From the directing team of Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski—the latter of which directed indie hit PG: Psycho GoremanThe Void is a tension-fueled ride that relies heavily on practical effects and pace to maximize its sense of dread. It works.

And it is worth your investigation, especially if you are a fan of Lovecraftian horror. Those inspirations are quite evident. The Void involves a cult, a small town, and the cosmic terrors that lie outside our consciousness. That conceit isn't all that original, but its execution is what sets the film apart.

From its ominous opening onward, Gillespie and Kostanski build an uneasy atmosphere—an uncertainty akin to what lurks beyond. The answers, of course, come, but when they do, you almost wish they hadn't.

This is due in large part to its creature designs, which are some of the more inspired in modern horror. Most impressive, they were accomplished on a shoestring budget. They crowd-funded $82,000 on Indiegogo to make them.

With a low production cost and a good reception (77% on Rotten Tomatoes with 75 reviews), it should've been a hit. But due to a limited release, it grossed just $149,365. Trust us, don't sleep on this one.

Now sit back, open a portal to your tastebuds with either a Poker Face Black IPA from Necromancer or a Cosmik Debris Double IPA from Creature Comfortsand don't approach the man in the robe! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Chumpzilla, and our beer bros from Hop Nation USA are joining a cult to unlock our best selves!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – The Void nails atmospheric horror and is an excellent ode to the works of H.P. Lovecraft. (00:00) 
  •  Lingering Questions – Though it never received a wide release, did this film achieve what it set out to? More important, which of its gnarly creature effects was the most stomach-turning? (29:38)
  • The "Avoid the Void" Trivia Challenge – Chumpzilla challenges the field to a series of questions relating to people involved with the movie. (1:03:50)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week and next up: We kick off "Hops and Fantasy Flops" with the disastrous 2011 reboot of John Milius' 1982 classic, Conan the Barbarian. (1:15:21)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—an interview with the directors 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!

More Episodes

The Rundown – Rock and Walk Connection

June 11, 2021

The Rundown is a legitimately good action movie. Directed by Peter Berg, in what was his second feature film, it showcases the Rock's size and athletic abilities—while also utilizing his expansive charm.

It was an indicator for how well rounded he could be as a leading man. One of the movie's tests of that is its pairing of him with Seann Williams Scott and Christopher Walken. The former is his comedic foil; the latter is the film's villain.

Scott has rarely been less funny, leaving much of the burden on the Rock to carry their interactions. Walken, on the other hand, is incredible as Hatcher, an oppressive prospector who's enslaved the town they find themselves in. The fact that a green Rock could hang with the insanity of his scene chewing is quite impressive.

More important, unlike Walking Tall and DoomThe Rundown boasts a host of excellent action scenes. From busting up football players in a club to dueling three whip-wielding henchman, the Rock's muscles are put to a stiff test. Spoiler alert: He passes it.

Unfortunately, audiences did not show up to witness that. Budgeted at $85 million, it failed to crack that mark. A disappointing turn for one of his best early works.

I mean, it features an Arnold Schwarzenegger cameo! Who isn't here for that?

So sit back, whip the top off a Dayglow IPA from Elysian Brewing Co., and don't choose Option B! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Chumpzilla, and J-Man from the Double Turn Podcast are on a quest for O Gato Do Diablo!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – Easily the best early film of the Rock's career, The Rundown established what he was cooking. (00:00) 
  •  Lingering Questions – We hear from our beer bros at Hop Nation USA, and ask the important questions—such as which of the Rock's characters from "Hops and Rock Bottom Flops" is the toughest. (38:32)
  • The "Helldorado" Trivia Challenge – I challenge the field to a series of trivia questions about the movie. (59:48)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week and next up: We have a special episode featuring our buddies from Hop Nation USA, The Void. (1:09:12)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—the potential for a sequel 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!

