The Program is a highly embellished glimpse at the perils of big time collegiate football. The prioritization of wins over the actual molding of young minds is at its center, but so is football's innate ability to form lasting bonds. The men who take the field put their bodies on the line for each other. It's a brotherhood.

It nails both of those aspects. The shadiness of the folks in charge is omnipresent; and the central cast of characters is relatable. Their foibles, as cliché as they may be, are distinctly human.

You've got the young upstart running back Darnell Jefferson (Omar Epps), whose education entering college isn't up to snuff. There's the overachieving special teams player, Lattimer (Andrew Bryniarski), who has bulked up through suspect means for a chance to start.

And then, perhaps the most well rounded of the core, are linebacker Alvin Mack (Duane Davis) and quarterback Joe Kane (Craig Sheffer). Kane is an alcoholic who's struggling with the pressures associated with a Heisman campaign. And Mack is a season away from pro stardom and the type of money that can change his family's fortunes forever.

Yes, all the scandals, drama, and injury, sack this team at once, but none of them are beyond the realm of belief. This is high level college football—warts and all. And, honestly, their journeys are why this movie has endured.

The physicality of football is also well represented, a testament to the work done by the folks at NFL Films. It immerses you in the game and the atmosphere.

Thus, despite its more outlandish elements, The Program is a film that has stood the test of time and remains widely regarded as a cult classic. Poor reviews, controversy, and a lukewarm box office couldn't prevent it from becoming so.

Now sit back, crush some Dankful IPAs from Sierra Nevada, and get ready to peel some caps! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Chumpzilla and Capt. Cash are putting the women and children to bed, so we can go looking for dinner!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – Is the program overexaggerated? Sure. But it's certainly pulling back the curtain on the more unsightly elements of college football. (00:00) 
  • Lingering Questions –  Is it even possible to improve this movie? (47:03)
  • The "Kill 'Em All" Trivia Challenge – Chumpzilla challenges the field to a series of questions about the movie. (1:10:46)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week and next up: We continue "Hops and Sports Ball Flops" with the beach volleyball classic Side Out! (1:21:59)

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

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

More Episodes

Last Man Standing – No, Not the Tim Allen Show

August 31, 2021

Last Man Standing is the American reimagining of Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo (1961), though it wasn't the first reinterpretation. The Spaghetti Western A Fist Full of Dollars (1964) had tread this ground before—a man with no name caught up in the exacerbating violence of warring gangs.

Unlike the Italian-produced film, Last Man Standing was given Kurosawa's blessing. Unfortunately, it can't replicate either of its predecessors results. Directed by Walter Hill, it's a movie that struggles mightily to present a coherent story. Sure, it revolves around Irish and Italian mobsters vying for bootlegging dominance in a remote Texas town, but what happens around that is often nonsensical.

That is no fault of the director's. Last Man Standing, like many other films we've covered, fell victim to the demands of the studio. Nearly 30 minutes of its original runtime was sent to the editing room floor.

Its lack of connective tissue is made evident by John Smith's (Bruce Willis) forced bits of narration. The muddled narrative no doubt hurt its critical reception. With 30 reviews, it sits at 37% on Rotten Tomatoes.

It's also the biggest financial failure of our "Hops and Bruno Flops" series. On a budget of $67 million, it grossed just $47.3 million. Yet, and this may be a stretch, some now consider it a cult classic.

That is all credit to its gratuitous violence. Smith, the pseudo-hero of the film, dishes out lead in hefty amounts—rarely stopping to breather or even reload. As ludicrous as the gunplay is at times, it does make Last Man Standing a moderately enjoyable endeavor.

Now sit back, sip on a cool Furious IPA from Surly Brewing Co., and tip your hat to the undertaker! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. Cash, and Mayor McCheese are running moonshine through Mexico with Colt pistols in hand!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – When Bruce Willis strolls into a gang war in Prohibition-era Texas, bullets fly. (00:00) 
  • Lingering Questions – Somewhere out in the ether, a director's cut of this movie exists. Would we like to see it one day? (53:47)
  • The "Jericho" Trivia Challenge – I challenge the field to a series of questions about the movie. (1:07:56)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week and next up: We kick off, literally, "Hops and Sports Ball Flops" with The Program! (1:18:08)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—Walter Hill's reflections on his films and more—from this week’s episode!

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

Hudson Hawk – Scat Burglar

August 27, 2021

Hudson Hawk is as bold a movie as an A-list star could possibly choose to make. And that's a compliment.

Bruce Willis, most famous for playing gruff cop John McClane, stars as cat burglar Eddie Hawkins—the titular Hudson Hawk. He's tasked with stealing artifacts crafted by Leonardo da Vinci that are capable of turning lead into gold.

