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34Episodes
TV & Film

A film podcast dedicated to the underdogs — the disasters, the bombs, the much maligned! So sit back, grab a beer, and enjoy!

Episodes

The 1980s were chock full of formulaic horror fare. Many of those involved horny teenagers with questionable morals getting slaughtered by a larger than life antagonist. In that sense, Chopping Mall is not all that unique.

The set up: Moronic young adults gather at a mall after hours to engage in youthful frivolity. Unfortunately for them, a lightning storm causes a power surge, frying the mainframes of the mall’s new crack security squad and turning them into Killbots. Sex, alcohol, panic, and murder ensue. Sound familiar? Aside from the Killsbots, it should.

But they are what make this movie so memorable. They’re a trio of tiny, comically cheap looking robots equipped with an equally low-grade variety of gadgets. Oh ... and they shoot lasers out of their heads! Cyclops style!

Based on that description alone, it shouldn’t surprise you that this film was a product of Roger Corman’s Concorde Pictures. Nor should it be enlightening to discover this wasn’t a box office smash. Yet it has endured, finding its niche on late night cable television throughout the 80s and 90s.

That’s where I discovered it, and I haven’t stopped shouting its praises to people since. Look, I know it’s not some piece of high art, but its ludicrous concept is just too much damn fun not to find joy in. When your central conceit revolves around three foot tall robots, who can’t go up and down stairs, menacing a group of slackers in a suburban mall, you can’t go wrong.

So sit back, grab a Five-O IPA from Jailhouse Brewing, and get ready to swipe those credit cards as I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. Cash, and Chumpzilla survive the horrors of the Chopping Mall—where shopping can cost you an arm and a leg!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction – Everything is up for sale in our deep dive look at this schlocky horror classic! (00:00)
  • The Top-5 Explosive Decapitations in Cinema History – The film's signature kill—a head vaporizing laser—is one for the ages, and we see how it stacks up to similar gore-tastic deaths from cinema history. (43:04)
  • Recommendations – We provide our mostly horror-centric picks for the week. (57:59)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter or Facebook to check out all the interesting factoids—each scene from our Top-5 and more—from this week’s episode!

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There was a time in the 1980s when He-Man and the Masters of the Universe line reigned atop the mountain of kids' toys. Its massive success made this film's production a no-brainer. It was meant to capitalize on the popularity of those figures, as well as the the cartoon series.

But it was too late; by the time it was released in 1987, the fervor for He-Man and his heroic, scantily clad exploits had waned, another victim of over supply and diminishing demand.

It did not help that his huge onscreen debut left much to be desired. Masters of the Universe is an odd movie—one which could be argued doesn't even feature its hero as the main character—and it eschews much of what made He-Man who he was. There is no Prince Adam or Battle Cat; nor is there an appearance by Snake Mountain. These omissions were largely due to cost, but to set the film almost entirely in a random suburb is bizarre. It's a fish out of water tale bogged down by its earthly elements.

Its penchant to cut corners can all be attributed to who produced it: Cannon Films, a studio infamous for its desire to mass produce movies with little regard for their overall quality.

Masters of the Universe was one of their most expensive films. It was risk for not only them, but for Mattel—the maker of the He-Man toys. And it backfired. On a budget of $22 million, it grossed just over $17 million. Not a horrific flop, but a lot was riding on it. It, along with other bigger budget tripe like Superman IV, eventually led Cannon to shutter their doors.

Despite its dubious performance and initial sub-par reception, it is now considered by some to be a cult classic. This is no doubt due, in part, to Frank Langella's potent performance as Skeletor and its eclectic cast of supporting characters—anchored by Billy Barty's Gwildor.

Frankly, it is something that would probably never be made today; it's shocking enough that it got the go ahead then. Because of that, though, it must be seen.

So sit back, grab a Howling Gourds Pumpkin Ale, tune up that Cosmic Key, and enjoy, as I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. Cash, and Chumpzilla barricade ourselves in a record store as we prepare to fight an onslaught of Skeletor's marauding goons!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction – We break down this wacky adventure on Eter...Earth. Yes, it's a He-Man film primarily set on Earth. (00:00)
  • Our "I Have the Power!" He-Man Trivia Challenge – Though far from a smash hit, this movie has plenty of wild behind-the-scenes tidbits. (44:05)
  • Recommendations and Our Upcoming Slate – Along with our picks for the week, we offer a look at future episodes. (1:04:23)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter (@HopsandBOFlops) to check out all the interesting factoids—the bonkers idea for this movie's sequel, Billy Barty's Razzie competition, and more—from this week’s episode!

