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TV & Film

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


UHF is every bit a reflection of its co-writer "Weird Al" Yankovic. It's an eccentric and peculiar film, driven by the scattershot musings of Yankovic's mind. Like his music, none of it is meant to be taken seriously. It is an amalgamation of goofy satire—some great, some not so—that's best served for repeat viewings. But again, like his music, its appeal is limited to a certain audience.

Which begs the question: Why release a film like this in the heart of the summer movie season? Surrounded by massive box office hits of 1989 like Indiana Jones and the Last CrusadeBatman, and Ghostbusters II, it was doomed to fail. And fail it did. On a budget of $5 million, it grossed just $6.1 million.

Certainly low risk, but the reward wasn't much better. The studio had banked on it being otherwise. After positive test screenings—Orion's best since Robocop—they were sure they had a hit on their hands. To be fair, UHF is unique in comparison to those other offerings. And it even pokes fun at their self-seriousness. It just lacks the massive scale of most summer fare, no doubt causing it to become lost in the shuffle.

Despite its underperformance, it is an amazing showcase for Michael Richards, who would become one of the great comedic actors of the 1990s with his portrayal of Cosmo Kramer on Seinfeld. The fingerprints of what would be hallmarks of that character—in particular the physical comedy—are all over this movie. As Stanley Spadowski—the inadvertent hero of Channel 62—Richards steals the show, outpacing his co-stars with a spastic performance for the ages.

Truly, for any fan of Seinfeld, it is one that must be seen. So sit back, pour yourself a Tangerine Express IPA from Stone Brewing, and get ready to drink from the fire hose. I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), and Chumpzilla are taking a trip Stanley Spadowski's Clubhouse!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction – From Raul's Wild Kingdom to Spatula City, we discuss all of Uncle Nutsy's bonkers ideas.  (00:00)
  • Interesting Facts, and the “Wheel of Fish” Trivia Challenge – Chumpzilla provides some lesser known tidbits about the film, and then, in a reversal of roles, he tasks me with some UHF trivia. (27:40)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week and next up: We set a course for Cutthroat Island! (53:10)

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

You can find this episode of Hops and Box Office Flops on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbean, and Spotify!

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D3: The Mighty Ducks is the culmination of the greatest youth sports trilogy in history. Now, I understand the competition for that title is thin, but for a group of plucky youngsters from Minnesota, the distinction is a high honor.

Though it is the finale, and sort of a fitting end, D3 is also irrefutably the worst film of the series. It over exaggerates its own cannon—Charlie Conway (Joshua Jackson) was never really the official captain—is a step down in scale from its immediate predecessor, and boasts some of the worst sports scenes ever put to film. None of those are in any way a stretch, but I will only elaborate on the first.

Conway—the lovable little scamp with the heart of gold—was an abysmal hockey player. You don't earn a nickname like "Spazway" if you're good. Sure, he scores the winning goal to defeat the dastardly Hawks in the district championship, but he also steps down from his role on the team in D2 to ensure a roster spot is available for Russ Tyler (Keenan Thompson) after Adam Banks returns from injury. Tyler's only notable skill is shooting the puck in a way that ignores the laws physics.

So why does Conway give up his spot? Again, because he's sub-par. As a result, he does what many mediocre players do: He becomes a coaching assistant. Thus, anchoring the core emotional hook of D3 to Conway being stripped of his captaincy is beyond dumb and beneath the lofty standards established in this fictitious world of youth athletics. He never even had a "C" on his jersey until this film.

There is contradictory evidence that I will in turn refute. Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) opts for him to take that aforementioned penalty shot in the first film, but that means little. Bombay was just pushing the right buttons, instilling a boost of confidence in a player renowned for his penchant to choke. That's what great coaches do.

And when Gunner Stahl refers to him as "Captain Duck" in the handshake line in D2, it's more a consequence of bad translation; and, needless to say, Gunner is hardly an authority on the hierarchy of the Ducks locker room. He can't even decide if he's a goalie or a right wing; or if he's an American or from Iceland.

Perhaps the most damning evidence is that the captain, whether they offered or not, would never be a healthy scratch, nor would they quit the team because the coach was too strict and preached a commitment to defense. I mean, come on, he's essentially this franchise's Timmy Lupus (Bad News Bears)

I digress. D3, for its many faults, is still a Mighty Ducks movie; that affiliation alone carries it past other dumb movies with kids who suck at stuff and then somehow win, defying all logic. It's also far more grounded than most of those other aforementioned silly movies with the underdog kids.

