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Episode 142 - The Phantom: LIVE! (w/ Eliza Skinner, Ed Brubaker)

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HDTGM All-stars Eliza Skinner and Ed Brubaker join Paul and Jason for a LIVE episode recorded at the world famous Largo at the Coronet in Los Angeles to discuss the 1996 superhero movie The Phantom starring Billy Zane. They will cover everything including Billy Zane's Fruit of the Loom grape costume, the most choreographed slow fighting, and the microscope with knives.

 

 

Come see How Did This Get Made LIVE in Anaheim as part of the Now Hear This Podcast Festival. Get tickets here: http://nowhearthisfest.com/

WATCH Filthy Preppy Teen$ on the FullScreen App today! Get yourself a BB-8 “What Is Its Mission?” T-shirt or Tote Bag over at http://howdidthisgetmade.bigcartel.com/ Set your DVRs for Party Over Here, a new FOX sketch comedy show from The Lonely Island and Paul starring Nicole Byer, Jessica McKenna, and Alison Rich. It airs Saturdays at 11 pm. People of the internet: Watch Paul in Fresh off the Boat on ABC. Awhile ago, Paul and Rob Huebel did a comedy special on a 60 foot glass bus that traveled around LA. Now you’ll be able to see it. Go to https://itun.es/us/3M4J9 now to buy it! You can also see Jason and June in Lady Dynamite on Netflix! Also, check out June in Grace and Frankie available on Netflix, and in all the episodes of NTSF:SD:SUV:: on HULU for free, and Jason in The Dictator (he’s still in it!).

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I'll admit that I got confused and totally thought June was pregnant with baby number 2 after the introduction.

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Most nostalgia-fueled reboots are aimed at getting parents to drag their kids to the movie. In this case, it seems like the producers wanted grandparents to flock to the theaters with their grandkids- or something.

 

That's why they stuck so closely to the source material even when certain aspects of the original serial didn't make sense in a mid-90's movie -- check out all 4 hours on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8T97xmDctdY

 

That's why the fights were so weirdly slow and choreographed- they didn't want to startle their primary audience. That's why the movie has hints of that soft racism grandmas love so much. That's why the sexuality of the movie was so subtle and Mannequin 2 and American Gladiator had zero sexual chemistry- that sort of thing would have startled Hortense and Mabel. The five minutes of shirtless AG was the furthest they could go.

 

Did you ever have a friend in high school or college who was really good with old people and would come over and randomly charm the giant panties off your grandmother? This movie is that friend.

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I haven't listened to this yet but I just wanted to let out a hearty "HOLY FUUUUUUUCK ED BRUBAKER!!!!!!" before I start. I know he was on the Daredevil episode before, but anytime I see his name I get some embarrassing fanboy flopsweat thing going. He's, you know, pretty good (i.e. my favorite).

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Also, I just wanted to share this video that I found fascinating because, holy fuck, cultural anthropology PLUS comics?!?! Nerd heaven!

 

Anyway, it's all about how the Wahgi people of Papua New Guinea were so fascinated by the cultural interactions they had with American GIs during World War II, they started painting that imagery on their ceremonial tribal shields. Among those images were the comic books the American troops were reading. They became particularly attached to the character of The Phantom in those comics because of his connections to his ancestors (coming from a long like of face-punching warrior Phantoms), which the Wahgi connected to specifically because of their own beliefs in ancestor worship, as well as his nom de plume of "The Man Who Cannot Die."

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A few humbly submitted omissions:

  • In the sandwich scene we see Mannequin 2 pull out the bread, slather an unhealthy amount of mayo on the bread - then eat it. It's almost as if they'd cut a line or two of dialogue, but the end result is her bologna sandwich has no bologna. It's just a shit-ton of mayo.
  • They mentioned the moment when American Gladiator busts into the ladies room, but the reaction from the lady on the right is amazing.
  • Nobody mentioned Treat Williams' best line in the movie- so subtle but so great. There's a two second cutaway in the pirate fight where he just says "runaway" and bolts.
  • Everyone's screaming and she starts to cover herself up like the rest then she sees this purple muscle monster and she's like "hey, fella." But it's half way between arousal and confusion.
  • The main henchman had to have killed the phantom (American Gladiator's dad) 6 years earlier. So, it makes sense that he's a little freaked out that the guy he killed is not only still alive, he's decades younger. And, yes, he would have noted the age difference because he was close enough to Phantom 20 to smell his shitty old man cologne and see his gross wrinkles. But the movie doesn't mention this because, as I pointed out, it's made for old people who fantasize that their weird raisin-like bodies are indistinguishable from that of American Gladiator Billy Zane.
  • Confirmed: A horse galloping at tippy-top speed can match the speed of a 1930's biplane running just above it's stall speed- which sucks because I spent a half hour looking up numbers like a fucking nerd and confirming them only to find out that it's plausible. Also, I suck at this.