On the surface, that sounds like a fairly standard action-centric plot. What it actually entails is anything but. Hudson Hawk boasts a deluge of slapstick tomfoolery; dynamic duets between Willis and Danny Aielo, who plays his partner Tommy Five-Tone; a secret com device crafted out of a crucifix; and a gaggle of candy-themed thugs—one of which is played by the generally self-serious David Caruso.

Unfortunately, its charms weren't embraced upon its release. It grossed a shade under $100 million on a budget of $65 million; and it was scorched by critics. Its 33% on Rotten Tomatoes is unkind, but it's not nearly as mean as all the Razzie nominations Hudson Hawk received.

This isn't high art, folks, but Willis is having an absolute blast. Provided you don't take it too seriously, you will, too.

Now sit back, harmonize your way through an Atomic Pumpkin from New Belgium Brewing, and catch some air in the ornithopter! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Chumpzilla, and Capt. Cash are swinging on a star!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – Hudson Hawk is a bizarre delight, but it's certainly not for everybody. (00:00) 
  • Lingering Questions – In the pantheon of actors' passion projects, where does this rank? (1:07:30)
  • The "Side by Side" Trivia Challenge – Capt. Cash challenges the field to a series of questions about the movie. (1:13:25)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week and next up: We finish off "Hops and Bruno Flops" with Last Man Standing—no, not the Tim Allen Show! (1:22:02)

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

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

Cop Out – Bruce is Too Old for This S**t

August 20, 2021

Cop Out is a humorless retread of the buddy cop trope. Directed by Kevin Smith, though not written by him, it lacks the key ingredient to this tried and true formula—charismatic leads.

Bruce Willis, as Jimmy, sleepwalks through the entire film. Tracy Morgan, as his partner Paul, tries dutifully to carry his lifeless husk across the finish line. But, alas, he cannot. No amount of improv or overacting can inject life into the flat script.

More than likely, Willis' on-set tantrums and open disdain for Smith's direction played a role in Cop Out's failures. He just didn't commit to the material, which forced Morgan to overcompensate.

It should come as no surprise then that critics and audiences hated it. It sits at 19% (163 reviews) and 39% with them respectively. And, like Andy Pafko did 477 times in his career, it struck out at the box office. It earned just $55.6 million on a budget of $40 million.

Yet, in the end, Cop Out's biggest sin is how negatively it affected Smith. The experience shook him, nearly causing him to abandon making movies all together. Thanks, Bruno.

Now sit back, pound several Summer Ales from Brooklyn Brewery, and stop spying on people with a nanny cam! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Chumpzilla, and Capt. Cash are on a stakeout dressed as cellphones!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – Kevin Smith's shot at the big time lacks the laughs of his own scripts. (00:00) 
  • Lingering Questions – What, if anything, could fix this film? (34:04)
  • The "Andy Pafko" Trivia Challenge – Chumpzilla challenges the field to a series of questions about the movie. (58:16)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week and next up: We continue "Hops and Bruno Flops" with Hudson Hawk—the movie that once again graced us with the angelic pipes of Bruno! (1:10:04)

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

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

The Suicide Squad – Passion Fruit Starfish

August 13, 2021

James Gunn's The Suicide Squad, which is a pseudo-sequel to 2016's film, is an unapologetic, Troma-inspired, super heroic gore fest. And it is glorious!

This is Gunn's superhero magnum opus. He dives deep into DC's bag of obscure characters to assemble a ragtag group of expendable heathens. Make no mistake, many of these oddballs are here to die. And they do so in a series of grotesque ways.

This is a hard R, folks. Unlike Birds of Prey or Zack Snyder's Justice League, which could've curbed their foul language to earn a PG-13, The Suicide Squad basks in the magnificence of its unfettered violence.

Bullets are sprayed, a man is murdered with his pants down—literally—and a dimwitted humanoid-shark feasts on all manners of fascist goons. Heads not only roll, they're eaten!

Unfortunately, with COVID's resurgence, The Suicide Squad was a box office casualty. It netted just $26.5 million domestically in its opening weekend. Fortunately, though, like all of WB's 2021 slate, you can stream it in all its disgusting glory on HBO Max. We highly recommend you do so.

So sit back, struggle your way through a Milwaukee's Best Premium, and throw the Weasel a life raft! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK) and Chumpzilla are storming the beach guns blazing!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – Does Gunn's film wash out the bitter taste of its predecessor? (00:00) 
  • General Impressions and Initial Questions – We engage in a spoiler-free discussion about DC's latest big screen team-up. (8:08)
  • Lingering Questions – Where does this rank in the DCEU? Who's our favorite of this entry's additions? We tackle those questions, among others, in our second segment. (27:04)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week and next up: We continue "Hops and Bruno Flops" with the Kevin Smith-directed Cop Out. Yes, even Mr. Smith acknowledges it's a turd. (59:38)

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

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

A Good Day to Die Hard – Davai Hard

August 6, 2021

Die Hard is arguably the greatest action movie ever made. A Good Day to Die Hard, on the other hand, is a soulless husk that's related to the prior entries in name only.

