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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!


After 11 years, 23 movies, $22.5 billion dollars in global box office (the high being Endgame with $2.7 billion and the low being angsty Incredible Hulk with $263.4 million), the first major arc of the MCU has come to an end. The Infinity Saga brought us many superhero highs and created an integrated cinematic universe that none of us ever dreamed was possible.

Thus, we knew we had to assemble to discuss Marvel's incredible achievement. Harnessing the power of the mind stone, we whittled 23 mostly good to great films down to our personal Top-10s.

In part one, we cover numbers 10–4 on each of our respective lists, offering both the good and the bad from the films we chose.

So sit back, grab whatever beverage you'd like, prepare to wipe away those tears, and enjoy, as I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. Cash, and Chumpzilla take a stroll down Marvel memory lane!

Our Lists:

  • Thunderous Wizard:

    • 10. Thor: Ragnarok
    • 9. Ant-Man and the Wasp
    • 8. Ironman
    • 7. Guardians of the Galaxy
    • 6. Avengers: Endgame
    • 5. Avengers: Infinity War
    • 4. The Avengers
    • 3. Black Panther
    • 2. Spider-Man: Far From Home
    • 1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

  • Capt. Cash:
    • 10. Captain America: The First Avenger
    • 9. Ironman
    • 8. Captain America: Civil War
    • 7. Black Panther
    • 6. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
    • 5. Avengers: Endgame
    • 4. The Avengers: Infinity War
    • 3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
    • 2. Thor: Ragnarok
    • 1. The Avengers

  • Chumpzilla:
    • 10. Avengers: Age of Ultron
    • 9. Black Panther
    • 8. Avengers: Infinity War
    • 7. Thor: Ragnarok
    • 6. Ironman
    • 5. Guardians of the Galaxy
    • 4. The Avengers
    • 3. Captain America: Civil War
    • 2. Avengers: Endgame
    • 1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

 Part two will be dropping next week!

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter (@HopsandBOFlops) to offer recommendations for future episodes or to share your personal top-10 movies in the MCU!

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“This is one of the worst marketing campaigns in the history of movies. It’s almost as if they went out of their way to not make us care.” Those words, quoted to Vulture by a former studio marketing chief just prior to John Carter's 2012 release, are harsh. But, in truth, they epitomize where the problems originated for this big budget bomb.

From its initial teaser onward, Disney was never able to propel the anticipation for this film to the lofty aerial heights of its titular character. Trailers, a Super Bowl spot, and other advertisements were met with muted enthusiasm. John Carter, despite a title indicating the contrary, was a film without an identity. And the Disney executives knew it.

The problem was they'd given first-time live action director Andrew Stanton (Wall-E, Finding Dory/Nemo, and others) creative control and a blank check. Despite their pleas, he marketed and shot his movie his way. It was a costly error. According to a 2015 Forbes article, which was written on the third anniversary of its release, the film earned $284 million worldwide (only $73 million in the U.S.) on a cost of anywhere from $250 to $307 million to produce. Walt Disney is said to have taken a $200 million loss on it. Ouch.

The marketing, though, as sterile as it was, can only partly be blamed for John Carter's legendary failure. The source, a series of novels written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, had been mined exhaustively over the years, lending inspiration to fan-favorite series and characters like SupermanAvatar, and Star Wars. After gestating in development hell for nearly 80 years, it was too late to its own party. Its place in the cultural zeitgeist had faded; and it'd been replaced by the IPs its ideas had influenced.

Its unfortunate place in cinema's Hall of Box Office Shame is what makes it so much fun to discuss. So sit back, grab a Smithwick's Red Ale or a Rewired IPA from Red Hare Brewery, pat your personal Woola on the head, and enjoy, as I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. Cash, and Chumpzilla ride off deep into Apache territory to search for the legendary cave of gold!

This Week's Segments:

  • Introduction – What went wrong with John Carter? Turns out, a whole hell of a lot (excluding Woola!). Unless your Capt. Cash, then all is well with this movie. (00:00)
  • Rockin' Red Planet Trivia – Capt. Cash and Chumpzilla engage in a battle of wits concerning this all-time flop. (40:18)
  • Redeeming John Carter – Five fictional sequels that would've fared better than this film did (1:04:08).
  • Recommendations and Six Degrees of Movie Separation – Our picks of the week, followed by a "Burroughs Bombs" themed six degrees. (1:10:43)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter (@HopsandBOFlops) to check out all the interesting factoids—Forbes' three-year anniversary retrospective, the underwhelming promotional materials, and more—from this week’s episode!