 

Bonus dong

Also, from the mini-sode thread, the art deco boner elevators were super great. I posted this photo with a dick joke but it was too subtle so someone followed it up with "hey, this looks like a dong!" So, yes. Drax has phallus elevators.

 

rapQhMn.jpg

 

I actually found myself enjoying this movie a lot for some reason. It's dumb and boring, but the period elements are solid (shiny vintage cars!) and Mannequin 2's clothes are fantastic. Even dumb Billy Zane's aw-shucks super hero kind of works if I wear a cardigan and pretend to be very, very old.

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You have to know you are in for a real treat of a film, when the very first thing you are shown is a title card that literally makes no sense. "For Those Who Came in Late"??? Huh? Who is this for? What purpose is it serving? It's almost if we were watching the sequel to The Phantom and they were about to show us scenes from the prior film. But this is a 1940's character being shown to a 90's audience. There is no need for this title card. Just kick it off with the narrator that starts the film. I know it's nit-picky, but for the first set up of the boy with the tribe, all I kept thinking about was that damn title card.

 

 

6mHRKfT.jpg

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Billy Zane's father is played by Patrick McGoohan--famous for being in the TV show, The Prisoner. He was born in America, to Irish parents, and they moved back to Ireland afterwards. So--his accent is Irish.

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You have to know you are in for a real treat of a film, when the very first thing you are shown is a title card that literally makes no sense. "For Those Who Came in Late"??? Huh? Who is this for? What purpose is it serving? It's almost if we were watching the sequel to The Phantom and they were about to show us scenes from the prior film. But this is a 1940's character being shown to a 90's audience. There is no need for this title card. Just kick it off with the narrator that starts the film. I know it's nit-picky, but for the first set up of the boy with the tribe, all I kept thinking about was that damn title card.

 

 

6mHRKfT.jpg

 

Thought this was odd too, but I looked it up and apparently The Phantom used to always start with "For those who came in late..."

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Okay here is my theory about why this movie doesn't work.

 

There is the opening--which Paul says should've been in black and white--and you THINK that little kid is Billy Zane. (Or why the fuck else did you have to watch it?) Then the dad shows up in his crazy-visions. And that is not the guy who was in the opening. Plus he's *old*. So now the audience is confused. And it is a GREAT idea to just confuse your audience for large portions of the movie. I think they wanted us to think Billy Zane is 400 years old.

 

In the beginning, Quill (aka Maxie Devine) says he killed the Phantom. I just thought he stabbed Billy Zane but Billy Zane was fine because he has that weird assistant who he forces to wear a turban for no reason. But it is later revealed that Quill killed Zane's father, the old guy.

 

The end Billy Zane puts the belt on the grave and is like "now you can be at rest" or whatever. But throughout the movie he NEVER focuses on Quill. He doesn't even fucking blink when that guy shows up at his jungle cave. If we wanted to have an emotional arc or like--let's go crazy--a story the audience might get invested in then Quill should've been the main bad guy (or Treat Williams should've been the one who killed the dad). And it should all be about avenging his father. Instead of just throwing that shit in at the last minute.

 

I think the writer was so caught up in having it be a ~REVEAL~ that the kid in the beginning was not Billy Zane, it was his ancestor, that s/he didn't realize that actively works against the film. Because if we had known that is the Phantom legacy but didn't know exactly how Billy Zane's father died, we would've been looking for those cues.

 

Instead we just have no idea why this guy is dressed in a big purple condom and runs around the jungle. With a wolf. A WOLF WHO DOES NOT BELONG IN THE JUNGLE. I felt really bad for that wolf. I wanted to know June's theory on that monkeyshines of it all.

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I'd like to think this movie was a light prequel to Guardians of the Galaxy.

Quill/Remar being some kind of distant relative to Peter Quill/ Star Lord. Treat Williams' "Drax" character didn't actually die from the laser blast. he just got burned to a greenish/grey crisp and the blast transported him to a different dimension where the only memory he has was getting killed by a purple man (Thanos/The Phantom) And he wakes up after the transportation (which some of the blast transports with him) to find what he assumes is his family all dead from hands of the purple man. So his life's mission is to avenge their death and destroy the purple man who he finds out is a guy named Thanos.

 

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Confirmed: A horse galloping at tippy-top speed can match the speed of a 1930's biplane running just above it's stall speed- which sucks because I spent a half hour looking up numbers like a fucking nerd and confirming them only to find out that it's plausible. Also, I suck at this.

That horse outran planes, cars, motorcycles. That horse needs a raise. Whatever he's paying it, it should be more.

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Name of Phantom reboot where he struggles to make the choice between Phantomiming and his true passion... writing opera: Opera of the Phantom

 

Name of sequel where he gets defeated in his old age and has to choose another Phantom from among the rope people: The Phantom: On the Ropes

 

Sequel where the Phantom and the Shadow team up to stop a war lord who has hired a black panther-esque villain to terrorize entire villages into submission using lions: The Ghost and the Darkness.

