movie is gonna be Tails appearing and being like, saying something like—finally! I’ve found him! [Through laughter] Or something like that. [Elliott laughs.] And lo and behold, that’s exactly what happens at the end of this movie.

elliott

Exactly. I wasn’t sure if it was gonna be Tails or if it was gonna be Knuckles coming through the portal and being like, alright boys. Get ‘im. Or something like that.

jamelle

Yeah. That would’ve been interesting. Right? Knuckles shows up and it’s like, y’know, we gotta finish the job! [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

Yeah. Yeah. But instead, like, Tails is gonna find him and what? It’s like—I mean, if there’s—I assume they’re gonna make a sequel ‘cause this movie did well. But that might end up being like the end of the Super Mario Bros. Movie where the princess comes through the portal with this huge gun and is like, we need your help! And we never found out what that was about— [Dan laughs.] —‘cause they never made another movie! [Laughs.]

stuart

Man. I love it. Yeah. So that was Sonic the Hedgehog. It was, like, just exactly enough of a movie. Uh, I didn’t hate it? [Laughs.] [Elliott laughs.] Uh…

dan

Wait, wait, wait. If you’re gonna—wait. We—we—we— [Elliott laughs.] How many years have we been doing this podcast? [Through laughter] Like, I feel like every time we do it—

elliott

Too many, Dan. Too many.

dan

People—people start giving their final judgments before the—we introduce the segment [through laughter] that we’ve established since the beginning. Which is called Final Judgments.

crosstalk

Dan: Whether this is— Elliott: You’re right, Dan.

elliott

Let’s start being professional now. Like— [Laughs.]

stuart

I guess I—so should I just continue talking about this movie without any opinion injected, Dan? [Elliott laughs.] Should I talk about it—

crosstalk

Stuart: —like I’m one of Robotnik’s drones, perhaps? Dan: We have— [Elliott laughs.]

dan

We have a dedicated segment where you give [through laughter] your opinion, yet you feel like you must give it beforehand. Is this a good-bad movie, a bad-bad movie, or a movie you kinda liked? Stuart, what were you gonna say about it? You have an opinion about it.

stuart

Oh! Oh, you want my opinion now.

crosstalk

Stuart: Huh. Whoa. Okay. Whew! Okay. Okay. Uh— Dan: Yes! During the right—the correct portion!

stuart

I don’t know. It was—uh, it was fine. It was short. Uh… I actually, like… y’know, it’s—there’s a lotta jokes. Uh, I don’t know what it would be like if you’re a parent and you have to watch this with your kid a million times? Uh, but yeah. It was fine. Uh, I guess it’s… it’s not a movie I like. And it’s not really, uh, I—it’s—I don’t know. It’s—like—I guess it’s a movie?

elliott

It’s almost like this shows why our Final Judgments segment is a little flawed in that so often the movies don’t fit the three categories. [Laughs.]

dan

No, that’s fine. I mean, people can say that in the segment. I just want—I just want to, like, y’know. Uh… I would say… this movie is, like, as people have said, it’s relatively short at an hour… forty. Coulda been 90 minutes. Um, I—what I—

crosstalk

Dan: When I watch a movie like— Elliott: But 90 minutes—what—

elliott

What would you cut, Dan? [Stuart laughs.] The part where Sonic is just riding a mechanical bull for no reason? [Laughs.]

dan

[Through laughter] Probably. Uh, when I watch a movie like this that has so little in the way of… like… interesting plot turns or characterization? I am amazed at movies or TV shows that are much shorter that pack in so much, uh, character development and… interesting plot turns? I’m like, how do these exist in the same universe? Do, like, better movies have some sort of [through laughter] time dilation power— [Elliott laughs.] —where they’re able to stuff this stuff in? Um… so I don’t know. I—like, this movie looks okay? The director is like, uh, an animation director? And the actors are giving it their all. It just doesn’t have much to it. I think that like… if you’re eight? This is probably a pretty good movie. There are a couple off-color jokes that don’t need to be in there, but, um. That’s the best I would say about it. Like, this movie could be worse. [Laughs.] [Elliott laughs.] [Through laughter] Is my—is my.

elliott

Yeah. I didn’t—I didn’t quite like it for myself, but like, I could see allowing my children to watch it? I will say, grading it on the very poor curve of videogame-based movies? I think it probably is pretty—is relatively high on that curve?

crosstalk

Elliott: Like, you compare it to like— Stuart: Yeah! It’s up there with, uh—

stuart

Up there with Double Dragon, right?

elliott

Yeah. It’s right up there with Double Dragon and Doom and, uh, Chun Li. Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li. [Stuart laughs.] Like, and Mortal Kombat and like, there’s—I—as far as movies based on videogames go, this is… one of the better ones. But it’s—it’s still not—I would—if you’re over the age of like nine I wouldn’t be, like, pop it in. You’re gonna love it.

jamelle

So—incidentally, I—we actually watched Mortal Kombat last—not last night, but the night before, uh— [Elliott laughs.] —because we were just surfing Netflix and it was on? And I hadn’t seen it in a long time. Uh, and it was a movie that I watched a ton of as a little kid. And, um… Mortal Kombat is a worse movie? But it—it’s—it’s… so—it’s bad in interesting ways? It’s sort of like it’s not bland at all, it’s just sort of like… kind of gonzo? And that makes it way more enjoyable than Sonic, which is objectively a better put-together movie? But it is just so bland and paint-by-numbers and… y’know… obviously written by committee? Uh… that it kind of—like, it’s like the only thing about Sonic that I would recommend to anyone is just like, yeah. You get to see Jim Carrey do his thing for, y’know. 40 minutes tops. Uh… and, uh… that’s fun, I guess. But there’s nothing, like… there’s nothing crazy about it. It’s just sort of like a movie. Y’know?

elliott

This is definitely—this is the movie you put on if you have those—that car with the TV in the backseat for kids? Like, you just put it on and you ignore it and— [Dan laughs.] —an hour and forty minutes later, hopefully you’ve made it through traffic and you’re where you need to be. But yeah.

stuart

Well, and it doesn’t have like—it doesn’t have any like super irritating musical numbers. It doesn’t have like any particularly, like, long, extended, annoying parts. Like, I feel like—I feel like it’s actually pretty… y’know, it goes pretty fast. [Laughs.]

