Must Love Movies is a podcast series in which Spling interviews a special guest. Centred around their top 10 movies, Spling selects one of their favourite films to screen and then finds out more about what they do, the films they rate tops and which movie memories they hold dear with a few movie games thrown into the mix. It’s a fun, nostalgic and passionate podcast about what movies define us, how they entertain us and a celebration of the silver screen.
Our special guest for the second Must Love Movies show is the energetic, funny and passionate gaming and tech guru, Grant Hinds. Take a listen…
Our venue for the podcast series is the luxurious and spectacular 5-star 12 Apostles Hotel. Meeting for a coffee in the fully-kitted screening room, popcorn and candy sets the tone for a special private screening, followed by an intimate interview and a 3-course lunch at the majestic Azure restaurant. It’s a chance for Must Love Movies guests to revel in their love of film, talk about their absolute favourites and do it in style!
TRANSCRIPT, VISUALS AND MOVIE TRAILERS
Spling: Welcome to Must Love Movies with Spling, a podcast where we celebrate everything to do with film. We are coming to from the stellar 12 Apostles Hotel. Our special guest is gaming and YouTube kingpin, Grant Hinds.
Grant: Kingpin, I like that a lot!
Spling: Great to have you on the show Grant.
Grant: Thank you for having me here, this is amazing! The 12 Apostles is incredible – I have never been in one of these rooms. This is the fanciest, I think I’ve ever felt.
Spling: Yeah no this is probably one of their better rooms, beautiful view… we are overlooking the sea right now, I can see a ship on the horizon, it’s a bit overcast. It’s just such a beautiful spot.
Grant: And also you feel like like you’re in nature, there’s a little bit of fynbos outside here. But still fancy.
Spling: So, Grant do you have a doppelgänger? I ask because I don’t know how you managed to do it all. What does an average day look like for Grant Hinds?
Grant: I thought you said like oh, saw somebody in the street – it definitely wasn’t you. No, I don’t have a doppelgänger. I have a lot of energy and I wish I could do more. I often feel I’m not doing enough.
So, maybe there’s that, yeah but I love what I do, I think that’s part of it is just being passionate and giving it your all. But if you do see somebody that looks like me that isn’t me, call the police.
Spling: I’m sure you’ve inspired a couple of people to change their hair colour from time to time.
Grant: There have been a couple of people that changed their hair colour and said they were like, wait – you can do that. My theory is that it’s like a tattoo except it washes out, tattoos don’t. So that’s cool, you can try out different things, so yeah – my hair is bright yellow right now you can’t see. But I like loud colours, I like colours that reflect who I am.
Spling: So you’ve done bright pink and now you’ve done yellow…
Grant: Yes, I like the bright pink probably more but I had done it a couple of years ago, I think four years ago and it was just luminescent. It was just very eye-catching and then a lot of other big Youtubers and Twitch streamers in very similar circles to me dyed their hair pink. One, Simon also known as Miniminter, he’s really big. He did a video where he dyed his hair pink and then even referenced me, it was like oh cool now I look like Grant. Guys, he’s like infinitely bigger than me. So what ends up happening then is “oh you grant, you copied ninja and Simon and all these other guys”. I was like cool I just need to set another colour, another precedent.
Spling: So you’re the front-runner?
Grant: I am but not by any credit to my own. I have a hairstylist and she was the one that was like “you know what’s going to look sick, bright pink”. I put it off first I said I’ll go blue and thought the blue was kind of boring and then I was like “cool, you know what, make it bright pink – I don’t care”.
As soon as I walked out the salon, everybody just like, it was like you were a stop sign. People were just like yoh and I was like that’s a visceral experience you want your hair to do that – especially in entertainment media. So I was like, cool that’s my colour now.
You’re regarded as the go-to guy when it comes to gaming in South Africa, can you tell us a bit about your story?
Grant: Yeah, so I’ve always loved video games. Or I was at high school and the first time I even entertained the idea that it would be a career was… I was reading NAG magazine, which was a big magazine, we’re like a similar age. We read it growing up, it was the premier video game magazine in the country. I was reading an article and I was like wait, someone got paid for this.
I just realised this is someone’s job. Someone gets paid to do this. Obviously you don’t entertain that idea any further through the school system, my parents said I need to find a real job, ended up studying art direction. Got into a company doing storyboarding for a cartoon show, which even that was quite creative and fun and then because it was a TV studio, they had a live section and they had an insert where one of the presenters that was supposed to review a video game cancelled, didn’t pitch up.
So they came running to me, I was always very excitable about games, even when it wasn’t my career, so I used to run around the offices in a wheelie chair just freaking out about Half-life 2 and Rainbow Six Vegas 2 and a whole toot. They were like “listen, we are in panic stations do you mind reviewing this on TV tomorrow, we’ll give you the game”. And I was like “hell yes, I’ll do it for a free game” and it was a Viva Piñata… didn’t play too much of it, but I was on TV the following day.
They were like “cool, that went well, do you want to do this again?”. And that’s when I was like “oh, wait so there’s a need for this”. So that ended up being the beginning part of my career and that sparked me to come up with other ways that talking about video games could make me money. So I started writing for GQ, I started working at a company called Zoopy focusing on video game stuff. That company went under, but a lot of my learnings at that time were in the formative years of digital video, so I… genres that are exclusive to video were never formulated.
So Unboxings – not a thing. It was happening but no one had coined the word, or Let’s Plays, no one had coined the word Let’s Plays but a lot of people were doing it just by busting up a video as fast as they could of them playing the game so they could get the traffic, so there were first to market.
