Best of the Best (1989)

So; Here’s a bit of a cards on the table “Confessions” moment. a decent chunk of this season is VHS based; and the main reason for that decision is because while I was doing the writing and planning for this season I was also unpacking all my belongings into my recently refurbished room (I started writing scripts for this season in October last year) so while I was putting everything back it gave me a bit of chance to try and have a clearout and of all the formats in my collection, VHS is the most bulky and the the hardest to properly store.

So; I kinda sorta used this season to do some spring cleaning on my collection so I could thin out tapes I thought I might not keep based on the title and box art. and honestly? it’s been quite effective for most of the choices this season. a lot of what i’ve watched has either ended up being gifted on to others or found its way to refuse. but this movie? this movie right here? I was genuinely surprised at how entertaining it was. As I say in the review it really does have a lot going for it.

I initially chose it because I had 3 of the 4 films in this franchise on VHS and I figured if I did one of these a season it’d probably be a good way to get rid of 3 “Meathead” tapes from collection pretty easily. But instead the opposites ended up happening. I genuinely cant wait to watch the second one of these later in the year and I’ve been keeping my eye on a bluray collection of these movies now since I saw this one. Im hoping the sequels are as entertaining (if not as good) as this first one because if they are. I literally have no hesitation on upgrading all these to bluray quality and having the set as soon as possible.

Genuinely entertaining, fun and Eric Roberts is frankly astonishingly good in this. if you dont have the 20(ish) minutes needed to get through my full review and just want a quick caption. BUY THIS MOVIE NOW!

The poster for this ones a bit shite in all honesty. it doesnt really speak to me and it’s kind of difficult to work into marketing as it’s just a load of boxes inside boxes. Its hardly the most revolutionary jawdropping poster i’ve seen…its just…weird.

Evil Brain From Outer Space (Super Giant 4) (1966)

One of the biggest headscratchers that plagues my review “process” is figuring out the right mix of genres so that things dont get stale. as a general rule; themed months excluded, I try to make certain that theres never a time where 2 films of the same genre are sat next to each other. So I’ll always try and seperate say; 2 horror movies that are sat together or 2 sci fi movies. I like to keep a mixed bag just to purely stop things from stagnating a bit.

Part of that dilemma is deciding how many 40s and 50’s B-movies I do a year. if my youtube analytics are anything to go by, you guys dont really care much for the older B-movie films. and hey; thats cool. I can dig it. y’know, time marches on and all that. But to me? I find these early movies a fascinating glimpse into the old days of the wild west of Poverty row film making. when corners would be cut, anything that could save money would be utilised whether it was to the detriment of the film or the cast and for the vast majority of these movies its amazing they got made at all.

Evil Brain from Outer space was never intended to be a movie, it was supposed to be a series of serialisations. and most of them are so drastically different to each other that the idea of cutting them together into one movie would be daft.

the 1960’s said “Fuck it” to daftness and did it anyway. they did it because they realised they wouldnt make their money back on the serialisations they purchased because serialisations in general were on the way out. so they did what they thought would make SOME money back (because making SOME money back is always preferable to making non of the money back) thats why they recut these into 4 features. it wasnt out of some grand artistic sense of tying together elements. it’s because they bought a lemon and had to make lemonade some goddamn way.

the supergiant serials arnt too bad on their own in all honesty. I mean; they’re a bit repetative in places. but they’re fine enough. but these recut ones? goddamn. just….goddamn.

I’ll continue to cover movies from this era, mainly because…they’re bizarre as hell. but if your looking for an example of the madness of 40’s and 50’s cinema. this films definitely a strong contender.

that poster…jesus.

The “Live and Let Die” (1973) Comedy Dining Experience

Well! after all of the excitement of the 500 sub special; Dan and Ben get back in the hotseat and back on the Bond! as this month! they take a look at Roger Moores first *canon* outing as the top secret double 0 agent with the heart of gold!

So pour yourself something strong and brace for impact as Blacksploitation gets a hefty injection of Jimmy Bond!