elliott

Yeah. I will—I—them casting Jim Carrey goes a long way for me in—in making it more bearable. I—uh, correct me—so I haven’t seen Mortal Kombat since I saw it in the theaters. Uh—

stuart

Why?

elliott

I kind of remember Goro just walking out? And them not making a big deal about Goro being there? Is that—does that the case or does he get a big buildup?

jamelle

No, that’s totally the case. There’s a scene where Kano is like eating chicken and Goro’s in the chair and the camera turns to Goro just sort of like, oh, yeah, hey, here’s this like four-armed, y’know— [Elliott laughs.]

crosstalk

Jamelle: Man guy thing. Elliott: This monster giant.

elliott

With four arms. [Multiple people laugh.]

jamelle

No, I mean, so the thing I’d forgotten about that movie is it starts with the Mortal Kombat theme song? Like, there’s no… there’s no, like… opening credits or anything. It’s just like immediately the theme song plays and it’s like—at—the volume’s like 120%? And— [Elliott laughs.] —in all seriousness— [Multiple people laugh.] —like, I kinda lost my mind? [Stuart laughs.] Like, I heard it and I was like—I got like legitimately excited to watch the movie? It was a very strange feeling.

stuart

Yeah. You like look down and your remote control had been shattered by your fist? [Multiple people laugh.]

dan

Okay.

elliott

So wait. I—can you guys think of any genuinely good movies based on videogames? Are there any?

dan

Hmm.

stuart

Uh—

elliott

There must be some.

crosstalk

Elliott: I want someone to write us in and tell us one. Stuart: Taking of Pelham 123?

elliott

Yeah, yeah. [Dan laughs.] That’s based on the videogame. Sure. Yeah. And of course there’s the movie, uh, Descent, which is based on that railshooter? Descent? Right? [Stuart laughs.]

jamelle

Right, right. Yes. Yes. Of course.

elliott

Yeah.

dan

Uh, let’s—I’m looking at a list. Uh…

elliott

But are you checking it twice?

dan

The, uh… whoo. God. This is not a great. Um… [Laughs.] This is not a great list at all. Uh, I kinda like the first Resident Evil? Like, later on it gets like way into… uh… like mythology and I don’t follow—it’s like, it’s got as complex a mythology as the Fast & Furious movies, which I just ignore. The, uh, that element of them. Um…

crosstalk

Elliott: This is very— Dan: Rampage is okay.

dan

It’s not… I don’t know.

jamelle

Yeah. Ram—I thought Rampage was like much better than I expected it to be.

elliott

Oh. See, I never—I didn’t—I never saw Rampage. I shoulda—I used to love that game as a kid ‘cause it was what I wanted to do. Just smash stuff. Wait a minute. So—

stuart

Do any of the monsters turn into a person in their underpants, though? That’s the question. [Dan laughs.]

elliott

That was the best part. Yeah. ‘Cause it was like—not so big now, are ya? You big bully.

dan

Yeah. I think they’re all just, uh, monsters that have been like mutated. I don’t think they’re actually like humans that have become monsters in that movie.

crosstalk

Stuart: What’s—what’s the point? Elliott: Now, guys? I wanna take issue with the—

elliott

I’m looking up on google, uh—

crosstalk

Elliott: —movies based on videogames. Jamelle: Oh! I—I—sir, I have an answer to this!

jamelle

Um, it just came out. Detective Pikachu! Is actually pretty good!

elliott

Oh, okay. Uh, now—Google has a category here: fantasy movies about videogames. And they have some interesting movies in this section: Beowulf. Uh, Lord of the Rings. Uh— [Stuart laughs.] Big Trouble in Little China. Uh, King Kong: The Original. I don’t know whose, uh, City of Lost Children. I don’t know who is, uh, whose algorithm—what algorithm is making these videogame movies, but okay. Oh, The Wizard. That’s a movie based—about videogames. There you go. Great movie. Sure. They visit those dinosaurs from Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. They introduce the Power Glove in Super Mario 3. Oh, yeah. It’s great.

jamelle

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

promo

Music: Straightforward, thump-y electric bass guitar beat with light drums. Laurie: Hi. I am Laurie Kilmartin. Jackie: And I’m Jackie Kashian. Laurie: Together we host a podcast called: Jackie: The Jackie and Laurie Show. Laurie: Uh, we’re both stand-up comics. We recently met each other because women weren’t allowed to work together, uh—uh, on the road or in gigs for a long, long time, and so…our friendship has been unfolding on this podcast for a couple years. Jackie constantly works the road; I write for Conan and then I work the road in-between. Jackie: We do a lot of stand-up comedy, and so we celebrate stand-up— Laurie: Yes. Jackie: —and we also…bitch about it. Laurie: We keep it to an hour; we don’t have any guests. We somehow find enough to—to talk about every single week. So find us—you can subscribe to The Jackie and Laurie show at MaximumFun.org, or wherever you get your podcasts. Jackie: [Nonplussed] K, bye. [Music ends.]

promo

Music: Mellow ukulele music plays in the background. Jordan Morris: Welcome! Speaker 1: Thank you. Speaker 2: Thanks! Speaker 3: No problem. Thank you. Jesse Thorn: These are real podcast listeners, not actors. Jordan: What do you look for in a podcast? Speaker 1: Reliability is big for me. Speaker 2: Power. Speaker 3: I’d say comfort? Jordan: What do you think of this? [Loud metallic crash and clanging.] All: Ooh. Speaker 2: That’s Jordan, Jesse, Go! Speaker 1: Jordan, Jesse, Go!? Speaker 2: They came out of the floor? [Loud thump.] Speaker 1: And…down from the ceiling? Speaker 3: That… can’t be safe. Speaker 1: I’m upset. Speaker 2: Can we go now? Jordan: Soon. [Music that sounds like it would have backed a 1990s commercial starts.] Jesse: Jordan, Jesse, Go!: a real podcast. [Music fades out.]

dan

Now we go on to… uh… the—woo! Apparently on Rotten Tomatoes, the best-ranked, uh— [through laughter] best-ranked videogame movie is the Angry Birds Movie 2, which seems strange. But uh, Detective Pikachu is right— [Stuart laughs.] —right behind it.

stuart

It’s The Empire Strikes Back of the franchise.

