Episode 31 – Consummate Snowball Artists

We’re Ready To Believe You.

It’s the premiere episode of our Single Serving Selection series where we dissect a smaller helping of popular culture for you.

In our first selection, we get kicked out of university, and break out the proton packs with author, blogger and host of the Spilled Milk Podcast, Matthew Amster-Burton. We’re talking this month about the 1984 supernatural comedy classic that spawned a sequel, a cartoon series, a remake and even a popular juice box, Ghostbusters.

We dig into the movie’s balance of genre elements with comedy, and wonder aloud how Bill Murray’s Dr. Peter Venkman has managed to stay out of prison.

So, don’t cross the streams, don’t look into the trap, and tell him about the Twinkie.

Fun Size Episode 22 – Practical Porgs: It’s Not a Sex Thing, Yet

We sit down with our friend Todd Maxfield-Matsumoto to drill into pop culture ephemera and random nonsense.

Mike revels in the schadenfreude of having a movie theater rewards card and we all wonder when Johnny Depp became box office poison for us.  We touch on the recently released Blade Runner 2049, and how it stacks up against both the original, and other recent attempts to resurrect once-great franchises.

We ponder whether the Last Jedi‘s porgs are the next coming of the Ewoks or Jar Jar Binks. And we speculate about whether we actually want to see Jerry Lewis’ intentionally-lost Holocaust clown movie, the Day the Clown Cried.

Podcasta la Vista, Baby! Episode 9 – Escape Plan

Breaking out is an inside job.

After nearly forty years of waiting, it’s finally happened. It’s time to inject ourselves with tracking devices and ready our homemade sextants.  This month, we sit down with our good friend Todd Maxfield-Matsumoto to dive into the long-awaited team-up movie between Arnold Schwarzenegger and his longtime cinematic rival, Sylvester Stallone: Escape Plan.

Ray Breslin is a security expert who breaks out of maximum security prisons for a living. His skills are put to the test when he’s hired to escape from the ultimate black site detention center for the worst criminals on Earth, and staffed a corrupt warden and his violent costumed guards. But Breslin isn’t alone. His escape is aided a fellow inmate, played by our favorite Austrian badass, who thinks that teaming up with Breslin may be his ticket to freedom.

Hex & Violence Episode 3 – Shades of Gray

“Ah can’t do it anymore, Jeb! Ah can’t go on killin’ yankees when they’s fightin’ tuh give th’ black folks their freedom, an’ we’s fightin’ to preserve a world whut’s prob’ly better off dead an’ done with!”

In our third episode, Mike and Casey we dive into possibly the most controversial and politically relevant aspect of Jonah Hex’s character: his Confederate uniform and his time fighting in the Civil War.

First, we dig into an issue of classic Hex in 1975’s Weird Western Tales #29. In a story by Michael Fleisher and artist Noly Panaligan. In “The Breakout at Fort Charlotte,” wounded after a duel with an angry young man, Hex remembers his time fighting in the Confederate Army and the decisions that lead him to ultimately deserting it. After surrendering to a cruel Union officer, he finds himself framed for collaborating in a massacre of prisoners.

Then we dig into 2008’s Jonah Hex (vol.2) #36 by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, and Rafa Garres, titled, “Seven Graves Six Feet Deep.” Why did Jonah Hex continue to wear his Confederate grays for decades after the war ended? Framed by the writing of a historian who grapples with the controversial historical figure of Jonah Hex and that very question, Hex rides home from the war in 1866 in a gray uniform being the only clothing he owns. After a misunderstanding ends in the death of a freed slave woman, Jonah finds himself rescued by a violent racist mob who mistake his uniform for him sharing their loathsome views and goals.

JONAH HEX CONFIRMED KILL COUNT: 41 (+9 this episode)

Fun Size Episode 21 – The Nadir of Peak TV

Wherein Mike and Casey discuss the weird evolution of HBO’s Game of Thrones from an almost obsessively grounded fantasy show to a fist-pumping, crowd-pleasing action fantasy.

We react to what we’ve seen, read and heard of the upcoming Star Trek Discovery and Seth MacFarlane’s Trek spoof/homage, the Orville. And we talk about how many studios – mainly Marvel Studios – don’t take advantage of the format of Netflix and often saddle their seasons with too many episodes.

And Mike prays for death as his lungs are full of yuck and his voice sounds terrible. Ugh.

Fun Size Episode 20 – You Don’t Deserve My Hat, Shia LaBeouf!

We sit down to continue our chat with Joe Preti and Bryon DiGianfilippo, and are joined by View from the GuttersTobiah Panshin to talk about Keanu Reeves’ Constantine movie and debate what makes a good adaptation.

We also dig into the admirable and visually stunning mess that was Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. How can a movie have such high peaks and such tragic, debilitating valleys?

Plus, we talk about how ham-fisted ways that movie executives force blatant business decisions onto the screen. And is there really that much demand for multiple “shared cinematic universes” in the wake of Marvel’s success?

Episode 30 – In the Shadow of Ted “Theodore” Logan

“Whoa.”

Pop quiz, hot shot! Mike and Casey pile into the time-traveling phone booth for a chat about one of Hollywood’s biggest stars with Bryon DiGianfilippo and Joe Preti from the View from the Gutters podcast, and if we go under 50 miles per hour, it blows up. What do you do?

This month we dig into the multi-faceted career of a polarizing actor who has played everything from a doofus metalhead,  to a reckless hero cop, an unstoppable assassin, a cynical sorcerer, a serial killer, a romantic lead, and even…a kung fu cyberpunk messiah: Keanu Reeves.