Riverbend (1989)

Of all the films I ended up covering this season; “Riverbend” was probably the one that caught me off guard the most. Now I didnt think it was a perfect film by any measure. but the themes it deals with coupled with the utterly baffling to me concept that this has NEVER had a digital release (that I can see) just…well…it’s this kind of stuff that keeps me up at night.

this wasnt a bad film by any measure. hell; if i’d have found it on DVD in my local CEX or charity shop i’d have probably been even more in love with it as a movie. But because I just kind of found this in a haul and because it’s SO poorly represented online (theres almost NO high res art for this movie available online and at the time of writing this it sits ona paltry 98 ratings on IMDB with only one on site review to add insult to injury! it REALLY feels like this is a forgotten movie. and thats genuinely quite sad to me.

Steve James would die 4 years after this film was made and this was seen as one of his big shots to break out of the sidekick role and into a leading actor position. and in this film he MORE than handles that role near perfectly. Unfortunately after this film, barring an appearence in a supporting role on an episode of “Pee Wees Playhouse” most of his roles up to his death were for direct to video fodder or forgotten TV shows. it really feels like some quite fantastic talent fell through the cracks here and the more I can do to put this frankly fantastic actor on a higher pedestal then hopefully the more people will see what they’re missing.

Obviously; when it comes to publishing these articles for my site I have no knowledge of how these reviews are going to perform on youtube. In the past i’ve had reviews I was sure were going to be big hits absolutely bomb out into obscurity (See: Christmas Evil) eqully i’ve had episodes that I wasnt too sure about that’ve gone on to rake in views quick and heavy! (See: Dot and Spots magical christmas adventure) but if I could wish ANY film Im reviewing this season success beyond what pushing im capable of doing. I think it would be this one. Because more people need to see “Riverbend” it’s really something quite special.

Almost all of the promotional material for this film is some variation of this photo backed by either a forest of the US flag. I personally think it’s pretty decent.

OH! and because this films SO underrepresented online. heres the box art scanned in HD. because bloody hell there really is nothing out there.

Jaws of the Dragon (1974)

This film was pretty rubbish. thats the lasting memory I have of this review (which was written and recorded in November/December last year and edited in early January of this year.) I literally cannot remember single detail of this film other than the fact it was cut to shreds and…well…for lack of a better word. it was shite. and im pretty happy I never have to sit through it again. it’s a total filler movie. it exists to simply kill time and make the movie that follows it look ten times better. once this review goes live; I shall be looking into selling my copy at the next convenience.

Actually; while we’re dealing with this. Here’s as good a place as any to talk about the VHS movie reviews of this season. so. for this season I decided to have a bit of a spring clean and as such I chose to try and cover more VHS based movies as possible (As they tend to take up the most shelf space and tend to be in various states of disrepair) so this seasons a little more top heavy on VHS content than previous seasons. all of the tape based movies in this run (barring 1) were first time watches and I had no idea what I was getting into. all I knew was that I wanted to free up some space and that the tapes I covered more often than not had interesting covers. Jaws of the dragon was a total mystery tape in that regard as the original boxart was missing and the spool of tape within the chassy was woefully short. It had a simple white lable and plaine text…I really didnt know what I was getting into with this one, and I’d saved this tape specifically because of it being a bit of an enigma. I was not impressed.

The “Casino Royale” (1967) Comedy Dining Experience

So! a new season of TYTD Reviews in imminently upon us, BUT! as we’re still on a break until February 5th on the reviews front, it means all you lucky people get a double helping of the Comedy Dining Experience this time round! And as a way of seeing off the 60’s and the connery era on the whole we thought it best to bookend this decade with arguably one of the messiest, most calamatous films we’ve ever covered.

This film is a frantic mess, it pains me really to call it a film AND THATS ME TALKING! but both me and Ben had quite the blast doing this one. Unfortunately we did encounter a few audio issues with this recording. for reasons we’re not entirely sure how or why the audio seemingly drifts helplessly off course from the 30 minute point onwards. in spite of us clap synching in AND out when I lined up the audio it just seemed to drift further and further away. This is the only episode this drift issue has happened on and we can only put it down to the fact that Ben had to send me his side of this recording via a burnt CD-R

So maybe it was read/write speeds? maybe it was playback issues? I dont know. either way this version *Should* in theory stay synched to the whole film (Or at the very least. it begins when the film begins and ends when the credits finish without the drift being too noticable a problem.

So! this is it! the end of 60’s era Bond! We’ll be giving you guys a double helping of commentaries in February, though no Bond this month while we gear up for the new reviews. We’ll be back on the Bond scene in March with “Live and Let die” and from there normal service will resume as we tackle 70’s Bond!

