Fun Size Episode 67 – When Did I Become an Old Man?

We’re back with Dave Brouillette to speak in defense of cinema’s great unsung wet blankets. The long-suffering adults left to pick up the pieces when the reckless hot shot protagonist with a disregard for human life blows up half of downtown or nearly starts World War III while they were saving the day or just looking cool.

Is there an age where your empathy naturally starts to gravitate to these people over the bad boy hero?

We also dig into the complicated emotions of watching popular media with jingoistic or reactionary politics — from Top Gun to 24 to Death Wish — both overt and implicit. Even the stuff we like can be a bit harrowing to watch at times.

Mike Returns to Cheers Cast!

Mike returns to Ryan Daly‘s Cheers Cast, for a chat about the eleventh episode of Cheers‘ fifth season, The Book of Samuel.”

When Sam goes on vacation, Woody is chosen to manage the bar in his absence. But he’s floored when he receives a letter from his old girlfriend in Indiana, announcing that she’s now engaged to someone else…and will be coming to Cheers to give him the news in person. Seeing that Woody is afraid to look pathetic in front of his ex and her new fiancee, Diane lies and says that Woody has been dating someone too. Now roped into a double date, Woody turns to Sam’s little black book for a fake girlfriend.  Only too late  does he realize– that he’s on a date with Sam’s cleaning lady.

Check it out!

Podcasta la Vista, Baby! Episode 26 – Pumping Iron

“Blood is rushing into your muscles and that’s what we call The Pump. Your muscles get a really tight feeling, like your skin is going to explode any minute, and it’s really tight – it’s like somebody blowing air into it, into your muscle. It just blows up, and it feels really different. It feels fantastic.”

This month, we’re hitting the weights and getting a good pump with Dave Brouillette, as we bench press the 1977 bodybuilding docudrama that got Arnold noticed in Hollywood: Pumping Iron!

Cameras document – or is it dramatize? – the lives of the world’s leading bodybuilders as they prepare to compete for their sport’s top 1975 amateur and professional championships. One is junior high school teacher, Mike Katz, who aspires to the title of Mr. Universe. Another is shy underdog, Lou Ferrigno, who hopes to flex his way to the title of Mr. Olympia. But to do that, he must topple the reigning five-time returning champion, a certain popular and charismatic Austrian, just a couple years away from Hollywood superstardom.

Fun Size Episode 66 – The Word for That Is “Extortion”

We continue our chat with Michael Warbington and dig into a rich vein we usually leave unmined: video games.

With different levels of skill, engagement and knowledge, we look at the experience of gaming in 2022, the intersection of art and commerce, the prevalence of in-game microtransactions, getting mercilessly griefed by racist swearing twelve year-olds, and a game’s replayability. What do we want out of the gaming experience?

Episode 52 – Django (1966)

After a month off, we’re back! And this time, we’re dragging a coffin through the desert with the Camp Director and President of Camp Quest NorthWest, Michael Warbington, and diving into the notoriously violent 1966 spaghetti western by director Sergio Corbucci, Django!

When a mysterious gunslinger named Django drags a coffin into a tiny border town caught in the middle of a bloody war between Mexican paramilitary bandits and a Klan of hooded racist Southerners, he sets off a bloody chain of death, vengeance, robbery, and even more death. But is Django here to save this town, or will he just bury it under corpses in his quest for revenge?

Fun Size Episode 65 – From Sublime to Disgusting (And Everything in Between)

We’re back with Kirby Green and talking about the strange and surprising wholesomeness of Jackass Forever, the history of “caught-on-video” media, and the opportunistic moral panics they often inspire.

While we talk about how a franchise famous for dangerous stunts and painful assaults on the testicles has become one of the few things in America that we can all agree on, and how it might just be a model for body positivity. And we look at its far more morally reprehensible and shamelessly exploitative media ancestors like Faces of Death, Bumfights, Girls Gone Wild, COPS, and whatever weird VHS tapes that scary kid from middle school with the shuriken in his pocket was bragging about watching.

Podcasta la Vista, Baby! Episode 25 – Junior

Nothing is inconceivable.

This month, we’re enjoying some franks in a blanket with longtime friend of the show, Kirby Green, and re-examining the much-maligned and universally-panned Arnold Schwarzenegger pregnancy comedy: Junior!

After his miracle fertility drug, Expectane, is rejected by the FDA for human trials and the university has terminated his funding, research geneticist Dr. Alex Hesse is ready to return home to Austria to start over. But his project partner, obstetrician Dr. Larry Arbogast, has a radical idea to prove their drug works: an off-the-books experiment with a human subject – Alex himself. Now the world’s first pregnant man, Alex must cope with his changing body, a new romance, his fluctuating hormones, and a growing emotional bond with his baby.

Fun Size Episode 64 – A Real Lesson in Imagined Power

We’re back in the studio with Patrick Johnson for one of our weirdest conversations yet. First, what are the consequences of having a perfect memory? On our emotions, our morality, or our sanity? What does it mean to forget, is it for the best that our memories are imperfect?

And when Star Trek‘s Data finally achieves a range of emotional responses, would he suddenly be bombarded with a tidal wave of backlogged emotional responses to old memories? Is a perfect memory a curse? Is it possible to forgive when the wrongs done to you will be forever remembered with perfect recall?

