Thursday, November 29, 2012

Episode 34 - Total Recall?

Just in time for the holidays, the celebratory 2nd Anniversary Derailed Trains of Thought podcast!

So...instead of working ourselves to the bone (you know, as we usually do, trying to get out one episode every 9 weeks or so), we compiled a collection of our favorite segments from the last year.

I mean, who can forget our discussion of feminism and story, or the history of punctuation, or our treatise on the theological meaning of Looney Tunes? But, if for some reason you have, that's what this clip show is all about.

Sit back and bask in an hour's condensed glory of your premiere storytelling podcast. Also, listen to Nick and Tim nearly break into fisticuffs.


Show Notes

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  1. Hey guys, good to have the podcast back! I can’t believe you managed to get the podcast out of Area 51. I imagine there was a shakey cam chase scene involved with your escape.

    The test portion of about women in films reminds me of the comic phenomenon known as ‘Women in refrigerators.’ This is when a female character is maimed, de-powered, or killed in order to make the male character grow. While I think people can go overboard searching for tropes in entertainment, I’m glad the WiR syndrome exists to keep writers creative on character growth.

    On the flipside, I find that with the growth of feminism, it’s common to make the majority of the male cast a bit on the stupid side. The girl (or girls) of the group then has to keep the others in line. I hope that doesn’t become the norm, and that a balance can be found.

    Let’s not forget when people talk in all CAPS. I’m ashamed to admit I used to write in all caps when I did some online roleplaying, because I thought it would make writing easier. Thankfully, that phase did not last very long.
    As for punctuation, I die a bit inside every time I use twitter and have to cut out a comma or an apostrophe.

    Looney Tunes Theology-
    I’ll call it right here, this is the best segment the two of you have recorded. Very clever with all the deep analysis of the Looney Tunes pantheon. Can’t wait to hear you both discuss where the Disney characters fit into creation.

    How to Beat Writers Block-
    There was something I was going to say about this segment, but I can’t figure it out.

    I’ll admit, I haven’t seen a ton of disaster movies, so I can’t effectively judge this segment. I will say is that I could care less as to what happens to the people in Twister, but I need to know if the cow in the tornado makes it out alright. I will say that I won’t see a movie if it features a cat getting killed. Call me a softie, but it’s true.

    They make any movie better. You know what Dr. Zhivago needed? Explosions!

    Summer movies-
    I managed to check out two movies in theaters this summer: The Avengers and The Amazing Spiderman. I ran out of time to see The Dark Knight Rises, but I plan on seeing it as soon as it comes out on DVD. I know it’s not a popular opinion, but I felt The Avengers was overrated. Was it fun? At points, but it also dragged in the middle. I found the alien invaders uninspired, and just served to be a body count. I would’ve preferred Loki as a bigger threat. I will agree that the character interaction was excellent. As for Batman, would you both say you enjoyed it more than what you were expecting?

    And I know you both sounded apathetic to it, but you must see The Amazing Spiderman. I wasn’t that excited for it, either, but I’m glad I gave it a chance. It’s my favorite movie of the year at the moment. They do a nice job of going over different territory than the Raimi Spiderman films, so you rarely feel that you’ve seen it all before. Best of all, Spiderman is jokey and you can tell he’s enjoying himself as he fights crime. It’s the perfect anti-thesis to the mopey superheroes of late.

    As for Brave, I loved it. Granted, I’m a sucker for lore and loved the location of the film, but I think it’s better than what people are crediting it for. I felt that the fact Merida had to step up and keep the peace between factions of characters was different from most Disney films I’ve seen. And other than the monster bear, there weren’t any sinister villains. The people around Merida could’ve become villains, but she works at saving them from themselves. I thought that was a pretty original idea.

    Curious George VS Frog and Toad-
    Nick’s description of the average Curious George story cracks me up every time I hear it.
    Congrats on another year of podcasting, and here’s to many more in the future!

  2. Egad! What monster comment! Still, it's nice to be able to continue the conversation. A few replies:

    (Incidentally, any stories about how Nick and I got into or out of Area 51 are strictly confidential. As they should be. o_O )

    Punctuation - In regards to Twitter, I definitely feel your pain. It's nice how the Twitter format forces you to be concise, but it always hurts to have to condense your witty sentence into texting speak.

    Theology - I'm pretty sure an entire doctoral thesis could be made on how Donald Duck's tantrums represent rebellious man's futile attempts to defy predestination.

    Summer movies - Don't know about Nick, but yeah, I can safely say I enjoyed Dark Knight Rises more than I expected. As serious as the movie could be, it didn't have the downright disturbing presence of the Joker in it, which kept it being quite as dark as I feared. I know the Joker is the main reason so many people loved The Dark Knight, and I agree Heath Ledger's performance was amazing, but it also made it a darker Batman story than I prefer. With Batman stories, there's a fine line between the darkness of Batman: The Animated Series and that of Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns; I prefer the former and think Nolan's last effort was closer to that side.

    Interesting, the way you describe the recent Spiderman movie (which does make me want to see it) is also part of what I liked about Avengers. The main draw of the movie and the climax is all about the joy of seeing heroes get together and kick lots of bad guy butt. Sure, there's some initial team in-fighting and a global crisis, but it's all with a wink and a smile. I dunno, it worked for me. I'm curious now to see if Man of Steel will pull off some of that feeling or go too emo.

    Y'know, Ray from 2PStart long talked about how expectations can influence your perception of something, and I think that's especially true about Brave. I've come to expect so much from Pixar, I found it disappointing to see familiar animated story tropes in it. And like you said, they did do some different things like have the heroine perform some diplomacy and keeping anyone from emerging as a villain. But it's like I kept wanting the movie to be more than it is instead of appreciating what it is, which I'm not sure is entirely fair.

    On a related tangent, I recently saw How to Tame Your Dragon for the first time and was struck how entertaining it was despite its plot being mostly predictable. Maybe that was a case of going in with low expectations and being pleasantly surprised.

    Alright, that's more than enough for now. Thanks once again for all your kind comments, Greg!

  3. Yeah, I know it was a monster reply, though I was writing my thoughts down as I was listening. And yes, I understand the confidentiality of your situation. Don’t want anyone to show up unannounced at your house. Though I suppose the two of you could then do a podcast about travelling in stories. Then again, that might be appropriate with The Hobbit out now.

    I’m glad you enjoyed Dark Knight Rises, considering I knew you were down about TDK. I appreciate the film, but yeah, the Joker isn’t one of my favorite villains. Now if he’s in the animated universe, then that’s a different story. I’m just not a huge fan of overly dark stories. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Man of Steel in that regard. I know we both agree about the majority of work by Miller and Moore. The late 80’s and 90’s were a dark time. That’s not to say that nothing can ever be dark. We certainly live in dark times. I just feel that sometimes the darkness is glorified to the point where any story that’s dark is suddenly a better story.

    Don’t get me wrong about The Avengers. There is a lot of joy in that film as well. I just had a bit higher hopes for it, since in the Marvel Universe I prefer the Avengers over the X-men. I’m hoping they face a worthy villain in the next film.

    I’ll agree that expectations can ruin a movie for a person. I didn’t have that many expectations about Brave when I went into it, so that probably helped with my impression of it. I guess I didn’t recognize the tropes that it used while watching the film. HtTYD was a great film, and so was Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

    If I don’t chat with either of you beforehand, I hope you both enjoy your Christmas! May it be a fun one, and without three ghosts appearing to you the night before to teach you the meaning of it!