This poster is Some kind of a woman! MUCHA MUCHACHA!!!

Finishing the Complete Eighth Season (2020)

Given what was going on at the time this season was being created its a miracle that you’re even seeing the below playlist quite honestly. Season 8 was the first season to be full written during the Pandemic (I believe the first script was written some time in April and the last script was finally penned in October) and; though I think back on this season from the comfy room of 2021 with the sense that it was all “Too Easy” when I actually stop and think what was going on, it definitely seems to be quite the opposite.

For a starters, there was the pandemic. Which; well, it was good in some ways…through April,May and June I was pretty much stuck in a national lockdown with nothing to do BUT write and edit these scripts. That and working from home allowed a greater flexibility in my working hours allowing me to work scriptwriting and editing into my lunch breaks.

The downside to all this however was that the lockdown effected my partners health quite severely, leading to a number of trips to the hospital and, not wanting to go into too much detail, but a few very important people in our lives had to move on to new ventures (They’re not dead! we just cant really be involved with them anymore!) which really didnt help the mood.

Then from June to September I was in the middle of renovations. and Ladies and Gents. Let me be frank. I know these renovations were a long time overdue (at least 15 years overdue) I know they desperately needed doing, and now im sat here in a lush, gorgeous new space writing this out Im happy I did what I did. at the time I was in abject misery. I ached pretty much non stop from stripping wallpaper, taking light fittings out and carrying heavy flat pack furniture and hard wood exceedingly and almost comical distances. I loathed having to sofa surf during a pandemic because the room where my Bed is was being used as storage. I detested the fact the the weather was a near constant 36-40 degrees celcius and that buildings in britain are built to keep heat IN not let it OUT.

In fact; the only good memory I have of the summer of 2020 was that, at one point, the conditions of the lockdown lifted and I was able to take my car out on a quasi long distance run (like; 50-60 miles round trip) where the sun was delightful, the music was good, the roads were empty and I was living my best life for all of an hour and 30 minutes. The rest of it, was arse.

Equally; the Renovations ran drastically over. meaning what should have been an 18 episode run for this season ended up having to be cut down to a 16 episode run + 1 collaboration. which was not ideal…but luckily I’ve been able to carry over the 2 dropped episodes into Season 9.

So September rolled around, I jumped on my machine, edited together the first 6 episodes of this season and then my harddrive exploded. as in, literally shut down. couldnt get anything on or off it that was bigger than 2gb in size. it was dead. and…for a time I panicked. I panicked violently because on that drive were all 17 audio recordings, 6 edited episodes and all of my current branding material.

Mercifully, through a mixture of cloud storage solutions and periodic backups I was able to recover, relink and rexport ALL the original premiere pro files. which meant in as little as 5 days I went from losing everything to being back in the race. and…mercifully at least, from there things went very smoothly. the last 2 episodes written and recorded were “Garfields Halloween Adventure” and “Silent Night Deadly Night” which were both done in October, both recorded at my partners flat in a hurry and both edited on the hoof to try and get them out the door and into the schedules (I really hope it doesnt show)

Season 8 was an absolute Journey to complete and when a collaborative effort involving 7 people is the EASIEST part of editing for the season. you know somethings not quite gone right. It was a good one in terms of the films I got to see though, “Truck Turner” is probably one of my all time favourite Blacksplotation films, “Silent Night, Deadly Night” was a hoot of a first time watch, Reviewing AND doing a commentary for “Robot in the Family” was brain meltingly entertaining and whats more. I got to experience all of these wonderful film moments with friends. which…at a time when isolation is one of the biggest by-products of this whole blasted neusence. was incredibly life affirming.

So this is me; closing the door once and for all on Season 8. another chapter in TYTD History. Not to let the Ego run ahead of me, but I think seasons 7 and 8 have heralded some of the best work I’ve ever done. and I really hope Season 9 and 2021 keep that momentum going.