Those genres have kind of evolved and are more formalised, so unbox therapy, even unboxing is now is more like first looks, first impressions you know, you whip out everything out of the box super quick these days but those unboxing videos were like “listen, we are going to slowly take everything out of this box”. Nowadays it’s the initial part of an impression video or something. The same with Let’s Plays, Let’s Plays have become skits nearly as a genre. So yeah, that kind of my career. Now I stream on Twitch, create YouTube videos, was on SABC 3 with Expresso, which was a breakfast show. Very hard talking to people who don’t understand games, you know… that was the audience there. It was fun, it was fun to dumb it down a bit.
Spling: Yeah, you have try and get it all mainstream at some points, it’s like with reviewing film as well, you can talk it up sometimes, but sometimes you’ve gotta talk it down just to kind of keep it a bit more… ah, user-friendly.
Grant: Yeah, not many people know the terminology or the jargon you use in your space. Film has specific jargon and then you realise that everybody else on the other end just doesn’t get it. So you’ve got to say it in another way that makes sense, or that other people can appreciate the concept.
Spling: I’ve tracked your career ever since your days at Zoopy, how would you say the concept of a video game star has changed since then?
Grant: Wow, it has changed a lot. I think when I was at Zoopy, it was those formative years, people that were early to produce content became stars and they were breakaway celebrities. Also remember that gear was quite expensive back then, a lot of the gear’s prolific now but back then if you had a video camera or digital video camera you were in the minority.
There weren’t phones that were doing the things that they’re doing now. We were talking about video production earlier, there are phones like Samsung phones from last year that are shooting 4K front-facing cameras. Back then, there was nothing like that – that wasn’t even an option. So the people that did it became breakaways even if you were mildly entertaining because that medium was so hungry for content.
Nowadays I think success is on YouTube and on digital platforms because there is so much competition and the tools are more prolific that you kind of find success in your realm. So there are YouTubers that you would never of heard of that have 300-400,000 subscribers that are killing it in certain sections of the market. So there’s a guy called Brad Colby that I watch a lot, he does digital illustration videos and he just reviews Wacom tablets, like iPad Pro but if you’re in that space, Brad Colby is one of the few people that are doing that extremely well and he has built an entire career out of that.
It’s actually very promising you know, you might not need a million + subscribers to be a superstar. You can be an authority in your space and make a really successful career focusing on your niche. There is another woman in South Africa, her name is Hayl’s World, I think she’s on 300,000 subscribers now and she just does tech. Her focus on the tech is like ‘how does WhatsApp work’, ‘how to take really good Instagram pictures’. She has focused on a very specific niche in the tech sphere that has made her content really exciting and 300,000 subscribers is nothing to scoff at and she’s successful in my my mind.
So you’ve just got to find your space and what you’re good at. I think it’s matured, I think that’s what it is… those platforms where we have medium celebrities that have rock solid careers as opposed to “hey I don’t know I’ve gotta have a million subscribers was to work or zilch”. If you had 20,000 subscribers then it didn’t matter but now I have 34,000 subs and I have a whole career that’s literally like on those 34,000 subs, which is cool. It shows you that everything is a little bit more matured and settled.
Spling: What’s the best bit of advice you ever received about creating content on YouTube and Twitch?
Grant: I think of Caspar Lee, he’s a YouTuber, he’s on 8 million subscribers and I’ve produced for his channel. I went up to London to produce his work for a year and also we’ve been friends ever since he was a lot younger and he started. We met when he was 19 and working out what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. He’s very knowledgeable about digital video, he’s been there from the infancy of the platforms all the way through to where it is today.
He runs a company called Influencer. They do social media marketing, with medium tier influencers, which also shows you how important us nano influencers are to big brands and incorporates and the careers that we can build out of that, which is exciting. But he once told me that when you creating content if you don’t enjoy the process of creating content at 10 subscribers you probably won’t enjoy the process when you have 1 or 2 million subscribers. A lot of people enter the space thinking they want to be a superstar but they don’t like video production and that happens more often than you would think.
Whereas video production is really exciting, easy to access way of producing content, that’s the art. If you get into it and you’re passionate about it at a small subscriber base, you’ll really enjoy the process later but if you hate it early days, you’re going to hate it when you’re majorly successful. The success will never make up for the actual work you’re doing and I think that’s always been encouraging to me because I love the process but it’s also good advice for me to tell other people going “I wanna become an influencer” and I go like “cool, do you like making things?
Because if you don’t, if you’re not creative and you don’t like producing stuff this isn’t a space for you.” Not in a mean way, it’s just you’re never going to be fulfilled in this space. That’s been some of the most hard-hitting valuable advice that was given to me.
Spling: And it’s driven by passion as well…
Grant: Oh 100%, if you’re not passionate about the subject matter you’re never going to be producing something that’s interesting. You’re always like even in the subject matter we’re doing on the channel, we’re always trying to work out ways to jazz it up, make it more exciting, make it more accessible, make more people interested in what we’re doing – yeah, that kind of thing. Versus just putting it up there for the sake of it and losing the passion. I’m passionate about games, hardware and technology.
Yeah, you’re a real inspiring figure, I mean earlier when we were chatting, you already gave me some of that Hinds energy. It should be Hinds energy drink!
Grant: Yeah, maybe I should partner with X-Gamer or something and have my own flavour.
Spling: You should.
Grant: Yeah, that would be amazing!
Spling: Because then your hair, I mean you’d have the…
Grant: What flavour would it be? Pineapple?
Spling: The pink flavour, then the yellow one, green and then..
Grant: Then we could just change the flavours, I like that.
Spling: So now we’re going to go on to your top 10 movies, we’re going to do this in the style of movie critic trailer quotes. I’m going to say the movie title and you’re going to give me your one-liner. Okay, so at number one Jurassic Park.
