Fred Savage conquers Super Mario 3, The Simpsons debuts, and it’s time to talk about the greatest movie of all time according to money

Dec. 13-19: Paul Newman’s horny, Dustin Hoffman’s named Vito, Hanukkah Harry has socks – 8 pair!, Robin Williams is a robot, Stuart Little saves his family, Buffy gets quiet, Viggo Mortensen hits the road, and Chris picks a billion-dollar blue hill to die on. All that and more this week on Thirty Twenty Ten, your weekly look back on the week that was 30, 20, and 10 years ago.


Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Overcast | RSS


We’ve got an AVENGERS: ENDGAME spoiler-cast ready and waiting, exclusively for supporters of the Laser Time Patreon. Featuring special guest Chris Baker!

Get the latest LISTENERS STRIKE BACK Thirty Twenty Ten Bonus episode by supporting Laser Time on Patreon

Watch Conan O’Brien’s 10th Anniversary Special with us, exclusively on Patreon!

9 thoughts on “Fred Savage conquers Super Mario 3, The Simpsons debuts, and it’s time to talk about the greatest movie of all time according to money

  1. Wow! After listening to an Avatar-sized argument about whether Avatar is good or not, all I can say is no. No, it is not. I remember going to see Avatar with a fairly large group of people and being so incredibly let down. Now, I didn’t expect much, but I called every single reveal before it happened, groaned at the bad writing and stupid plot points, and wanted my money AND time back when it was done. Sorry, Chris, but i side with Sarah on this one. Avatar is shit. I hated it then and I still hate it every time I think about it.

    1. Couldn’t agree more.
      The characters were flat and uninteresting. The story has been told dozens of times over so it’s pretty forgettable. I was let down in 2009 and haven’t cared enough to watch it again.

  2. As someone who grew up watching the Simpsons and loved it, it’s sad to hear about how subversive it was then compared to now.

  3. Good Moleman to you,

    I rewatched Avatar last week, and it still holds up. It’s nothing amazing, but it’s a good movie, and the CG holds up shockingly well.
    I think that’s why there’s the backlash. It’s fine. It’s not worth the amount of praise and mind boggling success that it achieved.

  4. I figured I’d offer the perspective of someone who was merely whelmed by Avatar from the get-go. I didn’t see it in the theater. 3D gives me a headache so I gave it a pass. Instead my brother brought it over when he got the Blu-ray and we watched it on our massive state of the art 40″ flat screen TV.

    Mostly I wanted to watch it because it was James Cameron and because of the hype. Cameron has a cycle of coming out with a mind blowing hit, becoming a recluse for years working on a project, having predictions of failure heaped on him when his projects inevitably go over budget, then releasing it to become a mind blowing hit again. I wanted to see if the latest one lived up to the cycle and the hype.

    And it was okay. It was pretty. I feel like without the mind blowing 3D effects in a theater it was merely a competent scifi movie that borrowed very heavily on a stew of tropes that’d already been done better in other science fiction properties.

    That was ultimately the problem I had with it. I feel like Cameron’s bread and butter is taking familiar and tired tropes – killer robots, killer aliens (whether of the chest bursting or cut-for-cold-war-politics tsunami variety), spy thrillers, historical romance – and elevating them to something greater that reinvigorates their genre. Avatar wasn’t even enough to reinvigorate Sam Worthington’s career, if his IMDB page is anything to go on.

    Was it a good movie? Sure. Did it amaze and wow without the draw of 3D Imax? Not really. Did it live up to Cameron’s reputation for busting box office records? Definitely, though some of that was probably the ridiculously expensive 3D tickets. Did it live up to his reputation for putting that Cameron twist on a piece of well known genre fiction? Nah.

  5. The plot, the film, the characters. They were all mediocre at best, however, I didn’t feel like that was the point. This film was meant to showcase state of the art CGI and show that 3D could be an actual storytelling tool and more than just a gimmick. I feel it achieved that. I saw it in the full IMAX 3D and it was an amazing experience. The CGI was and still is super impressive, and the 3D was implemented tastefully in a way that was much more engaging than “ooooohhh look out the arrows are coming AT YOU!!” It was much more organic. With all that being said, even with the CGI still being impressive even today, it is not worth watching anymore. If you didn’t see it in IMAX 3D to experience it the way Cameron intended, then it loses a lot of it’s appeal. With a been there done that mediocre story such as that, it’s just not worth trudging through unless you have the full experience. Bottom line: It showcased the technology well, but if you missed it, don’t bother.

  6. There is a weird Mandela Effect with The Wizard. They do NOT show how get the warp whistle by holding down on a white block to go behind the scenery on World 1-3!
    I rewatched the scene just to make sure I was remembering it correctly. Jimmy gets a warp whistle by flying over the scenery in the mid-boss castle and going in the hidden door.
    The movie that did show the duck on a white block in Mario 3 trick waz Sinbad’s genie movie, Shazaam.

  7. 20191213
    Family Beeswax. What are some other films that have a great cast, a skilled director, an interesting premise and yet still somehow manage to suck?
    The Wizard. I showed this to my kids (7 & 9) expecting them to peace out after a few minutes but nope! They stayed engrossed though the entire thing. By contrast just last week my son ditched me halfway through Back to the Future 2. So the film with hoverboards, time travel, and flying cars couldn’t hold his attention but seeing Fred Savage ride a skateboard on a flat dessert road could??? I’ve come to the conclusion that I have absolutely no ability to predict what films from my own childhood will or will not resonate with my kids. What are your biggest “They liked that???” moments when showing stuff to your kids?
    July and Carol Together Again. Other than “A Bill Murray Christmas” are there any modern examples of this type of special in the last ten years that are good?
    Blaze. I only remember this at all because of the commercial about how the protagonist left his boots on during sex. Oh, and never trust someone who says “trust me” is valid advice in my experience.
    Hanukkah Harry. I love, love loved this skit when it came out and love it to this day. It’s 100% my favorite SNL Christmas skit. I even tried to start of a mini-tradition of Hanukkah Harry visiting our house but it never took off. Maybe I should try it again. Does anyone know where I can find the sketch? My goole-fu only found the easter one.
    What was your first Simpson’s episode?
    I feel confident that literally not one single person on the planet Earth watching The Simpsons Roasting Over and Open Fire in December of 1989 expected it to run 30 seasons. So 671 episodes after it premiered what do you think of this as a stand-alone special? Yes, some viewers in 1989 knew the Simpsons from the Tracy Ulman show, but plenty didn’t. As a Christmas special in and of itself, does it hold up? Oh, and flashback!
    Have you watched Avatar since it came out in theaters?

    “I Drove All Night” originally charted by Cyndi Lauper and then was charted again when it was covered by Celine Dion. What song has been in the Billboard Top 100 the most times by the most number of different artists?
    Bicentennial Man. I agree that there’s probably some fan super-cut of Data learning to be human on TNG that better’s than this film but it’s got a few solid moments that really worked for me. One that didn’t in the ending; Robin William’s character chooses to grow old and die because that’s what it’ll take for him to be fully human. My own personal belief is that as aging and death are an inevitable part of human existence we developed elaborate justifications for the necessity of aging and death for pretty much the same reason that Stockholm Syndrome exists and that the “Who Wants to Live Forever”-trope is just sour grapes (The term “sour grapes” comes the fable about how a fox really wanted to eat some grapes, tried very hard to eat them, failed, and then told himself that the grapes were probably sour anyways.) We have to grow old and die. We don’t have a choice about that. So I _get_ why fables about creatures who don’t grow old try to focus on the negative aspects of it. But the reasons Robin William’s character gives just felt so incredibly flat to me that it completely took me out of the film.
    I fell out of watching Buffy. Back in ’98 I had a dorm mate who was super into the show and pulled me in but by ‘99 I had lost contact with her and I just didn’t feel a strong need to watch the show without her. A few years after that some friend practically forced me to watch “Hush” and I was instantly back into the show. Is there any one specific episode of a TV show that pulled you back into watching the series after you had stopped watching it?
    Poll: What is the best episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer of All Time? “Hush” “The Musical”

    So the sequel to “It’s My Party and I’ll Cry if I Want To” is “It’s Judy’s Turn to Cry.” Huh. I too can honestly say I’ve never listened to a single song in my life and gone, “I wonder what happens next?” Any other sequels to well-known songs out there?
    What is everyone’s favorite Hugh Grant role? He’ll always be Tony Blair to me.
    The Road. The film and the book have both been on my to-watch/to-read lists, respectively, for over ten years. Everything I’ve heard about it is how reading/watching it just fills you with cruashing despair and over the last ten years every time I’ve asked myself, “Do I want to feel more crushing despair?” the answer has been “Nope.” BUT! I still really want to see them so perhaps this week I’ll find the time. Also, the best critique I ever heard about the CGI The Lorax was that in order to stay true to the spirit of the Dr. Seuss’s book it really needed to be “The Road For Kids!” and from all I’ve heard I can see that.
    I agree with Christ that the primary reason that Avatar was largely forgotten was because so little has been done with it over the last 10 years. 2007’s The Transformer’s was a huge colossal hit but if there had been 0 sequels to it who in 2017 would remember that film? The TV show sure, but the film? People have limited space in their memory banks for pop culture and if you don’t keep putting something out there is just too much other stuff that will fill the space. BUT! For Avatar that is pretty much over with. We are exactly 2 years away from the opening date of Avatar 2 and Disney is going to be putting so much effort to keep that a big money-maker until the end of time that being an Avatar fan will definitely be a “thing.” Or at least that’s my bet. What about you? What do you think the future is for Avatar? Avatar 2 will flop because there are almost no Avatar fans today. Avatar 2 will be a big success by most standards but not by Disney standards. Avatar 2 will launch a franchise that will be worthy of being talked about in the same breath with Disney’s MCU and Star Wars franchises.
    A red state christmas.
    Which band have you paid the most money to see?
    This is from a few weeks ago but I just watched Prancer for the first time. I had zero nostalgia for it but hearing a Laserino talk about how it captured rural small town America 1980’s Christmas time really intrigued me because that’s where I spent my Christmases in the 1980’s and they were super right. So many little things rang a tiny faint bell in my mind. The actual film is very solid. The protagonist is having a rough time because her life is in rough shape and she is having issues with her father. I really liked how he’s not this mean hearted villain. He is STRUGGLING and doing the best he can to try to hold everything together as he is obviously having trouble dealing with his wife/her mother’s death both emotionally and financially. And that’s because he’s human. Anyone would be struggling in his shoes. But his daughter, being an 8 year old, is grasping onto whatever she can and not really caring, or even understanding, how she might be making things harder for him because she’s 8! It’s a solid emotional film and … neither of my kids would watch it. They were in wrap attention to The Wizard, which I have intense nostalgia for but can recognize as by far the inferior film, but this one they resisted from the first few minutes in and then quit. EXTRA! EXTRA! A child’s standard for what makes a film good is not the same as an adult’s standard! EXTRA! EXTRA! Ah well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *