Somethin’s comin’, somethin’ good: this week, Paul and Arlo pirouette through a discussion of Steven Spielberg’s new take on West Side Story, nominated for Best Picture at this year’s Oscars. Is it a spoiler to say they love it? The boys discuss how Spielberg and screenwriter Tony Kushner’s changes enrich the text, why choreographer Justin Peck’s bold choice to discard Jerome Robbins’ iconic choreography was the right move, what it means for the Sharks to be played by Latinx actors, and the joy of watching Spielberg treat every musical number like his and Janusz Kaminski’s playground. Plus, Taco Bell sends Arlo spiraling into an existential crisis, and the boys chat about this year’s other Best Picture nominees.
NEXT: Si Spurrier and Jeff Stokely’s Six-Gun Gorilla is locked and loaded for this month’s Four-Color Flashback.
Gobbledygeek episode 338, “Ready Player One: Break a Few Easter Eggs,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
Nostalgia, some say, means pain from an old wound. This week, Paul is nursing pain from a fresh wound: his immense disappointment at the way Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One has turned out. Spielberg’s big-screen reworking of the tale of a young boy immersed in a virtual reality game called the OASIS, using pop culture as currency to find freedom, is loud and overwhelming. For someone like Paul, that doesn’t sit well; Arlo, on the other hand, finds himself in the unusual position of defending one of these big dumb movies. The boys discuss crucial changes the film makes that change the story’s intention; whether or not Spielberg’s CG rendering of the OASIS is impressive; the ethical and metatextual implications of certain scenes; and why the book is unfairly derided. Plus, Arlo continues his journey through Disney animation.
Next: it’s that time again. Wesley “Wezzo” Mead stops by to once again discuss Chris Carter’s seminal sci-fi series The X-Files. This time, the gang will discuss season 8, the last pre-revival season to feature David Duchovny as a (semi-)regular.
Gobbledygeek episode 320, “Dunkirk: Beach Battle Bingo,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
Sun, spray, bullets, and blood: Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk recounts the worst beach trip in history, as 400,000 Allied troops were trapped by the Nazis in Dunkirk, France. The word Paul and Arlo keep coming back to as a descriptor is “relentless.” 107 minutes of third-act intensity, Dunkirk may be the purest expression of Nolan’s watchmaker-precise skill. The boys discuss the film’s three interweaving time strands, the lack of overt character development (except for that moment), Hans Zimmer’s ticking time bomb of a score, and why the movie never names or shows its Nazi enemies. Plus, Arlo is convinced the rest of the world is experiencing a mass delusion regarding Arrested Development season 4; and the boys take a look at the SDCC trailers for Ready Player One, Justice League, Thor: Ragnarok, Stranger Things, and The Defenders.
Next: it’s another Four-Color Flashback, as Ensley F. Guffey, co-author of Wanna Cook? The Complete Unauthorized Guide to Breaking Bad, joins Paul and Arlo to discuss Y: The Last Man – Vol. 7: Paper Dolls.
Gobbledygeek episode 319, “War for the Planet of the Apes: War for the Podcast of the Primates (feat. Kenn Edwards),” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
War for the Planet of the Apes! Huh! Who is it good for? The answer would be cinephiles searching for an intelligent, emotionally and politically resonant blockbuster. Welcome to Paradise’s Kenn Edwards joins Paul and Arlo to discuss Matt Reeves’ final installment in the so-called “Caesar Cycle,” which may be the bleakest monkey movie in history. (Also, they’re not monkeys. Just ask Arlo’s fiancée.) The gang delves into the genius of the film’s visual effects, Andy Serkis’ Oscar-worthy performance, the Apocalypse Now riffs, and how or if these films tie into the original Planet of the Apes series. Plus, Kenn finds a new way to watch Jaws, Paul comes down with The Big Sick, the Doctor is a lady, and the gang commemorates George Romero and Martin Landau.
Next: Christopher Nolan goes to war sans apes with Dunkirk.
NOTE: You may notice this episode was recorded more than a week ago. It would have reached your ears sooner had one-half of the podcast not almost died. You’ll almost certainly be hearing about that next time.
Gobbledygeek episode 157, “This Podcast Is Clean (feat. Valerie Clark),” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.
