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Episode 167 - Chopping Mall: LIVE!

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So I want to talk a little about the Bland couple who appeared at the beginning of this movie. I started doing some digging and ended up watching Eating Raoul immediately after finishing Chopping Mall.

 

The first thing I completely wasn't expecting is that Eating Raoul is actually IN the CRITERION COLLECTION! I was not expecting to see that watching a film with characters from Chopping Mall in it.

 

The Criterion Collection has always had a sleazy side, with occasional stuff like The Night Porter and Salò, or The 120 Days of Sodom (and the not-so-sleazy but still very sexually explicit likes of Blue is the Warmest Color and the I Am Curious movies). And, though their version is loooong out of print, they had the first DVD release of the unrated version of Robocop (with all the extra violence that had to be cut to get an R rating).

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Did no one notice Dick Miller? He was in Gremlins, Explorers, The Terminator, Piranha, etc. This guy was in most 80's movies as a background actor........just giving him a shout out.

 

Most of those are Joe Dante movies, with that particular director going to great lengths to put Dick Miller in a small role in almost every one of his movies. For instance, Miller is one of the two garbage collectors in The 'Burbs... a movie which, due to taking place entirely in an out-of-the-way cul-de-sac, has almost no other minor characters! Since I associate Miller with Dante and thus with Dante's sly self-parody (where having such a recurring actor is in itself an in-joke), it felt jarring to see Miller in the exact sort of small cameo role he'd have in a Joe Dante movie, but in a movie with an utter lack of self-awareness. (Ditto for all the similarities to Robocop; a Paul Verhoeven movie's gratuitousness always has an underlying layer of satire or subversive humor underneath. Chopping Mall doesn't even really satirize the easy target of consumerism!)

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Does anyone remember the Hawaiian Tropic bathing suit/modeling contests (?) of the late 80s/early 90s? I feel like those things took place in malls (and also at beaches) and that's exactly what these mall models reminded me of. It was a weird time to grow up...

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(and the not-so-sleazy but still very sexually explicit likes of Blue is the Warmest Color

 

You may want to look into the behind the scenes on this movie. I haven't heard the director comment on it but the stars have described the making of the movie as horrible and they'll never work with him again. I seem to remember vague allegations of abuse under the guise of the director being demanding of great performances.

 

I don't know that the director of Blue Is The Warmest Color is as bad as the director of Chopping Mall but an sexuality explicit movie where young female leads refuse to work with the director again amidst hints of manipulation sounds like maybe he is.

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TBH, I had forgotten about the behind-the-scenes controversy, and it didn't seem right to mention the in-the-movie relationship in the same breath as the two Criterion titles that are infamous for portrayals of sexual cruelty (for instance, Roger Ebert called The Night Porter "as nasty as it is lubricious, a despicable attempt to titillate us by exploiting memories of persecution and suffering" and TV Guide calls Salo "nearly unwatchable, extremely disturbing, and often literally nauseous"). And Lea Seydoux did say this about the director:

 

I, for example, don't like to do too many takes. If I do too many takes, I'm too self-conscious. I think I'm better in first scenes. With Abdellatif, I knew that he was going to film 100 takes. Sometimes I would come in and say, 'I don't give a shit' because I knew that he would get what he wanted. I think the result is what is important. I think it's a beautiful result and beautiful film, I want to do beautiful films and it's not about me.

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I signed up to the Earwolf forum specifically to let you know what a massive effing creep Jim Wynorski is to work with and how disappointed I am in your show for even in engaging in this movie and Paul and Jason's delight over the gratuitous nudity. Jim is an appalling, exploitative person who sprung nudity on our set - the actress was implied to be his girlfriend - with no notice on the call sheet. Wardrobe was not informed because she didn't need any at all. The movie was in no way scripted to have porn or sex or nudity. I was brought into the production by a show runner I trusted and he was really ashamed and apologetic once he realized how things were for our actresses and crew.

 

Thanks for sharing that.

 

I think Paul played the gross commentary track to show that those dudes were creeps, but in a "Wow, isn't it funny how creepy they are?" sort of way. Thankfully, June wasn't having that. If that clip had been played earlier, as perhaps it should have been (when Jason was talking about how awesome all the boobs were), it would have shown that he understood how disgusting those men were. Of course, it would have completely derailed the show, but maybe that should have happened anyway.