And, in truth, D3 was a more believable follow up than D2. It is much more reasonable to accept they'd go one to become the JV team at a prestigious high school. A house team from suburban Minnesota would not be the go to squad to represent the US of A in the Junior Goodwill Games.

Anyway, it was a flop. It grossed just $22.9 million. It didn't lose money because it was made on the cheap—see my comment about the actual hockey scenes—but it did gross far less than the previous two. Mighty Ducks took home $50.8 million, and D2 wasn't too far behind with $45.6.

For all those who chose to sit this one out when it was released in 1996, you killed Hans (Joss Ackland). Murderers, the lot of you. Just kidding ... Ackland is alive and well, but he hates you as much as his character hated Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon 2.

Now, sit back, enjoy a fine Molson, and sharpen those skates. I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt Cash, and Chumpzilla are forming the Flying V to stickhandle our way through the heart of the Varsity defense!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction – Quack, quack, quack ... We reunite the District 5 all-stars to break down the finale of the Mighty Ducks trilogy; a debate that includes the trial of "Captain" Conway.  (00:00)
  • Interesting Facts, and the “Ducks Fly Together” Trivia Challenge – Turns out, there's a lot to learn about the making of this movie, and much of that is woven into the quiz I tasked Capt. Cash and Chumpzilla with. (41:14)
  • Recommendations – We look forward to future episodes and present our picks for the week. (1:01:27)

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

You can find this episode of Hops and Box Office Flops on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbean, and Spotify!

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Upon its release, I examined the underlying issues behind Solo: A Star Wars Story becoming box office bantha fodder. I will not rehash that all here. Suffice to say, though, it was a financial failure and not just a small one.

Solo, for all the power and hype of the Disney machine, couldn't even break $400 million worldwide. For a film not tethered to a storied franchise like Star Wars, that wouldn't be too bad. But Solo is, and somehow, it grossed less than any of the original trilogy. Those films, for perspective, came out in 1977, 1980, and 1983. A lot has changed in the dynamics of the box office since then, not to mention the inflation of the dollar, so these numbers are more than just troubling.

Not only was Solo meant to launch a series of films, chronicling the adventures of a young Han, it was meant to demonstrate the power of the brand. It did neither

Its grand aspirations were nothing more than delusions; it fell flat. Yet it shouldn't have. It's a fun, smaller scale Star Wars adventure. Sure it may answer some questions we probably never needed answers to, but it also introduces us to Han outside of the main narrative. We get to see he and Lando (played by Donald Glover, who steals the show) match wits; we come to understand why he shot first (and, yes, he did shoot first, Harrison); and we even get a mind blowing reintroduction to a beloved character from the series' lore.

Certainly it did not reinvent the wheel, but it did do the character justice. Alden Ehrenreich, who was also fantastic, and the rest of the actors deserved better. Even if you may not have wanted his backstory, or even cared to see it, there was enough good in it to warrant its existence.

And, hey, it's free to stream now, so sit back, deal a hand of Sabaac, and sip on a Han Shot First Double IPA from Evil Genius Beer Company. I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt Cash, and Chumpzilla are plowing headfirst into the Maelstrom, navigating our way through the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction – We recap Han's journey to the seedier side of galaxy life, debating the good and bad that it encompasses.  (00:00)
  • The Drama, the Interesting Facts, and the "She's Fast Enough for You, Old Man" Han Solo Trivia Challenge – We discuss Lord and Miller's unceremonious departure, as well as Ehrenreich's struggles to channel ford; uncover the Easter eggs hidden within the film; and then, I put Capt. Cash and Chumpzilla's knowledge of the character to the test with a quiz covering his entire history. (50:08)
  • Oscar Predictions – In our heart of hearts, we share who we are pulling for on Oscar Sunday. (1:11:46)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter or Facebook to check out all the interesting factoids—the director shake up, 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 PlayStitcherPodbean, and Spotify!

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PCU, or Politically Correct University, is a comedy centered around a college campus that has lost its edge. Everyone is divided into sub-groups, and they are all offended or outraged by something. In a way, the movie was predictive of the times to come.

This zero tolerance, fun free landscape is how we are introduced to pre-frosh Tom Lawrence (Chris Young). He's visiting the fictional Port Chester University for the weekend, and he just happens to be paired with super duper senior James 'Droz' Andrews (Jeremy Piven). Tom, with a lack of real adult guidance, proceeds to tick off several of the on-campus cliques.

