MacGruber, which is a riff on the old jack-of-all trades television character MacGyver, is one of the more perplexing Saturday Night Live adaptations. I don't say that in a bad way.

It's more because it takes a truncated skit (generally 30 seconds) and turns it into an unabashed, hard R, gross out gag, lowbrow yuck fest. That conceit can be a lot when stretched over 90 minutes.

If that sounds terrible, and some may certainly find it to be, we don't blame you; but it's actually a lot of fun.

And, honestly, if you have seen the skit, its decision to pull no punches makes a lot of sense. At his core, MacGruber—the character—is meant to be unlikeable. He has no self-awareness; is actually bad at the things he's supposed to excel at; and he has a negative growth arc—he becomes more of an asshole, despite the lessons he's supposed to have learned.

Thus, a movie that is lewd, crude, and strikingly obscene is perfect for him. We responded in kind. This episode honors the raunchiness of its subject. You have been forewarned.

With that out of the way, MacGruber is more than just potty humor. Not much more, but enough to warrant a watch.

So sit back, rewire your tastebuds with a Worst Case Scenario Double IPA from Masthead Brewing Co., and track down KFBR392! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. CashChumpzilla, and Mayor McCheese are jamming to Yacht Rock and practicing our throat rips!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – As we mentioned, this movie makes abundant use of its R rating. But does it work? (00:00)
  • Lingering Questions – As a movie full of offensive gags, would any of us recommend it to our friends? (53:24)
  • The MacGruber Trivia Challenge – Mayor McCheese challenges the field to trivia about the movie. (1:16:00)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week, and next up in "Hops and Saturday Night Flops," the reason Al Franken went into politics, Stuart Saves His Family! (1:24:06)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—the Super Bowl Pepsi ad and more—from this week’s episode!

You can find this episode of Hops and Box Office Flops on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbeanSpotify, Acast, TuneIniHeartRadio, and Amazon Music!

More Episodes

Blues Brothers 2000 – We’re on a Mission from Pod

January 8, 2021

Blues Brothers 2000 should have never happened. Period. It's an uninspired rehash of one of the great 80s comedies. There is nothing new here; thus, there was no reason for revisiting the titular brothers. Oh, and lest we forget that one of them—John Belushi—tragically passed away in 1982.

Without his oversized and all-consuming personality, there is an undeniable void that's never filled. The magic is gone. And no matter how many fake brothers you insert into the mix, it's not going to matter—particularly when the actors are stripped of most of their charm and charisma.

John Goodman has never been less magnetic than he is here as "Mighty" Mack McTeer. Did Dan Aykroyd and John Landis—the co-writers/star and director—just refuse to see The Big Lebowski? How could they underutilize him this horrifically?

Well, suffice to say, our rage was shared by audiences. Blues Brothers 2000 carries a 37% user score on Rotten Tomatoes (slightly worse than its 46% with critics). And it grossed just $14.05 million on a budget of $31 million.

In the end, unlike its predecessor, this one should have existed solely as a Saturday Night Live skit.

So sit back, boost your confidence with a Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co., and go looking for a fox! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. CashChumpzilla, and Mayor McCheese are still trying to fathom just how Aykroyd fit into the dashboard of that car!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – Beyond Aykroyd wanting to jam with some Blues legends, why does this movie exist? (00:00)
  • Lingering Questions – There are certainly many, but among them: What musical legend would we most like to hang out with? 
  • Trivia Works in Mysterious Ways – Capt. Cash challenges the field to Blues Brothers-themed trivia. (57:31)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week, and next up in "Hops and Saturday Night Flops," MacGruber! (1:13:05)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—the origins of the Blues Brothers and more—from this week’s episode!

You can find this episode of Hops and Box Office Flops on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbeanSpotify, Acast, TuneIniHeartRadio, and Amazon Music!

New Year’s Eve – F**k Bon Jovi

January 1, 2021

New Year's Eve sucks. I'm sorry, but it's the truth. Like the holiday itself, it's an exercise in excess—boasting an A-list cast, yet giving them nothing to do.