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TBH, I had forgotten about the behind-the-scenes controversy, and it didn't seem right to mention the in-the-movie relationship in the same breath as the two Criterion titles that are infamous for portrayals of sexual cruelty (for instance, Roger Ebert called The Night Porter "as nasty as it is lubricious, a despicable attempt to titillate us by exploiting memories of persecution and suffering" and TV Guide calls Salo "nearly unwatchable, extremely disturbing, and often literally nauseous").

I think sexual cruelty on film where the cast and crew sign on and consent is fine. Whether or not I like the film is another thing (what I've seen of Salo, I don't recommend).

 

I thought the making of Blue Is The Warmest Color unfortunately ties into the making of Chopping Mall because of behind the scenes problems. It's something that, for both movies, I found out about after watching them and it's really soured movies that I enjoyed. I do hope the making of Blue... really was just horrible because of long days and not what is hinted at though.

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Agreed. It is perverse (no pun intended) that fictional cinematic portrayals of sex and violence made for and viewed by consenting adults are often treated with more censure than ones involving actual coercion on set.

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1. I love Mary Holland.

2. No mention of the aggressive dancing at the "party"?

3. This.

sOt3Yvv.jpg

There it is, the Cock Starter kit... that kid looks happy

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I do hope the making of Blue... really was just horrible because of long days and not what is hinted at though.

Man, I haven't even seen the movie yet. I'm already kinda feeling like I don't want to, though...

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I watched this movie a second time in a week after listening to the episode. Sorry, June. It reminded me of other movies around the time. I was curious to see if this one ripped off stories from the others, or maybe the other way around. Chronologically, it looks like some of both? At the very least, there are some interesting parallels with the films.

 

1. 1984--Night of the Comet: a natural event (a comet) causes mayhem. Part of the film takes place in a mall.

2. 1986--Chopping Mall: a natural event (lightning) causes mayhem. All of the film takes place in a mall.

3. 1986--Short Circuit: a natural event (lightning) causes mayhem. Lightning hit a robot.

4. 1987--Robocop: Robots gone wild. No natural event to blame.

 

I was really hoping that Chopping Mall came last, combining the mall element and robots gone wild. It instead falls right in the middle. It essentially just combines elements of the other three movies.

 

Lastly, Kelli Maroney (surviving girl) is in Night of the Comet...and she's no stranger to firing weapons.

 

1384554524000-5005521.jpg

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So I'm a fan of the horror podcast Shock Waves (which was preceded by Killer POV). Back in 2014 they had Jim Wynorski on for a pretty long interview. He seems as awful as you can expect. He brings a entourage of big busty women (to a podcast interview) and is across the board super gross. In the first five minutes he tells one of the woman to undress...

 

If you look for it, it's episode 74 and you can fast forward to about 30 minutes to get to the interview.

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I was at the live show back in, I think, March and it was insanely uncomfortable by the end. June was so visibly disturbed that I actually thought this might be an episode that never got released. Other live shows that I've gone to (like My Stepmother is an Alien) were recorded much later and released much sooner. I really was starting think this might have ended up being a lost episode. Was actually surprised when it appeared.

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I was at the live show back in, I think, March and it was insanely uncomfortable by the end. June was so visibly disturbed that I actually thought this might be an episode that never got released. Other live shows that I've gone to (like My Stepmother is an Alien) were recorded much later and released much sooner. I really was starting think this might have ended up being a lost episode. Was actually surprised when it appeared.

Did they edit out any of what June said about the movie? Someone mentioned in the Reddit forum she said something about her own experience with these kinds of jerks.

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Just finished it... few random thoughts....

 

This movie is available for free on YouTube.

It's great to try and recast this whole movie with cast members of Wet Hot American Summer.

 

Alison should be played by Amy poehler

Ferdy is Michael showwalter

Rick is ken Marino

technician 1 is Joe LoTruglio

Second one is David Hyde pierce

Swayze hair/gum chewer is Bradley Cooper

I'm still working on the others. Feel free to chime in with suggestions.

 

What boy and girl just watch a monster movie while your friends fuck openly behind you?

 

"Oh my god! You're the king! You're the king!"

 

Linda just out of nowhere is an expert on how to make Molotov cocktails. And then that is NEVER revisited.

 

I love-LOVE how ferdy threw that tank at the protector and it immediately just chucked it right back. That made me genuinely happy.

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So you didn't hear June's comments on the disgustingness of the commentary? Because she covered it pretty well.