Grant: Best movie ever made, 100%.
Spling: At number two, District 9.
Grant: Incredible special effects and I would say it’s the best video game movie that wasn’t a game.
Spling: Fair comment.
Grant: Like there’s a lot of Half-life in there, there’s a lot of first-person shooters.
Spling: It’s actually one of those documentary style films that cracked the Best Picture list, I think the only one or the first one to do that.
Grant: Oh wow!
Grant: I love the art direction. I’m a big Neill Blomkamp fan, I want him to be super successful, I loved Elysium, there’s art direction in Chappie that’s underrated, like those bright pink Uzzis. That’s flipping cool, now we are seeing that stuff in Suicide Squad but it all started with the Neill Blomkamp, let’s be honest.
Spling: At number 3, The Dark Knight.
Grant: Comic book movies haven’t seen a greater mix of the highest in class film disciplines. I mean there’s a mixture of everything in there that’s just like incredible cinematography, incredible set design, incredible art direction, incredible direction, incredible acting, incredible storytelling, it’s hard to fault… Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack, it’s just literally the top tier of everything crammed into a comic book film.
And we haven’t seen that really… Marvel’s been amazing to watch, but it is kind of like paint by numbers in its execution. Successful paint-by-numbers, so you know what you’re getting to, so it’s a lot of fun, but we haven’t seen like a Ridley Scott Superman movie. How sick! You know.
Spling: Yeah, that is an epic superhero film and I think it was in a year that they at least say that because WALL-E and The Dark Knight happened in the same year, I think the Oscars decided to move up from having five Best Picture nominees to more…
Grant: Wow, because of that? I didn’t know that, that’s incredible.
Spling: …just because of The Dark Knight and WALL-E. At number 4, true Grit.
Grant: We need more westerns like True Grit, I love a good western. Yeah, they’re just really hard to come by modern day versions, just even ones that are introspective. I don’t know if you played Red Dead Redemption 2?
Spling: I’ve seen it all over the place, but I haven’t played it.
Grant: It’s such great storytelling, looking at the West through the lens of modern day. It’s interesting because the story follows a posse, like a caravan of cowboys just making it and society is starting to establish itself.
It’s at the turn-of-the-century, cities are starting to be built up, the sheriff model is kind of being replaced by the police force, there’s industry and these people don’t have a place in society any more. They kind of relate to the Native Americans that are there because they also, they were pushed out by them initially.
So they’re sympathising with them in a way I haven’t seen in a western film because they feel as segregated because of the cities. It’s just like these really deep narratives like I wanna see more in a modern western, that we can tell the stories and a good one was far Five Fingers for Marseilles… that was so good.
It was a South African film set in the Eastern Cape and Variety, I think it was Variety that called it the Best Western of the year. They use the western motif, like the shebeen is the saloon and there’s just something very powerful about a western that we are not just not tapping into enough and True Grit was one of those modern films that got it right.
Spling: At number 5, Up…
Grant: Oh, it was truly moving. That movie was brave enough to have you crying in the first like 10 minutes, just like this sentimental ride all the way through to the end.
Spling: I actually found that it was almost too perfect, it was almost as though it had been through so many different drafts and edits, that it actually almost got to the point of being so perfect that it was a problem.
Grant: Yeah, you know what it didn’t have, and I don’t know why didn’t put any of Studio Ghibli’s stuff here, but Studio Ghibli has got that way… it still feels, maybe it’s because of the illustration style feeling hand-drawn, it still feels a bit rough, there’s a lot of raw emotion in those movies.
You often end up crying at least once in a Studio Ghibli film. I think it’s maybe the 3D execution, everything looks super polished and it lacks that tactility of a hand-drawn Ghibli film, I don’t know. There’s something about it.
Spling: Ghibli also have like a spiritual dimension to their films. At number 6, Airplane!
Grant: Airplane! is the kind of humour that we have long forgotten, it’s one of those slapstick films that relied a lot on wordplay. If you haven’t seen Airplane! and you’re into comedy, it writes the rule book for that type of comedy in a way that no other film has and it’s got problems, it’s problematic, there’s some racist stuff in there. You look back and go like wow, that’s pretty hectic. The formula behind the jokes is really smart and reliable, and I don’t know why we don’t have more of them.
Spling: This is one of the first films that I watched as a kid, The Land Before Time.
Grant: Yes, oh wow – you must be traumatised, as an adult.
Spling: I cried.
Grant: I think also, The Land Before Time is the highest pedigree of animation and storytelling. It’s just the soundtrack, what’s his name? He also did Fievel Goes West and all those series of films. They are also tearjerkers and horrifying… and All Dogs Go to Heaven.
There’s literally a scene where he goes to hell, the dog. The dog dreams of going to hell and how is just cats attacking him and it’s traumatising, that’s a kids movie. Can you pass that today in a kids film? I doubt it. I think we got away with a lot of stuff we shouldn’t have back then.
Yeah, I think is just really good at that. I think Land Before Time was… I love dinosaurs, Land Before Time, the soundtrack makes me cry even in the first 10 minutes now. It’s so triggering, you just like this hopeless story of this little dinosaur whose parents were killed and it’s just like an orphan. He seems to deal with a lot of orphans actually, it’s just like stepping up and taking responsibility and ownership for their own life. Then he lies inside his mom’s footprint after she had died, argh, it’s so hectic, that movie is so good.
Spling: Yeah, I think a lot of directors actually have one story that they tell again and again and again in so many of their films that it does become quite prevalent after a while.
Grant: It’s worth a rewatch of all those films, like on a weekend. You’re going to run out of tissues but they’re really good.
Spling: At number 8, Gladiator.
