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

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

Episode 28 – Cars Are Fucking Magical

fast-and-furious-4

“The guys we’re after are professional runners. They like speed and are guaranteed to go down the hardest possible way, so make sure you’ve got your thunderwear on. We find ’em, we take ’em as a team, and we bring ’em back. And above all else, we don’t ever, ever, let them get into cars.”

Mike and Casey grab a couple of Coronas and fire up their NOS canisters, because it’s time to drive really, really fast. Joining us on this caper are screenwriter Matt Goodman and Matthew Amster-Burton of the Spilled Milk podcast.

Our mission, to dive into the adrenaline-pumping Fast and the Furious movie franchise, which has conquered the box office with some of the most over-the-top tributes to fast cars and badassery ever put on film.

We trace the series’ decade long evolution from a heist story about street racers to a globetrotting series of ensemble espionage thrillers that are a tribute to everything awesome and ludicrous.

Music: 
“Party Crashers” from Furious 7 by Brian Tyler

Episode 27 – The World Doesn’t Look Bright for Us Completionists

skyrim

“I was an adventurer like you, then I took an arrow in the knee.”

Mike and Casey completely abandon their quests to consolidate their pixelated criminal empires and save the kingdom from dragons, so that they can play darts and brew potions with video game journalist and YouTuber Kinsey Burke, and returning panelist Patrick Johnson.

Our non-essential side quest? To dig into the massive phenomenon of Open World Video Games. From Fallout 3, to Skyrim, to Grand Theft Auto V,  there is an video games where the storyline is optional and immersive player-initiated exploration are their biggest sell points.

What is the appeal of a game that lets you make your own agenda in a fictional city, or epic fantasy realm or post-apocalyptic future? What are the limits of a game that aspires to let you be and do anything you want?

And why are these games so damned buggy?

Music: 
“Welcome to Los Santos” from Grand Theft Auto V by Oh No

Episode 26 – A Noir Carnival of Fright and Insanity

death-wish-3-movie-poster-1985-1020540130

You’ve gotta ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?

Mike and Casey sit down with Pól Rua and Greg Hatcher of Comic Book Resources’ Comics Should Be Good blog, for a comprehensive and thoughtful discussion of urban crime and its many complicated causes.

And we talk about how pulp novels and grindhouse cinema recommends fixing these problems. Namely, angry middle-aged men with oversized handguns.

This month, we’re talking about urban vigilante fiction. Hyper-violent anti-heroes pumping thousands of rounds of ammunition into scumbags and drug dealers. From Dirty Harry to Death Wish; from the Punisher to Mack Bolan, we’re digging into the vigilante genre, and asking ourselves: why do bleeding heart liberals like us enjoy this stuff?

Music: 
“Getting Into Shape / Listen You Screw Heads / Gun Play” from Taxi Driver by Bernard Herrmann

Episode 25 – There Will Be No Second Disney

AnAmericanTail

“…There are no cats in America!…”

Mike and Casey manage to escape dog heaven and set out for the Great Valley. Their traveling companions? Ask an Atheist‘s Rebecca Friedman and Joe Preti of the View from the Gutters comic book podcast. This month we’re talking about America animator, Don Bluth.

From his apprenticeship at the Walt Disney company, to striking out on his own with critical darling in the Secret of NIMH, to conquering the box office alongside Steven Spielberg with An American Tail and the Land Before Time.

We dig into Bluth’s trademark darker tone, his craftsmanship and attention to detail, his move into the world of video games, and how for a brief period of time…he managed to beat Disney at their own game.

Music: 
“End Credits” from the Land Before Time by James Horner

Episode 24 – Batman, Motherfucker!

batman

“It’s an omen. I shall become a bat!”

Criminals are superstitious and cowardly lot, so Mike and Casey are joined in the Batcave to compare case notes with our friend Pól Rua, and first-time panelist, Joe Preti of the View from the Gutters podcast. Our topic, DC Comics’ Caped Crusader, Batman.

We dig into the character’s ridiculous versatility and unique ability to upend the normal rules for the suspension of disbelief. From the campy do-goodery of Adam West to Frank Miller’s dark avenger of the night, we discuss the wide range of tone and genre that the character has had in his seven decades of publication.

This is the podcast you deserve, but maybe not the one you need right now.

Music: 
“The Batman Theme” from Batman by Danny Elfman

Episode 23 – Oh, God. Not Another Troi Episode!

tng

Space…the final frontier…

Mike and Casey reserve a table in Ten Forward and share a pot of “tea, early grey, hot” with Greg Hatcher of Comic Book Resources’ Comics Should Be Good! blog and game designer Ryan Chaddock. Our continuing mission: to launch a class-5 probe into the Neutral Zone, and to discuss the classic science fiction series, Star Trek: the Next Generation.

We discuss how it added to the Trek mythos, the tug of war over the show’s themes and writing, and how the classic series stands the test of times as a piece of optimistic science fiction in a current age of popular dystopias and the “grim and gritty” storytelling in genre film and television.

Make it so!