elliott

[Laughs.] Yeah. Finally—finally Angry Birds got serious. And, uh, they really—they had a darker story.

dan

Okay. Well, The Flop House is sponsored—in part—by Express VPN. Hey, look. Uh, unless you are, uh, an essential worker—and if you are, God bless you. Uh, stay safe out there. Um, you are probably stuck at home. A lot. And not only can Express VPN protect your privacy and your security online, but you can also use it to unlock movies and television shows that are only available in other countries. You may have run out of stuff to watch, uh, already. Uh, and you can use that Express VPN service to change your location to almost 100 different countries. Just think about all the extra libraries you’ll be able to access. For instance! Outside of the US, you could watch, uh, Star Trek: Discovery on Netflix UK. Uh, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on Netflix Australia. Blackadder, also on Netflix UK. Um, all kinds of movies and television programs. So, uh, it’s compatible with all of your devices—phones, media consoles, smart TVs and more. You can watch what you want on a personal device or on the big screen, wherever you are. If you visit our special link right now at ExpressVPN.com/flop, you can get an extra three months of Express VPN for free. Support our show; watch what you want; and protect yourself with Express VPN at ExpressVPN.com/flop. No one has anything to say about that, so let’s move on to Jumbotrons. [Stuart laughs.] I think I sent you some Jumbotrons?

elliott

Support our sponsors. That’s what I would say. I got a Jumbotron! Stuart, do you wanna go first? Do you have one?

stuart

I do! This message is for Merghan. The message is from Mert. “[Singing] Bwa, bwa, bwa, bwaaaaa. [Dramatic voice] Introducing Dr. Last Name Withheld! I’m so proud of you for passing your dissertation defense—even if you declined to title it “Intrigues, Intrigues, Intrigueeees!” You continuously amaze me with your hard work, courage, and caring. I’ll always be there for you—even after 10PM. P. S. Tacos for dinner?” Okay! We— [Laughs.] We end with a mystery! [Multiple people laugh.]

dan

See, that’s the—that’s the extra zazz that you get with a Stuart Wellington Jumbotron read.

crosstalk

Elliott: Mm-hm. Now let’s get— Dan: Elliott, he set the mark.

elliott

Pretty high. So let me—let me try if I can outdo it. Okay. “Check out my wife’s new book from Northwestern University Press: Imitation Artist: Gertrude Hoffman’s Life in Vaudeville… and Dance.” Gertrude Hoffman was a dancer in the Gay Nineties who became a vaudeville superstar and one of the highest-paid entertainers in America through her innovation of bringing over popular dances from overseas before the original companies could. Sunny Stalter-Pace shows how Hoffman influenced the rise of contemporary celebrity culture through performance of gender, race, and national identity. If you’re interested in modernism, theatre, and dance history, women or copyright—it’s a must-read!” So that’s—that’s—that’s Imitation Artist: Gertrude Hoffman’s Life in Vaudeville and Dance.

dan

You make fun of me as a producer sometimes, but—see—I do things like making sure to assign Elliott the Jumbotron that mentions vaudeville and Stuart the one that mentions tacos! [Stuart laughs.] So that’s the kind of value that I’m bringing to the show as a smart producer.

elliott

Yeah. You’re—you’re really earning that $400,000 a year producing bonus. [Dan laughs.]

dan

Look, guys, uh— [Laughs.] I took over the board fair and square so I can— [Laughs.] [Elliott laughs.] Vote myself whatever I—okay. Anyway. That bit has petered out, so let’s go on to one more thing in this section which is to remind listeners that MaxFun is running a survey to help figure out which advertisers are a good fit for our audience. We are still primarily audience-supported and, um, y’know, we realize that, uh, times are tough right now. We appreciate anyone who is supporting us. And we will always continue to be audience-supported, but advertising can be a big help, especially right now. The results of the survey will help us talk to new advertisers; convince them to give us a shot. It’s short. Shouldn’t take more than ten minutes and you’ll get a discount at the MaxFun store for filling it out as well as our gratitude. So go to MaximumFun.org/adsurvey to fill it out.

elliott

I filled out that survey as a Maximum listener and I enjoyed it. But I also like filling out surveys. [Multiple people laugh.] Makes me feel important. Oh, they care what I think? Yeah, sure! Monetize this, please! [Stuart laughs.]

dan

Okay. So. Uh, we’ve bored Jamelle long enough, so let’s move on to a non-business-y section of recording the podcast. [Jamelle laughs.]

elliott

I mean, that’s usually what you would say when we would end the show and let him go finally for the day. [Multiple people laugh.]

crosstalk

Elliott: You’re like, we’ve bored Jamelle long enough. Let’s do 30 more minutes of the show. [Laughs.] Dan: Yeah. He looked up with hope in his eyes. [Laughs.] [Stuart laughs.]

dan

He’s like, please, let me go back to my wife and darling child that we’ve seen in the background running around. Um, no. But we have to do letters first. Uh, this first letter is from John, last name withheld. It’s titled—

elliott

From Cincinnati.

dan

“A worthless Peter Riegert story.”

elliott

Love it already.

dan

“Dear Flop House, You guys were talking about Peter Riegert in the Oscar episode and I wanted to share my Peter Riegert anecdote. When I was a kid around 1994, my mom had heard they were filming something a flute—a few blocks away from my house in Portland, Oregon, and that Peter Riegert was in it. Mom loved Peter Riegert because Local Hero is her and dad’s favorite movie. I remember that Jane Curtin was also filming in this thing, and my IMDB sleuthing tells me it was the pilot episode of Mystery Dance. Uh, anyway, we rode our bikes to set—"

crosstalk

Dan: “—I got to meet—” Elliott: I like—I like—wait, Dan.

elliott

I like the—the—it’s Peter Riegert they love. They love Local Hero. He’s their favorite. Jane Curtin was also there. What a—it’s just—what a snub to Jane Curtin! [Stuart laughs.]

dan

Not—not the Kate & Allie fan that they are the Local Hero fan. [Elliott laughs.]

elliott

They like Kate, but not Allie. Which was which on that show?