Grant: Ah classic, but I hope they don’t make a sequel. Classic Joaquin Phoenix, some of his finest work, Ridley Scott, the soundtrack was incredible, Ridley Scott just showing off actually… those fields, it’s nearly flawless.
Spling: At number 9, The Naked Gun.
Grant: Ah, Leslie Nielsen at his finest, again that was the Zucker brothers and Jim Abrahams who made Airplane! that we were talking about earlier. The same idea, that whole film started from a series called Police Squad… Files of Police Squad. But my brother and I, it was hysterical when we watched it and actually that was our gateway into those films.
We haven’t actually seen Airplane! before we watched Naked Gun. I think I watched Naked Gun 33 1/3 first and then I was like there’s more, I’ve got to find this. It was before the days of the Internet and finding it on TV and then searching at, it’s just comedic genius. The cinematography gags, using traditional shots, Spaceballs-esque traditional shots that circumvent your expectations and that’s humorous, very very good.
Spling: And then finally at number 10, Top Secret.
Grant: The best cow cosplay in a film, some guy dresses up as a cow to convince soldiers that you can go undercover and gets away with it. For some reason, because it looks so bad but great underwater fight scene. Was that, that was Top Secret?
Spling: I don’t actually remember it all that well, all I remember is Val Kilmer.
Grant: Yeah, it’s definitely Top Secret!. There’s an incredible scene where they’re in a bar underwater and they have this huge fight scene but using the whole idea of being underwater so things are flying everywhere, tables are flipping slowly, versus…
Grant: Pre-CGI, and they’re holding their breath and it’s so good. But again all those films have an exclamation mark at the end, Mafia!, Top Secret!, Naked Gun!… it’s all part of the same stable. It was such a great signature on their films. Yoh, those guys – geniuses.
Spling: I’ve got an exclamation mark in the SPL!NG logo, so I would like to think that bit of silliness…
Grant: Influence, there we go.
Spling: Yeah, now I’ve picked one of your top 10 films to screen today.
Grant: All right.
Spling: Here it is!
Spling: So Grant, what did you think?
Grant: Yoh, it was just I’ve seen that movie many times, so that was great… it was great to see it again. I think of now watched it five or six times, this is probably my sixth time, but yes, again there are a lot of gags that I missed. The beginning, the name badge, that’s the wonderful thing about these films though – a lot of the gags are visual and if you’re not focused on what’s happening on screen, you’re going to miss a lot and even if you are focused, some of the jokes are happening on top of one another.
So you’ll see layers of humour coming through so there’s Yasser Arafat or whatever at the beginning, he’s got different…
Grant: …nametags. I’ve never seen that before. You know there’s lots of little things like that and those movies are great to come back to. In fact, he was knocking over a bunch of things in the car all the time you know we’re used to seeing that. I think, I have a theory there’s… he’s knocking over different numbers of a series of things.
I know the TV show Police Squad does that, they knock over different objects in correlation with the episode number but I think he’s doing it in the film as well. They’re like six painters on scaffolding and they all fall down, or one fisherman that falls in and then two bins and I think there’s something there.
They’re the kind of directors that would do different layers of that stuff. So I think that there’s a lot. Also I don’t know why but I never heard the line when he throws the pen in the water, “water is it’s kryptonite” for the pen. So that makes the weight of that scene a lot heavier but I just missed that line every time I watched it. I just thought “oh, no he’s going to throws the pen in the water.
Spling: There are so many classic scenes to that movie it’s also one of my favourites, I love the scene where he is arriving off the plane and there’s a whole lectern that’s been set up with the media waiting anxiously and he just steps up to it and starts addressing them as though that’s for him but it was for Weird Al.
Grant: Oh yes, Weird Al Yankovic.
Spling: And then the scene where he’s at the press junket for the Queen’s arrival and the mayor’s addressing everyone and that to me is just a brilliant comedy sketch where they just do the setup with him drinking a lot of water, walks offstage with the lapel mic, hasn’t switched it off and everyone is getting full access to his bathroom break.
Spling: I love The Naked Gun’s sense of humour and like you are saying during the film, why aren’t there more of these films around any more?
Grant: This yeah, I don’t know. I think that genre has been destroyed by very mediocre to terrible films recently who leveraged that style of humour and failed. If you think smartly about it, you can make those jokes really work and one of the examples that works pretty well I think of recent history, is Scary Movie 3. I hated Scary Movie 1 and 2. Scary Movie 1 had some interesting gags, Scary Movie 2 was boring, Scary Movie 3 with Charlie Sheen was a lot smarter.
Spling: And Leslie Nielsen returning…
Grant: Oh yes, he was in it too! Yes, he was the president and he was like listening to something, “here take a listen to this”, the latest DMX, ah yeah. You know that’s funny man, it’s visual… they take archetypal moments and then they turn it into something hilarious. It’s like the ultimate dad joke but if we had lots of money and budget to do it, like a comically large phone, that was in Top Secret.
Spling: And I love how the Zucker brothers are just so committed to the joke like we were talking about it earlier during the film, where Leslie Nielsen’s character Frank Dreben, just arrives in his car after being at the airport unwittingly having reversed into a few trailers full of luggage that was just chucked off the plane. And then arrives back at the police department, like with not one trailer but like four. Just the commitment to the joke…
Grant: Just like the, you can see that they set up that whole scene just like that two seconds on screen was worth it for them. Yeah I wonder why, I want to see more of that. Though I mean the Wayans brothers tried I think Soul Plane was similar, I think they obviously respected that enough to pull it through but we need more of them that stuff.
Spling: It was also ruined by those guys, Salzberg and Friedman (Friedberg and Seltzer) or something like that did the Disaster Movie and Vampires Suck… that ruined it for me.
