Pods Wide Cast: Full Metal Jacket with Jon Gabrus

  1. ”I was offered The Rocketeer a while back. Thank God I had time to think about it. Everything was leaning to, ‘Wow all this fucking bread, and this big movie, it’ll be cool.’ Then I had this vision of myself in the costume: Me, this big guinea with a rocket on his back. And I thought, ‘I can’t do this. This is ridiculous.’ They offered me Fred Flintstone in Viva Rock Vegas. And it was so much bread, and I thought, ‘Maybe I can make this funny.’ Then I saw myself in the fucking outfit and realized this is not going to work.”

  2. Vinny D would have been a great Rocketeer. He would have been a true underdog rather than what we got in Bill Campbell.

  3. A housemate of mine bought this about 10 years ago. The DVD series comes up in the episode. We found it pretty hilarious.

  4. Perhaps I missed it, but I don't believe they brought up Ermey's greatest role: a charlatan preacher who fakes stigmata in a cold open of an X-Files episode that features the great Michael Berryman. His run hosting "Mail Call" was also neglected

  5. I literally only knew ermey as the mail call guy as a kid. Loved that show, used to watch it with my friend all the time. Then Ermey was randomly at a parade in my town I was playing in. Super nice when I talked to him.

  6. I wonder if the main thing stopping them is how hard it is to watch a few of the movies? I have a DVD copy of Heavenly Creatures but I don't think it's readily available otherwise. I think the other early ones pop up on tubi/youtube occasionally. Absolutely one of my most wanted miniseries, and I'm not even a huge Middle Earth guy

  7. Aside from the obvious Star Wars eps, would the LOTR trilogy be the most "connected" set of sequels they've done on the pod? Things like the Back to the Futures and the Spidermans can all stand alone, but LOTR is essentially one big movie chopped up.

  8. I made my girlfriend watch Saving Silverman last night without thinking it would be brought up on the pod. Saving Silverman was a repeat library rental for me as an early teen.

  9. I saw it like 5000 times on Comedy Central. Steve Zahn and Jack Black are at their absolute peak. It’s such a weird movie. Weird bits of gross out humor and gay panic.

  10. I’ll never forget watching that as a kid with my dad. I’ve never seen him laugh as hard as he did when the raccoon attacked Steve Zahn. He’s a man of simple pleasures.

  11. Blank Check is wildly lucky to not have a large Tumblr presence after ending the episode on "I have to use David's hand to choke myself."

  12. I saw this film when I was young and fat. Already had a terrible irrational fear of being conscripted into the army and this film only made that much worse lol

  13. I don't know if they mention it, but the Bootcamp part of the movie draws a lot from The Boys in Company C (1978), which also had Ermey (in his first role) as a drill instructor, a hair-cutting scene, etc. It was the first movie after the end of the war and established many of the tropes that would later be associated with Vietnam War movies. There's a guy from the Bronx, there's a black guy, there's a guy from the midwest and there's a hippy. One guy goes too far (war crime territory), another guy gets addicted to drugs, and another guy suffers from PTSD. The only thing missing is a CCR song.

  14. They mention Boys In Company C as Ermey's first role in movies, but they really understate how much of it presages his Full Metal Jacket performance. Although compared to FMJ, it's relatively/significantly a nice character in some ways, which was the reason Kubrick just didn't cast him to begin with even though he's on the record on having seen Company C

  15. Yup, I was thinking of that film during the podcast. It's actually the first time he really played his signature role, it's just more minor compared to FMJ, so it doesn't get brought up as much.

  16. The Big Red One is really good too. Sam Fuller. I don't think it's a boot camp movie but it's a really cool war movie. Lee Marvin, Mark Hamill, Robert Carradine before he was a nerd.

  17. Elder Millennial story but Garbus saying he would make burned CDs with movie quotes in-between tracks reminds me of when I made my grandma a mix of Rhapsody in Blue arrangements I got off Napster/KaZaA but stuck Steve Martin's "Do You Mind If I Fart?" bit in the middle. She was not happy.

  18. Oh man, I did something very similar to this to my ex-girlfriend a few years ago and it is hands down one of the most elaborate bits I've ever committed to.

