Who would have guessed after all the movies we’ve reviewed that there would not only be a good movie filmed in Portland, but that the good film would star Nicholas Cage? Well here we are. The first 10 or so minutes are spoiler free review of the film, then we give a spoiler warning for those that still want to see the film – which we recommend you do. I don’t know that we’ve ever non-ironically recommended one of our movies before (usually there’s at least a b-movie element to the movies we’ve enjoyed), so we truly are in the weirdest timeline.
Is it a sequel? Is it a remake? Is it a tax shelter? We jump in the river to find out just what is going on with this 2009 movie, which has an opening credit of “Based on the movie ‘Without a Paddle.'” Oregon looks gorgeous, but does it reach the same level of “almost mildly amusing” as its 2004 predecessor, which starred Seth Green, Matthew Lillard, and Dax Shepherd? Find out on this month’s show!
This month we travel to the Ilwaco Lighthouse with Dee Wallace, a playwright haunted by the reflections of her dead fiancee, and pursued by her would-be brother-in-law. Is the movie the psychological thriller it’s trying to be, or will you want to throw yourself off a lighthouse after you watch? Find out on this episode.
Mark surprises Todd and Brian mid-show with a phone call from Sean McGrath, the main star of 2015’s “Deep Dark,” a psychological thriller about an artist who finds his muse in the form of a sentient hole in the wall. He was an amazing guest, and he talks about the filming, the cast and crew, and how a director sells an actor on taking the role of a character who has sex with a wall.
This month we indulge ourselves by taking a long, hard look back at what has become of our lives as we discuss the best and the worst of the 50 Portland-filmed movies we’ve reviewed so far.
This 1993 made-for-USA TV movie is surprisingly watchable (and available for free on YouTube), although it features only a couple blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Portland locations. A sci-fi/detective thriller, this movie dares to ask the question Wonder Woman 1984 didn’t: what are the ethical ramifications of hijacking someone else’s body?
A post-Brat Pack Mare Winningham meets a pre-“Happy Gilmore” Shooter McGavin in this 1991 made-for-USA-TV-network movie “Fatal Exposure.” Oddly, this is probably the most intriguingly in-depth discussion of a plot of any movie we’ve done so far. If you love clothes made from reams upon reams of billowy, pleated fabrics, this is the movie for you! Does it rise above its generic title, or does it sink under the weight of its own silky blouses?
We ride the rails back to 2008 for this movie filmed around West Linn, Willamette, Canby, and more! It’s a delightful kids movie that’s cornball and low-budget enough to thoroughly enjoy, and well made enough that it goes down surprisingly well. Join us as we hop the train for 2008’s “Train Master.”
Ed Asner and Mary Tyler Moore reunite for the first time since “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” in this made-for-TV thriller about a rogue cop who harasses Moore and her family after she testifies against him in court. So is it a worthy vehicle for the reunion of these two beloved actors? Find out on this month’s episode.
Join us for this Halloween episode as we take a look at the 1981 horror slasher flick “Just Before Dawn,” which is not only shockingly competent, but actually pretty good — and includes a truly insane final kill. Watch the movie on YouTube (or heck – buy the Blu-Ray!), start a campfire, and head down to Silver Falls for this sadly forgotten genre film.
We travel back to 1993 for this movie about real-life events that happened in 1975, which contain some of the most gripping and interesting alien abduction scenes out there. Filmed in Roseburg and Oakland, Oregon, this film takes place in a small logging town of northern Arizona, and follows the story of a man who was (supposedly) abducted by aliens in front of his friends, and who returns 5 days later.
A zany late-90s stoner comedy with an incredible cast including Luke Wilson, Alicia Witt, Jack Black, Jamie Kennedy, and more sounds like a sure-fire hit. Let’s unroll this joint and find out if there’s any solid nuggets, or if it’s all just stems and seeds.
This month we try to escape the real-life deadly virus by diving into a movie about a deadly virus, the remake of the 2004 Eli Roth film “Cabin Fever,” filmed outside of Mollala, Oregon. Come for the gore, stay for the baffling supporting cast performances!