Grant: You see those are the ones that just flushed it down the toilet, and then when you see a film like that again you go “oh, it’s one of those” but instead if you don’t look at… if it’s a Zucker brothers film or Jim Abrahams film, you know that it’s going to be good.
Spling: Do you think it holds up?
Grant: It does, it does. I think the pacing could do better but I think it’s because the jokes are the main attraction. Again, I think politically things have changed, I think they can work on that. It’s not unforgivable, you can still watch it… also it’s got O.J. Simpson in it, so it’s hard to watch it back and go oef.
Spling: I think it’s probably easier to accept that he is in that film just because so much bad stuff is happening to him. He’s like the fall guy, like he’s the one that gets shot, he’s the one that’s in the hospital bed that gets flipped up… right up. You know he’s in constant pain and suffering.
Grant: Turmoil, yeah I know – I suppose he’s like that in all of The Naked Guns, which is Naked Gun 33 1/3 when he gets stuck underneath the car and they like drag him around… like he just gets a tour of the city underneath the car screaming.
The style of filming holds up, it needs that, they leverage a lot of film noir monologues, they film Frank Dreben walking along the street with his feet and then he walks into a hopscotch thing and does the hopscotch, which makes it funny. You got oh, lol.
Spling: And I think the jokes are quite timeless as well, we were still having a good laugh and I think this film came out in 1988, so that’s like 32 years on and it’s still a product of its time as we were saying but it’s amazing just how funny it is so way down the line.
Grant: No, I think that sense of humour is still valuable and yes they’ve made it quite timeless. I would say Airplane! has got more timed jokes, you need to understand the context of when the film was made, it’s more like MAD magazine right? Like you open up a MAD magazine and if you don’t understand the political context of the times, it makes it hard to understand.
But Naked Gun getaway with using timeless archetypes, like police shows, film noir, those are all visual linguistics that we get and they need to do that. So anyway, I think it does definitely stand up.
Spling: And did you notice anything new about it this time around?
Grant: Oh, like I was saying, the name badges, that was pretty cool. And the luggage in that scene where he gets out the airplane and they’re just throwing it on the floor – just like carelessly. The love and respect for that kind of gag in a scene…
They’re talking about something, he has broken up with his partner, so he’s like heartbroken in the foreground and there’s this very hilarious situation happening in the background and the confidence to do that and not like focus on, just pass it by. And again when you watch it the sixth time round, you get to see it, Oh wow – I didn’t see it and you’re still getting value which is cool.
Spling: I think because they’re trying to aim for almost like a laugh-a-minute type thing that there are so many jokes flying at you so fast and furious you actually can’t absorb all of them. You’re so busy laughing at the previous thing that you’re actually missing out on one or two jokes that happen in between. If you’re watching on a small screen you’re not going to always pick up everything that’s going on…
Spling: …it’s such a busy film and that’s probably why the Police Squad television series didn’t quite work as well as the film series.
Grant: I mean Leslie Nielsen in the specials of that DVD of Police Squad gets interviewed and one of his… the show was cancelled after like five episodes or something and one of the criticisms for the show is that everyone was watching mostly on black-and-white, tiny TVs in their lounge and television was watched while reading a newspaper.
We do it while reading a phone, so this is similar… we’ve come full circle but because of that visual gags were hard to produce and it was one of the first sitcoms, if not the first sitcom without a laugh track. So the laugh track acted as an audio cue for the passive viewer to look up and appreciate the joke…
And there was none of that, you had to catch… so the reward was finding it yourself and going “oh, it’s an in-joke with me and the filmmakers” versus being told hey this is the funny part. “Hey, tap tap tap, got to laugh here”. Putting it on the big screen you’re captivated you can’t have your phone, you can’t have your newspaper, you have to just stare at this massive screen with all the jokes happening in it probably a hundred times the size of what you have at home.
Spling: And it was also quite a pioneer kind of TV show, but I’m just so glad that they decided to take Leslie Nielsen onto the big screen as Frank Dreben.
Grant: Like he was born for that role, he’s just so good.
Spling: He’s just got, I love how confidently wrong and like you said sincere he is the whole time about it. That really sells all the jokes.
Grant: Ja, he just has this way. Even he is self-aware in the film, he’ll do something wrong, it will be hilarious and he’s unaware of it and slowly starts putting the pieces together again in his head and you can see him doing it on his face and then getting like, “Hmm, I’ve got to remain confident and innocent in this situation”. So yeah yeah yeah, we know he’s not involved, that kind of thing. Oh sherbet, he can look away from the camera and like panic.
Spling: Yeah, he’s got a great follow-through. So at this stage of the podcast is like a quiz. So I’m going to basically say a bit of movie trivia about one of your top 10 films…
Spling: ..and you need to try and connect that trivia with the film itself. Okay, are you ready?
Grant: I’m ready.
Spling: James Cameron has stated that he wanted to make this movie but the rights were bought a few hours before he bid. Upon seeing the film he realised that it was for the best as his version would have been much more violent.
Grant: Ooh, The Dark Knight?
Spling: It’s Jurassic Park.
Grant: What? Yoh, I’m so glad he didn’t get the rights to it, it would have been like Avatar.
Spling: I think he would have gone Aliens on us.
Grant: Yeah, I’m so glad that didn’t happen. Wow!
Spling: Next one, Bill Murray, Barry Manilow and Chevy Chase were considered for the role of Ted Stryker…
Grant: Oh, Airplane! of course. Ted Stryker, the PTSD pilot who dreads flying. Oh, you’ve gotta watch that film if you haven’t watched Airplane! you’ve gotta watch it.
Spling: The filmmakers got a list of about 20 potential titles and settled on one because it promised so more than it could possibly deliver.
