Saturday, January 28, 2017

Sean Byron's Top 10 of 2016!

Well, it's finally happened. The apocalypse is coming. And what better way to celebrate than to look fondly back on that distant past, the magical and memorable and mystical year of 2016? Here's 40 movies I liked last year, with thoughts on ten of them.

Honorable Mentions

Here's a bunch of movies I liked this year but couldn't fit in. They're pretty much in order of preference, but as always these things are pretty subjective based on the phase of the moon.  

40. Don't Breathe 39. Amanda Knox 38. Eat That Question 37. Cock and Bull 36. Raiders! 35. Swiss Army Man 34. Kicks 33. Paterson 32. De Palma 31. Los Punks 30. Moonlight 29. Tickled 28. Dog Eat Dog 27. Beyond the Gates 26. Hunt for the Wilderpeople 25. Into the Inferno 24. Lo and Behold 23. Ip Man 3 22. Shin Godzilla 21. Weiner 20. Kubo & the Two Strings 19. Autopsy of Jane Doe 18. Nocturnal Animals 17. Jackie 16. Chongqing Hot Pot 15. Certain Women 14. Silence 13. The Handmaiden 12. The 13th 11. The Lobster

Operation Mekong
Dante Lam's shaggy, action-packed war movie is probably a bit more ambitious than it is well-crafted, but it still packs a mean napalm-soaked punch. If John Woo had been working on bigger budget Cannon Films releases in the post-Rambo mid-80s, this movie would be directly ripping it off. But that didn't happen so you should probably just give this a shot instead. It's got some great slow-mo machine-gunning water battles with a ludicrous amounts of bullets expended. It's not high art, but it's a fun time.
I've got a mixed history with Disney, a company that has produced some of my very favorite things in the world (the charm and physical humor of the Ub Iwerks era Mickey shorts, the fantasy and living set decoration of Disneyland, the Wonderful World of Color), they've also produced a fair load of bullshit: the television wasteland of The Disney Channel, everyone's least favorite Halloween costume-turned-cartoon Frozen, barf-inducing post-Disney Pixar movies, horribly lame and visionless Marvel Universe movies, and what will probably turn out to be the ruination of Star Wars Universe as well (if it wasn't already ruined). But Moana's great! It captures the spirit of classic Disney musical animated features and offers a pleasantly imagined peek into a fantastically fascinating faraway world. I wouldn't have expected the hardest I'd laugh at a movie in 2016 would be at a Disney movie, but that "You're Welcome" song really got me somehow. Also, it wasn't a very funny year in general.

20th Century Women
The kind of warm, revealing, engaging, but hard-to-classify film often given the miserable label of "dramedy", 20th Century Women deserves to sit outside of simple categorization. It's a really nicely rendered look inside a believable family dynamic, with honest looks at middle aged ennui, teen angst, and the complications of sexuality across all ages. Certainly the most honest screenplay I saw this year, with dialogue that felt extremely true to life - Mike Mills really seems to be writing from his own life here. While a lightly comic take on an atypical American family isn't usually something I'd sign up for, the combination of that specific authorial voice, the nicely realized period touches (like the solid early post-punk soundtrack, and 1979 teenage bedrooms), and great performances from a well rounded cast really won me over.
Green Room
I wanna see Jeremy Saulnier have a long, John Carpenter-esque career where he keeps delivering lean and mean genre flicks at us in a classic-banger fashion. Here's to that beautiful dream.
O.J. Made in America
Is this a movie? Well, I saw it at the Laemmle's Music Hall 3 on Wilshire in Beverly Hills - that sturdy stalwart of nondescript art deco movie halls, the kind you find in Los Angeles only after years of staring past it down the block, waiting for a bus, and then the detailed edge work of the building becomes apparent, and you notice the faded old marquee still has current movie titles on it, and the single teenaged employee running snackbar and ticketbooth is actually a real person and not the ghost of cinematic memories past, who directs you to the plush red-upholstered screening room, smelling distinctly of the early nineteen-eighties, where initially you expect you'll enjoy a solo screening for the entire eight and half hour runtime (with ten minutes of trailers and two ten minute intermissions) but at the last minute are surprised to hear the loud, persistent coughs of a single older (seventies) man just one row behind, looking just as skeptical as you are that the entire theatre isn't just a weird lingering memory that doesn't exist in a corporeal sense and may just be prone to sudden vanishing spells but who nonetheless makes it about halfway through the movie before mumbling about a parking ticket after an intermission and leaving through the unusually heavy rain - so I think that qualifies it as a movie. It's a great movie.
The Love Witch
I love that Witch! Practically pulsating with poppy period presentation, this felt like a weirdly original way to do a throw-back flick, which are more and more common these days. It works on both a surface level pseudothriller, as a tongue-mostly-in-cheek send-up of them, and also on a third level as a stoned-out feminist kill-mantra. Be careful watching this in publicly monitored spaces.

