Category Archives: Science fiction

Really Awful Movies: Ep 180 – Rollerball



In a world…where a gruesome blood sport placates a docile public…That’s the milieu of Rollerball, a Norman Jewison-directed, James Caan-starring 70s dystopian hit.

Houston is the best team on the planet, led by crafty veteran uh, “rollerballer” Jonathan E (played by Caan). Globalism is the order of the day, and the New World Order includes corporations ruling the world. And corporate interests fund this sport, which is an odd hybrid of roller derby, baseball, football, basketball, hockey, and pinball! (but with spikes. Oh, and motorcycles).

Rollerball practitioners live high on the hog, indulging in splendor the likes of which none of us can imagine, women, pills, booze, etc. Of course, this isn’t different from any major sport today. What IS different, is that corporate interests occasionally interfere, making the game that much more dangerous…and keeping its more “dissident” elements in check (that being, reluctant superstar Jonathan E).

So, this nasty spectacle keeps the populace entertained, as they know no racial or economic strife, yet have their individual freedoms curtailed. So, is the flick successful?

On this episode of the Really Awful Movies Podcast:

  • What’s with James Caan and 70s hair?
  • What are the different kinds of dystopian films?
  • What was Jewison up to and what was his purpose?
  • What other movies is Rollerball similar to?
  • What’s the deal with “futuristic” movies and their aesthetic?
  • Would we take part in, or watch Rollerball if it existed in some form today?

Join us!

 


Really Awful Movies: Ep 171 – The Giant Gila Monster



The Giant Gila Monster is not only a 1959 monster movie, there’s a sci fi component too. And hell, it’s a hot rod juvenile delinquent flick too.

The Giant Gila Monster was directed by Ray Kellogg and produced by Ken Curtis.

It’s a decidedly low-budget affair, meant to be an accompaniment to the equally less-than-spectacular The Killer Shrews (another Ken Curtis production), a film perhaps best known for being sent up on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

The film stars failed matinee idol Don Sullivan, a veteran of several low budget monster and zombie films, and Lisa Simone, the French contestant for Miss Universe of 1957 (who had zero acting chops), as well as “comic relief” of Shug Fisher and KLIF disc jockey Ken Knox.

The effects included a live Mexican beaded lizard (not an actual Gila monster) filmed on a scaled-down model landscape.

A drive-in cash-in, the film is a pretty good example of the kind of creature feature the 1950s were famous for.

In our discussion of the film on the Really Awful Movies Podcast, we delve into 50s sensibilities, the singing abilities of Don Sullivan (and the infamous Mushroom Song), our total inability to speak Spanish (which we butcher like a hog), language use, and of course, spinning platters.