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.
It’s the end of season 3 as we know it (and Bat-Turkey feels fine).
Gobbledygeek episode 124, “2012 in Review,” is available for listening or download right here.
Another year coming to an end. Another season of Gobbledygeek over. Before you begin your mourning process, Paul and AJ have a lot–and we do mean a lot–to say in this super-sized finale, gabbing about their favorite movies (superheroes and tigers get a nod), music (they really don’t have the same taste at all), books (haha, they’re illiterate), and much more. It’s been a great year for the show; we salute you. Have a happy holiday and a wonderful new year. See you in 2013!
(Show notes for “2012 in Review.”)
Gobbledygeek episode 114, “Do You Know the Muppet Man?,” is available for listening or download right here.
Is it just us, or are the works of Jim Henson kind of making a comeback? Then again, they never really went away. Paul and AJ discuss Henson’s life and career, including such legendary projects as The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal, and more. Plus, the boys geek out over the Avengers Blu-ray and Paul lets us know how his cassowary presentation went.
Next: Halloween’s creeping up on us once again, so the boys kick off a month about Halloween-themed TV episodes with a look back at Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s “Fear Itself.”
(Show notes for “Do You Know the Muppet Man?”)
Gobbledygeek episode 107, “@#$% You, Science!,” is available for listening or download right here.
Paul and AJ had an idea for what they wanted this show to be about: science! Unfortunately, it didn’t really work out. Fortunately–we think–they managed to come up with a bunch of other things to talk about: Joss Whedon’s return to The Avengers, Jason Shayer’s blog about 1980s Marvel, the found-footage horror of V/H/S, how AJ pretty much bawled his eyes out at the new issue of Spider-Men, and, yes, science (Mars Curiosity for the win).
Next: Geek Challenge time once more! Paul will watch Grave of the Fireflies and AJ will watch Watership Down. That’s not gonna be depressing at all.
(Show notes for “@#$% You, Science!”)
Gobbledygeek episode 103, “Does Whatever a Reboot Can,” is available for listening or download right here.
The year’s second big superhero movie, following The Avengers–which you may remember we discussed and AJ even wrote a review of–is The Amazing Spider-Man, rebooting the franchise that sputtered to an end but five years ago. Paul and AJ, both opinionated Spider-Man fans, are at odds over Marc Webb’s new film; Paul considers it the best big screen Spidey yet, AJ not so much. Is Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker a faithful representation of the one in the comics? Do Spider-Man’s jokes work? Is the Lizard a good starter villain for this new wall-crawler? Is Emma Stone completely adorable? (Spoiler: they agree on that last one, at least.) Plus, the boys geek out over the announcement of more Sandman and share their experiences of seeing Singin’ in the Rain on the big screen.
Next: We’re back, back in the Gotham groove. Paul and AJ rise up to discuss Christopher Nolan’s Bat swan song, The Dark Knight Rises.
(Show notes for “Does Whatever a Reboot Can.”)
Gobbledygeek episode 97, “War! Huh! Good God, Y’all!,” is available for listening or download right here.
Memorial Day is next weekend, so to get in the spirit, the boys have come up with a list of the Official Gobbledygeek Top 5 War Movies. Without giving too much away, we’ll say there are a couple Spielbergs in there along with a couple others that are alternately meditative, pulpy, and batshit insane. Which, you know, war. Plus, Paul and AJ spout off about The Avengers some more, as both are baffled by a simple point that numerous critics have failed to grasp; and Paul mentions the Alabama Phoenix Festival, at which he’ll be appearing on a few panels from May 25-27. Check it out!
Next: the boys have decided to slack off or Memorial Day, so no show next weekend. When we come back, there will be a Geek Challenge! In the meantime, grill some hamburgers and hot dogs for us.
(Show notes for “War! Huh! Good God, Y’all!”)
Gobbledygeek episode 96, “Talking Turkey: Ernest Cline,” is available for listening or download right here.
This week, Paul and AJ are honored to sit down with Ernie Cline, author of the New York Times bestselling science fiction novel Ready Player One, which arrives in paperback on June 5. The three of them have a pretty epic geek-out session. Oh, they talk about the book, too. Ernie discusses his inspiration for writing Ready Player One, what the future holds for the film adaptation, his brutal experience writing the movie Fanboys, and the many virtues of the Alamo Drafthouse. Ernie also mentions how much The Avengers rocked his world, so after the interview, Paul and AJ obsess some more over the movie, its nooks, and its crannies (hint: mirrors!).
Next: The boys get in the Memorial Day spirit by talking about their favorite war movies. They love the smell of napalm in the morning.
(Show notes for “Talking Turkey: Ernest Cline.”)
Gobbledygeek episode 95, “Assemble,” is available for listening or download right here.
It’s here. It’s finally, really, actually here. The Avengers is in theaters. Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and the Hulk assemble into one giant superhero-palooza under the watchful eye of Joss Whedon. We hope it doesn’t spoil the episode very much if we say that the film more than lives up to our expectations. Paul and AJ discuss the film’s impressive structure, the insane giddiness of watching our heroes rumble with one another, and what Joss Whedon puts these iconic characters through. Among other things. There’s a lot of talking going on; there kind of had to be. Plus, the boys pay tribute to Adam “MCA” Yauch.
Next: Paul and AJ sit down with Ready Player One author Ernest Cline.
(Show notes for “Assemble.”)
Four years ago, two films gave the superhero genre a much-needed kick in the pants: Iron Man and The Dark Knight. They were on opposite ends of the spectrum–the former bright and funny, the latter dark and gloomy–but both felt honest, and honesty’s something the genre needed in order to mature. This summer sees the release of two films which seem destined to revitalize the genre yet again, and it’s only fitting that they are The Avengers, the end result of Marvel’s first wave; and The Dark Knight Rises, the last of Christopher Nolan’s Bat-flicks. The Dark Knight Rises is still a couple months off, but just as that one looks like it’s angling to be even darker and more despairing than its predecessors, The Avengers aims to be more colorful, rousing, and exciting than those leading up to it.
Any superhero movie that wants to be even semi-successful has to on some level examine the nature of heroism. When one doesn’t, which was a big problem in the period between Spider-Man 2 and Iron Man (give or take a Batman Begins), you wind up with something like Catwoman or Elektra or Batman & Robin. Marvel’s pre-Avengers efforts, which I’ve mostly enjoyed, have excelled at asking just why each of their heroes feels the need to suit up and take action. With The Avengers, an even bigger question is posed. Why would such disparate people, each with their own sets of skills, hang-ups, and needs, come together to form a team? Writer-director Joss Whedon, a veritable geek god, is the one tasked with providing the answer to that query, and he does so brilliantly.
Gobbledygeek episode 94, “Snow White Seeking a Friend in the Lawless Moonrise Kingdom,” is available for listening or download right here.
Bust out your surfboards and bikinis, boys and girls! Hollywood’s gearing up for its summer movie season, so Paul and AJ discuss the 10 movies they’re most looking forward to, four mutual picks and three solo choices apiece. We cover everything from superhero fare like The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises to quirky independents like Moonrise Kingdom and Safety Not Guaranteed. Plus, AJ talks about seeing Casablanca on the big screen, Paul heaps praise on the comics Saga and Prophet, and a retraction is issued in regards to Girls.
Next: So, hey, The Avengers? Yeah, we’re gonna talk about that.
(Show notes for “Snow White Seeking a Friend in the Lawless Moonrise Kingdom.”)