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Rebooting any film is tricky. Doing so barely a decade after the last iteration makes it more so. 2019's Hellboy is a prime example of "Why is this happening?" movie making. Both the original film (2004) and its sequel Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008) were generally well liked by audiences and critics (81% and 86% respectively on Rotten Tomatoes with audiences scores of 66% and 71%). Were they overwhelmingly successful? Not exactly.

That lack of financial boom made the prospect of Guillermo del Toro getting to finish his trilogy an uphill battle. It should've also signaled, though, that perhaps the character wasn't destined for box office glory. Even in comic book circles, Hellboy is niche. Thus, doing the property again with a fresh coat of paint seemed like an odd choice.

Hellboy (2019) was one of the season's biggest flops. Grossing just over $40 million worldwide, its only saving grace was its modest budget of $50 million. In its opening weekend, it lost out to Little, a comedy about a kid cursing an a-hole adult with the ineptitude of childhood. Woof.

To say that proximity is alone culpable for these dismal receipts would be misleading. Hellboy is awash with problems. From an overstuffed script to heaps and hunks of tasteless gore, it's a movie that never seems to know what it wants to be or what story it wants to tell. And with a Tomatometer well below del Toro's versions, just 18%, any viewers curious about it were probably scared off.

It doesn't help that even before it hit screens, an article was published by The Wrap detailing all the behind-the-scenes drama that had plagued its production.

All that said, there is some fun to be had with this film, especially if you're a devout fan of the character or you're on team Chief Hopper (David Harbour has a blast with this role). So sit back, grab a Helltown Mischievous Brown Ale, and enjoy as I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), and Capt. Cash throw down with sociopath Bebop and help save a kidnapped baby from a group of nefarious fairies!

This Week's Segments:

  • Introduction – We get dragged to Hell as we discuss all the issues with the Right Hand of Doom's return. (00:00)
  • “Am I full of s**t or not?” – Capt. Cash attempts to debunk or confirm facts I discovered while investigating the interwebs. (33:58)
  • Who Played It Best? – In a world rife with rebooted Superhero films, we assess who played a role the best (50:07).
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks of the week. Spoiler: It's Amazon's The Boys. Go and watch it now. No really. What are you waiting for? (1:04:57)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter (@HopsandBOFlops) to check out all the interesting factoids—The Wrap's stinging summation of the on-set discord and more—from this week’s episode!

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July 24, 2019

2019 San Diego Comic Con

We went. We saw. We conquered! Well, sort of. Capt. Cash and I return with the briefest of brief recaps of this year's huge San Diego Comic Con (SDCC), the 50th anniversary of the convention.

We offer our thoughts on Marvel's mic dropping Hall H, HBO's Watchmen trailer, and the new Amazon series The Boys, which is based on the comic of the same name!

This episode, as I stated, is not in depth, but fear not, listeners; we will return with our next episode, Hellboy (2019), in short order.

Did you attend SDCC? Hit us up on our Twitter (@HopsandBOFlops) to discuss your favorite things from this year's show.

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If there is one thing that the MCU can be blamed for, it's the rush to build a movie universe. DC tried, mostly failed, and had to soft reset; Universal's monsters went back into the vault only one film in; and now, sadly, Godzilla: King of the Monsters may have taken this burgeoning franchise down that same path.

Unlike its 2014 predecessor, which was heavily criticized for its reluctance to show the titular monster, King of the Monsters doesn't only double down, it essentially quintuples down—stuffing the film with enough Titans (their moniker for the Kaiju) to fill a host of sequels to come. There's only one issue: That presumes there will be many sequels to come.

In that way, it put the cart far ahead of the horse; whether you liked this film or not, it's undeniable that it is a flop. Of the three movies so far in the Monsterverse—2014's Godzilla and Kong: Skull Island being the others—this was the least successful, grossing almost $100 million less domestically than the film it was meant to be bigger and better than. Worldwide, it hasn't fared well either, lagging far behind both Kong and Godzilla (2014).

Even worse, it wasn't just a disappointment financially. It was panned critically. Comparatively, at just 41%, its reviews were exactly 34% less favorable than the other two. Therein lies the problem. In attempting to course correct for 2014's methodical approach, it overshot. And it continued to bungle the other central element that plagued the first—the humans. Why, in a movie filled with incredible CGI creations, do we spend so much time with them?  