Walking Tall – Swing and a Miss

June 4, 2021

Walking Tall is a remake of 1973 film starring Joe Don Baker. It's also "inspired" by a real-life sheriff, Buford Pusser, who patrolled the crime-laden streets of McNairy County, Tennessee, with a crudely fashioned cudgel.

That's essentially the movie. The Rock walks softly and carries a big stick. As a conceit, that sounds like it could be pretty badass. Walking Tall is just executed poorly.

It's hokey and feels far more like straight-to-DVD fare than an action showcase for its star. Worse, the fisticuffs and fireworks just can't sustain the silly plot that surround them.

There's an entire shootout where the Rock's paramour just wears her bra because ... reasons. It's a dumb movie, folks. So, not shockingly, critics hated it. It's 26% on Rotten Tomatoes with 126 reviews.

At the box office, it bombed, as well. It earned just over $57 million on a budget of $46. That's a far cry from the $40 million the 1973 version grossed  on a cost of just $500,000.

There's no amount of corny courtroom speeches to redeem that. So sit back, club open a Luau Krunkles POG IPA from Terrapin Beer Co. with a 4x4, and don't roll those loaded dice! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Chumpzilla, and Mayor McCheese are administering street justice with our Pusser Sticks!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – As a star vehicle for the Rock, does Walking Tall do enough to utilize his talents? (00:00) 
  •  Lingering Questions – We hear from our beer bros at Hop Nation USA, and then we discuss what could've made this movie far more interesting. Spoiler: It's mainly casting all wrestlers. (50:29)
  • The "Big Stick" Trivia Challenge – After a word from the podcasting world's Hart Foundation, The Double Turn Podcast, Chumpzilla challenges the field to a series of trivia questions about the movie and the man who inspired it, Sheriff Buford Pusser. (1:05:30)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week and next up: We finish off "Hops and Rock Bottom Flops" with The Rundown—featuring the aforementioned Double Turn! (1:15:36)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—the Piledriver music video 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!

Doom – Dull, Dark, and Dumb

May 28, 2021

Doom carries on the proud tradition of terrible video game movies. It's bad, folks. Real bad. Most offensive, it basically does nothing to harness the insanity of the property that inspired it.

This is a Doom movie in name only. Sure, the BFG is in it, sort of; and there are hellacious creatures. They are just mostly uninspired fare. Well, maybe they're inspired, but you can't see them because the whole film is so damn dark.

Outside of the first-person shooter scene, which channels the spirit of the game excellently, this thing is as boring as they come. With a poor script, trope-tastic characters, and aimless direction, Doom opened the portal to hell for anyone dumb enough to pay to see it. Anecdotally, McCheese and I were two of the dolts who did. 

Worse than offending your average moviegoer, it grossed a dismal $58.7 million on a budget of $65 million; and it was battered by critics. It took such a beating—18% on Rotten Tomatoes with 138 reviews—not even "God Mode" could save it.

Anyway, sit back, use your chainsaw to open a Liquid Poem Double IPA from Stone Brewing Co., and don't get stuck in the nano-wall! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. CashChumpzilla, and Mayor McCheese are priming the BFG (to shoot absolutely nothing)!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – Doom, like most movies based on video games, doesn't capitalize on the property. (00:00) 
  •  Lingering Questions – The Double Turn Podcast unveils what the Rock is cooking, and then we discuss what could've fixed this disaster. (47:20)
  • The "BFG" Trivia Challenge – Mayor McCheese challenges the field to a series of trivia questions about the game that inspired the movie. (1:03:03)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week and next up: We continue "Hops and Rock Bottom Flops" with Walking Tall! (1:13:20)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—the game's easter eggs 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!

Baywatch – We’re Oceanic!

May 21, 2021

Baywatch is a bad movie. Sorry, Rock, but it's true. And it's frankly one of the worst movies based on a TV show. To be fair, that's a crowded field. Many of them are awful. This just sort of treads water among the filth.

