Gobbledygeek episode 131, ”So Let’s Get to the Oscars,” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.
The Oscars were over a week ago, you say? Who cares, when we’re joined by Kenn Edwards, host of the podcasts So Let’s Get to the Point and Project Batman? In addition to Hollywood’s big night, Paul, AJ, and Kenn discuss Kenn’s forthcoming podcast ventures, the unimportant death of an important Batman character, and whether or not The Office is worth watching in its final season.
Next: the boys are joined by Rench of Gangstagrass.
(Show notes for “So Let’s Get to the Oscars.”)
Last week, we discussed our favorite TV series of the last year. This week, we turn to the big screen.
PAUL: 10. DJANGO UNCHAINED (dir. Quentin Tarantino)
With Django Unchained, director Quentin Tarantino takes us once more back to a terrible moment in our history, and once again asks us to indulge him his little anachronisms and revisionist revenge fantasies. This time, instead of Nazis and baseball-bat-wielding Jews, we get slavers and bounty-hunting dentists. Set in the pre-Civil War Deep South, Unchained is Tarantino’s homage to the Spaghetti Westerns of Leone and Corbucci, which he prefers to call his Spaghetti Southern. I’ll say that the absence of editor Sally Menke is sharply felt here, though. If I, of all people, notice the nearly three-hour runtime, then there could’ve been some tightening. The cast is great across the board, including a list of hidden cameos longer than my arm (among others, original Django Franco Nero makes an appearance). Jamie Foxx is great in the title role, though I imagine what Will Smith could’ve done with the part, as was the original intent. Leo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, and Walton Goggins all shine in their respective roles. Kerry Washington was reduced to little more than the damsel in distress, however, which is unusual for a Tarantino picture. But the standout here is Christoph Waltz. He is every bit as charmingly heroic and admirable this time as he was charmingly repulsive and hateful in Basterds.
AJ: 10. MOONRISE KINGDOM (dir. Wes Anderson)
Wes Anderson’s films often have a childlike quality about them, whether it be his colorful storybook compositions or the petulance of many of his characters. So it’s fitting that he’s finally made a film about children, one in which the kids are on the run from what’s expected of them and their adult guardians are forced to accept the roles they’ve played in their children’s abandonment of them. Newcomers Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, both in their first screen acting roles, give perfectly awkward performances. Anderson regulars Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman are in their element here, while Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton join the auteur’s troupe with ease. Perhaps most encouragingly, Moonrise Kingdom is the first sign of life in years from Bruce Willis–who, with a movie soon to appear on our lists, proved later in the year that he’s most definitely still kicking–and Edward Norton, two actors who really needed a movie like this.
Gobbledygeek episode 110, “#12,” is available for listening or download right here.
It’s been one year–and exactly half the show ago–since DC rebooted their entire line, dubbing this bold creative decision/shameless marketing ploy the “New 52.” Paul and AJ check back in on the New 52, pointing out what’s working (Animal Man, Swamp Thing) and what’s not (Justice League, Detective Comics). Has this whole thing been worth it? Has it made a difference for the company? And what are we to make of the editorial troubles that have been messily dragged out into the public? We can’t promise any good answers, but we sure try! Plus, AJ talks about the best birthday present he received and Paul has exciting adventures at the zoo.
Next: celebrate Gobbledygeek’s eleventy-first episode as the boys discuss the 1977 Rankin/Bass animated musical television special The Hobbit. BYOPW (bring your own pipe-weed).
(Show notes for “#12.”)
Gobbledygeek episode 104, “The Long Dark Knight of the Soul,” is available for listening or download right here.
The third (last?) major superhero movie of the year has arrived in the form of The Dark Knight Rises. Going into it, AJ was pumped and Paul was basically dreading it; amazingly, the two have united and agreed on something for the first time in what feels like months. They discuss the pay-offs to each character’s arc, the Bane voice and the Batvoice, what political message can be derived from the film, and how often Michael Caine bawls. Plus, AJ talks about seeing Jaws on the big screen and attending a local comic book show, while Paul offers another monumental national update on the state of his health.
Next: the boys discuss the books that were important to them in their formative years.
(Show notes for “The Long Dark Knight of the Soul.”)
On the new episode of Gobbledygeek, Paul and AJ told you about all the things you should buy this Christmas season, and now here’s a comprehensive guide! (Including a few items that weren’t even mentioned on the show.)
Note: Most links and prices are from Amazon.
READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline
Hands down one of the best science fiction books I’ve read in recent memory. It’s like my admittedly overdeveloped nostalgia gland were milked and distilled onto the page. This book is my geeky, pop-culture DNA printed in ink. ~ Paul
Gobbledygeek episode 77, “Buy, Buy, Buy,” is available for listening or download right here.
If there’s anything we learned from A Charlie Brown Christmas, it’s that Christmas has become far too commercialized and that the true spirit of Christmas isn’t in the gifts that you receive. So, going entirely against that lesson from our childhoods, we’ve concocted the second annual Gobbledygeek Gift Guide! We’ll clue you into everything you should buy for that nerd in your life, be they into movies (The Tree of Life! Hanna!), music (Nirvana! Pink Floyd!), games (Arkham City! Skyrim!), or more. We also leaven all the cynical buying and spending with genuine, heartfelt appreciations of the movies We Bought a Zoo, Hugo, and The Muppets, plus some Formspring questions and an e-mail.
Next: We continue our Christmas celebration with a discussion of Gremlins. Because who doesn’t like to think of Phoebe Cates’ dad getting stuck in the chimney when they’re putting up the tree?
(Show notes for “Buy, Buy, Buy.”)
When Batman: Arkham Asylum was released in 2009, it was nothing short of a revolution for superhero video games. Before, there had been a handful of great superhero games, but most of them had been arcade side-scrollers or team brawlers (Activision’s first Spider-Man game is a notable exception). Arkham Asylum, however, placed you so fully in Bruce Wayne’s combat boots that it actually felt as if you got to know the hero better just by pushing some buttons and toggling an analog stick. Not only did you battle some of the Dark Knight’s greatest villains, you also sneaked around in the shadows, stealthily taking out bad guys before they even noticed you were upon them. The mix of fighting-and-hiding was extremely addictive and felt like the reinvention of an entire genre.
At the time, it would have been ridiculous to look at Arkham Asylum and go, “Great game, but look at all that untapped potential!” After having played Arkham City, though, it’s a reasonable reaction. Almost everything that was great about the first game has been refined, perfected, and expanded to create the most immersive superhero game yet released. The most obvious example is the fact that you can actually explore the vastness of Arkham City itself. One of the joys of the original was exploring the asylum grounds, but now that a portion of Gotham has been cordoned off as one big looney bin, you can glide past skyscrapers and swing from building to building. Whenever you get frustrated with a side mission or tire of beating down thugs, you can revel in the simple pleasure of zipping around the city, an exhilarating experience in and of itself.
Gobbledygeek episode 74, “Occupy Arkham City or, Batman Is the 1%,” is available for listening or download right here.
This week, the boys get their Bat on, discussing the new video game Batman: Arkham City and the new animated film Batman: Year One. Does Arkham City improve on Arkham Asylum? Does Kevin Conroy have the greatest batvoice ever? Is Year One a faithful adaptation of Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s comic book? Does Bryan Cranston make for a great Jim Gordon? These questions, and many more, are answered in the affirmative. Plus, a reader e-mail and some Formspring questions, including what may be the last “oeuvre” question ever.
Next: Paul and AJ meet up for GobbleCon 2011!
(Show notes for “Occupy Arkham City or, Batman Is the 1%.”)
I'm so blind I can't even watch this movie. Whew. Bullet dodged.
Gobbledygeek episode 73, “Where We’re Going, We Won’t Need Clothes,” is available for listening or download right here.
For the final week of Gobbledyween, Paul revisits Paul W.S. Anderson’s magnum opus Event Horizon for the first time since theaters and AJ watches it for the very first time. Also probably the last. You see, it’s not very good. Unlike The Evil Dead, The Thing, and Dawn of the Dead, this one’s not so much a classic, but the boys still mine some discussion and humor from the proceedings. They also ponder the philosophical query: does one need clothes? As always, there are some Formspring questions to round things out.
Next: it’s a Bat-stravaganza as we tackle Batman: Arkham City and the new Batman: Year One animated film.
(Show notes for “Where We’re Going, We Won’t Need Clothes.”)
Welcome to Last Month’s Comics, in which I discuss, uh, last month’s comics. I get my comics in bi-monthly shipments from Discount Comic Book Service, and as such, I can be a little behind. So here we are. This feature started last month.
So, September 2011, what kind of havoc did you wreak? Let’s find out…
BEST RETURN TO FORM
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 9 #1
Writer: Joss Whedon
Art: Georges Jeanty (pencils), Dexter Vines (inks), Michelle Madsen (colors)
Publisher: Dark Horse
To say that I was pleased upon finishing the first issue of the new “season” of Buffy is an understatement. Season 8 started off very well, with Buffy leading an army of 500 Slayers and trying to unmask the mysterious foe Twilight. And to tell the truth, it was great for much of its run, with an occasional stumble (vampires being outed to the public wasn’t handled with much finesse). But the last story arc, with the reveal of Angel as Twilight, cosmic sex, and general batshit insanity, was so damaging that even someone who considers Buffy the Vampire Slayer to be the greatest piece of entertainment ever given us by man had come to the conclusion that it might be for the best if Ms. Summers was finally laid to rest. The final issue of Season 8, though, was a dramatic 180 from the pace and structure of the last few issues leading up to it, and the Season 9 premiere continues in that vein. With Giles gone and magic vanquished, Buffy is depressed and adrift, working as a waitress and getting blackout drunk. It’s all done with Whedon’s razor-sharp wit and keen sense of twenty-something angst. The final “shock twist” is so humdrum and everyday it’s hilarious. In many ways, the metaphorical “party” is over for our Scoobies; now what? I can’t wait to find out.