On the How Did This Get Made? podcast, three comedians and a guest discuss particularly bad movies, an idea initially spurred by a conversation about Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael, and Jason Mantzoukas figured that the movie was bad enough—and the conversation lively enough—to warrant putting it out into the world. Five years and 100 episodes later, they’re still doing it. For their 100th episode, Scheer, Raphael, and Mantzoukas talked about the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Junior, which inspired their podcast’s logo. Scheer and Mantzoukas spoke to The A.V. Club about how the show came together, and what to expect for the next 100 episodes.
The AV Club: What do you remember about the night you were talking about Wall Street 2 and decided to make a podcast?
Jason Mantzoukas: I just remember how much we all had to say about it. We talked for a long time. And as we were trying to make sense of it, it just kept getting funnier and funnier. The deeper we got into trying to figure out why our minds were so boggled by that movie the harder we were laughing.
AVC: Did you ever imagine it would last for 100 episodes?
JM: Not at all. It was just something to try and see if we could make work. But once we started, it was pretty clear we had something, and so I’m not at all surprised we’ve gotten this far. It’s really fun and I think we all enjoy each other so much, it’s pretty much a delight to go in and discuss these movies every few weeks.
AVC: Where did the idea for a Junior poster come from? How long have you known you wanted to do Junior for the 100th episode?
Paul Scheer: I actually don’t remember. I feel like it was created by a fan after our first few episodes and we adopted it, much to Earwolf’s chagrin. In the beginning we were pretty reckless at using copyrighted material, like our Nic Cage shirts which we had to pull pending a lawsuit. So if you created our logo let us know.
The idea to do Junior came up recently. People had been asking forever, and oddly I never had seen it nor heard anything about it, so it never was at the top of our list. But then as we approached 100, it seemed to be in the air that it was going to be the focus. The listeners spoke and so we jumped on it. So basically we steal all our good ideas and designs.
AVC: Is there a movie you really want to do, or is requested a lot, that has so far been vetoed for one reason or another?
PS: Face/Off. It’s consistently the most requested film we get asked to do but Jason holds firmly that it’s “too good” to be on the show. I think any movie with Nicolas Cage, John Travolta, a magnetic prison, and face-switching fits the bill perfectly. In many ways, that movie lays the groundwork for the Crank and Fast And Furious franchises. The other movie that I don’t know whether we should do is The Fifth Element. That’s a movie people seem to request often but I can’t tell if it’s actually “good-good” based on the response online. So I’ve held off on that for long time.
AVC: What’s the least enjoyable movie you’ve done so far—a movie you would never want to watch again for any reason?
PS: We’ve been lucky. We try to avoid movies that aren’t just plain bad and boring, but even with our research we get boned occasionally. It’s gotta be The Last Airbender—it’s just joyless in every way. Season Of The Witch and In The Name Of The King were also really ugh-fests, but Airbender was a special type of boring that was tedious on every level. I wouldn’t wish a screening of that film on my worst enemy.
AVC: Who picks what films to watch and what factors into that process?
PS: I’m primarily responsible for picking the films, so I try to go about it in two ways. I want to make sure before we watch it, and before we tell our listeners to watch, that it’s actually good-bad or at least fun to watch. Life is too short to watch really shitty movies. We have two amazing interns, Nate Kiley and Avaryl Halley, that do the dirty work. They are our Beefeaters, if you will. They watch the films before we do and report back. Without them, we’d probably do a lot more clunkers.
Second, we also use fan suggestions but to a lesser extent. I basically watch what they recommend and when there is a recommendation that keeps popping up, I take note and we do it.
AVC: I actually think that The Room is a great movie. I know that it’s absolutely terrible, but it’s so far on the other side of great that it becomes great. Did any of the movies you’ve done so far strike a chord in that way, and you’ve actually watched it many times since it was done for the podcast?
PS: Oh, I totally agree, I’d rather watch 100 The Rooms than one Last Airbender. I think the movie I’ve seen the most is Old Dogs, which was the impetus for the podcast. It’s so bizarre, so weird and oddly convoluted, that it’s kinda magical. I think the movies I’m most intrigued by tend to be four-quadrant movies, which are movies that try to please everyone because they normally fail so spectacularly, or films that just have a clear and clean voice and say “fuck you,” like Crank.
AVC: There have been some common threads on the podcast, like Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Hulk Hogan, and Cage. Is there a particular star or type of movie that you most enjoy watching specifically for the show?
JM: I love all those guys. And I love also so many of the genres we cover. But in the end it’s Nic Cage, as both star and genre.
AVC: Paul has noted Sleepaway Camp as one of his favorite episodes just because of how insane it is, and that he had never heard of it or had any idea of the influence it had on so many people. Is there an episode that stands out for you after 100 shows?
JM: Same for me, Sleepaway Camp. Both because it is so bananas and crazy, but then also the show that resulted, all the confusion about who was who in the opening scene, was itself so funny and crazy. That one really stands out for many reasons for me.
AVC: Have you ever tried to re-watch Sleepaway Camp to figure it out?
AVC: Is there a movie you’d like to do again for the podcast? Maybe something like The Room but with another cast member to give a different perspective?
PS: Would I love to interview Nicolas Cage about The Wicker Man? Yes! But I don’t. Generally we leave much left unsaid. Whatever we cover is what we wanted to cover. We don’t have to censor ourselves, but the scenario you describe of getting a chance to interview someone involved in the movie would be amazing and we’ve gotten to do that with Vanilla Ice and the director of Skyline. So those follow-ups are fun, but ideally you want and need that person to “get” the show.
AVC: If Nic Cage came on for an episode of the podcast, would he actually make a great guest, or would it just be awkward?
PS: Depends on the Nic Cage you got. I actually think he’s a very interesting, surprisingly quiet guy. Very serious and not bonkers like his lifestyle and films suggest. I’d love to really have him talk about his career. In many ways he’s the most fearless actor working. He makes these huge choices and does so many different types of roles. He never plays it safe, and I bet the reasons for his choices are just as fascinating as his performances.
AVC: You’ve now done a Bond, an Ernest, several Fast And Furious movies. What franchise is next? Why have you steered clear of long-running horror franchises like Friday The 13th or A Nightmare On Elm Street, or any of the Halloweens that feature Michael Myers?
PS: Good question! I don’t know. Most franchises are pretty solid. We do want to do a Trilogy of three-quels. I am fascinated when the gas is out of the tank but they keep making the movies. For example did you know there is a Slapshot 3 with the original Hanson Brothers? Just the trailer upset me on a deep level.
AVC: It seems like the podcast industry is so new and so different than radio or television because you don’t really face cancellation. How long would you expect to do How Did This Get Made??
JM: I really don’t know. I feel so lucky that we’ve made it to 100. It makes me very happy that I get to spend a good portion of my year with Paul and June in a room, or better even, live at Largo, talking about movies and making each other laugh. And how great it is that people are walking around, working out, and finger-blasting each other while listening to our ranting and raving. That’s pretty bonkers.