That's due in large part to the fact that it is rarely funny. It wants so desperately to be 21 Jump Street. That approach makes sense. Jump Street was able to capitalize on its premise, while also satirizing its absurdity.

Baywatch—despite the wealth to be mined from the show's preposterousness—can't seem to muster the energy to maintain a 15-minute sketch about lifeguards going far beyond their actual job duties.

It's a shame. Baywatch is well cast. The Rock (Mitch Buchannon whose mentor is Mitch Buchannon?) and Zac Efron (Matt Brody) have decent chemistry. They're just not given much to work with. Written by a hodgepodge of people, the film's issues can all be attributed to its mishmash of a script.

Thus, like a bloated body washed up on the sands of Emerald Bay, Baywatch was dead on arrival. It earned $177.9 million on a budget of $69 million—with only $58 million of that coming domestically. It was also lashed by critics, sitting at 17% on Rotten Tomatoes with 246 reviews.

But, hey, a day at the beach always goes better with a beer. So sit back, bask in the sun with an ice cold Florida Man Double IPA from Cigar City Brewing, and watch out for sand grifters! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. Cash, and Chumpzilla are staying ready. Forever and always!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – Certainly Baywatch was a silly show, but was the film able to capture its utter lack of self-awareness in any funny ways? (00:00) 
  •  Lingering Questions – We tag in The Double Turn Podcast to hit you with a People's Elbow, and then we discuss why this movie was such a mess. (45:15)
  • The "Save the Bay" Trivia Challenge – Capt. Cash challenges the field to a series of trivia questions about the movie and the show that inspired it. (56:40)
  • Recommendations – After a word from our beer buddies at Hop Nation USA, we offer our picks for the week, and next up: We continue our "Hops and Rock Bottom Flops" series with Doom! (1:06:02)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—Hasselhoff's hits 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!

Big Trouble in Little China – It’s All in the Reflexes

May 14, 2021

Big Trouble in Little China is a seminal 80s movie, and it may just be John Carpenter's best work.

Starring Kurt Russell—a frequent Carpenter collaborator—as the braggadocios Jack Burton, it takes a familiar formula (the action/comedy team up) and escorts it into a superbly crafted world of ancient Chinese mysticism and mayhem.

It subverts audience expectations in other ways, as well. Burton—for all his witticisms—is not your stereotypical hero. He's actually more a bumbling, albeit well-intentioned, buffoon. The true hero is his friend Wang Chi (Dennis Dun).

Their natural chemistry, along with the film's out of this world villains, creates something more than your average action movie. It's truly unforgettable, which is why it has persisted in the pop culture zeitgeist. They simply just do not make many movies as delightfully offbeat as this.

That's also probably why it flopped, opening to just $2.7 million and finishing its run with just over $11 million. With a budget estimated to be as high as $25 million, that's not great.

What is great is the following Big Trouble in Little China has amassed since its release. It may not have been in theaters long enough for word of mouth to spread, but its distinction as a cult classic is more than well earned now.

So sit back, get hairy with Yeti Imperial Stout from Great Divide Brewing Co., and stay the hell away from the Chinese standoff! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. CashChumpzilla, and Mayor McCheese are infiltrating the Wing Kong Exchange to save Miao Yin!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – Equal parts weird, wacky, and wonderful, Big Trouble in Little China is truly a cult classic. (00:00) 
  •  Lingering Questions – We send The Double Turn Podcast off the ropes, and then we discuss why we love this film so much! (50:21)
  • The "Six Demon Bag" Trivia Challenge – After a word from our beer buddies at Hop Nation USA, I challenge the field to a series of trivia questions about the movie and the continued lore of Jack Burton. (1:08:23)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week, and next up: We kickoff our "Hops and Rock Bottom Flops" series with Baywatch! (1:17:53)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—Lo Pan Style 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!

The Chronicles of Riddick – It’s an Animal Thing

May 7, 2021

The Chronicles of Riddick is the big budget sequel to 2000's more reasonably priced and plotted Pitch Black. Both feature Richard B. Riddick (Vin Diesel), a wanted ex-con and master of navigating the dark.

He's an anti-hero—a man who has done bad things, but who we root for because of his devil may care attitude. It was an archetype that worked perfectly in Pitch Black, as well as the third film in the series Riddick. The problem with The Chronicles of Riddick—problems rather—is the sheer size of the story they are attempting to insert him into.

Chronicles is a full-on space opera. There are prophecies, warlords, intrigue, and treachery. It's a lot; and when compared to its predecessor, it doesn't feel at all like a sequel. As one reviewer put it, it's "Space Conan," but that's not a compliment. Where Conan the Barbarian juggles the heft of its story well, Chronicles crumbles beneath it.

Hence why it was reviewed so poorly (29% with 167 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes) and failed to recoup its budget. It grossed just $115.8 million on a budget north of $120 million.

But, hey, it does boast a handful of classically cheesy Diesel one-liners, some laughable self-seriousness, and a smattering of shoddy CGI. So sit back, crush a can of Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing, and prepare yourself for the Underverse! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. CashChumpzilla, and Mayor McCheese are being taken to the threshold!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – Is the scale and scope of Chronicles too much for its titular character? (00:00) 
  •  Lingering Questions – We tag in The Double Turn Podcast, and then we attempt to assess how the follow up to Pitch Black went so wrong! (1:04:11)
  • The "You Keep What You Kill" Trivia Challenge – After a word from our pals at Hop Nation USA, Chumpzilla challenges the field to a series of trivia questions about the movie. (1:35:12)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week, and next up: It's the final entry of our "Hops and Favorite Flops" series, Big Trouble in Little China! (1:48:28)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—the Dame Judi Dench's D&D exploits 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!

Mortal Kombat – A Head Smashing Good Time

April 30, 2021

Mortal Kombat marks the return of the legendary video game franchise to the big screen for the first time in 24 years. Considering its wild success on consoles, the gap is hard to fathom.

Certainly Annihilation sort of poisoned the well, but the 1995 original remains popular, as does its techno theme song. The one thing most would agree on, though, is that 95's lack of an R-rating kept it from truly being a Mortal Kombat film.

That is no longer an issue. 2021's film boats buckets of blood, and gruesome fatalities that are as true to the game as is probably acceptable for theaters. This is the adaptation die hard fans of Mortal Kombat have been waiting for.

But it is not a flawless victory. As I noted in my reviewMortal Kombat suffers from silly plot contrivances, an expedited pace, and an uncharismatic lead. Those issues, however, do not prevent it from rising to the top of the video game film ranks. There is just too much fun to be had.

General audiences seem to agree. In its opening domestic weekend, it grossed $22.5 million—the second largest premiere of the pandemic, behind only Godzilla vs Kong. Worldwide, it's already generated over $50 million, nearing its $55 million budget.

With a decent critical reaction (56% on Rotten Tomatoes with 211 reviews), box office success, and a built-in sequel tease, it appears a follow up is definitely in the cards. That's good because there are elements here that are noticeably absent. Bring on round two!

Now, sit back, uppercut a can of "Stone Cold" Steven Austin's Broken Skull IPA from El Segundo Brewing Co. into your mouth, and attempt to channel your Arcana! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. CashChumpzillaMayor McCheese, and a special guest are helping Jax pump up his tiny robot arms!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – Heaps of hemoglobin and gnarly fatalities? Count us in! (00:00) 
  •  Lingering Questions – We tag in The Double Turn Podcast, and then we tackle the serious questions: Best fight? Best fatality? Most improved character from the 1995 version? And More! (1:04:11)
  • The "Get Over Here" Trivia Challenge – I challenge the field to a series of trivia questions about the movie, as well as the video game series. (1:35:12)
  • Recommendations – After a word from our pals at Hop Nation USA, we offer our picks for the week, and next up: It's the third of our "Hops and Favorite Flops" series, The Chronicles of Riddick! (1:48:28)

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

Fight Club – I am Jack’s Podcast

April 23, 2021

Fight Club hasn't aged well. And that's putting it mildly. It wasn't that David Fincher and company didn't have something to say. Certainly, they did. It's more that the message is muddled and often lost amidst the overpowering stardom of Brad Pitt.

