From Tupelo to Memphis, from Hollywood to Vegas, Elvis Presley conquered America–and now, telling his story, an Australian filmmaker has conquered the biopic. The operatic, maximalist, subtlety-eschewing Baz Luhrmann returns to the screen with Elvis, delivering the glitzy, excessive tribute this mythical/kitsch-ical icon deserves. Paul and Arlo share their personal connections to Elvis, rave about Austin Butler’s transformation into the King, discuss how the film’s portrayal of Elvis’ racial and sexual impact stack up to the real deal, and behold Tom Hanks’ embodiment of Satan. Here comes Sandy Claws!
NEXT: when the last streaming podcast deletes, our job will be finished. Eric Sipple joins us to discuss Netflix’s adaptation of The Sandman.
Gobbledygeek episode 334, “Black Panther: Hail to the King, Baby! (feat. Phaicia McBride),” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
First-time guest Phaicia “Fe” McBride joins Paul and Arlo as they take a direct flight to the African utopia of Wakanda, courtesy of Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther. King T’Challa’s first feature film marks the 18th entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; it also marks a long overdue watershed moment for mainstream black culture. The gang discusses why Black Panther is so important and exciting; how the film takes the MCU in exciting new directions, particularly with its nuanced villain; how rare and wonderful it is to see so many female characters with agency, skill, and personality; why Ludwig Goransson’s score (and Kendrick Lamar’s soundtrack, at least according to Arlo) is a true sonic statement; and how some of the fight sequences bring to mind Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man. Plus, Arlo’s obsessed with a bizarre lo-fi mobile game called InstLife; and Paul goes full steampunk ahead with Batman: Gotham by Gaslight.
Next: despite what they say at the end of the episode, Paul and Arlo are actually getting ready for Annihilation.
Gobbledygeek episode 281, “The Glow of Vengeance,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
One is born of Harlem; one is born of vengeance. One hopes to attain the Glow; one hopes to slake the bloodthirst of the mother she never met. For the latest Geek Challenge, Paul challenges Arlo to 1985’s Motown martial arts picture The Last Dragon, while Arlo challenges Paul to 1973’s Japanese exploitation classic Lady Snowblood. (The two films are obviously very similar.) As always, the boys learn more about each other and the differences in how they perceive the cinematic world. Arlo loves hilariously bad “anti-great” movies, so why does The Last Dragon leave him bored? Paul digs tales of otherworldly revenge, so what is it about Lady Snowblood that doesn’t quite click for him? Plus, before the usual disagreement, the boys concur in a brief, spoiler-free discussion of Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster.
Next: the truth? Still out there. Continuing our sporadic discussion of Chris Carter’s seminal sci-fi series The X-Files, everybody’s favorite Brit Wesley “Wezzo” Mead stops by to chat season 2.
Gobbledygeek episode 275 is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life. Sometimes, that means mourning one of our fallen heroes. This week, Paul and Arlo celebrate the work of one Prince Rogers Nelson, who hybridized funk, rock, R&B, and soul into his own distinct brand of ass-wigglin’, housequakin’ music before passing away last month at the age of 57. The boys discuss their favorite songs and albums, from the iconic (“Purple Rain,” “Kiss”) to the more obscure (“Starfish and Coffee,” “7”). Then they set their sights on four of the Purple One’s films: 1984’s melodramatic, kinetic Purple Rain; 1986’s black-and-white curiosity Under the Cherry Moon; 1990’s baffling Graffiti Bridge; and 1987’s incredibly hard to find concert film Sign ‘o’ the Times. Let’s go crazy. Plus, Paul went to a Beyoncé concert and there are brief, spoiler-free discussions of High-Rise and Keanu.
Next: it’s patriotism vs. capitalism, independence vs. regulation, retro ’40s ideals vs. cutting-edge smarm. Guffey und Koontz stop by to chat Captain America: Civil War.
There’s a running joke that Paul and I don’t know how to talk about music. And though we’ve been assured by reputable sources that we don’t too bad a job of it, well…I tried writing little blurbs for the albums on my list and felt like a jackass. So we’ll again be presenting our lists (my top 10 and Paul’s top 5) without comments, as Paul’s already done with this year’s movies and comics lists.
In lieu of our dumb words, enjoy some songs from our favorite albums of 2014.
As I’m sure you’re aware, Amy Winehouse was found dead in her London flat this past Saturday, July 23. She was gifted with a towering voice, a sharp wit, and an artist’s impulse to not do what anyone else wanted her to. In this era of pre-packaged pop songstresses, hers was a raw talent; her music deftly mixed jazz, R&B, and 60’s pop. She released her debut album Frank in 2003, and her Stateside breakthrough came with her second and final album, 2006’s Back to Black (both released in the U.S. in 2007). Back to Black was everywhere four years ago. Not being the sort to listen to pop radio, I remember the very first time I heard Winehouse: I was at a Borders (which is also gone now, or soon to be), browsing the music section, and I decided to throw on the headphones and take a listen to this Brit singer I’d been hearing about. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t what I heard. Winehouse looked thin and serious on the cover, but the voice that emanated from those headphones was big, soulful. I was sold instantly.
So were many millions of others. Back to Black garnered five Grammy Awards and carried the instant classic “Rehab.” Winehouse ushered in a new wave of British soul divas including the likes of Duffy and Adele, the latter of whom has been experiencing similar levels of ubiquity this year. In the five years following Back to Black, though, Winehouse didn’t record another album. She wasn’t just a bold, terrific singer, she was also a troubled young woman struggling with alcoholism and drug addiction. The tabloids squealed and squawked about her personal life with mean-spirited glee, as they are wont to do. No matter her talent or the quality of her music, it seemed to many that since she was a junkie, she deserved to be jeered and laughed at and put on display. She didn’t help herself by putting up odd YouTube videos and stumbling through barely-there performances.