It’s late. Your dad’s asleep in his chair. The national anthem plays. Static blares from your TV set. You place your hands on the screen, lean in close, and are confronted with the most nightmarish vision possible…the new episode of Gobbledygeek! Scary, I know. Paul and AJ kick off the month of horror that is known as Gobbledyween with a look back at Tobe Hooper’s 1982 classic Poltergeist, joined by long-time friend of the show Valerie Clark in her first (1st!) appearance. Does the movie hold up? Did Hooper really direct it, or was it all writer/executive producer Steven Spielberg? Is the film really one long treatise on Reagan-era values versus traditionalism? Are the characters’ food habits the most disturbing thing about the movie? All these questions and more will be answered! Plus, the gang talks Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Next: Gobbledyween continues to terrify, as the putrid Eric Sipple returns to chat Peter Jackson’s The Frighteners.
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.
Gobbledygeek episode 109, “How to Survive Killing Seven Unchained Masters,” is available for listening or download right here.
The leaves will soon start falling from the trees and awards bait will soon start arriving in theaters. That’s right, it’s almost time for the fall/winter movie season, so Paul and AJ give you a little preview of 15 films they’re looking forward to. There’s showy Oscar stuff like Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln and Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables alongside the animated video-game-a-palooza Wreck-It Ralph and Quentin Tarantino’s Southern Django Unchained, among many others. Plus, Paul talks about a local movie theater that’s going the way of the Alamo Drafthouse and AJ discusses the news that this season of The Office will be its last.
Next: it’s been a year, folks. Time to look back on what went right and what went very wrong with DC’s New 52.
Gobbledygeek episode 97, “War! Huh! Good God, Y’all!,” is available for listening or download right here.
Memorial Day is next weekend, so to get in the spirit, the boys have come up with a list of the Official Gobbledygeek Top 5 War Movies. Without giving too much away, we’ll say there are a couple Spielbergs in there along with a couple others that are alternately meditative, pulpy, and batshit insane. Which, you know, war. Plus, Paul and AJ spout off about The Avengers some more, as both are baffled by a simple point that numerous critics have failed to grasp; and Paul mentions the Alabama Phoenix Festival, at which he’ll be appearing on a few panels from May 25-27. Check it out!
Next: the boys have decided to slack off or Memorial Day, so no show next weekend. When we come back, there will be a Geek Challenge! In the meantime, grill some hamburgers and hot dogs for us.
Our commentary track for Jurassic Park is available for listening or download right here.
Boy, Paul and AJ sure are branching out, aren’t they? If interviews and 30-second specials weren’t enough for you, get ready to be thrilled and amazed by the boys’ first-ever commentary track! Born out of a whim to take up even more of your time, the guys decided to hunker down with a copy of Steven Spielberg’s mega-hit Jurassic Park and proffer their thoughts, musings, and ridiculous opinions on the film. Things they learned in the making of said commentary: you probably don’t want to live-feed dinosaurs; Jeff Goldblum’s exposed chest hairs get a lot of screen time; those short shorts look swell on Laura Dern, but not so much Bob Peck; and goddamn, what a great logo. I mean, there are other things, too, but it’s mostly about Jeff Goldblum’s pecs. So, enjoy!
Just to let you know, the commentary itself starts about three minutes in; we give you time to get everything set up. And if you enjoy this commentary and would like to hear more of them, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment on this here post. Which films would our voices enrich? Do you ever want to hear from us ever again after this? Let us know!
Note: After we finished recording our commentary, we were made aware of the passing of Ralph McQuarrie, the legendary concept artist who worked on classic science fiction and fantasy films such as Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and, yes, Jurassic Park. R.I.P., Mr. McQuarrie.
The Ultimate Gift is the worst movie I’ve ever seen. You probably haven’t heard of it. Good for you. I don’t want to imply that it’s well-made, because it’s not, but there are certainly worse-made movies out there. Little Man, Date Movie, Space Mutiny, etc. But The Ultimate Gift is a special brand of awful because it takes a little girl’s cancer and uses it as nothing more than a plot point with which to forward the main character’s journey of self-discovery. Once the main character has supposedly become a better person, the little girl dies and no one really cares. Not sure about you, but to me, that is offensive. Now imagine a movie which does the same, only instead of using a cancer-stricken child, it uses a national tragedy the scope of which is still too large for many Americans to comprehend. Thanks to director Stephen Daldry, screenwriter Eric Roth, and a passel of others, you don’t have to imagine it. They’ve made it. And it’s called Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.