You cast a movie star, you get a virtuoso performance. That's generally not an issue, but when the character is meant to represent the reprehensible, a conundrum ensues. Pitt's Tyler Durden is a false prophet; we're not supposed to think he's cool; and his ramblings—though hovering around actual facts—are not meant to inspire.

Most viewers are aware of this, but for some, that meaning was lost. Thus, the dangerous fanaticism the film is supposed to expose instead becomes a roadmap. Truthfully, it only has its own execution to blame.

For too much of its runtime, Durden's maniacal musings go unchallenged. There is no voice of reason until it's far too late. By then—like the increasing volatility of the titular Fight Club—the narrative damage has already been done. Thus, despite how well acted, shot, and scripted the film is at times, it can't get past its own problematic plot and pacing.

But, that's nothing a few beers can't solve. So sit back, get punchy with a few Hazy Wonder IPAs from Lagunitas Brewing Co., and don't ask about Project Mayhem! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. CashChumpzilla, and Mayor McCheese are fist-fighting our imaginary friends in the parking lot of Lou's!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction – Yes, we know the rule is that you don't talk about Fight Club, but the format of the show forced our hand! (00:00) 
  • Plot Breakdown and Lingering Questions – We tag in The Double Turn Podcast, and then we tackle this very 90s film. How did its themes age? (31:54)
  • The "I am Jack's" Trivia Challenge – After a word from our pals at Hop Nation USA, Mayor McCheese challenges the field to a series of trivia questions about the movie and book. (1:24:40)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week, and next up: It's another of our HBO Max specials, Mortal Kombat. Cue The Immortals song! (1:37:05)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—the Fincher/Pitt bromance 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!

Pacific Rim – A Jaeger Bomb

April 16, 2021

Pacific Rim is Guillermo del Toro's homage to the Kaiju movies that fascinated him in his youth. To that end, it is a lovingly crafted and often beautiful film that delivers on the promise of its premise.

What is the conceit? Well, in short, Jaegers—giant Earth-protecting mechs—fight invading Kaiju who emerge from a rift within the Pacific Ocean. And for all the movie's foibles—the plot has many—it does nail it's most defining element.

The fights, in fact, are so visually dazzling that it makes the laborious human moments with wooden Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) all the more painful. Speaking of those foibles, the humans—not just poor Raleigh—encompass a host of them.

They are unbearably bland caricatures of archetypes we've seen dozens of times over. And considering the movie makes you spend an enormous chunk of its two plus hours with them in its middle section, that can grow tiresome.

But, if you make it through the slog of machismo-fueled, bro-tastic platitudes, the fights do return; and you will have one hell of a time; because if not for Pacific Rim, we would never know the glory of watching a giant mech swing a ship like a baseball bat right into a Kaiju's face.

So sit back, use your sword to slice open a La Fin Du Monde from Unibroue Brewery, and lay off the Kaiju bone powder! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. CashChumpzilla, and Mayor McCheese are prepping our Jaegers for an ocean brawl with Knifehead!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – Giant robots versus giant monsters. Let the fights commence! (00:00) 
  • Lingering Questions – After a word from our pals at Hop Nation USA, we assess what kept this from being a huge hit. (1:10:20)
  • The "Are You Funnin' Me, Son?" Trivia Challenge – Capt. Cash challenges the field to a series of trivia questions about the movie. (1:14:36)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week, and next up: It's the second entry of "Hops and Our Favorite Flops," Fight Club. (1:23:44)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—the deeper Pacific Rim lore 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!