The Gobbledygeek season 5 premiere, “Geekier on the Inside (feat. Eric Sipple),” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.
Gobbleydgeek has regenerated for a fifth season; no new hosts, alas, but faithful companion Eric Sipple is on hand to guide Paul and AJ through a discussion of the first five seasons of Doctor Who. Yes, the boys have finally succumbed to curiosity, exploring one of their major geek blindspots, starting with the Russell T. Davies “reboot” of the age-old tale of a strange man in a box who travels through time. They discuss the surprising greatness of Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor, the many highs of the David Tennant era, and the very beginning of Matt Smith’s tenure, not to mention just how freaking annoying Dalek voices are. Oh, and AJ tells some wonderful jokes. Plus, the gang updates you on The Deli Counter of Justice and talks about whatever passes for New Year’s resolutions.
Next: lovely young Britisher Wesley “Wezzo” Mead makes his triumphant return.
(Show notes for “Geekier on the Inside.”)
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.
I love the first Men in Black. Really, truly, sincerely love it; to me, it’s the Ghostbusters of the ’90s. If you know me, that’s high praise. I was seven years old in 1997, so there’s always going to be some nostalgia attached to my memories of the movie, but I was surprised by how well (read: completely) it held up when I watched it again a couple years ago. I so adored the first film that when the sequel came out in 2002, there I was on opening day dressed all in black, wearing sunglasses and an MiB: Alien Attack hat I’d gotten at Universal Studios earlier that year. It’s fair to say I was excited. Even at 12, though, I felt something missing from the sequel. Like Ghostbusters II, it lacked the freshness of the original, content to rest on its laurels and half-heartedly copy what made the first so enjoyable.
That said, it’s a pleasure to see Agents J (Will Smith) and K (Tommy Lee Jones) still knocking E.T.s around in Men in Black III, and perhaps more so to see that their partnership has been developing off-screen over the last ten years. J is still the wisecracking hothead of the pair, and K the no-nonsense straight man. But they’ve grown complacent in their roles. When J wants his partner to actually open up for once, K can’t. Still, they’re partners, so when K disappears and no one but J can remember him, J resolves to get to the bottom of things. It turns out that there’s been a fracture in the time stream; K was killed in 1969 by a nasty piece of work called Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement). Time travel was made illegal long ago, but J doesn’t seem to have much trouble tracking down an undercover time travel service. He jumps (literally) back to the day before K was murdered; hijinks ensue.
Salvador Dali's "The Persistence of Memory," which inspired everyone from Ingmar Bergman to that kid in school who kept trying to get you to do acid with him.
Gobbledygeek episode 52, “Geeks of Future Past,” is available for listening or download right here.
Let’s say you go back in time and kill your grandfather. This means you were never born, and could never have gone back to murder your sweet ol’ granddad. And more importantly, it means that you wouldn’t be here, about to listen to Gobbledygeek, something I believe we can all agree would be a grave tragedy. This week, Paul and AJ discuss just such a time travel paradox, as well as methods of time travel and time travel’s representations in pop culture. We’ve got the flux capacitor fired up; hop in. Plus: news, AJ’s review of Hereafter, and Formspring questions!
Next: you’ll finally get to hear our fabled True Grit/Black Swan test episode from January since AJ is going on hiatus–er, vacation.
(Show notes for “Geeks of Future Past.”)
Source Code, the new film from director Duncan Jones, is a compelling blend of old-fashioned science fiction, classic ticking clock thriller, and new age theophilosophical what if.
Army Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) has had his consciousness plugged into the memory remains of a man who died in a train bombing this morning. He has eight minutes to scour the dead man’s final thoughts for clues to who planted the bomb in order to prevent an even larger bomb being detonated later. The problem is the experience of being inserted into this “source code” simulation is disorienting, and it takes several attempts, each one ultimately ending in Colter “dying” himself in the explosion, for the Captain to find his footing and start his investigation effectively.
So the old-fashioned sci-fi obviously comes from the fantastical technology that allows a man to be transported into the memories of a dead man, and to move about freely within that memory world. The ticking clock aspect of the story, equally obviously, comes from the eight minute window in which to search for a mad bomber. Though the train Colter is riding on is only a flashback of a train, and it has already been destroyed, the knowledge that back in the real world the bomber remains at large and is planning to detonate a much larger bomb in the middle of Chicago keeps ratcheting up the tension with every failed attempt.
As for the theophilosophical element…?