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In the 1980s and into the 90s, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were a legitimate phenomenon. Based on a comic of the same name, the immense popularity of the "Heroes in a Half Shell" would spawn countless action figures, a cartoon series (that ran for 10 seasons!), a concert tour/album, a live-action television show, and, of course, big screen movies.

If that sounds like the over-commercialization of something, well, that's because it was. By the time Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III hit screens, the titular protagonists had jumped the Street Sharks (just one of the many properties they inspired).

Premiering in 1993, six years after the cartoon version began, III would gross just over $42 million. On a budget of roughly $21 million, that doesn't sound too bad. Yet if you consider that it made over $35 million less than The Secret of the Ooze (its predecessor) and nearly $100 million less domestically than the original, a disturbing trend appears. Unlike the brothers insatiable love for pizza, the audience had had its fill.

And like the box office receipts, reviews had also started to sag. Deservedly so. III is a mess of a movie. Nonsensically plotted, it's nothing more than poorly scripted pop culture jokes layered atop increasingly cheap looking creature effects. As a child obsessed with these characters, it was a deflating watch then and remains so now. 

This may all sound a bit drab, but III is good for one thing: Spirited comedic banter about its many faults!

So sit back, grab a SuperEIGHT Super Gose from Dogfish Head, sharpen up those nunchaku skills (unless you're in the UK), and enjoy, as I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. Cash, and Chumpzilla wax our shells to throw down with a host of bland, generic characters, who offer zero of the nostalgia from Ninja Turtles lore!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction – Major league butt kicking is back in town! Its target: the train wreck that is this movie. (00:00)
  • Our Awesome, Righteous, Bossanova … Chevy Nova Turtles Trivia Challenge
      – Noting this film's distinct lack of T-U-R-T-L-E Power, I challenge Capt. Cash and Chumpzilla to trivia about all other things TMNT-inspired. (43:18)
  • Recommendations and Our Most Coveted Turtles Toy – Along with our picks for the week, we share the Ninja Turtles action figure that we prized the most. (1:11:17)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter (@HopsandBOFlops) to check out all the interesting factoids—the Turtles day-time talk show appearance, which famous TV producer wrote the cartoon's themeMaster Tatsu's video game debut and more—from this week’s episode!

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Transformers: The Movie is an interesting study. It's undeniably a flop. Finishing 14th in its opening weekend—behind About Last Night, which was in its sixth week of release—it barely cracked the top-100 for 1986.

Carrying a $6 million price tag, its cost was six times greater than the budget used to create 90 minutes of the regular cartoon series. Expectations were clearly high, which is what makes its decision to kill the bulk of the primary characters from the series so odd.

Sure, it is a bold twist; at the time, though, it jaded fans and did little to lift the movie's sagging ticket sales. Its failure, coupled with the similar dismal response to the My Little Pony movie, forced Hasbro to balk at releasing their upcoming GI Joe feature in theaters.

But, truth be told, it is not all that bad. It's a psychedelic, 80s hair metal-infused robot splatter fest—a rock n' roll romp through Cybertron and its neighboring cities that pulls no punches and revels in its weirdness.

Because of that, it has endured. So much so, that in 2018, it was re-released on roughly 750 screens—nearly matching the 990 it had premiered on in 1986. That is a testament to its staying power with fans both old and new.

So sit back, grab your favorite transformative brew, prepare to engage in an all out war for the fate of Cybertron, and enjoy, as I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. Cash, and Chumpzilla storm the insatiable Unicron with Dinobots in tow!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction – Channeling a smidgen of the touch and a host of the power, we break down this cult classic. (00:00)
  • Interesting Facts and Memorable Episodes from the Transformers Series – We share some lesser known trivia about the film. In addition, Chumpzilla and Capt. Cash offer their favorite episodes from the series' run. (38:17)
  • Recommendations – Our picks for the week, accompanied by spirited debate over which cartoon classic reigns supreme—Transformers or GI Joe. (1:07:05)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter (@HopsandBOFlops) to check out all the interesting factoids—how their decision to ice "Robot Dad" altered the narrative of the GI Joe movie and more—from this week’s episode!