The Neon Demon
Whenever people say "it's not for everyone, but I like it", it can seem like a weird humblebrag about having "unusual" tastes. That said, I like this Neon Demon, even if it's not for everyone. This may also be the most "big screen required" movie I saw in 2016. Even though it's not a big budget action movie, wasn't shot on IMAX, and barely got a wide release, this was one I was extremely pleased to have seen theatrically rather than at home. The element of having half the crowd freak out and walk out might have been part of the fun, but the kaleidoscopic collision of neon imagery and the Martinez soundtrack was so immersive projected on that huge silver slab. Having only seen it once so far, it's actually the kind of movie that I could see jumping up or dropping down in the rankings based on a second viewing, but that's something I'll have to find out for myself the next time it plays town.
The Wailing
In a year where several very good Asian films got (limited) American theatrical releases (and in a year where Asia got (wide) releases of very bad American films), The Wailing stood out. Memorable characters, just on the edge of comedic quirkiness but not enough to undercut the horror, help to draw you into the mystery unfolding in rural South Korea. Na Hong-jin's clever blend of police procedural and exorcism flick is full of surprises, and provides a great entry point to recent Korean genre cinema.
Slower paced science fiction on the order of 2001 can be a fertile ground for social commentary, and there's plenty of that on the periphery of Arrival, with world leaders failing to reach simple compromises to maintain order when an alien species first make contact. Perhaps the big revelation here though is Amy Adams, who has been on a hot streak lately but really does a great job with her character here, striking a perfect balance of warm reliability and intelligent authority in a role that isn't often given to women in Hollywood's current climate. Jeremy Renner's not bad, either! And the cinematographer here should be commemoratively bronzed and hung on a wall after his death. See it!
La La Land
This is a movie that's been endlessly discussed (on Junk Food Dinner and elsewhere), but it certainly struck a chord with me in a way no other movies in 2016 did. While some of the backlash criticisms seem silly and overreaching to me (ascribing whitesplaining/mansplaining issues to this is one of the rare cases where even I get a tinge of 'the SJW blues'), I can see the point in others; specifically, this is a film heavily concerned with nostalgia, which is at best a masturbatory pursuit and sometimes can be an actively destructive force. If you're the type of moviegoer who has a gut aversion to nostalgia, it's going to be a hard sell. But it's the way in which Damien Chazelle marries modern filmmaking techniques with a golden age aesthetic that validates his exercise in historical romanticization. Were this film not so dizzyingly well-executed, with pitch-perfect editing, beautifully staged and photographed sequences, and remarkably evocative costuming, it could feel like a lame duck attempt to replicate something that was special for the time, but weirdly anachronistic now. Gosling and Stone's performances, particular in single-take scenes requiring them to sing, dance, and play piano in cheat-preventing close-ups, only help to draw the viewer into Chazelle's fantasy world. The result, even after four screenings, had me intermittently grinning and tearing up consistently throughout the entire runtime. And while there might but not a whole lot of social relevance, or mind-blowing new concepts on display in La La Land, as a pure experience, a blending of images and sounds in sequence, it cannot be topped this year.

