"I've gotta bunch of movies that I've never seen before. You don't know what they are. Every episode I'm gonna spring one on ya; it might be good, it might be bad. We'll watch it, and talk about it. Welcome to the basement."
— Matt Sloan, opening narration
"Watching movies since 2012!"
Welcome to the Basement (stylized as Welcome To The Basement in the video titles) is a Video Review Show released under Blame Society Productions, created by co-founder Matt Sloan. The series stars Sloan as the preponderant host; with close friend and Chad Vader alum Craig Johnson as his Second Banana; the former's wife, Tona Williams, as the unseen though equally as involved camera operator; and a plethora of thespians and other entertainment industry veterans - both living, dead, B-rated and otherwise. Oh, and Matt's cats.As the page quote outlines, the premise of the series is Sloan and Johnson watching a diverse selection of films from the cinematic past – from the Hollywood mainstream to the quirkiest cult classics — and having a thoughtful discussion thereafter. Craig never knows what the movies are until Tona starts rolling, so it’s always as much a surprise to him as it is the audience. On occasion, the two switch roles, and Matt has also twice employed a third party to curate an episode by picking a film from his "secret list", as well as awarding them with the bonus of getting to replace it with whichever movie they so desire (so long as it has gone unseen by his eyes).The series can be viewed on YouTubehere and here, and is embedded on the official website here. It also possesses a Facebookpage, which regularly provides updates for the show.
Well, more like Irk Button, but while Matt states that he does not generally abhor substandard cinematic pieces with fervor, he makes an exception for those that receive undeserved laud and recognition to top it all off, specifically averring 2004's Crash to be a case of this.
Craig, a profound architecture fan, makes his grievances with Tinseltown known whenever a film features the destruction of his beloved Grand Central Station.
The Putney Swope episode shows his patience and sanity thinning like a liposuction junkie with the Mind Screw (and Trope Maker/namer listed above) of a film. Come closing credits, he has finally flown off the handle, even going so far as to demand why they hadn't watched Matt's second-listed ire-inducer instead.
Doubling as a case of Creature Impersonator, Craig flexes off a surprisingly convincing impression of a certain lover of antique jewelry during the second film viewing. Aside from this, his imitation of "spooky-eyed actor extraordinaire" Michael Shannon was at one point requested to be performed once an episode.
Chekhov's Gun: Referenced by name in episodes fourteen and thirty-five.
Chick Magnet: It seems hardly an episode goes by without anything with two X chromosomes to rub together writing in to declare some degree of besottedness with Craig.
Deadpan Snarker: Viewer "Thundercracker", if the pair are interpreting his comments correctly.
Department of Redundancy Department: In episode two, Matt adopts, and then immediately drops his "Welcome to Welcome to the Basement" greeting for perceiving it to be an offender of this.
Early Installment Weirdness: When the show was but a babe, darker lighting was featured, as were tighter closeups, a different seating arrangement, the much reviled 'Spoiler Redacted' censor (when it was utilized for the endings of the featured films), an absence of a Title Sequence and a more curtailed use of Background Music, among other nuances.
Looks Like Cesare: Though his wardrobe usually consists of brighter color schemes, Johnson looks as if he's never step foot outside the show's setting. His "consumptive" complexion is even Lampshaded by a fan at one point. His response?
"I am the heroine of a 19th century French novel. *cough* *cough*"
Magical Negro: Matt calls Uncle Remus this during a riff of Song of the South.
Mood Whiplash: The cold open of episode twenty-five understandably traverses to Tear Jerker country as the two red-rimmed and damp-eyed cinephiles pay their respects to their fallen brethren, Roger Ebert. The somber ambiance left lingering after Matt's profession that they will see him at any theater they pay visit to and remember him performs a 180-degree turn with Craig's follow-up of "If you're not there, we'll ask for our money back."
Multiple Demographic Appeal: One of the show's main appraisals is its intelligence and wit yet its ability to remain relatable to the common man.
Oh, Crap: Craig displays this in spades in episode twenty-one, once realization hits him that they are to watch Norman Mailer's cinematic contribution of '87.
Stunned Silence: What occurs in Matt during Robert Downey, Sr.'s featured film.
Suddenly Bilingual: At the end of episode 6, Craig translates Matt's newscast riff into Italian, and the two episodes of Foreign Film Month reveal that the latter can speak Swedish and Hindi (although, he may have just learned a few select portions for the occasions, as both times he asks the audience about the quality of its execution).
An unscheduled one by Aaron Yonda, co-founder of Blame Society and Matt's writing partner, in episode seven. He brings a baguette. Possibly from the trash.
And, in episode fourteen, after discussing The Dictator, Sloan receives a surprise visit from none other than Sacha Baron Cohen!... Which happens to go unseen and unheard, as Tona hadn't been rolling. Hmmm.
Matt: He's a useless toolbag who ruins everything.
Craig: Why... does he get cast... EVER!? I'm sorry! Yeah, he was good in Holes; yeah, he was good in one movie. Everyone has one movie in them! I hate that guy! It's really... It's like, I don't like Ethan Hawke for, like, principle; I don't like Tom Cruise because he's so super powerful; I just F**KING HATE SHIA LaBEOUF! AND IF THERE'S ANYONE OUT THERE WHO LIKES HIM, I WANNA HEAR FROM YOU, BECAUSE I WONDER WHY! Hey, I'm Robert Redford, I'm gonna cast... I'm Steven Spielberg, I'm gonna cast Shia Labeouf, I'm- all these people cast him, and nobody knows why! NOBODY LIKES LOOKING AT HIS FACE! HE'S GOT THIS STUPID-ASS NAME! And he got to be Indiana Jones' son... [verging on tears] Indiana Jones' son.
Sloan succumbs to this in the very next episode, when discussing I'm Still Here:
Matt:Joaquin Phoenix attempted to be Andy Kaufman, and it fell flatter than Andy Kaufman's wrestling career. I bailed on this movie thirty minutes in, because it didn't resemble anything approaching entertainment.
Matt: It's just a douchey movie star's home movies. And Casey Affleck, you ought've known better. And Joaquin, too! You know, you could've been content with being an Oscar-nominated, brilliant movie star, but you had to spend a year being a dumb, misanthropic clown, and you fell flat on your face, and you deserve it.
Craig: But keep up the good work beyond that.
The Stinger: Episode four onwards ends with a shot of the gaze of Tona and Matt's pet cat, Ernesto, directly striking the audience, with subsequent ones applying an audio clip from the episode's film to it.