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Nineteen years. That's how long it took for Superman to triumphantly come back to theaters. Yet just as quickly as he flew onto the screen, he was gone faster than a speeding bullet—a victim of low receipts and a distinct lack of enthusiasm for this movie's ponderous take on the "Big Blue Boy Scout." 

Though decently reviewed—75% on Rotten Tomatoes with a Metascore of 72—and laden with talent (a portion of it admittedly troubled, even if we didn't quite know it at the time), Superman Returns was not the home run the studio had hoped. It barely broke even. With a final production cost of $223 million, another $100 million in marketing, and the ugly baggage of the aborted development of Superman Lives, its $391 million dollars in worldwide gross just didn't cut it.

Money aside, this is not a poor film. Far from it, in fact. And it truly gets Superman, delivering quintessential moments of heroism that define what type of character he is. In typing that, I still must acknowledge that it wasn't enough. The plodding pace of Returns turned some viewers off. The distinct lack of action—a far cry from what was to come—failed to ignite the fervor some would expect after the character's long hiatus.

Thus, it has the dubious distinction of again killing the franchise. While Batman flourished in the Dark Knight Trilogy, Superman floundered. He'd be sidelined for another seven, brutal years. And when he finally showed his face, he'd again been repackaged.

That, unfortunately, is this movie's legacy. What began with hope and optimism—a promised revival of all we'd loved about Richard Donnor's version—ended with disappointment. The studio was unwilling to give this incarnation another opportunity. I will always lament that.

But, hey, we're here to have a good time; so sit back, grab a Stone Brewing's Enjoy by July 4th, 2019 Unfiltered IPA, prepare to leap a tall building in a single bound, and enjoy, as I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. Cash, and Chumpzilla battle for truth, justice, and the American way!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction – We take flight, assessing what went wrong and what went right with Superman's long awaited return to the big screen. (00:00)
  • Why Did It Take So Long for Superman, Well, to Return? – We dive in to the behind-the-scenes jostling throughout Superman's bizarre journey back to cinemas, including all the hilarity in the late Jon Schnepp's brilliant The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened? (38:27)
  • Who Played It Best? – Through each of the Man of Steel's big screen adaptations, we determine who played key characters from Superman lore the best. (52:24)
  • Our Kryptonian Quiz! – Capt. Cash and Chumpzilla face-off in a five-question Superman Trivia smackdown! (1:11:13)
  • Recommendations – Sticking with the theme, we each offer a Superman-related recommendation for the week. (1:21:07)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter (@HopsandBOFlops) to check out all the interesting factoids—Kevin Smith's recollections of working on Superman Lives, why we pull no punches on Bryan Singer and more—from this week’s episode!

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After 11 years, 23 movies, $22.5 billion dollars in global box office (the high being Endgame with $2.7 billion and the low being angsty Incredible Hulk with $263.4 million), the first major arc of the MCU has come to an end. The Infinity Saga brought us many superhero highs and created an integrated cinematic universe that none of us ever dreamed was possible.

Thus, we knew we had to assemble to discuss Marvel's incredible achievement. Harnessing the power of the mind stone, we whittled 23 mostly good to great films down to our personal Top-10s.

In part two (listen to part one), it's our Top-3! In addition, we discuss which three films we'd snap out of existence, as well as what story arc we'd snap in! And, finally, we close with an ode to the late, great Stan Lee — as we each chose our favorite cameo.

So sit back, grab whatever beverage you'd like, prepare to wipe away those tears, and enjoy, as I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. Cash, and Chumpzilla take a stroll down Marvel memory lane!

