Commentary: Jaws (w/ Drew from!)

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Join Drew of and me as we look into the dead eyes of the master killer of the seas and come out the other end changed men. Together, we try to figure out what genre the movie is (monster movie? horror? Hitchcockian thriller? western?), whether or not Quint is a sorcerer, and how many awesome suit jackets Mayor Vaughn owns.

We compare the film to other blockbusters, other shark/monster movies, Moby Dick, Die Hard, The Ghost & the Darkness, and Hot Fuzz. We contemplate it as a sequel to West Side Story, the characters as Harry Potter analogs, and the Quint as Han Solo. And I learn an important lesson about comparing scars.

Note: It occurs to me, based on Drew’s reaction to the animatronics, that the sequel should have been The Making of Jaws, where the animatronic shark starts killing people.

We’re watching the R1 DVD version and have a couple of brief glitches, but give the sync point. Start the film on the countdown after the Universal logo.

Commentary: Prometheus (w Sofa Dogs and Faldor!)

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Join me as I join John Pavlich of Sofa Dogs and Faldor of the Extended Edition podcast for a thoro drubbing of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. It’s the heartwarming tale of an old man trying to recapture his youth and getting his head handed to him. But enough about Ridley Scott.

We examine the themes and complications, the plot twists that don’t quite work, and the way the film repeatedly works against itself with their echoes of religion and the other Alien movies, as well as Stargate, Return of the Jedi, and Casablanca.

We’re watching the Blu-ray/HD DVR version and stay in perfect sync. Start the film on the countdown after the Scott Free logo.

Commentary: Looper

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Join me as I join John Pavlich of Sofa Dogs for a long, hard look at Rian Johnson’s wobbly time travel thriller. We both like it (he more than I) and both have problems with it (I more than he). We look at Confused Matthew’s take on the film, and Rian Johnson’s himself. John had a Twitter conversation with him that I gamely try to retroactively explain Johnson’s side of. Regardless, it’s a fascinating film or two films squooshed together, depending on your point of view and, possibly, your current location in the space-time continuum.

Note: John drops out at a few points due to Internet/Skype issues, but it’s not too frequent or too bad. Unfortunately, he lost his recording of the call. We may provide a fixed version in the future.

We’re watching the Blu-ray. Start the film on the countdown after the End Game logo.

Commentary: Superman 1978 (with Lynch!)

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I’m back from the dead after several weeks of a bad chest cold. So join me and Hardy Lynch of The Speakeasy for a tear thru the 1978 blockbuster classic Superman (which we don’t really like very much). Thrill to the Shakespearean blarney at the beginning (which we admire), the slow roll thru 1950s America (which we love), and the screwball romance of the 1970s (which we think is great), right to the big blockbuster finale (which we hate).

We discuss Star Trek, James Bond, Gene Hackman’s career, Clark Kent’s big dope angle, the likelihood of Superman’s mom making pajamas for him, and the implausibility of most of the physics. We swoon over Lex Luthor’s lair, the cinematography, and the acting pretty much across the board.

Bonus: we wonder why the whole third act happens.
Double bonus: I only cough a few times toward the end.

Things I forgot to mention:

  • Clark apparently eats the dog for breakfast instead of Cheerios, because we see it run out to him, but it’s not there when Ma Kent gets there.
  • Clark conveniently avoided the Vietnam draft by fleeing to Canada for his education in the Fortress of Solitude.

I’m watching the Blu-ray. Hardy is watching the PAL DVD and has to repeatedly sync with me, so there are several times that we announce where we are. Start the film on the countdown just as the curtains are fading up (about 20 seconds in).

Commentary: Alien vs Predator (w/ CTS!)

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Join me and Mike of Commentary Track Stars as we take a look at Paul WS Anderson’s comic-booky mess of a monster-slasher film. We discuss the casting, the setting, what there is of a plot, and the missed opportunity of a romance.

I’m watching the R1 DVD version; he’s watching the Blu-ray. Start the commentary after the 20th Century Fox logo before the 20th Century Fox title card, on the countdown.

Commentary: Pirates of the Caribbean 2 (with Faldor!)

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Join Faldor and me for a rollicking–some would say vomit-inducing–roller coaster ride thru the mind of Gore Verbinski and friends as Jack Sparrow (and some other people) returns! Jack Sparrow (and some other people) fight the fearsome Davy Jones! (And we don’t make a single Monkees joke, somehow.) And Jack Sparrow (and some other people) fight the terrifying Kraken! Also, a hell of a lot of deals are made that are almost all reneged on, and the end makes no sense!

We analyze the meandering plot structure, the overlong set pieces, and the muddy motivations. We posit some changes that might have helped clarify or at least short the mess. And we wax philosophical about which film is better: this one or the third one.

I’m watching the R1 DVD version; Faldor is watching the Blu-ray, and we stay in sync. Start the commentary after the Bruckheimer road-and-tree logo has faded, on the countdown.

Commentary: A Series of Unfortunate Events

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Join me for the heartwarming story of the Beaudelaire orphans, who lose their parents, family friends, and innocence in a series of deeply, deeply unfortunate events, all of which seem to be caused by one Count Olaf. Again and again, they fall into his clutches in one way or another in ways that are both darker and more comical than any competing juvenile fiction series, and all are mysteriously recorded by one Lemony Snicket.

I compare the film to the books, competing juvenile fiction series, the Lord of the Rings, other Jim Carrey movies, and a Smashing Pumpkins video. I look for motifs and theme (which are, to be sure, pretty obvious) and identify the cars. I love the film and lament the lack of a sequel.

I’m watching the R1 DVD version. Start the commentary after Dreamworks logo and before the Nickelodeon logo, on the countdown.

Commentary: Community 1×07 “Intro to Stats”

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Join me as I again join John Pavlich of Sofa Dogs to watch the seventh episode of Community.

We discuss Slater’s relationship with Winger, Spanish punctuation, drugging Chevy, Shirley’s Christianity, and the quality of Chang’s advice.

Start the commentary at the very beginning of the episode, on the countdown.

Friends in Your Head Harry Potter Marathon, sponsored by!

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Commentary: Pirates of the Caribbean 1

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Join me for a rollicking Halloween pirate/ghost/zombie or whatever adventure as Disney has the bright idea to turn a mediocre amusement park ride into a gigantic movie franchise. This might be the film that kills Disney, since it kind of became their strategy to create tent-pole films out of existing properties with a big Johnny Depp-like (often Johnny Depp himself) star and forgot that you kind of need a good script to get the ball rolling.

I analyze the plot, the curse, and the characters. I point out where the flab is (it’s kind of overlong) but mostly have a lot of fun with it. I compare it a bit to the other films in the series, to other pirate movies, to romantic comedies, Master and Commander, commedia dell’arte, and the Muppets.

I’m watching the R1 DVD version. Start the commentary after the studio logo along with the wisps of flame, on the countdown.