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Not just another bad movie podcast, Blank Check reviews directors' complete filmographies episode to episode. Specifically, the auteurs whose early successes afforded them the rare ‘blank check’ from Hollywood to produce passion projects. Each new miniseries, hosts Griffin Newman and David Sims delve into the works of film’s most outsized personalities in painstakingly hilarious detail.
 
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Cheval Bayard

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If Sarah Reeves was a faery instead of a human, it would be a whole lot easier for her to get what she wants: to ride Cheval Bayard in an elite competition; to earn a spot on the Mundane Intervention Team; and for Brendan Greenwood to like her. But Regan, her archrival at the stables is doing everything she can to steal Cheval Bayard out from under Sarah. There are more students than spaces for the Mundane Intervention Team, and competition is fierce. And Brendan inexplicably likes mean-girl ...
 
Each Real Talks episode provides a prominent Irish figure with the opportunity to talk about life lessons, leadership, resilience, purpose, sport, passions and much more. Season One features 10 leading GAA players speaking in a way they have never been heard before. Guests include Kevin McManamon, a four time All-Ireland winner with Dublin, and Brendan Maher, Tipperary’s All-Ireland winning captain in 2016. No more clickbait. No more soundbites. Choose real people. Choose real stories. Alan ...
 
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Dana Stevens (Slate.com / Her new Buster Keaton biography “Cameraman”) returns to the pod to *literally* wax poetic about the literary coming-of-age story “An Angel At My Table”. The film is an intimate, often heartbreaking saga of a woman discovering her own creative voice…and yes, the woman just happens to look like Little Orphan Annie. The gang …
 
We’ve climbed up in our childhood treehouse and we’re not coming down! Sarah Violet Bliss (Search Party) joins us to talk about “Sweetie” - Jane Campion’s off-kilter meditation on suburbia and sibling rivalry. Revelations within the episode include the fact that David was part of the “Neighbours Society” at Uni (a group of students in favor of airi…
 
We’re kicking off our Jane Campion miniseries with her feature-length debut, auspiciously titled “Two Friends” - perhaps she has a competitive advantage? The backwards-structured script (the OG temporal pincer movement) leads the crew to reflect on their own adolescence…did you know David was already six feet tall at the age of twelve? And Ben was …
 
Happy New Year! We’re going back to the Matrix - which we last covered in 2016 (!!) - and we’re feeling pretty good about it! Seraph was a login screen, sure…but is “Tiffany” a .TIFF? Is Agent Smith just a virus? Are we taking crazy pills for liking this movie so much? Jack in and let’s fly, Blankies. Opening clip is from Howl's Moving Castle with …
 
They said it couldn’t be done. Remaking possibly the most revered movie musical of all time?! A fool’s errand! But folks, we’ve learned a very important lesson…NEVER DOUBT STEVEN SPIELBERG. Especially when he’s teaming up with Tony “Dank” Kushner! David pinpoints the exact moments he wept during his multiple viewings of this most recent iteration o…
 
Alert the horny police, because we’re taking ourselves to a nunnery with the Dirty Dutch Daddy himself - Paul Verhoeven! The gang goes bonkers for “Benedetta'', and Producer Ben-edetta reveals that he has an almost-saint in his family - one more miracle, and Ben gets to go to the Vatican! We discuss the connections between “Benedetta” and Verhoeven…
 
We’ve spent four months in the Mouth of Madness with the Horror Master, and we’ve reached the end point of Carpenter’s directorial career...for now. A man who has *actually collaborated with John Carpenter* - Drew McWeeny (writer of Carpenter’s installments in the Masters of Horror series) - joins us to recontextualize our journey through Carpenter…
 
Contrary to popular belief (and Wikipedia), this film was NOT supposed to be another installment in the Snake Plissken series - John Carpenter just thought it would be cool to make a movie about Mars “because it’s red.” Galaxy Brain’s Dave Schilling and Jonah Ray join us to dissect Carpenter’s take on that dusty red planet, his obsession with cross…
 
They’re not just Vampires, they’re John Carpenter’s Vampires! “Closer in patina” to a classic Howard Hawks western than anything Carpenter’s ever done, this film is nasty, gruesome, and devoid of any of the “teenyboppers” and romanticism that had become hallmarks of the slasher and vampire genres, respectively. David Ehrlich (Indiewire) joins us as…
 
Less of a sequel and more of a “next gen video game re-skin,” Snake Plissken is back in “Escape from LA” and this time he’s got a surfboard! The “Gourley and Rust” guys join us to ponder whether or not a big budget is actually *bad* for John Carpenter. On the one hand, we get a Carp, Kurt, and Debra Hill reunion! On the other…those submarine sequen…
 
It’s not “Children of the Damned” nor “Children of the Corn” nor “Corn of the Damned” - it’s John Carpenter’s “Village of the Damned,” goddamnit! Creepy blonde kids with laser eyes! Our guest Amy Nicholson’s (“Unspooled”) boyfriend thinks she looks like one of them. Griffin thinks David’s baby has “Village of the Damned” eyes, too. But is this movi…
 
Just in time for Halloween - it’s the conclusion of Carpenter’s “Apocalypse Trilogy” and one of the best Lovecraftian horrors ever to grace the silver screen! Vulture’s Angelica Jade Bastién joins us to chat “In the Mouth of Madness,” and we wonder - is Sam Neill a “dang ass freak”? Should this movie take place in a more “airport paperback” environ…
 
In which we try to find the John Carpenter in what is overwhelmingly a Chevy Chase vanity project. The legendary Alan Sepinwall (Rolling Stone) joins us to make sense of this befuddling genre mishmash. What are the invisibility rules of this movie? Who is the silver-voiced British man named “Richard” and is that his real voice? Is Chevy Chase good …
 
Don’t adjust your sunglasses - it’s another epic crossover podcast! The Doughboys join #TheTwoFriends to tackle Carpenter’s still-relevant anti-capitalist alien action classic. Is “Rowdy” Roddy Piper the greatest wrestler-turned-actor? Who actually wrote the iconic bubblegum line? Which hard seltzer is the best and why is it White Claw Surge? And y…
 
Every filmmaker gets one “Satan in a jar in a basement” movie and this is John Carpenter’s! Keith Phipps (The Next Picture Podcast) joins us to chat “the anti-God,” fictional British scientist Bernard Quatermass, and young David Sims’ humble beginnings as an “It’s Always Sunny” recapper at the AVClub. The boys also establish that Ben loves “wet evi…
 
You know what ol’ Jack Burton would do on an episode like this? Bring back Jason Mantzoukas and Paul Scheer, of course! The HOW DID THIS GET MADE? guys make their triumphant return to Blank Check to discuss yet another Kurt Russell masterpiece, and lament the lack of Russell-esque stars in today’s Hollywood landscape. There’s some John Landis sland…
 
Voyager II may be approaching the “Termination Shock” (Ben’s new favorite phrase), but we’re on earth cherishing the otherworldly romance of John Carpenter’s STARMAN! Vanity Fair’s Katey Rich returns to discuss Jeff Bridges’ impressive performance, the illustrious career of Hollywood script doctor “Dinky” Dean Reisner, and the one sandwich that’s a…
 
It’s the Blank Check / Kingcast crossover event you’ve all been waiting for! Scott Wampler and Eric Vespe join us to discuss John Carpenter’s “Christine” - the first Stephen King adaptation we’ve covered. What is more terrifying - a sexy vintage car that kills people? Or Barbra Streisand’s basement mall? A difficult question, we know. This episode …
 
Here’s the thing about THE THING - it might be the best movie we’ve ever covered? Emily VanDerWerff joins us (and joins the five-timers club!) to discuss Carpenter’s Arctic paranoia classic, which was unfairly maligned upon release. Topics covered include the “Brimley COCOON Line,” the film as a trans allegory, and dogs getting their faces peeled b…
 
Grab your eyepatches - it’s Snake Plissken time! Karen Han joins the gang to chat Carpenter’s action classic ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK - which was actually filmed in St. Louis! Topics covered include NSFW tattoos, Lee Van Cleef’s badass gravestone, the 90s documentary where Ernest Borgnine just drives a bus, and John Carpenter’s rather pedestrian taste …
 
A film brave enough to ask the question - what if there was fog? Just kidding - this movie is ACTUALLY about vengeful pirate ghosts and a lady with a sexy radio voice. CANDYMAN’s Nia DaCosta returns to the pod to ask whether or not fog is scary if you aren’t driving through it. Producer Ben wonders if the titular fog should have had a voice. Plus, …
 
It’s our biggest episode EVER as Alex Ross Perry brings his own dossier of talking points to tackle 1978’s iconic HALLOWEEN. We explore the history of American independent cinema as seen through the lens of the low-budget horror genre, and determine who’d be included in the slasher villain Mount Rushmore (Chucky isn’t carved into the rock; he’d be …
 
John Carpenter puts his own spin on Howard Hawks’ iconic western RIO BRAVO and Griffin learns about “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” - it’s our ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 episode! Screenwriter and film critic April Wolfe (2019’s BLACK CHRISTMAS) joins us as we discuss the most dramatic vanilla ice cream cone of all time. Is this one of Carpenter’…
 