Our Lists:

  • Thunderous Wizard:

    • 10. Thor: Ragnarok
    • 9. Ant-Man and the Wasp
    • 8. Ironman
    • 7. Guardians of the Galaxy
    • 6. Avengers: Endgame
    • 5. Avengers: Infinity War
    • 4. The Avengers
    • 3. Black Panther
    • 2. Spider-Man: Far From Home
    • 1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

  • Capt. Cash:
    • 10. Captain America: The First Avenger
    • 9. Ironman
    • 8. Captain America: Civil War
    • 7. Black Panther
    • 6. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
    • 5. Avengers: Endgame
    • 4. The Avengers: Infinity War
    • 3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
    • 2. Thor: Ragnarok
    • 1. The Avengers

  • Chumpzilla:
    • 10. Avengers: Age of Ultron
    • 9. Black Panther
    • 8. Avengers: Infinity War
    • 7. Thor: Ragnarok
    • 6. Ironman
    • 5. Guardians of the Galaxy
    • 4. The Avengers
    • 3. Captain America: Civil War
    • 2. Avengers: Endgame
    • 1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter (@HopsandBOFlops) to offer recommendations for future episodes or to share your personal top-10 movies in the MCU!

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After 11 years, 23 movies, $22.5 billion dollars in global box office (the high being Endgame with $2.7 billion and the low being angsty Incredible Hulk with $263.4 million), the first major arc of the MCU has come to an end. The Infinity Saga brought us many superhero highs and created an integrated cinematic universe that none of us ever dreamed was possible.

Thus, we knew we had to assemble to discuss Marvel's incredible achievement. Harnessing the power of the mind stone, we whittled 23 mostly good to great films down to our personal Top-10s.

In part one (listen to part two), we cover numbers 10–4 on each of our respective lists, offering both the good and the bad from the films we chose.

So sit back, grab whatever beverage you'd like, prepare to wipe away those tears, and enjoy, as I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. Cash, and Chumpzilla take a stroll down Marvel memory lane!

Our Lists:

  • Thunderous Wizard:

    • 10. Thor: Ragnarok
    • 9. Ant-Man and the Wasp
    • 8. Ironman
    • 7. Guardians of the Galaxy
    • 6. Avengers: Endgame
    • 5. Avengers: Infinity War
    • 4. The Avengers
    • 3. Black Panther
    • 2. Spider-Man: Far From Home
    • 1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

  • Capt. Cash:
    • 10. Captain America: The First Avenger
    • 9. Ironman
    • 8. Captain America: Civil War
    • 7. Black Panther
    • 6. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
    • 5. Avengers: Endgame
    • 4. The Avengers: Infinity War
    • 3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
    • 2. Thor: Ragnarok
    • 1. The Avengers

  • Chumpzilla:
    • 10. Avengers: Age of Ultron
    • 9. Black Panther
    • 8. Avengers: Infinity War
    • 7. Thor: Ragnarok
    • 6. Ironman
    • 5. Guardians of the Galaxy
    • 4. The Avengers
    • 3. Captain America: Civil War
    • 2. Avengers: Endgame
    • 1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter (@HopsandBOFlops) to offer recommendations for future episodes or to share your personal top-10 movies in the MCU!

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“This is one of the worst marketing campaigns in the history of movies. It’s almost as if they went out of their way to not make us care.” Those words, quoted to Vulture by a former studio marketing chief just prior to John Carter's 2012 release, are harsh. But, in truth, they epitomize where the problems originated for this big budget bomb.

From its initial teaser onward, Disney was never able to propel the anticipation for this film to the lofty aerial heights of its titular character. Trailers, a Super Bowl spot, and other advertisements were met with muted enthusiasm. John Carter, despite a title indicating the contrary, was a film without an identity. And the Disney executives knew it.

The problem was they'd given first-time live action director Andrew Stanton (Wall-E, Finding Dory/Nemo, and others) creative control and a blank check. Despite their pleas, he marketed and shot his movie his way. It was a costly error. According to a 2015 Forbes article, which was written on the third anniversary of its release, the film earned $284 million worldwide (only $73 million in the U.S.) on a cost of anywhere from $250 to $307 million to produce. Walt Disney is said to have taken a $200 million loss on it. Ouch.

The marketing, though, as sterile as it was, can only partly be blamed for John Carter's legendary failure. The source, a series of novels written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, had been mined exhaustively over the years, lending inspiration to fan-favorite series and characters like SupermanAvatar, and Star Wars. After gestating in development hell for nearly 80 years, it was too late to its own party. Its place in the cultural zeitgeist had faded; and it'd been replaced by the IPs its ideas had influenced.

