Lately, I’ve been listening to Montreal-based podcast Why Does It Exist. It feeds right into my professed love affair with shitty movies. So, for fun, I decided to contact podcasters Alex Rose and Dan H. G Weir to ask if I could tag along to one of their viewings and see how they go about putting together an episode. The resulting night was a “blast” and the resulting hangover lasted almost the whole week.
I made my way to the plateau where I was initiated to the process. First, Alex presented the film we were about to watch. In our case, the film was Blast(2004), starring none other than Shaggy himself where a terrorist hijacks an oil rig off the coast of California. Then myself, Dan, and Alex chitchatted about how awesomely horrible this straight-to-dvd movie sounded like it would be. The podcasters then presented the musical segment, which features local bands such as She’s Got A Habit, Cinéma L’Amour, Young Lungs, Alexeimartov, and Tyger Tyger. Next, we all went out to buy tasty sandwiches and a few cases of beer (too many).
Upon our return, we realized that we had the wrong dvd. So, we were actually going to review another film entitled Blast (1997), starring none other than Linden Ashby (Johnny Cage in Mortal Kombat) and Why Does it Exist favourite Rutger Hauer (Roy Batty in Blade Runner). The premise of this Blast also involved terrorism, however, this time based on the olympic swimming team being taken hostage by a terrorist looking to reclaim some of his terrorist ‘cred’. And so, the viewing experience began and it was… a horrible movie but a great time nonetheless. Then it was back on the air, where Alex and Dan and I discussed the film which you can hear by listening to the podcast, available for free on itunes.
After my guest spot, Alex and Dan took the time to answer a few of my questions:
Where did the idea for this podcast come from?
Alex: I originally started it as a blog because we used to work at a video store. We would get the new releases every week and I would always care more about those movies with only one copy coming out than the big blockbusters, those films with Val Kilmer and Christian Slater. I was always wondering why these films were still coming out; why do these exist? So I decided I’d talk about these. I didn’t want it to come from a hardcore film nerd point of view where we get hung up on mise-en-scène and things like that and I wanted it to be accessible to anyone. Most of these are movies that people would never devote any time to. Having seen the movie or knowing who Albert Pyun is really isn’t necessary when listening to the podcast; I’d say it’s highly discouraged. We watch these so you don’t have to.
I wrote the blog for six months and then I starting getting into podcasts. I started listening to two very important podcasts: The Flop House and How Did This Get Made. They kind of do what we do. There’s also We Hate Movies, which is also pretty major. I think we are the only ones doing movies as obscure as these. That was my point: if I want to know about these obscure movies and nobody is going to tell me about them, what should I do? I knew that Dan was moving back to Montreal. I knew him from school and work and I decided that if I was gonna do this, I was gonna do it with Dan.
Dan: Because I’m the funny one.
Alex: Because Dan hits the midpoint between being silly and knowing what he’s talking about.
Dan: Best of both worlds. Next question.
What film has been the shittiest?
Both: Year of the Comet!
Dan: By Peter Yates, which sucks because Peter Yates is the best fucking dude.
Alex: Year of the Comet is a movie about a well-loved bottle of wine.
Dan: A bottle of wine that was born during the passing of a famous comet. A giant bottle of wine. It’s got Tim Daly and who’s the girl? (ed: Penelope Ann Miller) He’s playing this Errol Flynn, dashing, Indiana-Jones style hero and it’s all about this bottle of wine and nobody gives a shit and it takes forever.
Alex: It was really bad. Sort of a North by Northwest kind of thing… A sassy spy comedy, but it was so fucking bad.
Dan: Special mention should also go out to Hot Dogs, a Quebec-made film with porn star Harry Reems… because it owns the dubious honour of me not remembering a single thing about it.
Alex: Seven Below was also pretty bad.
What film was surprisingly okay?
Dan: The Magic Christian! One of the best finds that I’ve ever found in twenty-five years of movie watching.
Alex: The Magic Christian is amazing.
What was the worst casting decision?
Alex: I think a lot of why we watch these is based on the casting decisions. That’s often what prompts it. I think, in general, the things where they stack up a lot of C-grade actors like Michael Madsen, Tom Sizemore, Vinnie Jones, and David Carradine are the worst. It’s definitely not exponential at that point; it’s definitely working the other way. A lot of what we pick is based on a ridiculous cast and the more there are people in the ridiculous cast, the more likely we are to choose it. The movie I really wanna do is a movie called Catchfire, but I’ve already seen it and that kind of disqualifies it. It’s directed by Dennis Hopper and it stars Dennis Hopper, Jodie Foster, Vincent Price, and Bob Dylan.