Last year we reviewed the horror movie sequels “Harvest of Fear” and “Path of Evil,” and to say that we weren’t very kind would be an understatement. We pretty relentlessly mocked both movies. Now it’s our chance to see if we can take what we give when we speak with Ted Pfeifer, co-writer of both films, about his experience writing and acting in the films, as well as his experience listening to us trash his movies. Join us on this very special clapback episode of Portland at the Movies.
We finish our look at the trilogy of Steven Miller films (the “Millergy”) with his first movie “Visions,” a mystery/thriller from 1989. After really enjoying Miller’s final film “Backtime,” and only sort of enjoying “Love & Dynamite,” how did we feel about his first stab at movie making? How many knife-wielding arm stumps up do we give it? Tune in to find out.
This month we explore the middle chapter of the Steven Miller’s trilogy (“Millogy”?) with our take on “Love & Dynamite,” starring Grizzly Adams’s Dan Haggerty. Billed as an “action-comedy,” this movie is more an exercise on improv and how to do a disservice to your actors by withholding judicious editing. But just like last month’s “Backtime,” there’s more going on under the surface, which is what makes this movie pretty interesting. This “movie.”
Every once and awhile we find a little gem in the stark landscape of movies filmed in Portland, and what “Backtime” lacks in budget, it more than makes up for in heart, costuming, and passion. Clearly this film wasn’t up for any Oscar noms, but considering the dreck we usually get from writer-producer-editor-director passion projects, this one ticks all the right boxes. The movie is available to watch on YouTube, and it’s worth watching before you listen!
What can we say about “Brain Smasher: A Love Story,” starring Andrew “Dice” Clay and Teri Hatcher? Whatever we’d say, we’d have to say it in an impenetrably thick Brooklyn accent even though we live in Portland, just like the Diceman. Is it a comedy? An action movie? A satire? We dive into this straight-to-video (except for the theatrical release in Brazil) on this month’s episode.
On a very special episode of Portland at the Movies, we speak to the one-and-only David Walker. If you’ve been a listener to our show, you’ve noticed that about 75% of them involve hearing David Walker’s name in some capacity: he’s one of the only carriers of the torch of the 1980s burgeoning indie movie scene in Portland, which led to the breakout careers of filmmakers like Gus Van Sant and Penny Allen. Join us as well talk with David about everything from his prolific current career as a comic book writer, and how he got his start as “Sanchez” in the Portland cult classic “Fatal Revenge.”
To find out more about David, visit any local comic book store, or visit https://davidfwalker.com/
- Dying to fashion: David F. Walker gets blown away in “Fatal Revenge.”
It’s a time for Christmas miracles! Sort of. We tackle this not-quite-Hallmark-Holiday TV movie starring Nancy Travis and Portland itself, with more footage of our fair city than any other movie we’ve done. Todd loves this movie, but he’s in the minority, so listen as we hash out what works and what doesn’t in this 2010 made-for-NBC TV movie, which was produced by Walmart and Proctor & Gamble.
Last Halloween, we were spooked by how terrible a little movie called “Harvest of Fear,” made in Estacada, Oregon, was. And now we’re back at it with its sequel, “Path of Evil,” which came out a year later. Will the sequel correct the errors of the first movie, or will it end up on our pile of motion picture corpses that should be put out of their misery? Turn down the lights and get out that Halloween candy, because we’re about ready to find out.
On this special episode of Portland at the Movies, we talk with Dan Fiebiger, Portland film historian and composer for the film “Courier of Death.” He tells us about his dealings with Tom Shaw, the notorious director of “Courier” that was an important hub in Portland film history, who loaned film-making equipment to the likes of Penny Allen and Gus Van Sant. It was a great discussion with a natural storyteller, and a wonderful look into the 80s Portland indie movie scene.
