Announcement Back Seat Producers Season 07 Shows

BSP Episode 246: Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

Release date:  1/22/2010

Magnolia Pictures

Directed and Written by

  • Eli Craig

Produced by

  • Morgan Jurgenson
  • Albert Klychak
  • Rosanne Miliken
  • Deepak Nayar


Tyler Labine

  • Dale

Alan Tudyk

  • Tucker

Katrina Bowden

  • Allison

The show begins with a poignant, heartfelt speech by Deuce.

The hosts review:

The hosts all enjoyed the movie.  None had any expectations but they were all satisfied.  David said that what worked was that the audience had to believe the play between Tucker and Dale and the believability as to why the kids seemed to be killing themselves.  The ridiculousness of it works.  One of David’s favorite parts was that, whenever Tucker was injured, he treated each horrific wound by pouring beer on it.  They also agreed that the chemistry between Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk was really good.

They discussed how this movie turns the commentary on horror movies and how hillbillies would usually be the bad guys.    They also touch on how, in almost every horror movie, the young people will almost always jump to conclusions, thus setting themselves up to be killed.  The conversation touches on “reasonable” ways to save oneself from the horrors of being killed while on a camping trip.

There was also a touch of sadness at the fact that there was no camping-sex, as tends to be the norm for these movies, as well.

Talk then turns to wet t-shirt contests… and David’s participation in said contest, and SausageFest antics of past years.

**There is still time to donate to SausageFest**

Summing this all up, David ranked the movie (out of five fat hillbillies) with four fat hillbillies and one skinny hillbilly.

Your Producers for this episode were:

  • Tony
  • Darrell
  • Tony/Deuce
  • David

This episode was recorded: 10/10/2012


Theatrical Review: Paranormal Activity 4

It’s the fall of 2011, five years after both Katie and the baby Hunter disappeared at the end of Paranormal Activity 2. Our new setting is Henderson, Nevada and we meet a new family, father Doug, mother Holly and their kids, teenaged daughter Alex and the youngest son, Wyatt. They seem to be a normal family, though the marriage has hit a stale point, but still nothing out of the ordinary. That all starts to change when new neighbors, a mother and son, move into the neighborhood and then weirdness happens.

That’s the broad premise for Paranormal Activity 4 the latest film in the franchise from producer Oren Peli and directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman. I make no bones about it; I’m a huge fan of the franchise and so I was certainly looking forward to seeing this one. I thought this was a lot of fun, but the franchise is starting to show it’s age and it might be time for Peli to consider wrapping this one up.

As has been the case with all of the Paranormal Activity movies, this is in the “found footage” horror sub genre. As has also been the case with each film in the series, some new tricks have been brought into play, with this one making extensive use of phones and computers to record the footage as well as using an Xbox Kinect to help give a particular neat effect to some of the scenes. I love the “found footage” sub-genre just due to it’s sheer immediacy of action as well as how it makes you scan every little bit of the screen to keep you on your toes. There’s no problems there at all.

Now also like the previous films in the series, this new one adds a little bit more to the bigger story, though you really won’t see that addition until the very final scene, but still it’s a big one and it certainly expands the scope of these films (and even further, there’s another scene after the end credits as well). But even with that expansion, I think the formula here is starting to show it’s wear and it might be time to start to think to put a bow on this series and wrap it up. Where this new installment falters for me is in a couple of areas. First, the daughter Alex and her friend Ben set up the house with the computers recording the footage. The next day, they check the footage and certainly see that something has happened, but that seemed to me like the last time that they did that, even though stranger things started to happen on subsequent evenings. If they’re consistently checking it, then they should be more driven than what they seem to be in this film and thus trying to tell anyone what exactly is going on. If that was happening that would certainly lead to Alex’s parents finding out more, but here they’re just played as being thick and not much concerned at all. Sure doing these things would’ve probably deprived the filmmakers of a few cheap scares in the film, but I think it also could’ve added to the tension. As it is, even though the scares are cheaper, they still work, but nowhere near as effective as the prior three movies… until you get to the final scene anyway, and for me that made it a little more forgivable, but not much.

