Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 073: RoboCop (2014)

In Episode 073, there’s no Andy, but we have Andy’s cat! There’s no Josh (at first), but he joins us after a few moments… There’s no requisite revisitation of the original 1987 “RoboCop” movie, but we bring you an in-depth review of the new “RoboCop” movie with special guest WILLIS WHEELER. And there’s no arguments this time about “Upstream Color,” but we have a very lively and rousing debate about the upcoming “Son of God” movie, so please weigh in by voting below on our poll question:

online polls

Movie Podcast Weekly features four hosts (and frequent guests), who give you their verdict on at least one new movie release that’s currently in theaters, mini-reviews of what they’ve been watching lately, and specialty recommendation segments. New episodes release every single Monday.

I. Intro

II. Mini Reviews
Karl: The Monuments Men, Amadeus, House of Cards Season 2
Willis Wheeler: Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, Flight Plan, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) TV show
Josh: The Train (1964), The Rape of Europa
Jason: The Expelled, RoboCop (1987)

III. Feature Review: ROBOCOP (2014)
Jason: 8.5 ( Theater / Rental )
Karl: 6.5 ( Theater / Rental )
Josh: 8 ( Theater / Rental )
Willis Wheeler: 8.5 ( Theater / Buy it! )

IV. MPW’s Miscellaneous Matters
— Two voice mails from Levi (The Unknown Murderer)
— Jason’s dilemma: Seeing “Son of God” or “Non-Stop”
— Trailer for “Unbroken”
— Another plug for Terry Gross’s interviews of Philip Seymour Hoffman on Fresh Air:
— More raves for “The Lego Movie”

V. Genre Recommendation Segments

Mystery: The Stepford Wives (1975)

Creeps: Primal (2010) – streaming on Netflix until March 1, 2014

Documentary: Bus 174 (2002)

VI. Wrap-Up

NEXT WEEK’S MOVIES: 3 Days to Kill or Pompeii and Winter’s Tale and The Broken Circle Breakdown

Links for this episode:

Willis Wheeler’s plugs:
Willis Wheeler on TV’s Toy Hunter
Terror Troop horror movie podcast
Cinema Beef Podcast
On Twitter: @NastyWillDC
Willis On Facebook
Willis on the NFW Movie Commentary Podcast (mostly horror-related)

NEW! Remember to add Movie Podcast Weekly to your Stitcher playlist here:

Josh (and Jason) say check out Terry Gross’s interviews of Philip Seymour Hoffman on Fresh Air:

Jason says to check out his wife (and Andy’s wife) discussing books here: Book Review Podcast

Jason talks pop culture: The Donut Show

Jason and Josh, especially for horror fans: Horror Movie Podcast

Josh covers streaming movies: Movie Stream Cast

Follow Movie Podcast Weekly on Twitter: @MovieCastWeekly

Special thanks goes out to singer-songwriter Frederick Ingram and the Blue Claw Philharmonic for the use of their music and the voice talents of Midnight Corey Graham from The Electric Chair Podcast, Willis Wheeler from the Terror Troop Podcast and Spike Real for their help with our recommendation segment intros.

We’d also like to thank The Dave Eaton Element and Dave Eaton himself for the use of his music for our theme song.

If you like what we do here at Movie Podcast Weekly, please subscribe and leave us a review in iTunes. If you want to support the show, we have PayPal buttons in our right-hand sidebar where you can make a one-time donation or you can become a recurring donor for just $2 per month.

You can always contact us by e-mailing Or you can call and leave us a voice mail at: (801) 382-8789. And you can leave us a comment in the show notes for this episode.

Thank you for listening, and join us again next Monday for Movie Podcast Weekly.

30 thoughts on “Movie Podcast Weekly Ep. 073: RoboCop (2014)

  1. Willis, I’ve got to back you on that new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. I watched a few episodes with my kids and I gotta say, I enjoyed myself. Now I don’t let them watch it without me. I grew up with the toys, cartoons, and movies, and this cartoon really brings me back.

    • I agree with both Willis and Vance. The new TMNT show is fantastic. It is smart, witty, funny, action packed, full of pop culture references, and its character development is unusually advanced for a kid’s cartoon. I think it’s a great watch with or without kids. Period!

  2. Jay,

    Thanks for finding that voicemail because I absolutely forgot everything I had said about Upstream Color. In fact, I need to work less on my dream recall and more on my memory in daily waking life. My wife would support that comment.

    Regarding Son of God, I balked at the movie poster because “Oh great, now we get a movie with Handsome Pretty Jesus!” Produced by Roma Downey of Touched by an Angel. Blech! One reason I respect The Passion of the Christ so much is that the physical representation of Jesus in the film didn’t violate the verse in Isaiah about the Savior’s ordinary appearance. And I vote that you go, Jay. When you said you don’t want to validate what isn’t good, I believe I will appreciate your take on the film.

