Episode 104: Poltergeist (1982)

They’re here! The guys go into the light on this week’s podcast with Tobe Hooper’s 1982 spooky haunted house film, Poltergeist. The film’s directorial credit has always been shrouded in mystery, and it certainly does have producer Steven Spielberg’s fingerprints all over it, but no matter whose name we slap on the poster, it’s a fun, scary time. The movie has everything you’d ever want in a horror experience: questionable parenting from Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams, a creepy kid, a clown doll come to life, buckets and buckets of goo, and Zelda Rubenstein as a quirky exorcist spouting paranormal mumbo jumbo that also happens to be 100% accurate. In this podcast episode, the Bit Players talk about the incredible relationship and chemistry of Steve (Nelson) and Diane (Williams) Freeling, how the entire film gets kicked up quite a few notches when Tangina Barrons (Rubenstein) enters the picture — with jammed frequencies and all — and, of course, the controversy surrounding the authorship of the film. Though it feels like a Spielberg picture through and through, there’s something dark and twisted there that can only be Hooper, and the guys talk about the pros and cons of each of those faces of the film.

Poltergeist (1982)
Director
Tobe Hooper
Stars
Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Richard Lawson, Zelda Rubenstein, Beatrice Straight

Selected By
Anders

4.4

Aired October 9, 2017

They're here! The guys go into the light on this week's podcast with Tobe Hooper's 1982 spooky haunted house film, Poltergeist. The film's directorial credit has always been shrouded in mystery, and it certainly does have producer Steven Spielberg's fingerprints all over it, but no matter whose name we slap on the poster, it's a fun, scary time. The movie has everything you'd ever want in a horror experience: questionable parenting from Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams, a creepy kid, a clown doll come to life, buckets and buckets of goo, and Zelda Rubenstein as a quirky exorcist spouting paranormal mumbo jumbo that also happens to be 100% accurate. In this podcast episode, the Bit Players talk about the incredible relationship and chemistry of Steve (Nelson) and Diane (Williams) Freeling, how the entire film gets kicked up quite a few notches when Tangina Barrons (Rubenstein) enters the picture — with jammed frequencies and all — and, of course, the controversy surrounding the authorship of the film. Though it feels like a Spielberg picture through and through, there's something dark and twisted there that can only be Hooper, and the guys talk about the pros and cons of each of those faces of the film.

Featuring "Star Spangled Banner" by Jerry Goldsmith

03:40 Number-Crunching
12:04 Poltergeist Introduction
13:40 The Lack of a Legacy
16:30 Comparisons to Stranger Things
17:00 Family Life in Poltergeist
20:00 The Film's Authorship
27:00 E.T. and Poltergeist's Running Threads of Suburban Family Love
30:00 Tangina Barrons
35:50 The Tough Decisions of the Family/JoBeth Williams' Performance
39:30 Any Reservations?/Final Thoughts
46:10 Clark's Corner: Recast, Porno Version, Shared Universe
58:48 Ratings

On Instagram:
Something is wrong. Response takes too long or there is JS error. Press Ctrl+Shift+J or Cmd+Shift+J on a Mac.

Episode 89: Minority Report (2002)

On this week’s podcast, the guys break down Steven Spielberg’s 2002 adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s Minority Report, starring Tom Cruise and Colin Farrell. The Bit Players dig deep into the efficiency of 2054’s Washington D.C. pre-crime unit, marvel at how they stopped a single murder at all with such an insane system, but mostly just sit back and take solace in the fact that Cops is still on air. They discuss how quickly it takes for Cruise to enter full-on sprint in this movie, perhaps the fastest in his career, the interesting ways that Spielberg plays with tone in such a serious world, and the brilliant performance from Max von Sydow, who was also in the Seventh Seal. Don’t forget, Max von Sydow, actor in the Seventh Seal.

Minority Report (2002)
Director
Steven Spielberg
Stars
Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton, Max von Sydow

Selected By
Clark

4.2

Aired Monday, April 10, 2017

On this week's podcast, the guys break down Steven Spielberg's 2002 adaptation of Philip K. Dick's Minority Report, starring Tom Cruise and Colin Farrell. The Bit Players dig deep into the efficiency of 2054's Washington D.C. pre-crime unit, marvel at how they stopped a single murder at all with such an insane system, but mostly just sit back and take solace in the fact that Cops is still on air. They discuss how quickly it takes for Cruise to enter full-on sprint in this movie, perhaps the fastest in his career, the interesting ways that Spielberg plays with tone in such a serious world, and the brilliant performance from Max von Sydow, who was also in the Seventh Seal. Don't forget, Max von Sydow, actor in the Seventh Seal.

Episode 65: E.T. the Extraterrestrial (1982)

The guys phone home this week as they talk about another Steven Spielberg masterpiece, 1982’s E.T. the Extraterrestrial. Though the film remains to this day such a cultural touchstone, it surprisingly slipped past a few of the Bit Players, so they discuss the way the film resonates with new viewers, no matter the age. It’s a story of hope and childhood wonder, and those are things that just never fade, so E.T. remains a constant friend, all throughout one’s life.

