Top Secret! was the team of Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker's follow up to their incredibly successful Airplane! It, like its predecessor, is an indescribably goofy movie—full of off the wall gags, jokes, and non-sequiturs.

If you have seen Airplane!, you will understand what kind of humor it is. These guys were the kings of this style of comedy, and Top Secret! certainly lives up to that pedigree. It also introduced moviegoers to Val Kilmer. This was his big screen debut, and it's clear why he went on to become a household name.

Where this movie suffers is a lack of clear narrative focus and a truly defined world. It is set in immediate post-World War II East Germany, but features wisecracks from several decades proceeding it—not to mention that the antagonists are Nazis. 

Really, though, the plot is a big whatever. You come to a film like this to laugh, and you definitely will. As much as theater patrons ignored it in 1984 (it grossed $20 million compared to Airplane!'s $158), it has become a cult hit over time. Deservedly so.

Now, sit back, catch a heavy with a Boom Dynamite IPA from OHSO Brewery, and introduce us to the little German! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. CashChumpzilla, and Mayor McCheese are riding waves and blasting pigeons—Skeet Surfin'!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – The plots for spoof movies are generally lacking and Top Secret! is no exception. (00:00)
  • Lingering Questions – Are we surprised this couldn't replicate the success of Airplane!? (39:30)
  • Trivia Challenge – I challenge the field to a host of Top Secret!-related trivia. (54:08)
  • Recommendations – After a word from our pals at Hop Nation USA, we offer our picks for the week; and next up: We suit up for the start our "Hops and Heroic Flops," series with Green Lantern! (1:07:24)

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

Ballistic: Ecks vs Sever – Moaning Techno and Explosions

February 19, 2021

Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever is bad. Like truly awful. Its plot is convoluted; its action is often nonsensical and unimaginative; and it does little to capitalize on its star power. Antonio Banderas literally has nothing to do. This guy was El Mariachi in Desperado, for Pete's sake. Let him do more than smoke cigarettes and drink.

Anyway, there is a boat load of slow motion, if you're into that. Most of it is wholly unnecessary, but it's there; and it probably adds 10 minutes to the runtime—a portion of your life you will never get back.

There's also a lot of sulking and staring. There's an abundance of Ray Park in a turtleneck. Yep, Darth Maul loves sweaters, but he doesn't love fighting because he only does it once. Like the rest of the movie, that scene sucks.

If you are noticing a trend, you should. We hated this movie. Critics also hated it. And audiences thoroughly despised it. It is one of our most egregious flops to date, earning barely above $20 million on a budget of $70 million.

You have been forewarned. So, sit back, slug a few H.A.Z.Y. IPAs from Sweetwater Brewing Co., and throw on your best "Tactleneck"! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. CashChumpzilla, and Mayor McCheese are stepping on land mines and running for cover!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – Well, there's a lot of dumb stuff that happens in this movie. (00:00)
  • Lingering Questions – Could any of us decipher a way to polish this turd? (29:30)
  • The "Ballistic:"Trivia Challenge – After a word from our pals at Hop Nation USA, Chumpzilla challenges the field to a host of Ballistic-related trivia. (55:07)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week; and next up: We close our "Hops and 00-Flops," series with Top Secret! (1:04:33)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—the Game Boy Advance game 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!

If Looks Could Kill – Grieco: Far from Home

February 12, 2021

If Looks Could Kill is a piece of vintage 90s cinema. It takes a young star—presumably on the rise—and tasks them with elevating a sub-par film. It's a challenge many budding leading men have been burdened with.

Richard Grieco—most famously Dennis Booker from the 21 Jump Street TV show and its spin-off Booker—is not quite up to the task. His big screen woes mirror that of his small screen ones. Like Booker, audiences did not flock to If Looks Could Kill. His suave appearance and brash attitude were not accompanied by the requisite charm.

Grossing just $7.8 million on a budget as high as $12 million, it served as evidence that Grieco may not be the next big thing. It's hard to argue that point. But If Looks Could Kill is a fun—albeit stupid fun—time. It's a spoof on more serious spy movies, offering up a case of mistaken identity to fuel its hijinks.