Its unfortunate place in cinema's Hall of Box Office Shame is what makes it so much fun to discuss. So sit back, grab a Smithwick's Red Ale or a Rewired IPA from Red Hare Brewery, pat your personal Woola on the head, and enjoy, as I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. Cash, and Chumpzilla ride off deep into Apache territory to search for the legendary cave of gold!

This Week's Segments:

  • Introduction – What went wrong with John Carter? Turns out, a whole hell of a lot (excluding Woola!). Unless your Capt. Cash, then all is well with this movie. (00:00)
  • Rockin' Red Planet Trivia – Capt. Cash and Chumpzilla engage in a battle of wits concerning this all-time flop. (40:18)
  • Redeeming John Carter – Five fictional sequels that would've fared better than this film did (1:04:08).
  • Recommendations and Six Degrees of Movie Separation – Our picks of the week, followed by a "Burroughs Bombs" themed six degrees. (1:10:43)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter (@HopsandBOFlops) to check out all the interesting factoids—Forbes' three-year anniversary retrospective, the underwhelming promotional materials, and more—from this week’s episode!

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Rebooting any film is tricky. Doing so barely a decade after the last iteration makes it more so. 2019's Hellboy is a prime example of "Why is this happening?" movie making. Both the original film (2004) and its sequel Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008) were generally well liked by audiences and critics (81% and 86% respectively on Rotten Tomatoes with audiences scores of 66% and 71%). Were they overwhelmingly successful? Not exactly.

That lack of financial boom made the prospect of Guillermo del Toro getting to finish his trilogy an uphill battle. It should've also signaled, though, that perhaps the character wasn't destined for box office glory. Even in comic book circles, Hellboy is niche. Thus, doing the property again with a fresh coat of paint seemed like an odd choice.

Hellboy (2019) was one of the season's biggest flops. Grossing just over $40 million worldwide, its only saving grace was its modest budget of $50 million. In its opening weekend, it lost out to Little, a comedy about a kid cursing an a-hole adult with the ineptitude of childhood. Woof.

To say that proximity is alone culpable for these dismal receipts would be misleading. Hellboy is awash with problems. From an overstuffed script to heaps and hunks of tasteless gore, it's a movie that never seems to know what it wants to be or what story it wants to tell. And with a Tomatometer well below del Toro's versions, just 18%, any viewers curious about it were probably scared off.

It doesn't help that even before it hit screens, an article was published by The Wrap detailing all the behind-the-scenes drama that had plagued its production.

All that said, there is some fun to be had with this film, especially if you're a devout fan of the character or you're on team Chief Hopper (David Harbour has a blast with this role). So sit back, grab a Helltown Mischievous Brown Ale, and enjoy as I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), and Capt. Cash throw down with sociopath Bebop and help save a kidnapped baby from a group of nefarious fairies!

This Week's Segments:

  • Introduction – We get dragged to Hell as we discuss all the issues with the Right Hand of Doom's return. (00:00)
  • “Am I full of s**t or not?” – Capt. Cash attempts to debunk or confirm facts I discovered while investigating the interwebs. (33:58)
  • Who Played It Best? – In a world rife with rebooted Superhero films, we assess who played a role the best (50:07).
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks of the week. Spoiler: It's Amazon's The Boys. Go and watch it now. No really. What are you waiting for? (1:04:57)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter (@HopsandBOFlops) to check out all the interesting factoids—The Wrap's stinging summation of the on-set discord and more—from this week’s episode!

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July 24, 2019

2019 San Diego Comic Con

We went. We saw. We conquered! Well, sort of. Capt. Cash and I return with the briefest of brief recaps of this year's huge San Diego Comic Con (SDCC), the 50th anniversary of the convention.

We offer our thoughts on Marvel's mic dropping Hall H, HBO's Watchmen trailer, and the new Amazon series The Boys, which is based on the comic of the same name!

This episode, as I stated, is not in depth, but fear not, listeners; we will return with our next episode, Hellboy (2019), in short order.

Did you attend SDCC? Hit us up on our Twitter (@HopsandBOFlops) to discuss your favorite things from this year's show.

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