E.T. the Extraterrestrial (1982)
Director
Steven Spielberg
Stars
Dee Wallace, Henry Thomas, Peter Coyote, Robert MacNaughton, Drew Barrymore

Selected By
Jarryd

5.0

what movies are
About

Aired Thursday, August 18, 2016

The guys phone home this week as they talk about another Steven Spielberg masterpiece, 1982's E.T. the Extraterrestrial. Though the film remains to this day such a cultural touchstone, it surprisingly slipped past a few of the Bit Players, so they discuss the way the film resonates with new viewers, no matter the age. It's a story of hope and childhood wonder, and those are things that just never fade, so E.T. remains a constant friend, all throughout one's life.

Episode 55: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

The guys dig deep into the world of Indiana Jones with the franchise’s first installment, 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark, directed by Steven Spielberg. They talk about how films like Raiders never seem to get the same critical/award love these days, and the ways that this film stands above the pack in the world of fun-loving action flicks. It seems that the thing that really distinguishes this film (and subsequent franchise) is the incredible likeability of its protagonist, so the guys look at who might be able to ever fill Harrison Ford’s shoes should the series get a modern-day reboot.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Director
Steven Spielberg
Stars
Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman

Selected By
The Bit Players

5.0

what movies are
About

Aired Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The guys dig deep into the world of Indiana Jones with the franchise's first installment, 1981's Raiders of the Lost Ark, directed by Steven Spielberg. They talk about how films like Raiders never seem to get the same critical/award love these days, and the ways that this film stands above the pack in the world of fun-loving action flicks. It seems that the thing that really distinguishes this film (and subsequent franchise) is the incredible likeability of its protagonist, so the guys look at who might be able to ever fill Harrison Ford's shoes should the series get a modern-day reboot.

Episode 18: Jaws (1975)

This week, the guys dip their toes into the waters for Steven Spielberg’s 1975 pop-horror classic Jaws for their third group pick episode. It’s a film that inspired an almost universally widespread fear of sharks, a testament to the way that Spielberg and the ragtag crew of the Orca (Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss) extract so much horrific realism out of such simple elements. Perhaps even more of a testament to the film’s quality is the way that it will probably always live in the heart of viewers – as well as the heart of film’s canon – as long as movies are watched, especially given the fact that Jaws came at a time devoid of big-budget CGI manipulation. They examine the long-standing perception of the film that Jaws is essentially the story of three men, a hulking bit of tubular steel and polyurethane rubber named Bruce, and, of course, the vast, terrifying ocean, but in reality is a much more nuanced thriller.

Jaws (1975)
Director
Steven Spielberg
Stars
Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary

Selected By
The Bit Players

4.8

what movies are
About

Aired Friday, August 7, 2015
This week, the guys dip their toes into the waters for Steven Spielberg's 1975 pop-horror classic Jaws for their third group pick episode. It's a film that inspired an almost universally widespread fear of sharks, a testament to the way that Spielberg and the ragtag crew of the Orca (Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss) extract so much horrific realism out of such simple elements. Perhaps even more of a testament to the film's quality is the way that it will probably always live in the heart of viewers — as well as the heart of film's canon — as long as movies are watched, especially given the fact that Jaws came at a time devoid of big-budget CGI manipulation. They examine the long-standing perception of the film that Jaws is essentially the story of three men, a hulking bit of tubular steel and polyurethane rubber named Bruce, and, of course, the vast, terrifying ocean, but in reality is a much more nuanced thriller.

Episode 2: Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

The guys talk Steven Spielberg’s subversive 1977 blockbuster Close Encounters of the Third Kind, touching on the depiction of the impossibility of human communication and the nature of total obsession through the main character Roy (played by Richard Dreyfuss) and his unstoppable quest to “know if [he] is right,” even at the cost of his family. Is he a hero for his childlike wonder or just a complete dirtbag? They try to make some sense of this endlessly perplexing question, as well as talk some of their own preferences should they be abducted by a UFO, from the song that would lure them to the ship to the choice of snacks onboard. Plus, Spectre trailer talk and Furious 7 Oscar predictions.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
Director
Steven Spielberg
Stars
Richard Dreyfuss, Fran├žois Truffaut, Teri Garr

Selected By
Jarryd

3.8

Aired Friday, April 3, 2015
The guys talk Steven Spielberg's subversive 1977 blockbuster Close Encounters of the Third Kind, touching on the depiction of the impossibility of human communication and the nature of total obsession through the main character Roy (played by Richard Dreyfuss) and his unstoppable quest to "know if [he] is right," even at the cost of his family. Is he a hero for his childlike wonder or just a complete dirtbag? They try to make some sense of this endlessly perplexing question, as well as talk some of their own preferences should they be abducted by a UFO, from the song that would lure them to the ship to the choice of snacks onboard. Plus, Spectre trailer talk and Furious 7 Oscar predictions.