Believe me, it pains me to write this. Over a decade of my childhood is deeply intertwined with this character. As I've mentioned on the pod, I owned every VHS through 1995's Godzilla vs Destroyah. I desperately wanted this to work, so we could get the promised—and hopefully more proper—*Godzilla and King Kong showdown. 

Alas, it may not come to pass. If Kong vs Godzilla fares similarly, I fear the franchise is not long for the world. 

But, hey, it's not all doom and gloom. Join us as we take you through all the highs and lows of King of the Monsters, and if you love Godzilla, you may just learn a thing or two. So sit back, grab a Tricerahops Double IPA from Ninkasi Brewing, climb aboard the broad back of Monster Zero, and enjoy as I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), and Chumpzilla flee in terror from a whole host of titanic monsters with an environmental agenda!

This Week's Segments:

  • Introduction – We break down this epic monster throw down. (00:00)
  • “Am I full of s**t or not?” – Chumpzilla attempts to debunk or confirm facts I discovered while investigating the interwebs—both about the film, as well as about the legendary character's history. (45:55)
  • Name That Kaiju – Can Chumpzilla name the Kaiju from Godzilla's rich stable with simply a description of my own construction? (1:03:50)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks of the week. (1:08:45)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter (@HopsandBOFlops) to check out all the interesting factoids—Godzilla's dust up with Sir Charles, his obsession with caffeinated drinks, and more—from this week’s episode!

*The original Toho version is bad even by people stomping around in rubber suits standards; that's not my Kong.

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Summer is known for popcorn entertainment, boasting blockbuster films that are meant to be enjoyed with little thought about their message or theme. Starship Troopers is not one of those films. Though it was billed as a straight forward, science fiction action shoot-em-up (just watch the trailer)—and it certainly works as one—Starship Troopers is much more. It's an evocative take on the dangers of a society fueled by war and a populace indoctrinated by powerful, omnipresent propaganda.

Directed by Paul Verhoeven (RoboCopTotal Recall, Basic Instinct, among others)—who'd grown up in Nazi-occupied Netherlands—the film is a satirical interpretation of Robert Heinlein's pro-war novel of the same name. That fact is an important one. Every bit of this film is intentional.

From the "Would you like to know more?" commercials on state-run TV to the incredibly handsome cast, Verhoeven styled his movie to mirror that of a Nazi propaganda film from the 1930s. And it's brilliant. Unfortunately, that is not how it was received. Upon its release, Verhoeven's message sailed largely over the heads of both audiences and critics, sending the film's box office receipts down "wash out" lane (It grossed roughly $120 million worldwide on a budget of $105).

But that failure does not define it. Since its mediocre theatrical run, it has steadily garnered a following, which, as we discuss, is a great thing. There is no better time to see Starship Troopers than the present. Literally.

So sit back, grab an Elysian's Immortal IPA, prepare to slug it out with hordes of angry alien bugs, and enjoy as I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. Cash, and Chumpzilla do our parts for the preservation of mankind!

This Week's Segments:

  • Introduction – We break down the film's superb satirical take on fascist propaganda. (00:00)
  • “Am I full of s**t or not?” – Capt. Cash and Chumpzilla attempt to debunk or confirm facts I discovered while investigating the interwebs. (37:18)
  • Six Degrees of Movie Separation, Recommendations, Our Nerdiest Possessions, and Hot Takes of Superhero Cinema – Six degrees returns, we offer our picks of the week, share the most nerd-tastic items we own, and give hot takes for the future of Superhero movies. (1:01:45)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter (@HopsandBOFlops) to check out all the interesting factoids—Macaulay Culkin's admiration for the film, as well as his foray into professional wrestling, how greedy suits turned RoboCop into a cartoon, and more—from this week’s episode!

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In 2000, 20th Century Fox’s original X-Men hit theaters. It wasn’t necessarily the only catalyst in the comic book movie boom to come, but it was an important one. It was a proof of concept and demonstrated that as a medium, comic books could translate well to film.

19 years and 11 films later, Fox’s X-Men series has finally come to an end. Its sendoff—X-Men: Dark Phoenix. Like its titular character, Dark Phoenix is a stark turn for the franchise both in quality and in financial receipts. At 23% on Rotten Tomatoes it's the worst reviewed of the films, even clearing the low bar set by the franchise's previous turkey X-Men Origins: Wolverine (37%).