 

Sequel where discarded daughter ocean baby gains powers, adopts moniker of the Siren and moves to New York as a deadly good opera singer seeking revenge on the Phantom lineage:

Pantom 4: Opera of the Phantom: Song of Death.

 

How did these NOT get made!?

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I have to believe that the bridge holding onto the truck is just a testament to the outstanding craftsmanship of the Rope People.

 

Two recurring HTDGM movie tropes worth noticing:

 

Cabbie sidekicks: Jewels from the Phantom, Peter Boyle in the Shadow, and, of course, Pretzy.

 

Using weapons as a tool instead of a, you know, a weapon. I'm not just talking about the Phantom's guns here. Just like in Ninja Turtles 2, during the Pirate Adventures sword fight, the heroes would only use their swords as a shield, opting instead to punch, kick or elbow complete strangers who are actively trying to STAB THEM TO DEATH!

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The panel briefly touched on it, but I think we need to discuss just how ineffective the Phantom and the Phantom lineage actually is.

 

In the stand-off scene, Quill tells the pirates "I once killed the Phantom" showing the belt he took from the current Phantom's father and Kabai Sengh replies "Join the club, many of us have killed him over the years, he keeps coming back." The movie show just how bad they all are at fighting and effectively using weapons, yet they have killed 20 (Kit is the 21st in the line) Phantoms. Also, is Kabai Sengh is immortal? The opening scene says he killed the first Phantom's father, starting the whole story, 20 Phantom’s ago.

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When the movie started and they said Billy Zane is the 21st in the line of Phantoms and it all started with pirates. Having quite a bit of knowledge on the subject, my mind could not make these inconsistencies fit.

 

So, plot holes aside, LETS. DO. MATH!!!

 

Since the Golden Age of pirates was between 1650 and 1730 (sourced from Pirates: Golden Age of Piracy, Henry Freeman) and the current date is 1938, lets give them the benefit of the doubt and say those pirates are from 1650. this means that:

 

1938-1650=288 years between Pirates and Current Date

288/21=13.7

 

So the average age of the Phantom is 14! SO, instead,, lets talk about realistic numbers. Training your son to take over, I believe the kid should be 20 (assumption) so the father could be 40 (conservative estimate). So if the average age, minus Billy Zane, is 40:

 

1938-25 (Billy Zane's rough age)= 1913

20 (number of Phantoms)*40 (average age)=800

1913-800=1113

 

So, if the conservative estimates are roughly accurate, the phantom lineage couldn't have started with pirates, instead, it started during the Crusades, 500 years prior.

 

Sorry, just doesn't fit.

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Also, is Kabai Sengh is immortal? The opening scene says he killed the first Phantom's father, starting the whole story, 20 Phantom’s ago.

 

Theory: there have been at least 20 Kabai Senghs. Senghs are just as shitty at their pirating as Phantoms are at superheroing.

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Mostly I found this movie agreeable. I especially liked the jungle location and the old school non-CGI stunts -- guys hanging on speeding trucks, jumping from planes, swinging off rope bridges -- that remains a joy to watch, regardless of the film it takes place in.

 

The actor who played Drex perfectly captured the pulpy, mustache twirling villain of old -- "Looks like you won't need these anymore!" *smashes eyeglasses*.

 

Billy Zane, however, I found completely charmless. He's beefy and good looking, but his face is locked in a smarmy smirk that doesn't suit a hero. It worked really well for him as the asshole fiancee in Titanic, but he comes off as kind of a dick here. Maybe this portrayal is left over from the 1940s Phantom; it seems like The Shadow had a similar jerk vibe.

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Possible explanation for what happened to all the Phantom mothers. They died during childbirth. During the cave tour, The Phantom tells Kristy Swanson that he was born right there in the cave. It was probably a far cry from a comfortable home birth surrounded by loved ones, with a qualified midwife present, and with access to a hospital if things go not quite as planned. Mrs. Phantom probably had to give birth in a dank cave with assistance from only the Phantom, his servant, 2 animals, an animated skeleton, and a ghost. Unless Phantom training includes a lesson on hygiene and sanitation (penicillin only becomes widely available in the 1940s) and postpartum care, I don't have a lot of confidence that Mrs. Phantom received the proper care.

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Only one man can fill those boots..

 

dhbrwn.jpg

 

another thrilling tale!! Note: I did not add that.

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What does Kit Walker do? Where does he get all of those loose jewels from?

 

In the scene where he's retrieving the necklace for Manikin 2 he like goes into a treasure vault with like a pirates chest and like a bunch of other random artifacts. Are you supposed to infer that he robs pirates and takes their treasure? If so, isn't it kind of strangely villainous that he just keeps it? Like why wouldn't he return the treasure it it's rightful owners? Or at the very least, why wouldn't it be a Robin Hood situation?

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