Welcome to Dan Glaser’s Movie Podcast: The ONLY Podcast You Have To Read. In each episode I go with a different comedian to see a movie and then we head to the closest coffee shop to chat about it over the internet. Yes it is a podcast, you just have to read it instead of listen to it. As always, you can catch up on all the other episodes here. Even better, consider supporting the podcast by subscribing!
Mary and I met up bright and early one fine Spring morning at the scenic Regal Union Square Cinemas in scenic Union Square. After the movie, we fought our way through the hustle and bustle to Think Coffee on 13th St and 4th Ave to settle in for some “real talk.” Mary got a big iced coffee and I got a little hot coffee.
Dan: Mary, thank you so much for joining me here today on Dan Glaser’s Movie Podcast: The ONLY Podcast You Have To Read. After all we’ve been through together over the years I’m excited to finally get to talk to you about Blockers. But first I have one question: are you ready for the best night of your life?!!
Mary: Yes! I am! Thank you for having me, Dan.
Dan: Let’s just get this out of the way early: Blockers is a movie about PROM. It is the latest and possibly greatest in a long line of movies about PROM. I really liked Blockers even though I really DID NOT like PROM. What did you think of Blockers and what did you think of PROM?
Mary: Wow! Ok, I loved Blockers, and I liked prom! Not to be a loser who doesn’t have a finished screenplay talking about “the screenplay they’re working on,” but I am working on a screenplay that is very prom-based at the moment. So my mind felt very activated watching Blockers, since it is a good and well-written prom movie. And not in a way that I felt, “Aw man, prom movie’s already been done, I need to start over.” I was and am excited for the deluge of prom movies. I went to four proms and they were all good, and never sexually charged. I always went with friends.
Sidebar: I am currently applying lotion gifted to me by one of my prom dates.
Dan: Mary! That’s a lot of proms. Even today accounting for inflation four proms is a lot. Maybe it just seems like a lot to me because I only went to one and a half. The half is my junior prom although I did go with a senior which should count for something. I have questions about your screenplay but first I want to set a baseline. Every movie we see is obviously filtered through our own experiences, and I am interested in what, if anything, the universal prom experience means to you. What do you think Blockers captured well and what are you hoping to capture in your prom story?
Also sidebar: We should just come out and let our fans know that we grew up probably 10 miles from each other and probably went to prom at rival high schools. If not rivals then definitely frenemy schools.
Mary: It’s true; three of my proms were at Northern Highlands and one of the proms was at Don Bosco.
Dan: Woah! Was the Don Bosco prom a Rich Prom? I have to know what Don Bosco prom was like. Did you guys take a triple decker limo?
Mary: It was at a hotel, fancy. We were supposed to take pictures at a former NY Giant’s house, which my parents were really excited about, but then my date was running late so we just went straight to prom.
Dan: (Note to fans: Don Bosco is / was in my head a rich kid private school. I don’t know if that is actually the case but in my screenplay Don Bosco is where the rich kids will go.)
Mary: Don Bosco is an all-boys Catholic school. Very exotic!
I think the movie captured kids’ prom expectations well. Like the kids were not all like “yes! sex pact!” — you know, like a one-dimensional, very simple goal. They were all sort of grappling with whether they actually want to lose their virginity or not, do they want the experience to be “perfect” or not, and figuring out their sexual identity. I feel like prom — wanting to ask someone and being too shy to, not sure if you’re supposed to bone or not, not sure if you even wanna go to that weird after-party at so-and-so’s house — that felt very real. Like I guess I am thinking about the American Pie boys in contrast who just have one goal to have heterosexual sex and no complex feelings about it.
I am now remembering that I did get asked to another prom but then the guy made up with his girlfriend and un-asked me.
Dan: I was, similarly, thinking about American Pie early on and how differently this movie treated the kids. Similarly, Superbad. Blockers feels like a natural extension of the American Pie -> Superbad -> Blockers evolution, both in terms of relative complexity of characters as well as the comedy itself.
Mary: For sure!
Dan: I also have some opinions, facile or otherwise on how the fact that we follow 3 girls instead of a bunch of dudes allows for and actually demands a more interesting take.
Mary: Yeah it’s cool. We get glimmers of their male dates’ feelings too even though they are not the focus, which is nice.
Dan: It actually rules. I don’t care about the boys. In fact maybe the only part of the movie that didn’t quite stick the landing for me was some of the Dad stuff. But we’ll get to that!
Mary: Dan I am trying to send you a picture of me at prom, is it working?
Dan: Mentally? Or over gChat?
Mary: Look how long and shiny my hair is.
Dan: Serious question: were brown prom dresses a thing in the late 90s / early 2000s? My prom date had made her own dress and it was a deep burnt sienna.
Mary: Ooh la la! I don’t know that I remember other girls having brown dresses. I wanted to a chill boho-chic look. Mine was from the juniors section of Macy’s, probably Garden State Plaza or possibly Paramus Park.
