The Little Mermaid

January 13, 2017

We finally his the 90s third renaissance for Disney, and this kicks off a series of two hours plus shows of super detail and perspective on this era. Disney was under new management and after a string of mediocre successes and big failures now aimed to pull themselves out of the doldrums they had settled into following Walt's death. This entailed a storm of creativity with artists being ridden ruthlessly by cold-hearted businessmen. By all rights it shouldn't have produced such wonderful results... but it did. 

The Little Mermaid is a story of a human girl born as a mermaid, who just never feels right down under the sea, looking up longingly at our world. The emotional arc of the movie is the barely-seen King Triton getting over his overprotective desire to see his child stay down aith her family, culminating in him letting her go for her own happiness. 

Plus it has a Jamaican crab. 

Daniel Floyd of Extra Credits and Extra Histories joins us again and you will hear the music of Alan Menken and the late, but indescribably great Howard Ashman. 

School of Movies is funded not by advertising, but by Patreon. It's you guys who keep this show going, help us pay our bills and buy more stuff to watch and talk about. So if you get a major kick out of these shows consider throwing a few dollars per month our way: https://www.patreon.com/alexandershaw

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The Sound of Gonzo Vol. 11: MARVEL

January 6, 2017

Recently the excellent YouTube series Every Frame a Painting asked members of the public if they could hum any of the music from the Marvel films. Unsurprisingly they couldn't come up with anything. There are a few reasons for this, that I go into on the show, but this presentation right here is crafted to allow everyone to explore the music that has come so far. We laser-focus on the core melodies, the hero themes that were left by the wayside as the series evolved and we showcase the wide range of actually rather brilliant musical moments that have punctuated the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Join me for an epic, three hour musical journey, run through the filter of my brain. By the end, if I've done my job, you'll be able to hum at least one piece of Marvel music.

1.   Marvel Logo (Thor: The Dark World)
2.   Back in Black – AC/DC (Iron Man)
3.   Mark II/Driving With the Top Down/Gulmira - Ramin Djawadi (Iron Man)
4.   Iron Man - Black Sabbath (Iron Man)
5.   Main Titles - Craig Armstrong (The Incredible Hulk)
6.   Thunderstruck - AC/DC (Iron Man 2)
7.   Black Widow Kicks Ass/ I Am Iron Man – John Debney (Iron Man 2)
8.   Shoot to Thrill – AC/DC (Iron Man 2)
9.   Prologue/The Compound/Forgive Me/Thor Kills the Destroyer – Patrick Doyle (Thor)
10.   Walk – Foo Fighters (Thor)
11.   Main Titles/Farewell to Bucky/The Star Spangled Man/Triumphant Return/Captain America March – Alan Silvestri (Captain America: The First Avenger)
12.   Main Titles/Helicarrier/Avengers Assemble/A Promise/End Titles – Alan Silvestri (Avengers Assemble)
13.   Live to Rise – Chris Cornel (Avengers Assemble)
14.   Main Titles/Can You Dig It? – Brian Tyler (Iron Man 3)
15.   End Titles/Into Eternity – Brian Tyler (Thor: The Dark World)
16.   Lemurian Star/Project Insight/The Causeway/To the End of the Line/Taking a Stand – Henry Jackman (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
17.   Soundtrack Medley (Guardians of the Galaxy)
18.   The Kyln Escape/Groot Spores/Groot Cocoon (Guardians of the Galaxy)
19.   Age of Ultron Theme – Danny Elfman (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
20.   Escape - Roger Ayer (Ant-Man)
21.   Ant Man Theme – Christophe Beck (Ant-Man)
22.   Plainsong – The Cure (Ant-Man)
23.   Siberian Overture/Ancestral Call/New Recruit/Closure/Cap’s Promise – Henry Jackman (Captain America: Civil War)
24.   Sharks Don’t Sleep – Dean Valentine (Civil War Trailer)
25.   New Marvel Fanfare
26.   Strange Days Ahead/The Master of the Mystic End Credits – Michael Giacchino (Doctor Strange)

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Bad Reviews Against Humanity: Vol. 8

December 30, 2016

We're back for another dose of reading you the fevered rantings of the deeply, comically irrational. Jason "Chewie" Slate and Bill Bloodworth from the Magic: The Gathering podcast; The Mana Pool rejoin us, along with James Carter of Cane and Rinse, GameBurst's Jerome McIntosh and friend of the show Derrick Ritchie. 

As well as more awful Amazon reviews for great movies we also look at films whose titles got turned into something extraordinary during the translation, and a really alarmingly specific Japanese breakdown of the characters in FRIENDS.

We ended up recording three hours of this stuff so expect a Vol. 9 at some point in the next few months when we need some serious laughs again. 

Remember you can read these Bad Reviews daily on the @AmznMovieRevws Twitter feed. 

Next Week: The Sound of Gonzo: Vol 10 - The Marvel Cinematic Universe

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The Sound of Gonzo Vol. 10: Disney

December 23, 2016

We're bringing this classic show format back after three years away (somehow it skipped over the entirety of Digital Drift). This is the prologue to our 90s Disney Renaissance series of podcasts. Since the songs get so much love and attention and are going to be showcased on our podcasts anyway I brought in James Batchelor to pick with me, pieces of music from the scores of ten years of the very best movies from the house of Mouse.