This month we (accidentally) review two remarkably similar movies from the mid-70’s: “Sasquatch: The Legend of Bigfoot,” and “The Legend of Bigfoot.” Join us as we dig into the mysteries of the “skunk ape,” discover the history of Mt. St. Helens’s “Ape Caves,” discuss whether or not wolverines are native to Oregon, and find out the proper plurals of “Sasquatch” and “Bigfoot.” Both movies are available to watch for free on YouTube, and “Sasquatch” features a real-life mountain lion being thrown off a cliff onto some horses below and other negligent 70s animal treatment. O_O.
It’s one of our most Portland movies yet, because of both the plethora of shooting locations and the subject matter. This is a wild ride of a movie, with an intoxicating mix of nonsense, psuedoscience, actual science, and polka rave music. So grab your friends, grab your bong, and take a ride down the rabbit hole with us.
1993 was a busy year for Portland film making, from “Free Willy” to “Body of Evidence” to many more, but none gave us a whirlwind tour of Portland quite like “Hear No Evil,” starring Marlee Matlin, DB Sweeney, Martin Sheen, and John C. McGinley. From amazing housing locations, to parks, to an actual marathon in the streets, to Hood River, to Timberline, this movie makes up for its generic plot by giving us an eyeful of this great city.
This month we take a trip down the Clackamas river for the 1995 mockumentary “Guns on the Clackamas,” directed by legendary animator and Oscar-nominee* Bill Plympton. How was Plympton’s transition from animation royalty to live-action director? Will the Clackamas finally get its time to shine? Find out on this episode!
*There are multiple times where we accidentally refer to him as “Oscar Winner,” which is not the case since he has only been nominated, but it 1000% should be true because Bill Plympton is a genius animator.
The promise of an early-90s movie starring Gary Busey as part of a motorcycle gang investigating the death of his brother in a small Oregon town is a big one. There’s some payoff with a few great Oregon City location shots, but what about the rest of the movie? Is it all crazy hair with no substance, or did we find something special? Find out on this month’s episode.
Don’t forget to visit our map to see the locations used in this film, and all the other films we’ve covered so far!
This month we take a look at acclaimed Portland filmmaker Gus Van Sant’s biopic about Portland’s own famous artist resident, Willamette Week’s cartoonist John Callahan. Join us as we discuss our mixed reactions about this 2018 film starring Joaquin Phoenix and Jonah Hill, and an extended cast full of musician cameos.
This past weekend we were live at the 2019 Wizard World Comic Con, where we took a look back on our favorite Portland movie moments from the past few years of the podcast. From “Deafula” to Tonya to Chuck Norris, we celebrate the good, bad, and worse of the films we’ve covered so far.
*note* – The audio recording quality is pretty rough, but is still listenable. There are a few sections where I have taken out the movie clips we played during the show due to abysmal quality I couldn’t save – Todd *
It’s our first foray into legendary Portland filmmaker Tom Shaw, whose presence looms large over the Portland movie making world. Gus VanSant and Penny Allen, among many others, used Shaw’s equipment to make their first films throughout the 70s and 80s.
So how does Shaw rate as a filmmaker himself? Let’s just say he’s a glorious treasure of breathtaking cinema — but for all the wrong reasons. “Courier of Death” is Shaw’s second attempt at a film, and it’s a bonkers, insane mess that is as incompetently made as it is hilarious and fun to watch.
Join us as we take a deep dive not only into the movie, but into Shaw and his incomparable mark on the Portland cinema scene.
On this special holiday edition of Portland at the Movies, we dive into “How Sarah Got Her Wings” – a 2015, made-for-IonTV-movie starring the store brand versions of Kristin Bell and Chris Pratt. The good news is that this movie features some of the nicest shots of Portland we’ve seen in a movie yet. The bad news is….well, everything else. Including one very sneaky secret. Strap on your sleigh bells for this hilarious episode as we unwrap “How Sarah Got Her Wings.” (Movie available streaming on Netflix.)