It's mind-numbingly stupid and obscenely scripted. The fact that it expects you to like these characters is, in itself, anger-inducing. You will hate these people. All of them, but especially Bon Jovi—who inexplicably doesn't play himself. Instead, he's a sappy musician named Jensen.

Honestly, the only way to get through it is to drink. Heavily. Drink like it's the countdown to the ball dropping, only it lasts two hours. Drink so much that you make out with a total stranger and forget that you ever watched it. And don't fear the hangover. Your headache from this movie's dialogue will be far worse.

With that out of the way, sit back, quell your oncoming rage with a few Enjoy By 01.01.21 from Stone Brewing Co., and toast to the end of 2020! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. CashChumpzilla, and Mayor McCheese are zipping through NYC on Vespas!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – Loads of famous people and not much else. (00:00)
  • The Ultimate New Year's Eve Trivia Challenge – I challenge the field to trivia about the movie, as well as the holiday that inspired it. (57:31)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week, and next, in our Season 3 premiere, we begin "Hops and Saturday Night Flops" with a film whose existence alone is offensive—Blues Brothers 2000! (1:13:05)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—the other dreck from this anthology and more—from this week’s episode!

You can find this episode of Hops and Box Office Flops on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbeanSpotify, Acast, TuneIniHeartRadio, and Amazon Music!

It’s a Wonderful Life – Hee Haw!

December 25, 2020

It's a Wonderful Life is a legitimate classic. It's aired every year around the holidays, and its message is as inspiring now as it was when it was released in 1946.

It's a timeless tale of a man who feels his life has been unfulfilled. He's missed out on the world travels he swore he'd take; he's missed out on college to bailout his father's fledgling savings and loan; and he was unable to serve in World War II due to a childhood injury.

Despite those opportunities lost, George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) is simply a great man. Yet for all the good he does, there is something missing. He is unable to see the true impact of his deeds. Cue the heavy sentimentality.

This all may sound a little hokey, but it's not. Bailey's life is indeed fulfilled through the many lives he's touched. Once you watch it, one of those lives will be your own.

So sit back, have a good cry while drinking a Tropicália IPA from Creature Comforts Brewing Co., and lock Uncle Billy in a closet! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. CashChumpzilla, Mayor McCheese and a special guest are toasting to George Bailey—the richest man in town!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – If you have not seen it, this Christmas staple is a must this holiday season. (00:00)
  • Lingering Questions – This flopped. Yes, that is true. But why? (1:03:06)
  • The Trivia Challenge – Chumpzilla challenges the field to a series of trivia questions. (1:31:11)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week, and for our final "Hops and Holiday Flops," the cringe-inducing, stunt casting mess, New Year's Eve! (1:43:52)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—the movies this inspired and more—from this week’s episode!

You can find this episode of Hops and Box Office Flops on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbeanSpotify, Acast, TuneIniHeartRadio, and Amazon Music!

Santa’s Slay – Grandpa Got Run Over by a Hell Deer

December 18, 2020

Santa's Slay is exactly what the title implies. Santa Claus—played by WCW and WWE's Bill Goldberg—is big, angry, and not very keen on spreading Christmas cheer. Rather, he opts to spend the holidays igniting "Yuletide fear."

That's the movie. Literally, that's it. Santa Claus is an asshole, who's hell bent on revenge. Why? Well, he was only nice because he lost in a game of chance to an angel who just happened to be out wondering the frozen tundra.

I'd go deeper, yet there's no reason to. This is about Santaberg and is oh so wicked ways. He murders James Caan (no, that's not a typo) with a turkey leg; set's the nanny's hair aflame with some spiked eggnog; and—amongst many other grisly kills—he electrocutes a man with a stripper pole.

So if you get your jollies watching pro wrestlers in Santa cosplay murder people indiscriminately, then this is the movie for you.

