Gobbledygeek episode 383, “Salty Spiders,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
The Amazon is burning and all anyone cares about is Spider-Man. Yay! Welcome to another exciting episode of Gobbledygeek! After nixing a fash-bashing Geek Challenge because Paul absolutely could not sit through three hours of The Sound of Music, he and Arlo decide to freestyle it and, well, all is not well! The world’s on fire, the government is imploding, and Spider-Man might not get to be an Avenger anymore! As for that last one, the boys have deeply conflicted feelings about their love for the character and the Marvel movies with their disdain for Disney the Evil Empire. Plus, Arlo still won’t watch all the things Paul says he should watch, and Marc Maron chimes in.
Next: for even more lighthearted family fun, the boys have asked their The Deli Counter of Justice co-editor Eric Sipple to join them for a discussion of Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning, extremely depressing yet extremely essential, Maus: A Survivor’s Tale.
(Show notes for “Salty Spiders.”)
THE GREAT DICTATOR: The Criterion Collection (DVD/Blu-ray)
You don’t necessarily equate Charlie Chaplin with vicious satire. But in 1940, with the U.S. still at peace with Nazi Germany, Chaplin made The Great Dictator, one of the most biting pieces of satire in cinema history. It was the first major film to take on Hitler and Nazism, and Chaplin tackled both subjects with eviscerating wit. Chaplin plays both a Jewish barber (thought by some to be the final iteration of his Little Tramp character; Chaplin had different feelings about that at different points in his life) and Adenoid Hynkel, dictator of Tomainia. Hynkel’s impassioned speeches, in a made-up language, are hilarious, and a scene involving a giant globe is memorable. The critical community has a mixed consensus on the film’s closing monologue, addressing the film’s themes in a deadly serious fashion instead of a comic one; I can understand the frustration of some, but to me it’s stirring. After last year’s Criterion edition of Modern Times, The Great Dictator is the second Chaplin film to join the prestigious Criterion Collection; special features on both the DVD and Blu-ray include audio commentary by Chaplin historians Dan Kamin and Hooman Mehran, a Kenneth Branagh-narrated documentary entitled The Tramp and the Dictator, two visual essays, color production footage shot by Chaplin’s half-brother Sydney, a deleted scene from Chaplin’s 1919 film Sunnyside, and a theatrical trailer.