That’s cool your date made her own dress. She sounds like a keeper!
Dan: I hope it was from GSP. Treat yourself. It’s a special occasion. Now let me tell you a brief little tale of love and loss and bespoke dresses and the Dave Matthews Band.
I went to prom with a member of my friend group with whom I made out sporadically over the summer of junior / senior year. We lived near each other and sometimes we would meet up and make out, as you do. Another member of my friend group, more of a second tier friend, not because he was a bad dude but more because he was more of a friend group overlapper. Like, he was a tier one friend in his main friend group where I was a tier two friend. But in my main friend group he was a tier two friend at best. Does this make sense? I’ll have my graphics intern put something together.
Anyway, this guy, I’ll call him Melvin to protect the innocent, was famously really into the girl I ended up asking. Like, it was a real known entity. It was inevitable that he would be asking her.
Mary: I’m on the edge of my seat!
Dan: Keep in mind this was like 1999–2000 so way before the concept of a woman having agency or a say in what or who she wanted was something to be considered.
In fact, if I knew then what I know now i think I would have felt differently about this whole thing because basically I was torn between asking her to prom and Melvin’s feelings since he had CLAIMED her implicitly.
Dan: It’s weird to think about but hey, that’s High School baby!
Mary: (Sidebar: I wasn’t sure if I should be chiming in with “hahaha”s and “lol”s but then I remembered that if this was an audio podcast I would be audibly laughing, so therefore I *should* say “hahaha”)
Dan: Anyway, I asked her to prom (which was hard to do) and she said yes and then later that week I was at a party at one of Melvin’s main friend group friend’s houses. Someone told him I had asked her and he found me at the party and got so mad that HE PUNCHED A HOLE IN THE WALL.
Mary: Oh my goodness!
Dan: I never talked to him again!
Mary: That poor wall.
Dan: He was a nice guy and we were kinda friends. And like, I honestly felt really bad about the whole thing. I never talked to my date about it. I never asked her what she felt about it. I feel weird about the entire situation now, mostly because I never talked to her about it. Also he loved to play guitar and loved DMB (and Goo Goo Dolls) and I have since convinced myself that he was gonna play her a song and ask her that night.
The good news though is that according to facebook he is now happily married!
Mary: Wonderful! Do you think he pictured your face when he punched the wall?
Dan: I don’t know if it was my face at the end of his fist, it felt more like unbridled rage. Not directed at me but the cold uncaring universe that allowed his love to go unrequited.
Mary: The way people portray their lives on social media is always very real, especially in regards to personal happiness and romantic relationships.
Dan: Famously! But enough about my screenplay, let’s talk Blockers. As we sort of hinted at, this is your classic Prom-Com.
I just invented that!
Mary: Love it.
Dan: So this a Prom-Com with a twist. We follow the kids but also we get the parents’ perspective. Before we get to the plot, why don’t you walk us through the 3 main kids and the 3 main parents?
Mary: Yes it feels a lot like a movie about parent-child relationships, or family relationships. Whereas Superbad is your classic friendship tale.
Ok great here goes:
There’s Julie, whose mother is Lisa (played by Leslie Mann). Julie has a boyfriend she is in love with. He seems nice. She wants to have a special first time. Lisa is an overprotective single mother, who is dreading Julie going away to college at UCLA instead of in nearby Chicago. She doesn’t want her daughter to “regret” the experience.
Dan: Point of order: Leslie Mann is so good. She is a supremely gifted comedic actor and is world class at “having emotions but needing to hide them in a comedy way.”
Mary: There’s Kayla, whose dad is Mitchell (played by John Cena). Her mom is just like Angelica’s mom from Rugrats. Kayla is a tomboy who is becoming a woman and exploring her femininity, which makes her dad uncomfortable. She wants to get her virginity over with before college, and doesn’t care about having a special experience. She picks a guy at random and he is a doofy drug dealer / chef who is very funny.
Dan: Point of order: John Cena won me over slowly during the course of this movie. Specifically, this is the first time I’ve seen John Cena in a movie and thought to myself that The Rock would not be better cast in this part. He plays goofy dumb funny in a way that I don’t think Dwayne could pull off.
I did not like him at first because he is clearly the worst actor in this movie but eventually it was ok because of his grotesque physique and crazy tailored polo shirts.
Mary: And there’s Sam, whose dad is Hunter (played by Ike Barinholtz). Sam is pretty sure she is a lesbian, but is curious to try having sex with a guy to make super sure, especially since her two best friends are gonna do it too. Hunter is a wacky deadbeat who cheated on Sam’s mom, and is very jealous of Sam’s stepdad Frank (played by Hannibal Buress). Hunter wants to reconnect with his daughter and initially tries to stop the other parents from meddling in their kids’ prom date, but eventually changes his tune!
Dan: Point of order: The guys behind us at this coffee shop are in a conversation about social media and SEO. One of the guys recently “bought a business, or at least, the website, which came with a twitter, from a different magician.”
