The Mist is an experience that will stick with you. Though it is small in scale, primarily set inside a supermarket in a remote Maine town, there are huge emotional stakes. Thus, it is another fine interpretation of Stephen King's writing.

Directed by Frank Darabont—who'd previously helmed King's The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile—the pedigree of this one was all but assured. And, like those other two, it is exceptional. It's well casted—Marcia Gay Harden as religious zealot Mrs. Carmody, in particular, steals the show; it's well paced; and it delivers a gut punch of a finale. Sure, the 2007 CGI is outdated, but not enough to detract from the experience; and it does contain some haunting creature effects. Just ask the Sherminator.

You cannot expect much more of a movie. Moreover, as a viewer, you are invested in David Drayton (Thomas Jane) and his crew of fellow survivors. You hope that they will escape the nightmarish reality they find themselves in. Folks, this one is a must if you are a fan of either King or Darabont.

So sit back, stumble your way through the haze to grab a Fog Monster New England Style IPA from Rusty Rail Brewing, and light up those fire mops! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. CashChumpzilla, and Mayor McCheese are joining Mrs. Carmody's cult to avoid being sacrificed to the horrors of the Mist.

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – Certainly The Mist can be a stereotypical creature feature, but by the end, you'll understand why it's impossible to forget. (00:00)
  • Lingering Questions –  Should this have flopped? What are some of our favorite movie endings? (51:13)
  • The "They Stuck the Landing" Trivia Challenge – Capt. Cash challenges us to name the movie with these exceptional endings. (1:16:06)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week. Next week, in the final entry in our "Flops that Go Bump in the Night" series, we'll be doing a special roundtable of truly bad—albeit entertaining—Stephen King adaptations. (1:22:50)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—other great Darabont takes on King works 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

Doctor Sleep – Shine On

October 16, 2020

As we referenced on our last pod—Dreamcatcher—adaptations of Stephen King novels range wildly in their quality. Doctor Sleep, fortunately, continues their recent upward trend.

As a sequel to The Shining, Stanley Kubrick's beloved 1980 film, as well as a translation of King's source, it had big shoes to film. It does so more than admirably. Credit to director Mike Flanagan for that seamless combination. Flanagan, a rising star in the horror genre, was handed the reigns to Doctor Sleep after experiencing critical success with another King work (Gerald's Game). It's safe to say that the expectations for this movie were high—particularly after It: Chapter 1 and grossed over $1.1 billion combined at the box office.

Here comes the unfortunate part. Despite glowing reviews (77% on Rotten tomatoes with 317 counted) and the backing of the audience (89%), Doctor Sleep mustered a disappointing $72.3 million on a budget of $55 million, apparently scuttling plans for a sequel.

We, as a pod, can't stress this enough. Watch this movie. In fact, if you've never seen The Shining, watch them both. Doctor Sleep compliments its predecessor perfectly and is a love letter to the world that King created and Kubrick altered. When you see what Flanagan and his team were able to accomplish with this film, there's no doubt you will want to see more of his work. 

So sit back, inhale the delicious scent of a Nosferatu Red Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Company like it's Steam, and get lost in a hedge maze! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. CashChumpzilla, and Mayor McCheese are doing our best to stave off drinking in a haunted hotel.

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – As a suitable follow up to The Shining film and the novel it's based upon, Doctor Sleep delivers the goods. (00:00)

    • Spoilers Warning – If you have not seen the movie, skip from 39:45-50:40.
  • The "What is Tied Cannot be Untied" Trivia Challenge – I challenge Capt. Cash, Chumpzilla, and Mayor McCheese to a series of Doctor Sleep-themed questions. (1:01:53)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week, and next up: the fourth entry in our "Flops that Go Bump in the Night" series, The Mist! Stephen King adaptations kind of took over the month. (1:16:16)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—the meticulous recreation of the Overlook Hotel 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!

Dreamcatcher – A Bad Case of Alien Hemorrhoids

October 9, 2020

Dreamcatcher is based on a novel by Stephen King. King is indisputably this generation's most prolific writer of horror. Unfortunately, for too long, the film's based on his novels weren't up to snuff.

Dreamcatcher certainly falls into that category. It's filled with laughable dialogue, slapstick scares, and a near nonsensical plot. In short, it's a mess.