Monetarily, the X-Men movies have been quite profitable, banking over $6 billion. Dark Phoenix’s contribution to that has been paltry.

In three weekends—the third may have been its last in theaters—it has banked just over $60 million domestically and just shy of $233 million worldwide (That's less than half of the average per film contribution to the above total). For a film with a reported budget of $200 million, those numbers are staggering. As of now, the film is estimated to lose anywhere from $100 to $120 million. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a bomb. 

To put it in an alarming perspective, 2000’s X-Men grossed just over $157 million domestically. If you account for inflation, that would be over $262 million today or $200 million more than Fox’s final film.

What went wrong? Well, a number of things, truth be told. Multiple delays, reshoots, having to redeem Apocalypse, and the specter of Disney’s impending purchase could all account for the lack of enthusiasm. To me, though, Fox's series had just run its course. Creatively it had exhausted itself, and rehashing a storyline that had already been done—2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand—didn’t help matters.

It was time; they just realized it too late. Thus, instead of riding off into the sunset with Logan, more so Days of Future Past for the entire team, they tried to carry the momentum forward. It backfired. These things happen.

All that said, Fox has nothing to be ashamed of. Sure, they stumbled at the end, but they also gave use some of the finest entries in the comic book film universe. And that’s what I will remember most.

So sit back, grab a Two Brothers In the Dark Sour Ale (Somehow, Capt. Cash and I didn’t know there was a tie-in beer for this movie), hop aboard the crazy train with shape-shifting aliens, and enjoy as I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), and Capt. Cash answer an urgent message from space.

This Week's Segments:

  • Introduction – Our general reaction to the film, which covers our mutual distaste for its myriad of failings. (00:00)
  • Our Rankings – Capt. Cash and I break down all twelve films, ranking them in order from worst to first. (34:15)
  • High and Lows – As I’ve alluded to, Fox’s franchise gave us many great memories, so what are our takeaways—both good and bad—from their amazing two decade run. (1:01:50)
  • The X-Men in the MCU – What storylines would we like to see the House of Mouse adapt? (1:19:24)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter (@HopsandBOFlops) to check out all the interesting factoids—Kinberg’s enlightening interview and more—from this week’s episode!

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Tis' the season of big budget movies. The time when theaters play host to all manner of spectacle—featuring films that cost a boatload, but make more in one week than many do in a year. The 13th Warrior is not one of those films. Well, it is and it isn't

Costing over $160 million dollars—a result of extended reshoots and compulsive tinkering—it grossed only $61 million worldwide, earning it the dubious distinction of being one of the worst flops in box office history.

Based on a Michael Crichton novel—which was in its own way an ode to Beowulf—directed by John McTiernan, and boasting a cast of genuine Nordic actors, The 13th Warrior had the makings to be an authentic feeling period piece—one that did its source material justice. Instead, it became a cautionary tale.

Did it deserve its cruel fate? Yes and no. Though the book, titled Eaters of the Dead, wasn't exactly fit for a wide audience, the movie was only meant to cost $85 million. And it's not far-fetched to believe that had the onset bickering and infighting not tarnished it, it would've at least recouped that. The ballooning budget, dreadful test screenings, and an omnipresent power struggle is what truly did it in, even leading the studio to abandon plans of a formal premiere.

So, if nothing else, it's an interesting disaster. It works it parts, lacks in others, and as a viewer, one can't help but wonder where it all went wrong and what could've been different.

So sit back, grab some fine mead from the Superstition Meadery or a Magic Hat Barroom Hero Pub Ale, sharpen your sword and enjoy as I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), and Capt. Cash battle the Wendol to ensure our rightful place in Valhalla!

This Week's Segments:

  • Introduction – Our general reaction to the film, including Capt. Cash's borderline obsession with it. (00:00)
  • “Am I full of s**t or not?” – Capt. Cash attempts to debunk or confirm facts I discovered while investigating the interwebs. Spoiler: Capt. Cash already knew all of them. As I mentioned, he's a bit enamored with this movie. (40:12)
  • Where Does the Casting of Antonio Banderas as an Arab Rank on Hollywood's Most Egregious Casting Decisions? – Turns out, Hollywood has a pretty checkered history with this, and we didn't even touch on any films older than this one. (54:01)
  • Six Degrees of Movie Separation and Recommendations – Six degrees returns and we offer our picks of the week. (1:03:04)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter (@HopsandBOFlops) to check out all the interesting factoids—the chronicling of the on-set discord and more—from this week’s episode!

