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Originally released in 1988, My Neighbor Totoro is often considered to be the seminal film from acclaimed writer/director Hayao Miyazaki and his animation team at Studio Ghibli. It’s a film that changed the face of anime and had a profound cultural impact, both in its native Japan and across the world. But, how does it fare when viewed from the lens of three anime-ignorant film enthusiasts? Does the style prove distancing? Or, did we fall for Totoro’s simple charms?

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Game over man! To celebrate its 30th anniversary, we give a re-watch to James Cameron’s Aliens. Often heralded as one of the best sequels of all time, it’s a departure from the original film both in style and tone. But, is that a good thing? We talk about the nature of sequels and how new directors can alter the course of a franchise.

Also, at the start of the episode, we take a short break from all this “re-viewing” to discuss the BBC’s list of the top 100 movies of the 2st Century (don’t worry, Mike gets it eventually…)

 

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What happens when you take a high-concept premise (i.e. a big city cop is forced to live with Amish people), but combine it with a strong and subtle directorial hand? You get Peter Weir’s Oscar-nominated Witness. Arriving in theaters in the winter of 1985, Witness was a critical and commercial darling upon release, featuring starring turns from two of the biggest stars in the 80s, Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis. But, now over 30-years later, it feels like the film doesn’t really get all that much attention. Well, that’s about to change as Ivan, Mike, and Dave dive back into this classic American crime thriller for a re-view.

Be sure to e-mail us at contact@reviewedpodcast.com with thoughts and further movie suggestions.

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The name Shane Black is synonymous with buddy cop films. And, on this episode of the podcast we dive back into the one that started his storied screenwriting career: Lethal Weapon. Directed by Richard Donner and starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, it’s a film that spawned three sequels and countless catch phrases. But, now that we are nearing Lethal Weapon‘s 30th anniversary (and Gibson has become ostracized by the Hollywood system), we have to ask the question, is the movie just “getting too old for this sh!t?”

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With the recent passing of Prince, the world lost a musical icon. To honor his legacy, we went back to 1984 for a re-view of the musical drama, Purple Rain. Prince’s musical prowess can’t be denied—this movie earned him an Oscar for best original song. But, what about his cinematic chops? We purify ourselves in Lake Minnetonka, submerging ourselves in all things 80s to see if his strong musical legacy carries over into the film’s quality. Special guest Eric Diaz, writer for Nerdist and Prince super-fan, joins us for the discussion.

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With the release of 1988’s Midnight Run, the follow-up to his smash success, Beverly Hills Cop, director Martin Brest seemed poised to be Hollywood’s next great action comedy director. But, while his career eventually fizzled with the release of the much-maligned Gigli, it’s interesting to look back at Run and its impact on all the action/comedy hybrids that would follow. Does this buddy crime caper still have the goods? Do the jokes still work? More importantly, does anyone remember when Robert DeNiro used to pick good projects? Dave, Ivan, and Mike take a road trip back to the 80s to find out.

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How has it taken us 58 episodes to finally re-view The Goonies? This 1985 children’s classic is a seminal “nostalgia” film—an Indiana Jones-esque swashbuckler featuring a ragtag group of kids who set out to uncover a pirate’s long lost hidden treasure. But, now that we’re all older and wiser, does the film still hold up? Do you have to be a kid of the 80s to truly appreciate The Goonies’s cinematic magic? Or, is it still able to capture the imagination of a bunch of cynical adults over 30 years later? Written by Chris Columbus based upon a story by Steven Spielberg and directed by Richard Donner, Mike, Ivan, and Dave determine if Goonies actually never say die.

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When Spike Lee’s comedy-drama Do the Right Thing hit theaters in 1989, the film was met with universal acclaim as well as its fair share of controversy. Using a diverse cast of characters, Lee crafted a film that targeted the subject of American race relations in a way that had never been seen on screen before. There’s little doubt that Do the Right Thing holds up in an historical context. But, Mike, Ivan, Dave, and special guest Sharon Mayo, attempt to dive deep into the text of the film to figure out just why that it is. Travel with us to the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn on the hottest day of the year to learn how this Spike Lee joint has stood the test of time. And, that’s the double truth, Ruth.

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By listener request, we finally tackle the seminal action film Die Hard. And, our timing is sadly prescient: beyond discussing the movie, we reflect on the recent passing of the incredibly talented Alan Rickman, who with is portrayal of Hans Gruber, made one of the most memorable action movie villains of all time. So, yippee-ki-yay—join us on the Nakatomi Plaza building in downtown Los Angeles for 40 stories of sheer adventure.