But it shouldn't have been. Its cast is excellent, featuring Thomas Jane, Jason Lee, Timothy Olyphant, and Damian Lewis in the lead roles, as well as Morgan Freeman and Tom Sizemore in supporting ones. And it was written and directed by Lawrence "The Empire Strikes Back" Kasdan (co-written by legendary screenwriter William Goldman).

On paper, this seemed like a surefire hit, yet that's not how movies are made. It takes more than just legendary pedigree and a host of capable leading men.

Dreamcatcher, not necessarily known as one of King's better works, has the elements to be a taught film. It's part The Thing mixed with a dash of Alien, as well as other familiar elements. Yet none of them work here. Something clearly went wrong in the translation.

Critics and audiences agreed. With 183 reviews, it sits at 28% on Rotten Tomatoes; the users average a 35%. That less than lukewarm reception is probably why it flopped, earning just $75.7 million on a budget of $68 million.

In the end, only sometimes, dead is better; but books are better all the time. If you are pressed for time, though, and high on seeing a man shit out a penis shaped alien with teeth, that does happen here.

So sit back, have a shit weasel bite the top off a Pumpkinhead from Shipyard Brewing Co., and dust off your Scooby-Doo lunch box! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. CashChumpzilla, and Mayor McCheese are rifling through all the weird crap in Jonesy's Memory Warehouse.

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – There was a roadmap, but they decided to scrap most of its interesting elements. (00:00)
  • Lingering Questions – As yet another sub-par Stephen King adaptation, we debate whether it deserved to flop. (59:03)
  • The "No Bounce, No Play" Trivia Challenge – Chumpzilla challenges the field to a series of questions about the film. (1:28:12)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week, and next up: the third entry in our "Flops that Go Bump in the Night" series, Doctor Sleep! (1:37:21)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—the book to film differences 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!

Wes Craven’s New Nightmare – The Master Returns

October 2, 2020

Wes Craven's New Nightmare came only a decade after the original, yet somehow—in that short span—it missed the height of the character's popularity.

Freddy Krueger, for a time, transcended the screen. Toys, a TV show, and halloween costumes flooded the marketplace. Yes, Freddy Krueger, the burned, sadistic child molester, was even on a children's bubble gum.

So, quite unfortunately, by the time New Nightmare arrived, the franchise had declined both critically and commercially. The horror icon—like many other properties we've covered on the pod—had been squeezed of all his juice.

Thus, New Nightmare was facing an uphill battle. After all, Freddy was literally dead. Hence the title of this movie's predecessor. And The Final Nightmare wasn't exactly the pinnacle of the franchise either. Rather, it was a continuation of the downward trend that began with The Dream Master (Part 4).

All that said, New Nightmare did have one ace up its sleeve—Wes Craven. Freddy's creator—the writer and director of the original—returned for one final journey into the dream world. Who better to helm the true sendoff of the character?

The answer, as one may guess, is no one. Craven built the nightmarish landscape that Freddy haunted. This intimacy allowed him a clear eye on the issues that had plagued the franchise since his departure. He knew he could not possibly do another sequel in the vein of those that came before.

Instead, he gave us New Nightmare, a meta exploration of the terror the gloved man had perpetrated for so many years on the big screen. This film is an ode to Freddy, the actors who faced him, and the logical continuation of their onscreen personas battle against his unspeakable evil. And, it is quite brilliant.

As mentioned, though, the quality of this film was lost in the disinterest of Freddy's former fans. New Nightmare is the lowest grossing entry in the franchise, earning a sub-par $19.8 million on a budget rumored to be anywhere from $8 to $13 million.

Do not let that deter you. Unlike most horror sequels—those of this franchise included—New Nightmare truly brings something new to the table. Sure it treads on nostalgia, but it also provides closure for the character in a why that had never been done before.

Most important, it made Freddy scary again. For too long, he'd been the wisecracking killer that audiences were meant to root for, instead of fear. Craven understood that the powerlessness one feel's in their dreams was never meant for goofy kills and one-liners. It was meant to paralyze us, make us think twice before turning out the lights at night.