Friday, January 27, 2017

JFD349: Barbara Crampton interview and We Are Still Here, Robot Wars, Trancers 2

Hey, Junkies! We're back with a whole show dedicated to one of our favorite actresses, Barbara Crampton! And, as the cherry on the sundae, we're joined by Barbara herself to discuss her career, her films with Stuart Gordon and Jeffrey Combs, Beyond the Gates and ... La La Land!

First, A couple moves into an old house after the death of their son. But is he still there? Or is it something more evil? In "We Are Still Here."

Next, Barbara plays an archaeologist searching old Fox Theatres for relics of the past. And there's robots for some reason in the Albert Band Full Moon flick, "Robot Wars."

Finally, Barbara makes a cameo appearance in "Trancers 2." In this Charles Band Full Moon flick, Jack Deth returns to deal with more space vampires.

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Time Stamps: Barbara Crampton Interview: 8m, We Are Still Here review: 55m, Robot Wars review: 1hr12m, Trancers 2 review: 1hr31m.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

JFD's Sci Fi Ebruary Movie Schedule

Hey, Junkies. Sci Fi Ebruary is upon us again, so strap on your tin-foil hat and hop in your flying car. Where we're going we don't need roads!

This year, we're dedicating a week to those things that aren't traditionally movies -- TV shows! With a full Twilight Zone episode where we'll review 8 episodes of the show, all chosen by Mike Dikk of VRTL Pros and Kissing Contest.

Also, we'll be joined on an episode by special guest, writer/director of "He Never Died," Jason Krawczyk!

JFD350: Twilight Zone Week w/ Mike Dikk

  • Time Enough at Last (S01E08)
  • The After Hours (S01E34)
  • Nick of Time (S02E07)
  • The Rip Van Winkle Caper (S02E24)
  • Two (S03E01)
  • Shelter (S03E03)
  • Living Doll (S05E06)
  • Uncle Simon (S05E08)
JFD351: Hackers/Computers Week
  • Hackers (1995)
  • Double Down (2005)
  • Summer Wars (2009)
JFD352: Godzilla Week
  • Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991)
  • Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)
  • Shin Godzilla (2016)
JFD353: Dystopian Action Week w/ Jason Krawczyk
  • Circuitry Man (1990)
  • Hardware (1990)
  • Firepower (1993)

Thursday, January 19, 2017

JFD348: Hammer, Every Which Way But Loose, Matilda

Well, tap your nose and call me Mills Lane, because it's Boxing Week here at JFD headquarters. It's a pugilist picture party here as we study the sweet science. Lace up those gloves, strap on those boots, and get in the ring with your Junk Food Dinner pals this week as we check out three punch-related picks. Let's get it on!

First up! We take a look at the movie that gave Fred “The Hammer” Williamson his nickname, an early blaxploitation classic that follows the rise of a mafia-backed dock-worker turned boxer in a seedy 1972 Los Angeles. It’s Hammer!

The San Fernando Valley was different in 1978. People drove 1940’s pick-up trucks, tended to livestock, and participated in line-dancing. All this while escaping biker gangs on the run with an orangutan. At least, that’s the story told by Clint Eastwood’s Every Which Way But Loose!

For reasons that are unclear, our final selection is part Kangaroo Boxing sports drama, part mafia picture, and part McDonald’s commercial. When a mysterious Irishman arrives in 1978 New York City with his rabbit-punching marsupial, Eliot Gould sees dollar signs in the knockouts and books a series of matches, leading to a thrillingly long-winded final match! It’s Matilda!

All this plus witty banter between friends, speaking of ghost circuses, them news and Blu-ray Picks, continued lack of overt police involvement, sneezes, belches, decrepit erections, gleeks and a whole lot more!

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Got a movie suggestion for the show, want to give your opinion on a movie we talked about or just want to tell us we suck? Drop us a line at Or leave us a voicemail: 347-746-JUNK (5865).

Also, if you like the show, please take a minute and subscribe and/or comment on us on iTunes, Stitcher, Blubrry or Check us out on Facebook and Twitter! We'll parachute into a Holyfield match for your love and support.

Buy on Amazon and Watch Along:
Gums *** Nightdreams (search eBay) *** Night Of The Living Babes
Dead Ringers *** Mirror Images *** Twin Sitters
Hammer *** Every Which Way But Loose *** Matilda
Trancers II *** We Are Still Here *** Robot Wars

Thursday, January 12, 2017

JFD347: Dead Ringers, Twin Sitters, Enemy

JFD returns with a brand new episode dedicated to the identical siblings that make life so interesting, twins!

Up first, David Cronenberg brings us a tale of twin gynecologist brothers, both played by Jeremy Irons, who share everything; their swanky apartment, their career and even their women. When one of them falls for a mature actress played by Geneviève Bujold, their perfect world begins to fall apart, and as you'd expect from Cronenberg, things get weird in Dead Ringers from 1988.

Then, we revisit the Barbarian Brothers (Peter and David Paul), the twin body builders who ham it up in the dopey kids' flick Twin Sitters from 1994. John Paragon (Pee-Wee's Playhouse) directs this goofy comedy about a pair of muscle-bound losers who are hired by a millionaire to protect his twin nephews from George Lazenby and his henchmen who are out to get them.

And finally, Jake Gyllenhaal plays a college professor who spots his doppelganger in a movie and becomes obsessed with finding him and figuring out what the hell is going on and even gets involved in some "spider play" in Enemy from 2013.

All this plus witty banter between friends, La La Land love, Chucky's back, a classic comes to blu-ray, Jackie Chan's Bollywood adventure, euphemisms for squeezing one out, Blu-ray Picks, songs about twins, continued lack of overt police involvement, and a whole lot more!


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Got a movie suggestion for the show, want to give your opinion on a movie we talked about or just want to tell us we suck? Drop us a line Or leave us a voicemail: 347-746-JUNK (5865).

Also, if you like the show, please take a minute and subscribe and/or comment on us on iTunes, Stitcher, Blubrry or Check us out onFacebook and Twitter! We'll finally separate from our Siamese twin with your love and support.

Kyle from Kentucky's Top 10 Movies of 2016

10. Blair Witch

I really love the Blair Witch movies for some reason. I think it has something to do with being helpless in the woods. I know most people weren't crazy about this,but I really liked the atmosphere and the creepiness.

9. The Nice Guys 
A really fun buddy movie set in the 70’s. I thought it probably made me laugh more than any other movie of 2016.

8. Green Room

This was an edge of your seat horror movie with good performances. I love seeing Patrick Stewart play an evil character.

7. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice 

I know this movie has a few issues with it, including especially the reason Superman and Batman start working together, but I love it. Ben Affleck was really great as Batman. He came off as a realistic badass. I didn't think I would like this one, but I was truly impressed.

6. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 

This movie has a great story and the best CGI I have ever seen in a movie. The star battles are so beautiful and intense. I really liked the ending.

5. The Accountant

There’s lots of great violence in this one. Ben Affleck plays an autistic badass accountant.

4. Blood Father 

Cool action movie with lots of great visuals

3. Hell or High Water

What a fantastic job by Jeff Bridges and the rest of the cast in this movie. I really loved the relationships bet
ween the brothers and between the partners.

2. Hacksaw Ridge 

Mel Gibson did a great job with this true WW2 story. It was shot and acted beautifully and really showed the nastiness of the war.

1. Nocturnal Animals

This movie was a really big surprise for me. The acting was perfect and the novel that plays out in the movie could have been a great movie by itself.

Check out Kyle when he calls in on JFD!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Parker's Top 10 Movies of 2016

I liked a lot of movies in 2016, but here's the schlitiziest of them.