1. The Little Mermaid – Fathoms Below (Alan Menken
2. Rescuers Down Under – Cody’s Flight (Bruce Broughton)
3. Beauty and the Beast – Transformation (Alan Menken)
4. Aladdin – Cave of Wonders (Alan Menken)
5. The Lion King – King of Pride Rock (Hans Zimmer)
6. Pocahontas – Farewell (Alan Menken)
7. The Hunchback of Notre Dame – The Bell Tower (Alan Menken)
8. Hercules – A True Hero (Alan Menken)
9. Mulan – Burned Out Village (Jerry Goldsmith)
10. Tarzan – A Wondrous Place (Mark Mancina)

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A Christmas Carol / Muppet Christmas Carol

December 21, 2016

[SOM #23]

A classic episode from late 2011.

This is an extensive Gonzo review of two versions of the same classic tale by Charles Dickens:

1. A Christmas Carol [Disney, 2009]

2. The Muppets Christmas Carol [Disney, 1993]

Myself, Neil Taylor of GameBurst and KDS 2.0 and Matt Ramsey of DorkTunes take you back to the winter-swept streets of London in 1843 as we take a close look at the story of Ebeneezer Scrooge and his transformation from mean-spirited miser to warm-hearted philanthropist literally overnight.

And all it took was a life-changing series of ghostly visitations upon one very long Christmas Eve.

Fantastic music from composers Miles Goodman, Paul Williams and Alan Silvestri punctuate this review, along with some choice snippets of dialogue and of course those singing Muppets.

Digital Gonzo is going off the air for a few weeks as I am moving house and waiting for the phone lines to be set back up. Next week the Digital Cowboys Community Cast will be making a welcome comeback with its fourth instalment.

May every one of you have a Merry Christmas. I’ll be back in the new year.

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The Great Mouse Detective/Oliver & Company

December 16, 2016

We're back on the Disney shows with Daniel Floyd, this time on the cusp of the 90s renaissance. This episode delves lightly into two of the last examples of their Dog/Cat/Mouse fetishism that defined the post-Walt wilderness years.

The Great Mouse Detective, originally named Basil of Baker Street (from the novel) is Sherlock Holmes with rodents. Oliver is the Twisty Dickens tale with a cat and a bunch of dogs in a painfully late 80s New York, presided over by prostitute-hating mayor Rudy Giuliani. We never see him in the film, but he's there all the same, along with his derision for people of colour and the impoverished, which fits rather well into the Victorian principles of the source novel.

This show was actually recorded several years ago and I apologise for my frequent interruptions of Dan and Sharon. I knew better than that back then and I have no excuse. I'll simply try my level best to let them speak without butting in as we record the final Disney shows. This episode is well-timed in its release as Moana has just launched in theatres and it is absolutely wonderful! Go see.

Next week; The Sound of Gonzo returns with a showcase of the music of 90s Disney.

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Stephen King’s IT

December 9, 2016

The bestselling novel of 1986, this is a story set across two time frames 28 years apart. In the small town of Derry, Maine the locals enjoy relative success, their harmony only broken every three decades when children go missing. Something is lurking down in the sewers, and it is hungry.

Seven childhood friends, calling themselves The Losers pledge to find out what this being is and if they can, stop it for good. They are not entirely successful. 28 years later, they regroup in their forties to journey back to Derry and finish the job.

The novel is huge, but I read through the whole thing, partly because this was a commissioned show, but mainly because it is one of Sharon's lifelong favourites and I hoped this would give me a little more insight into her inner workings. It did. When I had finished I felt like I'd been on a really significant journey.

We cover the two-part TV miniseries and speculate on ways that this might be adapted into the feature film duet beginning late 2017.

Next week, we lighten the mood with our return to the Disney specials with The Great Mouse Detective and Oliver & Company.

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Sneakers

December 2, 2016

Another commissioned show, this one is a heist movie with a stellar cast that we had literally never seen before. It's also rare as unicorn horn in that it's a movie about hacking and tech that DOESN'T make you say "That's not how computers work!"

Requiring some veteran perspective we recruited Alasdair Stuart and Marguerite Kenner of EscapePod, Pseudopod and Cast of Wonders. The two of them took us through the myriad details of this now-forgotten treasure.

Next week with the horrors of the election ever so slightly behind us (though the world is still a hate-filled place, we brave the darkened sewers and take on take on Stephen King's IT.

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Jumanji/Zathura

November 25, 2016

With all those fantastic beasts rampaging around New York city right now we went back to a movie that turned that concept into big business.
Naturally we read way, WAY too much into the story and turn both this film and its little-seen sequel Zathura into deep, psychological learning experiences for the protagonists.

This is another comissioned show, featuring Brenden Agnew.

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Congo

November 18, 2016

In 1993 Steven Spielberg directed the movie Jurassic Park, adapted from the book by Michael Crichton.

It was a wildly successful family blockbuster.

Immediately all studios began a mad dash to replicate that formula.

Paramount believed they had cracked it with this film in 1995, written by Crichton in 1980, featuring a cast of genuinely talented actors and seemingly going for an Indiana Jones-discovers-King-Solomon's-Mines-with-rabid apes vibe. However, the results, as you will hear fell so short of Jurassic Park that Congo is barely in the same medium. Less a movie and more a confused 110 minute commercial advertising a product you can't work out but probably has something to do with diamonds or laser guns.

This episodes was commissioned by Maureen Foley (who guests) and Nick, and features Neil Taylor and Brenden Agnew.

Next Week the animal capers continue with a show on both Jumanji and Zathura, it's little-seen sequel which you should join the club of dozens and see (because it's pretty good).

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