The performances are all pretty good here, even if it’s by rote. I mentioned the parents above, and I can’t really fault what either actors Stephen Dunham or Alexondra Lee do here, that fault is more in the script. Of course, this wouldn’t be a Paranormal Activity movie without Katie Featherston in it and so I’m certainly happy to see her here and would like to see her in more features as well (beyond Oren Peli’s projects- Featherston was also part of the cast of ABC’s The River also from Peli).

My suggestion; let’s wrap this series up with the just announced fifth film. We’ve got all of this “found footage” and now let’s put this in the hands of some professional paranormal investigators (or even TV paranormal investigators) and put a new spin on this beyond it’s domestic settings. That’s what I’d do, but I doubt that will happen. These films are very cheap to make and their profit is considerable given their cost. I love the series, and enjoyed this latest chapter, but still the wear is starting to show and it would be better for the series to go out with a huge bang rather than get staler with potential sixth and seventh films.

Back Seat Book Club Shows

Backseat Book Club – Book One: Ready Player One – Companion

Scott gives a bit more detail on some of his references during Ready Player One.

  • Snow Crash
  • Scott Pilgrim
  • Fatal Fury
  • Count Zero
  • Summer Wars
  • Cory Doctorow
  • War Games
Back Seat Box Office Shows

Back Seat Box Office #109


Jeff, Tony

  1. Paranormal Activity 4
  2. Alex Cross
  3. Argo
  4. Taken 2
  5. Hotel Transylvania


  1. Paranormal Activity 4
  2. Argo
  3. Taken 2
  4. Hotel Transylvania
  5. Alex Cross


  1. Paranormal Activity 4
  2. Argo
  3. Alex Cross
  4. Taken 2
  5. Hotel Transylvania

The hosts are starting a side-game we’re calling Back Seat Indie Box Office (unless we can think of something cooler).  One guess for the movie with the highest average dollars per theater.

  • Jonathan, Tony – The Sessions
  • Scott – Brooklyn Castle
  • Lena – Hating Breitbart
  • Jeff – The Flat

This weekend Scott (and Sam from Back Seat Quickies fame) will be participating in a 24-hour video game marathon to raise money for their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.  There’s still time to give!  Check out the website and give until it hurts so good!

Back Seat Box Office BSBO Results Shows

Back Seat Box Office #108 Results and Voice Mail

Congrats to Andrew, BD and Cougron for their high scores of 23 this week.

Thanks to Tad and Art for their voicemails.

Special congratulations to Andrew for winning Season 3 with a score of 22.7!

Back Seat Quickies Shows

Back Seat Quickies #66: Top 5 Time-travel Movies

In the seat (possibly of a DeLorean):

  • Scott
Recorded: 10/16/12

Weekend Box Office: Oct 12-Oct 14

#1 Taken 2 from 20th Century Fox held at #1 with a gross of $21.9 million (-55.8%) in 3,706 theaters (+45).  Total gross to date is $86.1 million.  Budget was $45 million.

#2 Argo from Warner Bros. opened at #2 with a gross of $19.5 million in 3,232 theaters.  Budget was $44.5 million.

#3 Sinister from Summit Entertainment opened at #3 with a gross of $18 million in 2,527 theaters.  Budget was $3 million.

#4 Hotel Transylvania from Sony/Columbia fell from #2 to #4 with a gross of $17.2 million (-36.3%) in 3,375 theaters (+23).  Total gross to date is $102.1 million.  Budget was $85 million.

#5 Here Comes the Boom from Sony/Columbia opened at #5 with a gross of $11.8 million in 3,014 theaters.  Budget was unknown.

#6 Pitch Perfect from Universal fell from #3 to #6 with a gross of $9.3 million (-37.6%) in 2,787 theaters (+17).  Total gross to date is $36 million.  Budget was $17 million.

#7 Frankenweenie from Buena Vista fell from #5 to #7 with a gross of $7.1 million (-38.2%) in 3,005 theaters.  Total gross to date is $22.1 million.  Budget was $39 million.

#8 Looper from TriStar fell from #4 to #8 with a gross of $6.2 million (-48.8%) in 2,605 theaters (-388).  Total gross to date is $51.3 million.  Budget was $30 million.

#9 Seven Psychopaths from CBS Films opened at #9 with a gross of $4.2 million in 1,480 theaters.  Budget was $15 million.