So sit back, jackhammer a couple of Celebration Fresh Hop IPAs from Sierra Nevada, and avoid having Christmas dinner with James Caan! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. CashChumpzilla, and Mayor McCheese are wagering our souls on a game of high stakes curling!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – Bill Goldberg, Christmas time, and a murderous Santa Claus equals gold. (00:00)
  • Lingering Questions – How many beers does it take to survive the pursuit of homicidal Santa? (43:46)
  • The "Hell Deer" Trivia Challenge – Mayor McCheese challenges us to a series of trivia questions. (57:40)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week, and coming up in "Hops and Holiday Flops," the legitimate Christmas classic, It's a Wonderful Life! (1:04:52)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—if there are any—from this week’s episode!

You can find this episode of Hops and Box Office Flops on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbeanSpotify, Acast, TuneIniHeartRadio, and Amazon Music!

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms – Fresh Out of Fairy Dust

December 11, 2020

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is everything wrong with modern-day cinema. It takes a classic property—in this case, both a beloved ballet and story—and turns it into a paint-by-numbers adventure tale. Folks, this is a literal CGI-invested hellscape of banal ideas and idiotic plot.

Worse, it's essentially a template that Disney has beaten to death—think Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland or The Chronicles of Narnia. One of those at least did its property justice. Point is, we've treaded this ground before, and we've done so in the far too recent past.

This film is creatively bankrupt. Obviously, that wasn't by design, so what went wrong? For starters, there's zero need to turn The Nutcracker into a swashbuckling, realm-saving war movie—let alone one filled with over the top effects. With a budget of $133 million—approximately $100 million more than was necessary to bring this to contemporary audiences—it's clear they understood neither the beauty, nor the grace of the ballet.

I'm not alone in thinking this. It grossed just $174 million, netting Disney an over $60 million loss on the project. Critics shared in our collective scorn. It sits at 32% on Rotten Tomatoes with 202 reviews; the users were slightly more kind, 34%.

Listeners, this one is a mess from start to finish. So as you watch it, just think about fonder things and attempt to identify the scenes they reshot (there were 32 days of reshoots on this). Try as we might, it was all so bland, we couldn't figure it out.

But that's nothing a fine beer won't fix. So sit back, unlock an I'll Have What She's Having from Evil Genius Beer Co., and snack on a lock of your own hair! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. CashChumpzilla, and Mayor McCheese, are bounding through the four realms as a collection of killer acrobatic clowns!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – This film is a muddled mess of pilfered ideas, bland design choices, and a plot as hollow as the empty vessel that is the tin soldier. (00:00)
  • Lingering Questions – How many beers does it take to endure this disaster? And, on a more interesting note, which of our child toys would we bring to life? (1:08:18)
  • The Nutcracker Trivia Challenge – Capt. Cash challenges the field to trivia about the movie, as well as about its more famous inspirations. (1:34:20)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week, and coming up in "Hops and Holiday Flops," the Bill Goldberg Christmas classic, Santa's Slay! (1:46:45)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—the director shake-up and more—from this week’s episode!

You can find this episode of Hops and Box Office Flops on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbeanSpotify, Acast, TuneIniHeartRadio, and Amazon Music!

Tango & Cash – Armed and Definitely Dangerous

December 4, 2020

Tango & Cash is a the cinematic manifestation of all the 80s muscle-bound mayhem rolled into one messy package. It's a part serious, part satirical, part nonsensical tale of dueling cops forced into an uneasy partnership. And as much as it clearly doesn't work, it somehow is a hell of a lot of fun.

Pairing two of the decade's iconic stars, Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell, as the titular duo, Tango & Cash was meant to be a mega hit. To a degree, it was; it earned $120.4 million on a budget of $54 million.

Those numbers, though, pale in comparison to some of its contemporaries. Another 48 Hrs. grossed over $150 million on a far smaller production cost; and Lethal Weapon 2, released just five months prior, made a whopping $227.9 million.