    I don’t agree with you on Jesus of Nazareth, though. That Jesus came across like a Stoned-Out-Of-His-Gourd Jesus. Staring into the air and speaking softly, just kinda, you know, trippin’, man…

    As for Noah, I heard something not good. As in, test screenings were not positive because Arronofsky changed the basic theme of the film from biblical ideas to current environmental political ones. Paramount told him he should change it to address the concerns of the test audience but the director, in his contract, has final cut. So what we may be getting is a story about man serving the Earth instead of being a steward of it. It might be screwy.

    And you guys have done it again. I had no plans to go see Robocop but after listening to the four of you, I’ve changed my mind. Going Friday.

    – Levi

    • Your comment impressed me, Levi … as always. Yeah, I’m going to see “Son of God” and give my verdict on it as I would any other film, even if it’s an “Avoid,” I’ll tell it.

      I was shocked by your take on the Robert Powell portrayal of Christ, though I guess I could see why you’d feel that way. But his mannerisms and behavior in that film always spoke to me as those of a man whose insights and perspective are light years beyond everyone else around him. I don’t know what Jesus looks like, but I always picture Robert Powell. (I loved your reference to Isaiah 53:2 “…he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” I also loved The Passion of the Christ for its presumably true-to-life depictions.)

      What you said about “Noah” worries me, but that sounds about right for a Hollywood adaptation (read: bastardization) of a biblical story. Our friend and fellow believer, Scott Teal, said something similar about worrying they wouldn’t simply stick to “the source material.” Perhaps they can’t help themselves…

      And Levi, I think you will enjoy RoboCop, particularly for its attempt to make the story unfold plausibly and logically. Just remember, though: It’s closer to “Snitch” than it is to “Die Hard.” Enjoy!

      Thanks for writing.

      • Since Jay mentions this “unfolding plausibly and logically” stuff here and degrades super hero origin stories with that line, I thought I’d mention that here. So, Jay, basically a fair comparison would be that since we were eased into Robocop being a man in an armored suit I can only assume you’d like us to spend 30 minutes seeing what the genetically engineered spider is up to before jumping into a man with the powers of a spider? Just checking.

  3. I really enjoyed the directors cut of Amadeus, so I think there is a version of truth to Jasons comment that the version that is viewed first would be more likely to be the preferred version. I would really like to see the theatrical, and cannot believe that the theatrical is not available on blu-ray – especially considering that there is no way to see the version that won best picture on the best format available.

    Regarding directors cuts, I used to default to the directors cut figuring more is better. After watching the directors cut of Leon – The Professional, I have started defaulting to the theatrical automatically. I hated the directors cut of Leon and thought it completely changed tone of the movie.

    • It really varies by film and filmmaker. I’ve seen a director’s cut save a film that was really bad in the theaters, like Ridley’s Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven. On the other hand, I wish he’d stop tinkering with Blade Runner. I’d love to see the Billy Bob Thornton cut of All the Pretty Horses or the Guillermo del Toro version of Mimic. On the other hand, I’d love to see Kevin Smith’s Red State if he brought in an actual editor to cut it and I’d consider paying for a new editor to take on George Clooney’s The Monuments Men, for that matter.

  4. With the opening weekend numbers for Robocop, I doubt we will be seeing any sequels for the new movie. With a production budget of $130m it looks like like it is not going to make back its budget anytime soon.

    • which is really sad because even though i walked into the movie with skeptical expectation, the movie was pretty good and is holding up on its own. like the guys mentioned, it is about alex murphy more than the robocop and i do like the action bit when robo was fighting that army units. i would love to see the sequal of it… to see the further development of robo’s character and more homage of the detroit city.

      well. what can we say….

    • Also, contrary to what Willis reported on the show, “The Lego Movie” blew “About Last Night” and “RoboCop” out of the water. It made more than both of them put together: $49M vs. $25M and $21M for the 3-day weekend. (It was even more of a butt-kicking — $62M vs. $27M and $25M — after they added in President’s Day.)

  5. Karl, Amadeus is also in my top movies of all time. If not my top five, definitely in my top ten. The performances are incredible and are really what carries this movie. Not to take away from all of the other elements of the film, but the acting is just so awe inspiring that it’s hard to describe. It’s definitely a ten.

