60 - Phenomenon

Is PHENOMENON a brilliantly low-key push-back against standard superhero movies? Or is it a boring John Travolta vehicle featuring the most unremarkable person to ever get superpowers? Is it a mistake or a masterstroke to have Travolta play the nicest guy since George Bailey? That scene where Kyra Sedgwick shaves him: romantic and sexy or awkward and creepy? And is that really Robert Duvall's butt? It's The Contrarians' sixth Grey Area Episode, which means the Tomatometer is split in half and Alex and Julio will argue all throughout this one!

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Bonus! - Hairspray (2007)

What's more passive-aggressive racist than a movie full of white people whitesplaining racism while they keep black people away from the spotlight? In this bonus late night, long distance recording, Alex and Julio reckon with the musical adaptation of HAIRSPRAY, a film that tries to fight segregation by focusing on the love story between two super white kids. This new installment of The Summer of Travolta asks the question: should a (re)established male movie star be taking a prominent female role that could have gone to an actress in need of a breakout part? And how silly it is that all it takes is the combined powers of Zac Effron and James Marsden to end racial inequality in America? And was Michelle Pfeiffer's character really that evil, or just unfairly maligned by the patriarchy?

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59 - Pulp Fiction

Why should we care for a bunch of despicable criminals? "Because they're cool!", says Quentin Tarantino. John Travolta's comeback vehicle gets The Contrarians Treatment as Alex and Julio wonder why Uma Thurman speaks like Juno McGuff, why Tarantino wouldn't cast an actual actor to play Jimmy and, more importantly, what gives Travolta those time-traveling regenerative powers. And are Bruce Willis' terrible breakfast habits to blame for everything? Why can't we get a whole movie about Eric Stoltz? Most importantly: how can a movie with so many guns have so little action?!?!?!

The Summer of Travolta continues!

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58 - Battlefield Earth

The Summer of Travolta begins!!! Oh, and how. Listen to Alex and Julio as they plumb the depths of the Tomatometer and discover a misunderstood epic fantasy that could have, and should have, been a game-changer. John Travolta's passion project is an ode to human resourcefulness and resilience. More subtly, it's also a visual poem about the plight of both, blue and white collar workers. And, almost imperceptibly, it's a generous Barry Pepper vehicle as well!

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57 - Chasing Amy

The year was 1997 and a young white man cracked the code. Kevin Smith decided to tell the rest of us what gay women were all about. The nerve of this guy, right? Well, critics and audiences ate it up, and CHASING AMY holds a sweet 88% on the Tomatometer. Listen to the horrified Alex and Julio as they discuss how Smith got away with mansplaining lesbians, how an actual love story between Ben Affleck and Jason Lee would've been more interesting, and how the world "problematic" apparently didn't exist back in the 90s.

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Bonus! - Man on the Moon

It's Wrestlemania time, which means we are due for another Bonus Wrestlemania Episode! So Alex and Julio go Full Kaufman by picking a movie that waits about an hour to get to its big wrestling set piece: Jerry Lawler beating the hell out of Jim Carrey. It's a Rotten-Tomatoes-endorsed Possessed-Carrey vehicle about the Ultimate Troll, and the joke is on us, the audience! Listen as The Contrarians wrestle (get it?) with how empty the movie made them feel and also with what it's like to see the original cast of TAXI pretending to be 30 years younger.

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56 - Catch and Release

Behold: a movie that shows you how to grieve the right way. Sussanah Grant’s CATCH AND RELEASE may look like an average rom-com vehicle full of beautiful charismatic people – and oh god are they all gorgeous -- but underneath it all lies enough pain and confusion to create a thousand ugly crying faces. Listen to Alex and Julio swoon for Jennifer Garner and Timothy Olyphant, marvel at a rare Kevin Smith performance written and directed by someone other than himself, and confirm that anything is automatically better when you add Juliette Lewis to the mix. It’s the first half of our Kevin Smith Appreciation Two-Parter!

Plus: a brief discussion of GOOD TIME and JIM AND ANDY during Real Talk!

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55 - Fantastic Mr. Fox

What the cuss is this? An alleged kid's movie featuring broken marriages, rabid dogs, mutilated tails and... SMOKING?!?!?! Listen to Alex and Julio as they quickly realize stop-motion Wes Anderson is just as pretentious as live-action Wes Anderson but looks worse. FANTASTIC MR. FOX may have an all-star cast, but is it worth it when you can't really see their beautiful faces? And don't get us started on the plot holes...

Also: we reveal the line-up for the SUMMER OF TRAVOLTA event!

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54 - Tank Girl

YEEEAAAH, TANK GIRL!!!! Lost among the myriad of failed adaptations in the 1990s lies a fantastic Looney-Toonish feminist manifesto that clearly scared too many people in Hollywood. Listen to Alex and Julio as they discuss Lori Petty's powerhouse performance as a female Bugs Bunny superhero, Malcolm McDowell's prescient take on a future American president and Naomi Watts' heartbreaking film debut in The States. All this and Ice-T as a mutant kangaroo too!

Not enough for you? We'll also announce our Summer 2018 Project!

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53 - American Hustle

Christian Bale's combover. Amy Adams' accent. Bradley Cooper's perm. Jennifer Lawrence singing "Live or Let Die". Yes, on paper, AMERICAN HUSTLE is a comedy. On the screen? It's an experience so excruciating, Alex and Julio needed help from Down Under to get through it. Chas Fisher, host of the podcast DRAFT ZERO, returns to the show to discuss David O. Russell's lack of regard for sensible storytelling, wonder what dark secrets Russell knows about all these talented actors and, of course, be horrified by how this movie treats women.

All this, plus: some spoilery LAST JEDI talk and a super cute cameo by Chas' daughter in the post-credits clip.

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