 

I stuck around past June's comments and I really appreciated her disgust. I listened to a majority of this episode, but ultimately bailed because I have personal experience with this vile person and as a result this episode was not for me. All the "yay bewbs" stuff was very unpleasant for me because I experienced it in real time in my workplace.

 

Thanks to everyone for re-contextualizing my experience with Wynorski. It feels great to be shut down by people who have not had the displeasure of working with him and then having him re-emerge on your favourite podcast.

 

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Also, pretty sure Paul doesn't do, or does very little of, the research himself since he names Nate and Avril. He picks the movies and, like most of us, knows very little about the director beforehand unless it's an easily recognizable name which is argue Jim Wynorski isn't.

 

And after the research was done, they made a point to include and address it in the show. It's brought up a bit lightheartedly but I don't go to comedy shows for a serious discussion. I like that they didn't ignore it which they easily could have.

 

I definitely understand the hatred of the director and wanting to avoid his work. I can understand being uncomfortable with any movie that has gratuitous nudity with everything we know about Hollywood lying to and using women. June succinctly and perfectly advises women in the industry.

 

Couple this with their history of pointing out creepy directors like Renny Harlin with The Covenant, I'll give then a pass for not going into this knowing about Jim Wynorski's scumbag life.

 

That's fair. I guess I just get fired up that such a demonstrably gross person gets any airtime at all without an upfront caveat that everyone agrees he is foul.

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I stuck around past June's comments and I really appreciated her disgust. I listened to a majority of this episode, but ultimately bailed because I have personal experience with this vile person and as a result this episode was not for me. All the "yay bewbs" stuff was very unpleasant for me because I experienced it in real time in my workplace.

 

Thanks to everyone for re-contextualizing my experience with Wynorski. It feels great to be shut down by people who have not had the displeasure of working with him and then having him re-emerge on your favourite podcast.

I'm sorry you had a bad experience, and I'm sorry that this was a bad episode for you. However, it's not "shutting you down" or "recontextualizing" to point out that they DID address the exact thing you complained about. And that even the people saying the "yay bewbs" stuff (which has been a running bit for Jason's persona on this show for pretty much as long as they have been doing movies like this) called him a fucking creep.

 

If this was a show about representation or exploitation, it would be one thing. But this a podcast that makes fun of bad movies and the people that make them. It doesn't mean you have to like the people who made those movies, but it also means that it's kind of silly to rail against the show and the hosts because you had a bad experience with a filmmaker (especially when they call out the filmmaker for the same things you have problems with).

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One thing I didn't understand was how the robots made it up the escalators. The robot's weight would have caused it to fall down since the robot's seemed heavy and they would partially be standing on the escalator, while the rest of it's body wouldn't be on the platform.

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I'm sorry you had a bad experience, and I'm sorry that this was a bad episode for you. However, it's not "shutting you down" or "recontextualizing" to point out that they DID address the exact thing you complained about. And that even the people saying the "yay bewbs" stuff (which has been a running bit for Jason's persona on this show for pretty much as long as they have been doing movies like this) called him a fucking creep.

 

If this was a show about representation or exploitation, it would be one thing. But this a podcast that makes fun of bad movies and the people that make them. It doesn't mean you have to like the people who made those movies, but it also means that it's kind of silly to rail against the show and the hosts because you had a bad experience with a filmmaker (especially when they call out the filmmaker for the same things you have problems with).

 

Eventually, they did. I never miss an episode and I will always be a fan. I don't really need a refresher course on the podcast, thanks. If this were a Roman Polanski episode, I bet you would also want to know upfront. Maybe I'm too close to it; I understand this is a personal problem. However, by your logic June also being uncomfortable with this guy is offside when it comes to a podcast that only exists for making fun of the movie.

 

But since you completed my mansplain bingo card with "silly, I'm sorry you feel that way and well, actually" I'm going throw in the towel. (Correcting a "railing" woman and dismissing her concerns about how women are portrayed on the screen and treated in the workplace were the free spaces, in case you were wondering.)

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But since you completed my mansplain bingo card with "silly, I'm sorry you feel that way and well, actually" I'm going throw in the towel. (Correcting a "railing" woman and dismissing her concerns about how women are portrayed on the screen and treated in the workplace were the free spaces, in case you were wondering.)

I never dismissed your concerns. I said that I disagree with your statements like this:

 

I love your podcast so much and never miss an episode, but couldn't finish this one and honestly my opinion of Paul and Jason has diminished a bit over this.