Certainly, the character of John McClane, Bruce Willis, became progressively more absurd with each sequel. He'd gone from isolated cop, surviving on instinct and guile, to literally a super human battling a fighter jet on a highway.

In A Good Day to Die Hard, that trend continues. Worse, though, there's just no story or a compelling villain to balance it out. The plot of this movie makes no sense—not even a semblance of it. It's so stupid, in fact, that its twists and turns will just aggravate you.

That's not an exaggeration. Everything that happens is blatantly obvious, which is a problem on multiple levels. One, knowing what's coming creates a dearth of suspense. Two, and this was mentioned above, the things that happen are utterly nonsensical.

When you factor in the lack of character development, an unending headache ensues. Jack McClane sucks. It's like the creative well of McClane kid angst was so exhausted by the prior film that Jai Courtney's Jack is just reduced to a cacophony of whining.

The same can be said for the action. There are inspired bits, to be sure, but for the most part, it's just Robo-McClane standing directly in the line of fire as he massacres the hapless Russian henchman who dare face him. It's all so ludicrous.

Critics and audiences took note of these issues. At just 15% with 231 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, it's by far the worst reviewed entry. It's also the lowest grossing of the Die Hard films domestically, taking in just $67.3 million. It did make its money back overseas, but its poor critical reception doomed the franchise going forward.

Well, enough of that negativity. Sit back, pop the top on a White Russian Imperial Coffee Stout from Sun Up Brewing Co., and heartily cheer "здоровье" [zda-ró-vye]! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Chumpzilla, Capt. Cash, and Mayor McCheese are competing for the gold in the Chernobyl Diving Championship!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – A convoluted mess, A Good Day to Die Hard shames the franchise! (00:00) 
  •  Lingering Questions – After this, is it worth attempting to revitalize the character of John McClane? (54:32)
  • The "Yipee-Ki-Yay Mother Russia" Trivia Challenge – I challenge the field to trivia about the Die Hard series. (1:11:26)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week and next up, we take a break from "Hops and Bruno Flops" to discuss James Gunn's The Suicide Squad. (1:23:13)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—why Die Hard is a movie that made us and more—from this week’s episode!

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

F9: The Fast Saga – Space Cars

July 23, 2021

F9: The Fast Saga—as utterly absurd as it is—is the natural progression of a series that's always running on overdrive. Dominic Toretto, Vin Diesel, and co. were destined for this film's convoluted, bloated, and baffling narrative.

Now, those may sound like knocks against it, but that couldn't be further from the truth. I just don't care how illogical the plots of these films have become. They are just too much damn fun.

Dom has a secret spy brother? Sure. Why they hell not?! Magnets! How do they work? Doesn't matter. Just bask in the awesomeness of the high octane action!

Han, who was killed twice technically in cannon, returns out of nowhere, you say? Bam! Check that shit off of my bingo card and let's roll!

That is F9: The Fast Saga in a nutshell. It's bonkers; it's spectacular; and we'll keep watching them as long as they want to make them. And it appears we're not alone. F9: The Fast Saga is cruising its way to well over $600 worldwide; and its doing so faster than a 10-second car at Race Wars.

So sit back, sip on a Corona with a slice of lime, and toast to family! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Chumpzilla, and Mayor McCheese are living our lives a quarter mile at a time!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – Magnets, cars, and family! (00:00) 
  •  Lingering Questions The Double Turn Podcast cashes in the Money in the Bank briefcase, and then we continue to celebrate the glory of this movie's insanity. (40:41)
  • The "Nothing's Stronger Than Family" Trivia Challenge – Mayor McCheese challenges the field to trivia about the franchise. (56:44)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week and next up, we kick off "Hops and Bruno Flops" with the indescribably bad and disheartening A Good Day to Die Hard. (1:05:42)

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

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

Legend – Glitter and Bubbles

July 16, 2021

Legend is a bizarre fantasy fever dream—one rife with an excess of pollen, bubbles, and glitter. These things are literally everywhere, folks. They flood the beautiful scenery and are unrelenting.

Also unrelenting is the film's glaring lack of plot. If you kill the unicorns, the world will be cloaked in darkness. That's the movie. Jack o' the Green, Tom Cruise, must atone for his mistake of introducing his crush Lili, Mia Sara, to the wonderous creatures by killing the Lord of Darkness, Tim Curry, and taking back the severed alicorn.