Mary: Haha! I also thought John Cena was wonderful! That car window scene! Ha!
Dan: Perfect set up. This movie really was more about the parents than the kids. I do think that the kids were written and played more like real people than the parents however, which is an interesting choice!
Mary: I thought all the actors were extremely funny. A poyfect cast!
Dan: The parents were the one dimensional ones here, even though they got way more screen time! This isn’t necessarily bad, just a surprise.
Mary: Yes. The parents have very straightforward goals.
Dan: I was just thinking that! A great screenplay lesson on display here: give all your characters expressible wants. Leslie Mann wants: to stay close with her daughter and help her not make the same mistakes she did. Ike Barinholtz wants: to reconnect with his daughter and help her be herself. John Cena wants: ….?
Mary: He wants his daughter to stay his little girl? Stay a kid? Protect her from getting hurt?
Dan: Something like that? I feel like they may have cut some John Cena scenes. There is a skeleton there of a slightly more interesting character. If I give the movie the benefit of the doubt, and there is enough there to make me think that these things are considered, there is a potentially more complex situation in that household.
John Cena is the jock / coach / alpha but it is strongly implied that he doesn’t work. He is the house husband? He is emasculated at home and feels a need to dominate his daughter and protect her in a way that a Dad Should. Did you get that vibe?
Mary: Yes you’re right — they don’t really explore that too much. Like you’d assume there’d be stuff about masculinity/fragility/male self esteem but he is always sweet and is never put down for not being the breadwinner. He’s just a sweet dad! I don’t think I would like it if he had weird masculinity issues. Seems sorta like “this is the way the world is, nothing more to it than that.” Maybe.
Dan: That’s true. I suppose we don’t need him to have “issues” but it also seems very pointed that he is this big huge dude who is domineering and yet dominated in his home. During our big breakdown at the end of the second act where all the parents cry and come clean I could have used some insight into his whole situation. We never really get any more beyond: “my little girl is growing up.”
Mary: Yes I think he is sorta a classic “mom” character. His wife works all the time, he’s been doing most of the parenting. He will feel a loss of identity if his “little girl” doesn’t need him anymore.
Dan: Conversely, all our main girls have clear identifiable traits as well. Strong first act! We know where this movie is going but we don’t know the specific destination (who will have sex!? who will learn lessons?) nor how we will get there. Classic prom-com set up!
Mary: I want John Cena’s character to be my husband. He’s so nice!
Dan: Mary he throws a kid through a table!
Mary: Haha you’re right. That was a little much. But, ya gotta have the wrestler throw a child through a table, I always say. That’s Screenwriting 101.
Dan: Why cast a wrestler otherwise. It’s like having Lebron as a dad and not jam a kid through a basketball hoop.
Mary: It’s a fun physicality. We like “big fat guys” playing funny roles. Love The Rock and Arnold Schwarzenegger being cute li’l dads.
Dan: There are only so many classic narratives. Man vs Self. Man vs Nature. Giant man changes diaper.
Okay so we’ve met our main cast, and everyone is getting ready for prom. We learn that the three girls are gonna go for sex, all for slightly different but still believable reasons.
The “inciting incident” of this film occurs when the prom limo arrives and a big group text begins. It turns out that Julie accidentally left her laptop open, displaying the texts to any curious onlooker; in our case Da Parents! I thought this scene was very funny!
Mary: Me too. Lots of funny jokes about emoji vocabulary — I feel like a lot of the time humor written by adults about social media youth culture can be cringe and out of touch, but there was none of that. Funny!
Dan: Ike Barinholtz was very good in this movie, especially for such a borderline cliche type. The deadbeat(ish) cool(ish) dude dad. His main role in this movie is to be on the girls’ side, which is a fun choice. In this scene he is the one adult who understands emojis.
Mary: Haha yes. I love him. Because he is a child, you see.
Dan: The girls are communicating with each other via sex emojis and the parents all try to figure out the code. Like you say, this scene in bad hands could have been bad. But it’s good!
And we’re off to the races! Quick time out: I did NOT have sex on prom night.
Mary: Me neither.
Dan: Before prom, I don’t know if I thought I would or not but there was definitely pressure and potential. That is what I felt. After prom we all took a PARTY BUS to SEASIDE HEIGHTS.
Mary: Fun!!! I wish! J’adore Seaside Heights.
Dan: It was interesting because it was always implied that afterparty was Seaside Heights. My friend group was definitely a tier 2 friend group, possibly tier 3, in the hierarchy of the westwood Jr Sr High School ecosystem. All the tier 1 kids were going to seaside so we had to also.
I bet the tier 1 groups all had sex the whole time. Our group instead had 8 people to a room in some weird motel. It was me, my prom date, and some other kid in our bed. What a Blocker!
Mary: I think we went to a comedy club in the city after one of my proms, which is so psycho to think about now, performing comedy for drunk children. At 11pm. It must have been marketed by the comedy club as a fun after-prom activity. Truly strange!
