"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
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 YouTube here and here, and is embedded on the official website here. It also possesses a Facebook page, which regularly provides updates for the show.
This web series contains examples of:
- "Awesome McCool" Name: Matt and Craig's hypothetical pilot monikers "Juicy Fruit" and "Tuesday's Child".
- Bad "Bad Acting": Sadly, a common affliction of many of the films to pass through the eponymous ground-level house story, a particularly pertinent example being Tough Guys Don't Dance (among its other innumerable flaws).
- Badass Beard: Matt oscillates with sporting a lip liner/goatee combo, and Craig with heavy stubble.
- Berserk Button:
- 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.
- Another of Matt's that lives up to the trope's full reputation is just the mere mention of one Peter Jackson's earlier works.
- 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.
- Craig does not like Ethan Hawke on principle. Craig does not like Tom Cruise because of his influence. Craig "JUST F**KING HATE[S] SHIA LaBEOUF!"
- Bottle Episode: Every episode. Films employing the trope have been discussed at length, to boot.
- Call-Back: In the AKIRA episode, both refer to Kaneda as Canada. In the Halloween episode, where they both cosplay Tetsuo from the movie, they yell "CANADAAAAA!"
- The Cameo:
- 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, Matt 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.
- Hey, everybody, it's Santa in Episode 89! And he's brought the gift of self-narrating Cockney philanderers! What a merry St. Nicholas Day for us all.
- Celebrity Impersonator:
- Matt's vocal endowment excels far beyond a post-Mustafar Anakin to Disney's corporate mascot and the equally ominous Master of Suspense, among others.
- Doubling as a case of Creature Impersonator, Craig flexes off a surprisingly convincing impression of Gollum. 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.
- Child Hater: The harem-attracter above, though only towards the moppet actors that further mar Song of the South.
- Cute Kitten: Matt starts the Mazes and Monsters episode cradling his new friend, Cici, who he mentions is much more playful than Ernesto; sure enough, he often comes to the couch in subsequent episodes to cuddle. Craig seems a little jealous at first, but admits he can't stay mad at a kitten.
- 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.
- Epic Fail: In Episode 16, there's a scene of The Decline of Western Civilization, Part II depicting a member of the heavy metal band London making an unsuccessful attempt to light the Russian flag ablaze in protest during a concert.
- Even the Guys Want Him: Barry Bostwick, to Craig, as illustrated through an editorially inserted thought bubble.
- Fair for Its Day: In-universe, the guys come to the conclusion that despite Song of the South being embarrassingly racist and patronizing even for the time it was released, its sympathetic treatment of its subject matter, and of Uncle Remus as a character, at least helps keep it from being much worse.
- Fan Boy: Craig with the Voice of a Generation, and the pair's "acting crush" the size of Texas on frequently mentioned and occasional basement cinema guestnote , Michael Shannon, is well-documented. Matt eventually obtains a signed photo of Michael Shannon to hang permanently in the basement, and forbids Craig from ever trying to steal it.Matt: Anything's better with Michael Shannon!
"That's it, Matt. Give the people what they want."
- As with many films, a great deal featured on the show will often offer this to the audience (particularly Bedazzled).
- Joked about by Craig when Matt uses his Vader impression in one episode:
- Halloween Episode: An annual tradition, where the guys screen a spookier movie and dress up as characters from films covered in previous episodes.
- It's a Costume Party, I Swear!: Craig gets rather put-out before watching The Wolfman, commenting on how he mistakenly thought the entire month was going to feature costumes, while he's dressed in peasant rags and a dirty face as Heathcliff, yet Matt is completely normal. Matt swears to make it up to him, and dresses as Billy Jack in the next episode while Craig remains out of costume. (Come Halloween 2014, they opt for identical costumes instead.)
- History Repeats: In the show's maiden Halloween episode, Craig makes an adjectival flub in referring to the "ol' leather couch" as the "big leather couch", and does so again in episode twenty-eight.
- I Can't Dance: Averted with Craig, as Matt says he revealed during his performance in a theater production of Much Ado About Nothing.
- Looks Like Cesare: Though his wardrobe usually consists of brighter color schemes, Craig 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."
- MST: A lot of the comedy comes from Matt and Craig riffing as the movie progresses. Certainly helps that both of them are trained improv comedians and a very quick wit.
- 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 once it hits him that they're about to watch Norman Mailer's Tough Guys Don't Dance.Matt: Are you gonna dance? You'd better not even think about it...
Craig: (Eyes widening) Oh, my God, no. Matt! MATT! NO! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!
- Once per Episode: Matt's invitations for the viewer to join Craig and himself on "the ol' leather couch", usually entirely improvised and featuring slang or celebrity impressions apropos to the chosen movie.
- The episode's host (usually Matt) giving a small related gift to the other (usually Craig) before the movie begins.
- Running Gag:
- The infamous Megaforce thumb-kiss. It was even inducted into the website's Hall of Fame.
- Craig's conviction that all foreigners hate peanut butter.
- Ray Milland suffering the D.T.s and being tormented by a bat.
- Whenever Craig hosts, expect him to say they'll head in down to the BIG, leather couch to watch the next movie.
- Shell Game: Matt makes Craig play one of these for their first Christmas episode, having to randomly choose a beloved holiday classicnote , a modern-day deconstruction of the Santa legendnote , or a "straight-to-DVD Christmas turd"note to watch. Both of them lose.
- Craig runs one the following year, with Matt fortunately settling on more palatable fare.
- Shout-Out: Naturally, the show features many to a hodgepodge of cinematic pieces and people of that industry, though not all are particularly favorable.
- Works of their friends are also given mention from time to time, usually when the basementeers have some sort of involvement with them.
- As you may have gathered, the hosts are aware of and intermittently make reference to tropes of this wiki, as well as linking to this very page in the descriptions of their videos.
- Song Parody: Matt's impromptu one concerning Noah Baumbach in episode twenty-four, set to "La Bamba".Matt: Weird Al: Call me.
- Sophisticated as Hell: The dialogue rather fancies dancing the line between this and Buffy Speak.
- 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 Matt 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).
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
Matt: Shia Labeouf is a-Craig: OH MY GOD!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.Matt: Sean Connery gave birth to River Phoenix... who grew up to be Harrison Ford... who crapped out Shia LaBeouf.
- You wouldn't like Craig when he's angry, as Shia LaBeouf learns from episode 40's discourse of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull:
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 to have 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.
- Matt succumbs to this in the very next episode, "All That Jazz", when discussing I'm Still Here:
- 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.
- The Unintelligible: Intentionally done so with Matt's impression of vocal "thunderstorm" Gregory Peck.
- "Pop" from Swing Time; Victor Moore's signature comic drawl is so exaggerated, the guys begin to worry if the character is drunk or recovering from a stroke.
- The Unpronounceable: Megaforce's Gen. Gurerra, to Matt; Craig, by affecting more of an accent when saying it, has far less trouble.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: After getting shut out for two years in a row in their Shell Game, Matt and Craig finally decide to watch Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale by carefully choosing from three nominees, all of them Rare Exports.
- Title Drop: Invoked by Matt in both the opening sequence and the season 1 finale.
- Vampires Are Sex Gods: Episode 38, "Horror of Dracula", bites hard into this and doesn't let go.