    Guys, the original Robocop is a ten for sure. Thank you Josh for calling it a ten. I don’t even need to defend it. I mean it’s an 88% at rotten tomatoes. Not bad for an “action flick”. Speaking of action, why are you not very fond of it Josh? I get that you have a refined taste, but can’t movies sometimes just be entertaining and nothing more? Do they always have to be artsy? Or thoughtful? Don’t you ever feel like going to the movies just to escape from reality a little bit and let your brain rest? I believe that filmmaking, no matter what kind, deserves the same level of respect. A good film, even an action film, requires a certain level of skill. How can we grant more value to (and this is just an example) a drama than an action movie or a documentary than a horror movie? I don’t think it’s even fair to compare them. How could you? In a previous episode I had made a comment about people’s constant categorization of certain movies as “guilty pleasures”. You gave me a really good answer that left me thinking for a while. You compared guilty pleasures to fast food and high quality filmmaking to gourmet food. I mean, how can I compare a fast food cheeseburger to a gourmet burger? The answer is you don’t. As good as a gourmet burger is, you can’t and probably won’t have it all the time. You need that cheap, greasy, nasty looking burger once in a while, because sometimes that’s all you want and need. In that sense, the so called guilty pleasures fill a void that the artsy movies can’t. Anyway, sorry for this weird rant haha.

    I like how you guys gang up on poor Jason. It’s funny because you guys are friends and in the end are just messing around with each other. But Jason, I admire that you stand up for what you believe in. I’m not entirely on your side, but props for not being ashamed of bringing up your beliefs in a podcast where maybe people like you are not the majority.

    Great episode guys! I can’t wait to watch the new Robocop.

    • Josh, I forgot to mention that since you are an actual filmmaker and I’m not, that maybe you have an insight on film that I’m obviously lacking. It would be great to hear your thoughts.

    • Juan- I don’t know how to address this exactly, except to simply say that action movies aren’t a fun escape for me. I usually think they are boring. There are action movies I like, like Die Hard, there are action stars I like, like Jackie Chan, there are directors who I can appreciate how good they are at directing action scenes, like Michael Bay. But these movies often suffer from bad acting, bad storytelling, and over-long action set-pieces that get monotonous, and all of that just makes me want to pull my hair out. Adventure films, westerns, horror flicks, and mysteries are what get my blood pumping, along with complex puzzles I have to solve. It’s funny, people call a movie like Upstream Color slow, for me, I am engaged the entire time. On the other hand, Wolverine on top of a train might be really cool for a couple of minutes, but at minute ten, it’s really boring. The train may be moving fast, but if the story is not, if the characters are not, then it is slow in my book. The first Matrix movie keeps my interest, but I could live the rest of my life without seeing another fight on an interstate. It is fun to watch Superman crash though a mountain, but after ten minutes of watching him crash into buildings, I’ve seen it. There is nothing deeper to grasp, nothing challenging, nothing fun for me. So, it isn’t that I can’t simply have a good time with a movie, I just have a good time with different movies. Give me some David Mamet dialog, give me a Charlie Kauffman plot, give me some Wes Anderson Production design, give me some Roger Deakins cinematography, give me some Duplass Brothers characters, give me a Philip Seymour Hoffman performance, and I’m having the time of my life.

  6. I just want to say that I’m totally with Karl, Upstream Color had a chance to be something great at the beginning. And obviously, for some it is. But I just thought it had a chance to be like Chronicle in that I felt it could be a great new super power film told in a very unique and un-Hollywood way.

    Jay, it’s up to you if you see Son of God or Non-Stop. I answered that I’d support it before listening. I’ll probably see it eventually but I doubt in theatres.

    • Oh my gosh, Hammer … did you really say Upstream Color had a chance to be like Chronicle? I love you, but that is the dumbest thing I have ever heard you say. Yeah, and 2001 had a chance to be like Transmorphers. Hahaha.

      • What’s dumb? For me if it had been a super villain film with an indie vibe it would have been better. Clearly Jason (and everyone else on the show) likes Chronicle better than Upstream Color.

        • Because Chronicle is obviously the lesser art form, whether you like Upstream Color or not. I like Mallrats better than The Seventh Seal and Captain EO better than Metropolis–it doesn’t mean the others should aspire to be like the dumber, more populist flicks.

        • The Dark Knight had a chance to be like the Adam West Batman, but they didn’t have a scene where Batman runs around with a giant cartoon bomb, trying to find a place to throw it.

        • Let the Right One In had a chance to be like Twilight, in that they had a great storyline about young vampires in a very un-Hollywood way, but none of their vampires sparkle! Missed opportunity.

          • I tried to say that obviously to some it was great. It was a missed opportunity to do something more interesting than it was… for me. I didn’t mean to imply it should have went in that direction or even that it should have. Just that I would have preferred it. And it didn’t have to be like Chronicle, that was just the best example of an independent film that dealt with superpowers.

          • But let’s think on this. Are you saying that there is no film that is obviously as high an art form as Upstream Color that you just don’t like and are disappointed in? And you’ve never wished an artistic film had journeyed into different territory?