Music: 
“End Credits” from Star Trek: First Contact by Jerry Goldsmith

Episode 22 – Being a Selfish Asshole Is the Best Thing You Can Be

bigdaddy“A man chooses… a slave obeys…”

Mike and Casey pile into a bathysphere and flee the surface world, and the clawing hands of Big Government and the Parasites to reserve their tables at the Kashmir Restaurant with first panelists Patrick Johnson, and Carlos Rodela of the Video Game Break Podcast. Our topic, the revolutionary 2007 video game, BioShock and its sequels.

We explore the immersive game world of Rapture, the failed undersea utopia inspired by the free-market Objectivist philosophy of Ayn Rand. We look at whether video games can transcend the reputation of being a fun distraction, and whether they can truly be works of art in their own right. And finally, we contemplate the limitations and possibilities of player choice in games, and whether complex storytelling is at odds with the agency to make character decisions.

Music: 
“The Ocean On His Shoulders/Welcome To Rapture” from BioShock by Garry Schyman

Episode 21 – Happening v. Fargo

Log Lady

“That gum you like is going to come back in style.”

Mike and Casey are consulting our logs and getting a booth at the Double R Diner to share some damned good coffee and pie with returning panelists Roz Townsend and Pól Rua. Our topic: David Lynch’s surrealistic supernatural thriller/soap opera: Twin Peaks.

We get into the show’s weird and often contradictory tone, and its widely panned theatrical follow-up movie Fire Walk with Me.  We discuss its massive influence on shows like Lost and the X-Files, and try to figure out if Lynch was creating fantastical, challenging art, or just being pointlessly weird for its own sake.

Music: 
“Falling” from Twin Peaks by Angelo Badalamenti

Episode 20 – You’re Gonna Like This. It’s Got G. Gordon Liddy in it!

watchmen

 “Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face.”

Mike and Casey are charging our electric cars, voting for Richard Nixon, and getting a booth in the Gunga Diner with Ask an Atheist‘s Sam Mulvey, and Rob Kelly of the Fire and Water Podcast. Our topic, the 1986 mini-series that has been labeled “the greatest comic book of all time,” Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s Watchmen.

We dig into the series’ aggressive and intentionally unflattering deconstruction of the superhero genre, the often uncomfortable morality and motivations of its characters, and the controversial and underwhelming 2009 Zack Snyder film adaptation.

*for those interested in donating to a great cause we mention on the podcast, please check out the Hero Intiative.
Music: 
“Pruit Igoe and Prophecies” from Watchmen (and Koyaanisqatsi) by Philip Glass

Episode 19 – Let’s Do a Bunch of Coke and Make a Movie

Tarantino

 We’re gonna get medieval on your asses!

This month, Mike and Casey pile into a booth at Jack Rabbit Slim’s to debate the merits of tipping our server with Sci-Fest L.A.‘s Matt Goodman and writer and artist Roslyn Townsend. Our topic of discussion: Quentin fucking Tarantino.

We dig into the writer-director’s visual style, his penchant for creating violent films with compelling characters, and his talent for resurrecting dead careers. From Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown, and from Kill Bill to Django Unchained, Tarantino and his movies are awash with copious profanity, critical praise and controversy.

Music: 
“Misirlou” from Pulp Fiction  by Dick Dale and the Del Tones

Episode 18 – Sex, Sadism, and Snobbery

bond1_003

 “No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die!”

Mike and Casey are shaking (but not stirring) their martinis and hoping a plane to Montenegro to sit at the baccarat table and trade barbs with Greg Hatcher of Comic Book Resources’ Comics Should Be Good! blog and game designer Ryan Chaddock. Our mission: to discuss the origins, movies and the cultural phenomenon that is James Bond.

We dig into the nature of 007’s morality, celebrate his penchant for battling outlandish supervillains, and we delve into why this super spy never seems to go out of style.

Music: 
“James Bond Theme” from Dr. No  by John Barry

Episode 17 – A Childhood Sense of Wonder

spielberg

Hold on to your butts!

Mike and Casey are stocking up on Reese’s Pieces and heading to Devil’s Tower to compare scars with sound engineer Scott Kramer (the Expendables, Transparent) and the composer of our show’s theme song, Todd Maxfield-Matsumoto! We’re talking about the filmmaker whose influence defined big budget cinema for an entire generation, Steven Spielberg!

From Jurassic Park to E.T., and Jaws to Raiders of the Lost Ark, few filmmakers have had the impact on movies as both an art and an industry like Spielberg. We discuss his evolution as a storyteller, director and producer. We debate his legacy among film purists, mainstream audiences and critics.

Music: 
“End Credits” from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial  by John Williams

Episode 16 – Ant-Man’s Lawyer

AdmiralAlienAndCaptainMustache

Read the Bantam Book!

This month, Mike and Casey look at the inevitable result of truly popular culture: that it can and will not be contained by it’s original medium. Star Wars, the Planet of the Apes, and even Murder She Wrote have escaped the confines of film and television to reward their fans with series of books, comics and video games that feed our appetites for more stories in the worlds we love.

We’re joined by veteran panelist Roslyn Townsend and game designer Ryan Chaddock to chat about the concept of the Expanded Universe! We debate canonicity and ask why we just can’t get enough of our favorite media franchises, no matter the format!

Music: 
“Luke and Leia” from the Return of the Jedi  by John Williams