Anna Hutchinson, Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Connolly, Jesse Williams, and Fran Kranz in Drew Goddard’s ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ (2011).
Gobbledygeek episode 386, “Gobbledyween: The Cabin in the Woods,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
Leaves are on the ground, blood is on the screen. It’s time once again for Gobbledyween, that most beloved of Gobbledygeek institutions–and one that has not reared its horrific head in full since 2015! All month long, Paul and Arlo will be discussing horror or horror-adjacent movies, starting with one they actually discussed seven years ago: Drew Goddard’s mega-meta 2011 genre critique The Cabin in the Woods. The boys reveal why they’re revisiting the film (hint: it involves sheer incompetence!), break down Goddard and co-writer/producer Joss Whedon’s refutation of horror stereotypes, compare Cabin’s prevailing sense of nihilism to the pragmatic hope on display in Buffy and Angel, and go nuts trying to name all the monsters we see on screen.
Next: the night, it’s deafening. A/V writer-director Joseph Lewis joins us to discuss–finally–Kathryn Bigelow’s 1987 vampire Western Near Dark.
Total Run Time: 01:43:03
- 00:00:35 – Intro
- 00:11:12 – The Cabin in the Woods
- 01:40:36 – Outro / Next
- “Horror Movies” by Dickie Goodman (1961)
- “Last” by Nine Inch Nails, Broken (1992)
Gobbledygeek episode 331, “The Shape of Water: Green Around the Gills (feat. Sarah Kosheff),” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
Come on in; the water’s fine. Sarah Kosheff joins Paul and Arlo to discuss Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, freshly nominated for 13 Academy Awards. Del Toro’s girl-meets-fish romance is one of last year’s most ravishing, visually sumptuous films, and the gang discusses why exactly that is. (Spoiler: they don’t all quite agree.) Topics of discussion include Sally Hawkins’ and Doug Jones’ tremendous wordless performances; Alexandre Desplat’s beautiful score, and how music is an important mode of communication in the film; the importance of color, specifically green; and how the film is, in del Toro’s own words, about the “beauty of the other.” Plus, Paul has joined MoviePass just in time for it to come under intense scrutiny.
Next: Paul just wouldn’t shut up about The Greatest Showman, so first-time guest Nathan Curtiss will be joining the boys to discuss the Hugh Jackman-starring musical.
(Show notes for “Green Around the Gills.”)
Gobbledygeek episode 329, “Black Mirror: Shattered Reflections (feat. Sarah Kosheff),” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are through the tweeting glass. First-time guest Sarah Kosheff joins Paul and Arlo to discuss Charlie Brooker’s sci-fi anthology series Black Mirror in general, and the new fourth season in particular. The gang discusses how the series explores the intersection of technology and society, if the “what if phones but too much” line of criticism is reductive, if the idea of a Black Mirror “shared universe” is in any way appealing, and more. Plus, Paul meets The Greatest Showman, Arlo and Sarah marvel at The Shape of Water, and Arlo finally puts Paul in his mouth.
Next: famed Briton Wesley “Wezzo” Mead stops by once again to discuss Chris Carter’s seminal sci-fi series The X-Files. This time, the gang will discuss season 7.
(Show notes for “Shattered Reflections.”)
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.
Saying this upfront: NO SPOILERS. Paul and I have also discussed the film on the show.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A bunch of kids pack into an RV for a weekend of fun, sex, and sexy fun. That they encounter the extremely creepy owner of an ancient gas station on the way does nothing to deter them from their destination: a remote cabin in the woods, owned by one of the kids’ cousins. The place immediately seems a little off, there’s some disturbing stuff in the cellar, someone maybe reads Latin, and eventually bloody mayhem ensues. Though they should know better, each one succumbs to some very stupid behavior for which they will be punished.
This is the set-up for dozens, maybe hundreds, of horror movies. The Cabin in the Woods is something different. When we first meet these kids, they seem like lively, intelligent college students. They don’t seem like they would do some of the dumb things they end up doing. Which seems par for the course for this kind of movie, except The Cabin in the Woods dares to offer a justification as to why the victims would seemingly offer themselves up as fodder. There’s more here than meets the eye. Characters played by Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford are part of a shadowy organization which makes everything much more complicated. This I guarantee: If you’ve only seen the ads, which paint the movie as your generic Halloween Saw Massacre deal, it is not that. At all.