The “Diamonds are Forever” (1971) Comedy Dining Experience

Im not going to lie, the Christmas schedule this year was a bit of a weird one. this could kind of be considered a last minute decision as I still hadnt really decided what would be the last commentary me and Ben would do to round out 2020 even a week before this one went live. initially I wanted to try and get myseld, Laura and Ben together to record 2 commentaries for December, a Bond film and a traditional Christmas movie (Something like; “A Christmas Carol” or “It’s a Wonderful Life” even a comedy like “Jingle all the way” or “National Lampoons Christmas Vacation” but there was a bit of resistence on all sides to the idea.

Laura wasnt feeling too well through most of December and didnt feel up to it, and Ben was super busy juggling everything that was going on over “A Very Lockdown Christmas” alongside his feeling that “We shouldnt really do ‘Comedy’ movies, they’re not fun to talk over because it’s rare that you’ll be able to top the jokes going on in the movie and you kind of have to watch a comedy in order to appreciate it.” which, when he put it like that. totally made sense to me.

but that then left the problem of “What do we put out then!?” Since bringing the 2nd hand laptop into play we’ve been able to meet up monthly and record a couple of movies each time we hang out. in fact; at the time of writing we have 6 commentaries in the bag and when we do our next session in February we should have episodes that run right the way up to mid July. essentially the choice ultimately boiled down to, we could put up a non bond movie with a special guest as a bit of a bonus treat, or we could put out a Bond film and see the year out in style.

Ultimately; we settled on the Bond movie for 3 reasons:

A – In the UK; It’s just isnt christmas if there isnt a Bond movie going playing somewhere.

B – This Is Sean Connery’s last “Canon” Bond film and it seemed right to tie off his era and leave the whole damn thing in 2020 rather than dragging it into 2021

C – This film is ULTRA campy, surreal and we had a lot of fun with this commentary

So with all of that in mind. it seemed like a no brainer! anyway! here’s Diamonds are Forever. the last canon adventure with Randy Grampa…though it will be FAR from the last time we hear off him!

Happy new year all!

I sure hope this cashino doeshnt have any Shpiders…

The True Game of Death (1979)

Yep. We’re doing Brucesplotation again. Look; theres honestly so many of them with such wildly varying quality that frankly. I cant NOT cover them. they’re such a fascinating concept to me. I touch upon this in my review for the film itself but…can you actually imagine a celebrity known for a VERY specific thing dying. and rather than cementing there talent for the work they produced. 2 dozen studios launch knock off versions of the exact same act while TRYING to make out that the now dead celebrity is in someway tied to the movie (Chevviesploitation lives on in our minds, hearts and souls.)

I just find the whole thing a REALLY weird concept and like a moth to a flame I just keep having to come back to it. That and im not going to lie…I own a metric crap ton of these movies via hauls i’ve inhereted over the years. So yeh! “The True Game of Death” one of the more boring and bizzare moves from the genre. basically a near shot for shot remake of “Game of death” but with way more slow-mo, all the expensive scenes missing and slightly crappier direction. is it the worst Brucesploitation film in the world? well. of all the ones i’ve seen and reviewed for this channel yes. yes it is…at least so far.

The UK big box ex-rental cover for this release is way better than this poster, unfortunately my VHS copy was super faded and there wernt any high res copies online. So the poster’s the best I have to work with. It’s not offensively bad. it’s just not my thing.

The “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” (1969) Comedy Dining Experience

So! after what seems like literally forever (about 7 months by all accounts) both myself and Ben were finally reunited (And it felt SO good!) lockdown restrictions in the UK eased off for a little while and so with mere days before our city entered a Tier 3 restriction (Here meaning, no mixing indoors, no driving to local beauty spots and NO comedy dining experiences) Ben came over to my house and we bashed out 3 of these rapid fire to ensure that at the absolute worst we had commentaries up to and including February.

Shortly after the restrictions came into play were FINALLY able to secure Ben a laptop meaning that for now…we’re able to work together remotely baby yeh! and we’ve recorded another 3 (at the time of writing) over the internet (Huzzah!) with just a couple of gaps in the calendar left to fill before I can take my foot off the gas for a bit and take things niiiiice and smooth.

So! here’s On her majesty’s secret service! it was the first one we recorded since meeting back up. and we had a lot of fun with it (if we’re being egotistical we both said we really enjoyed doing this one and we think its ace and top IDST)

While not strictly a poster, this piece of fan art is REALLY something special!…unfortunately I couldnt find the name of the owner. so if you made this. please let me know and I’ll be more than happy to credit you!