Grant: I’m gonna say Naked Gun… was it right?
Grant: Oh wow, it probably was a controversial name for its time actually. Everyone was like oh wow. He is on the new movie poster without his pants on.
Spling: Oh no, you’re thinking of Spy Hard.
Grant: Yeah, he’s standing on…
Spling: With his pants down?
Spling: Oh, are you not thinking of the second one?
Grant: I think I’m thinking of the third one.
Spling: One of them, I know one of them has got some underwear.
Grant: He’s standing on two bullets.
Spling: …and he’s still looking super serious, like this is what I meant to do.
Grant: Yeah, Spy Hard was a good film too actually, I must watch that again.
Spling: This movie was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, failing to win any and going down in film history as one of the most ever nominated films to not win an Oscar.
Grant: The Dark Knight? No?
Spling: This one’s True Grit.
Grant: Oh wow, what… ten? It’s a good film, I didn’t know it would be nominated for so many. Wow!
Spling: Yeah, it’s quite amazing, it echoes what just happened with The Irishman, which also had about 10 or 11 nominations.
Grant: Look – let’s be honest, that movie was boring!
Spling: Well, 3 1/2 hours on Netflix is you know… which other film is really that has been released straight there…
Grant: I haven’t watched the whole thing through, so to be honest I must actually get the end part and find out, apparently when you get to the end it makes it all worth it but I’ve never enjoyed mob movies. You won’t see The Godfather on my list.
Grant: Every time I start The Godfather, The Godfather II, boring. Highly reviewed, highly revered… I think it’s just a genre that doesn’t captivate me but yeah.
Spling: I saw a meme released quite soon after The Irishman and someone had released like a how to watch it as a miniseries to kind of put it into 49 minutes segments.
Grant: Excellent, excellent.
Spling: Which made quite a bit of sense for its release and I’m sure a lot of people were like “okay, I’m about two hours in let me come back to this”.
Grant: And then just never did.
Spling: The lead actor made his feature film debut and happened to be dating Cher at the time, who is pictured in one of the scenes.
Grant: Wow, I’m gonna say Top Secret.
Spling: Yeah. Bang on.
Grant: Yes, okay great. So Val Kilmer?
Spling: Dating Cher.
Grant: Cher, wow.
Spling: The language of clicking sounds used by the villains of this film was created by rubbing a pumpkin.
Grant: District 9?
Spling: That’s it.
Grant: Rubbing a pumpkin – how did they do that?
Spling: Well, I don’t know – they’re probably a couple of ways you can rub a pumpkin.
Grant: Yeah I don’t want to think about it.
Spling: Now if you watch it again you properly just going to be thinking huh. I think these Foley artists that do all the sort of background work it’s actually fascinating. When you hear punches, I think it’s for older films and TV series… it’s people ripping material.
Grant: Oh wow, jeez.
Spling: …and then there’s the classic thunder, which is just warping sheets of metal. And then for little mice they’ll have little pins just to make the sound of mice going over like in The Green Mile. They just use little pins on the floor to make that sound so it’s amazing. It would actually be quite hilarious to have a visual of how they’ve done the sound effects for every bit of the scene.
The film’s supporting actor spent several months working with a vocal coach on his character’s voice using ventriloquist dummies as inspiration for the disconnected mocking quality.
Grant: Ah, Dark Knight. Oh shame…
Spling: Heath Ledger.
Grant: Heath Ledger is such a boss. I’m so bleak that he passed away. He is definitely one of the most impactful actors, even just sequels, The Dark Knight Rises was great but I have a feeling that having him included in that would have just…
Spling: Raised the bar…
Grant: …raised the bar to a level that we haven’t seen. I mean DC have failed ever since really.
Spling: Well, you know they might have to pull a Peter Cushing on us with that digitally recreated Tarkin from Star Wars. We might see that Heath Ledger’s image… it’s quite a controversial topic.
Grant: That is, ja – I think the performance I mean it’s possible. Look it’s not to say you not another mad fan of the Joker film for similar reasons. I think Joaquin Phoenix was incredible, he carried that whole movie but that film could have been anything and the story actually script-wise was pretty bland. If you replace Joaquin Phoenix with anybody else, I don’t know if that movie would be good enough for Netflix.
You know what I mean? I mean, it’s controversial because a lot of people loved that movie. I suppose a lot of people related to it but it could have been any film about mental health and I’m sure there are better stories about mental health that we can tell.
It’s about dealing with this very well-known character that we all know and trying to show a different side of that character. But instead they reinterpreted that character in a way that was kind of made by someone who doesn’t understand comic books or thought that the comic book interpretation of somebody with mental health is irrelevant and then you’ve got Heath Ledger who, yoh man – he made the Joker scary. In a way that not many people have ever been able to achieve.
Spling: It almost reverse-engineers his previous roles in other films because he has been such a solid actor that I think a lot of people lost sight of just how talented he was until the Joker. Like with Charlize Theron in Monster, when you kind of see them just a little bit obscured, you almost only then realise just how amazing they are.
Grant: Ja, no a hundred percent.
Spling: Okay next one. Outside the Indiana Jones franchise, this is the only film to be co-produced by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.
Grant: The Land Before Time.
Spling: That’s it!
Grant: Obvious, obvious one. Because I only watched it recently and I saw it in the titles. I was like oh yes, wow.
Spling: Okay, this one is a gimme I would say. The second animated film to be nominated for an Academy award for Best Picture, the first was Beauty and the Beast.
Grant: Up? Wow, didn’t know that.
Spling: It’s crazy hey?
Grant: I must watch that again.
Spling: Beauty and the Beast was also a great film, one of the few films I watched twice when it was in cinema.
