by Kevin on

Nick Nadel invited me to watch PREDATOR for his podcast MOVIES MY FRIENDS HAVE NEVER SEEN. (Each episode Nick watches a well-known film with someone who’s seeing it for the first time.) 

I won’t spoil the movie (which, y’know, came out over 30 years ago) but I will spoil the podcast by telling you that I saw PREDATOR as a movie about Vietnam. 

Click HERE to listen for yourself. 

Image result for predator fright flicks

These are some of the trading cards I mention in the episode. (Thanks DinosaurDracula.com for the image.) 


***RELATED LINKS***

Podcast: Watching BATMAN RETURNS for MOVIES MY FRIENDS HAVE NEVER SEEN

IFC essay: 6 Movies that Are Secretly About Vietnam

Short list piece: NIXON Figures of my youth

Video from my old AMC series: 

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by Kevin on

At the first-annual Brooklyn Brain Jam I had the pleasure of interviewing two inspiring nerds — Alex Robinson and Pete the Retailer. These guys have been podcasting daily about the Star Wars Saga for close to 3 years. (Visit StarWarsMinute for full episodes.)  

Now you can hear our interview below, taped live at the Bell House. 

Bonus: At the end of the segment we’re joined by  Noah Tarnow (host of The Big Quiz Thing) for a round of trivia, using the 1982 quiz book written by an 11-year-old boy. Play along and see if you know more than our expert panel. 

ALSO: This month, Alex and Pete are co-hosting Kevin Geeks Out About Space Operas, where we look at some of our favorite STAR WARS rip-offs, along with other favorites of the sub-genre. Get tickets here.


Kevin Geeks Out About Space Operas from Kevin Maher on Vimeo.

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by Kevin on


My Nerd Nite presentation on Super Villains is available in podcast form. Play it HERE

The voice matrix was created for KEVIN GEEKS OUT ABOUT SUPER VILLAINS, co-curated by Tenebrous Kate. She wasn’t in this show, but I’ve included Kate’s contributions.

Here are some visuals to enhance your listening experience: 

Thanks for listening. 

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by Kevin on


I was honored to be a guest on WNYC’S The Brian Lehrer Show. The topic was STAR WARS. (Fitting since my next Kevin Geeks Out show is all about Space Operas

You can listen to it HERE.

When I was booked I only knew we’d be talking about STAR WARS. Because of who I am, I thought of LOTS of talking points. Here are some stray thoughts I had prepared but didn’t get to use….

*** 

OPENING NIGHT

On the opening night of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS I was at the Brooklyn Academy of Music with my 8-year-old son seeing a retelling of THE NUTCRACKER. It was a modern update on the classic story, different and ironic but still driven by powerful music. 

THE FORCE AWAKENS is pretty much the same thing. A current retelling of a classic story. With powerful music. 

And there’s nothing wrong with that. 

Disney is playing a long con, they will release a new STAR WARS film every year. And each year the movie will be something you can bring the kids and the grandparents to — and everyone will have a nice time. 



*** 

THE FORCE AWAKENS – STAR WARS’ ECHO CHAMBER

People criticize the new film for following the story beats of A NEW HOPE. 

I’m reminded of a phrase repeated throughout BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: “All of this has happened before and will happen again.” 

Everyone is going through motions already repeated. (And that includes 40-year-olds complaining about a STAR WARS movie.) 


Here’s a fun game: when someone criticizes THE FORCE AWAKENS for going all JURASSIC WORLD by being a beat-for-beat remake of the first film, ask if they would make the same complaint about EVIL DEAD 2. (I knew this talking point wouldn’t play on NPR.) 

***

THE NOSTALGIA TRADITION

The institution of STAR WARS is based in nostalgia. In the 1970s, following his own nostalgia story AMERICAN GRAFFITI, George Lucas had wanted to make a big-screen version of a childhood favorite: FLASH GORDON

Ironically he couldn’t get the rights, because another producer beat him to it. Dino DeLaurentiis had staked a claim in FLASH GORDON. (Dino had already remade another childhood favorite, the 1976 KING KONG, and was planning to produce a film version of another kiddie classic: MANDRAKE THE MAGICIAN starring Jack Nicholson.)

So Lucas created his own space opera. Despite all the spaceships and laser guns, the film was a “gee-whiz” throwback to a simpler time; decidedly unlike the morally ambiguous genre-benders of New American Cinema. While movies like ROCKY and THE BAD NEWS BEARS featured humble victories where underdogs lose but still win, STAR WARS showed the good guys winning in no uncertain terms — by blowing up the Death Star! (Luke pretty much has an orgasm when he fires.) 

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by Kevin on

Bruce Campbell says “Movies that are easy to make are hard to watch.”

Maybe so, but this is the most fun I’ve had taping a podcast AND it’s damn good listening.

Comedian/long-time friend Liam McEneaney hosts a conversation with TV’s Frank (Frank Conniff of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fame), Musician Cat Popper and me.

Listen to the episode HERE

Liam’s regular podcast, titled TELL YOUR FRIENDS, is a mix of interviews and comedy and storytelling. The concept of TOP 3 is simple: Liam and his guests name their top 3 favorites in a given area.