Dan: My strongest prom weekend memory was not losing my virginity but instead it was playing Dance Dance Revolution for the first time in an open air arcade as the sea breeze carried the salt air into my horny nose.
Mary: That’s a really nice memory.
Dan: I think so. I got pretty good by the end of the weekend!
Okay, once Da Parents find out about #SEXPACT2018 the movie really kicks into full Movie Mode. Things stop making real life Sense and start making Movie Sense. We know these parents will Stop At Nothing to Block those Cocks. Let’s see how much we remember about their quest. You want to start?
Mary: Okay, so Leslie Mann and John Cena hop in the car: let’s go stop those kids! Ike Barinholtz tries to stop them from this plan. Here’s this hilarious car window scene I love where they are all switching seats and pulling each other out of the car and locking each other out, etc etc. Okay so they go to the kids’ prom. Ike is still trying to stop these crazy people: “You’re gonna ruin their night! Everyone is gonna remember them as those weirdos whose parents dragged them out of prom!” He also says he is not worried about Sam losing her virginity, because he knows she’s a lesbian. “I’m her dad, I just know,” he says. So we are at prom and Ike Barinholtz sees his daughter Sam kiss her male date and he is now consumed by the same insanity the other two parents are experiencing. He doesn’t want his daughter to have sex with this kid, because he knows she doesn’t really want to.
Dan: I thought that part was…weird! Specifically…the weird certainty that a) his daughter was a lesbian and b) the weird mental switch once she kissed A Boy. It was…not a sympathetic reaction! Especially considering his well discussed distance from Sam over most of her childhood?
Mary: Yes well he is not a sympathetic character, so I think it “makes sense” for him to have that reaction. We know he is a cheater and a bad dad etc.
Dan: That’s a good point!
Mary: Next they go to Julie’s date Austin’s house, where the parents believe the prom afterparty is happening. When they get there, the INCOMPARABLE Gary Cole and Gina Gershon (Austin’s parents) are having cool weird sex. I’m excited Gary Cole is there!!! They tell the parents that the afterparty is not there. The kids lied, and the party is actually at some other kid’s house. They also say that they are very open with Austin and that they tell each other everything.
Dan: I think Gary Cole and Gina Gershon having living room sex is one of the 3 Big Scenes in this movie that if I were a Teen I would remember fondly like the apple pie sex scene or uh…a famous scene from Superbad.
Mary: For sure! Maybe the period pant leg in Superbad. It’s the apple pie scene for sure. Also, John Cena’s wife tells them that they are all being nuts and the girls are not “delicate flowers” whose virginities are to be protected and to knock it off. So we are reassured that the people behind the movie have thought of all the things we have thought of.
Dan: And actually, Gary Cole and Gina Gershon are in another of the 3 big scenes! But we’ll get to that!
Mary: They are so fantastic. Put Gary Cole in everything please.
Dan: This movie surprised me a lot Mary. Specifically, they have a bunch of these like boilerplate comedy scenes. “Old people having weird sex.” “Parents trying to figure out what kids are talking about.” “People throwing up and then other people throwing up.” But they do a good job with each of them!
Mary: Sidebar: Fun blurb rom Gary Cole’s Wikipedia — “While attending Rolling Meadows High School, Cole made his acting debut as Snoopy in a high school production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”
Dan: There are no small parts.
Mary: The limo driver was fun too! Love when he throws up.
Dan: One subplot we should mention is that Julie has secretly applied to UCLA, which is very far away from the suburbs of Chicago, where she currently lives with Leslie Mann. This will be important later.
Mary: Yes, and where her boyfriend Austin is planning to attend.
Dan: Leslie Mann does NOT want her to go to UCLA.
Mary: Nuh-uh, honey!
Dan: The Limo driver is a fun simple side character whose main want is to “give the kids the best prom ever!” And so he drives them all to the Big House Party, another classic Prom-Com setpiece.
Mary: Haha yes. I love that he says like “I have devoted my life/career to blah blah blah.” Tell it to us straight! (Genuinely love, not making fun. I think that is good.)
Dan: I hope you’re taking notes! We have our two stories close to converging now. Our girls and Da Parents are in close proximity. Before the adults can get inside, the rich boy who is throwing the party gives them a classic Narc Test. If you are really cool and not a cop you will butt chug this beer.
Dan: It doesn’t make a lot of sense but we get to see the side of John Cena’s butt (for the first but not last time). Mary his butt was crazy looking IMO.
Mary: I love that they had butt-chugging, since it is such like a… you know it’s like “eating tide pods,” “millennials love avocado toast,” “Snapchat filters” — like such a sound bite about “what the youth are up to” — but again handled in a way that is funny and doesn’t feel like grownups trying too hard.
Dan: Right, it’s maybe off by 5–10 years but it reads!
Dan: So the house party is poppin off and Julie is getting ready to have sex with Austin when the cops show up! Sex is interrupted and everyone scrambles, including the Parents, who see the kids drive off in the limo and proceed to give chase.
Mary: Throughout the night Sam has little run-ins with her lesbian crush. As they run away from the cops the girl crush tells Sam she is headed to an after-party at the hotel (“so-and-so’s parents paid for all the rooms on an entire floor!”) and she should totes come. And totes come the kid do!!
Dan: Early on, I thought that by the end of the night no one would end up having sex EXCEPT for Sam and her crush. Shows what I know!
Mary: They were so cute. J’adore Seaside Heights, J’adore Gary Cole, J’adore Blockers…
Dan: J’adore potential vehicular manslaughter. The parents are following the limo and decide to run it off the road. Unfortunately they picked the wrong scene to try that trick, hunny! Because everyone in the limo is throwing up in a chain reaction way. Sam throws up out of the sun roof and Da Parents fall into a ditch, like you do.
Eventually, they take a Lyft to….somewhere? Do they ever get back in their car? Mary how do they get around for the rest of the movie because their car definitely explodes during the big emotional nadir scene. All Da Parents spill Der Guts about what their wants and desires are.
Mary: Yeah I think they Lyft to the hotel. They’re Lyft-heads.
Dan: Blockers is brought to you by our good friends at Lyft and iMessage. But wait, before they go to the hotel they wind up back at the Cole-Gershons for another classic scene.
Mary: Fun to see a movie where e-communicating is actually done on a real messaging interface from the real world and not a weird made-up thing for the movie. And they don’t do that thing where messages pop up magically on the movie screen right? Like messages are always on a phone screen or computer screen. It’s a choice directors have to make now!
Dan: I think about that move a lot. Did the BBC Sherlock invent that move?
Dan: Haha okay thanks. So Da Parents decide that the Cole-Gershons MUST know where the next party is because they talk about everything with their son. They need to steal Gary Cole’s phone and so they sneak into the house and wind up in the middle of another Crazy Sex Thing. This one was really stupid but still…funny!
I was surprised at how funny I found it. I usually hate stupid scenes if you can believe it. Gary and Gina are walking around their house naked and blindfolded and trying to find each other by the scent of their musk. You get to see Gary’s penis and everything. 2018 is here and we are not turning back.
Mary: So funny.
Dan: So obviously John cena gets caught in the middle and has to pretend to be Gina. Ike shows up for some reason and has to pretend to be Gary. Gina is feeling up Ike and John has to feel up Gary and both Dads are doing crazy faced “what do we do what do we do?!” and silent screaming at each other.
It’s funny and then there is an extreme close up of someone grabbing someone else’s balls really tight. Do you think that was supposed to be John Cena grabbing Gary Cole’s balls or Gina Gershon grabbing Ike Barinholtz’s balls?
Mary: I think that’s Gina grabbing Ike Barinholtz’s balls crazy hard.
Dan: Yeah I think you’re right, but I like that they leave it up to interpretation.
Mary: Their silent screams are in subtitles, and at one point the subtitles say “[unclear],” which was so funny.
Dan: Okay so they somehow escape…with Gary Cole’s phone…?….and end up taking a Lyft….?….to the big hotel where the next after party is. Mary this hotel was FULL of KIDS doing DRUGS and SEX.
Mary: It’s true! Bong city!
Dan: They were overflowing over every railing and splayed out across every surface.
Mary: Even some sorta Satanist ceremony happening in one room.
Dan: Most of the time in movies when there is a big underage party it’s at a house. This hotel should go to jail I feel. Everyone who works at that hotel should go to jail too.
Mary: I like that, a jail for bad buildings.
Dan: Did your prom have any sort of overnight activities or was it all Late Nite Laffs At The Chuckle Hut?
Mary: I think I slept over a friend’s house for some of the proms. Like their parents’ house, not a hotel or beach house or anything fun.
Dan: Parents’ houses are fun!
Mary: True; I guess I mean they were true sleepovers where you sleep and not crazy unsupervised parties.
Dan: Unsupervised parties were scary I think. Everyone always fought a lot. The bad kids might show up. Ok, everyone is at the Hotel and ready for their big confrontations. Julie and Her Guy are getting ready for a big romantic bone sesh. Rose petals, scented candles etc. Kayla and Her Guy are high on all kinds of drugs and in their room ready to do whatever. Sam and Her Guy are drunk AF and under the covers.
Mary: Sam’s guy was so funny, I love him. I think Ike Barinholtz was also a little bit driven by “this kid is such a loser, if she’s gonna have sex with a guy at LEAST it shouldn’t be THIS guy” — would you agree?
Ya how would you rank The Guys.
Dan: Oh interesting. I got the sense that like, Ike’s character actually really liked Chad.
Mary: Again supporting his character traits of being a shallow jerk.
Dan: He was like, sincerely into his fedora and was unironically high fiving him.
Mary: I thought he didn’t like the fedora.
Dan: I mean, that would fit the sitch but the vibe i got was more like, Ike is so out of it he thinks this kid is actually cool. Mary he liked the fedora! I think! I guess we have our first big fight.
Mary: Let’s go back to the theatre and clarify!
Dan: Demand a talk back with Kay Cannon.
Mary: Seems like a good use of our time and money. Dan did you use moviepass to watch this movie or did you use hard earned cash?
Dan: Honestly….my dad owns the movie theatre.
Mary: That can’t be right.
Dan: He lets me see one movie a year on my birthday.. Okay, so LEslie Mann sneaks into her daughter’s hotel room to….snoop around. And wouldn’t you know it, she hears the door unlock and has to hide.
Looks like she is gonna be hiding under the bed during The Sex!
Mary: Yes, and right after she had just come to the realization that she is being a crazy woman and her daughter knows what’s best! Such horror!
Dan: Another borderline cliche scene but again, done surprisingly well! We’ve all seen this plenty of times but Leslie Sells it so hard. Great physical comedy. Lots of rolling and crawling.
Mary: God this movie rules.
Dan: Okay, so she gets outta there. Next up, John Cena and Kayla. Kayla decides that maybe she doesn’t wanna have sex yet. Wait, does Her Guy go down on her before or after John Cena shows up? I legit can’t remember.
Mary: Before I think.
Dan: I mean that makes sense.
Mary: Good for her.
Dan: But then what is going on when John Cena shows up? Like, what does he break up? Are they fooling around? I can’t remember. I was just so shocked when he broke that kid’s spine.
Mary: I think he ate her out, she came, and now they’re back to like making out kinda stuff. And then John Cena comes in and breaks his spine.
Dan: Oh sure, that makes sense. The movie definitely knows it’s weird to have this giant adult man literally assault a skinny child so they make a point of the boy saying “I’m weirdly fine.” multiple times thereafter. John Cena and Kayla have a nice heart to heart and their plot is Resolved.
Next up is Sam and Chad. We should note that Chad is a big dork style character but since no one in this movie is particularly mean, no one makes fun of him for being fat or a loser. That’s nice!
Mary: He’s so sweet.
Dan: Like, after seeing Overboard this week it was so nice to see a comedy where the comedy wasn’t just people being as mean as possible to each other.
Mary: Chad and Sam’s sexual experience feels the most true to teen sexual experience I feel.
Dan: Anyway, Sam touches his dick and he cums everywhere.
Mary: Yes. He gives her really funny awkward kisses.
Dan: Oh yeah haha that was good foreplay.
Mary: Little pecks on her cheeks and nose and then is like “Okay, you ready?” LOVE!
Dan: Ok so down in the…hotel…bar…party room…for kids (?)…the three girls meet up and share their experiences. Everyone is happy. Is this when Ike and Sam finally talk? No, this must be after that. They talk in her room right? Is Chad still there?
I must have BLOCKED the third act of this movie.
Mary: Chad has left. And she is in the room by herself.
Dan: Oh ya, that scene was nice!
Mary: And Ike comes in like “STOP!!!!” and she’s like “Dad you’re so weird for being here. And I’m gay.” He is very sweet and supportive and gives her the advice that she should tell her friends.
Dan: Ya that was a nice moment: Sam telling her dad, the first person she ever tells as she is just deciding for herself, that she is gay.
Mary: He is very emotional that she shared this with him. It’s nice. There’s lots of genuinely sweet heartstring-tuggin’ moments.
Dan: It means a lot to Ike and again, the movie doesn’t realllllly delve into his relationship with Sam so who knows how earned it is, but it is handled nicely. Okay so, now we are back at the illegal hotel party and Sam comes out to her friends.
They are very supportive and even better, her Crush is there too. They have been making eyes all movie long and you know what that means.
Mary: They kiss!!! We the viewers are thrilled!!!
Dan: Monster smooch.
Mary: It’s so nice.
Dan: Mary you made noises every time The Crush was on screen.
Mary: My how the blockbuster comedy has changed since Porky’s/Revenge Of The Nerds era. Thank GOD.
Dan: Those movies are really astonishing and we could probably break the 10,000 word mark for the first time in Dan Glaser’s Movie Podcast history if we tackled them.
Mary: They are frightening.
Dan: Most movies are actually…
Mary: It makes me sad to think that child me watched them and thus unconsciously internalized them. I hope real teens like Blockers.
Dan: Obviously so much is communicated as and implicitly defined as Normal via media. Like even in this movie, the concept of protecting your daughter’s virtue isn’t realllllly challenged. Like, are any lessons really learned on that front? There is a single confrontation with Kayla’s mom but it isn’t really dissected. Like, they just run away mid argument. It really felt like a “good people on both sides” situation.
Mary: Oh that actually reminds me of a weird thing — I was thinking about class kind of a lot during this movie! I was thinking, “Wow, isn’t it wild that 99% of teen movies seem to take place in setting of enormous wealth?” Like what teen movies take place in normal middle class homes? Maybe Ladybird, but that’s a movie for grownups mostly. (This is an indictment of society, not Blockers in particular)
Dan: I thought the same thing!
Mary: These children are so wealthy lol.
Dan: I was like, I know this is “suburban” Chicago but really these are just generic upper middle / lower upper class stable family households.
Mary: Weren’t you wondering what Leslie Mann’s deal was? I was silently like “ok… maybe Leslie Mann’s parents are wealthy…”
Dan: “Go to any college you want.” “Rent out the entire hotel.”
Mary: Truly epic home for a single mother with undefined employment.
Dan: Note: I realize that not all movies can tackle All Issues, but when I asked earlier about what the “Universal Prom Experience” is…I realize now that that is a loaded question.
Mary: Answer: dancing.
Dan: And if we look at the way movies and tv traditionally tell that story, it is predominantly white, wealthy and suburban. There is nothing universal about that so I actually think I messed up! Anyway, that’s my tangent for now but suffice it to say I was thinking similar thoughts through all this.
But also: dancing!
Mary: Dude, nice.
Dan: Ok, there is one more scene…or two really. Including a resolution to a subplot that was…lightly dusted throughout the movie. Leslie, Ike and John are not really close friends. But John and Ike want to be. At the end of the movie, they all have a drink together, bonded over their shared Blocking experience.
Mary: I love it. Dan did you get teary at all? I felt emotional numerous times
Dan: I did get teary. I think twice.
Mary: Don’t Think Twice. Lol sorry.
Dan: Hahaha. During Ike and Sam crying in the hotel. The other time was…I don’t remember. When else might I have teared up?
Mary: I think all the moments where the parents were dealing with losing their kids / their kids not needing them anymore.
Dan: To be honest, the John Cena / Kayla relationship never really worked for me on an emotional level. I think it’s because John Cena is a bad actor? I’m not sure. Or like, not a great actor in that specific kind of way. (I know you’re reading, John)
Mary: Also I remember being like “GOD my mom is such a fucking PSYCHO” in high school when she would be snoopy, and this movie kinda made me feel for parents! They are so attached to their children! They love them! It’s scary when their kids lie and sneak around.
Dan: Mary did you sneak around?
Mary: A little bit.
Dan: Nothing was worse than like, telling your mom you were going to So And So’s house and she would be like, I want to talk to their parents first. FUCK THAT.
Mary: Sometimes my mom would accuse me of being a bad sneaky kid when I wasn’t doing anything sneaky, and that was a traumatizing experience lol.
Dan: Oh maybe I got emotional when Julie was like “I’m going to UCLA mom….to GET AWAY FROM YOU!!!”
Mary: UGH!!! Whew!
Dan: It was kinda sad because a) Leslie Mann is very good at having emotions but trying to hide them and b) her character really has like…nothing. Other than a huge house and unlimited money.
Mary: Yes, and Ike and John were like “she doesn’t mean it, she loves you.” I was like “ :,( It’s so true, when we fight with our loved ones we are still bound by love!!!!!!!!”
Dan: Wow. Everyone is staring at us crying now. Okay, so the final scene has all the kids packing up into the station wagon to drive Julie to UCLA. Do you think anyone else is going to college?
Mary: Also, I guess it is kinda a tool in writing to make the characters have limitless wealth because then they can do whatever they want. You’re not like “Wait why aren’t they at work?” And I think everyone at this high school goes to college.
Dan: Hmmmm, well I did often think: what do these parents do for work? That’s how I got down the rabbit hole of trying to figure out John Cena’s character’s deal. His wife is clearly a powerful Business Person. He is shown “doing laundry” and other traditionally non-masc household activities.
Mary: I heard writing about kids/high school referred to similarly because stakes for everything are super high and they don’t have to work, can be totally absorbed in emotional relationships etc etc. Prom is life-or-death emotion, baby.
Dan: Yeah that makes sense.
Mary: Sam’s stepdad owns a… wait what was it? Trucking? Landscaping? He owns some sorta sick company. Leslie Mann and Ike Barinholtz both seem like adult children of supremely wealthy people.
Dan: Towing! He owned a Towing company.
Mary: Their parents invented aluminum siding.
Dan: The sickest company of all. Well Mary, believe it or not, we’ve made it through the whole movie! Anything we missed or that you want to address?
Mary: I can believe it!
Dan: We didn’t really talk about the 3 Boys.
Mary: They are sweet and seem to have been given consent training in health class.
Dan: Totally. I like these good modern Comedy Boys. Were there any particular scenes or jokes that really hit for you? Boy focused or otherwise.
Mary: I would have maybe liked a scene of Ike Barinholtz and Hannibal Buress interacting one on one.
Dan: Mmmm ya, at the pre prom hangout for example. Hannibal of course plays Sam’s stepdad, of whom Ike is insanely jealous.