dan

[Through laughter] I don’t know. Uh, that’s a show that I watched—I remember watching it as like a young child and I’m— [Laughs.] And it’s one of those ones where I like… the premise didn’t [through laughter] seem like… targeted at me. But, uh—

elliott

No. I don’t think you were—I—I used to watch it every day in syndication and to this day the only episode I remember is the flashback episode that was just them recapping scenes from [through laughter] previous episodes? [Stuart laughs.] Being like, hey, remember when? But I—as a kid—I think—I don’t remember what the premise was? As a kid I just assumed they were married. I assumed they were lesbians who were married.

dan

No, there were—uh—two—that—y’know, that would probably have been, uh, a better show. But there were two, uh, divorcees who were, uh, y’know… living together. Moved their families in together. Um, anyway.

stuart

Yeah. That doesn’t sound targeted to you. And that usually makes you pretty angry, based on your Letterboxd reviews. Right? When— [Elliott laughs.] —media isn’t targeted toward you? [Laughs.]

dan

Shut up. [Laughs.] I—I—I’m just often astounded by the things I watched as a kid just ‘cause they were on TV when they are not things that like my life experience [through laughter] at that time as a child would’ve set me up to enjoy. I’ve often said the, uh, the show Dear John with Judd Hirsch about a very sad man recovering [through laughter] from his divorce— [Elliott laughs.] Yeah, maybe today it would’ve, uh, I mean, like, I’m— [Laughs.] I’m not sad anymore. But like a few years ago it may have spoken to me very well. But [through laughter] right now—but as a kid… uh… I don’t know what I saw [through laughter] in that show.

elliott

I mean, the fact that as a kid my favorite things to watch were Gremlins 2, Golden Girls, and Empty Nest—it was like I was either watching The Golden Girls, Empty Nest Hour, or I was watching Gremlins 2 or The Dark Crystal. And for some reason those were equivalent levels of entertainment to me. [Laughs.] [Stuart laughs.]

jamelle

I mean, that’s sort of the magic of… like, the age of cable and just like TV’s on whatever it’s on. As a kid you kind of stumble on the stuff that, uh, makes no sense for a child to watch but some kids are really taken with it. So like when I was, y’know, ten or eleven I watched all of MAS*H ‘cause it came on— [Elliott laughs.] —on— [Dan laughs.] —TV Land right before I went to bed. And so I ended up just like over the course of two years, like, watching most of that series. Um, and on Saturdays I think there was a—it was like a two-hour long block—or an hour and a half or whatever—and it was Designing Women and then In The Heat of the Night. [Multiple people laugh.] And so I like watched those. Every Saturday.

stuart

That’s can’t-miss television, y’know?

elliott

Our kids will never know that ‘cause my son, he’s just like—Newsies. Put it on. And he can just watch Newsies whenever. [Multiple people laugh.] So he’s never gonna have to know what it’s like to be like, what’s on television? I guess it’s what’s going in my face right now. Is—yeah. This syndicated show from when I was—from before I was born. Y’know.

dan

Mm-hm. He’ll never know the joy of WKRP in Cincinnati. Um—

elliott

I mean, nobody will ‘cause they can’t release the original episodes ‘cause of the music clearance rights!

dan

I know. It’s a shame. ‘Cause that’s actually a very, very funny show. Anyway. Uh… anyway! “We rode our bikes to set. I got to meet Peter Riegert and this lady who my mom thought was Jane Curtin.” [Multiple people laugh.] “Peter Riegert was super cool and talked to my mom and I for about ten minutes and he even signed my baseball glove! I’ve been a big fan of his ever since and have always been delighted when he pops up in stuff. I still have that baseball glove somewhere, thought the autograph has likely faded. Oh, and it turns out that wasn’t Jane Curtin.” [Elliott laughs.] “Thanks for the laughs and keep on flopping. John, Last Name Withheld.” So a double insult to Jane Curtin.

elliott

Yeah. Usually when you say “a person that I thought was so-and-so” it—your—the implication is pretty clear that it wasn’t that person. Like, it’s never like—and then I ran into someone I was pretty sure was Arnold Schwarzenegger, and it was! [Multiple people laugh.] Like—

dan

Well also, I—I—I tipped the twist ending by really punching that “I thought was Jane Curtin.” ‘Cause I knew the—I knew the end at the beginning. Um.

elliott

So how much do you think a baseball glove signed by Peter Riegert would go for? ‘Cause again, he’s not a baseball player. [Laughs.]

dan

Y’know, almost, uh, $25? [Laughs.]

elliott

But at that point are you paying for the autograph or the quality of the baseball glove? [Multiple people laugh.]

stuart

Yeah. That’s a good question.

jamelle

Sometimes you meet a—sometimes you meet a celebrity and you just need them to sign something. I have a friend who—when we were in college—George Clinton was performing and signing records at the bookstore? And she went and didn’t have a George Clinton record but had a copy of The Wealth of Nations on her? [Elliott laughs.] And so she has a George Clinton signed copy of Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations. [Stuart laughs.]

elliott

Oh. That’s even better than my copy of Elmer Gantry signed by Neil Gaiman. ‘Cause that was the book I had on me at the time. Maybe George Clinton did write Wealth of Nations. [Stuart laughs.]

jamelle

I mean, it’s possible.

elliott

But there’s time travel involved?

jamelle

Uh, time travel. Uh, Adam Smith notably wrote about, uh, funk, and uh— [Elliott laughs.] —being gay.

crosstalk

Jamelle: Y’know, the Invisible Hand of Funk? Elliott: It was originally called The Funk of Nations.

dan

I— [Laughs.]

jamelle

Right. That’s right. Yeah. [Multiple people laugh.]

dan

I’m glad Jamelle said “funk” ‘cause I—I’ll admit that I… spaced out for a moment and I came back in and I’m like, wait, are we talking about Parliament-Funkadelic George Clinton? [Through laughter] What’s going on? [Jamelle laughs.]

jamelle

No, we’re talking about New York governor in the 1790s George Clinton. [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

Who also was very funky!

stuart

And that’s a valuable autograph! Because you can’t get that anymore!

elliott

Yeah. Yeah. Very much. He was—he came after—he came after New York Governor Bootsy Throckmorton. [Multiple people laugh.]

dan

Okay. Uh, this second and final letter is from Tony, last name withheld. Who writes: “Hey, flop crew! My friend—”

elliott

You know what’s interesting about Tony is his middle name is Tony and his last name is Tony but they’re all spelled differently. [Stuart laughs.]

