Monday, May 16, 2022

After Lunch | Avengers Assemble, Season 1

Rob and I are joined by my son, David to talk about the first season of the Avengers Assemble cartoon, how it compares to the MCU, and whether or not we'll ever speak of this again.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

After Lunch | Dr No (1962)

Rob, Karen Flieger, and I discuss the first James Bond feature film: how it compares to the Fleming novel while setting the stage for the 60-year (and running) series of movies about the world's favorite super spy. 

Friday, May 06, 2022

Hellbent for Letterbox | Hot Lead and Cold Feet (1978)

Pax and I complete our Disney Westerns marathon with Jim Dale, Don Knotts, Darren McGavin, and Jack Elam in Hot Lead and Cold Feet. Pax also watches a bonus Disney Western with The Castaway Cowboy while I discover the Call of Juarez video games with Call of Juarez: Gunslinger.

Monday, May 02, 2022

After Lunch | Mystery Movie Night: Memories, Matchsticks, and Mountains

Evan asks Dave, David, Erik, and I to find the hidden connection (other than the fact that none of them are English-language films) between Solaris (1972), Le Dîner de Cons (1998), and Force Majeure (2014).

If you haven't seen one or more of the movies, feel free to skip to the discussions of your choice:

00:02:10 - Review of Solaris (1972)
00:16:12 - Review of Le Dîner de Cons (1998)
00:30:57 - Review of Force Majeure (2014)
00:51:24 - Guessing the Connection

Monday, April 25, 2022

After Lunch | Holodeck Party

Rob and I welcome back Corinna Bechko and Ben Graham to adapt books and movies into Star Trek holonovels. Each panelist picks a character from the source material that we want to play and then invites Star Trek characters to take on other roles. But in true Star Trek fashion, everything does not go smoothly on the holodeck and strange glitches occur to complicate and change the stories.

Opening and closing music by Andrew Allen.

Friday, April 22, 2022

After Lunch | After Dinner Lounge – Tubi or Not Tubi

Evan, Pax, Rob, and I ramble about the Hardy Boys, Batman, kids, surprising personality traits, and how to watch TV. Among many other things.

Monday, April 18, 2022

After Lunch | After Dinner Lounge – There's Always Been Asses

Evan, Pax, Rob, and I enjoy a rambling conversation about The Sandman, Ringu (and The Ring), Cyclops’ heat vision, Black Panther comics, and ever so much more. 

Saturday, April 16, 2022

On a Personal Note

I haven't used this space as an actual blog in a long time. I've been using it as a catalog of my various podcasts, which is useful, but I'd also like to use it for other things, whether just recording random thoughts or capturing reading and watching projects. I've been talking about reading and watching projects on places like After Lunch and Hellbent for Letterbox, but it would be nice to have a written record of them, too.

The trouble is that I hit a fence back in December when I stalled out on the Christmas Carol project halfway through the introduction of the Ghost of Christmas Present. I just lost the time and ability to keep up with it. And then other things started piling up behind that. I never did my annual recap posts of the books, movies, and music that I enjoyed the previous year, for example. I've always found those kinds of posts useful to refer back to, so it hurts that I haven't gotten around to it. 

And then there are the reading/watching projects I've been into like The Shining and its adaptations, The Ring and its adaptations, screen depictions of Nancy Drew, and I just finished listening to Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH on audiobook and then watching The Secret of NIMH. I'd like to have a written record of all that. 

So, what I'm going to have to do is climb over the remaining Christmas Carol entries from last year. They've become a mental barrier that I'm having a hard time pushing through. So I'm just going over them and will start working on my 2021 recap posts instead (backdated to January, since that's where I'll look for them in the archives in the future). After that, I'm calling it a clean slate. I might go back and capture some recent read/watch projects or I might just pick up with whatever I'm doing at the time. It'll be more exciting to not have that decided ahead of time. 

And then, at some point, I'll go back and finish introducing the Ghost of Christmas Present, also backdated to keep things organized and make it easier for me to find and reference them later.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Hellbent for Letterbox | The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin (1967)

Pax and I enjoyed last episode's Apple Dumpling Gang movies so much that we kept the Disney Western streak going with Roddy McDowall, Suzanne Pleshette, and Karl Malden in The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin

I also continued my Western History film project with 1937's Heroes of the Alamo, but Pax stayed on topic with a Disney Western comic: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad by Dennis Hopeless and Tigh Walker.

Monday, April 11, 2022

After Lunch | Without a Clue (1988)

Rob and I gather in the study to talk about an odd Sherlock Holmes movie. Michael Caine plays Holmes and Ben Kingsley is Watson in this parody where Watson is the brilliant detective and Holmes just a fictional character portrayed by a failed actor.