This may sound like the film aims to be obtusely offensive, poking fun at those in the minority or the absurdity of finding fault with everything (i.e. Cancel Culture today), but it is satirical look at those—as the movie deems them—"cause heads"

Now, admittedly, it is a bit dated, especially with how it stereotypes. That said, PCU's central theme is more about embracing the freedom of unsupervised adulthood and not taking the trivial things too seriously. To those ends, it is rather successful. PCU is definitely a humorous film—one that was unfortunately overlooked upon its initial release. It earned just over $4 million on a budget double that.

In the following years, though, it did gain some traction on cable TV and amassed a loyal following, earning it near cult status. It's also a film that you can look back on and see the birth of a budding star. Jeremy Piven as Droz owns this movie. Like Bill Murray in Meatballs or Ryan Reynolds in Van WilderPCU gives him the keys and lets him drive the car. The film is better for it. He has a natural charisma.

All in all, similar to many comedies of the 1990s, PCU is a silly film with some memorable moments and some unforgettable characters (Jake Busey as Mersh or John Favreau as Gutter).

So sit back, shotgun a couple of Terminally Chill IPAs from La Cumbre Brewing, grab those frisbees, and do a deep dive on the Caine-Hackman Theory while performing a kegstand. I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt Cash, and Chumpzilla are headed back to college to toss meat at vegans and chug brewdogs with George Clinton!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction – We recap the wild events of pre-frosh Tom Lawrence's insane weekend visiting Port Chester University.  (00:00)
  • Interesting Facts about the Movie and the "Where are They Now: Port Chester University Class of 1994?" – We dive into some crazy facts about the film, and then Capt. Cash, Chumpzilla, and I attempt to pinpoint what became of PCU's Class of 1994. (36:26)
  • Recommendations – After this brief bit of nostalgia theater, we offer our recommendations for the week. (1:04:28)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter or Facebook to check out all the interesting factoids—the mythical softball showdown with the cast of another movie and more—from this week’s episode!

You can find this episode of Hops and Box Office Flops on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbean, and Spotify!

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Cats ... how would one describe it? Well, quite frankly, it's a nightmarish, music-infused trip through the bizarre and oddly seductive world of Jellicle cats. The Jellicle are a tribe of cats all vying to be selected to go to the Heaviside Layer (cat heaven?). They do so by engaging in frivolous song and dance, all in the hopes of appeasing Old Deuteronomy (Judi Dench). She's their matriarch, and I assume they follow her because her hands are literally just human ones. No fur, nothing. *Just general hands. 

That's literally the movie; it's frolicking, other vainglorious pageantry, and an overabundance of cat horniness. It happens for nearly two hours. It's baffling, to say the least, but you can never look away. It's a slow motion car crash with two vehicles being driven by cat/human homunculi. I'm not sure why it was made, who thought it was a good idea, and why this is the aesthetic they chose. Heck, I'm hard pressed to identify why it was such a hit on Broadway and beyond. What I do know is: I'll never forget what unfolded on the screen the night I saw it.

As strange as the movie is, though, that wouldn't have mattered much if it was a hit. Therein lies the issue. Cats, for all its disastrous effects, was an even bigger failure financially. Meow, let's break down these numbers. Cats has clawed its way to just under $59 million worldwide on a budget of $100 million. It cost an additional $100 million to market.

It has already been estimated to lose more than it cost to make—talk a bout a bad fur day. It finished ninth, exercising all its lives, in only its second weekend; and in that weekend, the five-day Christmas Holiday, it generated a paltry $8.7 million. It was also buried like a fresh turd in the litter box by critics. It sits at 20% with 279 reviews (53% with viewers—really?).

This all sounds fairly grotesque—a fur ball hacked up and discarded—but you have to see this movie; and you should witness it, in all its glory, with as many of your friends as possible. It's an ideal piece of cinema to poke fun at with others, while also appreciating some of the immense talent that is on display.

