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Hops and Box Office Flops: STARSHIP TROOPERS – Good Old Fashioned Fascist Fun

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Summer is known for popcorn entertainment, boasting blockbuster films that are meant to be enjoyed with little thought about their message or theme. Starship Troopers is not one of those films. Though it was billed as a straight forward, science fiction action shoot-em-up (just watch the trailer)—and it certainly works as one—Starship Troopers is much more. It’s an evocative take on the dangers of a society fueled by war and a populace indoctrinated by powerful, omnipresent propaganda.

Directed by Paul Verhoeven (RoboCopTotal RecallBasic Instinct, among others)—who’d grown up in Nazi-occupied Netherlands—the film is a satirical interpretation of Robert Heinlein’s pro-war novel of the same name. That fact is an important one. Every bit of this film is intentional. 

“You kill bugs good, man.” — Sugar Watkins

From the “Would you like to know more?” commercials on state-run TV to the incredibly handsome cast, Verhoeven styled his movie to mirror that of a Nazi propaganda film from the 1930s. And it’s brilliant. Unfortunately, that is not how it was received. Upon its release, Verhoeven’s message sailed largely over the heads of both audiences and critics, sending the film’s box office receipts down “wash out” lane (It grossed roughly $120 million worldwide on a budget of $105).

But that failure does not define it. Since its mediocre theatrical run, it has steadily garnered a following, which, as we discuss, is a great thing. There is no better time to see Starship Troopers than the present. Literally.

So sit back, grab an Elysian’s Immortal IPA, prepare to slug it out with hordes of angry alien bugs, and enjoy as I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. Cash, and Chumpzilla do our parts for the preservation of mankind!

This Weeks Segments:

  • Introduction – We break down the film’s superb satirical take on fascist propaganda. (00:00)
  • “Am I full of s**t or not?” – Capt. Cash and Chumpzilla attempt to debunk or confirm facts I discovered while investigating the interwebs. (37:18)
  • Six Degrees of Movie Separation, Recommendations, Our Nerdiest Possessions, and Hot Takes of Superhero Cinema – Six degrees returns, we offer our picks of the week, share the most nerd-tastic items we own, and give hot takes for the future of Superhero movies. (1:01:45)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter (@HopsandBOFlops) to check out all the interesting factoids—Macaulay Culkin’s admiration for the film, as well as his foray into professional wrestling, how greedy suits turned RoboCop into a cartoon, and more—from this week’s episode!

You can find this episode of Hops and Box Office Flops, as always, on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbean, and Spotify!

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Thomas L. Kelly

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