Live from the 2018 Portland Podcast Festival, it’s time for “Deafula”! The only movie to ever be made completely in American Sign Language, “Deafula” is an amazing treat. As Brian “The Unipiper” noted: “It’s like ‘Plan 9 From Outer Space’ meets ‘The Room.'” Made in 1975 and only sold on 16mm film (it was a few years too early for VHS), “Deafula” was almost lost to time, and not even available at Portland’s venerable Movie Madness — until now, because we’ve donated our personal copy to them. It truly is an amazing cult classic, and it was filmed in our very own city of Portland. Special thanks to Jason Lamb, Greg Nibler, and Sarah X. Dylan for putting on another great podcast festival, and thanks to everyone who came out!
“Homewrecker” was the first World Premier Movie for the then-new “Sci-Fi” cable channel, and a surprisingly decent movie about a “smart home” AI system that goes rogue. While the movie features very little of Portland (one exterior shot, plus a cabin in the woods), it’s actually a competent, well-acted, well-directed movie — quite the difference from the normal Portland at the Movies fare. You can watch it for free on YouTube, so have a watch, and then settle in for our review!
The one glorious shot of Portland in the movie. Way in the background is the 405/Freemont Bridge interchange.
Astoria, Oregon stands in for feudal Japan (really) as well as the NYC sewer system in this third installment of the original Turtles trilogy. Watch as time-traveling, anthropomorphized, martial artist reptiles spout tired catchphrases (although, oddly, they never say “cowabunga!”) and give mouth-to-mouth to a small boy! Thankfully our discussion of the movie is much, much more entertaining than sitting through the movie itself.
The Portland at the Movies summer road trip starts in Vernonia, a picturesque little town just northwest of Portland. In 1989, the community came together to make the low-budget, homegrown movie “The Vernonia Incident” (aka “Redneck Revenge,” aka “Revenge of the Rednecks” aka “Country Justice in Oregon”), featuring all local actors, and a local director/writer/producer/editor/everything else who was the driving force behind this b-movie undertaking. So ride along with us to this small Northwest town, where all the cars are made of explosives and all the dialogue needed to be re-recorded months later in Los Angeles.
Ed Harris stars in this 1987 HBO-made courtroom drama about a hot-shot lawyer who is having an affair with the wife of his accused murderer client. It’s certainly not the *worst* movie we’ve seen on this podcast, but is it actually *good*? Find out on this month’s hilarious episode, starring Brian “The Unipiper” Kidd, Mark Middleton, and Todd Werkhoven.
In 1996, a 21-year-old Angelina Jolie came to Portland to film a movie called “Foxfire.” With many sweeping, beautiful shots from above and below the Broadway Bridge, Portland looks great — but how is the movie? Join Brian “The Unipiper Kidd, Mark Middleton, and Todd Werkhoven as they discuss this beloved and/or forgotten (depending on where you grew up, probably) Grrl Power film. Come for the 90’s fashion, stay for the amazing 3-minute helicopter shot of the bridge and the city during the closing credits! Enjoy!
In 1989, a movie so so abysmal was made in Oregon that writer and film critic David Walked dubbed it “The Curse of ‘Homer and Eddie.'” Essentially he said that “Homer and Eddie” was the point where Portland cinema went from 80’s independent cool to Hollywood tax shelter garbage. So does it deserve that criticism? Join us as we finally sit down to experience this pile of cinematic nonsense, starring Jim (oops…I mean “James”) Belushi as a mentally enfeebled man and Whoopi Goldberg as a mentally ill woman (?) on a cross-country trip to our very own Oregon City. “A chore to watch!” – some Amazon reviewer
Fresh off the heels of the Portland Tonya Harding Film Festival, we invited John-Ryan Griggs (the director of the festival) to talk about the two movies shown: a 1986 documentary about a then 15-year-old Harding working toward her first Nationals, and then a 1996 “action/thriller” called “Breakaway,” which features Tonya in a smaller role. One of these movies was really good; the other was a flaming pile of garbage. Can you guess which is which? Let’s do a triple axle into the cinematic world of Portland’s own Tonya Harding.
