All posts by Derek Jensen


CasablancaNetflix IMDb
My favorite film. I did a commentary for this a couple of years ago that was good but sounded lousy and was in three parts. With everybody downloading big podcasts over broadband, it might as well be in one file, so I’ve rerecorded it. I describe the historical context as well as the themes and how the plot points are foreshadowed and resolved.

I explain the “General DeGaulle/Weygand” mix-up and how the characters relate to the larger picture of Europe in the midst of World War 2, particularly how characters are introduced early and kept alive in the background until they become important.

Note: I mistakenly say that Rick fought in Spain in 1935, when the film clearly says 1936 (the Spanish Civil War didn’t start until mid-1936).

Start the movie at the very beginning credits when I give the instruction. (49 MB)


SerenityNetflix IMDb
It’s the rip-roaring, high-stakes, high-drama tall tale of the Serenity‘s greatest adventure ever! The crew is dogged by an Alliance operative almost as crazy as Jubal Early. I apologize to the people of Great Britain on behalf of the entire American film industry. I should apologize to Chiwetel Ejiofor for butchering his name horribly. Mal and the Hole-in-the-Boat Gang take an Alliance payroll but are set upon by reavers. Simon busts Mal a good one and gets dumped on a planet where River is driven cuckoo by a Fruity Oaty Bar commercial. Wash suggests they talk to their old friend, Mr. Universe. Yes. Mr. Universe. You remember him. Inara wants Mal to come and not fight with her. Trap! I show off my English degree my identifying “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” Book will take his secrets to the grave. Wash doesn’t have any secrets, but if he did, so would he. River is carrying a politician’s secret to a lot of other people’s graves. The horror of the Pax is exposed. Kaylee and Simon sort out their romantic difficulties by killing reavers. River becomes a Super Bass-o-matic. Inara might hang around. All’s well that ends we— Wait… what’s with the graves?

I’m watching the R1 DVD version. Start the film on the countdown.

Firefly series

I wrote an analysis of Firefly and Serenity, but I found that I wasn’t done with thinking about it. So I started doing audio commentaries. I love audio commentaries found on DVDs and often listen to fan commentaries of movies I especially like. In fact, the presence of commentaries by the director, producer, stars, and effects guys regularly sway my DVD purchase. I hate bare-bones DVDs and often wait for special editions. Are you listening Hollywood?
Continue reading Firefly series