Monday, December 18, 2023

Elf (2003)

Happy Holidays everybody!

This year the manatees are going a little more recent for the 20th birthday of a modern classic Christmas movie, 2003's Elf! Directed by Jon Favreau and starring Will Ferrell and James Caan, Elf is a colorful little modern-day fairy tale that's pretty much appropriate for all ages and moves along at a good clip. But how compelling is it really? The manatees talk red flags in dating coworkers, the inner workings of hybrid engines, commiserate on the pros and cons of being the biggest guy in a workshop, and wind up talking a lot about video games. Float along with us and enjoy the season, won't you?

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Jingle All The Way (1996)

Happy Black Friday week everybody!

In the spirit of the holidays (consumerism) we're rewatching the widely reviled but oddly charming holiday flop Jingle All the Way, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad, and directed by Brian Levant. It's almost thirty years old! You've probably heard of this one; it's almost universally panned by critics but has its fans regardless, and we're going to find out if we're among them. Float along with the manatees as they tackle the important questions like: should bodybuilders' kids be played by other bodybuilders? How do masks work, exactly? And of course, just how many daylight hours are there in Minnesota in December? Literally none of these will be answered satisfactorily. Come take a nap!

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

The Thing (1982)

Happy Halloween, everyone!

We're taking a look John Carpenter's 1982 classic, The Thing! Starring Kurt Russell, Keith David, Wilford Brimley, and a bunch of other guys in parkas. While it was a flop at its release, The Thing has become a cult classic since and appears on just about every top 100 list of horror movies ever made, famous both for its special effects and for its paranoid psychological tone. But does it deserve the hype? Float along with the manatees as they tackle the important questions like: is the monster kinda dumb? Are flamethrowers normal de-icing equipment? And, are we sure this ending is actually ambiguous? Among others. Take a look-see if you've got a strong stomach, or maybe skip this month if scary movies aren't your thing, but we're diving right in.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Conan the Barbarian (1982)

At long last, the manatees are covering the famous story beloved around the world about a long-haired bronze age man who was crucified by an evil empire and then rose from the dead to save us all from the serpent... Conan the Barbarian! The 1982 version, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sandahl Bergman, and James Earl Jones, directed by John Milius, and featuring a soundtrack by the incomparable Basil Poledouris, this sword-and-sandahl epic (GET IT?!?) has remained above all its imitators since through sheer style and unconventional casting choices. But does it hold up?

Float along with the manatees as they tackle the important questions like: how much of paleolithic history do we actually know about anyway? Is there any combination of ingredients that make it a good idea to serve soup at an orgy? And of course, that age-old industry calculus: is it better to invest in oxen or orphan power for your mill? Get the answers to these and other pressing questions, or just nod off and dream of being exceptionally large, with the manatees and Conan.


Saturday, July 29, 2023

Troll 2 (1990)

It had to happen. We finally check out the infamous, the legendary, the nigh-on-indescribable work that defined a generation, 1990's Troll 2. Directed by Claudio Fragasso and starring Michael Paul Stephenson, George Hardy, and Deborah Reed, Troll 2 has exactly zero connection to the movie Troll and indeed zero trolls in it. But does it deserve the reputation and cult following that it has? Float along with the manatees to the mysterious town of Nilbog as they talk sorcery, lavender dating, geography, and what makes a life well lived while trying to decode this mind-bending work that the world still isn't ready for and probably never will be.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Twister (1996)

We're returning to the 90's well with 1996's "Twister", directed by Jan de Bont and starring Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton. Twister is an interesting attempt at making a natural disaster movie by making a slasher movie and replacing the slasher with a twister. But does it work? Well... that's debatable. The manatees have more pressing concerns, like: just how complicated is barrel opening? Could a catapult solve this entire situation? And aren't the bad guys way better guys than the good guys here? Float along with us to find out the answer to these and other pressing questions.

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Mars Attacks! (1996)

There are two movies out there based on Topps trading card limited series from the 60's, and of those two, 1996's Mars Attacks is our personal favorite. Directed by Tim Burton and starring pretty much everyone who's ever been in another Burton movie, Mars Attacks has the extreme honor of being the first Burton film that's title isn't just a character's name. However, it also had the bad luck of being released the same year as the much-more-beloved Independence Day, and predictably under performed. But was it actually that bad? The manatees dust off this curio of a film and tackle the important questions like: what exactly counts as a flop? What is the ideal number of Jack Nicholson characters in a feature film? And wait a second, is that Ray-J? (it IS!) Float along and watch it all burn down with us. TW: intentionally over-the-top cartoon gore, violence, etc.

Monday, March 13, 2023

Avatar (2009)

We're back after an unplanned month off (sorry!) and checking out the suddenly-sequeled 2009 cgi spectacle "Avatar"! Written and directed by our old pal James Cameron and starring Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana, Avatar famously leans style over substance, but that doesn't mean it can't have both, does it? As of the writing of this episode note, Avatar remains the highest grossing film of all time, was seen by pretty much everyone in the world, and is about... um. I guess it's Ferngully? But also Pocahontas. But all the characters you care about are giant skinny blue people. It's um. It's actually pretty strange. Have you seen it?

Float along with the manatees as they ask some of the less-frequently-examined questions of the film, like: are the avatars just alien men in black? What puts something in the uncanny valley? And, if you can make hybrid avatars of alien species on a planet with giant butterfly dragons, why choose the blue people? Also, book recommendations, discussions of caricatures and tropes, and several very contrived excuses to talk about Jason Momoa. Happy listening!

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

The NeverEnding Story (1984)

New episode is up!

We're going back to the 80's for another movie with puppets with 1984's cult classic The NeverEnding Story, directed by Wolfgang Petersen and based (contentiously) on the book by Michael Ende. Famously one of the most expensive movies ever made outside of the US at the time, The NeverEnding Story features one of the most overtly fantastical settings of any movie ever, and the youngest cast of any movie the manatees have seen to date. But does it hold up?

The manatees face the truly challenging questions this movie poses, such as: Which fictional world would actually be possible to survive in? Which horrible puppet monster would make the best husband? And of course, just how old is Law and Order actually? Float along with us to find out the answers to these and so many other definitely relevant questions.