Topics include Top 3 Favorite Stephen King works (Non-Novels)

Top 3 Science-Fiction TV shows

Top 3 Bassists

Plus some nice tangents about houseboat owners in New York City and a personal anecdote about Duke Ellington. 

Listen to it all right HERE

*** 

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by Kevin on

(NOTE: a version of this essay appeared as part of KEVIN GEEKS OUT a monthly video-variety show at Nitehawk Cinema; October’s theme was Stephen King.) 

Like any prolific author, Stephen King has his recurring themes: psychic children, working writers, religious fanatics, even blue overalls. But there’s also the laundry. 
 
Laundry shows up in the adaptations of IT, THE STAND, THE MANGLER, STAND BY ME, DOLORES CLAIBORNE, NEEDFUL THINGS and PET SEMETARY.  (See video below)

  Stephen King Hates Laundry from Kevin Maher on Vimeo.

In each instance laundry is associated with dread. There’s more than just the mundane work of cleaning clothes — it’s seeing your working life stretched out in front of you or confronting something awful between the sheets. 

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by Kevin on

The next KGO show promises to “scare the hell outta you.”

KEVIN GEEKS OUT ABOUT STEPHEN KING
a Horror video variety show just days before Halloween


WHEN: Thursday October 29th, 9:30pm
WHERE: Nitehawk Cinema in Brooklyn
HOW MUCH: $15

Click HERE for tickets. 

Trailer: KEVIN GEEKS OUT ABOUT STEPHEN KING from Nitehawk Cinema on Vimeo.


Covering 40 years of film and TV projects, with close readings of the famous and infamous Stephen King adaptations: the good, the bad, the good-bad and the bad-bad.

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by Kevin on

I saw these on Facebook and had to put them together. 


First is a 1962 quote about the Mets from Jimmy Breslin. 

Second is a photo that says the same thing with fewer words. 

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by Kevin on

NOTE: Recently I was invited back to my alma mater to talk about working in the Entertainment Industry. 


This is the speech I was too chicken to give. 

Please enjoy and share with young people or anyone interested in learning more about film. 

*      *      * 


Good afternoon, Film Students. 

You know, if I had to choose between making an independent feature or killing a man, I would choose murder. Because the killing wouldn’t take 9 years of my life. Or a Kickstarter campaign. (Doing another Kickstarter campaign would kill me.)
Seriously though, my message to new college graduates is: if you have to choose between becoming a filmmaker or becoming a murderer, go with murder. Your parents will be relieved that you’re not making a movie. Hate-based murder is something everyone understands. Especially married people.
If you want to become a murderer, you can just do it. From day one, you’re the boss. You don’t have to spend the first few years paying your dues, fetching coffee for more successful murderers who you don’t even like. You’re not required to stand on a corner asking people, “Could you walk on the other side of the street? We’re about to start murdering.”
Here’s another reason being a murderer is better than being a filmmaker: If you work hard planning and pulling off a really difficult murder, your friends won’t say “Hmm, it was just okay.” Your best friend would never tell you, “It was good, but… I would’ve have murdered that woman differently…”
When a murderer goes to a cocktail party people might treat him like a filmmaker, at first.  They’ll ask “But how do you make a living?”
Or they’ll just assume you’re a lousy murderer. “Well, I’ve never heard of any of your murders…”  
And the real assholes will give you advice about how to make it as a Murderer. “You should move to Detroit. That’s a big murder city.”  Oh, apparently there was a story on CBS Sunday Morning and now you’re an expert on my craft?!
But those people are being defensive. One, because they fear they are going to be murdered by you. And two, because you make them realize what a boring life they live.
Before the night is over, at least one drunk party-guest will pull you aside and admit, “You know I’ve always wanted to feel the rush that comes with committing a murder. But I’ve been so intimidated by the social norms and legal ramifications.”  In other words: everyone wishes they could be you.
  
Films schools say they encourage people to think outside the box. “Ohh this independent drama really says a lot about gender.”
Hey, serial killer Ed Gein murdered people while dressed up like a woman.  How’s that for subverting gender roles?
Aspiring movie-makers act like their job is something special. “Oh I’m following that new screenwriter on twitter, he’s really killing it.”
No, murderers – THEY are really killing it.
  
Indie filmmakers brag that they made a movie on a “shoe-string” budget.  But creative murderers have killed people with nothing more than a shoestring.
Filmmakers are always giving each other some bullshit awards. If there were a red carpet gala for murder, all the guests would be like, “Man, this carpet would be great for disposing of a murdered body.”

Thankfully, the mainstream media still treats murderers with respect. When someone in New York City is murdered, the newspapers describe it with fear and terror. You never get into the back of a taxi and hear Sandy Kenyon say, “Here’s a murder that was uninspired and condescending.”
Because if he said that, Sandy Kenyon knows he’d get murdered.

I guess at the end of the day, some people just don’t have what it takes to be murderers, so they settle for filmmaking instead. 

* * *  

(Save time for Q&A. Answer several questions about living in New York vs. L.A.)



***RELATED***

Two Killer Jokes

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