  7. Jason,

    I totally get where you are coming from with wanting to support movies that reflect your moral standards and beliefs (that is why I loved “The Lego Movie”…jk). But I also hate it when stuff like that gets done poorly. Hallmark movies, for example, get away with a lot of terrible acting, writing, production, etc., because they appeal to a crowd that embraces the high moral (often Christian) quality of the stories. Ugh, The Hallmark Channel…it can be so hard to watch.

    “Son of Man” looks better than I thought it would by the trailer. But it still looks pretty heavy handed and could easily be a cheese fest. A better movie to support this year will probably be “Unbroken”, so long as Director Jolie and the Coen boys didn’t screw up one of the main messages of the story, which is forgiveness through Christ. It will likely be lighter on the cheese and stronger on the inspiring, but it remains to be seen whether or not Hollywood will let the Christian message play out.

    I guess I prefer more subtle ways of putting my faith to film. My favorite film depicting Jesus Christ is “Ben-Hur,” which tells the story of Christ without actually focusing on Him. I probably won’t be seeing “Son of God,” mostly because I don’t think they are going to do Him justice. I do look forward to your review; hopefully I am wrong.

    As a side rant to my disappointment in Hallmark, I also loathe the opposite-end HBO, STARz, etc., business model: Let’s make mature, expertly-crafted TV shows, but let’s also include as much offensive content as we can, because hey, we can. Ugh, why can’t we get some ‘adult’ stories that show some restraint! Some of their shows look interesting, but are far too offensive for my tastes. To each his own I guess.

  8. I agree with Vance. When I was listening to the podcast last night while running, I thought, “So what IS the best ‘life of Jesus’ movie?” It only took me about thirty seconds to decide on “Ben-Hur.” (Though there’s an irreverent argument to be made for “Monty Python’s Life of Brian.”) It’s also worth mentioning “The Nativity Story” as a fine example of how to make a compelling movie about Jesus that speaks to believers in their language but is not overbearing and cheesy.

    Also, Jay mentioned “The Passion of the Christ” as an example of a studio-backed movie, but “The Passion” was about as indie as it gets. Mel Gibson financed and filmed the movie entirely through his own production company, which also picked up the tab for marketing. The only studio involvement was some 11th-hour help with distribution from Newmarket Films.

    “Son of God” is about as low-risk and non-indie as they come. It isn’t even a purpose-built film. It’s a remix of footage from Mark Burnett’s 10-hour cable miniseries “The Bible,” which aired on History last year. (As Josh surprisingly failed to mention, Burnett is the mastermind behind “Survivor.”) The History Channel was a major partner in production costs (which were astonishingly low: the whole 10-hour shebang reportedly cost less than $25M), and 20th Century Fox is handling theatrical distribution and marketing. They basically just created a new, low-cost revenue stream for an existing successful property. I’m a little surprised that Josh is predicting a box-office bonanza. I’m guessing that everyone in the potential audience who has cable has already seen it. I don’t think it comes anywhere close to being the ticket sales phenomenon that “The Passion of the Christ” was.

    • Or maybe Josh “strategically” failed to mention it. Thanks for outing me, Cody.

      My favorite film in the Jesus genre is The Robe, but I will have to visit Ben Hur again after you and Vance both mentioned it.

      And as for irreverent, I love The Life of Brian and, as I mentioned, The Last Temptation of Christ (that one mostly for the portrayal of Judas, which I thought was spectacular).

  9. Great show guys – two best Jesus quotes in the history of podcasting

    I ) Love Liam Neeson but I love Jesus more” Jason
    2) “I like the guy” Josh about Jesus

    Good film of the genre is “Greatest Story Ever Told” plus we get to see John Wayne s take on a Roman Centurion.

    loved the show – have seen no movies this week as have been binge watching House of Cards – one word – AMAZING

  10. Not sure if this has already been cleared up; I know this is a pretty old episode but with regards to Jay’s queries about College in the UK, as mentioned in his section of The Expelled:

    Here we have Primary School, Secondary School, Sixth Form College and then University. We finish Primary school at age 12 and then go on to Secondary school which we finish at 16. At this point education is no longer compulsory so there’s a choice of going straight into work or continuing on to Sixth Form College or Technical College (I think Sixth form is maybe a little harder to get into and more academic oriented but I could be wrong on this). College normally lasts for 2 years so long as you don’t fail a year and then at 18 you can go to University if you want to/ got the grades/ can afford it. Some Secondary Schools actually have Sixth Form College incorporated into them but I believe the students still have the option to leave at 16. In my case, my Sixth Form was a totally unrelated to my Secondary School.

    It’s a little confusing because College can still be used to refer to University or more often to refer to a certain section of a University e.g Cambridge University is composed of many different colleges such as Kings College, Churchill College etc but yeah if you see a British movie or show and there’s a bunch of 16 and 17 yearolds at College, it’ll be more than likely a Sixth Form College.

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