So sit back, lap up a saucer of milk, chug a few Stranger than Fiction Porters from Collective Arts Brewing, and stretch those tails. I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt Cash, and Chumpzilla will guide you though the fantastical world of theatrical feline humanoids!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction – We do our damndest to describe what this movie was actually about and why it veered so far off the rails. We also officially become cats, assigning each other our Jellicle names.  (00:00)
  • Interesting Facts about the Movie and the “Cat-Tastic” Trivia Challenge – After briefly discussing some interesting facts about the movie, Capt. Cash and Chumpzilla engage in a battle of wits to become the pod's official "Jellicle Choice." (47:17)
  • Recommendations – To aid us in our recuperation from seeing Cats, we offer slightly less horror-inducing fare. (1:01:40)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter or Facebook to check out all the interesting factoids—the ballad of Pugnacious Prrrcival Pawsford and more—from this week’s episode!

You can find this episode of Hops and Box Office Flops on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbean, and Spotify!

*As a note: this was apparently corrected in the finished cut of the film, which was released days after its premiere, but in my viewing, it was not.

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As we've discussed on the podcast in prior episodes—such as our MCU Top-10 two-parter (Part One, Part Two)—we are living in a golden age of superhero cinema. It is a great time to be a fan of these characters.

Generally, though, we cover the ones that didn't fare as well at the box office. As an example, last year's Hellboy or 2004's The Punisher—neither of which grace this pod with their presence. But, hey, it's a new year, and that calls for a special offering.

Thus, we've united to break down our Top-5 comic book films of all time—along with the best scene and performance from each.

Similar in format to the aforementioned MCU spectacular, this one-off opens the doors to the entire landscape of superhero films. And there were disagreements—some more adamant than others. 

So sit back, grab a Voodoo Ranger Hop Avenger IPA from New Belgium Brewing, contemplate your own personal Top-5, and enjoy, as I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. Cash, and Chumpzilla take on the oldest lie in America—that geeky debates cannot be in good fun!

Our Lists:

  • Thunderous Wizard:

    • 5. Joker
    • 4. Watchmen: The Director's Cut
    • 3. Batman v Superman: The Ultimate Cut
    • 2. Superman: The Movie
    • 1. The Dark Knight

  • Capt. Cash:
    • 5. Superman: The Movie/Superman II (This is technically cheating, but we approved)
    • 4. Spider-Man 2
    • 3. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
    • 2. The Avengers
    • 1. The Dark Knight

  • Chumpzilla:
    • 5. Watchmen
    • 4. Logan
    • 3. Avengers: Endgame
    • 2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
    • 1. The Dark Knight

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter or Facebook to check out all the interesting factoids—Tobey Maguire's stoic cameo in The Wizard and more—from this week’s episode or to offer your Top-5!

You can find this episode of Hops and Box Office Flops on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbean, and Spotify!

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Jingle All the Way, as silly and over-the-top as it may be, is actually quite a hysterical look at the insanity of Christmas-time consumerism. It's the time of year when parents across the country will literally stop at nothing to secure that one toy their child cannot live without.

Though it is not a great film, it is a heck of a lot of fun. Arnold Schwarzenegger, as the workaholic mattress salesman Howard Langston, relishes the chance to play a normal guy. He's having fun, so in turn, we—the viewers—cannot help but giggle at the lunacy of it all, too. Sinbad, who portrays fellow desperate shopper and deranged mailman Myron Larabee, is also clearly enjoying himself. 

Their interplay, bonkers game of one-upmanship, and excellent cast of co-stars elevates what is rather mediocre material. One such complimentary piece is the late, and eternally great, Phil Hartman; his turn as the wonderfully sleazy single-parent neighbor of Langston's, Ted, is a welcome reminder of his comedic genius.

Those reasons, I believe, are why the movie has endured and why it made money upon its release in November of 1996. On a budget of $60 million, it made nearly $130 million worldwide, defying the critics who lambasted it as a "slapstick yuk-fest" (that comes according to the Critics' Consensus on Rotten Tomatoes).

And you, dear readers and listeners, should watch it, too! Tis' the season, after all!

So sit back, pour yourself a Festivus Spiced Brown Ale from Full Pint Brewing, and put that freshly baked cookie down (now!) as I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt Cash, and Chumpzilla fight through the havoc of holiday shopping to pursue an oddly shaped doll!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction – We break down this Christmas classic, exploring why it found a following, discussing which of our respective childhood toys was the "TurboMan" of its day, and more.  (00:00)
  • Interesting Facts about the Movie and the “Nobody Likes You, Booster!” Jingle All the Way Trivia Challenge – After briefly discussing some interesting facts about the movie, I challenge Capt. Cash and Chumpzilla to a series of questions relating to this movie and the actors in it. (36:11)
  • Recommendations – As an ode to the holiday season, we each offer our Top-5 Christmas films. (50:23)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter or Facebook to check out all the interesting factoids—Schwarzenegger's history with the unscrupulous mall Santa, etc.—from this week’s episode!