Going into this podcast about movies made in Portland, we knew that there would be more bad than good. But never could we imagine just how bad it could be. Insulting, joyless, trite, inexplicable, nonsensical, indefensible, and a slap in the face to art and humanity. Siskel & Ebert called it the worst comedy they had ever seen. So what happened? What’s going on? Who is this movie even for? Join us as we demand answers.
Don’t forget to check out our map, where I’ve added 7 locations from this movie, and a bunch more from “The Hunted.”
We had high hopes for this kung-fu action movie, from the same director as Bruce Lee’s classic “Enter the Dragon” and the so-bad-it’s-good classic “Gymkata,” and starring Bruce Lee’s cousin Britton Lee and martial arts movie hall-of-famer Bolo Yeung. So did we discover a cult classic diamond in the rough? Or is it another victim of the “Portland Movie Curse”? Join us as we get to the heart of this filmed-in-Portland movie.
Portland locations in the movie (see their locations on the master map):
Recorded live at the Hawthorne Theater at the First Annual Portland Podcast Festival, we take a mini-look at the 1996 Chuck Norris masterpiece “Forest Warrior,” filmed around Mt. Hood and Hood River. It’s a crazy movie in which Chuck Norris is a literal, eternal shape-shifting forest spirit protecting Native American land. It’s Goonies meets Animorphs meets Captain Planet meets Chuck Norris stopping a chainsaw with his bare hands, and it’s pretty amazing. (The whole movie is up on YouTube), and it’s definitely worth a watch!” Thanks to Jason Lamb and Greg & Sarah of Funemployment Radio for putting on the festival. It was amazing, and the crowd was fantastic. Enjoy!
“The Devil’s Keep” is writer/director Don Gronquist’s 1995 follow up to “Unhinged” (see previous episode), and if you love real-time YouTube how-to videos, mixed with mute, albino, geriatric, female Nazis, then this is the movie for you. Filmed in Portland, it’s the story of two high schoolers following a series of puzzles leading to “The Devil’s Keep” — hidden Nazi gold. So is this movie gold? Find out on this episode of “Portland at the Movies.”
Portland location screen caps. See full intereactive map at PortlandAtTheMovies.com/map.
It’s a Halloween Double Feature as we sit down to watch two horror movies filmed entirely on location at Portland’s Pittock Mansion. “Unhinged” is a D-Grade 1982 slasher flick (with very little slashing, and a lot of people taking naps), and the 1989 made-for-TV-movie “The Haunting of Sarah Hardy,” starring Sela Ward and Morgan Fairchild, and Morgan Fairchild’s shoulder pads. Join us as we dissect these would-be thrillers.
Red Snow Love at Large Bad Samaritan American Taboo (1984) Zero Effect The Sasquatch Gang (2006) Brain Smasher: A Love Story The Competition (2018) Mr. Holland’s Opus Captain Fantastic Untraceable Body of Evidence The Music…
To celebrate the one-year anniversary of “Portland at the Movies,” we watched all 3 sequels to the movie that started it all: “Halloweentown.” Join us as we slog through these terrible Disney Channel movies. Join Todd, Mark, and Brian “The Unipiper” Kidd as we try to make sense out of 3 movies that make no sense. Trick or treat!
Travel back to a time when men were wiseguys, women were “B-girls,” and vice came in the form of flipperless pinball machines. In the mostly forgotten noir film “Portland Exposé,” based on a pictorial spread about true-life vice in Portland’s in a 1957 issue of LIFE Magazine, you get all of that, plus Frank Gorshin (“The Riddler” in the 60s Batman TV series) as a child predator, and some amazing shots of Portland in the late 1950s. Don’t be a hophead – take a listen.
Filming locations for the movies covered on “Portland at the Movies.” Continually updated with each new episode. Click each marker to see a photo of that location from the movie, and expand the map to…
In 1972, Raquel Welch came to Portland and made a movie in which she played a “Jammer” on the Portland Loggers Roller Derby Team. So naturally they called the film “Kansas City Bomber.” Anyway, join us as we take a look at the first major motion picture filmed completely in Portland. Spoilers: there’s a reason you’ve probably never heard of this movie.
How did the city look? Here are some screen shots: