Who doesn’t love movies? It is such a vast and varied artform; there is something for everyone and every mindset, from big, dumb special-effects-laden films for those who need escapist entertainment to deep, artsy, intellectual films that make you use your brain. No matter what type of film you are into, however, sometimes the best part of the movie is talking about it afterwards with friends. Movie watching has become sort of a group activity (which is weird since it’s generally something during which nobody talks). Luckily for those who like movie talk, there is a podcast based right here in Louisville devoted to just that. I recently sat down with Bryan Renfro to discuss Movie Meltdown:
Describe the podcast in your own words.
“[It’s] A big conglomeration of movie geekdom. It’s sort of a mesh of everything; it, I think, centers more around conversation than anything. That’s what’s sort of drawn people to it; the fans that we have really like the way that we interact with each other… I think that’s sort of what’s different about this one is just the ridiculousness and camaraderie that sort of has set in… It’s about movies, but I don’t want to make it a movie review show. I think I’ve always had an issue with people who call themselves reviewers; you automatically start looking at it from a very different perspective, and I know I’ve kind of done it… I don’t want to pinpoint good or bad. Everybody, by the end, sort of feels like you’re telling people to go see [the movie], but really, by the end, when we finish the discussion, you better have already seen it because we’ve gone so far into it that there’s nothing left to see. So I feel like it’s sort of a post-movie discussion … sometimes [about] specific movies, sometimes in general what’s going on in the movie geek culture. I think that’s the basic, that half of it, and then the other half is just sort of a generalized, almost a cheesy movie show… I’ve attached myself to… cheesy entertainment shows, especially those that were off the beaten path; I really love ‘The Big Picture’ that used to be on MTV years ago with Chris Connelly. I think that was sort of a major inspiration. It all sort of is this mesh of bad, cheesy entertainment television mixed with a Joe Bob Brigg’s drive-in mentality, and then hanging out with friends talking about movies. Somewhere in-between those ideas is sort of where it’s gelled.”
And you guys get really in-depth. I watched “Creature From the Black Lagoon,” which I’d never seen, for this last podcast, and you guys covered everything.
“And I don’t think that was as lengthy as some of our others! [This podcast ran for 90 minutes.] Occasionally we talk about the movie for as long as the movie... I still try to be a geek and take notes and at least make it official, and I come through it with some sort of a framework for the show, but most of it I just throw out there and let people talk and midway in we realized that the Creature is basically the embodiment of a teenager. It’s like, ‘I feel awkward, I’m hideous, and I look weird, and I’m lustful, all I want to do is hook up with others.’ As much as I like to talk about what’s going on on the screen in the movies, I also like finding that subtext , especially when you go back and look at older movies, how much stuff they were putting in there that they necessarily couldn’t say, or were just trying to work in other themes, so I kind of like the other stuff we find along the way as well. There’s a lot of other stuff going on not on the screen sometimes that we will delve into in ways that we probably shouldn’t at times.”
I love that kind of stuff. It drives my wife crazy. We were watching “Showgirls” the other night and I was trying to find deeper meaning and symbolism, and there’s not really any here, but damn it, I’m gonna make something happen.
“Yeah, ‘Showgirls.’ [whistles] It’s a piece of work, let me tell you. It’s kind of epic bad. You’re listening to some of this dialogue come out of their mouths and you’re just like, ‘Somebody wrote that? Really?’ … There’s an artform to bad movies, so I’m certainly not going to toss something aside because it’s bad. I’ve also noticed you can find so much more in some of these bad movies. Sometimes there’s just layers of this stuff going on. Most people will just sort of shrug it off, say, ‘Oh, this movie’s terrible!’ and then not really pay attention, but if you delve into them there’s some amazing stuff going on… There’s stuff you have to see to believe.”
I recently got on a weird Paul Verhoeven kick because they showed “Total Recall” at the Speed Museum as part of their film series on memory, and Ryan Daly was talking about how it seems like a popcorn movie, but there’s a lot more going on there. I thought, that’s utterly ridiculous, but it’s true, so I had to watch it.
“Well, you look at ‘Robocop,’ it’s kind of that same thing, because if you want, there’s a lot of other stuff going on in that plot, and then if you just want to sit there and watch hands explode and watch people get hit by cars you can settle in and just focus on the gore; but at the same time, that one’s got a lot. ‘Starship Troopers’ is really like that. It could be a big, dumb movie about fighting bugs, which, on some level it is, but then you look at the weird propaganda and all the political stuff and all the messages about World War II he forced into this futuristic war… He’s not stupid; he just occasionally has bad taste.”