Mary: Oh you know what Dan — there was a part of the movie I kinda zoned out for and was like “Wait what?” — can you tell me what I missed? It was Ike Barinholtz telling a story of something embarrassing happening to him at a chain restaurant. Got caught cheating? Something?
Dan: Oh my gosh. Mary, that was sort of weird! It was when the car flipped over and all Da Parents were explaining why they were so desperate to Block Their Daughters.
Mary: You know us artist types, always zoning out during Blockers.
Dan: Ike was saying how he didn’t just “Cheat on his wife.” Actually SHE cheated on Him first! And also, she BEAT HIM UP. It was a weird throwaway line about domestic abuse. I wasn’t sure if it was supposed to be played for laughs or what. Maybe sympathy? I’m not sure.
Mary: Lol ok yes I thought it was something about his cheating reputation not being actually what it seemed / perhaps he didn’t cheat and that was the rumor. Ok so this is fun info.
Dan: Anyway, that was him saying how he felt ex-communicated from the parent friend group because of a one-sided story.
Mary: Do you think she cheated on him with Hannibal? Or someone else first? That is sad if she left him for this impressive towing man.
Dan: He did actually say who it was but it was one of those “she cheated with the pool boy!” or other anonymous Man type deals.
Mary: Dang I shoulda listened harder, now I have more retroactive sympathy for his character!!! More root-for-able.
Dan: He was funny. I liked when he kept saying Taio Cruz.
Mary: HAHA. Yes. I forgot about that, that really got me. I just heard Taio Cruz last night at dinner and my date was like “What’s Taio Cruz up to?”
Taio On My Mind.
Dan: He’s in the zeitgeist, certainly. As you know Mary, I normally end with 3 Important Questions.
Mary: Ah yes.
Dan: I have a bonus question today because of how much we both felt connected to the Blockers and the Blockees. My question is: Which character in Blockers do you most identify with?
Mary: Yay! I love bonuses.
Dan: For me, it’s either Chad or Ike. Every friend group has a Chad and if you look around and don’t see one you’re the Chad.
Mary: Wow that’s a really good question! I think I most connected with Sam.
Dan: I think when I’m older and wiser I’ll be more of a Gary Cole.
Dan: I think all three girls were good and I think the movie did a terrific job of not judging any of them. Like, everyone had things they wanted and there was no qualifying any of it as better or worse.
Mary: Yes. “These are all fine ways to lose your virginity.” Special experience, getting it over with, experimenting.
Dan: Amen. Ok, what were your 3 Favorite things about Blockers?
Mary: 1 — I loved the characters! In general. I thought they were all so funny.
2 — I liked the girls’ experiences figuring out what their deal is and what they want to do. What kind of people they want to be. Felt very realistic and relatable as a teen experience… and something we still do and continue to do! For the rest of our lives.
3 — Hmmmmmmmmmmm. I want to say the characters again lol. I guess I really liked the jokey secondary/tertiary characters. Chad, the limo driver, the drug dealer chef. The characters who were just punchlines / joke machines were so great. I wonder if this movie will have classic status for people! Like a Bridesmaids or Anchorman or Superbad. I hope it does.
Dan: For me:
1) I really liked Kayla. She should be in more stuff. All the kids felt like “real characters” but she felt the most like a real person. Maybe that was because her character was also the most confident in who she was but maybe she’s just a great actor?
2) I thought the Gary Cole, Gina Gershon stuff worked, in spite of itself. That’s such an easy trope to fuck up but I still laughed every time they did a “wild sex thing.”
3) I thought it was nice that they showed John Cena’s butt a couple times but didn’t really sexualize any of the women!
Ok, next question, if you could change one thing about the movie, what would it be?
Mary: Add dat Hannibal + Ike scene, baby.
Dan: Oh hell yeah.
This is minor but I think we definitely missed out on a few Prom-Com tropes. Where was the principal?! Maybe there’s a scene where John Cena has to go the bathroom at the prom and he runs into the principal in the men’s room and the principal has a man bun and is using a urinal and John Cena gets mad and reaches through his legs from behind while he is peeing and grabs his dick. The principal turns falls forward and cracks his head on the urinal and they have to hide the body!
I’m workshopping this still but feel free to use it in your screenplay. (Note that Kayla’s date has a man bun and John Cena hates it)
Mary: That’s really good Dan. We never see them at school right? That’s a fun choice.
Dan: Thanks! Ok last question, if you could rename the movie what would you call it?
Mary: #SEXPACT2018 or “Eggplant”
Dan: I’d go with either Parents Just Do Understand or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Prom.
Mary: I like that!
Dan: This was such a treat Mary, thank you so much for joining me today! Any last words for our listeners / readers?
Mary: Bye everybody! Listen to your inner voice and do what makes sense for you and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing — just like the Blockers girls!
Dan: Same! And remember, #NOCONDOMS!
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Mary Houlihan is a comedian, writer, actor, artist, and animator. You can see her perform all over the dang place and her paintings are featured in the new Adult Swim series Joe Pera Talks With You. Check out her podcast here!