Matt Sloan and Craig Johnson – ever heard of them? Well, some of you might recognize them from the popular – now defunct — web series Chad Vader: Day Shift Manager.
Matt does one hell of a Darth Vader impression, a talent he continues to utilize in other Star Wars-related projects. Still, if you consider yourself a lover of movies, music and random philosophy their YouTube series, Welcome To The Basement, is what I believe to be the best show on the internet…or any other platform, for that matter.
Essentially, they’re a couple of friends with a passion for cinema, vinyl and pontification who have quietly developed a program that is all at once insightful, hilarious, intelligent and often touching.
The premise – in a nutshell – is the two of them watch a movie in Matt’s basement, they talk over it, then give their off-the-cuff analysis when they’re through. One caveat – it has to be a movie that Matt hasn’t seen before.
Simple enough, but this bare-bones foundation allows for so much more. The movies they review run the gamut from the ridiculous to the sublime, but in every case they give it their all — even with the stinkers.
Watching these two discuss these movies is a delight. Their personal charm and charisma is irresistible… you really want to be friends with these guys. Their effortless epigrams make MST3K pale by comparison – and this is coming from a huge fan of that show. But it’s not just about their funny quips; they deliver a legitimate, thoughtful breakdown of each movie they watch, often adding their own personal experiences to deepen their critique.
It’s all subjective of course, but I have to say — I agree with them about 98 per cent of the time.
For six seasons now, they’ve taken to Matt’s ‘old leather couch’ and consistently provided their audience with entertainment gold – and they are beloved by their fans. Supplementing their main show, they also shoot something called Unboxing during which they open up all the mail and goodies their followers send them.
When they read the letters sent from all parts of the world, you understand what an impact they’ve made on their fan’s lives. Many talk about how their show helped them get through a tough time or how the duo influenced them to broaden their cinematic horizons. It’s all due to Matt and Craig’s inclusive appeal – they are just good dudes you want to hang with. Unboxing is not only a refreshing acknowledgment of their support base, but a chance for them to gab about other stuff besides movies; they philosophize, Matt reads his poetry, Craig recounts his personal anecdotes. This is how compelling they are…they’ve got a series where they literally open mail and you still can’t get enough of it.
I came to the party late, but I’ve already binge watched all the episodes – over 200 in all. So, now I will just have to dutifully wait for their next instalments along with the other stalwarts. It is something I truly look forward to.
For all you cinephiles out there, do yourselves a favour and watch this show before they get snapped up by some larger platform like Spike TV and are forced to water down their content for the masses. And Matt and Craig, if you happen to read this, if you ever decide to have any guest pontificators on your show throw me a line, I’d join you on the old leather couch anytime!
Check out their website for full synopses of their episodes, essays, and more.
And of course…their YouTube shows!