Published on August 2nd, 2013 | by Craig Silliphant0
Best Podcasts: How Did This Get Made?
It’s easy to get snarky about a bad movie, and the studios are throwing more of them at us than ever. There’s also a move afoot towards good ‘bad’ movies; recently Sharknado took off in the Twitterverse, though I actually prefer train wrecks like The Room or Troll 2 (the difference is, Sharknado feels like it’s trying to be bad, where something like The Room took itself seriously, creating a whole new level of discomfort). Either way, there’s a podcast that I tore through, called ‘How Did This Get Made?’ [HDTGM] that unpacks some of these movies, with incredulous and hilarious results.
The show is hosted by Paul Sheer (Human Giant, The League), June Diane Raphael (Burning Love, NTSF: SD: SUV::), and Jason Mantzoukas (Enlightened, The Dictator), with the occasional guest dropping by. Here’s why this show works so well — these comedic talents aren’t mistaking snark for wit and reveling in utter Schadenfreude (though there are those elements when the movie demands it); instead, they ‘celebrate the mediocrity of subpar art,’ (as the theme song sings). They genuinely love some of these movies. They find sublime entertainment in material that is over-the-top (Crank 2 is one of their faves) and they have a good time trying to explain plot points that don’t make a hell of a lot of sense.
If you’re not sure where to jump in, start with the movies you think are classic to you personally. Some of my recommendations would include Roadhouse, Sleepaway Camp, Cobra, Superman III, The Room, and the utter bizarro baloney that was Super Mario Brothers. There are a couple of great interviews, like the one with Lexi Alexander, director of Punisher: War Zone, where she explains how parts of her movie turned out so poorly (and they also explore what rocks about it that people didn’t get).
Seeing some of these movies as a kid, parts of them nagged at me, though I didn’t understand plot points and continuity at the time. Revisiting them with HDTGM caused a flood of bad plots and nonsense to come back to me. I find myself yelling, “Oh yeah! I remember thinking that when I saw it! So what about that!?” a lot.
In Superman III, how does Gus Gorman become a computer expert so fast? How did they build the world’s biggest, most evil supercomputer with plans he scrawled on a napkin? Was Superman getting a bit rapey? And in Roadhouse, Ben Gazzara flies around on a helicopter like an international criminal, but if you think about it, he’s just shaking down people in a really small Podunk town (a town that apparently has no police, until the end). Just figuring out what the fuck is happening in Sleepaway Camp becomes an exercise in but-gusting futility.
And in the end, they recommend whether or not they think the film was entertaining enough for an audience to watch. I’ve avoided garbage like Liz and Dick and watched amazing garbage like Crank 2 thanks to HDTGM.
In a world that can’t quite contain all that is Nic Cage, we have ‘How Did This Get Made.’ It will give you a better appreciation of how NOT to write a screenplay or edit a film, but it will also give you an appreciation for some of the beautiful junk culture you can feed your mind. I feel a special joy in my heart when I hear one of them blurt the phrase, “This movie is next level bonkers!”