Grant: Oh really, I’ve never watched Beauty and the Beast all the way through. I got bored.
Spling: It was released in 1991 and the music I think for the time Pixar didn’t exist, that was like the animated film that set the bar because it was just beautifully put together, a classic story, wonderfully animated and just a really moving soundtrack.
Speaking of soundtracks, last one. Luciana Pavarotti was asked to perform on the soundtrack and turned it down the opportunity.
Grant: I like the idea of that being Naked Gun, but I doubt that is – probably Gladiator.
Spling: Yeah, it’s actually an interesting story I think one of the composers didn’t get quite… Lisa Gerrard gets confused with Enya quite a bit and she didn’t get credited at the Oscars. There was quite a furore around Hans Zimmer kind of getting the nod and some rules-based thing causing a bit of a stink. The Golden Globes fixed it in the end… co-nomination.
Okay, so now we’re going to get a little bit more nostalgic. What do you love the most about movies?
Grant: Wow, I think movies have always shaped our lives they’re like, the stories of our growing up and adulthood. To me they’re more of an escapism than gaming in many ways. As somebody that’s in the gaming space, that’s a strange thing to say, but you’re literally… you have a two hour bite of just getting into another world and getting to taste it, but also that two-hour time frame is nice. It’s like a motif that you can, that you can put together this very exciting story, make a point, flex some cinematography, make the audience feel a certain way and leave them thinking afterwards.
Whereas a TV show, as fun as TV shows are, they are just these long attention-hogging drawn-out series, which are great at times but at the same time there’s something special about that two hour window. And I’m a big fan of going to the movies, I feel like that’s my mental health day is like literally locking myself in a big building with some popcorn and some coke and watching a movie like I did on a Saturday morning with my friends. There’s something special about that experience that you don’t get on Netflix.
Which I enjoy, but I think it’s just a nostalgic experience. And also the sheer variety, whatever you’re in the mood for? If you want to feel sad, if you want to have a laugh, if you just want to… It’s like standing in a room, you’re old enough to remember like walking into a Blockbusters. Going there and it’s literally like choosing doorways into these different worlds and there just like these little cubes in front of you. I always hire two, never hire one because you always want like to experience one of this and one of that. That would be your Friday night and it’s just this really special experience that you don’t often get.
Spling: That’s a great description, I love that idea of doorways going into these different worlds and that’s probably what I really must about video stores and they’re sort of declining at 33% a year. I think it’s going to be a really sad day when everyone realises that experience is no more.
Grant: Look it’s a sad day but at the same time it’s a sad day for us. We always think that our, like I like reading physical books just as much as I like reading Kindles but it’s a sad day for us when books are on the decline because of how we remember them.
It’s not going to be a sad day for future generations and there’s always something, we are always letting go, there’s something of our parents… like my parents are like LPs, they’re like it’s a sad day that they’re bringing back LPs because that market is still buying LPs and they love the new music that they want it in LP form. I’m not going to buy in LP.
Spling: But it’s amazing that idea of cycles, because even like tapes, like mix tapes. I watched a documentary about how those are coming back and they’re such retro things and they got such a nostalgic bit of time locked onto them, it’s amazing that they’re actually just making a comeback.
Grant: Yeah, I think the appeal for a mix tape for me is just curation. You had a friend who is really good at curating songs and you know you would like 85% of the songs on that mix tape. That’s when it became valuable, you’re like oef… but you know that’s when mix tapes were popular. But I’m more than happy to give up tapes… cassettes.
Spling: Low quality sound.
Grant: You kids don’t know how well you got it these days!
Spling: The jamming of tapes I don’t miss…
Grant: Yeah, the pencil fix and then the tape would tear, then that section of the song would never sound the same – ja.
Spling: If you could watch any film for the first time again, which would it be and why?
Grant: Any film for the first time?
Jurassic Park, a hundred percent! That movie, the way it looks lives up, you could watch today and it could be a film released today. It’s better in many ways than some CGI films you get in films today. I watched a video about why, and it’s mainly because, snippets of CGI the rest of its real-life physics. They built a real-life T-Rex, not many films would go that route but the awe and wonder of that movie!
There are people that have not watched Jurassic Park and that’s when I realised that I’m getting on when I realised that people firstly born after Jurassic Park launched, although there are adults now born after Jurassic Park was made. And then you realise that some people just never bothered, and I’m like “are you insane? This movie is pure genius”, so yeah. Definitely Jurassic Park.
Spling: It’s amazing that they used some of what Terminator 2 Judgement Day had done to work the CGI and it’s also amazing to know just how little the film comprises of actual dinosaurs.
Spling: You feel like you’re in that world all the time, but if you had to add up all the times you see dinosaurs it’s actually not that much.
Grant: It’s like 15 minutes of the movie or something.
Grant: Yeah. But it’s a good horror story, it’s a horror movie and that’s what people don’t understand they go like “oh dinosaurs, exciting” and that’s what I don’t think the Jurassic World franchise is grappling with. Colin Trevorrow has got the chops to do it, he made a short film on YouTube set in the Jurassic World universe. I don’t know if you’ve seen it. Gotta watch it. It’s set in a caravan, it’s set after the events of Jurassic World 2 – this latest one.
And it’s literally in a caravan, a family having a picnic and there’s an Allosaurus that pitches up. That’s what Jurassic Park is to me and the Jurassic World movies aren’t that, they’re these huge action movies with tons of dinosaurs. Jurassic Park had this way of creating tension. The best moments of that film is like one individual, two individuals and a dinosaur that got into the room with them. I it’s just like panic stations, that’s a horrifying premise.
Spling: Claustrophobia deluxe!