Sure, we can all enjoy the more approachable Freddy, but he was never the one who haunted any of our nightmares. So sit back, slash open a Nite Owl Pumpkin Ale from Elysian Brewing Company, and brew a fresh pot of coffee! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. Cash, and Chumpzilla are assembling the Dream Warriors to take on Freddy one last time!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – In what may have served as a litmus test for Scream, Craven put a meta spin on his classic creation. (00:00)
  • The "Skin the Cat" Elm Street Trivia Challenge – I challenge Chumpzilla and Capt. Cash to trivia centered mostly around this movie. (1:11:18)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week, and next up: the second entry in our "Flops that Go Bump in the Night" series, Dreamcatcher! (1:23:39)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—the must-see Elm Street documentary 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!

Dukes of Hazzard – A Class-E Felony

September 25, 2020

The Dukes of Hazzard was one of many TV shows to be adapted in the early and mid-2000s. Some were good, most were not. Dukes falls into the latter category.

But it shouldn't have. Helmed by Broken Lizard's Jay Chandrasekhar and starring Johnny Knoxville, Sean Williams Scott, Burt Reynolds, and Jessica Simpson (amongst many other notable names), the ingredients were there. Yet despite its talented cast and director, it's a painfully unfunny update that mostly runs on fumes.

The script, which ranges between mediocre and outright awful, has no real ideas of its own. This movie desperately wants to be Starsky & Hutch, which isn't all that shocking since they apparently sought Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson for the lead roles.

Even worse, Dukes recycles jokes from movies that came out over a decade before it. There simply is not enough moonshine in Georgia to make you forget how much better the films it's trying to emulate are. On the plus side, the care chases are pretty damn sweet.

In the end, though, like the Confederate Flag that adorns the General Lee, the concept was better left to the scrap heap of history. So sit back, pop the top on a Drivin' and Cryin' Straight to Hell Session IPA from Burnt Hickory Brewery, and slide across the hood of the General Lee! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. CashChumpzilla and the good old boys from the Double Turn Podcast are running moonshine down the backroads of Hazzard County!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – In the land of pointless TV show adaptations, Dukes ranks toward the bottom of the shine barrel. (00:00)
  • The "Crazy" Cooter Trivia Challenge – Chumpzilla challenges us to a series of Dukes of Hazzard-themed questions—both from the show and movie. (1:11:18)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week, and next up: One, two...the pod is coming for you! It's the first entry in our "Flops that Go Bump in the Night" series, Wes Craven's New Nightmare! (1:23:39)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—the insane choice for the director they wanted to helm the 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!

Idiocracy – We’ve Got What Listeners Crave

September 18, 2020

Idiocracy presents us with a glimpse of a fairly dismal future—one full of idiots and societal decay. That may sound depressing on the surface, but Idiocracy was written and directed by Mike Judge (creator of Beavis and Butt-HeadKing of the Hill, and writer/director of Office Space). Thus, it is a satirical look at a not-so-bright America in the year 2505.

As Judge's follow up to Office Space, one would assume it would've been highly touted. Not so. Fox, who distributed the movie due to a contractual obligation, essentially buried it. Their cowardice was spurred on by a fear of backlash from their sponsors.

There were trailers for this movie that were never even screened; and Movie Phone—the bygone service that would detail what was playing and when—listed it as "Untitled Mike Judge Project."

It's a shame. Idiocracy is quite funny in parts and is certainly not devoid of salient ideas—capitalism putting profits over people, for example. Though it may not stack up to the lofty heights set by its predecessor, it didn't deserve to flop—especially not on a budget of just $4 million (it grossed just $495,303).

Despite its disappointing run in theaters, the movie has found an audience. It more than doubled its budget in DVD rentals and sales; and elements of it—Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho—have engrained themselves in the cultural zeitgeist.

Plus, the movie's got shit loads of electrolytes, which plants crave! So sit back, jam open a Hop Stoopid Double IPA from Lagunitas Brewing Company with a square peg, and tune into Monday Night Rehabilitation! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. Cash, and Chumpzilla are chugging some Brawndo—the thirst mutilator—and taking down Beef Supreme!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – As a social commentary, there are relevant points; but is it as smart (or as stupid) as it would like to be? (00:00)
  • Lingering Questions – Should this have flopped? What was the best running gag? We discuss. (52:06)
  • The "Ow! My Balls!" Trivia Challenge – Chumpzilla challenges us to a series of Idiocracy-themed questions. (1:07:58)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week, and next up: We're joined by the good old boys from the Double Turn Podcast to torment Boss Hogg! We're running roughshod over Hazzard County as the Dukes of Hazzard! (1:17:44)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—Fox's decision to bury this movie under an avalanche of trash 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!