#10 The Perks of Being a Wallflower from Summit Entertainment rose from #11 to #10 with a gross of $2.2 million (+37.3%) in 726 theaters (+505).  Total gross to date is $6.1 million.  Budget was unknown.

#11 Atlas Shrugged: Part II from Atlas Distribution opened at #11 with a gross of $1.74 million in 1,012 theaters.  Budget was unknown.

#12 End of Watch from Open Road Films fell from #6 to #12 with a gross of $1.7 million (-57.5%) in 1,551 theaters (-819).  Total gross to date is $36.4 million.  Budget was $7 million.

The combined gross of the top 12 movies this weekend was $120.7 million.

Box Office Mojo

Back Seat Producers Season 07 Shows

BSP Episode 245: The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension

Wherever you go, there you are!

This is filled with so much awesome, I have to watch it again!

From the opening scene test drive, the characters are there and letting their personalities shine through.

Low budget? Yep.  Cheesy? Sure.  Did it work back then? Oh, yeah.  Today this would be a Nickelodeon movie; exactly the same except with a teenage cast.

This is so ridiculous, it’s hilarious.

A neo-Doc Savage story.

There’s Perfect Tommy, but Buckaroo is BETTER than him.

Where’s Pixie?  We haven’t heard from Pixie yet!

“The people at these conventions we go to really need to brush their teeth better.”

3-2-1 Rule of Con going, people!

SausageFest, SausageFest, SausageFest! (yes, you can still donate!)

Buckaroo Banzai and his friends are kind of a SausageFest.

Ellen Barkin is the cheesecake.

This movie is right up there with Howard the Duck.

It would have worked better without Ellen.

Yakof Smirnoff!

Would the kiddies watch it if it was remade?

Did adults like it when it came out, or just younger people?

A brilliantly creative concept… the aliens are here, they’re just hiding in the 8th dimension.

How did he not know that his wife had a twin sister?

Oh no, the Taking the Hobbits to Isengard YouTube video!

We should all go to the nearest canal and walk in a box.

In every scene I’ll wear a different colored nightie


Your hosts

Recorded: 10/2/2012



Theatrical Review: Atlas Shrugged: Part II

So even before I get into any of this, a little disclosure is in order. I’ve never read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and I only know it mostly from reputation. My main interest in Ayn Rand and Objectivism is mostly secondhand. That comes from being a huge comic book fan and in particular a very huge fan of comic creator, Steve Ditko, who’s best known for being the co-creator of Marvel’s Spider-Man. Ditko is an extreme devotee to Rand’s Objectivist philosophy, and his devotion started to show in work that he did for Charlton Comics in the late 60s, primarily through his creation, The Question. Once Ditko left Charlton with editor Dick Giordano to go to DC Comics, some of these themes continued in his creations of The Creeper and Hawk and Dove. They really came to the forefront though in Ditko’s creator-owned work, first and foremost with his creation Mr. A. Ditko’s passion for this philosophy is unbridled in his creator-owned work, and even to this day it continues in the small press projects that he self-publishes with editor Robin Snyder. This philosophy runs counter to that shown in most comics today and for a lot of readers out there, it’s stilted and old-fashioned. Personally speaking though, I find it admirable that Ditko is still out there doing his thing even though it goes either unnoticed or just plain deemed as crazy by the majority of the comic readership. When I was younger and reading these works, I have to admit, I didn’t quite get it, but as I’ve gotten older and have come back to them, I have to say, they do “speak” to me.

I’ve tried to take the time to better understand Rand and Objectivism, and for the most part, I think I get it and agree with most of it, though some of it’s finer points have run counter to certain events in my life that I won’t go into here. For those that are true scholars of Objectivism that might read this, well, I don’t claim to be an expert by any means, so my review here could certainly be full of holes.