101 | Without a Clue (1988)

Monday, April 04, 2022

AfterLunch | Episode One Hundred

To commemorate the hundredth episode of AfterLunch, Evan, Pax, Rob, and I discuss the evolution of the show over the last couple of years and think about where it might possibly go from here. But it's not all just looking at belly buttons and we finish the episode talking about the 100th installments of Alpha FlightBatman ('66), Bob's Burgers, and Marvel Team-Up

Monday, March 21, 2022

AfterLunch | Big Screens Little Sentences

Rob, Evan, and I welcome Christian Nielsen (Pop Culture Retrofit) and my blog pal Siskoid (The Fire and Water Podcast Network) to guess movie titles based on one-sentence descriptions of the plot. It's kind of hard, fairly chaotic, and completely fun. 

Friday, March 18, 2022

Hellbent for Letterbox | The Apple Dumpling Gang (1975) / The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again (1979)

Pax and I watch both of Disney's Apple Dumpling Gang movies starring Don Knotts and Tim Conway with costars like Bill Bixby, Harry Morgan, Slim Pickens, and Jack Elam. Pax also checks out the Sergio Corbucci documentary, Django & Django, as well as the first novel in William R Cox's Cemetery Jones series.

Monday, March 14, 2022

AfterLunch | After Dinner Lounge – Buy Me a Cookie

Rob, Evan, Pax, and I talk about The Book of Boba Fett (with SPOILERS), the Oscars, Married Couple Origin Stories, and professional caregivers, among other things we've been watching and thinking about.

Friday, March 11, 2022

AfterLunch | After Dinner Lounge – No Infringement Intended

Rob, Evan, Pax, and I gather for another wandering discussion about what we've been listening to and reading. Conversational stops along the way include fan-made audio plays, radio, Ain’t It Cool News, and the ComiXology-Amazon merge. 

Friday, March 04, 2022

AfterLunch | Bond Novels – The Spy Who Loved Me

I talk about the most unusual James Bond novel of all, The Spy Who Loved Me. No Jaws. No Russian spy on a revenge quest. No underwater lair. Just a heartbroken girl, a remote motel, and a couple of thugs sent to kill her. 

Wednesday, March 02, 2022

Hellbent for Letterbox | The Furies (1950)

Pax and I watch another Barbara Stanwyck western, The Furies, this time directed by Anthony Mann. Also, I watch a little more 1883 and Pax reads Hailstorm, a comic by Rafael Scavone and Rafael de Latorre.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

AfterLunch | Thor: The Dark World

Opinions are divided when Rob, Pax, Lizzie, and I cover the second Thor film on our conversational journey through the MCU. 

Friday, February 18, 2022

AfterLunch | Bond Novels – Octopussy and The Living Daylights

In this solo episode, I talk about the four James Bond short stories collected after Ian Fleming's death as Octopussy and The Living Daylights. In addition to the two title stories, later editions also included "The Property of a Lady" (commissioned by Sotheby's) and "007 in New York" (to placate American readers after a rather cranky essay Fleming wrote about the city). 

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

AfterLunch | Comics Trivia

Rob, Pax, Evan, and Christian Nielsen form teams and test their superhero knowledge as I ask them questions from a card game I got in my Christmas stocking. There is triumph and there is defeat, but mostly there's a lot of laughter. And Meryl Streep playing the concertina.

Monday, February 14, 2022

AfterLunch | Bond Novels – Thunderball

I continue exploring Ian Fleming’s James Bond books with Thunderball, a controversial novel with complicated origins that finally introduces Ernst Stavro Blofeld and SPECTRE to the series. 

Friday, February 11, 2022

Hellbent for Letterbox | Forty Guns (1957)

Pax and I watch the Western Noir Forty Guns starring Barbara Stanwyck, Barry Sullivan, and Dean Jagger. I also check out Sam Worthington, Machine Gun Kelly, Heather Graham, and Thomas Jane in 2021's The Last Son.

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

AfterLunch | Bond Novels – For Your Eyes Only

I continue exploring Ian Fleming’s James Bond books with the eighth in the series. For Your Eyes Only isn't a novel, but a collection of five short stories. Elements of all five have turned up in various films though, whether it's the titles of "Quantum of Solace" and "From a View to a Kill" or the villains of "Risico" and "The Hildebrand Rarity" or the revenge-seeking daughter of "For Your Eyes Only." 

Monday, February 07, 2022

AfterLunch | Enterprise, Season 4

Rob, Evan, Delaney, and I wrap up our look at Star Trek: Enterprise. The show tried some new things in its final season, so we talk about whether or not that worked to improve things for us. And then there's that series finale... 

Friday, February 04, 2022

Thundarr Road | Harvest of Doom

Noel, David, and I are back to discuss Ookla's kidnapping by crocodile-people, Thundarr and Ariel's attempt to rescue him, and the introduction of a great new character. Also, multiple theories and some great conversation about where this takes place and when it fits in the timeline. 

Wednesday, February 02, 2022

Hellbent for Letterbox | Old Henry (2021)

Pax and I discuss 2021's Old Henry with Tim Blake Nelson, Stephen Dorff, and Trace Adkins. I also watch Jane Campion's The Power of the Dog and Pax reads Mad Amos Malone: The Complete Stories by Alan Dean Foster.

