Merry Christmas!

Or early Christmas, that is. It’s that time of year again when your friendly neighborhood harbingers love to watch their favorite Christmas movies to get them in the holiday spirit. The format is similar to our Halloween episode and we hope our list will give you some festive ideas for films to check out.

Did any of your favorite Christmas movies make the list? Give the episode a listen and find out!

What Are We Drinking?

From the island of Kauai, the Hawaiian coffee rum we are drinking is from the Koloa Rum Distillery. The coffee is made with We combined this fantastic rum with a recipe for Hot Buttered Rum from The Food Network to create our yuletide beverage. Pro tip, the recipe states it makes 4 servings. That’d be way too much butter and sweetness for our tastes, so our measurements were as follows.

  1. Made the butter mixture exactly as per the recipe.
  2. 1 tablespoon of butter mixture
  3. 2 ounces of coffee flavored rum (the recipe called for spiced rum, but we opted for coffee)
  4. Top with Hot Water

We’ve also started adding our episodes to YouTube, so you can listen AND watch the podcast if you’d like! We will add the YouTube links to our past posts over the course of the next few days.

Breaking Down The Star Wars Prequels

In preparation of Episode VIII, our friend Nader asked if he really needed to watch the Star Wars Prequels. The question garnered several responses; some being “Yes” and some being “No.” I made the claim that I could break down Episodes I, II, and III in 6 sentences. I figured 2 sentences per film was adequate. Atul’s brother decided to take me up on the challenge, so I took a crack at it.

Why Do This?

Honestly, because I thought I could do it. I also feel that so little happened in those films that contributed to the overall story that spending 7 to 8 hours watching the films is time wasted for me. I own the entire Blu Ray series, and have never had an urge to watch any of the prequels. Everything I’d want to rewatch from those films I’d find on YouTube.

Note that you could probably summarize any movie in 2 sentences to cover what it’s about. For instance, here is a 2 sentence summary for The Dark Knight:

Batman has been active for a year ridding Gotham of mob related crime, so the mob turns to the Joker to “kill the Batman.” Batman, along with Harvey Dent, manages to take down the Joker and the Mob, but at the cost of Dent’s soul and Rachel’s life. 

Now, is that essentially the plot of the film? Yeah, sure. Yet, I feel there is a lot more in The Dark Knight that is worth watching/rewatching than just simply reading those 2 sentences. Great performances, intense action, uplifting moments, heartbreaking scenes, and compelling music. Alternatively, the Prequels don’t contain more, for me, than is in the sentences. The only things I would go back to revisit are some of the lightsaber battles, and certain themes from John Williams’ score.

Cool…So Never Watch the Prequels?

No. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying that the Star Wars Prequels don’t work for me. I personally think they’re long, uneventful, poorly acted, and lazily made for the most part. But that’s the thing, it’s my opinion. I strongly encourage folks that haven’t seen the prequels to check them out. The 6 sentences that will follow are the absolute bare bones of what happens in the films.

In fact, I didn’t intend to write these sentences to talk someone out of watching the films. I actually wrote them FOR Star Wars fans. People that have already seen and have formed their own opinions on the films.

The 6 sentences can also be used for those that haven’t seen the prequels and lead with the question: “Do I reallllllllllly need to watch them?” If someone leads with this question, it is typically because they feel obligated to watch the movies but don’t want to. They either don’t have the time, or have heard they’re not very good. They’re asking us, Star Wars fans, to let them off the hook by saying “no don’t worry about it, they’re bad.” I truly believe that they should watch the films to form their own opinions and experience the Prequels themselves, but going into anything with the wrong attitude isn’t going to yield successful results. As such, why should they waste their time with something they’ve ultimately already sabotaged in their mind?

So, in short, the following is for those that have either seen the Prequels, or are never going to see the Prequels. If you’re on the fence, or legitimately want to watch them and haven’t, stop here.

Without Further Ado…

1. The prequels introduce, or reintroduce, the characters Obiwan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, Princess Padame, Senator Palpatine and the Jedi Order who are basically the space cops and ambassadors of the space government.

