Fun Size Episode 69 – Two Degrees From Luke Skywalker [CLIP]

We’re back with a new Fun Size podcast, now a monthly exclusive for our Patreon supporters! This month, we’re back with Sam Mulvey to get nerdier than we have for a while.

Mike takes the rough draft of his new “Bechdel Test”-esque thought experiment about media worldbuilding for a spin and tries to punch holes in it.  Are our large shared universe worlds really as large and expansive as they appear to be, or is that just an illusion to hide something much smaller and more insular?

And in probably more depth and exhaustive detail than necessary, Mike talks about his love and fascination with J.R.R. Tolkien and his Middle-earth legendarium, and Sam gets the opportunity to talk more about Frank Herbert’s Dune than he’s ever done before on the show.

To unlock this episode in its entirety — and many episodes more! — just support us on Patreon with at least one measly dollar a month!

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Episode 53 – The Blues Brothers

“It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses.”

This month, we’re getting the band back together with the Station Manager of KTQA 95.3 FM in Tacoma (and former Illinois resident) Sam Mulvey. We’re on a mission from God to drive our car through John Landis’ anarchic car chase musical guest-starring a Mt. Rushmore of classic R&B/soul artists from Aretha Franklin to James Brown: The Blues Brothers!

Released from a 3-year prison sentence, “Joilet” Jake Blues is reunited with his brother Elwood and learn that the Catholic orphanage they grew up in is about to be shuttered unless it can pay an outstanding $5,000 property tax bill in the next eleven days. Now on a mission from God, the Blue Brothers must reunite their ne’er-do-well rhythm and blues band to put on a big show, no matter how many shopping malls they have to drive through. But first they must outrun a rival country western band, a gang of neo-Nazis, a heavily armed mystery woman, and seemingly every cop in the state of Illinois.

Fun Size Episode 68 – Nobody Gives a Fuck About Rutherford B. Hayes

We’re continuing our chat with Joe Preti, for a deep dive into the topics that really matter.

We perhaps spend too much time, dissecting the many pathological lies and shitty behavior of 90s action star Steven Seagal, and we explore the two qualities a person can have in combination that can precipitate a downfall (or at least make you wish that it had). We explore the new Elvis Presley biopic, and the fleeting myth of cultural immortality. Do some things and people just deserve to be forgotten? And do only the truly worst people in the world achieve true notoriety? And isn’t being totally forgotten in a way… kind of liberating?

And we share a special announcement about the future of Fun Size episodes!

Podcasta la Vista, Baby! Episode 27 – Raw Deal

The system gave him a raw deal. Nobody gives him a raw deal.

We’re back! This month, we’re slicking back our hair and dodging cakes with Joe Preti, and infiltrating the inner circle of the mostly-forgotten organized crime action flick: Raw Deal!

Disgraced ex-FBI agent Mark Kaminsky is living in exile as a small town sheriff when he’s contacted by an old mentor from the bureau. Thirsty for revenge after his son was killed protecting a witness in the Luigi Patrovita mob trial, he sends Kaminsky deep undercover — and off the books — into the Patrovita inner circle. Now this one-man wrecking crew must enact bloody revenge and perhaps earn his job back in the FBI.

Fun Size Episode 67 – When Did I Become an Old Man?

We’re back with Dave Brouillette to speak in defense of cinema’s great unsung wet blankets. The long-suffering adults left to pick up the pieces when the reckless hot shot protagonist with a disregard for human life blows up half of downtown or nearly starts World War III while they were saving the day or just looking cool.

Is there an age where your empathy naturally starts to gravitate to these people over the bad boy hero?

We also dig into the complicated emotions of watching popular media with jingoistic or reactionary politics — from Top Gun to 24 to Death Wish — both overt and implicit. Even the stuff we like can be a bit harrowing to watch at times.

Podcasta la Vista, Baby! Episode 26 – Pumping Iron

“Blood is rushing into your muscles and that’s what we call The Pump. Your muscles get a really tight feeling, like your skin is going to explode any minute, and it’s really tight – it’s like somebody blowing air into it, into your muscle. It just blows up, and it feels really different. It feels fantastic.”

This month, we’re hitting the weights and getting a good pump with Dave Brouillette, as we bench press the 1977 bodybuilding docudrama that got Arnold noticed in Hollywood: Pumping Iron!

Cameras document – or is it dramatize? – the lives of the world’s leading bodybuilders as they prepare to compete for their sport’s top 1975 amateur and professional championships. One is junior high school teacher, Mike Katz, who aspires to the title of Mr. Universe. Another is shy underdog, Lou Ferrigno, who hopes to flex his way to the title of Mr. Olympia. But to do that, he must topple the reigning five-time returning champion, a certain popular and charismatic Austrian, just a couple years away from Hollywood superstardom.

Fun Size Episode 66 – The Word for That Is “Extortion”

We continue our chat with Michael Warbington and dig into a rich vein we usually leave unmined: video games.

With different levels of skill, engagement and knowledge, we look at the experience of gaming in 2022, the intersection of art and commerce, the prevalence of in-game microtransactions, getting mercilessly griefed by racist swearing twelve year-olds, and a game’s replayability. What do we want out of the gaming experience?

Episode 52 – Django (1966)

After a month off, we’re back! And this time, we’re dragging a coffin through the desert with the Camp Director and President of Camp Quest NorthWest, Michael Warbington, and diving into the notoriously violent 1966 spaghetti western by director Sergio Corbucci, Django!