Then, we talk about cops. Both the people and the reality show. And how our deeply ingrained perceptions of policing are shaped far more by fictional media depictions than even our own often tense and uncomfortable encounters with real life law enforcement. And what about shows like Dog the Bounty Hunter, and other situations where people simply assume an air of authority with the implied threat of violence?

We recommend: Running from COPS podcast.

Episode 51 – Phantasm

Beware the ball, beware the tall man, beware the never dead.

We return this month to break into Morningside Mortuary and get some fuckin’ answers with returning guest Todd Maxfield-Matsumoto, because we’re digging up the 1979 psychedelic cult horror classic: Phantasm!

Living with his older brother Jody after the death of their parents, thirteen year old Mike becomes suspicious of a local mortuary and the frightening Tall Man who operates it. The brothers stumble onto a strange and dreamlike conspiracy involving murder, a maze-like mausoleum, stolen corpses, hooded minions, a murderous flying chrome sphere, and the unnerving supernatural being who controls it all.

Fun Size Episode 63 – I Want Willem Dafoe in Every Movie

Has the world gone mad? Well, yes. But we’re also looking back on 2021 as a remarkably great year at the movies! We’re still talking to Tobiah Panshin for an uncharacteristically positive and optimistic discussion about the current state of cinema. For real!

We briefly touch on: The Last Duel, Titane, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Licorice Pizza, The French Dispatch, Dune, C’mon C’mon, Spencer, Malignant, The Suicide Squad, The Twentieth Century, and The Matrix Resurrections.

Plus, would it be so bad if the world we lived in was just a computer program?

Episode 50 – The Green Knight

“Honor. That is why a knight does what he does.”

With the New Year, we’re on a knightly quest to the Green Chapel to trade blows with returning guest Tobiah Panshin of the View from the Gutters podcast, to dive into David Lowery’s visually stunning and unorthodox adaptation of a 14th century Arthurian legend, The Green Knight.

When the supernatural Green Knight issues a yuletide challenge for any of Camelot’s bravest knights to try to land a blow on him — and receive an equal strike in return one Christmas later — King Arthur’s flawed and reckless nephew Gawain accepts without thinking. Easily decapitating his compliant foe, Gawain sees the Green Knight immediately rise again and remind him of his obligation one year hence. Embarking on a quest to the mysterious Green Chapel, Gawain contends with ghosts, giants and his own selfish nature, to see if he can live up to his promise — even if it might mean his certain death.

Episode 49 – Santa Claus: The Movie

The legend comes to life.

This Christmas Eve, we’re back in the studio to celebrate the season with Rebecca Friedman of KTQA-LP 95.3 FM, and dive into the 1985 holiday movie where Alexander and Ilya Salkind, the father and son producer team behind the Christopher Reeve Superman films try to make lightning strike twice with a mythic origin story for jolly old Saint Nick himself in Santa Claus:The Movie!

Rescued by a group of elves after being caught in a deadly blizzard, a 14th century toymaker fulfills an ancient prophecy to become an immortal holiday gift giver to all the children of the world. Colliding with the free enterprise crassness of the 1980s, Santa Claus is despondent after one his elves is manipulated into working for a unscrupulous and greedy toy executive who wants to steal Christmas for his very own.

Fun Size Episode 62 – Spokój

In the first of two episodes this month, we’re talking with Rebecca Friedman about the low-stakes things that give us the warm fuzzies.

We chat about the phenomenon of ASMR and the YouTube videos that endeavor to trigger that pleasurable brain-tingling sensation in people. From a Polish cleaning company’s videos of meticulous deep cleanings of filthy rugs to the paintings of Bob Ross, we plunge into a deep discussion of the images, sounds and experiences that just feel…satisfying.

We’re watching people clean airline seats, remove earwax, draw manga, icing cakes, paint landscapes, walk in snow, restore antique tools, and even watch machine presses create chains with great precision.

What makes this stuff feel good? What separates chores that are repetitive drudgery from something that relaxes you?

Fun Size Episode 61 – Artisanal Trash

We’re back with a quick bite of conversation from last month with Chelsea Rustad. We’re talking about the profound disappointment that was Halloween Kills, particularly in how it was a direct sequel to an inventive and surprising 2018 relaunch that was actually really good. Really.

Is it the fate of sequels, especially horror sequels, to inevitably get dumber and trashier? And isn’t it better to proudly be trash, than be trash, but pretend to be something better?

Episode 48 – Sin City

“I grab myself one last lungful of night air. Then I trade it in for a smoky soup spiced with sweat and vomit and booze and blood. I know the flavor well.”

After more than two years, we’re back with another panel episode! And this month, we’re tossing back some cheap booze at Kadie’s Saloon and making some bad decisions with Joe Preti, and Kit DeForge, and get our filthy mitts on Frank Miller’s hyper-stylized, two-fisted neo-noir comics franchise that defined all things grim and gritty in the 1990s: Sin City!

After a rise to comics superstardom with Daredevil and Batman, Frank Miller turned his trademarked hard-boiled style up to eleven with a series of interconnected hyperbolic crime stories, set in the fun house mirror world of Basin City, a desert town populated entirely by lowlifes, mobsters, prostitutes, corrupt businessmen, assassins, creeps, killers, crooked cops, dirty politicians, and one hulking unkillable brute named Marv.

Illustrated in a stunning highly contrasted black and white, Sin City was a perfect distillation of everything comics readers loved and hated about the comics of a controversial and often problematic master of the craft.

Music: 
“Cool Vibes” from Film Noire by Kevin MacLeod