Wild Wild West – So Many Spiders

September 11, 2020

Oh Wild Wild West, how did it go so wrong? Will Smith was literally crushing it in the years leading up to the epic Western misfire.

He'd embodied the cool renegade cop with Bad Boys; he'd conquered invading lifeforms twice with Independence Day and Men in Black (MIB); and he'd even bested corrupt federal agents in Enemy of the State.

Wild Wild West was meant to be yet another high in his meteoric rise—particularly since it reunited him with the director of MIB, Barry Sonnenfeld. Alas, it was not meant to be, and not even a catchy tie-in song could save it.

A tonal mess, Wild Wild West earned the scorn of critics (17% on Rotten Tomatoes with 131 reviews) and was utterly dismissed by fans (28%). It grossed just $222.1 million on a production budget of $170 million. If you take into account marketing—and there was plenty—it probably cost upward of $300 million. 

Being a financial and critical flop is bad enough, but earning eight Razzie nominations—five wins, including Worst Picture—is just the mushy cherry on top.

This movie was indeed the summer of 1999's punching bag. Some would argue rightfully so. The ending, which includes Will Smith belly dancing and a 100-foot tall hydraulic war machine spider, is as bad as any 30 minutes there has ever been in a big budget film. That's not an exaggeration.

The climactic portion of Wild Wild West is an undeniable mess; and it unfortunately detracts from what was a semi-enjoyable—albeit derivative—mismatched buddy adventure. Thanks, Jon Peters.

To ignore the clear and baffling influence of Hollywood's most infamous hair dresser, one must consume a few cold ones. So sit back, fire open a Sun & Steel from Robinsons Brewery with a six-gun, and hop aboard a steam punk arachnid! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. Cash, and Chumpzilla are riding Artemus Gordon's gadget train across the U.S. to track down the disreputable Arliss Loveless!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – A Will Smith movie finishing 17th at the domestic box office in 1999 would've sounded implausible then. This one accomplished that feat. (00:00)
  • The Jim West Tamin' the West Trivia Challenge – I challenge Capt. Cash and Chumpzilla to a series of Wild Wild West-themed questions. (54:54)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week, and next up: Our 2020, "I can't believe this shit is happening" special, Idiocracy. (1:06:43)

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

You can find this episode of Hops and Box Office Flops on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbeanSpotify, Acast, TuneIn, and iHeartRadio!

Mallrats – Stay Off the Escalator, Kids

September 4, 2020

Mallrats is a cult classic. Kevin Smith's second big screen movie—a follow up to the indie darling Clerks—it was afforded the perks of its successors' accolades. Those mainly being a bigger budget and a studio push.

That unfortunately did not translate into receipts. With $6 million at his disposal, Smith certainly does make use of the funds. His movie just didn't earn them back. Its total haul was a dismal $2.12 million and change.

That aside, and like much of what eventually became Smith's Askewniverse, it is beloved. That is due to its abundance of witticisms; the undeniable charisma of Jason Lee—who slays in his first major role as Brodie Bruce; and its deserved placement among seminal 1990s films.

Make no mistake, this is a 90s movie. The setting illustrates that better than I ever could. And as a piece of 90s nostalgia, there are certainly elements of it that are dated in some unsavory ways.

Despite that, though, there is just too much fun to be had with Mallrats. Whether its the inane conversations about the sex lives of superheroes, the charming cameo from the late, great Stan Lee, or the reoccurring gags with Brodie's platoon of mall-faring miscreants, you will never be short of insane scenarios to laugh at.

So sit back, pour yourself a dab of All Day IPA from Founder's Brewing into a dixie cup—no ice—and stare as hard as humanly possible at a Magic Eye! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. CashChumpzilla, and a special guest are grilling the second suitor about their ideal first date!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – Mallrats is a quintessential 90s film, but does it hold up? (00:00)
  • The Mallrats Trivia Challenge – Capt. Cash challenges us to a series of Askewniverse-related trivia questions. (1:13:56)
  • Recommendations – Next up: "We going straight to the Wild Wild West!" (1:34:41)

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, TuneIn, and iHeartRadio!