It's pretty to look at, wildly dumb, and almost entirely remembered for Curry's dazzling turn as the Lord of Darkness. His performance, as well as the make up, are perfection. 

Directed by Ridley Scott—who'd just rocked the cinematic world with Blade Runner and AlienLegend just never lives up to its potential. In 1985, critics and audiences agreed. It boasts a paltry 38% on Rotten Tomatoes with 40 reviews; and it grossed just $23.5 million on a budget of $24.5 million.

Technically—and again, solely because of Curry—it is sort of a cult classic, though.

So sit back, stab a hole in a Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada with an alicorn, and don't give in to Darkness' temptations! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Chumpzilla, Capt. CashMayor McCheese, and a special guest are besting all of Gump's riddles!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – Is the power of nostalgia enough to sustain the pretty, but often hollow Legend? (00:00) 
  •  Lingering Questions – After a word from our beer bros at Hop Nation USA, we discuss the greatness of Tim Curry. (1:09:22)
  • The "Is Your Love Strong Enough?" Trivia Challenge – The Double Turn Podcast hits a hot tag, and then Capt. Cash challenges the field to a series of questions about the movie. (1:27:44)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week and next up: We finish off "Hops and Fantasy Flops" with the absurd, but incredible F9. (1:40:00)

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

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

Krull – Murder Frisbee

July 9, 2021

Krull is a pseudo cult classic. It's got some kick ass box art and a host of ideas that nostalgia clouds as being awesome. But when revisiting it, neither of those two things amount to much.

Why? Well, Krull is chock full world-building. It's got a Cyclops, a cannibalistic spider, horses whose speed creates a trail of flame, and so much more. But none of them are fleshed out all that well; and most of it is just ripped from better properties.

And that's because Krull was a cash grab—meant to capitalize on the popularity of those other IPs. Fantasy, in particular space operas, were kind of a thing in the late 70s and early 80s. Premiering just two months after Return of the Jedi, this just never does enough to set itself apart from the things that inspired it.

Hence why it made no money—$16.9 million on a budget of $30 million; and why it was trounced by critics—32% on Rotten Tomatoes with 22 reviews.

With all that said, if Krull was a movie of your youth—as it was mine—you will still enjoy the hell out of it. Despite all the horrific fight choreography and cringe worthy green screen effects, it still packs plenty of charm. 

Now sit back, slash the top off of a Viking Space Probe Hazy Double IPA from Stone Brewing, and mount your Firemare! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Chumpzilla, and Mayor McCheese are triumphing over evil with the power of love!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – Krull throws a lot at you, but not much of it is executed well. (00:00) 
  •  Lingering Questions – After a word from Hop Nation USA, we analyze why this fantasy failed to hit it big. (1:00:01)
  • The "Not the One with Kevin Sorbo ... Thank God" Trivia Challenge – The Double Turn Podcast sends you for an Irish Whip, and then Chumpzilla challenges the field to a series of questions about the movie. (1:29:32)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week and next up: We continue "Hops and Fantasy Flops" with Ridley Scott's under appreciated 80s classic Legend. (1:40:50)

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

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

Conan the Barbarian – What’s Worst in Life?

June 25, 2021

2011's Conan the Barbarian is as bad of a reboot of a classic film as you are going to find. It's just a mess, folks.

Its script is often witless, contradicting itself multiple times; and its cast—as distinguished as some of their careers may be—just don't fit the roles. Worst of all, Jason Mamoa, who plays the titular hero, just didn't appear ready to bear the weight of Conan's broad sword.

As much as the filmmakers purported they wanted to channel the writings of Robert E. Howard, creator of Conan the Barbarian, it more shamelessly robs better films. 

It should come as no surprise then that this was a massive flop. Budgeted at $90 million, it grossed just over $63 million, snubbing any chances of a sequel. Critics, like audiences, were also unkind. With 152 reviews, it sits at 25% on Rotten Tomatoes (User Score of 30%).

We do get a decapitation and an impalement, though, so it got the violence mostly right. Let's toast to that!

Now sit back, hack open a Wizard Staff IPA from Two Brothers Brewing, and enjoy your launch from the trebuchet! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Chumpzilla, and Mayor McCheese are living, loving, and slaying the night away!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – The Conan reboot is a soulless slog. (00:00) 
  •  Lingering Questions – After a word from last week's guests, Hop Nation USA, we attempt to determine whether the Mask of Acheron is more off-putting than the pie from Thinner. (33:35)
  • The "The Mystery of Steel" Trivia Challenge – The Double Turn Podcast hits you with an elbow drop from the top, and then I challenge the field to a series of questions about the movie. (52:02)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week and next up: We continue "Hops and Fantasy Flops" with Krull. (1:00:21)

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

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