When a mysterious gunslinger named Django drags a coffin into a tiny border town caught in the middle of a bloody war between Mexican paramilitary bandits and a Klan of hooded racist Southerners, he sets off a bloody chain of death, vengeance, robbery, and even more death. But is Django here to save this town, or will he just bury it under corpses in his quest for revenge?

Fun Size Episode 65 – From Sublime to Disgusting (And Everything in Between)

We’re back with Kirby Green and talking about the strange and surprising wholesomeness of Jackass Forever, the history of “caught-on-video” media, and the opportunistic moral panics they often inspire.

While we talk about how a franchise famous for dangerous stunts and painful assaults on the testicles has become one of the few things in America that we can all agree on, and how it might just be a model for body positivity. And we look at its far more morally reprehensible and shamelessly exploitative media ancestors like Faces of Death, Bumfights, Girls Gone Wild, COPS, and whatever weird VHS tapes that scary kid from middle school with the shuriken in his pocket was bragging about watching.

Podcasta la Vista, Baby! Episode 25 – Junior

Nothing is inconceivable.

This month, we’re enjoying some franks in a blanket with longtime friend of the show, Kirby Green, and re-examining the much-maligned and universally-panned Arnold Schwarzenegger pregnancy comedy: Junior!

After his miracle fertility drug, Expectane, is rejected by the FDA for human trials and the university has terminated his funding, research geneticist Dr. Alex Hesse is ready to return home to Austria to start over. But his project partner, obstetrician Dr. Larry Arbogast, has a radical idea to prove their drug works: an off-the-books experiment with a human subject – Alex himself. Now the world’s first pregnant man, Alex must cope with his changing body, a new romance, his fluctuating hormones, and a growing emotional bond with his baby.

Fun Size Episode 64 – A Real Lesson in Imagined Power

We’re back in the studio with Patrick Johnson for one of our weirdest conversations yet. First, what are the consequences of having a perfect memory? On our emotions, our morality, or our sanity? What does it mean to forget, is it for the best that our memories are imperfect?

And when Star Trek‘s Data finally achieves a range of emotional responses, would he suddenly be bombarded with a tidal wave of backlogged emotional responses to old memories? Is a perfect memory a curse? Is it possible to forgive when the wrongs done to you will be forever remembered with perfect recall?

Then, we talk about cops. Both the people and the reality show. And how our deeply ingrained perceptions of policing are shaped far more by fictional media depictions than even our own often tense and uncomfortable encounters with real life law enforcement. And what about shows like Dog the Bounty Hunter, and other situations where people simply assume an air of authority with the implied threat of violence?

We recommend: Running from COPS podcast.

Episode 51 – Phantasm

Beware the ball, beware the tall man, beware the never dead.

We return this month to break into Morningside Mortuary and get some fuckin’ answers with returning guest Todd Maxfield-Matsumoto, because we’re digging up the 1979 psychedelic cult horror classic: Phantasm!

Living with his older brother Jody after the death of their parents, thirteen year old Mike becomes suspicious of a local mortuary and the frightening Tall Man who operates it. The brothers stumble onto a strange and dreamlike conspiracy involving murder, a maze-like mausoleum, stolen corpses, hooded minions, a murderous flying chrome sphere, and the unnerving supernatural being who controls it all.

Fun Size Episode 63 – I Want Willem Dafoe in Every Movie

Has the world gone mad? Well, yes. But we’re also looking back on 2021 as a remarkably great year at the movies! We’re still talking to Tobiah Panshin for an uncharacteristically positive and optimistic discussion about the current state of cinema. For real!

We briefly touch on: The Last Duel, Titane, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Licorice Pizza, The French Dispatch, Dune, C’mon C’mon, Spencer, Malignant, The Suicide Squad, The Twentieth Century, and The Matrix Resurrections.

Plus, would it be so bad if the world we lived in was just a computer program?

Episode 50 – The Green Knight

“Honor. That is why a knight does what he does.”

With the New Year, we’re on a knightly quest to the Green Chapel to trade blows with returning guest Tobiah Panshin of the View from the Gutters podcast, to dive into David Lowery’s visually stunning and unorthodox adaptation of a 14th century Arthurian legend, The Green Knight.

When the supernatural Green Knight issues a yuletide challenge for any of Camelot’s bravest knights to try to land a blow on him — and receive an equal strike in return one Christmas later — King Arthur’s flawed and reckless nephew Gawain accepts without thinking. Easily decapitating his compliant foe, Gawain sees the Green Knight immediately rise again and remind him of his obligation one year hence. Embarking on a quest to the mysterious Green Chapel, Gawain contends with ghosts, giants and his own selfish nature, to see if he can live up to his promise — even if it might mean his certain death.

Episode 49 – Santa Claus: The Movie

The legend comes to life.

This Christmas Eve, we’re back in the studio to celebrate the season with Rebecca Friedman of KTQA-LP 95.3 FM, and dive into the 1985 holiday movie where Alexander and Ilya Salkind, the father and son producer team behind the Christopher Reeve Superman films try to make lightning strike twice with a mythic origin story for jolly old Saint Nick himself in Santa Claus:The Movie!

Rescued by a group of elves after being caught in a deadly blizzard, a 14th century toymaker fulfills an ancient prophecy to become an immortal holiday gift giver to all the children of the world. Colliding with the free enterprise crassness of the 1980s, Santa Claus is despondent after one his elves is manipulated into working for a unscrupulous and greedy toy executive who wants to steal Christmas for his very own.