Listen to the Gobbledygeek Season 11 Finale – “Geek Challenge: Thunderheart vs. Dead Man”

Top: Graham Greene and Val Kilmer in Thunderheart (1992), directed by Michael Apted / Bottom: Johnny Depp and Gary Farmer in Dead Man (1995), directed by Jim Jarmusch

Gobbledygeek episode 423, “Geek Challenge: Thunderheart vs. Dead Man,” is available for listening or download right here and on Apple Podcasts here.

Because our mascot is a turkey, and because we generally frown upon genocide, Paul and Arlo are spending Thanksgiving weekend discussing films with ties to Native American culture. For this Geek Challenge, Paul urges Arlo to watch Michael Apted’s 1992 conspiracy thriller Thunderheart, starring Val Kilmer as an FBI agent who grows to embrace his Sioux heritage. In turn, Arlo makes Paul watch Jim Jarmusch’s 1995 psychedelic Western Dead Man, wherein Johnny Depp’s iteration of William Blake takes an offbeat journey to the next life. The boys address the major caveat of both films starring white men, as well as their own lily whiteness; determine that Graham Greene and Gary Farmer walk away with their respective movies; and discuss how both films explore spiritual death and rebirth. With a bonus discussion of Apted’s documentary Incident at Oglala!

NEXT: Arlo’s having a baby. We’re going on hiatus with hopes of returning in mid-to-late January. We wish everyone a happy and, more importantly, safe holiday season. We love you.

BREAKDOWN

  • 00:01:00  –  Intro / Guest
  • 00:07:15  –  Thunderheart
  • 01:08:16  –  Dead Man
  • 02:09:36  –  Outro / Next

LINKS

MUSIC

  • “Grafitti Man” by John Trudell, A.K.A. Grafitti Man (1986)
  • “NDN Kars” by Keith Secola, Circle (1992)

GOBBLEDYCARES

Listen to Episode 88, “I Ain’t Ridin’ in No Trunk for No Minute, Man”

Gobbledygeek episode 88, “I Ain’t Ridin’ in No Trunk for No Minute, Man,” is available for listening or download right here.

It’s Week Three of Tarantino Month, and that can only mean one thing. Put on your Kangol hat, grab your Raptor bag, and grow some whack-ass facial hair, because it’s Jackie Brown time. Paul and AJ wax rhapsodic about Pam Grier’s badassitude, the mysterious cool of Robert Forster, the brilliant build-up to a perfect pay-off, and of how this might have been the last time Robert De Niro actually cared about acting. Plus, AJ describes the extreme elation and subsequent torture he put himself through by following a big-screen viewing of The Godfather with two Twilight movies; and Paul lambastes the media’s coverage of John Carter.

Next: Rev your engines, boys and girls. Tarantino Month speeds along with Death Proof.

(Show notes for “I Ain’t Ridin’ in No Trunk for No Minute, Man.”)

Happy Birthday, Quentin Tarantino: Six Shocking Moments

Quentin Tarantino was born March 27, 1963, meaning he turns 48 today. In the almost two decades he’s been making films, he’s revolutionized independent film, inspired never-ending waves of talentless knock-offs, and made seven utterly fantastic films. Though the violence in Tarantino’s movies has generated a lot of press over the years, that is far from the only worthwhile thing about them; each one is a well-structured, stylish, and suspenseful work of art. No other filmmaker cuts straight to my pleasure center as immediately as Tarantino. Though they are different in many respects, Tarantino and Hitchcock share the knack for creating captivating, instantly iconic cinematic images.

Having said all that, certainly I wouldn’t want to bring it back to the violence…but yeah, I’m going to. Violence is a big part of Tarantino’s work, and just like characters in a musical break out into song when they get passionate, Tarantino’s characters often use violence to express themselves. So it being Tarantino’s birthday and whatnot, right after you watch the most recent episode of Community (granted, it’s more of a My Dinner with Andre spoof than a Pulp Fiction spoof, but still), check out my choices for the most shockingly violent moment in each of his films. And moreover, my thoughts on why they’re as shocking as they are.

Reservoir Dogs – “It’s amusing, to me, to torture a cop.”

If someone asked me to name those movie characters who most embody evil, the first three that would come to mind are Hannibal Lecter, Regan from The Exorcist, and…Mr. Blonde, the gangster psychopath from Reservoir Dogs, played with demented flair by Michael Madsen, a B-grade actor giving one hell of an A-performance. The scene where Mr. Blonde, alone except for a dying Mr. Orange, tortures a cop is one of the most iconic and infamous in Tarantino’s oeuvre. Around the 30-second mark in the video embedded above, “Stuck in the Middle with You” by Stealer’s Wheel starts playing on the radio, and it’s like some sort of clarion call for Mr. Blonde to murder. Kneeling over Mr. Orange’s frail figure, he turns to the cop, smiles, then rises and starts dancing to the song. It’s one of the most casually terrifying bits of acting I’ve ever seen. But in focusing on the scene’s sheer horror, what a lot of people fail to realize is that it’s also fucking hilarious. It’s possible that I’m just a highly disturbed individual, but Mr. Blonde dancing, singing, and smiling his way through ear-slicing and gasoline-pouring is the kind of funny that also just so happens to be pretty damned scary. I remember the first time I saw it, when I was 12 or 13, I couldn’t help but start laughing. Then I immediately began wondering if I was going to go to hell. That’s what Quentin Tarantino movies will do to you.

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Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture: #90-81

On Friday’s show, Paul and I began our countdown of the Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture. We’ve each got our own lists, and last night we revealed our respective #s 90-81. Be sure to listen to the show for our full run-down, but here are our picks with excerpts of what we said:

#90

PAUL: Tulip O’Hare (Preacher)

She’s a gun-toting, can-take-care-of-herself woman who holds her own against Jesse Custer.

AJ: Margo Channing (All About Eve)

Margo Channing is a great actress, possibly the greatest stage actress of her time. But as one character says, her fault lies in the fact that she knows she’s great.

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