Nathan Rabin is a film and music critic known for having coined the phrase "manic pixie dream girl." Rabin was the first head writer for The A.V. Club, which he left to co-found and become a staff writer for The Dissolve. At The Dissolve, he wrote the columns "Forgotbusters" and "Streaming University." He left The Dissolve to return to The A.V. Club as a freelance writer. He has written articles on the Insane Clown Posse, Phish, and "Weird Al" Yankovic. Rabub was a panelist on the show "Movie Club with John Ridley" on AMC. Rabin's first book, the memoir, "The Big Rewind: A Memoir Brought To You By Pop Culture," was published in 2009. He has written several books about pop culture, including two about Al Yankovic. Rabin was raised in Chicago. He received his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
One of the things we’ve learned about Travolta and Cage during this project is that they’re both, in their own way, Elvis figures: they’re handsome, song-and-dance men who occupy a kind of irresistible masculinity and cultural supremacy in their prime. Never is that clearer than this week’s doozy of a double-feature, as film and TV critic Odie Henderson (, Vulture) helps us break down Look Who’s Talking Too and Honeymoon in Vegas! The podcast’s very first sequel, Look Who’s Talking Too sees young Travolta and Kirstie Alley juggling work and young parenthood as their first baby, Mikey (Bruce Willis, talking for the baby long after he develops speech of his own), grows up just in time to welcome his little sister Julie (a grating Roseanne Barr) into the world. Get ready for baby genitalia jokes and Elias Koteas as a Reaganite Travis Bickle type, and for an 80-minute movie to feel like three hours. Thankfully, we’ve got the deceptively lo-fi charms of Honeymoon in Vegas to contend with, as Nic Cage tries to overcome his mother’s deathbed promise never to marry by getting hitched in Sin City with his longtime girlfriend (Sarah Jessica Parker), only to get roped into a “Dangerous Liaisons” situation with high-stakes gambler James Caan that’ll take Cage to Hawaii and back (thanks to a plane full of flying Elvises). Which film’s our good luck charm, and which goes down in a hunka-hunka-burning flames? Listen and find out! Pledge to our Patreon at Follow us on Twitter @travoltacage Email us questions at Podcast theme by Jon Biegen Podcast logo by Felipe Sobreiro
This week, Travolta and Cage’s timelines finally merge with two certified stinkers from 1991! Podcaster extraordinaire and recurring guest Alonso Duralde (Linoleum Knife, Who Shot Ya?, a million others) takes the ferry to N’Awlins with us to steep in the sweaty, clumsy erotic thrills of Zandalee, in which Nic Cage plays a tortured artist who livens up the sex life of repressed trophy wife Zandalee (Erika Anderson), much to the consternation of frustrated poet Thierry (Judge Reinhold). The sex scenes are just as unfortunate as the facial hair, and there’s much more Tennessee Williams melodrama — and accidental blackface — to be found! From there, we hop from The Big Easy to The Magic City of Miami for Chains of Gold, a Travolta-penned Miami Vice knockoff about an ad executive-turned-social-worker-who-might-as-well-be-a-cop who tries to save his young charge (baby Joey Lawrence) from the clutches of a crack slavery gang run by Benjamin Bratt. Early-’90s War on Drugs pandering, a spangly Marilu Henner, and an elevator shaft filled with flesh-eating crocodiles — what’s not to love? (Note: We run into some audio quality issues from about 25:00 to 45:00, but they clear up quickly!) Pledge to our Patreon at Follow us on Twitter @travoltacage Email us questions at Podcast theme by Jon Biegen Podcast logo by Felipe Sobreiro
Travolta and Cage fly high this week, as their filmic timelines finally align with two 1989-’90 films in which they play pilots! After a few dour years, Travolta struck gold with Look Who’s Talking, the Amy Heckerling-directed tale of a young single mom in New York (a pre-insanity Kirstie Alley) looking for a good dad for her baby son Mikey (voiced by an all-too-lewd Bruce Willis), and possibly finding it in Travolta’s happy-go-lucky cab driver/aspiring flight instructor. Then, of course, there’s Fire Birds, the 1990 action vehicle/Top Gun riff in which Nicolas Cage plays a hotshot Army helicopter pilot (a maverick, if you will) training to fly the Apache helicopter so the Army can roll into Colombia to take down the (German?) drug cartel leader who killed Cage’s partner. It even opens with a George W. Bush quote, which might be the free space on everyone’s “American jingoism” bingo card. At least Tommy Lee Jones is having fun, though! Podcasting/video game creature creation magnate Justin McElroy (My Brother, My Brother, and Me, Monster Factory) climbs into the cockpit to help us break down that one time Travolta launched a hugely successful family-film franchise at the same time Cage engaged in brain-dead propaganda for the War on Drugs. Pledge to our Patreon at Follow us on Twitter @travoltacage Email us questions at Podcast theme by Jon Biegen Podcast logo by Felipe Sobreiro
This week on the pod, we fill out another notch on our We Hate Movies guest bingo card with the lovely Stephen Sajdak, as we break down two decidedly gonzo love stories in our heroes’ filmography! First, there’s Nic Cage’s one and only collaboration with David Lynch on 1989’s nightmarish road movie Wild at Heart, the tale of a snakeskin jacket-wearing criminal (Cage) and his lusty moll of a girlfriend (Laura Dern) boning their way through the American countryside with Dern’s vengeful mother (an ecstatically bizarre Diane Ladd) on their tail. It’s a kaleidoscopic mishmash of Wizard of Oz, Elvis Presley movies, and the kind of seedy violence and surrealism only cinema’s greatest weirdo can supply. Contrast that, of course, with Dave “SCTV” Thomas’ screwball Cold War comedy The Experts, where a pair of hip New York losers (John Travolta and Arye Gross) are unwittingly recruited to modernize a creaky old Midwestern town that --gasp- turns out to be a spy school in the middle of Soviet Russia! Put on the shelf for two years and not released until after the Cold War came to a close, The Experts was dated before it even came out. It’s a garish mess of ‘80s mullets, cowboy boots, and clunky dance scenes, but hey, at least it got Travolta and Kelly Preston together at last. Now that’s true love! Listen to our thoughts on these two films, plus the recent news of Cage’s casting as Joe Exotic in a prospective Tiger King TV series!
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Creator Details

Apr 24th, 1976
Chamblee, Georgia, United States of America
Episode Count
Podcast Count
Total Airtime
5 days, 2 hours