Dan drops by to travel back in time and get trippy in the year 2001.
Dan joins Jakob and Mandi for another “Dan’s Devil’s Bucket List” to discuss the 1971 sci-fi cult cuh-lassic The Omega Man starring Charlton Heston’s teeth and sweaty man boobs.
Charlton is really happy about the deals on web domains and hosting you can get from our sponsor, GoDaddy. Special totally not pervy code for Nerd Hurdles listeners: nerd69
The fifth installment in our DAN’S DEVIL’S BUCKET LIST series in which we watch classic movies of dubious quality that Dan has never seen. In this case, the seminal sci-fi, dystopian thriller love story: Geroge Lucas’s ‘THX 1138′ — the film that lead to ‘Episode 1′ being a thing that exists. At least that’s one way of thinking about it. It’s also directly responsible for this thing.
Original vs. Director’s cut comparison.
Next on Dan’s list: Either 2001 or Omega Man.
Tom Cruise is back to join the Starship Troopers and help Incept Groundhog Day against Aliens in Edge of Tomorrow.
Okay, the above snarky, reductive synopsis makes Edge of Tomorrow sound like a crappy knock-off, it’s best bits cannibalized from of a handful of better films. Though you could argue that is technically accurate, it’s a description which doesn’t do the film justice—a film which is probably the last, best original science fiction film we’re going to get for a decade.
I do say “original” because though it borrows elements from other films, such as the rag-tag band of marines from Aliens, remember that the rag-tag band of marines from Aliens were an homage to classic war films like The Dirty Dozen. The seemingly unbeatable alien invaders in Starship Troopers weren’t a new concept when the book was written and absolutely old hat when the film was made. If there was an element of deja vu in Groundhog Day it was partially that the gimmick of time-loops was already an old standby. If there are any wholly original concepts left in sci-fi, they haven’t cropped up in the past four or five decades so we shouldn’t criticize a film too harshly for not offering one up now.
And I say Edge of Tomorrow is the “last, best” sci-fi film we’ll see because, judging by the dismal box-office reports of Edge of Tomorrow‘s opening weekend, audiences have guaranteed we’ll only see reboots and superhero movies until people stop going to see those too. Eventually it will probably find a word-of-mouth audience on Netflix (which I imagine is of little interest to the studios) and in time will become a sort of sci-fi action classic alongside Aliens, The Matrix, District 9 and Inception—but without making the studios the kind of bank those films did. For now it’s being painted as the biggest genre bomb since Waterworld.
Which is too bad since it’s the antithesis of Waterworld—a true turkey which bombed because it was an actively, aggressively, unapologetically terrible film. Something audiences don’t seem to care about as long as the words “Star Trek” or “Marvel” or “DC” are attached to the title.
So when I call it the last, best original science fiction film, it’s being measured by a bar set dishearteningly low.
Since starting the Nerd Hurdles, two fandoms we’ve known we’d eventually have to cover would be Xena: Warrior Princess and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. We’ve eluded them for years, we’re tired of running. It’s time.
Like we did with Harry Potter, BSG and Angel, at the end of every episode we’re going to record a Xenaphobes (or Xenaphiles?) or a Deep Shite Nine (or Tief in der Scheiße? Nein!) segment of what we’ve witnessed.
So far it turns out that both shows are simultaneously “not as bad” and “far worse” than we remembered. Luckily, both are more entertaining as well.
Perhaps the definitive example of a nerd hurdle is one of those old Sci-Fi classics you know you should see but it just looks so crappy you avoid it for years. Such as the original 1968 version of Planet of the Apes, a movie so many have seen, heard and spoken evil about that you’ve avoided it. That is, until your friend Dan DePeuter (of the oft-mentioned DePeuter School of Overacting) comes to town and demands you see, hear and speak about it.
When Mandi likes a thing, she needs more of that thing in whatever form she can get it. Before discovering Star Trek fanfic, it were the official novels. At one point she had the entire set.
I’m a bit different when it comes to my fandoms. I tend to only enjoy the original iteration. With films I often don’t even feel the need to see the sequels. Though, of course, I eventually do. I just don’t feel the need. For me having that one perfect movie or book is enough.
So I generally don’t wait in baited anticipation for movie adaptations of my favourite books and reading about the Star Wars Expanded Universe never appealed to me (though I did dip my toe into the Thrawn graphic novels). The same has applied to Star Trek books. I have more than enough Star Trek to watch and re-watch, why would I need, what I assumed were poorly written, novels on top of that?
But with Star Trek there’s a few extra Nerd Hurdles I needed to leap. Yes, the assumption of simplistic, cheesy writing is at the top of the list, but it’s due mostly to some of the worst book cover art outside of Harlequin romances.
Take Masks for instance. Floating heads over a volcano. And not just the usual nicely blended floating heads you might see on a movie poster, but these look like they were torn from another book cover and pasted on as an afterthought. Picard looks okay but what’s with Riker’s expression? He’s looking both drunk and constipated. I suppose that fits with my general feelings about Riker as a character anyway. Not the wall-eyed drunk so much but there’s something stuck up somewhere within him.
Which is one of the reason’s I’ve never jumped on the Star Trek bookmobile. They seem generally Riker intensive. They were also lined up on one of my highschool buddy’s shelves along with his Dragonlance books. Forever the two series have been intertwined in my subconscious. That’s not exactly true. They’ve been intertwined in the forefront of my consciousness, no “sub” about it. I imagine I don’t need to explain Dragonlance books are a hurdle for me on principle.
So what did I discover about Star Trek novels during the course of this rather tangent-intensive episode? You’ll have to listen (link at the top of the post) to find out.
Notes: I have since read up about Oliver Cromwell and the Princes in the Tower on Wikipedia. So there’s no need to school me on English history. Well, there is a need. But not about those two particular subjects.
Jakob didn’t want to read sci-fi classic Ender’s Game because Star Wars Episode 1 convinced him sci-fi about children is doomed to utter failure. Ender schooled him up proper, but what did Mandi think? Kumar will be glad to know Jakob was not only wrong in this episode, but quantifiably wrong. Also, a chapter on how our heroes also make a big announcement about Nerd Hurdles.
A NOTE ON THE SPECIAL EDITIONS: Before we joined the Simply Syndicated network, the first 31 episodes of Nerd Hurdles were hosted on Podbean. Technically, they still are. But since letting our pro-account lapse there’s been a bandwidth problem were the files are only available for the first half of the month before they hit the Podbean ceiling. While SimSyn’s hosting was on Libsyn, we started releasing these episodes as “Special Editions” with newly recorded introductions. When SimSyn moved our hosting to Soundcloud, those files were again lost (and we’d only managed to upload the first 10 anyway). So, here they are once more; uploaded to a 3rd audio service and hopefully the last.