These comparison points are for more than simply genre and relative release timing. Tango & Cash, as alluded to above, desperately wants to emulate far better mismatched buddy action films. And in its quest to duplicate their collective successes, it never knows what it wants to be.

Stop me if you've heard this before, but that was due in large part to its issues behind the scenes. This encompassed multiple directors, an unwritten ending, a budget that ballooned out of control, and a literal tug-of-war over its tone. The term "tonal whiplash" may not be descriptive enough to describe this film (Thanks, Jon Peters).

Now, take everything you just read and put it into a hall of mirrors with Jack Palance holding a couple of mice. Why? Well, none of that matters. You will understand that what you're watching is stupid, but you won't care because they don't care. Tango & Cash is shamelessly unapologetic; it continues to throw zingers at you, knowing full well that they will never stop coming.

Literally, the script is 90% one-liners. So even if 50% of them don't work, just enjoy the ones that do!

So sit back, get locked and loaded with a Weapons Check Irish Red Ale from 1912 Brewing Co., and burn rubber in the soccer mom van of doom! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. CashChumpzilla, Mayor McCheese, and a special guest are playing bad cop/worst cop with a live grenade!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – With shifting tones that are sure to give you a kink in your neck, the last big film of 1989 is a curious one. (00:00)
  • Lingering Questions – Despite its marketable stars, Tango & Cash was only a moderate success. Did it deserve better? (1:01:34)
  • The "Don't Flatter Yourself, Peewee" Trivia Challenge – I challenge the field to trivia about the movie. (1:32:00)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week, and coming up, it's our "Hops and Holiday Flops" series. First up, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms! (1:43:09)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—the anarchy that was the making of this movie and more—from this week’s episode!

You can find this episode of Hops and Box Office Flops on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbeanSpotify, Acast, TuneIniHeartRadio, and Amazon Music!

Bullet to the Head – Brawn, Booze, and Bullets

November 27, 2020

Bullet to the Head is a throwback to a simpler time; an era when men were men, off-color jokes were plentiful, and the amount of heroic quips was only surpassed by the body count.

Serving as Sylvester Stallone's late mid-life crisis, Bullet to the Head is an unapologetic homage to the action films of yesteryear. This makes all the more sense when you consider that director Walter Hill perfected this template with 48 Hrs., a mismatched buddy classic.

Some may argue that formula doesn't necessarily work in 2012, but they—like the co-hosts of this pod—are wrong. This film is glorious.

Pumped full of violence, it's an adrenaline shot to your heart. And by the looks of it, Stallone also knows all about hypodermic needles. Literally, he appears to have overdosed on human growth hormone. No 66-year-old man should be as vascular as he is in this movie.

Anyway, it did inexplicably flop. It earned just under $22 million on a budget of $40 million—perhaps a signal that the action days of yore, like Stallone, were past their prime. But boo to that BS notion! Bullet's wanton carnage will put a little pound in your pencil! 

So sit back, get feisty with an Axe Man IPA from Surly Brewing Co., and pour yourself a double shot of Bulleit Bourbon! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. Cash, and Chumpzilla are busting skulls at a Turkish Bathhouse in nothing but our Underoos!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – Old, angry, and jacked is the perfect way to go through life. (00:00)
  • The "Bang, Down, Owned" Trivia Challenge – I challenge Capt. Cash and Chumpzilla to trivia centered around the movie. (1:01:52)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week, and next: It's a "Tango and Captain Cash" bonus pod! It seemed only fitting that we finished this series with its namesake, Tango & Cash! (1:16:01)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—the big time casting whiff and more—from this week’s episode!

You can find this episode of Hops and Box Office Flops on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbeanSpotify, Acast, TuneIniHeartRadio, and Amazon Music!

Judge Dredd – We are the Law

November 20, 2020

Judge Dredd—which is based on the character from 2000 AD, a weekly British comic—is a sadly generic action film that fails to grasp the subversive nature of its character. 

