In which, we join Matthew Amster-Burton to circle the dead horses of popular culture with clubs and go to town.
We sift through the dirt shoveled over the recently aborted attempt at a Universal monsters cinematic universe. Did it have to be bad? We ponder the question: If we’re inevitably going to revisit established characters and franchises, why not make new and surprising things out of them?
What could the movie industry learn from Image Comics, and where is the line where product placement becomes unbearable?
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.
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.
In an episode exclusive for Patreon patrons, we look at the perhaps-necessary anachronism of period stories where the protagonist has strangely modern social attitudes. Does anyone really want the cowboy you play in a video game to be casually racist for the sake of accuracy?
And we look at the way that outlier characters like Jonah Hex, John Constantine, and the Punisher nominally co-exist in a shared universe that they’re mostly incompatible with.
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.
“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)
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.
We sit down to continue our chat with Joe Preti and Bryon DiGianfilippo, and are joined by View from the Gutters‘ Tobiah 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?
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.
We’ve hit that point in our show’s life cycle that it’s time for us to stretch our wings!
For the last four and a half years, we’ve recorded with the support of friends with professional equipment and studios, like Rich Lyons, Jeremy Whitman and especially the supremely generous Sam Mulvey.
With your help, our show is now able to pay for its own graphic art, web hosting and even bought us an awesome Rob Kelly-designed banner for the next Captain Picard Day celebration at the end of the year!
Now help us go super saiyan!
We’re looking to buy microphones, mic stands, an audio mixing board, a decent laptop to record on, sound proofing foam for the walls, chairs that don’t squeak and a good solid table. This will probably run us a few thousand dollars, something a bit out of our current budget range.
Help us make our dreams a reality! Click the Support Us on PayPal button on our front page, and kick in a little dough. If you like what we do, and would like to give us more flexibility and independence to make more of it, then please consider helping us out.
In an episode exclusive to Patreon supporters, we continue to shake our canes at Hollywood blockbusters, spin offs, crossovers and shared universes, as Mike explains his rocky relationship with Fear the Walking Dead.
What motivates the creation of a spin-off? Are they doomed to be pale imitations? Is the massive blockbuster franchise bubble heading for a burst?
To hear the episode, subscribe to us on Patreon and pledge at least one measly dollar a month!
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.
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!