Venganza Media Gazette

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Everything Coming to Now Playing Podcast in April 2020

Tom Cruise, The Andromeda Strain, and more are coming to Now Playing Podcast in April 2020.

With movie theaters around the globe shuttered and the COVID-19 pandemic postponing new releases for months, the Now Playing Podcast team has been rearranging its April 2020 (and beyond) schedule in order to keep up with the changes.

The fourth month of 2020 will see Now Playing Podcast debuting its “Viral Outbreak” retrospective, a deep dive into Hollywood’s most memorable pandemic and medical disaster dramas. Part “exposure therapy” and part history lesson, the series will examine the realistic (and often unrealistic) portrayals of virus movies on screen; and kicks off with Elia Kazan’s 1950 noir drama Panic In the Streets. In the weeks ahead, the retrospective will jump from decade to decade, showcasing films such as The Andromeda StrainOutbreak, and Contagion.

While listeners get their “viral” fix on the main feed, Now Playing Podcast will continue its “Tom Cruise: Star of the 80s” retrospective as part of its Spring/Summer 2020 donation drive. Donors at the Gold Level will have already heard reviews of Losin’ It and Risky Business in March; with All the Right Moves arriving on April 3. 

Here’s everything coming to Now Playing Podcast in April 2020.

April 3 – All the Right Moves

Hunky jock Tom Cruise butts heads with curmudgeonly coach Craig T. Nelson while romancing 80s icon Lea Thompson. Need we say more? All the Right Moves hit theaters in 1983 but the legacy lives forever, especially if you pause it just right. At least, that’s what we heard. 

April 7 – Panic in the Streets

Elia Kazan directs the story of a New Orleans community overcome by paranoia (and panic) as a flu-like illness begins to spread. Like many films in the 1950s, there are underlying themes and metaphors woven throughout the production. The film kicks off Now Playing Podcast’s “Viral Outbreak” retrospective. 

April 10 – Legend

Alien director Ridley Scott cast Cruise as the hero of his 1985 fantasy film, which is notable for Tim Curry’s “Lord of Darkness” makeup and its many different cuts. Legend is also notable for being the last Cruise film before Top Gun, when he became Tom Cruise, Movie Star.  

April 14 – The Satan Bug

Loosely based on the novel of the same name, 1965’s The Satan Bug focused on a bioweapon with the potential to wipe out all life on the planet. To tell you anymore would give the plot away!  

April 17 – Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 Cold War satire is one of the most acclaimed films of its era, and the April 17 review arrives courtesy of Now Playing Podcast listener Clark Fisher, who chose the film through the show’s Podbean platform. Although a comedy, Dr. Strangelove’s examination of Cold War paranoia struck several nerves in its day, and still resonates nearly 60 years later. 

April 21 – The Andromeda Strain

Virus movies took a turn into the realm of science fiction with Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain. The 1971 thriller, based off of Crichton’s novel, followed the spread of an alien germ after it attaches to a satellite and crashes in the New Mexico desert. 

April 24 – Top Gun

Crank up the Kenny Loggins, because Now Playing heads to the “Danger Zone” on April 24. Top Guncemented Cruise’s star status when it hit theaters in 1986, and the film’s devoted following paved the way for this year’s sequel – still scheduled to be released on June 24, although the date may change. 

April 28 – Warning Sign

One of the lesser known entries in Now Playing’s “Viral Outbreak” series will surely be 1985’s Warning Sign, which chronicles the release of a biological weapon inside a secret laboratory and the panicked, violent reaction of those inside. The film, which did not make an impact at the box office, stars Sam Waterston, Kathleen Quinlan, Yaphet Kotto, Jeffrey DeMunn, and GW Bailey.

March 27, 2020 Posted by | Movies, Now Playing Podcast | , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment

Venganza Q&A: Why 1986 was a huge year for Now Playing Podcast

Cover art for the Now Playing Podcast Horror of 1986 retrospective series

The Now Playing Podcast Fall Donation series runs through December 31, 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now Playing Podcast has a thing for 1986. The proof is in the archives. If you count nine of the films on tap for this fall’s donation drive, you’ll find the hosts have reviewed at least two-dozen pictures that are celebrating their 30th anniversary. That includes Howard the Duck, Aliens, The Golden Child, Transformers: The Movie, – man, 1986 was the best year. If Now Playing Podcast ever reviews Solarbabies I’ll die happy.

In a Venganza Media Gazette Q&A, hosts Arnie, Stuart, and Jakob talk about that year in movies, and why it’s one for the ages.

Venganza Gazette: What do you remember about 1986 and that huge summer at the movies?

Jakob: By 1986 I was just old enough to start to really understand that some movies were good and some were bad. I remember begging my parents to take me to Howard the Duck. This was the first time I remember feeling hyped for a film — it was from George “Star Wars” Lucas — and then coming out of the theater thinking, “What’s this strange new feeling? I’m disappointed with that film. Movies can be bad?” Now I can see the man behind the curtain as opposed to being at a point filled with all the emotions and memories that come from discovery.