Our long-awaited John Carpenter series kicks off with his ultra-low budget oddity debut DARK STAR. Ben goes Hollywood (actually, “Hosleywood”) to record with Emily Yoshida - the Mother of Blankies herself - *in person* in Los Angeles, and the gang debates possible names for the series. We landed on “They Podcast” - which is a departure from Griffin…
 
What if there was a beach that made you old? Only the mischievous mind of M. Night Shyamalan could conjure such a place! The gang (including Shyamalan Superfan and Blank Check social media manager Marie Bardi) dives into M. Night’s latest offering. Is it a “Glassterpiece”? Does Griffin even know what age he is anymore? Did Ben always have those wri…
 
Welcome to the slam, it’s time to jam - it’s our first in-person recording since the pandemic! Griffin’s brother James Newman returns to the pod to chat BASKETBALL, a topic that Griffin now knows slightly more about after watching The Last Dance. Is LeBron a bad actor? Does anyone really understand the complicated metaphysics of the Warner Bros Ser…
 
It’s the direct-to-Crackle sequel to our original Clifford episode from four years ago! Clifford superfan and comedy legend Tom Scharpling (“The Best Show,” his new memoir “It Never Ends”) joins us to wax poetic on Martin Short and eulogize the great Charles Grodin. The guys also give pitches for an actual Clifford sequel. Would it involve a prison…
 
Dust off your mullets, because it’s the return of PORCH CINEMA with another Ben’s Choice Blank Check Spectacular! The boys talk David Spade, Kid Rock, and Direct-to-Crackle sequels, as they determine the secret ingredient to Ben-approved content - carry a mop on the poster. This episode is sponsored by: NordVPN (nordvpn.com/blankcheck CODE: blankch…
 
John Singleton’s filmography comes to an inauspicious end with “Abduction,” a film that tests the viability of “Taylor Lautner as Action Star.” Longtime friend of the pod Jason Concepcion (Crooked Media’s Takeline and ALL CAPS NBA) joins us as we mourn the untimely passing of Singleton and try to parse why this movie fails so spectacularly. This ep…
 
What if there were four brothers? Has anyone thought of this before? Jonathan Braylock (Black Men Can’t Jump in Hollywood) joins us to talk about the niche genre of “snow crime,” the “what ifs?” of Singleton’s career in the 2000s, and the four classic archetypes of brothers. This episode is sponsored by: Brooklinen (CODE: blankcheck) HelloFresh (he…
 
It’s happening - the Two Friends finally devote an entire episode to THE FAMILY. Special guest (and Fast Franchise Devotee) Jon Gabrus joins us to talk about the Singleton-directed second installment in the saga, just in time for the release of F9. No Vin? No problem! We’ve got a very hungry Tyrese! This episode is sponsored by: MUBI (mubi.com/chec…
 
Who says you can’t go home again? John Singleton returns to South Central with BABY BOY and we imagine a trip to Tyrese’s backyard Benihana, a thing that actually exists. Special guest Ayo Edebiri (Big Mouth) returns to the pod with some crackling insights (and an inspired Shrek tangent) as we discuss the legacy of what some call Singleton’s stealt…
 
He’s a bad mother...pod your cast! Demi Adejuyigbe (The Amber Ruffin Show) joins Griffin and David to discuss the cultural legacy of Detective John Shaft - most specifically, John Singleton’s 2000 interpretation. Is there enough sex in this version of Shaft? What does Shaft mean when he says, “Giuliani Time!” ? Does Jeffrey Wright put too much papr…
 
Blankie favorite Jamelle Bouie returns to the pod to discuss “Rosewood” - an ambitious historical epic whose failure at the box office (against not one, but TWO Star Wars re-releases) may have necessitated a shift for Singleton towards more commercial fare. The careers of Ving Rhames, Jon Voight, and Michael Rooker are spotlighted, as well as the s…
 
We’re going back to school with John Singleton, Omar Epps, and...Zangief?! Micah Peters (The Ringer) joins the Two Friends as they discuss “Higher Learning” - an ambitious movie that wrestles with the Big Issues of the American experience: race, gender, sexuality, and the career of Tyra Banks. This episode is sponsored by: GrubHub Mack Weldon (mack…
 
Jourdain Searles (Bad Romance Pod) joins The Two Friends to discuss “Poetic Justice” - a film that is NOT about Janet Jackson teaching a poetry class, contrary to Griffin’s assumption. The episode also features a delightful Billy Zane tangent and includes probably the most Maya Angelou poetry of any Blank Check installment yet. This episode is spon…
 