  19. The first half is good. Very great. Deservingly iconic. But the general rep being that the second half was a fall off was not only grotesquely wrong, but the second half is where the most interesting stuff in the film arguably happens. Plus urban combat of the Vietnam War feels far less depicted in media compared to the jungle

  20. Agree. Rewateched it before listening to this episode and first first half is probably most directly emotional and fun work Kubrick has ever done. There's no misteries, no search for subtextual philosophy (even though it's there), no slowness. There are primal rough direct emotions. Bullying, comedy, hope, pain, anger, vengeance.

  21. It does unfortunately feel less like urban combat of the Vietnam War and more like urban combat of the British soundstage

  22. This is stupid but does anyone else think it's funny that R. Lee Ermey's name basically breaks into two halves that both sound like Army? This must be an existing observation or joke but it's just too perfect that that dude's name would be so close to Army Army. Maybe I should submit this to IMDB trivia.

  23. I wonder if he ever plays an army character or if he has a rider which states he must only be associated with the marines.

  24. They used the phrase "uncorked" a distracting amount last week. Haha I think they just hear one another (or the guest) use an interesting word or phrase and unconsciously use it themselves without realizing it's only been a few minutes.

  25. I was introduced to this movie in high school by other high schoolers. It was part of the “movies that 2000s high schoolers thought were badass” canon including Fight Club and Boondock Saints. And everyone treated it like a comedy. Teenagers around me would quote the darkest shit from this movie and laugh their asses off. “‘If they run, they’re VC. If they don’t run, they’re well-trained VC. Ain’t war hell?’ AHAHAHAHAHA.”

  26. I had friends in JROTC in high school and when they weren’t doing drills or PT, they were in their classroom watching Full Metal Jacket for the 100th time, laughing and imagining when they’ll get there chance. Completely lost on them it’s an anti-war film. Teens are dumb.

  27. Having a civil service choice is very much a thing in a lot of countries that have mandatory military training stints for everyone. Where I live, back in the 90s you had to describe your ethical conflict with the military in writing and then go talk to a panel, these days it's a lot simpler to switch.

  28. My dad served compulsory service in the IDF (i'm sorry!!) and he said it was just 2 years unloading boxes from trucks. Also he didn't know hebrew or a lot of english.

  29. The US also has AmeriCorps (and specifically the VISTA program) which is effectively the sort of thing that Gabrus is talking about. I was a VISTA my first year out of college and have a lot of thoughts on it, most of them bad. First off, unlike the military, participants are paid at a below-poverty-line stipend level. I was only able to participate because I lived with my family; most people I knew who were also VISTAs were on food stamps. For VISTA, it's typically a year commitment (though you can reup, I believe twice) where you are placed at a nonprofit. You do get an education award after completing a term, it's something like $5k that can be used towards loans or future educational expenses. You also technically can be asked to work any hours since it's a stipend not a salary. Mine wasn't too bad, but I regularly had to work events into the evening without comp time. It's theoretically a good idea to have a program like this, but it exploits young people in its own way.

  30. I feel like Law & Order: Criminal Intent will be number one actually, given that it was part of a popular well-watched TV Franchise.

  31. Regarding Jon's notion of something like the Army but for building stuff instead of killing people...we had it! Briefly...

  32. The Kubrick series has been an absolute murderer’s row of my favorite recurring guests. Hoffman AND Lawson AND Hoepfner AND Gabrus AND Perry!

  33. Incredible edit joke. Alas, obsessive recluse Stan Koobs has no sense of humour, and so we must rescind the comedy points.

  34. Someone made a post a few days ago about how good those Zoom BC eps sound, and until they mentioned a Zoom background maybe twenty minutes or so into the episode, I would have guessed this was an in-person recording (it also helps that Gabrus seems to just have such naturally electric energy with the crew that it feels like an in-person recording).

  35. They sound great but you can tell there is an awkward hesitancy as people try to suss out when to jump in. It’s always a big damper on joke riffs in particular. It brings down the quality of any podcast for me that isn’t an interview style. Not their fault of course and it’s still great despite the problems of zoom but I think you can always tell from the tempo of the conversation.

  36. It’s like he just wants to be the most likeable man in the world. His TruTV travel show with Paley was pretty entertaining

  37. With the Anthony Michael Hall situation, you also have to wonder if there was an air in the 80s of “oh it’s another Kubrick movie trying to get off the ground, we’ll believe it’s happening when cameras roll.” Even tho Kubrick was a legend by then, it’s hard to commit to a project when Napoleon and various other movies were never made.

  38. The 80s DVD box set discussion reminded me of a George Clooney set I saw at HMV once: •Ocean's 11 •Intolerable Cruelty •The Thin Red Line

  39. I think the reason no one can do a different version of R. Lee Ermey's drill sergeant is because (and anyone else who is former military can attest to) every drill sergeant takes this dude as an example, so it's really how they act...within reason, obviously.

  40. Did I mishear something? It sounded like David said Ed Harris couldnt be in FMJ cause he was taking a year off acting after shooting The Abyss, which shot in '88. That seemed like a weird mistake after they already covered Alien$ started shooting a few weeks after FMJ entered production.

  41. Hot take, but both parts of this movie rips. Yes the first half is great, but the second part is not without merit either. Those Vietnamese scenes are both haunting and really interesting.

  42. When they were talking about drill instructors and then 90s movies of guys doing unusual jobs - did anyone else hope they were going to bring up renaissance man? It’s like FMJ meets dangerous minds with Danny devito as the Michelle pfeiffer role. They even mentioned Twins during the convo!

  43. For me, the movie was about how Joker, the most resistant of all the characters, finally let the killer emerge. But that’s not quite right. It didn’t feel like a character arc in any emotional sense. Rather, we witnessed a bunch of incidents and episodes until Joker killed a woman/child. Did any or all of those events factor in to that last shot? Who knows? It’s a Mystery. Anything can do it because we’re all born to kill. (See 2001.) When Joker finally does it, he has joined the human race, singing happily with everyone else.

  44. But isn’t killing the giro an act of mercy? Doesn’t she directly ask for it? Does that line up with the themes of dehumanization really? I can see how pulling the trigger is the last step in the loss of innocence but not really as the embracing of barbarity that the marine corp wants.

  45. Handjob looks like Mikey Day in a headshot and also every time someone mentions arliss Howard, I ways think they're talking about Robert wuhl. I guess I think his name is arliss.

  46. This is not to be a contrarian, but having watched this movie countless times over the years, I vastly prefer the Vietnam half of the movie. I love the hangout, anthropological vibe. I love the sniper sequence. I am in awe at the casual horror that ramps up all the way to the very last shot. And of course the first half is a phenomenal short film about the casualties of war that begin at home. But it's the actual war that I think of when I think of this movie.

  47. I feel like they're just 2 completely separate movies, a comedy and a war film. The transition when Pyle kills himself is perfectly setup and executed

  48. However objectively bad Dragnet is, it’s also one of my favourite stupid comedies and I love it. Can’t wait until they do Mankiewicz…

  49. I've been doing my Kubrick rankings as I rewatched all his movies and I knew Full Metal Jacket blew my away as a kid but I didn't think it would be as high as I remembered it when I rewatched it. I was wrong. I put it as my #2 Kubrick film. Just the statement about manhood and masculinity and Sex as it correlates to war and violence, it blew me away. It's an aspect that I definitely felt when watching it as a teenager but I haven't been able to verbalize until now. It's just a masterpiece. I always say the best movie of the 80s is either Raging Bull or Do The Right Thing, but I may have to put Full Metal Jacket in the competition. None of those 3 films feel anything remotely like an 80s movie which is funny to me

  50. but…Do the Right Thing is incredibly ‘80s…it begins with a dance to a Public Enemy song! That very Public Enemy song is a plot point!!

  51. Small note about the question of why Joker is in the Marines — only about 9% of the Marines who fought in Vietnam were draftees, most were volunteers. The percentage of those who fought in Vietnam in all branches of the military who were draftees was about 25%, so comparatively the Marines were overwhelmingly volunteers. He might be a draftee of course but I think that’s important context.

  52. I saw this movie for the first time when I was 10 years old. My babysitter had a marine boyfriend, and he invited 10 of his marine buddies to watch this in my parents living room when they were out of town.

  53. I used to do situps for 45 minutes straight and the boot camp ended right there. I never got abs and I used to often come home drunk and do situps while watching something. Cardio is how you lose weight.

  54. Anyone else have a copy of this in 4:3? Apparently Kubrick was wary enough of home video that he framed and composed his later movies so that they could be presented in 4:3 at home, and so this old DVD I have is in 4:3 and I was almost upset, but the framing still looks good.

  55. R. Lee Ermey saying “ya ate her?” in Saving Silverman might be the funniest moment in that whole movie. Alongside Amanda Peet hitting Steve Zahn with a chair.

  56. It's been ages since I've watched this movie - and I haven't listened to the ep yet - but I forgot how effective and how numerous the needledrops are in this movie.

  57. I love Gabrus and I thought this was an outstanding episode - but I’m not gonna lie, there was SIGNIFICANTLY less 2 Live Crew discussion than I was expecting/hoping for.

  58. I was the Burned CD kid in my school - didn't want to buy the new Outlast album? Give me an evening and $5.00 and I'll get it to you tomorrow at lunch period. I made tens of dollars

  59. Correction that only weirdos like me care about: Starcraft Marines do not say "In the rear with the gear."

  60. Donofrio as the old prospector in Fuquas Magnificent Seven rules. I think Simms gave that movie 1 star on LB but man I love it.

  61. Is the Nancy Sinatra part really a set? Jeez just go to Vietnam, I’d imagine it’s the same expense. I really don’t understand how movies are made

  62. does the ad for tarantino’s video archives podcast mean there’s a chance tarantino will guest on blank check?

  63. When he guested on Unspooled he was a bit cantankerous, but in a fun way. Maybe it’s just because I liked him ruffling Paul Scheer’s feathers. QT on BC would be fun, especially if David’s in one of his pissy moods.

  64. My brain immediately went here too, that’d be fuckin bananas if they made it happen (though I doubt it’d ever happen)

  65. It goes both ways... on the last Video Archives ep (on Star 80... weird how many BC movies they've done), there was an ad for Blank Check. It sounded to me like Gala Avary was a listener but Roger wasn't. I'm pretty sure we'll get Gala on the show soon. David talked about digging her in this ad read, he followed her on Letterboxd, etc.

  66. He's on the podcasting scene, so can't rule it out. But his Video Archives is so much hanging out with friends, it's hard to imagine him doing a guest spot.

  67. Does anyone else not really like Good Morning Vietnam? The tone is all over the place, to the point where the soundtrack album was just the funny radio dialogue and then the music. The second half of the movie leans into the horrors of the war but nobody remembers that. Great Robin performance but the messaging seems to be all over the place.

  68. I loved it as a teen when I worshipped Robin Williams. Remember really liking Forrest Whittaker in it. But even just in my memory it's disjointed and I don't think it'd work as well for me.

  69. I watched it recently. Yep, a little duller than I remember. But, Robert Wuhl and Bruno Kirby maybe at the top of their game? Kirby, especially.

  70. Think they're overstating FMJ's influence re: training if for no other reason than because they neglect to mention An Officer and a Gentleman. That movie came out five years earlier and Louis Gossett, Jr. won the Oscar for his portrayal of the tough training officer.

  71. But they do mention this, as a possible reason for Ermey not getting an Oscar nod (similar roles in short succession)

  72. Yeah. I wasn’t as familiar with all of Kubricks work and hadn’t seen this until now other than a couple scenes on tv so maybe I had the wrong impression but I remember learning about this as like the second or third best war movie behind Apocalypse now.

  73. I like The Outpost (2020) as an Afghanistan movie that isn't junk. It's more Platoon tone than FMJ but still prerty underdiscussed as a legit good nihlistic war movie.

  74. My Dad was in the Marines during the 'Nam era. He would show us this movie on his birthday. He said the Basic Training was accurate but they got hit a lot more .

  75. Can NOT believe they just ignored Ermey’s most vital and important credit — voice of unseen sergeant in one quick scene of X-Men: The Last Stand

  76. Feel like we haven’t had enough of a reckoning on the gross, weird military propaganda that was Gomer Pyle UMSC. A mentally disabled man joins the marines during the height of the Vietnam draft. Cute antics ensue and he has a bunch of fun.

  77. Is Gomer Pyle mentally disabled or just a naive country boy? On The Andy Griffith show he was a gullible dufus but he was also an auto mechanic. He's basically woody from cheers.

  78. It’s not a first part vs. second part movie to me. I wish they’d talked about how the parts work together. The first part is clean and tidy and shows how marines are trained to be methodical and think in black and white. Then the second part shows how all that training is useless for the messy complexity of war where you don’t get to run in neat lines and chant things.

  79. i know nobody cares about how racist any vietnam war movie is and we've all apparently decided that they get a blanket pass on that front but it is truly striking how much loathing this movie holds towards vietnamese women

  80. Interesting, I interpreted it more as depicting the rampant exploitation of women in a war zone with the same sort of matter of fact, "this is what happened" vibe as all the killing and psychological trauma.

  81. Counterpoint: I’m aware that the marines have this weird bugaboo and I’m absolutely fine with using “incorrect” terminology in order to annoy them over something so minor and pedantic

  82. You could be generous and interpret it as David saying "a soldier" then correcting himself to say "a Marine."

  83. Looks like you're getting downvoted for being pedantic, but you're right, I noticed that too. Not that everyone should be expected to know military terms but I imagine any marines listening at the least cringed a bit at being referred to as soldiers, lol.

  84. Glad to hear Gabrus co-sign the Space Odyssey book about the making of 2001. Really great read with a bunch of funny weirdo Kubrick stories.

  85. Is anyone else having issues with the RSS feed recently? My normal podcast app (Podcast Addict on Android) can't download this or the previous episode, so I've been forced to listen on Spotify

  86. It's no longer on YouTube, but I was able to find the Brian Atene video that Gabrus refers to on Dailymotion. It's as fantastic as I recall:

  87. Good movie, but as far as Kubrick’s “great films” go, I find it to be a little too obvious thematically. Also super-hot* take: I find the second half much more interesting than the first half.

  88. It for sure has some moments that were funnier than I remembered, but they understandably get overshadowed by how dark both halves get at their climax. The image of Pyle sucking his thumb while everyone else does burpees is so silly even though it's hard to laugh knowing where it leads.

  89. I weirdly found FMJ the most upsetting of his movies on rewatch. I agree there’s definitely funny bits, but I find it so disturbing. Almost more so than Clockwork. Still loved it to be clear.

  90. I think this is funny as written but not funny as presented. All the “maggot” stuff is probably funny on paper and holy crap we’re gonna get the real guy to do it, but it’s just dehumanizing. A really good choice.

  91. I found Ermey weirdly not that funny this viewing (it’s been many years). Maybe I’m just numb to profanity or something but really the only scene in boot camp that made me laugh was the “do you love the Virgin Mary” scene. Maybe I’ve either heard his other rants too often but I was rolling my eyes a little bit at how tryhard edgy some of his insults came across. Definitely more on the script than Ermey though, who is obviously giving a great performance.

  92. I grew up on Army bases in the early 90s and while I didn’t see it as my father was a Vietnam vet and didn’t like seeing it on screen everyone quoted this film.

  93. The second half is a lot like The Wire season 2, which is such an anticlimax from what season 1 was building up to. I think it's a great season now, having seen the whole expanse.

  94. What saves it (for me) from the things you mention (and that I see, too) is the lack of a plot (just a series of incidents) and an almost complete lack of moral judgment about that particular war. The fact that it’s Vietnam almost seems incidental.

  95. My dad was a draft dodger by going to college but he said he saw some student films and one guy just made a movie where he shot his own foot on camera to get out of the draft. He said it was called Draft Card or something. Kinda like Scorsese's Big Shave but without the nuance.

  96. I like Gabrus, but not sure I needed his commentary on the racial politics of this film especially after he casually drops the phrase “going off the reservation” - a brutally racist term I now only ever hear on Blank Check episodes.

  97. It’s a common idiom. Even if it has racist origins, 99% of Americans have no idea what those origins are, so it’s ridiculous to belittle Gabrus’ thoughts like you are here

  98. The box office list was this sweet spot for all these movies that landed on pay cable in 1988 that I watched all summer. I didn't see FMJ, probably because the title didn't make any sense or I wasn't interested in a war movie.

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