You can find this episode of Hops and Box Office Flops on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbean, and Spotify!

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There's no avoiding that Terminator: Dark Fate was a flop. Within two days of its release, the writing was not only on the wall, but in print. Outlets like Variety and The Hollywood Reporter pegged it to lose upward of $100 million. That projection was due, in no small part, to Dark Fate's abysmal opening—just $131 million worldwide in its premiere weekend.

No amount of foresight or heroics from the future could prevent the disaster ahead. To date, it's grossed a lousy $258 million and change worldwide; that is over $180 million less than Genisys—its poorly received and reviewed predecessor (71% on Rotten Tomatoes versus 29%).

For those of us that bothered to see the movie, it's a bummer. Dark Fate is not a perfect Terminator film, but it is the most worthy followup to what many would consider the franchise's pinnacle, Terminator 2: Judgement Day. And it was billed as a direct sequel to it, ignoring the other two reboots and one pseudo-sequel that had come before it.

It's no small coincidence then that this movie's biggest hurdle was in righting the wrongs of its own past. Thus, even with James Cameron returning to produce (he also wrote the story) and the reinsertion of Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor, who's again brilliant in the role, there was just too much baggage for it to overcome.

The general public's interest in the property had been terminated. If you're reading this, though, then it's not too late. In just over a month, the film will come to home release. As I state on the pod, I'm not sure we needed this movie, but we got it; and unlike past iterations, Dark Fate is able to effectively build on the connection of Sarah Connor and the T-800 in thought provoking ways.

So my gripes with it aside, it is worth seeing. Arnold, who was built to play this machine, is terrific as always. And series newbie Mackenzie Davis brings a physicality to her portrayal of Grace that rivals the ever-intimidating Hamilton. 

Couple those performances with some top-tier action sequences, and you get a popcorn movie that delivers on both its promise and history.

So sit back, crack open a Sticky Stout from Red Hare Brewing, and come with us if you want to live! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK) and Chumpzilla are hurdling back through time to prevent the seemingly inevitable judgement day!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction – In what could be the end of this storied series for the foreseeable future, we discuss what worked/didn't work about Dark Fate; choose what concepts from each Terminator film we'd keep; rank each of the entries; and more.  (00:00)
  • Interesting Facts about the Movie and the “Hasta La Vista” Terminator Franchise Cyberdyne Systems Quiz – We discuss Tim Miller's enlightening interview post-flop. Then I challenge Chumpzilla with trivia encompassing the entirety of the Terminator franchise. (52:16)
  • Recommendations – We close the show with our picks for the week (mine is a delightfully bad Italian Terminator knock off from the 80s Hands of Steel) and preview our very festive Christmas episode—Jingle All the Way. (1:19:04)

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

You can find this episode of Hops and Box Office Flops on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbean, and Spotify!

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Released in 2004, The Punisher marked the return of the infamous Marvel character to live action. It had been 15 years since his first appearance in 1989's film of the same name, and a lot had changed in the landscape of comic book cinema.

The world was at the precipice of what would become a boom, an unfiltered and unfettered influx of properties—not all of which were of the utmost quality. This was pre-MCU, a time before Disney put a stranglehold on characters that fell within Marvel's kingdom.

This version of the Punisher is an exemplar of those wilder times—in both good ways and bad.

The good: It's an unapologetic, hard-R, in your face, kick ass and take names action movie filled with an array of bullets, blood, and fisticuffs. Oh, and classic performances from both Thomas Jane as the central protagonist and John Travolta as the wonderfully hammy villain Howard Saint.

The bad is just about everything else. Lacking the budget of other comic properties of the time, The Punisher's seams begin to burst under the weight of its ambition. Its script, which waffles between hackneyed and preposterous, is only saved by the actors giving their all in service to the material. It is truly a B-movie wrapped up in the body of an aspiring blockbuster. But that is also what makes it so damn good.

Unfortunately, as I referenced above, it was released in a time when superhero cinema was not guaranteed to rake in the big bucks. Premiering the same weekend as Kill Bill Vol. 2, it placed second with just over $13.8 million and finished its run with $54.7 million worldwide. Costing just around $33 million, it wasn't a huge flop; and it did do good numbers upon home release.