Join us as we pour one out for John Singleton, the subject of our new miniseries - PODZ N THE CAST. Griffin and David welcome Aisha Harris (NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour) to chat about Singleton’s iconic debut feature, which saw him Oscar-nominated straight out of film school at the age of 24. Take that, Orson Welles. Griffin also lays out his “Clov…
 
He’s the kid from Third Rock. The Boy from Brick. The hitRECordjoe himself. Blank Check proudly presents a special one-film miniseries on the directorial career of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, so far consisting only of the baffling 2013 porn-addiction comedy DON JON. “The Boys” Sean Clements and Hayes Davenport of Hollywood Handbook join us as we ask the …
 
Telling the truth is a dangerous business - but movies and podcasts can go hand-in-hand! We conclude our Elaine May series with one of the biggest bounces in Hollywood history - the unfairly maligned Ishtar. Clint McElroy (The Adventure Zone) joins us as we discuss blind camels and the “liberal feminist” Warren Beatty. This episode is sponsored by:…
 
Grab 15 cups of cream, brush up on your Meisner Technique, and listen in as The Two Friends (Griffin & David) discuss the Two Friends MIKEY & NICKY, with special guest Olivia Craighead (Iconography podcast). While we’re still discussing the films of Elaine May, this episode also serves as a celebration of “Short King With A Tall Face” John Cassavet…
 
Writer and comedian Avery Edison joins this week to discuss 1972’s The Heartbreak Kid! Topics include: how May’s directing elevated the Neil Simon screenplay, the performances from Cybill Shepherd, Jeannie Berlin, Charles Grodin, the delightful cringe of the comedy, and more! This episode is sponsored by: Ritual (ritual.com/blankcheck) Bombas (bomb…
 
Heavens! It’s technically April, but we’re talking MAY! The guys kick off our Elaine May mini series with her debut feature A New Leaf, while also diving deep into her history as an improv and sketch comedy trailblazer. This episode also marks the return of Ben’s nicknames, and includes a wild ride through the top box office hits of 1971. Billy Jac…
 
Griffin and David welcome back Joe Reid for the 6th annual Blankie Awards Ceremony for Excellence in Films. Together they present their own personal nominations and winners for the upcoming 93rd Academy Awards. This roundtable discussion looks at all the major categories, as well as, references deep cut cinema you may have missed. This episode is s…
 
Griffin and David are finally doing it! They are CONSIDERING THE COCONUT! In addition to the coconut they also have an in-depth conversation about Musker and Clements’ final (and best?) film together, 2016's Moana. A departure from their typical 2D animation style, and a shift from Disney’s typical Princess / Prince structure, their first fully CG …
 
Just when they thought they were out, Musker & Clements are called back in to helm 2009's The Princess and the Frog. After 7 years in directorial semi-retirement, John and Ron bring Disney animated films back to its musical roots in this historic fairytale starring Disney's first Black princess. James III (Black Men Can’t Jump In Hollywood) joins t…
 
This is the BOUNCE BABY!!! This week, the gang heads to 2002’s Treasure Planet. But what would the Phil Collins bump have done for this movie? Can a CGI character have a wig, when everyone’s hair is fake? Should this movie have been called “Poochie Planet”? They are joined by guest Emma “BOOKS” Stefansky (@stefabsky, entertainment staff writer @thr…
 
BC welcomes multi-hyphenate Larry Owens (A Strange Loop) for a discussion on 1997's Hercules! This episode is sponsored by: Purple - purple.com/check10 HelloFresh - hellofresh.com/blankcheck10 MUBI - mubi.com/check Join our Patreon at patreon.com/blankcheck Follow us @blankcheckpod on Twitter and Instagram! Buy some real nerdy merch at shopblankche…
 
#thetwofriends try and stay one jump ahead of the breadline and one swing ahead of the sword on this week's Aladdin episode as part of the mini series on the animated films of John Musker and Ron Clements. Jerah Milligan (Black Men Can’t Jump In Hollywood) joins to discuss the influence of Aladdin, adult humor in kid's movies, what if Aladdin had a…
 
Esther Zuckerman (Thrillist) returns to discuss 1989’s massive hit, The Little Mermaid! Topics include: the musical contributions of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, the upcoming live action remake, Ursula in human form as Vanessa, and more! This episode is sponsored by: Ritual (ritual.com/blankcheck) Bombas (bombas.com/check) MUBI (mubi.com/check) C…
 
All new, all fun! Blank Check launches a brand new mini series on the animated films of John Musker and Ron Clements. Writer and Ratigan stan, Fran Hoepfner (Bright Wall/Dark Room), joins to discuss the duo’s first project together as co-directors of The Great Mouse Detective. Topics include: the Disney renaissance, Sing-Along Songs VHS tapes, Sher…
 
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