It also clearly served as a mild inspiration for more popular films to come. Cough ... Spider-Man: Far from Home ... cough ... With that in mind, watch it for what it is, and do a spit-take when you realize Roger Daltrey—of The Who fame—shows up just to be murdered by the principal from Kindergarten Cop.

Now, sit back, toast to the lady on the moon with a Miller High Life, and stop fidgeting with the spy car's myriad of switches! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. CashChumpzilla, and Mayor McCheese are smelting gold and reforming the European Union!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – McCheese and I loved this when were kids. Did it hold up? (00:00)
  • Lingering Questions – Is beer chugging required to sit through this 90s B-movie? (47:19)
  • Trivia Challenge – McCheese challenges the field to a host of Grieco-related trivia. (59:10)
  • Recommendations – After a word from our pals at Hop Nation USA, we offer our picks for the week; and next up: We continue our "Hops and 00-Flops," series with Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever! (1:09:49)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—Grieco's soft rock album 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 Long Kiss Goodnight – This Movie is Pain

February 5, 2021

The Long Kiss Goodnight is obnoxious, loud, and dumb. In other words, most action movies of the 80s and 90s. It's also hopelessly convoluted and botches its central premise—that of an amnesic suburban housewife who has forgotten that she used to be an assassin.

Starring Geena Davis—in her second collaboration with former husband Renny Harlin—as Samantha Caine (the innocent)/Charly Baltimore (the no-so-innocent), The Long Kiss Goodnight just isn't equal to the sum of its parts. The supporting cast is great—boasting Samuel L. Jackson, Brian Cox, Craig Bierko, and David Morse, amongst others—and it was written by Shane Black, the literal master of this conceit (i.e. the mismatched action duo).

Even with those elements, it just never comes together. Sure, there are scenes that work, but not enough of them; and for an action film, its set pieces generally fall flat or down a drain at Niagara Falls, only to reappear unscathed.

Critics didn't agree with our pod's assessment. The film sits at 70% on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences, though, were skeptical. It grossed just $89.5 million on a budget of $65. But, its failures set a nice template for future films and proved—however unnecessary it was to prove—that women can also kick ass.

So, sit back, set your sights on a Head Hunter IPA from Fat Head's Brewery, and deal with the fact that life is pain! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. CashChumpzilla, and Mayor McCheese are blowing shit up with Charly Baltimore and trying to remember exactly why we're doing it!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – Was Davis' second collaboration with Harlin better than the water logged dreck that was Cutthroat Island? (00:00)
  • Lingering Questions – Shane Black loves Christmas, but what's his best holiday-centered film? (47:08)
  • The "Life is Pain" Trivia Challenge – After we hear a word from our brothers in beer, Hop Nation USA, Capt. Cash challenges the field to trivia about the movie. (1:10:46)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week, and next up: We continue our "Hops and 00-Flops," series with If Looks Could Kill! (1:20:53)

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

Wayne’s World 2 – We’re Putting on a Podcast … Oh Yes

January 29, 2021

Wayne's World 2 came hot off the heels of its smash hit predecessor. The first—which remains the most successful Saturday Night Live-inspired film—grossed over $180 million worldwide.

Suffice to say, Wayne's World 2 could not replicate that success. Earning just $48 million on double the budget ($40 million), its returns were a disappointment. Some would say they, "licked the cat's butt."

The dismal gross would also suggest that Wayne's World 2 is demonstrably worse than the first. That's simply not true. Is it derivative? Sure. But it's also consistently funny, generating enough new gags to keep the most cynical of us entertained—even if just moderately.

Anyway, if you've got a fine eye for details, perhaps some of the recycled material will bother you. If not, watch and enjoy the sequel for what it is, cross the Ts, dot the lowercase js, and party on!

Now, sit back, go on a spirit quest with a Voodoo Ranger Higher Plane Hazy Imperial IPA from New Belgium Brewing Co., and get that microphone! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. CashChumpzilla, and Mayor McCheese are singing an epic rendition of YMCA at the Tool Box!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – Overly familiar? A little. But Wayne and Garth still pack a comedic punch. (00:00)
  • The "Waynestock" Trivia Challenge – I challenge the field to trivia about the movie. (1:04:08)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week, and next up: We begin our "Hops and 00-Flops," series with The Long Kiss Goodnight! (1:14:05)

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

Stuart Saves His Family – In Need of an Intervention

January 22, 2021

Stuart Saves His Family is a textbook example of how not all sketches are meant to be made into films. If it's not the worst Saturday Night Live adaptation, it's certainly close.

Based on Daily Affirmation with Stuart Smalley, as well as an in-character novel by Al Franken (the movie's star), the film never seems to understand what made Smalley work in the first place.

Worse, it's not at all funny. It wraps him in a realistic world, full of realistic and often depressing family problems.

Couple that with a plot that meanders between his home life and his struggling work life and none of it equates to comedy gold. So, though Stuart Smalley may be good enough, smart enough, and, doggone it, people may like him, his movie sucks. It also made less than a $1 million, so we're not alone in that thought.

So sit back, indulge in some self-reflection with a Liquid Truth Serum IPA from Dogfish Head Alehouse, and refrain from roofing while drunk! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. CashChumpzilla, and Mayor McCheese are staring our inner demons down in the mirror!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – For a comedy, this movie is awful bleak. (00:00)
  • Lingering Questions – It's been quite a while, but was this one bad enough to supplant Super Mario Bros. as the Shit Movie Champion? (50:53)
  • The Smaller Family Trivia Night Challenge – Chumpzilla challenges the field to trivia about the movie. (1:12:27)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week, and next up in "Hops and Saturday Night Flops," we're putting on a concert with Wayne's World 2! (1:22:31)

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

MacGruber – Pound Some…

January 15, 2021

MacGruber, which is a riff on the old jack-of-all trades television character MacGyver, is one of the more perplexing Saturday Night Live adaptations. I don't say that in a bad way.

It's more because it takes a truncated skit (generally 30 seconds) and turns it into an unabashed, hard R, gross out gag, lowbrow yuck fest. That conceit can be a lot when stretched over 90 minutes.

If that sounds terrible, and some may certainly find it to be, we don't blame you; but it's actually a lot of fun.

And, honestly, if you have seen the skit, its decision to pull no punches makes a lot of sense. At his core, MacGruber—the character—is meant to be unlikeable. He has no self-awareness; is actually bad at the things he's supposed to excel at; and he has a negative growth arc—he becomes more of an asshole, despite the lessons he's supposed to have learned.

Thus, a movie that is lewd, crude, and strikingly obscene is perfect for him. We responded in kind. This episode honors the raunchiness of its subject. You have been forewarned.

With that out of the way, MacGruber is more than just potty humor. Not much more, but enough to warrant a watch.

So sit back, rewire your tastebuds with a Worst Case Scenario Double IPA from Masthead Brewing Co., and track down KFBR392! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. CashChumpzilla, and Mayor McCheese are jamming to Yacht Rock and practicing our throat rips!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – As we mentioned, this movie makes abundant use of its R rating. But does it work? (00:00)
  • Lingering Questions – As a movie full of offensive gags, would any of us recommend it to our friends? (53:24)
  • The MacGruber Trivia Challenge – Mayor McCheese challenges the field to trivia about the movie. (1:16:00)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week, and next up in "Hops and Saturday Night Flops," the reason Al Franken went into politics, Stuart Saves His Family! (1:24:06)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—the Super Bowl Pepsi ad 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!

Blues Brothers 2000 – We’re on a Mission from Pod

January 8, 2021

Blues Brothers 2000 should have never happened. Period. It's an uninspired rehash of one of the great 80s comedies. There is nothing new here; thus, there was no reason for revisiting the titular brothers. Oh, and lest we forget that one of them—John Belushi—tragically passed away in 1982.

Without his oversized and all-consuming personality, there is an undeniable void that's never filled. The magic is gone. And no matter how many fake brothers you insert into the mix, it's not going to matter—particularly when the actors are stripped of most of their charm and charisma.

John Goodman has never been less magnetic than he is here as "Mighty" Mack McTeer. Did Dan Aykroyd and John Landis—the co-writers/star and director—just refuse to see The Big Lebowski? How could they underutilize him this horrifically?

Well, suffice to say, our rage was shared by audiences. Blues Brothers 2000 carries a 37% user score on Rotten Tomatoes (slightly worse than its 46% with critics). And it grossed just $14.05 million on a budget of $31 million.

In the end, unlike its predecessor, this one should have existed solely as a Saturday Night Live skit.

So sit back, boost your confidence with a Bourbon County Brand Stout from Goose Island Beer Co., and go looking for a fox! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. CashChumpzilla, and Mayor McCheese are still trying to fathom just how Aykroyd fit into the dashboard of that car!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – Beyond Aykroyd wanting to jam with some Blues legends, why does this movie exist? (00:00)
  • Lingering Questions – There are certainly many, but among them: What musical legend would we most like to hang out with? 
  • Trivia Works in Mysterious Ways – Capt. Cash challenges the field to Blues Brothers-themed trivia. (57:31)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week, and next up in "Hops and Saturday Night Flops," MacGruber! (1:13:05)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—the origins of the Blues Brothers 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!

New Year’s Eve – F**k Bon Jovi

January 1, 2021

New Year's Eve sucks. I'm sorry, but it's the truth. Like the holiday itself, it's an exercise in excess—boasting an A-list cast, yet giving them nothing to do.

It's mind-numbingly stupid and obscenely scripted. The fact that it expects you to like these characters is, in itself, anger-inducing. You will hate these people. All of them, but especially Bon Jovi—who inexplicably doesn't play himself. Instead, he's a sappy musician named Jensen.

Honestly, the only way to get through it is to drink. Heavily. Drink like it's the countdown to the ball dropping, only it lasts two hours. Drink so much that you make out with a total stranger and forget that you ever watched it. And don't fear the hangover. Your headache from this movie's dialogue will be far worse.

With that out of the way, sit back, quell your oncoming rage with a few Enjoy By 01.01.21 from Stone Brewing Co., and toast to the end of 2020! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. CashChumpzilla, and Mayor McCheese are zipping through NYC on Vespas!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – Loads of famous people and not much else. (00:00)
  • The Ultimate New Year's Eve Trivia Challenge – I challenge the field to trivia about the movie, as well as the holiday that inspired it. (57:31)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week, and next, in our Season 3 premiere, we begin "Hops and Saturday Night Flops" with a film whose existence alone is offensive—Blues Brothers 2000! (1:13:05)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—the other dreck from this anthology 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!

It’s a Wonderful Life – Hee Haw!

December 25, 2020

It's a Wonderful Life is a legitimate classic. It's aired every year around the holidays, and its message is as inspiring now as it was when it was released in 1946.

It's a timeless tale of a man who feels his life has been unfulfilled. He's missed out on the world travels he swore he'd take; he's missed out on college to bailout his father's fledgling savings and loan; and he was unable to serve in World War II due to a childhood injury.

Despite those opportunities lost, George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) is simply a great man. Yet for all the good he does, there is something missing. He is unable to see the true impact of his deeds. Cue the heavy sentimentality.

This all may sound a little hokey, but it's not. Bailey's life is indeed fulfilled through the many lives he's touched. Once you watch it, one of those lives will be your own.

So sit back, have a good cry while drinking a Tropicália IPA from Creature Comforts Brewing Co., and lock Uncle Billy in a closet! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. CashChumpzilla, Mayor McCheese and a special guest are toasting to George Bailey—the richest man in town!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – If you have not seen it, this Christmas staple is a must this holiday season. (00:00)
  • Lingering Questions – This flopped. Yes, that is true. But why? (1:03:06)
  • The Trivia Challenge – Chumpzilla challenges the field to a series of trivia questions. (1:31:11)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week, and for our final "Hops and Holiday Flops," the cringe-inducing, stunt casting mess, New Year's Eve! (1:43:52)

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