Arnie: It was the year I started to go to the movies every week of my summer vacation, and often more than once. I was 11 years old and starting to read behind-the-scenes articles and magazines, novelizations and source material. If you read my 40-Year-Old Critic review series on the Gazette you know movies were always in my blood, but in 1986 they also became the air I breathed. So we have a perfect storm–the studios producing big franchise films, and me being very nostalgic of that period having seen so many of these with friends and family.

Stuart: I had seen half of those [donation drive] movies as a child the year they were released and had a strong sense of nostalgia reflecting on them – remembering the theater I went to, my thoughts as a kid. Every decade has its own flavor, and the 80s was certainly an era that excelled at producing franchise ready summer entertainment that put big special effects and youth centric storylines at the forefront of moviemaking. For me 1986 was the greatest concentration of that type of film.

Arnie: If you look at the [1986] calendar, from May 9 to August 22, almost every week had a big blockbuster or franchise film release. Short Circuit, Top Gun, Poltergeist II, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Invaders from MarsKarate Kid II, Psycho III, Aliens, Nothing in Common, Friday the 13th Part 6, and even Maximum Overdrive – Stephen King himself being a movie franchise.

Stuart: Everyone seemed to be chasing after the Spielberg aesthetic and box office.

Venganza Gazette: Can you compare it to another year or era in film?

Stuart: The 1990s was a return to that 70s emphasis on director driven stories and provocative visions. But the millennium has definitely brought us back to a 80s blockbuster mentality.  I think 2012 was just as big a year for Now Playing as 1986 because we saw new installments to big long franchises like Marvel, Batman, Alien, not to mention the kickoff to new series like Hobbit and Hunger Games.

Venganza Gazette: What did you think about going back 30 years for the 2016 donation drives?

Stuart: to have the opportunity to go back and see the influential films of my youth is a great way of charting my own personal growth, as well as the evolution of genre films. I’ve reached an age where my childhood feels like a very distant memory.

Jakob: Especially the sci-fi series. I think many of our listeners had similar feelings — why else would they be so excited to listen to us talk about Space Camp? The horror series is a little different because I was too young and my parents would never allow me to see these films when they were released. But there is still that nostalgia – that era with the VHS box art. I remember looking at House and April Fools Day and just thinking they must be the scariest movies ever!

Stuart: Even the turkeys and one-off curiosities not deemed box office successes are fun to go back to because they all reinforce the virtues and values of the era’s film movement.

Jakob: I guess I’ll find out if these films can live up to their great poster art.

Venganza Gazette: Any chance of a sci-fi or horror of 1987 series coming?

Stuart: I don’t know that I hold every summer in such high regard as the one from 1986. I don’t think we’re looking to do this every year. No “Sci-Fi of Summer 1987.”

Venganza Gazette: Do you think it’s important for younger filmgoers to go back and see films released before they were born – and not just the classics?

Arnie: Important isn’t a word I would use. I don’t spend my time seeking out obscure films from the 1920s through the 1960s – it’s the classics that are important to see.

Jakob: I think anyone who cares about film as an art form and an ongoing story – both from a technical viewpoint and humanities – will want to search out films from any era. The concept of “canon” or “classics” are useful as starting points. But the “losers” can be just as interesting as the winners of film history.

Arnie: There is a lot of fun to be had in films 20, 30, and 40 years old, sometimes because the movies are great, and sometimes because they’re now so out of date or fantastically awful. God knows not every film we’re covering is one that deserves preservation in the Library of Congress’ vaults.  I’d simply hope that younger film enthusiasts are open to older films.

Stuart: It’s often been lamented that there is nothing new under the sun, and all ideas have been done before.  But I see that as the reason why someone would bother to look at old films.  I find it fascinating to see how previous generations of filmmakers tackled the same genres and storylines.

Arnie: I have found some great enjoyment in films before my time, many of which I was initially resistant to see – The Maltese Falcon and Curse of the Fly for example.

Jakob: Stuart’s excitement for director Samuel Fuller convinced me watch his movies from the 1950s and 60s. Many of these old, B-movies by Fuller are so brazen in their politics and viewpoint that it is hard to forget them.

Stuart: While some film grammar from certain eras may seem obtuse and off putting to modern audiences, I’ve found that almost every decade excelled at at least one kind of art form (be it musicals, romantic comedies, or Westerns). Going back to the ’80s is about watching a generation hit its stride with horror and science fiction.

Jakob: If someone’s top 10 is a list of blockbusters from the last five years, they’re probably pretty boring. Don’t be boring. Don’t let someone else define your classics, greats, and canon.

The Now Playing Podcast 2016 Fall Donation Series runs through December 31, 2016 and features three retrospectives: The Fly, Horror Movies of 1986, and the Re-Animator series.

Now Playing Podcast is reviewing 9 films from 1986 as part of its Fall 2016 Donation Drive

Cover art to Now Playing Podcast’s “Horror of 1986” retrospective series

October 2, 2016 Posted by | Now Playing Podcast, Podcasts | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Venganza Q&A: Why 1986 was a huge year for Now Playing Podcast