Grant: There’s a lot of claustrophobia for something set on a huge island, all the horror moments are happening in the kitchen or in the car and the camera barely leaves the car. The kids are like, you see their POV all the time because the dinosaur is like reaching over or something falls on top of the car in stark contrast to Jurassic World where it’s like the volcano is exploding and then like everyone is sprinting you’re like “guys do you not understand the value” the dangers coming from, it becomes an Indiana Jones film, not a horror film. PG-13, it’s a very mild horror film but I wish they had gone that route.
Spling: Spielberg was actually roaring like a Tyrannosaurus Rex through the loudspeaker to try and scare the people on set every now and then. And another funny thing that I found while researching for this interview is that Wayne Knight was the first person they cast on this movie, he’s Neumann from Seinfeld. He’s the guy that…
Grant: …dies with the Dilophosaurus, he gets his car jammed and he’s stealing the DNA in a shaving can.
Spling: Which was meant to be a sequel spin-off, which never really happened.
Grant: Well, the book… I can’t fault Jurassic Park: The Lost World, it’s actually a pretty good film too. Also a few things that are a bit weird in it. Definitely not as powerful as Jurassic Park, I want more Jurassic Park, I want less The Lost World. Jurassic Park III, let’s forget about it… how do we erase that from our memories? Because that was an absolute disaster.
Spling: So which movie have you watched the most times and what makes it so re-watchable?
Grant: I honestly think I’ve watched Jurassic Park the most and its mostly because I just want to rekindle that awe and wonder. Just the scenes in there, they trigger a lot of my childhood, I mean very… I’ve read the book four times. It’s worth reading if you haven’t read Jurassic Park. Very very good book, such a good film.
Spling: And a body count of five, which I found was quite surprisingly low.
Grant: Oh ja.
Spling: But so iconic, the deaths.
Grant: The deaths are iconic but also like – that’s not important – the tension’s important. It’s such a good film!
Spling: And what’s one of your favourite movie memories?
Grant: Okay, so I’ll name two. First one was Jurassic Park… my parents wouldn’t let me watch it when it came out. When it came on M-NET I snuck to a friend’s house and watched it on M-NET at his house and it blew my mind. I’m really upset that I didn’t have the opportunity to watch it at the cinema. The cinema is such a magical place for me and it’s always this really every time I go I get excited, even as an adult.
Like I’m excited to go and I think that all came from when I was in junior school, grade seven. There was a cinema in Stadium on Main. They had a deal on Saturday mornings 9 o’clock show, so first screening of the day, 9 o’clock show was half price and you got popcorn, Jelly Tots and Coke… like a thing for R15.
So the whole movie thing would be R30 and you could watch a movie and popcorn, Coke and whatever. So we watched like Soldier of Fortune. I had a friend we just religiously, I would stay at his house and that was our ritual on a Saturday morning, Starship Troopers, the Tupac film so good.
Spling: And then hit the gaming arcade afterwards?
Grant: We didn’t have enough money for that, we spent it all at the movies. Yeah it was a very cool experience, I’m very upset that it’s a bowling alley now.
Spling: Yeah, times have changed. If you could own a movie prop from any film what would it be?
Grant: I think it would be the Velociraptor claw that Alan Grant threatens the kid with in the first movie. I think I would take that, I think it would just mean so much to me. Also such a great narrative moment like foreshadowing the danger of these creatures, you know, terrifying a child and the audience should be as terrified – ah it’s so good, you got to, if you haven’t watched it you have to watch it, it’s one of the greatest movies ever made. If not the greatest, sorry 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Spling: Okay, so now you’re onto the next section, “Gone in 60 Seconds”… so Grant has basically written a bunch of movies on some pieces of paper, I’m going to try and because I haven’t seen them, I’m gonna try and describe them to him and try to get as many of them in the space of 60 seconds as possible.
Grant: Okay, we’ll see how well you do.
Spling: Okay, this is a Disney film coming out, they’ve got live-action film coming out about this one.
Grant: Yeah, more.
Spling: It’s Asian…
Grant: Oh Mulan.
Spling: Okay this is a classic horror from the ’80s about the possessed doll.
Grant: Oh, Chucky.
Spling: Okay, this is probably one of your favourite films, made you cry, it’s a Disney classic about Africa…
Grant: Lion King.
Spling: Okay, this is a skateboarding movie…
Spling: Okay, this is a classic Netflix film, it’s not Kramer versus Kramer…
Grant: Marriage Story.
Spling: Okay, this is Clint Eastwood directing Matt Damon as François Pienaar…
Grant: Oh, Invictus, lol.
Spling: Okay this one is like a makeover film, Freddie Prince Jr… uh, girl.
Grant: She’s All That.
Spling: Okay, this is a classic horror with John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, it’s got a sequel coming out.
Grant: Ah, time… seven, that’s not bad…
Spling: It’s okay.
Grant: That’s not bad.
Spling: So Grant, it’s been great having you on the show.
Grant: Thank you.
Spling: What we do with all our guests is we give them a little memento, something just to remind them of this day and experience. So here you go, a limited edition SPL!NG mug.
Grant: This is so cool man, yoh – look at that. I love mugs. Mugs are my favourite kind of gift as well. I have everything uniform in my house, except my mug cupboard so this is going to fit right in there. Love it, thank you.
Spling: So where can people follow or watch you do your thing?
Grant: So I have a YouTube channel, just search my name. You can check out the dude with the yellow hair, so just type in Grant Hinds and I also I live-stream on Twitch, which is is twitch.tv/granthinds
if you are into seeing what live-streaming is all about. I love live-streaming, it’s probably my favourite part of video production, then I’m on Twitter, Grant Hinds, Instagram Grant Hinds everywhere Grant Hinds.