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It’s fitting we end our “Coming-of-Age” month of movies with Can’t Hardly Wait. In every sense of the term, it is a teen cult classic. Oozing with 90s nostalgia, its setting will feel familiar to anyone who grew up in that highly confused and musically challenged decade.

More important, it’s just a heck of a lot of fun. Featuring Jennifer Love Hewitt—who was at the peak of her stardom—an instantly relatable Ethan Embry (Capt. Cash's high school doppelgänger), a dynamo performance from Charlie “Remember me? I was in Hook!” Korsmo, and one of the great all-time cameos from Jerry O’Connell, Can’t Hardly Wait is a must if you’re a child of that era.

And that’s why it has endured. When it was released in 1998, it did ok, grossing around $25 million on a budget about half of that. Through the years, though, it’s blossomed. And if you haven’t had the chance to see it, there’s no better time than the present. If anything, it’ll remind you—maybe more times than you’d like—that Smashmouth was a legitimate thing back then.

So sit back, open your yearbook to the most nostalgic page, crank the Paradise City, grab a Founders All Day IPA, and enjoy as I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), and Capt. Cash reunite Love Burger for this once in a lifetime performance!

This Week's Segments:

  • Introduction – Our general reaction to the film, lingering questions, and our impromptu Can’t Hardly Wait-themed drinking game. (00:00)
  • “Am I full of s**t or not?” – Capt. Cash attempts to debunk or confirm facts I discovered while investigating the interwebs. (39:25)
  • “Where Are They Now?” Huntington Hillside High's Class of 1998 – We assess who certain characters became later in life by assigning them another character from their filmography. (50:11)
  • Recommendations (58:32)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter (@HopsandBOFlops) to check out all the interesting factoids—the legend of Charlie Korsmo, the odd Garfield subreddit, and more—from this week’s episode!

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From roughly 1997 to 2002, Freddie Prinze, Jr. was a legitimate thing. The peak of that thing, in terms of overall success and his place in the billing, was She's All That, an overtly misogynistic tale of a popular, athletic guy who falls for a not-so popular, nerdy girl. She wears glasses; he wears a letterman's jacket. She enjoys art; he frets about actually getting accepted to great colleges (no, really). That is the depth of this dichotomy.

The catch: He only falls for her after betting his sleazy friend that he can turn her into the prom queen through the strength of his own social status.

It's high school trope after high school trope rolled neatly into a typical "Coming-of-Age" tale that sort of resonates, but not really. That's not to say that the film is without its charms. There are a few; and despite its flaws, I'm unashamed to admit I enjoy the heck out of it. 

Shockingly, for a film that adds little to an already overstuffed genre—and dissimilar to many of the movies we cover—She's All That was a smash hit, grossing over $100 million worldwide on a budget not even a tenth of that. What earned it a spot on the show? Well, like many of our episodes, it wasn't well reviewed, nor does its general concept age particularly well, making for a lot of good podcasting fodder.

So sit back, get nostalgic to some Kiss Me from Six Pence None the Richer—yes, that is the actual name of the band—grab a Hoppy Bitch IPA—shout out to Taylor Vaughn—and enjoy as I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), and Clement Von Franckenstein (aka Wolfgang MacLeod, aka the Irate Lover), part like the Red Sea at prom for an impromptu, yet highly choreographed dance for the ages!

This Week's Segments:

  • Introduction – Our general reaction to the film and lingering questions we have. Spoiler: One of us really disliked this movie. (00:00)
  • “Am I full of s**t or not?” –  Clement Von Franckenstein attempts to debunk or confirm facts I discovered while investigating the interwebs. (38:02)
  • "Where Are They Now?" The Southern California High Class of 1999 – We assess who certain characters became later in life by assigning them another character from their filmography. (51:50)
  • Six Degrees of Movie Separation & Recommendations – Can I again connect two actors in six degrees or less? (59:28)
  • *Thrones Talk – We break down the end of an appointment television era, discussing the finale of Game of Thrones. (1:06:30)
    *This segment is dark and full of spoilers.

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter (@HopsandBOFlops) to check out all the interesting factoids—the head-scratching script doctor, a malodorous practical joke, and more—from this week’s episode!

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