That did not save it, though, from becoming a one and done. It's tepid response (29% from critics with 170 reviews), coupled with its mediocre receipts, spelled the end for this version of the character; he was relegated to the junk heap of history and rebooted only four years later (The less said about that movie, the better). 

The world is poorer for it. In a sea of increasingly derivative comic book movies, there's something to be appreciated about this film's aesthetic. It's gritty and gruesome. It embraces it's silliness while also delivering on its promise; the Punisher does what all fans of him expect him to do, slaying gangsters in a slew of barbaric ways.

It's also infinitely rewatchable. Cheers to you, Thomas Jane!

So sit back, pour yourself a shot of Wild Turkey, and grab your finest acoustic guitar as I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. Cash, and Chumpzilla map out an incredibly convoluted revenge plot!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction – In the swan song of Travolta Month, we break down everything pertinent to The Punisher (2004)from the best action sequence to the most grisly kill. (00:00)
  • Interesting Facts about the Movie and Our "Declaration of Intent" Punisher Trivia Challenge – After offering up some lesser known truths about the production of this movie, I challenge Capt. Cash and Chumpzilla to trivia about its making, as well as its titular character. (57:31)
  • Recommendations – We close the show with our Punisher/Thomas Jane-related picks for the week; in addition, we "unwrap" a surprise episode to follow Terminator: Dark Fate. If the pun didn't tip you off, it's seasonally appropriate. (1:13:22)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter or Facebook to check out all the interesting factoids—the Punisher's day at the laundromat and more—from this week’s episode!

You can find this episode of Hops and Box Office Flops on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbean, and Spotify!

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The past decade has not been kind to poor John Travolta. His star, like the quality of the roles he's taken, has waned.

It has been a precipitous decline, culminating in his latest film—The Fanatic.

The Fanatic centers around Moose (John Travolta), a super fan whose fixated on attaining the autograph of his favorite actor, Hunter Dunbar (Devon Sawa). When that proves more difficult than expected, things take a dark turn. The premise is simple enough, but its execution is disturbingly boorish. Written and directed by Fred Durst (yes, that Fred Durst), it's an ugly, cynical film. That's fine, if the material is handled well.

Unfortunately, it was not here. The film's issues—similar to Travolta's chosen quotes for his stunningly silly bid for a Best Actor nomination—transcend the written word. And the reviews reflect that. Sitting at 17% on Rotten Tomatoes with 58 reviews, it carries the aforementioned trend above. Travolta is working, but his project choices are not.

Yet, let's leave the quality of its narrative aside. This was the worst opening of Travolta's career. Released into just 52 theaters on August 30, 2019, it grossed a measly $3,153 its first night. According to an article in The Hollywood Reporter (THR), that’s an average of $60 a theater; and in a handful of them, it took in less than $10. Those meager receipts also put it on course for less than $15,000 over that four-day holiday weekend. Note: I could not find its eventual total.

This was a small release, though, so let's put that into perspective. In that same THR article, it broke down two of his other recent films with mirroring distribution strategies. In a Valley of Violence, also starring Ethan Hawke, took in $29,343 from 33 theaters on its first weekend and topped out at $53,647. That was preceded by a three-day launch of $27,713 from 12 locations for Killing Season, co-starring Robert De Niro. That movie finished its brief run with $53,646.

Just take a moment to digest those figures… The Fanatic, which opened in more theaters than either of the other two, paced far behind them. Not great, Johnny.

Anyway, now that you've had some time to reflect, sit back, grab a (or several) Fear. Movie. Lions Double IPA from Stone Brewery, and try your best not to avert your eyes as I the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK) and Chumpzilla perform improv as British Bobbies on Hollywood Boulevard!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction – In what was a new low for Travolta Month, we examine whether or not The Fanatic is worthy of the Bad Movie Championship Belt. (00:00)
  • Limp Bizkit Album Titles – We honor Fred Durst by offering our Top-5 titles for a future Limp Bizkit album. (36:41)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week and look forward to future installments of the pod—The Punisher (2004) and Terminator: Dark Fate among them. (38:40)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter or Facebook to check out all the interesting factoids—Travolta's baffling Oscars pitch and more—from this week’s episode!

You can find this episode of Hops and Box Office Flops on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbean, and Spotify!

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