Well aware that the title of their Internet endeavor might just be an irreconcilable contradiction of terminology, an elegant oxymoron not quite up to the level of “jumbo shrimp” and “military intelligence” on the scale of semantic significance, the good folks at The Gentlemen’s Guide to Midnite Cinema have been around since the autumn of ’08, podcasting every week and guiding willing listeners “through the worlds of sleaze, action, westerns, horror and more.” The GGTMC is overseen by the likes of Big Willy (a.k.a. Large William), The Samurai (who sounds a whole lot like Joe Don Baker), Pickleloaf (who sports a mighty Joe Don Baker fixation of his own) and a motley host of others. For aficionados of grindhouse minutiae, the long-lost midnight movie aesthetic of the ‘70s and its VHS-inspired reflection from the ‘80s, these podcasts will be a treasure trove of laid-back, slightly-stoned conversation, with names like Ciro Santiago, Thalmus Rasulala, Akira Kurosawa, Anna Biller, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Henry Silva, W.C. Fields and Abel Ferrara bandied about like old friends on pretty much the same level playing field.
And then there’s GGTMC’s West Coast correspondent Rupert Pupkin-- that’s the name he gave himself, folks, though I prefer to think of him by his Twitter handle, Big Bob Freelander, a nod to Bruce Dern’s eternally optimistic character in Michael Ritchie’s Smile. Rupert has his own territory, a blog entitled Rupert Pupkin Speaks, and when Rupert Pupkin speaks, we know at least his Mom (“Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!”) is listening. And why not? His list-oriented blog is a mind-joggling spot of fun. (Behold Rupe’s list of his favorite “Bet” films. Okay, parlor game fanatics, which ones did he leave out?)
Well, it turns out Rupe is a superb listener as well, and his duties as West Coast correspondent have made him the GGTMC’s de facto stringer for interesting interviews with interesting people, both on the margins and right in the center of the boiling stew that is Hollywood Genre Filmmaking 101 and Hollywood Genre Filmmaking Appreciation 101, circa 2010. He’s really racked up quite an impressive list of subjects for grilling under the hot lights during the past two months: there’s Lars Nilsen, programming mastermind at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin Texas; Nilsen’s programming colleague Zack Carlson; screenwriter Josh Olson (A History of Violence); blogger, raconteur and movie geek extraordinaire Marc Edward Heuck, who hangs out at The Projector Has Been Drinking; and directors Allan Arkush (Hollywood Boulevard, Get Crazy, Rock and Roll High School ) and Joe Dante (Hollywood Boulevard, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, The Howling).
And now he’s gone and dirtied that watering hole by interviewing me. That’s right, Rupert cornered me in his basement studio (I was sitting just to the left of the Liza Minnelli cutout) for an off-the-cuff discussion that ranged from my blogging origins to Brian De Palma, Howard Hawks, the aforementioned Henry Silva (being, as he is, close to the molten core of the earth for denizens of the GGTMC) all the way down to, through an unfortunate piece of timing, the virtues (but mostly the lack thereof) of Mannequin 2: On The Move. It’s a spirited, free-wheeling conversation— or so Rupe tells me. I have an aversion to listening to my own voice blathering on and on (strange for someone with a radio background, but…), so I haven’t actually heard it myself. But Rupe assures me he’s pleased with it, and when you’ve got the Pupkin breathing down your neck the one thing you want is for him to be pleased (for a least as long as it takes to find the keys and break out of that basement). So click on over to The Gentlemen’s Guide to Midnite Cinema and enjoy all the treats they have in store, not least of which (I hope) is Rupert’s interview with Your Humble Narrator. It was a lot of fun and a sincere honor to have been asked. I'm also kind of holding out some hope that this podcast conversation will serve as an adequate-enough audition tape to get me booked on Letterman or maybe Conan. Because you see I, not unlike Rupert himself, have ambitions… and I think if Dave just listened to this interview for just a second he’d really like it and, you know, maybe he’d see how much I deserve to be on television and that he’d give me my shot…
Go ahead— slip through the keyhole into the weird, wonderful world of The Gentlemen’s Guide to Midnite Cinema, but never say you weren’t warned.