Listen to Episode 170, “S: Part 1 – Writing in the Margins (feat. Pam Smith)”

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Gobbledygeek episode 170, “S: Part 1 – Writing in the Margins (feat. Pam Smith),” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.

This week marks the beginning of our very first Gobbledy-Book Club, in which we’ll be discussing the J.J. Abrams/Doug Dorst novel S. every week of February. For our first discussion, Paul and AJ talk the book’s first three chapters with the lovely Pam Smith, who may or may not be married to one of your dashing hosts. The gang discusses the book’s seriously ingenious book-within-a-book structure, the pervasive concept of multiple identities, the numerous thematic/stylistic ties to Abrams’ Lost, all those cool little inserts, and how exactly you’re supposed to read the damn thing. Plus, we pay our respects to the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Next: the Gobbledy-Book Club continues with a discussion of chapters 4-6, pp. 111-259.

(Show notes for “S: Part 1 – Writing in the Margins.”)

Paul & AJ’s Top 10 Films of 2013

Let the top 10-a-palooza commence! Over the next couple weeks, Paul and I will be looking back at our favorite things of 2013. First up, films; next week, TV series; and finally, comics. As always, these lists are imperfect and incomplete, reflecting only on what we’ve seen and love at the moment. Or as Paul writes:

I intentionally refer to the films on this list as favorites, not best. I rank films based on how much I enjoyed them, for whatever ephemeral or esoteric reasons unique to me, not on some system of objective filmmaking truths. These are the ten films I liked the most. YMMV.

Regarding omissions, neither of us have been able to see Inside Llewyn Davis, which makes me want to die, but oh well. I also haven’t seen The Great Beauty, Cutie and the Boxer, or The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, among others. Meanwhile, Paul hasn’t gotten around to Her, The Act of Killing, Stories We Tell, Short Term 12, or Blue Jasmine, to name a few.

Here we go!

– AJ

PAUL: 10. WARM BODIES (dir. Jonathan Levine)

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The zombie genre is by this point a bloated undead thing feasting on its own rotting flesh. But director Jonathan Levine (50/50) makes this adaptation of Isaac Marion’s novel fresh, fun, and full of life. Yes it’s a (very) thinly veiled Romeo and Juliet pastiche, but the two leads, neo-nerdhunk Nicholas Hoult and Australian beauty Teresa Palmer, are both engaging and committed. Hoult in particular gets praise for being monstrous and vulnerable, and for selling the cheesy-but-hilarious voiceover with nothing more than his eyes. Also, Rob Corddry as a zombie lamenting, “Bitches, man,” is the best comedic line delivery of the year.

AJ: 10. GIMME THE LOOT (dir. Adam Leon)

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You walk out of Gimme the Loot immediately wanting to know what first-time writer-director Adam Leon is going to do next. His voice is sharp and fresh, chronicling a day in the life of two teenaged petty criminals in a way that feels authentic but never gritty. His Bronx streets are unvarnished, rife with economic and class divisions, but there’s so much damn heart. Newcomers Tashiana Washington and Ty Hickson give performances devoid of pomp or flash; they simply find the souls of these two aimless kids. They’re one of the most affecting screen duos in recent memory, in one of the biggest surprises of the year.

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