Episode 146 – Avenging Avengers of Vengeance

May 10, 2012

Click to listen to Avengers Podcast

I should have hated The Avengers. By all rights it’s a film that should have sank under its own bloated, overly ambitious weight. It should have been a complete mess.

This collection of heroes don’t even seem to belong in the same film. They each operate by their own set of superhero rules. Some are merely “costumed heroes” (Iron Man, Black Widow) and others are literally gods (Thor).

Conventional wisdom would say you can have one or the other in a film, but not both. You wouldn’t have, say, Batman or Spiderman fighting Cthulhu or Jesus for instance (but maybe that’d be awesome).

Even the two Avengers given superpowers through scientific intervention, Captain America and The Hulk, are at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Assuming you can swallow the basic concept that some super rays can make a dude super strong, the way it’s done with the good Captain is at least vaguely believable. He’s still a man. An enhanced, super man, but just a man. It’s a pill, but it’s still small enough to go down without choking you (and by “you” I mean “me”).

In contrast, The Hulk is just patently absurd. And even if I can swallow this big green (why green?) pill in his own film, when he’s standing beside these other heroes he just looks silly. Though not as silly as the guy dressed up in an exotic dancer’s idea of a viking costume.

The Hulk simply raises a few questions in my mind. Why is he green? Why does anger trigger his metamorphosis? Why is he green? Why don’t the physical laws of conservation of mass apply to him and his pants? And why is he green?

All this is to say, the movie should have been too hard to swallow. But here’s the thing.

Joss Whedon is a freaking wizard.

He can take a bad idea (like giving the absolutely worst character from Buffy The Vampire Slayer his own show) and spin it into gold. With his twin superpowers of witty banter and ensemble dynamics—possibly the same superpower—it almost doesn’t matter what the subject matter is, he can suck you in and make you care about absurd characters in ridiculous situations.

His unique wizardry can make you forget:

  1. Loki is a completely lame villain with completely nonsensical goals. Why does he want to rule a planet that he seems to hold nothing but contempt for? Near as I can tell it’s because he can do a maniacal grin fairly well. When that’s your only salable skill, you might as well try to take over some planet or other.
  2. The film doesn’t really have any plot to speak of. There’s a threat. A team is assembled to neutralize the threat. They neutralize the threat in a fairly linear fashion. If there wasn’t witty banter to tie all the predictable plot points together, it would have been… well, it pretty much would have been a Michael Bay film.
  3. Samuel L. Jackson has completely forgotten how to act but has become very adept at phoning-in his performances. A skill he no doubt picked up on the set of Star Wars. Seriously. I’m convinced the L stands for Lethargic. If not downright Lazy.
Whedon’s trademark humanistic approach to the supernatural makes you forget that what you’re watching  is essentially just another cliché summer blockbuster. Because instead of superheros battling the forces of evil, you’re watching a group of people learning how to live with each other; you’re watching a series of universal human moments everyone can relate to.

Ultimately, you could excise all the action sequences from this movie and still have something worth watching.

Try doing that with Transformers.

Advertisements

Episode 131 – Dollhouse

November 9, 2011

image of eliza dushku - click to listen

After a brief, unplanned hiatus, we’re back with an episode of proportions. Not epic proportions, but human proportions where we wax poetic about the weird anatomy of people far more beautiful than us. We also manage to talk about the oft-maligned, under-rated, misunderstood, yet somewhat problematic, Joss Whedon TV series Dollhouse.

The cast members’ names including the ones we didn’t bother to look up before recording this episode are:

  • Helo from BSG as Paul Ballard
  • Enver Gjokaj as Victor
  • Faith from Buffy as Echo
  • Dichen Lachman as Siera
  • Fran Kranz as Topher Brink
  • Olivia Williams as Adelle DeWitt
  • Commander Lock from The Matrix as Boyd Langton

Conspicuously not pictured:

  • Miracle Laurie as Mellie

Probably because she has a terrible name.


Episode 125 – The End of All Things Buffy

August 26, 2011

Click to listen to episode 125

Yes, there are spoilers in this episode. For both Angel and Buffy. But if you haven’t watched them yet, you probably have no interest in watching them. So you may as well listen to some spoilers.

