Gobbledygeek episode 130, “Talking Turkey: Noble Smith,” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.
Noble Smith joins Paul and AJ to chat about his book The Wisdom of the Shire: A Short Guide to a Long and Happy Life, his forthcoming series The Warrior Trilogy, the work of Tolkien, and so much more. Including but not limited to: the time he watched The Empire Strikes Back with Irvin Kershner, his experience as a veteran of the video game industry, and the ridiculousness of LEGOs. Plus, the boys talk Saga, The Americans, and Frederic Wertham.
Next: Kenn Edwards joins us to talk podcasts, Oscars, and probably a whole bunch of other stuff.
(Show notes for “Talking Turkey: Noble Smith.”)
On this, the eve of 2013, Paul and I begin to look back at some of our favorite things of 2012. First up, our ten favorite TV series.
Also, let’s give a slow clap to Paul, who struggled through severe illness just to get these words to you, dear reader. A speedy recovery to you, sir!
PAUL: 10. PARKS AND RECREATION (NBC)
Season 5 gets out of the office a little bit, with Ben and April in Washington D.C. (with an evil robot congressman). Ron gets a new love interest (the always lovely Lucy Lawless). Tom starts a new business. And Andy finds a new career.
AJ: 10. GAME OF THRONES (HBO)
What Game of Thrones did in its first season was nothing short of exceptional, a 10-episode narrative that goes down as one of the finest accomplishments the medium has seen thus far. And while the second season struggled at times to recapture that majesty, it certainly wasn’t for lack of trying. The scope and breadth of George R.R. Martin’s world remains impressive; the cast, especially Peter Dinklage as the kind of noble imp Tyrion Lannister, continues to knock out high fantasy material that would crush lesser actors; and thrilling hours like “Blackwater” remind us that this is the closest thing we have to a Lord of the Rings on TV. And it’s a whole lot nastier and sexier, too.
Gobbledygeek episode 105, “Take a Look, It’s in a Book,” is available for listening or download right here.
Do you remember what reading was like when you were a kid? That magical, transportive experience that took you to faraway lands and different time periods? Proving that, yes, they were once literate, Paul and AJ discuss their childhood reading experiences. The books that were important to them include The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Watership Down, and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, among others. They also discuss the differences they had growing up as readers and what it will be like for kids in the future. Plus, Paul rejoices in The Killing‘s cancellation, while AJ discusses watching The Walking Dead season 2 and the original Total Recall, both for the first time.
Next: it’s a Gobbledy-free-for-all! Anything and everything is fair game.
(Show notes for “Take a Look, It’s in a Book.”)
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
THOR (DVD/Two-Disc Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Combo/Three-Disc Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Combo)
The penultimate pre-Avengers Marvel franchise hit like a thunderbolt! Well, a severe summer shower at least. Chris Hemsworth (Papa Kirk from Abrams’ Star Trek) plays the titular Thunder God, an impetuous and brash young warrior eager to earn the respect of his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins). Instead, he reignites a war with his people’s ancient enemies the Frost Giants, and finds himself exiled, penitent and powerless, to Earth. There’s a rushed romance with a sexy scientist (Natalie Portman); a fun but sadly bloodless battle to reclaim his birthright Mjolnir, the literal hammer of the gods; and a final showdown with his half-brother, the once and future God of Mischief. But the real highlights of the film aren’t the action set pieces: Hemsworth is a joy, with the muscles and the cocky but charming smirk; Hopkins chews the scenery appropriately, adding to the Shakespearean vibe director Kenneth Branagh was aiming for; and Tom Hiddleston as Loki steals the show with his wounded-little-boy-in-the-body-of-a-god routine. My earlier review was perhaps a bit glowing for what is probably just a good-not-great summer popcorn film…but then perhaps not. I look forward to watching it again and seeing if the ol’ Asgardian magic can still enchant me like it did before. – Paul Smith
(Originally reviewed by Paul and myself in “The Hammer Is His Penis.” Like Paul, I also wrote a review for the blog.)
SUCKER PUNCH: Extended Cut (DVD/Blu-ray/Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Combo)
Yep, here it is. This is the film that either destroyed any remnants of geek cred I may ever have had, or proved what a brilliant film viewer I really am. Why, you ask? Because, damn it, I liked this Zack Snyder joint. Ostensibly the story of Baby Doll (Emily Browning), an abused young woman put into an institution by her father and scheduled for a lobotomy, who travels to deeper and deeper levels of consciousness on an anime/video game/comic book-inspired quest to free herself and her fellow inmates. Pretty young things in barely-there clothing battling giant robot samurai, fire-breathing dragons, and steam-powered zombie Nazis. Given only that premise, and taking into account Snyder’s penchant for phantasmagoric, speed-ramped action sequences, this could have been a beautiful but vapid piece of hormone and adrenaline-fueled cinematic trash. But, as I infamously explained here, I believe there is much more to it than that. The Extended Cut features an additional 18 minutes of footage, a picture-in-picture commentary with director Snyder, and has been rated R, up from the theatrical PG-13. - Paul Smith
(Originally reviewed by Paul, and much less favorably by myself, in “Ladylike.”)
Gobbledygeek episode 47, “The Worlds According To…,” is available for listening or download right here.
Ever wanted to get away? Ever wanted to escape into a world different from your own, if only for a moment? Sure you have. Everyone has. In this week’s episode, Paul and AJ ruminate on which fictional worlds they’d like to live in, even if, as their selections prove, the mortality rate would be fairly high. On our itinerary, there’s Sunnydale, CA; Middle-earth; Toronto (though a very specific Toronto); even Sesame Street. You’ve also got news; upcoming DVD releases; AJ’s reviews of the Simon Pegg/Nick Frost extraterrestrial comedy Paul and Stephen King’s novella collection Full Dark, No Stars; and Paul’s brief look at the Stand by Me 25th Anniversary Blu-ray. And as a bonus, this is the first-ever episode that clocks in at under two hours! Yay!
Next: strong women in fiction.
(Show notes for “The Worlds According To…”)
In our latest episode, Paul and I mentioned a number of comics recommendations for beginners in a variety of genres. However, we also mentioned that we had to pare down our lists significantly so that the topic would even approach being manageable. Here, as promised, are our other selections.
FANTASTIC FOUR #232-293 (John Byrne)
After his legendary Uncanny X-Men run, John Byrne took over Marvel’s first family, the Fantastic Four. Cinematic storytelling, emotional character shake-ups, shocking betrayals. And he grew up Sue Storm, taking her from the Invisible Girl to the Invisible Woman.