I was curious to see Atlas Shrugged: Part I after seeing it reviewed (negatively I might add) on Ebert Presents At The Movies. I’ve since seen it twice thanks to Netflix, and actually enjoyed the movie though it’s not perfect by any means. In brief, the time is 2016 and the United States has fallen into major economic collapse. Increasingly high gasoline prices have made railroad travel the most affordable way to move about the country. The leader in the field is Taggert Transcontinental run by siblings James and Dagny Taggert. James is more of a figurehead leader willing to do the bidding of the government while his sister, Dagny, is more the driving force that keeps the railway going. Dagny is being forced to use an inferior grade of steel, but rejects that in favor of wanting to use a new metal developed by steel magnate Hank Reardon. Reardon is keeping the secret of the alloy’s development to himself which sparks jealousy amongst his competitors and in turn is denounced by the government as being inferior. Dagny knows better though and enters into a partnership with Reardon to keep the railway going and successful despite government meddling. Dagny and Hank’s relationship moves beyond a business partnership as both see each other as kindred spirits. All the while, in the background prime movers of industry, science and the arts are mysteriously disappearing with a key phrase connected to each; “Who is John Galt?”

Now there is of course way more to this than what I’m describing, it is after all adapted from an 1,000+ page novel, so of course there’s way more going on in the background and way more facets to each character than what I’m simply describing above. My main complaint with the first film is that it’s a little too short considering the themes that it’s dealing with and the amount of set-up that it has to do. But still I think there’s a certain amount of fire and energy to it that I found very attractive as well as the performance by actress Taylor Schilling as Dagny Taggert. The first film was a tremendous flop at the box office, and I think that’s a shame but also understandable. I honestly didn’t think that a Part 2 was going to be coming, so obviously I was quite surprised when I heard it was coming this past July.

With Atlas Shrugged: Part II the film’s producers have an increased budget allowing for a little more in the way of production design (and these are considered low-budget films by Hollywood standards) and I think it’s got a good look to it. But, they’ve also had to re-cast the entire film and none of the actors from the first film are in the second with one little exception; that being actor Graham Beckel who played oil industrialist Ellis Wyatt in the first film and only showing up here as a photo image shown on a newscast after his mysterious disappearance at the end of Part I. For the most part, I think the new cast actually works better than what the original did, with one exception and that being Samantha Mathis who’s now been cast as Dagny Taggert. Mathis’ performance here is serviceable but she just looks tired in the part, though some of that is entirely understandable due to the nature of things that happens to Dagny’s character. I understand that it was just going to be impossible for the producers to get Taylor Schilling to reprise the role and that’s a shame (though Schilling can also be seen real briefly in another new movie this weekend, Argo where she’s seen at the end as Ben Affleck’s wife). I do think that Mathis does the best that she can, and if she’s retained for Part III I’d expect a more memorable performance by the end.

Two improvements to the new cast though are Jason Beghe as Hank Reardon and Esai Morales as Francisco d’Anconia. Beghe in particular stands out to me. In the first film, Hank Reardon is described as a ruthless businessman and you definitely get that more here than what you got from Grant Bowler in the first film who’s way more affable there. Beghe’s Reardon is a tough guy who’s definitely firm in his principles and it’s especially on display when the character is put on trial for defying government orders. Esai Morales is definitely more effective than Jsu Garcia was in the first film and I couldn’t even begin to imagine Garcia giving the driving delivery that Morales does to Beghe during another key moment in the film.

Atlas Shrugged: Part II is directed by John Putch, who’s best known for directing a variety of different TV shows. Putch keeps this moving at a pretty even clip and the feel to building something even bigger permeates through the whole movie. One scene in particular that was both very effective and even a little scary to me involved the Head of State (the new term here for President) handing out an overwhelming new directive that effectively changes the way the country does business and for the worse. The biggest compliment that I can pay to Putch though is that by the time he gets to the film’s conclusion, I was immediately ready to see Part III. Now as to the down side, even though I do agree with a lot of the new casting choices, I can also see that as being disconcerting to those that greatly like the first film and speaking of that, I think it’s also an absolute necessity to see the first movie in order to truly appreciate all that’s going on here. Putch does his best with Part II to make it accessible, but I only think it will be that way to those who can really appreciate the source.

One thing that I find refreshing here is the positive portrayal of business magnates. For most Hollywood movies, big business is the big villain, with the only real difference being in the portrayals of the main characters in the super-hero movies (those being Anthony Stark in the Iron Man films and Bruce Wayne in the Batman movies). Characters like Dagny Taggert and Hank Reardon are to me anyway, Stark and Wayne without the costumes.