2. Anakin is found on his home world Tatooine by Obiwan and his master, and apparently ages 15 years while no one else does and becomes a Jedi knight. (sidebar: this is just commentary on the fact that he ages dramatically between Episodes I and II)

3. The galactic trade federation are jerks being secretly led by the dark lord of the sith and are amassing power to seemingly overthrow the space government.

4. To deal with that, the Senate uses a mysterious clone army, led by Jedi, to take down those trade federation jerks and also gives Palpatine supreme powers over the space government to enact these decisions.

5. Meanwhile, Anakin befriends Palpatine, who is actually the master sith lord and is manipulating Anakin, and Skywalker also loves and marries Padme while knocking her up with twins.

6. Palpatine’s master strike is to use Anakin to eliminate all the Jedi, but Anakin fails to complete his mission, gets slice and diced by Obiwan, his wife dies giving birth to Luke and Leia, and gets put back together as Darth Vader while Palpatine assumes the role Emperor.

And that’s it folks. Why am I sharing this? Mainly because it was a fun little exercise. Also, because I’ve heard people question the necessity of watching the prequels many times and now I have a fairly succinct answer and wanted to share it. I certainly don’t think it is, and don’t want to be, the answer for people to not watch the Prequels at least once. I just hope that Star Wars fans can read this and find some comedy, truth, or contrast in my views.


A Hela Good Time…Most of the Time

Thor: Ragnarok is the third installment in the Thor franchise. It is the 2nd last film before Marvel Studio’s, next superhero epic: Avengers Infinity War. All the usual players return including Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Idris Elba, and the remaining Asgardians. Also joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe are newcomers Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, and Karl Urban. Overall, as you can tell, the cast is pretty massive. The film also packs in a couple of interesting cameos, and a very zany Mark Ruffalo.

Thor: Ragnarok is directed by Taika Waititi, best known for directing the vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows. The film has received high praise from critics and moviegoers alike. This should be a great stepping stone for Waititi’s career as it will hopefully lead to bigger films and opportunities in lieu of Thor: Ragnarok’s success.

Overall, the film is a fun time at the theater, but is certainly not a perfect movie. Some jokes fall flat, some comedy is strangely timed, and some of the CG can be extremely distracting in its use. We wonder if Waititi’s vision was somewhat altered by the studio because some of the comedy just doesn’t seem to be his style. However, the film is still sitting with a 90+ fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, so it certainly did plenty right.

The Plot

Thor: Ragnarok opens to find Thor in a precarious position only to best his adversary and return triumphant to Asgard. He reunites with Loki to find Odin only to discover the King of Asgard’s dark secret; his daughter Hela, goddess of death, is coming. Thor and Loki flee Hela, and accidentally land on the planet Sakaar. Thor is captured and is forced to fight for his life as a Gladiator to appease the Grand Master. While Thor fights for his life on Sakaar, Hela arrives on Asgard, the source of her strength, and conquers all. Can Thor fight his way off planet to save his homeworld from the clutches of Hela? Watch the film and see for yourself.

Bonus Round: The Blood Crow Stories

The Blood Crow Stories is an anthology series of horror stories. The first season highlights the story of the S.S. Utopia, a cruise ship in the early 1900’s. Modern-day college student, Max, begins to do his thesis on the audio diaries of the passengers on the ship.

Official Site:

Remember The Classics: Abbott and Costello

Abbott and Costello were a staple of my childhood growing up. I was born in the mid 80’s, so that wasn’t quite their era, but my parents insisted upon showing us their work when we were young and my siblings and I fell in love. But will artform stand the test of time?

Anytime’s a Good Time for Bud and Lou

Skip ahead to October 2017. My wife and I were getting ready for our 2 week vacation which is never a fun process. It usually involves cramming into a single day the amount of work you would need to achieve over the number of days. This helps us stay sane while we’re travelling, and helps ensure we don’t come back from vacation into a clusterfuck.