Hackers – Crash and Burn

August 28, 2020

Hackers is the 1990s personified. From its aesthetic to its central narrative, everything in it screams the decade that it's rooted in. This is both a good and a bad thing. In terms of nostalgia, there is certainly plenty.

And like most high school films of its era, it features a young, attractive cast of up and comers — Johnny Lee Miller, Angelina Jolie, and Matthew Lillard, to name a few.  

The trouble is: None of it is relatable or compelling. There is a diverse set of characters, but they aren't particularly deep. The script just doesn't flesh them out. Aside from being anti-authority, a staple of teenage movies, there isn't much else known about them. They like hacking, rollerblading, and smoking; a lot of bones are burned through — sometimes two at a time. Admittedly, two of these things were once actually cool.

It has also never been interesting to watch people type furiously. They did try and stylize this effect, using three-dimensional models to simulate the interworking of a computer, but, alas, it is still just people hurriedly smacking keys that for some reason echo.

That lack of depth is why the movie probably flopped, earning just $7.5 million on a budget of $20 million. Its poor performance is somewhat surprising, though. It had the elements to be a hit — mainly those mentioned above — like the hip cast and the thematic use of computers to stick it to the man.

And, if you're a child of the 90s, it is sort of fun as a time capsule piece. As silly as all the computer elements may seem now, it's hilarious to reflect on how things used to be.

So sit back, splice into a Rewired IPA from Red Hare Brewing, and lace up those rollerblades! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. CashChumpzilla, and special guest Mayor McCheese are hacking into the Gibson to take down an egomaniacal corporate security stooge who hangs out with a magician!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – Unfortunately for Hackers, its presentation of groundbreaking technology is quite dated; but does that make it any less enjoyable? (00:00)
  • The Mess with the Best, Die Like the Rest Trivia Challenge – I challenge the crew to trivia centered around the movie. (1:03:58)
  • Recommendations – Next up: We do what all teens of the 90s did and head to our local shopping mall to hang out and have mindless conversations about all sorts of inconsequential topics. It's Mallrats! (1:11:46)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—how the film's production took over a local high school and more—from this week’s episode!

You can find this episode of Hops and Box Office Flops on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbeanSpotify, Acast, TuneIn, and iHeartRadio!

The Big Lebowski – The Pod Abides

August 21, 2020

The Big Lebowski—as shocking as it may seem today—was not a smash hit upon its release in March of 1998. Far from it, in fact.

On a budget of $15 million, it grossed barely over $17 million domestically. Its worldwide cume was a shade over $46.

Written and directed by the Coen Brothers, The Big Lebowski's box office struggles are sort of surprising. After all, it was their follow up to Best Picture nominee Fargo (which was actually nominated for seven Oscars). And in the aftermath of its release, they've gone on to win Best Picture (No Country for Old Men) and be nominated for it two other times (A Serious Man and True Grit).

Perhaps, the public just wasn't sure what to make of our beloved, apathetic hero. Lebowski, the other Jeffrey Lebowski, is a complicated case. There are a lot of ins, lot of outs, lot of what have yous.

But regardless of its odd path to success, the numbers for this movie are inconsequential. It has become iconic, even spawning an annual festival in its honor.

As for the movie itself, it is infinitely quotable; exceptionally casted; written and acted so well it is beyond any measure of reason; and boasts a soundtrack that even the Dude himself would approve of. So bleeping far out, man!

So sit back, mix yourself a fine White Russian, and shine those bowling shoes! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. CashChumpzilla, and a special guest are exploring the merits of nihilism because it's just so much damn simpler to believe in nothing!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – Transcending its once cult status, The Big Lebowski is a legitimately fantastic film, whose place in the pantheons of great comedies is well earned. (00:00)
  • Lingering Question – We all love this movie, but do we differ on whether or not it has become overrated recently? (1:17:39)
  • The Dude Abides Trivia Challenge – Chumpzilla challenges the field to a quiz covering all things Lebowski. (1:34:17)
  • Recommendations – Next up: We clock the dial back a tick, as our journey through 90s rolls on with the not-so-classic computer caper Hackers! (1:40:20)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—the casts' continued love of their roles and more—from this week’s episode!

You can find this episode of Hops and Box Office Flops on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbeanSpotify, Acast, TuneIn, and iHeartRadio!