The titular judge—and the system in which he serves—is written as a commentary on the overly aggressive tactics of American law enforcement. The movie, despite nailing the look and feel of Mega-City One and its characters, plays it much more straight forward. Sylvester Stallone, the literal Judge Joseph Dredd, is meant to be the hero.

And as an audience, you're meant to ignore that he's clearly a fascist in fancy, eagle-adorned clothing. That's sort of the tragedy of this film. It never knows what it wants to be. This is due in no small part to Stallone's clashes with the director, Danny Cannon. Cannon, who was a fan of the comic, wanted the movie to have a darker edge to it.

The execs and its star wanted to aim more for a standard summer blockbuster. It accomplished neither. And as a result, it tanked with both critics and audiences. On a budget of $90 million, it grossed just over $113 million worldwide. Its 20% Rotten Tomatoes score (with 54 reviews) is a little harsh, but not much.

All that aside, there is some fun to be had. The practical effects are top notch—kudos to the Angel Gang—Rob Schneider is inexplicably in it, and Armand Assante seems to be aiming for a Lifetime Achievement Razzie with just this performance.

So sit back, send a signal flare to your tastebuds with a Molotov Cocktail Imperial IPA from Evil Twin Brewing Co., and set your Law Bringer to Double Whammy! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. CashChumpzillaMayor McCheese, and a special guest are passing down harsh judgements up and down the block war!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – Like the opening pod of this series, most of this movie is Over the Top, and not necessarily in a good way. (00:00)
  • Lingering Questions – For everything this movie does well, it does so much more poorly; but could it have been salvaged? (42:47)
  • The "I Knew You'd Say That" Trivia Challenge – Capt. Cash challenges the field to trivia centered around the movie. (1:03:31)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week, and next up in our "Tango and Captain Cash" series: pour yourself a shot of Bulleit Bourbon for Bullet to the Head! (1:16:02)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—the casting what-ifs and more—from this week’s episode!

You can find this episode of Hops and Box Office Flops on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbeanSpotify, Acast, TuneIniHeartRadio, and Amazon Music!

Stop! Or My Mom will Shoot – Literally, Please Stop

November 13, 2020

Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot is Sylvester Stallone's attempt at an action comedy. Suffice to say, it's firing blanks. Co-starring Estelle Getty (Sophia on Golden Girls), it was a spin on the overused trope of mismatched/buddy cops.

The conceit is a Hollywood staple, but rarely has it been used to such disastrous effect. Stop! is a Saturday Night Live skit exhaustively stretched to fill an hour and a half film. It is rarely funny—with in-jokes that become derivative within its first 15 minutes. 

Worse, no one in the movie seems to be having any fun, either. Stallone is disengaged from the jump—more than likely due to the startling realization that his old buddy Arnold had indeed duped him into making this turd.

Critics seemed to agree with his assessment. It sits at just 7% on Rotten Tomatoes with 27 reviews. The late Roger Ebert channeled their consensus best when he wrote, "It is moronic beyond comprehension, an exercise in desperation during which even Sylvester Stallone, a repository of self-confidence, seems to be disheartened."

On the bright side, though, it isn't overly long. That's about it.

So sit back, shoot the top off an Anvil Double IPA from Ironmonger Brewing Co., and avoid cleaning any weapons with Clorox! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. CashChumpzilla, and Mayor McCheese are busting gun runners in greater Los Angeles!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – If one were wondering what movie is Stallone's worst, the answer is pretty clear. (00:00)
  • Lingering Questions – Should this have flopped? In a word, yes. (42:47)
  • The Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot Trivia Challenge – Chumpzilla challenges the field to Stallone-tastic trivia. (1:03:31)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week, and next up in our "Tango and Captain Cash" series: We are the law! It's Judge Dredd. (1:16:02)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—how Schwarzenegger pulled a fast one on Sly and more—from this week’s episode!

You can find this episode of Hops and Box Office Flops on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbeanSpotify, Acast, TuneIniHeartRadio, and Amazon Music!