dan

That is interesting. “My friends and I just started a movie group so we can connect with each other during this time. Do you have any tips for engaging conversation on movies? Are there any thought-provoking questions you rely on?” Um, I don’t—[sighs.] I don’t have a good one here other than, like… I do think it’s interesting to sort of look at the individual elements of a movie? Y’know, direction versus writing versus acting versus… look of a film. Even though they’re all so deeply interconnected you don’t wanna separate them completely. Um, it’s a way that you can kind of talk about movies without just… saying I liked it or didn’t like it ‘cause there—there—there may be, y’know, mixed elements in it that you like or dislike! But I would say… maybe put a little effort into researching what different people are… um… are into? Or like what they do on a movie? Because I—this is a weird, like, personal pet peeve? But I often find people, like, complaining about movies they think are too long and being like… oh, they needed a good editor on this movie! And I’m like, nah, that’s really like a screenplay problem? Compounded by the director not knowing what to cut? After seeing the screenplay shot? Like, the editor is not, like, necessarily making decisions on, like… like, oh, let’s just cut out this entire subplot unless he’s like making Annie Hall or something.

elliott

So unless—unless the editor is Ralph Rosenblum, you do not—it’s probably not in his purview.

dan

[Laughs.] Yeah. Well I—I guess I’m making assumptions about what the audience knows. But like that movie was vastly different and, uh… Woody Allen was a nascent filmmaker at that time and didn’t quite know how to do it and so the—a lot of that film was made in the editing.

elliott

You’ve read his book, right?

dan

Yes. Yeah.

elliott

When the Shooting Stops, the Cutting Begins? It’s a great book? But it’s like… it—it’s kind of funny ‘cause it’s also like—and here’s another story about a movie I saved! [Multiple people laugh.]

dan

Yeah. [Laughs.]

stuart

Uh, that’s cool. Yeah. I feel like, uh… I mean, I would say do something like what our buddies over at Blank Check do, which is—you can always look at a movie in the context of when it was released and what other movies came out around the same time and I think it—I think that leads some kinda fun conversation. Uh, but that might just be for, y’know, movie nerds.

dan

Well, and also, like, where it falls in that filmmaker’s, uh, uh, oeuvre. To use an annoying word.

elliott

I would say—I don’t have any thought-provoking questions, but I would say a tip for engaging in conversation on movies is to avoid too-definitive statements about things that are matters of taste? Not being like, this was the worst movie or this was the best movie or like this is—anyone who likes this is dumb or like you liked it so you’re dumb. Like, to just go into it and be ready to— [Stuart laughs.]

dan

You piece of shit!

elliott

You piece of shit! You gotta get the fuck outta here! [Multiple people laugh.] Like, that’s not a polite way to talk. But just to—to go into it kind of being open about, like—if I like a thing and someone else doesn’t like it that’s okay. If they like it and I don’t like it that’s okay and I wanna talk to them and find out why they felt this way or why I felt this way without it becoming a battle? Unless your relationship with your friends is you like to argue with them. I like—I—there’s certain friends of mine that I like to argue with. But you kinda have to know how to keep in your mind in certain bounds of like, I respect these people and I respect their taste so if we disagree that’s okay and I don’t wanna go too far in what I’m saying.

dan

Well—well also, just knowing that like a matter of taste is often informed by… the perspective of the person, which is often formed by like the life that they have led, which—for instance—y’know, if I talk about a movie with Audrey, like… on a very basic level, like, she—as a woman—may have concerns that I don’t have as a man or like, y’know, removing it from that sort of identity. Like, if you grew up a certain place with a certain way. Like, it’s an opportunity to widen your perspective through putting yourself in their shoes, I think.

elliott

But it’s also even just the fact that like I had to come to terms at a certain point with—that—that just like, Big Trouble in Little China just doesn’t do it for me but it does it for a lot of my friends. And I can’t—it’s not worth it for me to argue either way. Y’know.

dan

No, no. I think it’s important in the age of the internet to, um… to— [Laughs.] Like, realize that these are things that are a matter of opinion and not a personal affront. But I do think that there’s, like… an extra level of learning that you can put on top of that and be like, okay. Like, I’m broadening like my personal perspective by empathy.

elliott

Oh yeah. For sure. I mean, it’s like, uh, a movie that I’m surprised hasn’t been reevaluated in some ways is His Girl Friday? And I remember the first time watching that with my wife and me being like, this movie is so funny! You gotta watch it! And she’s like, okay. Well I see this woman constantly being crushed by her husband and then at the end, her dreams for her life are destroyed. It’s like, okay. Well yeah… but it’s really… f-funny? Right? Like, it was— [Laughs.]

dan

No. I— [Laughs.] [Stuart laughs.] I’ve had the exact same thing with Audrey, who likes the movie. Who think it’s very funny but is also like—but he is— [Laughs.] He is—

elliott

He’s a monster!

dan

[Through laughter] He’s horrible to her!

elliott

Uh, and we had a similar experience with I Spit on My Grave. But anyway. So, uh, Jamelle. [Multiple people laugh.] Do you have any tips about—

stuart

Wait. Wait. I Spit on My Own Grave? [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

[Through laughter] Yep. Oh, yeah. It’s—I guess it’s I Spit On Your Grave. You wouldn’t wanna spit on your own grave. [Multiple people laugh.] Actually there’s a movie called I Spit on My Grave where someone has to get revenge on themself!

stuart

Oh, wow!

dan

Now, Jamelle, I know—I follow you on Letterboxd so I know that you are both a, uh… a great fan of movies and an incisive, uh, writer about them. What do you have to say about this?

jamelle

Uh, I mean I guess—when I’m like talking about—if I’m like at a party or something and talking about movies or, y’know, in the before times when there were still parties. When, um, I was—

crosstalk

Jamelle: —at them and movies came up— Stuart: Oh. Oh. [Sighing.]

jamelle

Uh, should I not date the podcast like that? Or—

crosstalk

Dan: [Inaudible.] Stuart: Oh, parties! Ugh! Parties! Oh! [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

Wait, hold on. I’m sorry—what is a par…tee? [Multiple people laugh.]

crosstalk

Elliott: That’s also— Dan: Elliott, you weren’t going to parties—

dan

—even in the before time. [Laughs.]