Monday, January 31, 2022

AfterLunch | After Dinner Lounge – I Want to Believe

Rob, Evan, Pax, and I  chit chat about The Beatles, The Morning Show, the post-Endgame MCU, and whether or not the Supernatural is real. 

Friday, January 28, 2022

AfterLunch | After Dinner Lounge – Every Rose Has Its Thorn

Rob, Evan, Pax, and I gather again to talk about what we've been listening to and reading. And our favorite flowers. Lots of recommendations, but in the process of meandering, the conversation occasionally settles into topics like The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the Fast and Furious movies, and gritty super hero comics. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

AfterLunch | Bond Novels – Goldfinger

I continue exploring Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels with the seventh in the series, Goldfinger. Like with the film version, the novel introduces a lighter tone than had been in the series so far. But is that a good thing or bad? 

Monday, January 24, 2022

AfterLunch | Nerdstradamus 2022

Rob, Evan, Pax, Kay, Robert Zerbe, and I reconvene to see how we all did on our pop culture resolutions and predictions from 2021. And to make new ones for 2022. 

Friday, January 21, 2022

Hellbent for Letterbox | Our Top 15 Westerns

When listener Mathias Skeppstedt sent in the list of his Top 15 Favorite Westerns, Pax and I decided to come up with our own lists to compare. Each of the three has a mix of classics and surprises, and we run through all of them in this short(ish) episode.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Movie-Watching in 2021

Before getting into all the movies from 2021 that I saw, here's a look at my movie-watching overall last year according to my activity on Letterboxd:
  • I watched a total of 335 films, which is way down from the previous two years, but I started watching a lot more TV series in 2021. My movie average was just under 28 a month or just over 6 a week.
  • The first movie I saw last year was a rewatch of Wonder Woman to get ready to see Wonder Woman 1984.
  • The last movie I saw last year was Spider-Man: No Way Home.
  • I didn't watch any movie more than twice last year, but there were a few that I did that with. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and The Suicide Squad were the only two that I did it just because I wanted to see them again. The others were all movies that I watched for a podcast, but the recording was rescheduled, so I watched them again just before we actually recorded.
  • 56 (or about 17%) of the movies I saw were actually from 2021. That's higher than normal for me. I usually skew a lot heavier into older films by over 90%.
  • 194 of them (about 58%) were films I watched for the first time (or at least had never recorded on Letterboxd before). That's right around normal for me.
  • Samuel L Jackson was my most watched actor with 10 films, thanks to several MCU re-watches, but also Kong: Skull IslandThe Hitman’s Bodyguard, and first-time watch The Protégé.
  • Other actors I watched a lot of were folks from the MCU and Fast and Furious movies, so the only surprise on my Most Watched Actors list was Donald Sutherland. He's due in part to a Hunger Games binge, but also Kelly’s HeroesMax Dugan Returns, and The Castle of the Living Dead.
  • My most watched director was Justin Lin thanks again to the Fast and Furious series. Chloé Zhao, the Russo Brothers, lucha libre director Federico Curiel (thanks to the lucha libre podcast I was on), and Michael Curtiz were all right behind Lin with four movies each. Curtiz was the only sort of naturally recurring one. The others are all because of series, except for Zhao and she's because I purposely marathoned her stuff before seeing Eternals. The Curtiz films I watched were The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex and The Sea Hawk (both because I was watching Elizabethan films), The Adventures of Robin Hood (for After Lunch), and my annual re-watch of White Christmas.
  • Kevin Feige was my top producer at 22 films.
  • But Marvel was not the movie studio I watched most of. It was tied for second with MGM with 21 films each. My most-watched studio was Universal with 28 films. The Fast and Furious series helped a lot with that, as did the Halloween movies, but there are a lot of random films in that list, too.
  • Chris Morgan and Henry James were tied for my Most Watched Writer at 7 films each. Morgan's a writer for the Fast and Furious series. James wrote the novel The Turn of the Screw, which I watched a lot of adaptations of.
  • Over the Garden Wall was the thing I saw that's most liked by other Letterboxd users.
  • The thing I watched that was least liked by other Letterboxd users was Halloween: Resurrection. And I agree with them.
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home is the most popular movie that I saw last year.
  • The most obscure movie I watched was a 1965 Italian Biblical epic called I Grandi Condottieri. It's basically an anthology film with the stories of Gideon and Samson connected only through some inelegant narration. Both stories have good actors creating relatable versions of their characters, though. And the whole project must have had a decent budget too if the sets and large casts of extras are an indication. I liked it just fine.

Monday, January 17, 2022

AfterLunch | Bond Novels – Dr. No

I continue exploring Ian Fleming's James Bond novels with the sixth in the series, Dr. No. It's the pulpiest so far, but also has big character development for Bond and a surprising thematic connection with Pierre Boulle's novel, Planet of the Apes

Friday, January 14, 2022

Hellbent for Letterbox | News of the World (2020)

Pax and I finally watch the 2020 Western that everyone's been talking about, Paul Greengrass' News of the World starring Tom Hanks and Helena Zengel. And Pax looks into what the deal is with The Hateful Eight Extended Version.


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