But you can’t be told what Keanu is… you have to see it for yourself.

Music: 
“John Mourns/Story of Wick” from John Wick by Tyler Bates and Joel Richard

Fun Size Episode 19 – This Human Centipede of Cinematic Nonsense

We’re back in the studio for a continued conversations with our friend Kit DeForge, to dig into why Dwayne Johnson may be the most likeable human being in the world.

And then we tempt fate by taking a critical look at the first DC superhero movie to get universal critical acclaim in nearly a decade!

Kit has an unpopular opinion about the new Wonder Woman film. What are the reasonable expectations we can have for a blockbuster superhero film? We talk about how we can unfairly pile our hopes and dreams onto a piece of entertainment, and how it can often be difficult to be honest about something that we really, really want to love.

Podcasta la Vista, Baby! Episode 8 – End of Days

When the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison.

Stock up on holy water and grow out your sadness beards, because this month we’re joining Kit DeForge to dissect Arnold’s turn-of-the-millennium supernatural thriller, End of Days.

Alcoholic and suicidal, ex-cop Jericho Cane is a broken man. But he’s the only thing standing between a young woman chosen to mother the Antichrist, and the forces of Hell themselves. And little does the Devil know that he’s fucking choirboy compared to Cane. A choirboy!

Fun Size Episode 18 – A Nesting Doll of Weird

We continue our talk with Greg Hatcher and dive into the world of comic books and beyond!

We reminisce about Marvel’s 1970s misfit superhero team, the Defenders, and an absolutely batshit tale from writer Steve Gerber that includes stolen brains, absurd body horror, elves with guns, and the soul of an evil wizard trapped in the body of a baby deer!

Plus, we look at the strange turn that comic book scribe Mark Millar’s work has taken in his new series Huck, which is a radical departure from his regularly shocking, cynical and violent stories.

We talk about fan entitlement and the ups and downs of finite vs. ongoing storytelling.

Podcasta la Vista, Baby! Episode 7 – Conan the Barbarian

“Crush your enemies. See them driven before you. Hear the lamentations of their women.”

Crom, we have never prayed to you before. We have no tongue for it. Podcasts please you, Crom…so grant us one request: grant us a discussion with Greg Hatcher of the Atomic Junk Shop blog! Together we will travel back to an age undreamed of, and discuss the bloody fantasy epic that put Arnold Schwarzenegger on the map: 1982’s Conan the Barbarian!

An adaptation of the classic Robert E. Howard pulp hero, Conan of Cimmeria is a warrior, a thief and a slayer of men. After the slaughter of his parents and tribe by a doomsday snake cult, Conan is enslaved and made into a gladiator. Thus begins his quest for bloody vengeance with sword, and axe and his own bare hands.

Fun Size Episode 17 – Unforgiven Meets Little Miss Sunshine

We continue our chat with Joe Preti, and give our spoiler-iffic review of Hugh Jackman’s final turn as the mutant superhero Wolverine in Logan.

Have we hit peak superhero at the box office? Can a comic book adaptation transcend being just being a fun, popcorn crowd-pleaser, and become an emotionally potent piece of art? Is it time for the studios to stop bombarding us with constant references, callbacks and post-credit scenes, and just make a compelling story with powerfully written characters and strong performances?

Spoiler: The answer to all of these questions is yes.

Plus, we get derailed talking about Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. And try really, really, really hard to say something nice about it. Oh, boy.

Podcasta la Vista, Baby! Episode 6 – Batman & Robin

Batman_&_Robin_Poster

Allow me to break the ice. My name is Freeze. Learn it well, for it is the chilling sound of your doom!

We slide into our sculpted rubber bat-suits with Joe Preti of the View from the Gutters comic book podcast to sink our teeth into Arnold Schwarzenegger’s infamous comic book movie, Batman and Robin!

Gotham City’s be-nippled champions, Batman and Robin, take some time off from bickering with each other to battle a deadly duo of supervillains. In one corner, Poison Ivy, a hammy ecoterrorist with fatal kisses. And in the other corner, Mr. Freeze, a giant blue Austrian armed with a freeze ray and an even deadlier collection of ice puns.

Fun Size Episode 16 – The Billy Martin Experience

We continue our chat with Kit DeForge and Joe Preti, and veer into stories about strange liberties taken during menial high school jobs — and the potential spy thriller plots that can result from them.

We talk about the comics we love, swap nerd stories and the joy of pop culture recommendation. Mike finally takes his comic book fandom into the world of manga, and we might have just invented a very specific baseball fetish.

Plus, Joe really really really dislikes Wil Wheaton, and the entire world must know. Comments can be left below.

Episode 29 – Make Comics Great Again

“Magic’s just when you trick the universe into believing some incredibly outrageous lie.”

Mike and Casey hop into Chas’ cab for a journey to the realm of Dreams, because it’s time to go on a road trip across America. Our traveling companions, librarian Kit DeForge and Joe Preti from the View from the Gutters podcast.

This month we dig into the Vertigo line of mature-readers comics from DC. From its inception with Karen Berger’s editorial work with Alan Moore on Swamp Thing in the 1980s through massive hits like Sandman, Preacher, Fables and 100 Bullets, we dissect some of the most influential, critically acclaimed and popular comic books of the past thirty years.

Is Vertigo dead, even if its spirit for creator innovation and quality live on at other publishers?

Music: 
“Main Theme” from Constantine (2014) by Bear McCreary