Hello and welcome to step 4 of your 12 step program. Enjoy these Staff picks!
Jason Soto (Host Whatever with Jason Soto, That’s Da Bomb, Yo!, Co-Host Between The Scares, Top 5 A Thru Z, CineGamer, From Inner Time, & Navigating The Multiverse):
Hard Ticket To Hawaii (1987)
If Playboy was ever a movie, this would be it. Nobody watches this movie for the “plot”, if you get my meaning. But there KIND OF is a story here. Some agents are killed and two pilots for a delivery company accidently get a box full of diamonds that was heading towards a drug lord. He finds out and tries to kill the pilots. Some other agents show up to help the pilots, a blow up doll and a skateboard is involved, and there’s a giant snake that got poisoned by rats who have cancer. I should mention the pilots are very busty women who spend 95% of the movie topless. And then there’s this scene.
Lisa Leaheey (Co-host Between The Scares, Whatever with Jason Soto, & The SibList):
10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)
After the juggernaut success of Cloverfield in 2008, we hoped we would hear more from J.J. Abrams, but he pivoted and shifted gears mostly into TV and rebooting Star Trek. However, in March 2016, much to our collective delight, a film arrived that dropped us right back into the apocalyptic world of giant unexplainable creatures. 10 Cloverfield Lane centers on a tiny central cast of 3: Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a young woman whose car breaks down and is seeking assistance; Emmett (John Gallagher, Jr.) a man hunkering in a neighbor’s bunker for safety, and Howard (John Goodman), the owner of that bunker – a man convinced the world is in the grips of a horrific takeover and who holds Michelle against her will underground. Unlike Cloverfield, this film eschews the shaky-cam found-footage cinematography, but the tension ratchets up because Michelle, our protagonist, is trapped, and has only the word of these men that anything dangerous is happening outside the bunker. Set in a single location, with such a bare-bones cast, the narrative relies heavily on the performances, and 10 Cloverfield Lane DELIVERS. Gallagher, Jr. and Winstead are fantastic, forging a trusting relationship that sets them apart from Howard’s manic insistence that the world is ending. I’ll tell you, though, Goodman is the true GEM of this film. I’ve often said John Goodman makes any film better, and this is a stellar example of that. One of the best character actors of his generation, he typically appears as a side character, or even in small cameos, but here he takes center stage and he is absolutely brilliant. 10 Cloverfield Lane is absolutely unnerving, exciting, and fascinating to watch, and it fits nicely with the chaos of Cloverfield’s attack on New York. If you haven’t seen this one yet, you have a wonderful treat awaiting you.
Pete Rangel, Jr (Co-host Top Five A Thru Z):
Ghostbusters Afterlife (2021)
If you like movies that brings back a nostalgia feeling please go check out Ghostbusters: Afterlife with a new cast as leads and legacy characters cameo but a familiar villain wrecks havoc again. Great story and plot.
Rob Branch (Co-host CineGamer, Top 5 A Thru Z, Whatever with Jason Soto, InfoBlast & Lyrical Innuendo):
This pick is going to be as bizarre as I am. So, sit down, put on your proton packs and nuke your popcorn as you binge watch ass three seasons of Ghosts, on HBO’s streaming service. You thought I was going to go with Ghostbusters, didn’t you? That’s just weird.
This BBC show stars a young couple, Mike & Alison Cooper, who struggle to find their first home. With the economy as it is, we can all feel that struggle. Yet a miracle comes to them when a distant relative bequeaths Alison with a fixer-upper country estate. Who wouldn’t want that?
Well, how about you add in ghosts who have died on the lands of the estate, going all the way back to ancient caveman times. Not only does this young couple have to survive fixing up a rotting, broken down estate, they also must learn how to co-habitat with some of the most “unique” spirits in the world.
As a fan of ghost stories, I recommend this and give it five out of five “ughs”. Also I’m not writing this, so who the hell is? GO WATCH IT AND SOMEONE CHECK ON MY CATS!!!
Lackey (Co-Host From Inner Time):
The Sparks Brothers (2021)
If you’re not familiar with Sparks — the musical duo of brothers Ron and Russell Mael — this new documentary by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) aims to correct that. It’s a comprehensive overview of the Maels’ 50-year-plus career, from their beginnings in LA in the late ’60s to their recent resurgence that includes a collaboration with Franz Ferdinand and the acclaimed film Annette. Wright ropes in everyone from Weird Al to Beck to sing the praises of Sparks. One could argue that at nearly two and a half hours long, the doc is almost too comprehensive, but the music is so catchy and Wright’s fanboy intensity so infectious that the film’s length is easy to forgive. Give The Sparks Brothers a whirl and you might find yourself with a new favorite band.
Nick Jobe (Co-host Navigating the Multiverse, InfoBlast):
The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Not that we discuss it on an episode of Navigating the Multiverse this month or anything… but I’m gonna recommend Avengers: Age of Ultron. Upon rewatch, I kinda dug it more than I thought I had. It works very well in retrospect of the franchise, though not particularly on its own. But it does have enough really fun stuff in there to be worth a rewatch.
Marc Pasonelli (Co-host The SibList):
In this adaptation of novel “Point of Impact,” written by Stephen Hunter, Mark Wahlberg takes on the role of Bob Lee Swagger, a retired Marine sniper considered to be one of the best. Swagger is recruited by a Colonel Isaac Johnson (Danny Glover) and his associate Jack Payne (Elias Koteas) to help prevent an attempt on the President’s life. After being double crossed, and now on the run, Swagger works with FBI agent Nick Memphis (Michael Pena) and the widow of his fallen partner, Sarah Fenn (Kate Mara), to prove his innocence. The character of Swagger has an undeniable… ugh… uuuugggghhhh… I hate myself for this… an undeniable swagger (uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuughhhh) that allows you to enjoy the fun that ensues. Try to picture bringing a gun to a wet sock fight. It does leak into the world of suspended disbelief at times, but what enjoyable movie doesn’t have a few liberties to it? Here, let me try to explain further (Spoiler alert)… “Bang bang bang pow boom boom boom Ka-blewy! Pow pow pow pew pew helicopter explosion pew!” Ultimately, it didn’t deserve any Oscar nods, but Shooter is a go-to for me when there is nothing else on and I see it playing on AMC. Also, probably some of the worst acting I have ever seen from Danny Glover; I cringe when he speaks in this movie… sue me.
Bubbawheat (Co-host Lyrical Innuendo):
Beanie Mania (2022)
This month I didn’t get to watch a whole lot so I’m going to go with what I thought was a random documentary on HBO Max that I decided to watch one weekend simply because it was suggested to me. Beanie Mania shows how just a small group of people can have a significant impact on the world as four moms from the Chicago suburbs almost single handedly created and fanned the flames of the Beanie Baby craze of the 90’s. This documentary talks to them as well as several speculators who got caught up in the secondary market that outgrew its consumer base and left a lot of people with tons of nearly worthless stuffed animals. It’s fascinating to see the rise and fall of this seemingly random craze for what were basically generic if cute toys.