BUCK: First off, a bit of general advice, and it is whenever you see that there is a show with a 90%-plus audience score and sub-50 on the critics, it’s a show you want to see.
BUCK: Because it means that everyone loves it but the critics hate it for some reason that has nothing to do whether or not it’s entertaining. And an example of this would be — Clay, have you seen The Terminal List yet?
CLAY: I’ve heard it’s great. No, I have not. Have you watched it?
BUCK: I have watched every episode of The Terminal list.Jack Carr is a friend. I’ve known Jack for a few years now.
CLAY: So explain this show, ‘cause I bet there’s a lot of our audience that would like it. Explain this show for people like me who know it exists but have no concept of what it’s about.
BUCK: So it’s a… The main character is played by Chris Pratt. He’s a Navy SEAL named James Reece, who comes home after some special operations abroad. They’re ambushed. I don’t want to give much away, but there’s a sinister plot that goes to the heart of the military-industrial complex, and basically Chris Pratt is running around taking out bad guys, lots of… The tactically sequences are very well done. They bring in SEALs and people with similar expertise so the actual gun battles and everything look really cool. I mean, they do a good job with that as entertainment. But they hate it because there’s no wokeness, okay? There’s no social justice warriors.
CLAY: So it’s like… In that way, it’s like Top Gun: Maverick, which has been in theaters for-some-odd — 70-some-odd days and is now the most successful Paramount movie of all time. It passed Titanic; that’s how successful it is.
BUCK: But I mean even that movie, Clay, just to be Claire, who’s the bad guy? It’s like a make-believe country in Eastern Europe or something? I mean, you know, they work — they’re going for the global market. I get it. And apparently we don’t make movies anymore where we’re fighting other countries. It wasn’t woke —
CLAY: But even in the original Top Gun —
BUCK: That he said.
CLAY: — we didn’t know who the bad guy was.
BUCK: Everyone assumed it was the Soviet Union, right, with the red star on the helmets, but… Yeah, I’m just saying, it wasn’t woke, but it wasn’t like… It wasn’t Team America World Police either, you know what I mean, it wasn’t going too hard with the Stars and Stripes and the flag. But, okay. But so Rotten Tomatoes 94% audience score for this. It’s a good show ’cause one thing that Carrie and I have been struggling with is we’re trying to find a show to watch that we can both enjoy together.
You watch stuff and you go, “Is everything just green-lit by the editorial team at MSNBC now?” I mean, it’s all so… It’s such trash, and ten years ago I feel like Netflix and HBO, there was this golden age where they were just making amazing programs, making great series. Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones and Narcos and they’re making all these great shows. Now, of course, corporations that are behind all this are, “Oh, we want to be progressive and social justice,” and their shows suck, which is not surprising.”
But I will say, in fairness, we did find one show that I — one movie, I should say, that I — would recommend to everybody. I made Carrie watch this movie, The Outfit, a couple of weeks ago. That wasn’t really worth it. That was okay. It was like a B-. Wasn’t woke but just wasn’t really that good. It was okay. But we watched this 13 Lives. Have you seen this? Are you familiar with this one? It’s about the Thai youth boys soccer team.
CLAY: Oh, oh, yeah. I was fascinated by that story. For everybody out there, this was the soccer team that got caught in the cave and it flooded, and they weren’t able to get out. How is…? Ron Howard made this one, right?
BUCK: The movie is excellent.
BUCK: Highly, highly watchable, really moves along. And the way they film this, they originally… I read a little bit about it ’cause curious. They were actually trying to film a lot of it in the caves, but we weren’t able to do that for reasons, like, I don’t even know now so they moved it I think to Queensland in north Australia ’cause obviously the actual cave is in Thailand. But it’s amazing. I’ll say this. There are few things in the world that I would find more terrifying than having to spend six hours underwater, 5-1/2, 6 hours underwater in a cave with fast moving currents where at some point the cave is about shoulder width.
CLAY: I couldn’t even do it.
BUCK: So, you’ve got darkness, claustrophobia, the imminent prospect of death if you run out of oxygen or if you just hit your head. I mean, there’s any number… It is really well done. I’ve been trying to tell folks about it. I remembered that story. The story is even more — in many ways — unbelievable and, in the end, inspiring than I remembered it from the news reports. It’s crazy what they did to get… I mean, not crazy as in, “They should have done any of this.” But I mean what they managed to pull off with those kids to get them out. I don’t want to give it all away.
CLAY: Well, I think everybody knows the kids got out.
BUCK: It is a true story.
CLAY: A true story. But that story was captivating to follow and such an ennobling story because every day you thought, “Oh, they’re gonna find the kids and they’re not gonna be alive.” That was sort of the subtext of it. This is a flooded cave. There’s no way these kids are gonna have survived for this long. And when they finally found them, then it’s, “Oh, my goodness, how in the world are we ever gonna get them out of here,” and they managed to do it.
Speaking of The Terminal List, there is an article up at OutKick, one of our good writers that we hired recently, David Hookstead. If you haven’t already, we had an incredible month. But OutKick is kind of, like, manna from heaven if you’re a sports fan or just a fan of pop culture and you think everything is gone woke. We got a good article about it that went today about The Terminal List: 1.6 billion minutes of viewership on Amazon Prime. The only show was the most recent show… Stranger Things, season 4, is the only show that’s beaten it in terms of popularity.
So I’ll just point this out. Culture is important in terms of what it’s saying about what society is interested in right now. Yellowstone is by far the most popular show on television, other than sports. Doesn’t get nominated for any Emmys. Wildly popular. Terminal List, evidently, on Amazon Prime, insanely popular. Top Gun: Maverick. What do all three of those movies and/or shows have in common? Relatively limited woke material and/or “USA! USA! USA!” Right? That is what they are overall selling is United States excellence. I think there’s a huge demand for that.
BUCK: You can tell very quickly in a lot of these shows — to this point, Clay, I could even take a… I think there’s a step even before that. What you’re talking about is manifestation of or the way that the show actually tells the story, right, is that it focuses on those things. I think it really often comes down to when they’re sitting in the writers’ room is the most important thing that they want to entertain and engage the audience?
Or is it that they want to get a pat on the back for the agenda and the messaging behind this? Because I think you see a lot of shows where they start with a premise, which is, “Oh, let’s make this about some left-wing woke agenda item snuff,” instead of, “Is this gonna be a good story? Is this gonna bring people in?” And, you know, you brought up… What was the huge show that everyone’s, “Oh, my gosh. Why is this such a success?” Similar numbers I think to Yellowstone from years ago was The Walking Dead. Right?
BUCK: And The Walking Dead is a show where you take a graphic novel and you’re just trying to make the most engaging entertainment possible. There’s some broader lessons about parenting and, you know, survival and other things in there, right? But overall, you’re not getting a political lecture with The Walking Dead. You’re just watching something that’s meant to entertain you. Whenever they do that, there’s success. When they’re giving you a lecture about woke politics, people increasingly are saying, “I just don’t want to watch this.”
CLAY: Yep. And I’ll give you… I know we got people who listen in Hollywood; we got a big audience in L.A. I’ll continue to give this out. If you want to look like a genius and you want to have the number one streaming show or the number one television show, the number one show in America, turn Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose — phenomenal book about the Lewis and Clark expedition, turn it — into a miniseries, into a… I believe it would be a television event the likes of which we have not seen in 20 years, right, in terms of a historical connection to America, pro-America.
Now, you can say Game of Thrones was a television event. I loved that show. Yeah, it’s a fantastical show about, you know, about dragons and medieval times, effectively. I’m talking about something that is rooted in American history, that is unabashedly patriotic, that tells a triumphal story of an overwhelming difficult and success —
BUCK: I’m sorry, Clay. To get… Meriwether Lewis is going to have to be a gender fluid pansexual —
BUCK: — and William Clark is gonna have to go around begging forgiveness from the native peoples for the future disrespect and betrayal of the colonists. I mean, otherwise we can’t make that show.
CLAY: “Politics is downstream of culture,” which is a great quote from Andrew Breitbart, and I do think it’s true. If you’re out there and you’re looking at what the political message is coming true the cultural success stories out there — whether it’s Terminal List, whether it’s Yellowstone, whether it is certainly as you break it down how much demand there has been for Top Gun: Maverick; the most successful movie of all time from Tom Cruise’s history — it’s ’cause people want pro-America, anti-woke programming, and there isn’t enough of it.
BUCK: Did you see…? I know you were on vacation and you’re having a great time with the fam, which was very important. You’ve come back rested in the fight. But did you happen to catch — ’cause I see you sneaking on the Twitter a little bit when you’re on vacation —
CLAY: Oh, I still have to manage OutKick. I didn’t do TV, I didn’t do radio, but I’m still managing our stories at OutKick.
BUCK: So you probably saw that they had a $90 million write-off with a —
CLAY: I loved it.
BUCK: — completed film —
CLAY: Batgirl. Batgirl. (laughing)
BUCK: I mean, now the thing is I want to see that movie —
CLAY: I do too.
BUCK: — so badly because —
CLAY: They wrote down, when they took over, $300 million — CNN+ — they said this is an unmitigated disaster, it’s done. And now $90 million, Batgirl. You know how popular superhero movies are. You could basically get $100 million, I would think, just by advertising a lot to get people to come watch.
BUCK: If you’re a screenwriter or a producer making a superhero movie and you lose basically $100 million on it, you really should learn to code. Like, you should find another profession. You should be —
CLAY: What would the equivalent to…? It’s a great point. You’re making a superhero movie. The studios are all behind it. You almost cannot fail because there’s such demand for superhero movies, and they watched your superhero movie, and they said, “It was so bad, we’re just gonna take a $90 million write-off.” They didn’t even put it on the streaming service. It’s one thing if they say, “Hey, this is not worthy of going to the movie theaters.” They said it’s so bad that they don’t even want their brand associated with it. In other fields, I’m not even sure I can think of an equivalent.
BUCK: I could just see this, though, like a Batgirl movie where Batgirl swoops in on the bank robbers and they’re like, “Hey, look at this! Look at this broad wearing a costume.” She’s like, “Excuse me, sir. ‘Broad’? Are you assuming my pronouns?” Like, you could actually do a great send-up of this thing. I mean, you could do a great —
CLAY: There’s a little bit of send-up of the overall woke culture that goes on in Deadpool, which has been very popular as a movie. But, Buck, think about all the people that are cast in this movie. They’re saying, “Hey, this is gonna be career altering for you. You can’t go wrong. You get into a superhero movie; you’re the next Robert Downey Jr.” I can completely do the pitch that they would have been getting in their Hollywood talent agencies, and then they get a call and they say, “Yeah, this movie is so bad that even though we spent $90 million, we’re basically just gonna burn it.”
BUCK: I guarantee you we could write a better screenplay than whatever that was, between the two of us, in 48 hours. Honestly. That’s why I want to see this.
CLAY: I feel confident about that.
BUCK: Very confident on that one.