Looking ahead to what will be the ninth year of Now Playing Podcast, I don’t know how you top 2015. In terms of franchises — Fast & Furious, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Mad Max, Star Wars — I’m not sure you can get any bigger. But, thanks to Hollywood, there’s never been a better time to be a franchise-focused podcast, and so the show will go on!
So, listeners will hear more Marvel, DC, and Star Wars in 2016, for sure. There are even Star Trek and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequels to look forward to. But the Now Playing Podcast calendar is constantly in motion, so here’s a peak at what you’ll definitely hear in the coming months.
January: The Grindhouse Universe
After taking listeners inside 2007’s Grindhouse experience, Arnie, Stuart, and Jakob will get even bloodier with two characters spawned from the film’s faux trailers: Machete and Hobo With a Shotgun. The former stars the great Danny Trejo, who finally got to headline his own film in 2010, and returned for a sequel, Machete Kills.
While not a runaway success, the first Machete was well received and, as this article correctly points out, was “tailor-made for the current political climate.” The sequel, released three years later, was not as well received, and that’s about all I’ll say about it. Oh, it had Mel Gibson as a villain.
The idea for Hobo With a Shotgun came from another Grindhouse trailer, but one you would have only seen if you saw the film in Canada. The feature length Hobo stars Rutget Hauer, who you might remember from 1992’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or possibly some other films.
January-February: Listener Requests
Things will get really interesting in late January. That’s when we’ll hear reviews of listener requests made during 2015’s Kickstarter campaign to fund the show’s first book, “Underrated Movies We Recommend.” Listeners who supported the book at a certain level had the option to choose a film for the hosts to review, and the first one to be covered is 1987’s Masters of the Universe. It’s been almost 30 years and they still haven’t gotten a new He-Man movie made, so this is all we’ve got to hang onto folks. Just Dolph Lundgren and Courtney Cox and the lady who played Bruce Willis’ cheating wife in The Last Boy Scout as Teela. It’s a treasured memory, to some people.
If you’re looking to do some extra research before the Now Playing review, I recommend checking out Electric Boogaloo: the Wild Untold Story of Cannon Films. Cannon is the company that made the film, and Electric Boogaloo is a great behind-the-scenes documentary for film industry buffs. It’s on Netflix now, as is Masters of the Universe, coincidentally.
On the heels of He-Man, Now Playing will take up another listener request, a review of 1997’s Japanese anime epic Princess Mononoke.
February: Pool, Dead.
The first Marvel character to make it to the screen in 2016 is not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and if he were it’s unlikely Disney would allow him to exist in a hard R film. Ryan Reynolds takes his fourth turn in a superhero flick with the part he was born to play — and played a version of in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but the less said about that one the better.
February-March: DC Heroes Return
The first really big retrospective of 2016 will feature a cadre of characters that aren’t connected in the same cinematic universe, but they’re all part of Now Playing’s ongoing DC Comics series. Listeners can look forward to hearing the hosts talk Stardust, American Splendor, and the animated Gen 13; as well as the 2003 adaptation of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and the highly requested review of Zack Snyder’s Watchmen, which leads into the release of his Man of Steel follow up, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Also featured in this retrospective is a real treat for DC Comics fans, a review of 1979’s live-action Legends of the Superheroes TV specials. Decades before the CW made quality DC shows (and I’m hoping for more of the same from Legends of Tomorrow), NBC took Adam West and Burt Ward – more than a decade removed from Batman – and gave them headlining gigs in shows that also featured appearances by Green Lantern, Sinestro, Solomon Grundy, The Huntress, The Flash, Hawkman, and somebody named Ghetto Man, according to Wikipedia. Alas, two of DC’s biggest superheroes were missing from the lineup, because they were busy starring in blockbuster films and on CBS.
If you don’t know what Legends of the Superheroes is, just watch the intro on YouTube. The whole concept has a Star Wars Holiday Special feel about it, and I can’t wait to hear how this thing came about.
So that covers the first few months of Now Playing Podcast in 2016, and that’s just on the air. I can’t forget to mention that behind the scenes the hosts are furiously finishing their work on “Underrated Movies We Recommend.” It’s set to ship in the second quarter, and you can pre-order it now at the Now Playing Podcast website.
Maybe 2016 will be Now Playing’s biggest year after all.