10. Frank & Lola (directed by Matthew Ross)
This movie's a lot like "Chasing Amy" except really sleazy and sexy and mixed with a really depressing old school crime noir. Michael Shannon and Imogene Poots are rad as hell and the movie's full of tough guy emotions. It's also set in Las Vegas, but not the Ocean's 11 part, the artsy, "normal" downtown part, which is rare to see on film.

9. Anomalisa
(directed by Charlie Kaufman)
I'm not normally the biggest fan of Charlie Kaufman, but his use of stop motion puppetry to tell a very human and uncomfortable story is about as heartbreaking as it gets.

8. Train to Busan
(directed by Yeon Sang-Ho)
Definitely one of the top 3 zombie movies of the last decade, this funny and touching South Korean flick follows a group of people on a train to what they think is safety from zombie hordes.

7. Weiner
(directed by Josh Kriegman,
Elyse Steinberg)

Watching disgraced politician Anthony Weiner methodically practice a tearful apology before a press conference will lead you to never trust another politician again. (Hopefully).

6. Everybody Wants Some!!!
(directed by Richard Linklater)

Cool bros drinking beer and having fun with their large muscles and cool cars. 100% fun.

5. Captain America: Civil War
(directed by the Russo brothers)
This movie exemplifies the best of what big blockbusters can do. There's a huge fight scene that is just an insanely fun spectacle followed by a tense unfun climax that holds real emotional stakes for very believable, flesh-out heroes. Also, extra points for Spider-Man, Vision wearing a sweater vest, one of the better Marvel villains and the "No You Move" speech.

4. Hacksaw Ridge
(directed by Mel Gibson)

Say what you will about Mel Gibson, but he makes large, oldschool movies that are rare these days. He's also really into the idea that suffering and horrendous emotional and physical pain can be transcendent. Which is what all of us Smiths fans already know and appreciate. Also, the film is about WWII, which is my jam now that I am an old, old man.

3. Arrival
(directed by Denis Villenueve)
The minutiae of humanity's first contact with aliens is more of an edge-of-your seat tense thrillride than all the "Independence Days" of the world, if done right. And Arrival does it right, while saying huge things about the minutiae of communication and humanity.

2. Hardcore Henry
(directed by Ilya Naishuller)
Fun, weird, violent, different, great soundtrack, amazing cast. Hardcore Henry has it all. I haven't found a movie so endlessly rewatchable in years. And if there were a JFD version of the Oscars, Sharlto Copley would have won for Best Actor.

1. Green Room (directed by Jeremy Saulnier
This movie is so tense and scary that I literally teared up during one of the scenes. I didn't even know that was possible. The cast is brilliant and, like I said on the show, between this and Blue Ruin, watching Jeremy Saulnier make movies right now must have been what it was like to be a genre fan when Carpenter was cranking out things like Halloween and The Thing during his high point.

Honorable Mentions: Final Deletion, De Palma, Pass Thru, The Conjuring 2, The Purge: Election Year, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, Beyond the Gates and Space Cop.

The Worst: Cabin Fever, The Greasy Strangler, Suicide Squad, 31 and Yoga Hosers.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Kevin's Top 10 Movies of 2016

While 2016 was by all accounts a pretty shitty year, there were definitely some fun and unique flicks projected onto your cinema and drive-in screens over the past 365 days. Here are my favorite ones I saw:

10. The Neon Demon (d: Nicolas Winding Refn)
I was super pumped for Winding Refn's horror follow up to Only God Forgives and Drive (two movies I really enjoyed). And while The Neon Demon left me a little disappointed, you can't argue that it's not a very cool looking film and a unique movie-going experience in 2016.

9. Beyond the Gates (d: Jackson Stewart)
It's no secret that director Jackson Stewart is boys with your hosts here on JFD, however, that makes it all the more exciting that a dude we know directed one of the best horror movies of the year. One of my biggest complaints of modern horror is the lack of fun in the genre and Beyond
the Gates delivers the fun with a capital F.