In the end, I really enjoyed Atlas Shrugged: Part II even more than the first film and now just hope that Part III gets made. Even without having read Rand’s book, I tend to think that her philosophy is accurately represented in these films. In my day job, I’m a graphic artist and illustrator and I tend to take great pride in my work and strive to get even better with it all the time. The principles of Rand’s Objectivist philosophy “speak” to me in this way, and as such, so does this film. Even though this is opening in more theatres than the first film, I still expect this to be seen as a commercial failure though I’m keeping my fingers crossed to see the answer on screen to the question, “Who is John Galt?”


Theatrical Review: Argo

As our story begins, it’s 1979 and the Shah of Iran has been given political asylum and angry Iranians are beginning to storm the United States embassy in Iran. Right as the embassy is being taken over, six embassy employees manage to escape to the streets of Tehran and manage to find their own asylum in the house of the Canadian ambassador to Iran. What followed of course was the hostage crisis that lasted a staggering 444 days. These six managed to make it out of Iran thanks to an incredible plan from CIA exfiltration specialist Tony Mendez. That plan involved the idea of using a faked movie production for a science fiction film called Argo and this movie, named after the fake movie, tells that amazing story.

Argo is the third movie from director (and star) Ben Affleck, who blew me away with his previous film, The Town and he did it again with Argo. This is a terrific film and even though you already know the outcome, the ride getting there is absolutely compelling and as told by Affleck, still keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Affleck’s attention to detail is just staggering and really on display during the film’s final credits when you see comparison photos of scenes from the movie and from real life. His style here is much more in line with the style of a film made in the 70s, keeping the performances (for the most part) very low key and the action all told more through pure visuals more than anything else. One key scene, the scene in which Mendez gets this idea is absolutely amazing and as a fan of the classic Planet of the Apes films, just stuck with me.

When this moves a way from being low-key, it’s just as compelling but with total purpose and that’s more when Mendez moves into the Hollywood world to make sure that his cover story is absolutely flawless. Mendez’s first move is to get in touch with legendary Hollywood make-up artist John Chambers (really well played by John Goodman), who was known to do some work for the CIA. From there, Chambers puts Mendez in touch with producer Lester Siegel, played with gusto by veteran actor Alan Arkin. Arkin’s Siegel feels absolutely right- he knows he’s in an impossible situation, but also knows it’s his duty to do what he can to help, and thanks to Arkin’s performance, that help also involves giving this movie some much appreciated lighter moments, but nothing that takes away from the gravity of the situation.

As he did in The Town, Affleck is the lead here as well, but his performance is extremely muted and generous in the extreme, with Affleck more than willing to give his co-stars their chances to shine. It’s just terrific work on Affleck’s part and it’s terrific to see this maturation that he’s made in his career. The great Bryan Cranston plays Jack O’Donnell, the CIA official who brings Mendez into play. Cranston’s terrific here, especially near the end of the film and the chemistry that he shares with Affleck is spot-on.

I’ve already mentioned both John Goodman and Alan Arkin, but also want to make note of the performance by three of the actors playing the embassy employees. Standing out for me were Tate Donovan, as the leader of the group, Scoot McNairy as a member of the group who’s very hesitant to go along with Mendez’s plan, and Clea DuVall, who was almost unrecognizable to me in her part, but felt totally authentic. Key amongst these was McNairy and again, that will become real obvious during some of the final scenes of the film. I’ve also got give Affleck Kudos for using some of the great character actors out there in some smaller background roles- guys like Zeljko Ivanek, Titus Welliver, Keith Szarabajka, Bob Gunton, Philip Baker Hall- you’ve seen these guys in all sorts of movies and TV shows in the past and their presence here just adds credibility to the whole movie. For you comic book fans out there (and believe me, I was really surprised to see this), veteran actor Michael Parks plays the storyboard artist for the fake movie Argo, and while he’s not mentioned by name in the movie, he is mentioned in the credits and that was legendary comic book artist Jack Kirby. That just blew me away even further to find out that Kirby was involved with this, even if he was unaware of the big plan.

Argo is an absolutely terrific night at the movies. Ben Affleck is showing us that he’s truly a director to watch and as an actor, he’s just getting better and better. The attention to detail is terrific, the story is totally compelling, the performances are all first rate and Ben Affleck keeps it all moving at an even clip. Argo is thrilling and I can’t wait to see what Affleck does for his next directorial effort. Highly, highly recommended!