elliott

No, that’s true. I wasn’t. Or if I went there I would leave as quickly as possible. Which for me was very—it took a long time to leave them. But my wife would always be like, okay, we wanna leave in like an hour. Start saying goodbye to people! [Laughs.] [Stuart laughs.]

crosstalk

Elliott: But uh, so you were saying. How would you talk to people? Jamelle: But uh, I—I usually—

jamelle

I look for stuff that I’m very enthusiastic about in a movie and sort of just like talk about that? I, y’know, if—I find that trying to have a conversation about something, unless both people agree that the thing is bad or whatever, it’s—I think it’s kinda difficult to have a negative discussion? But, uh, say like—oh, y’know, have you seen this movie? Or we saw this movie and this is—this element of the movie I really liked and here’s why. Um, I—in my experience can get people talking. Either because they disagree or they agree or they can think of other similar examples. Y’know. Um, getting people to be enthusiastic about things tends to—in my experience—lead to pretty good conversation.

dan

Hmm.

crosstalk

Elliott: That’s a good idea. Stuart: Yeah. Yeah. I’m with ya.

stuart

I—I mean, yeah! It’s all about, like, trying to find something people are excited about and actually [through laughter] wanna talk about? [Laughs.] I find, like, when I’m bartending I’m always like, trying to, y’know, I’m trying to find things to talk to people about and I’m like—I stopped saying— [Laughs.] I stopped saying, got any plans for the weekend? ‘Cause I got tired of being like, oh, uh, no, huh? Just this, huh? Oh, okay. [Laughs.] [Elliott laughs.]

dan

Yeah.

elliott

You’re bartending and you’re like, so, things going great? [Stuart laughs.] And the customer’s like, no.

dan

Be like a Stuart. Uh, remember to ask people about themselves. Not like a Dan, who is interested in other people but forgets to do that very simple thing. [Laughs.]

stuart

No, Dan, I mean you assume that people just open themselves up to you without prompting.

dan

Y’know, I’ve—I— [Multiple people laugh.]

crosstalk

Elliott: Wow. This is touching a genuine nerve. Dan: I’ve had this talk with many people—

dan

I mean, I’ve had this talk with many people over the years. Like, I don’t wanna, uh, blame my upbringing ‘cause I have my own, um, uh… agency? But I did grow up in a very quiet midwestern home where, uh, asking people about themselves was equivalent to prying [through laughter] a lot of times and we assumed that if people wanted to talk about things they would just bring it up. Uh—

elliott

Now, it seems like there’s certain parts of the country where people are just quieter and less intrusive. And the difference between them—I’m talking mainly about the Midwest and the northeast—is that the Northeast, it’s from a spooky point of view. Where like, you can’t—if you ask somebody about themselves they may curse you ‘cause they’re a witch. Where in the Midwest, it’s more like—it’s like, uh, I don’t wanna—I don’t wanna draw attention to myself. I won’t ask you any questions. I don’t know. Is that the case, Dan? Or—as someone who comes from New Jersey, where everyone’s always talking loud and wants all the attention constantly and is scarfing down pizza at the beach— [Stuart laughs.] —like, um, am I wrong from my perspective? [Laughs.]

dan

I’m kind of baffled by what the—the bit is here [through laughter] about the witch in the Northeast. I— [Stuart laughs.]

elliott

I mean, you gotta spend more time in New England, I guess. It’s full—it’s—everything is kinda dark and spooky and scary. Whereas in the Midwest everyone’s just kinda quiet.

crosstalk

Elliott: I was really hoping— Dan: That’s true.

elliott

—that you were gonna tell me that the Midwest was also full of folklore.

crosstalk

Dan: Uhhhhh… just with damn Children of the Corn. [Laughs.] Stuart: Yeah, it’s like— [All laugh.]

stuart

It’s like if you go behind the dumpster behind the Bennigan’s, you won’t— [Multiple people laugh.]

dan

[Through laughter] Yeah.

elliott

Spoken like a true Midwesterner in that you’re like, oh, those damn children of the corn are out again! Don’t want to make a big fuss about it. Just— [through laughter] ignore ‘em.

crosstalk

Dan: Just don’t walk in there. Jamelle: I mean, you said it like you’re a—

jamelle

You’re a farmer and they’re like, I don’t know— [Stuart laughs.] —critters in your yard or whatever, y’know. [Multiple people laugh.]

dan

They’re always eating that corn!

jamelle

Someone get the .22! We gotta take care of those children of the corn again! [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

You’re just yelling, hyah! Hyah! Git! Go to someone else’s corn! Now, The Children of the Corn—I don’t remember it well. Were they—they grew out of cornstalks. Right? Like, the husk would open and it would be a child inside?

crosstalk

Stuart: Uh-huh. Yup. Dan: They are…

dan

A sort of… they’re sort of a, um, what do you call ‘em? Uh, they’re—

crosstalk

Elliott: I don’t know. Dan: They’re like a Messianic cult. Uh—

dan

They worship some sort of corn god I think? Uh… and they kill adults.

stuart

Yeah. Yeah. Uh, and—and—and get—

jamelle

Corn god.

stuart

Anne Geddes brought them into life by opening a corn stalk— [Elliott laughs.] [Through laughter] —and finding a baby in there!

elliott

She—she’s the one who in her lab mixed the DNA of a baby and a corn. Yeah. [Multiple people laugh.] I mean, considering how much of it we eat ‘cause of all those government subsidies, I guess we’re all children of the corn. Am I right?

stuart

[Through laughter] Oh, shiiiiit! [Elliott laughs.]

elliott

Shots fired, corn industry! Anyway. Dan, what do we do next in the podcast?

dan

Next on the podcast we recommend movies that, uh, we enjoyed that, y’know, leave Sonic to the kids. Maybe watch one of these. Um—I’m—

elliott

Now, wait. Before we go, Dan, I just wanna say—Sammy was very—was very, very emphatic that he wanted me to recommend Newsies. I’m not going to recommend it for me, but if you are—you wanna watch his favorite movie? Go watch Newsies. Dan? Continue.