8. The Nice Guys (d: Shane Black)
Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling play 70's dress up as a pair of private dicks investigating a missing girl and the death of a porn star. It's one part Lethal Weapon and two parts Big Lebowski and was surprisingly a lot of fun.

7. 10 Cloverfield Lane (d: Dan Trachtenberg)
I liked Cloverfield alright, but had no strong attachment to it, so when a semi-sequel showed up in theaters seemingly out of nowhere in early '16, I didn't have a lot of expectations. However, great performances from John Goodman and Mary Elizabeth Winstead paired with a tense and intriguing plot made this a surprise winner for me.

6. Shin Godzilla (d: Hideaki Anno & Shinji Higuchi)
After an admirable but ultimately disappointing American effort at Godzilla in 2014, I was ready for the Japanese to take the reins again and show us how it's done. The first Japanese Godzilla film to play in US theaters in almost 20 years returns the series to the more serious tone of the original Gojira. And while the dialogue-heavy film may not exactly thrill viewers looking for epic monster battles, I still really enjoyed it.

5. The Love Witch (d: Anna Biller)
Anna Biller meticulously crafts a sexy homage to the Technicolor flicks of the 60's
and 70's that looks and feels spot on. Just as a visual feat alone, this movie deserves your attention. The story gets a bit long and goofy at times but overall was a totally unique and exciting visual experience.

4. Hardcore Henry (d: Ilya Naishuller)
While I was intrigued by the idea of a hyper-violent, over-the-top first person action orgy, I genuinely didn't expect to have as much fun with Hardcore Henry as I did. District 9.
The movie never lets up and is a ton of fun. Plus Sharlto Copley is great in it, delivering his best performance since District 9.

3. The Wailing (d: Hong-jin Na)
Sean Byron hipped me to this South Korean crime thriller/supernatural horror flick and I'm glad he did. Probably the creepiest and most intense horror film of the year, it's also expertly directed. Star Do-wan Kwak is instantly likable and relatable as a man pushed to the breaking point by all the fucked up shit happening around him.

2. Tickled (d: David Farrier & Dylan Reeve)
Probably the movie I talked about most with friends this year. Tickled is a documentary the looks into the weird world of competitive tickling videos on the internet. While the subject seems silly enough at first, the film takes a dark turn as the filmmakers dig deeper into who is behind the videos and things get really awkward and weird. It'll definitely leave you wanting to know more.

1. Green Room (d: Jeremy Saulnier)
Jeremy Saulnier follows up his fantastic Blue Ruin with another gritty, realistic and violent tale of what can happen when shit hits the fan. This intense thriller was definitely the best movie I saw on the big screen in 2016. Great performances by the young cast, lots of gore, distrust and punk music, this is a must-see.

JFD346: Gums, Night Dreams, Night of the Living Babes

We're celebrating the Nude Year with a trio of erotic films!

First, a sexy mermaid is S-ing the Ds of beachgoers in the Jaws spoof, "Gums."

Next, scientists study the lustiness levels of a woman in "Night Dreams."

Finally, Gregory Dark directs "Night of the Living Babes," a movie about a weirdo brothel.

There's no nerd news this week, but we do run down our Favorite and Least Favorite movies of 2016. Our Top 5s to be exact and we'll post our Top 10s on the website soon, so check back.

Also, here's some time stamps, if you want to skip ahead to a certain movie: Gums: 1hr:26m, Night Dreams: 1hr47m, Living Babes: 2hrs10m.
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Got a movie suggestion for the show, want to give your opinion on a movie we talked about or just want to tell us we suck? Drop us a line at Or leave us a voicemail: 347-746-JUNK (5865).

Also, if you like the show, please take a minute and subscribe and/or comment on us on iTunes, Stitcher, Blubrry or We'll rewind anything you like in our cool little red mustang shaped VHS rewinder for your love and support.