 

When they definitely called out the thing you are talking about. Outside of making the whole episode about that one thing, I don't understand what else you want from them. But apparently, it's "mansplaining" to a "railing woman" (whose gender I had no idea of until this very moment) to say that you are blaming Paul and Jason for simply covering a movie by a guy you (and they) find creepy.

 

Eventually, they did. I never miss an episode and I will always be a fan. I don't really need a refresher course on the podcast, thanks. If this were a Roman Polanski episode, I bet you would also want to know upfront. Maybe I'm too close to it; I understand this is a personal problem. However, by your logic June also being uncomfortable with this guy is offside when it comes to a podcast that only exists for making fun of the movie.

No, that's not my logic. My point was that they talked about it (including in this very part!), and you acted like it was something that was never even mentioned.

 

And I get feeling grossed out by the "yay boobs" thing, but that is a staple of the show, which is why it seemed like you did, in fact, need a refresher on the podcast. Had you said, "I know it's a thing they do normally, but this felt really gross this time because of what a creep this director is," that would be one thing. Instead, you came in with an issue about a bit, seemingly ignored the context of that bit, and then when I disagreed, you said I was "shutting down" and "recontextualizing" you.

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To amend my previous statement slightly (mostly because I've been thinking about the Polanski analogy you proposed), would it have been better if they had just hit it right out of the gate?

 

I'm sure no one on the show knew what a creepy asshole Wynorski was when they picked the movie. I'm guessing that kind of stuff comes up during their research (and I'm not totally sure how much of that would have been uncovered by Paul and how much would have been Nate). And it's obvious June didn't know until the clip was played, so I would assume Jason wouldn't know either (since he often watches movies on the way to a recording, I don't see him doing a lot of research).

 

I also don't know how much of that kind of audio Paul listens to. I would imagine that he listens to anything they play beforehand, but at the same time, they do have researchers, and maybe he just trusts their instincts? Or maybe he listened to it quickly and thought, "Yeah, this dude's a creep," but it didn't really register how bad it really was until he saw June's reaction? Or maybe he chose to put it at the end of the show because he didn't want to cast a pall over the whole show?

 

So I guess I'm trying to figure out where in the show they should mention this. If they mention it up top, maybe it's a bit better because it prevents the whole "yay boobs" discussion and curtails some other discussions about the nudity in the movie. But at the same time, you could feel the wind pushed out of the show entirely after they played that clip, and that could be a really hard thing to recover from when you're trying to do a comedy show where people have paid money to see you make fun of a movie. So I kind appreciate what kind of situation Paul was in. Maybe he mentions at the top of the show that this guy is a creeper, but they don't play the full audio of his creepy, manipulative bullshit until the end?

 

I don't know.

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To amend my previous statement slightly (mostly because I've been thinking about the Polanski analogy you proposed), would it have been better if they had just hit it right out of the gate?

 

I'm sure no one on the show knew what a creepy asshole Wynorski was when they picked the movie. I'm guessing that kind of stuff comes up during their research (and I'm not totally sure how much of that would have been uncovered by Paul and how much would have been Nate). And it's obvious June didn't know until the clip was played, so I would assume Jason wouldn't know either (since he often watches movies on the way to a recording, I don't see him doing a lot of research).

 

I also don't know how much of that kind of audio Paul listens to. I would imagine that he listens to anything they play beforehand, but at the same time, they do have researchers, and maybe he just trusts their instincts? Or maybe he listened to it quickly and thought, "Yeah, this dude's a creep," but it didn't really register how bad it really was until he saw June's reaction? Or maybe he chose to put it at the end of the show because he didn't want to cast a pall over the whole show?

 

So I guess I'm trying to figure out where in the show they should mention this. If they mention it up top, maybe it's a bit better because it prevents the whole "yay boobs" discussion and curtails some other discussions about the nudity in the movie. But at the same time, you could feel the wind pushed out of the show entirely after they played that clip, and that could be a really hard thing to recover from when you're trying to do a comedy show where people have paid money to see you make fun of a movie. So I kind appreciate what kind of situation Paul was in. Maybe he mentions at the top of the show that this guy is a creeper, but they don't play the full audio of his creepy, manipulative bullshit until the end?

 

I don't know.

Someone passed on to me that you are still bothered by my personal opinion so: Why use the movie at all if the found research and director commentary would cast a pall over the whole show if mentioned up front? I used Polanski to make the point that I would find the movie choice off putting regardless of personal experience with the director or not. I can't recall them doing a movie before that was helmed by an exploitative porn director to compare this to.

 

I don't know.

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