dan

Okay. Um… uh… I’m gonna go back, uh… a little bit. ‘Cause I’ve only been watching dumb stuff recently. [Laughs.] Uh, and say that you should watch Gemini, which is kind of a modern, uh… neon-drenched… like, almost like mumblecore noir? Uh, that’s focused on… it’s a—it’s very female-focused which is nice. It is a, um… Lola Kirke plays the assistant to a… woman, uh, an actress who is, uh, found murdered? And… the… uh… evidence kind of points to her but it’s weirdly kind of pleasantly low-stakes in that, like… the evidence kinda points to her but also no one seems to be that convinced it’s her? But she decides to solve the mystery ‘cause she’s just this kind of industrious character? And what I liked about it is, um, it looks beautiful. And the—but mostly the characters feel very lived-in. Like, she seems like a character that I think I know in life but don’t see in the movies where she’s like this… young woman, up-and-coming, uh, sort of like vaguely hipster-y but not like painfully so who’s just… clearly comes from not that much? And is working hard to, uh, come up in the world as this woman’s assistant. And, um… and kind of like… half wants to solve the murder mystery ‘cause this woman was sort of her best friend in a way and half it’s just kind of an extension of her being this woman’s assistant and being like, oh, well, this is the kind of the last thing I can do for her. Uh, and it’s, y’know, funny and a little twisty. Again, feels weirdly low stakes for a movie with murder in it? But, uh, a lot of fun. Gemini.

stuart

Now, I’m confused. This is the Ang Lee/Will Smith movie?

dan

[Through laughter] No, that is Gemini Man.

stuart

Ohhhhh. Right, right, right, right, right, right, right.

crosstalk

Elliott: This is Gemini Woman. Dan: Different—different movie.

elliott

Now this is—this is Gemini and the Holograms? The, uh, the cartoon about the rock band?

crosstalk

Dan: Uh, I know— Stuart: Or movie!

dan

Yeah.

elliott

[Laughs.] True.

dan

It’s not Gemini, uh, my own astrological sign, either. It is just a movie called Gemini.

elliott

Oh, you’re in the pocket of big star twins! I see.

dan

Yup. So. Who wants to go next? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone? Somebody. Okay.

elliott

I’ll go! Okay. So I’m gonna recommend a movie. Uh, I watched a little while ago. Like Dan. But uh, just ‘cause I’ve been so busy with life. This is a movie called In the Soup. It’s, uh, a movie from 1992. This stars Steve Buscemi and, uh, Seymour Cassel and it’s a very, very, uh, independent movie of the time and it feels so much like the kinds of movies that were coming out of the early ‘90s independent scene. And Steve Buscemi is a screen—a wannabe kind of like screenwriter and director who’s written a 500-page screenplay and needs a producer. And for some reason this kind of like small-time gangster? Decides that he wants to be the producer for this movie. And he really believes in Steve Buscemi’s talent as a filmmaker. But, uh, gets him into a series of kind of like… uh… off-beat misadventures? And the movie is kind of this, uh… Shaggy Dog story kind of a movie, but I enjoyed it a lot and Seymour Cassel is so good in it as this character who like feels really real because he is alternately very charismatic and very strange and very… at times, unlikeable. And it’s just like, this is such a, um… like, a complicated character but he’s being presented in this movie that is a fairly cartoony movie. Anyway. I enjoyed it. It’s called In the Soup! See if you can find it and go watch it! I don’t know! I think it’s on Canopy right now!

dan

Stuart? Go. I’m assigning people now.

stuart

Oh. Oh, okay. Uh, I will— [Dan laughs.] —recommend— [Laughs.] I’m gonna recommend a movie called Wheels on Meals. Uh, and before you ask, Dan—yes. Jackie Chan is in this movie. [Elliott laughs.] Uh, it’s directed by Sammo Hung. Uh, it is about a pair of guys who run a food cart and [through laughter] in Spain. And they— [Dan laughs.] —get wrapped up in, uh, some crime stuff and Sammo Hung’s in it and he’s got like one of the all-time, top ten, uh, perms I’ve ever seen in a movie? Uh, and it also features a ton of like, y’know, goofy comedy. A lot of great slapstick. And the—but with all that said, it also has, like, some of the craziest brutal fight scenes? Like, the final fight between Jackie and, uh, the—the like head henchman—this actor—I am probably mispronouncing his name—Benny Urquidez? Uh, is like, is so intense. And it’s so vicious. Like, there’s like stories the—there were like rumors that the two of them did not get along on set but, y’know, of course they did because Jackie Chan’s great. Um, but it’s, uh— [Elliott laughs.] It’s like, it’s such a violent sequence in a movie that is pretty light [through laughter] other than that? Uh, so check it out. Wheels on Meals.

dan

Jamelle.

jamelle

Um… we recently over—over two nights watched Barry Lyndon? Uh, we are kind of making our way through Kubrick and I’d seen a bunch of Kubrick’s but I’d never seen Barry Lyndon and, uh, my impression is that a lot of people really like it or people really hate it. Um, I absolutely loved it. It’s—maybe the most beautiful movie I’ve ever seen? It’s just, like, gorgeously shot and um every frame looks like an actual painting? Uh, it’s slow. But I kind of find it, uh, very compelling. It’s the story of a, uh, would-be aristocrat and his, uh, misadventures through continental Europe in the late 18th century? Uh, it’s, uh, much more entertaining than the way I just made it sound. [Stuart laughs.] And, um… uh… I would, uh, highly recommend it! I’d—it might be my favorite Kubrick thus far!

dan

Wow.

elliott

It’s a surprisingly funny movie, too. Barry Lyndon.

crosstalk

Dan: Yeah. Jamelle: Yeah.

elliott

Like, it’s—it feels—I put off watching it for years ‘cause I always heard about it—oh, it’s so slow. My dad would be like, what a slow movie. And I finally watched it years ago and I was like, oh, this movie’s really compelling! And it’s also really funny. Like, I laughed so hard at the end of it. Which is not like a—it’s not really a joke, but there’s just something about—it has that kind of like… like… tossed-off cynicism in a way? I don’t know. Like. It’s just—it’s a good movie.

jamelle

Maybe it might just be like a larger moment we’re living in, but the movie is such like a vicious skewering of, uh, sort of refined, civilized culture? Um, I mean it’s sort of the—the through line of the whole thing is that, y’know, the aristocracy of the late 18th century, y’know, presents itself as being, y’know, a courtly gentleman, but the entire time they’re killing each other in various ways or y’know, gambling or robbing each other blind. And so, y’know, uh… it—it’s a—it’s a very cynical, “these people are monsters” kind of film. Um, and it might just be because we are living in an era where our would-be aristocrats are all monsters— [Multiple people laugh, agree.] That that really—that really, uh, resonates for me. Um—

elliott

I hate to break it to you. They’re always monsters. [Dan laughs.]

