It’s Ladies’ Night on Gobbledygeek! By which we mean we’ve got a Geek Challenge featuring Richard Donner’s 1985 medieval fantasy epic Ladyhawke and Greta Gerwig’s 2017 millennial coming-of-age tale Lady Bird. What do these two films have in common? They’re both about transformation, of course! In Lady Bird, Saoirse Ronan transforms into a young woman ready to take on the big city; in Ladyhawke, Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer quite literally transform into a wolf and a hawk, respectively. Paul struggles with passive aggressive family drama, Arlo is annoyed by Matthew Broderick, and they both remember what it was like to be 15.
NEXT: this month’s Four-Color Flashback contemplates mortality with a dive into Ram V and Filipe Andrade’s The Many Deaths of Laila Starr.
Welcome to week 8 of 9 in our discussion of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Preacher. For more, read weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.
AJ: Here we are. The penultimate volume of Preacher. Given the title and the fact that we’re very near the end, I thought there would be a lot more violence and bloodshed. Instead, All Hell’s A-Coming turns its focus inward, with a lot to say about our heroes and their pasts. The past is a big theme here, not only because of the extended flashbacks but also because people and things from long ago keep coming back to add wrinkles to the story.
Speaking of those extended flashbacks, where should we start: Tulip or Cassidy?
Paul: I say we take it in order, so Tulip.
AJ: The beginning of this volume is all kinds of heartbreaking. A listless Tulip dragging herself out of bed, trying and failing to find the drugs she’s felt she’s needed for these past months. Last we saw Cassidy, we were beginning to realize that he might not have been the fundamentally decent person we thought he was. That continues in the opening scene, as he tells Tulip that everything’s all right, she only needs her medicine, and “Don’t make me take that fuckin’ guy away from you.” Followed immediately by Tulip blasting him into the sunlight. Tulip flees the hell that Cassidy has made for her, then we learn all about how she became who she is.
The penultimate pre-Avengers Marvel franchise hit like a thunderbolt! Well, a severe summer shower at least. Chris Hemsworth (Papa Kirk from Abrams’ Star Trek) plays the titular Thunder God, an impetuous and brash young warrior eager to earn the respect of his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins). Instead, he reignites a war with his people’s ancient enemies the Frost Giants, and finds himself exiled, penitent and powerless, to Earth. There’s a rushed romance with a sexy scientist (Natalie Portman); a fun but sadly bloodless battle to reclaim his birthright Mjolnir, the literal hammer of the gods; and a final showdown with his half-brother, the once and future God of Mischief. But the real highlights of the film aren’t the action set pieces: Hemsworth is a joy, with the muscles and the cocky but charming smirk; Hopkins chews the scenery appropriately, adding to the Shakespearean vibe director Kenneth Branagh was aiming for; and Tom Hiddleston as Loki steals the show with his wounded-little-boy-in-the-body-of-a-god routine. My earlier review was perhaps a bit glowing for what is probably just a good-not-great summer popcorn film…but then perhaps not. I look forward to watching it again and seeing if the ol’ Asgardian magic can still enchant me like it did before. – Paul Smith
Hobo with a Shotgun is the feature-length adaptation of a contest-winning faux trailer shown with some Canadian prints of 2007’s Grindhouse; I haven’t seen the trailer, but maybe this stuff was amusing at two-and-a-half minutes. At 86 minutes, it is grim, nasty, and joyless. In aping the sleazoid vigilante flicks of the 70’s, I’m sure that was the intent of director/co-writer Jason Eisener. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Look, Planet Terror is great because it’s a well-crafted, old school adrenaline-pumper; Death Proof is great because it subverts grindhouse tropes while still managing to celebrate them. Both of them have moments of shocking violence, but they’re both clearly heartfelt love letters to the movies of Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s childhoods. Hobo with a Shotgun feels like their obnoxious little shit of a brother who’s trying to outdo them at every turn, in effect making himself look all the more pathetic. There’s not much fun here. What there is, is a lot of sadism and stupidity. If that’s your thing, by all means, but I’ll be slowly backing away now. Extras on the Collector’s Edition (because apparently making less than $1 million at the box office warranted such a thing) include a making-of doc; a behind-the-scenes interactive mode; an alternate ending; deleted scenes; vlogs; an HDNet featurette; the original trailer; TV spots; theatrical trailers; commentary with Eisener and star Rutger Hauer; and another commentary with Eisener, producer Rob Cotteril, co-writer John Davies, and original hobo David Brunt.
Catching up! In episode 17, Paul and I continued our countdown of the Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture with #s 70-61. Be sure to listen to the show for our full run-downs, but here are some choice excerpts:
PAUL: Daniel “Oz” Osbourne (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a series filled to the gills with loquacious and snarky characters, but Oz was unique: he was taciturn and snarky!
AJ: Enid Coleslaw (Ghost World)
Enid is so cynical about everything, from her parents to her friends to the customers at the local diner. She can be hard to like at first, especially because she spends most of the book insulting anyone and everything, but eventually the walls she’s built up start to crumble.