Great podcast! It was so great to hear Doug again, and I hope he continues to participate regularly. I remember reading Starship Troopers when I was a kid (it definitely is pro-fascist, which zoomed right over my head at that age), and when I saw the first trailer I was bummed because they clearly were not doing the powered armor. Fortunately I saw the movie anyway, and have love, love, loooved it ever since. The film turned out to be pretty damn prescient about certain events that transpired from 2001 on. What makes it work so well is that it doesn’t need to criticize any particular nation or ideology – it simply examines how war changes society. As the director himself said, “war makes fascists of us all.” Like all great science fiction, the movie manages to slip in commentary about Our World Today in a slightly disguised fashion. One of the things I find morbidly humorous about the film is Johnny Rico’s accelerated rise up the ranks – due mostly to him managing to survive while the higher ranks get annihilated around him. Another nice touch is using the David Bowie song “I Have Not Been to Oxfordtown” during the school dance (sung in the film by the composer’s daughter). It has a nice fatalistic theme for these kids who are about to go off to their doom:Toll the bell,Watch the days go by.All is well,23rd century dies.Happy dancing, everyone!
Great discussion. I liked where the conversation concluded regarding getting or not getting a movie. I think of it as being in rhythm with the film-maker; if you are on the same wavelength the movie resonates with you. If not, oh well. Given how niche-specific consumer markets have become, we should get used to the idea that things won't always work for us.Starship Troopers had a production budget of $100-$105 million, and made $121 million in worldwide box office. Not sure about video sales, but at best the movie might have broken even.The trench coat clad men JB saw at Spring Breakers would probably support a Showgirls remake with Selena Gomez. :-)
I have Doug in my ears! YEAH! :-)
Interesting this was the movie today because I just watched Candyman last night and I think they have a lot in common as far as public reaction goes. Now just bare with me for a second before you say "What the hell?" Both movies have significantly more depth than many give them credit for or are criticized for sending out messages that are the complete opposite of what their meanings are. Candyman was often attacked for being racist when in fact it is an examination of the depths of American racism and it's lingering and cancerous effects on society. ST was attacked for being pro-fascist when it is in fact saying the exact opposite. When it comes down to it though I think the real problem is peoples prejudices against the genres the two movies are in. There is a large segment of society that automatically dismiss horror and/or sci-fi as superficial tripe. Having said all that I am still not a huge ST fan. Don't know what it is but something doesn't do it for me. Maybe it was that they had the shower scene and Denise Richards wasn't in it? What the hell were you thinking Paul?
Looper is super overrated.Wait that mean. Here, take a teensie piece of this cactus candy.I thought Chronicle was a pleasant surprise though, much like Afflicted was this year. While I do have a problem with the climax, overall I thought the movie was quite enjoyable. I especially like the fact that it took the time to show the kids using their abilities for their own pleasure. Most superhero movies forget to take the time to do that, which is probably the first thing everyone would do if they were in the same situation.I am interested to read about your thoughts on Afflicted though, as it's definitely a movie horror connoisseurs should check out.
I'm looking forward to seeing Afflicted. I've heard good things.
Art is subjective, but people's stupidity is not.
Is it unreasonable to request an entire episode of Patrick doing his LA accent? I enjoyed it so much!
What a great episode - not just because DOUG, but because, proving once again that we should be best friends instead of me just skulking around your house looking through your trash, I really, really love Starship Troopers. I "got it" in the theatre the first time, which I wouldn't have thought deserved any back-patting but apparently there are people who don't get it? I love that Verhoeven always has something relevant to say in his movies and he wraps it in such an entertaining package, but it ain't like unraveling a T.S. Eliot poem or anything - it's pretty easy to "get".But anyway, such a fun watch - one of the great things he does (as in Robocop which I just watched again recently - god, that's awesome too) is the use of TV spots/commercials as an exposition tool to SHOW us so much about the world he's created. Instead of a crawl telling us about how society has become more militaristic and violent, for example, we get an immensely entertaining little vignette that shows us everything we need to know about where the characters are coming from. It's so easy and effective it almost feels like cheating. (Note: I started typing this paragraph before I listened to the last 15 minutes so you kinda touched on it already.)Great show about a great movie!
Loved this podcast guys. Watching Contamination, where the alien looks a bit like the one in It came from outer space reminded me of some small parallels between ICFOS and Starship Troopers. Unlike many of the 'red scare' 50s Sci Fi horror films, the alien was not painted as the cold unfeeling alien (stand in for communist) but instead it suggests that we are the more barbaric. I love movies that subvert what we expect and have the intelligence to look at other sides of the debate and Starship Troopers does this to an even greater extent throughout the movie highly successfully.
I've loved Starship Troopers since I was a kid, but lately I've understood more fully what Verhoeven was up to. What I think makes the film one of the greatest movie satires, maybe since Doctor Strangelove, is that it's such a consummate piece of subversion. The director offers his own version of a fascist propaganda film, from the gorgeous actors, to the ultra-violence, to the media brainwashing the people. The film's ultimate brilliance is that, by the end, you totally buy it. Verhoeven uses the tools of pulpy genre filmmaking to explore how wars are fought with guns on the battlefield and with manipulation at home.
I thought this was one of the most fun podcasts in recent memory (I have to catch up on the Majestic podcast). I remember watching this movie and really enjoying it. I remember "getting" the not so subtle subtext, but after listening to you guys, I think I may have missed some "sub subtext". Looking forward to revisiting it. I may have only reached level. 1.5 :)
And, by the way, I think I saw this with my buddy, "Nowak", back in the day on laserdisc... would that be possible or was laserdisc dead by then?
That would have been early '98 I think? Laserdiscs were on their way out by that point, but were still around.
And you just know "Nowak" had this on LaserDisc (in addition to numerous copies of Her Alibi).
Watching Starship Troopers now on Encore... didn't remember how violent this was! Medic!
Speaking of people not liking sci-fi for silly reasons, I will never forget coming out of Star Trek Into Darkness and hearing someone say that they didn't like the movie because the artificial gravity was unrealistic. Not only is that an irrelevant reason to dislike that movie (a movie which coincidentally has plenty of legitimate reasons to dislike), it's not even a very good irrelevant reason to dislike it! Give me something better like "too many lens flares" or something and maybe we can talk, but if "unrealistic artificial gravity" is a deal breaker for you then maybe don't go see movies with spaceships and aliens and laserbeams and stuff.
Been listening to the podcast for almost two years now. I think this was the first episode I listened to or it might have been Kuffs. I love Starship Troopers and Kuffs so I knew I was in good hands. Now I've listened to most of the podcasts more than once and I want more so I'm finally getting around to reading the articles on the site. It's really great stuff you've got here Patrick. Thanks for the site. I went to see Starship Troopers in the theater back in 97 with a group of friends. I had just had my birthday so I was the oldest in the group and apparently the only one old enough to get in to see it. The guy at the ticket counter who seemed like an older authority figure but in retrospect was probably only about 20 years old refused to sell us tickets. So, I had to walk back to the counter by myself and buy six tickets, literally 30 seconds after being turned away. I just remember as he slid the tickets to me he said to me in the most condescending sarcastic voice "You're the man."
Thanks for being with us and for commenting! If you love both Starship Troopers and Kuffs, you clearly have excellent taste and have come to the right place.