jamelle

Yeah. [Laughs.] [Stuart laughs.]

stuart

The, uh—that was the—that—Barry Lyndon was one that I always put off ‘cause I assumed it was like super dry or maybe I’d just heard that. And then I remember coming across a trailer of it, and it was so like fun and funny and also, the prettiest thing I’d ever seen? [Laughs.]

dan

Yeah. I think its reputation has like kind of… uh… been redeemed a bit recently? But it’s still somehow seems to be kind of the overlooked Kubrick movie? And I think it—I also think it’s very good.

elliott

Yeah. I think it’s—it’s better than a lot of his other ones. But.

dan

Yeah.

elliott

The, uh, the—and, uh… for people who love candles, this is the movie for you! [Multiple people laugh.] It’s got lots of candles in it!

stuart

All the chandlers out there. [Elliott laughs.]

dan

Well, okay, guys. Um… we should let Jamelle get back to doing important things. Um… whether it be writing for the Times or, uh, actually spending time with his family. [Laughs.] Uh—

elliott

I mean, anything—anything other than talking to us about Sonic the Hedgehog is more important than that. [Jamelle laughs.] Like, it’s—

stuart

And Dan—Dan—I have to go open the takeout window at my small business, Dan.

crosstalk

Dan: Oh, okay. Fine. Stuart: So that’s—

stuart

That’s important!

dan

And we also have to like, Stuart has been a real trooper here with his bad back. Uh, uh, standing through this whole thing.

stuart

You guys don’t like watching me dance around in— [Laughs.] In the—in my little screen? [Dan laughs.]

elliott

I mean, I did like it but at a certain point I forgot it was about your back and I was just like, Stuart must have a live crab in his pants! He’s just moving around a lot! [Multiple people laugh.]

dan

Uh, Jamelle, is there anything you wanna plug before we go?

jamelle

Um… read my column at the—in The New York Times. Shows up on Tuesdays and Fridays. Uh, if—sign up for my newsletter. Uh, it’s—as time goes on, it’s getting much more esoteric. I wrote about, uh, communist German refugees in the 19th century a couple weeks ago. They don’t really tell me what I can’t write about and so I write about anything that interests me and my interests sometimes run very strange.

dan

Yeah.

elliott

That—I thought that one about the—the communist who became the Civil War, uh, was he a general? Or was it a—

jamelle

Yeah. Uh, Civil War—uh, yeah. Civil—he became a general late in the war. Yeah.

elliott

I thought—I thought that, like, that was—I thought that was a particularly fantastic one. Like, I love how far—far-ranging your—you’ve gotten and it’s really great. So. The—

jamelle

Thank you. Thank you.

dan

Jamelle, is your Instagram public? Or is it—

jamelle

Yeah, no, it’s public, yeah. So if you wanna—my—my Instagram, uh, as Elliott suggested tonight, shares lots of pictures of old buildings. [Elliott laughs.] Um, I like old buildings a lot. Uh, and uh… yeah. So that’s—it’s like—the Instagram is mostly just, uh, photographs I take and then the Stories is, um, my kid and my dog.

dan

Well--now I was gonna say—there’s two pleasures to your Instagram. Which is, um… Your photos on the main Instagram are beautiful and then your Stories often, uh, show you cooking! Which is my particular fascination. So. Elliott, were you gonna say something? Sorry.

elliott

No, I was gonna ask—I was gonna ask, one, what you’re cooking today. And two, I’m constantly also—I’m like, how does he find the time to be a parent and have a job and take photographs and cook? I don’t get it! [Multiple people laugh.] He’s like some kind of Sonic the Hedgehog, moving faster than the speed of light!

jamelle

Um… uh… the cooking thing is mostly—it’s just like I’ve been doing it for so long that I don’t know—don’t know how to organize my life if I weren’t doing it? Um, it’s sort of like a grounding thing? Um, but uh tonight I’m making—from the cookbook, uh, Madhur Jaffrey, uh, Vegetarian India, uh, chickpeas in a fresh cilantro sauce, uh, with, uh, dry-fried okra.

stuart

Mmmmm.

crosstalk

Stuart: ‘K. Somebody insert a drooling emoji, right? Dan: Love a good chickpea. Elliott: Sounds good. [Multiple people laugh.]

dan

Uh, I think we can only do emojis of hearts or people putting their fist in their hand. [Multiple people laugh.] Over Skype.

elliott

Yeah. Skype’s emoji selection is pretty weak. Although Zoom’s is worse! It’s just clapping hands or thumbs up and there’s no way to express disappointment.

stuart

Oh, yeah.

dan

Well, anyway, uh. So, uh, everyone? Um… y’know, if you’ve got a little time, tell people about The Flop House because I think our numbers are slightly down because people are not commuting or exercising—

crosstalk

Dan: —during this miserable time. Stuart: Or ‘cause the show’s bad. Dan: Or because the show has taken a real nosedive. Elliott: [Laughs.] Yeah. There’s also that. We have—

elliott

We have taken a real slip and slide and our episodes are now four to five hours long.

dan

That’s true. [Multiple people laugh.] Uh, but mostly, uh, take care of yourselves. Take care of your families. Um, be well. For The Flop House, I’ve been Dan McCoy.

stuart

I’ve been Stuart Wellington!

elliott

Elliott Kalan over here! Thanks for listening!

jamelle

I’ve been Jamelle Bouie!

crosstalk

Jamelle: See ya! Stuart: Byeeee!

music

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

elliott

Dan has a new career as a day trader. So he’s got like three monitors up all the time.

crosstalk

Stuart: Right, right, right. Jamelle: They can make black—

jamelle

—Bloomberg terminal with the text going down.

elliott

[Laughs.] Yeah, exactly. He’s like, guys, I’d love to recommend a movie but the NEKAY is going crazy right now! [Multiple people laugh.]

speaker 1

MaximumFun.org.

speaker 2

Comedy and culture.

speaker 3

Artist owned—

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—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!

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