129: “I Guess I’m A Pretty Sick Guy” – American Psycho
New Year, new you? Who better to turn to for inspiration than a good-looking, well-educated, wealthy New York City investment banker with a razor sharp wit and killer taste in music?
Patrick Bateman has a flawless skin care routine, does one thousand crunches per day, stays up to date on the latest in fashion and food, can share insightful music criticism at the drop of a hat, and always returns his videotapes on time. Aside from his need to engage in homicidal bloodlust on a massive scale, he’s practically perfect!
At least, that’s what too many viewers of 2000’s AMERICAN PSYCHO seem to think, based on the way Christian Bale’s suave psychopath has been memed and emulated across the internet. Fresh off our last episode, which examined the problematic worship of Scarface’s Tony Montana, we’re scrutinizing an even more deranged cinematic role model. Patrick Bateman first stirred up controversy in the publishing world as the narrator of Bret Easton Ellis’ 1991 novel, then caused an uproar all over again in Mary Harron’s satirical film adaptation, even as it proved Bale had the chops to be a leading man.
Does American Psycho really glorify violence and celebrate misogyny, racism, and homophobia the same way the Bateman character does? Or has this subversive send-up of 1980s materialism just been misunderstood by certain audiences (like, say, TikTok influencers)? This podcast makes for ideal listening during intricate skin care routines, insane workouts, and even while waiting for a table at the hottest restaurant in town! (For audio accompaniment to murders and executions, we recommend Huey Lewis and the News.)
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128: “Say Goodnight To The Bad Guy” – Scarface
Bright lights, joyful music, expensive baubles, and white powder everywhere! Could it be Christmastime again? Or is it perhaps a sweltering, sweaty drug war in Miami, circa 1983?
Actually, it’s both, as When We Were Young celebrates the holidays the only way we know how – with narcotics, chainsaws, and expletives galore, all courtesy of Brian De Palma’s ultraviolent crime classic SCARFACE.
Americans have a long history of looking up to men who aren’t the best role models. That explains why Tony Montano, the Cuban crime lord unforgettably embodied by Al Pacino, became an unlikely role model for millions of moviegoers who turned the controversial gangster flick into a stone cold classic over the four decades that followed its release. Some viewers find inspiration in Tony Montana’s upwardly mobile immigrant story, while others find the film’s execution of the American dream to be even more crass than the capitalist excess it’s critiquing. And then there are those who just really like the F-word and machine guns!
To celebrate the film’s 40th anniversary, Chris, Becky, and Seth sample from Scarface’s many extremes, exploring everything from the incestuous implications of its sibling relationship to the over-the-top carnage of its finale – all set to a throbbing disco soundtrack, of course. Do we still consider Scarface to be a lil’ fren’ to cinema? Or is Tony Montana a bad guy we prefer to say “goodnight” to indefinitely?
127: “NOW A Warning?!” – Death Becomes Her
Death comes to us all – unless you’re Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn. These two actresses have found the secret to living forever: being immortalized in one of the most beloved horror comedies of cult cinema, DEATH BECOMES HER (1992).
Robert Zemeckis broke new ground with the movie’s mind-bending Oscar-winning (and neck-twisting) special effects, and the film was a hit at the box office despite critics not being too impressed by the literal death-defying antics of these two frenemies.
Has time been kind to Mad(eline) and Hel(en) in the last 30 years? Or is “Death Becomes Her” just a rotting corpse covered in spray paint? Join us as we revisit the past and share our own insecurities about aging. Bottom’s up!
126: “I Award You No Points, And May God Have Mercy On Your Soul” – Adam Sandler’s 90s Comedies
Put on your yarmulke, it’s time to celebrate ADAM SANDLER! In the third and final installment of our series Saturday Night Leavers – Celluloid Man-Children Of 90s Cinema, we revisit Adam Sandler’s most memorable Saturday Night Live sketches, from Canteen Boy to Opera Man.
Then we dive into his big-screen adventures in BILLY MADISON, HAPPY GILMORE, and THE WEDDING SINGER, where Sandler plays men who range from romantic losers to (arguably) lovable idiots with anger issues. Adam Sandler has perfected the art of buffoonery in his decades-long, billion-dollar-earning career, but does his first chapter as a leading man still bring the laughs? Or are we all now dumber for having listened to it?
One last question: Do you have any more gum?
125: “Fat Guy In A Little Coat” – Chris Farley’s 90s Comedies
Saturday Night Live is not just a TV comedy institution but also an incubator for some of the brightest comedy stars of the silver screen. In our three-part miniseries Saturday Night Leavers – Celluloid Man-Children Of 90s Cinema, we are surveying the careers of three men who left the show in 1995, and who took their SNL fame to new heights by becoming movie stars.
In Part Two of the miniseries we discuss Chris Farley, one of the hottest stars to ever burst out into national fame from Saturday Night Live. Farley took his unforgettable comedic persona and superstardom to the cinema immediately after SNL fired him in 1995, but his career was tragically cut short by his death in 1997 at the age of 33.
We begin by discussing our own childhood needs for attention and approval from strangers, and then we investigate Chris Farley’s upbringing as a hell-raising but sensitive and devoutly Catholic boy in Wisconsin, his meteoric rise in improv comedy, and our own favorite moments of Farley’s career in SNL and beyond. Then we revisit Chris Farley’s two best known film roles: co-starring with SNL alum David Spade in 1995’s hit brake pad sales comedy TOMMY BOY, and in 1996’s less-than-hit political(?) comedy BLACK SHEEP. How do these movies hold up now?
Whether or not you knew him as a “heartbreaker” or “not hygienic,” and whether or not he ever really lived in a van down by the river, Chris Farley was an inescapable staple in American homes throughout the 1990s. And quotes from his sketch and movie characters were on the tongues of countless grade-school youth, including at least one host of this podcast. Do… do you remember that? It was awesome!