Anywho, as we were pulling our all nighter of working and packing I decided I needed something on in the background to keep my brain occupied. I needed something familiar to occupy my thoughts so I threw on Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein. This film was released in 1948 and featured Bela Lugosi as Dracula, Lon Channey Jr. as the Wolfman, and Glenn Strange as Frankenstein’s Monster. This movie had it all for us when we were kids. Monsters, slapstick, one-liners, laughs, shocks, and even a scare or two. Everything a growing boy needs. My brother Mike and I had seen that movie so many times that I could visualize everything happening on screen without even watching. This film was that much of a classic for us.

Then it dawned on me. Our parents introduced us to Abbott and Costello well over 40 years after they were actively performing . They grew up on it, payed it forward to us, and I honestly can’t thank them enough for introducing this world to us. The classics. Legendary comedy duos who’s work, in my opinion, deserves to stand the test of time. Unfortunately, I worry that it was not shared enough with my generation in general, and shared even less with the newer generation.

Sharing is Caring

I don’t know how typical it was in the late 80’s and 90’s for parents to share films from the 40’s or 50’s with their kids. Is it because most children simply don’t have the attention span for movies that are considered “old”? I mean, how can some black and white film contend with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, or Sesame Street? Are these films better or worse to show kids when they’re younger? Is it even worth showing them? I certainly think so.

Before my little sister came along, classic comedy duos were a staple of my brother and I’s childhood. It was just Mike and Justin. Mike was the clown, and I was the straight man. We had a fun dynamic, or so I remember, that was heavily inspired from the comedic relationships we saw on film and bonded us together even moreso than we already were. As we grew older, some of our tastes matured, as they do for everyone when the grow up, but that bond is always there for us.

Too Many Options?

I fear today that the classics are getting lost in the shuffle. There is so much content that’s easily delivered at a breakneck speed that youngsters aren’t being exposed to the more classic forms of comedy or film. It’s super easy to find Paw Patrol or Dora, but unfortunately these older films and shows aren’t nearly as easy to access or widely advertised as newer titles.

We had limited options in the 80’s and 90’s. It was either TV or VHS, and VHS’ were a bigger business to watch films then than they are now. I find myself throwing on a DVD or Blu Ray even less these days, but that’s all we had then. When that’s your only option, you’d get up off the couch and throw that little box into the cassette player and watch your movie. Sigh… I guess it was just a different time, and I’m just getting old. But when kids today haven’t even seen the original Wizard of Oz, that makes me sad.

Standing the Test of Time

Back to my original point. Can Abbott and Costello truly be living on in history if no one’s learning about them or appreciating their craft? They are on wikipedia, and you can google them, but these guys shouldn’t be read about like a history assignment. Their art form was comedy, and to appreciate the art, you need to watch them perform.

If you read the “Who’s on First” bit, it’s just confusing. But watching Bud and Lou put on that entire act was a thing of beauty. It’s so well constructed and their performance is legendary. Abbott plays it 100% straight, outlining the baseball team’s roster as a matter-of-fact. Costello just gets more and more frustrated as the performance continues, both audibly and physically. Some of their films were a mixed bag; some were hilarious, some were just more of the same. The Naughty Nineties, Meet Frankenstein, Hold That Ghost, and Jack and the Beanstalk were some that stood out for me and my family. They probably aren’t their best films, but they were the ones we were exposed to first and thoroughly enjoyed.

Abbott and Costello were among the most bankable box office stars throughout the 40’s and early 50’s and starred in both film and television. Their original claim to fame though was in the late 1930’s over radio where they performed their “Who’s on First” routine. The video below is the duo performing this classic routine that is a foundation on which many comedy bits are built. This is from the film The Naughty Nineties and is as clean and polished as this routine can be.

Check Out Their Work

There’s a plethora of Abbott and Costello videos on YouTube today. I highly encourage anyone who hasn’t seen much of their work to look it up. I certainly encourage you to watch some of their films in their entirety as well. Consider YouTube the appetizer, or introduction, of this classic duo’s larger body of work. If you have children and you enjoy their work, please share their art with the younger generation. As I mentioned before, these two men were comedy and box office gold, and for good reason. It would be a shame to see them fade off into obscurity because they are forgotten.

Cheers and thanks for reading.