If, after listening to the spoilers, you think it all sounds pretty good. You should follow this guide for watching Buffy and Angel in conjunction.


Stephen Harper strangles kittens and sexy very rape (search terms, May 2011)

June 1, 2011

Springtime and a young Googler’s fancy turns to the gutter.

stamp fuck it: I wish they sold these at Office Depot along side the “Recieved” and “Draft” stamps. I suspect stamping “FUCK IT” in bold, red letters on documents that cross my desk would be very cathartic.

f for fuckballs: If I ever have a genderless baby, this is the alphabet poster I’m getting it. A is for Assholes multiplying like flies. B is for Bullshit piled up to the sky. C is for cock, everyone’s favourite tweet. D is for Dickheads crowding the street…

turd lips: Weird. Someone discovered Mandi’s secret pet name for me. Even I didn’t know that’s what it is.

انمي sexy very rape: The script there, not surprisingly, is “anime” in Arabic. We also got a search for  “انمي اغتصاب” which is simply “anime rape” without the superfluous adjectives.  This kind of implies there is, reassuringly, no phrase in Arabic for “sexy very rape” which no language should have a need for. Yet apparently English does. Incidentally, the Japanese word for “sexy very rape” turns out to be anime.

anime i adore u: U has so much sexy very rape.

Read the rest of this entry »


Episode 87 – They Call Him Bruce

November 5, 2010

 087

Sometimes they call him Brisco. Sometimes they call him Autolycus. Sometimes they call him Ash. But mostly people call Bruce Campbell campy, though that has nothing to do with his surname.

Kathie (from our episode on Internet Dating) joins us to talk about the man, the myth… the chin.


Episode 40 – You Can’t Take This Guy From Me (Firefly)

November 20, 2009

Joss Whedon’s Firefly was probably the best sci-fi television show ever. To be cancelled after half a season. By Fox (those bastards). It might have proved to be the best sci-fi show ever, period, if it’d been picked up by another network but it wasn’t. All we got was 14 episodes and a movie (Serenity). Fans of the show were heartbroken.

I wasn’t one of the heartbroken. I was part of the problem. I never watched Firefly when it was on the air because it was a huge nerd hurdle for me. Not because it was sci-fi but because I had no idea it was sci-fi. I heard the words “Joss Whedon” and “Firefly” and assumed it was another Buffy spin-off like Angel, but maybe about Willow or some other wiccan lesbians. Though I loved Buffy, I didn’t care for Angel, so I never checked out Firefly. And not many other people did either.

Then, after it was cancelled, I heard it was really good. One of the best TV shows ever. My ears pricked up. Then I heard it was “space cowboys” and my ears pricked back down. Cowboys are a huge hurdle for me. I like the odd western (usually starting a young Clint Eastwood) but generally I don’t care for the genre. It’s why it took me so long to watch the excellent Deadwood. Perhaps it’s because I don’t like modern-day cowboy culture and thereby associate “westerns” with redneck douchebags. And I don’t care for the music. Such as the Firefly theme:

Then it was explained to me that the show isn’t so much about space cowboys as space outlaws and once again my ears were pricked. So a couple of years ago, several years after it was cancelled, I finally sat down to tackle Firefly.

I wasn’t disappointed. True, I wasn’t hooked from the first episode, but by the third I couldn’t stop watching if I tried. The show’s strength is that it’s blessed with probably the best ensemble cast ever assembled. Where other classic ensembles (TNG, Buffy) took a good three or four seasons to hit their stride, the cast of Firefly hit the ground running. The chemistry couldn’t have been improved in a laboratory. Check out the gag reel at the bottom of this post. It’s hard to believe these people were practically strangers.

Though there is certainly an outlaw/western feel to the show, it’s all the aspects of westerns I enjoy. They’re more dust-bowl pirates than cowboys. In a way it’s like Pirates of the Caribbean set on the Millenium Falcon instead of the Black Pearl. If it’d been sold to me that way, I’d have been watching from day one.

Instead the show was pitched as “nine people looking into the blackness of space and seeing nine different things.” Um. Okay. That’s cool and all, but it’s sounds like Waiting for Godot staged on Discovery One. This show isn’t that at all. Perhaps the exact opposite. It’s an adventure-comedy of the highest grade. And well worth the hurdle.


%d bloggers like this: