331: I Refuse To Call It a Prequel
Put on your Kyber crystal necklace, don a stylish white cape, and keep the Force with you! It’s time to break down “Rogue One,” the first big-budget live-action non-saga “Star Wars” film. We discuss how the film juggles its many characters and settings, the issues with reviving past film elements through CGI, the splendor of Darth Vader’s bachelor pad (and the weirdness of his bathroom), the unexpectedly spectacular space battle, the vacation plans of the Empire’s records division, the film’s strange disconnection with its teaser trailer, and a whole lot more.
17 Dec 2016
207: I Am Groot
Put in your mix tape and get ready for a climactic dance-off! We’re talking “Guardians of the Galaxy,” Marvel’s latest hit movie and a real departure in so many ways. What makes the movie work? What are its flaws? We break it all down.
15 Aug 2014
492: The Sith You've Dated
The Dead Speak, and so do we! It’s our first panel reviewing “The Rise of Skywalker.” Can this film bear the gravitational pull of the eight previous Skywalker Saga films? Does it provide a proper ending? We discuss Rey’s parentage, Finn’s increasing abilities, Poe’s lessons in leadership, whether Kylo Ren can possibly be redeemed, Zen and the Art of X-Wing Maintenance, how the film balances honoring Carrie Fisher with serving Leia’s character arc, and much more.
22 Dec 2019
357: It's Above Average
“Wonder Woman”, the first female-led superhero movie in ages, has arrived! After praising director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Godot in a pre-spoiler segment, we discuss the necessity of the post-“Batman v. Superman” framing sequence, the choreography of the fight scenes, the innate humanity of Gal Godot’s Diana, how this compares to recent superhero fare, the World War I setting, and maybe even Chris Pine’s watch.
10 Jun 2017
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430: We're the Magnificent Seven
Sit back and let our panelists take you into the world of movie music, as we draft our favorite film scores. (Songs with lyrics not eligible!) Who is this John Williams guy and why is he hogging the limelight? If James Horner’s scores all sound the same, why do we keep picking them? This is one episode that wasn’t overproduced by Hans Zimmer.
28 Oct 2018
354: Sons of Caledonia
A panelist from the very first episode, Dan Moren is now a published science-fiction novelist. Dan’s book, “The Caledonian Gambit,” was released today. Seven years ago, before The Incomparable even existed, Jason read a draft of Dan’s book… proving that sometimes the road to having your book published can be a long one, but with talent and perseverance it can be done. In this special episode, Jason talks to Dan about how he started writing novels, when he started working on what would become “The Caledonian Gambit”, how he got an agent, the revision process, and where his novel-writing career takes him from here. (The episode doesn’t have any spoilers for the book.)
23 May 2017
458: San Francisco Rat
We’re in the endgame now. In this, the first of two episodes about “Avengers: Endgame,” we break down the plot of perhaps the biggest movie of all time. How does time travel work? How do we feel about the final destinations of beloved characters? Why does the Hulk need to take the stairs? Who is worthy of wielding the power of Thor? Also, Jason has a pitch for a new Captain America TV series.
4 May 2019
195: Peak Crate
Following in the footsteps of our video-game draft, it’s time for us to select some of our favorite computer games of all time. Real-time strategy! Arcade style! Text adventures! From the earliest days of video games up to the present, we’ve got it covered. Now if we could just figure out what was in those crates…
17 May 2014
413: How Ironic, Tony!
The Incomparable’s Summer of Marvel begins with a look back at 2008’s “Iron Man” and 2010’s “Iron Man 2.” How unlikely was it that a B-list Marvel Comics superhero nobody had ever heard of would end up kicking off one of the most successful film franchises of all time? How did perfect casting and a light touch with the subject matter pay off in this unlikely success? And how does the sequel balance being a second “Iron Man” film and the launch of a much larger franchise?
30 Jun 2018
394: High on Mushrooms
Hop into your spore chamber and prepare for Black Alert — “Star Trek” has returned to television, and we’ve got our overview of the first season of “Star Trek: Discovery.” Did it meet our expectations? Was it more comfort food or modern TV drama? “Star Trek” shows live or die by their characters, so did Burnham, Saru, Tilly, Stamets, and company find their way into our hearts? Why were there so many plot twists? And what are we hoping for in season two? We break the whole thing down.
17 Feb 2018
160: Super-Secret Sony MiniDiscs
Take the red pill and enter “The Matrix,” 1999’s influential sci-fi/action classic. Why does Morpheus talk like a fortune cookie? Is Keanu’s woodenness an asset or detriment? Was skeuomorphism the fall of man? And if we accept that living things can be used as batteries, why wouldn’t the machines just use cows? Grad students, we are about to blow your minds. Whoa.
27 Sep 2013
431: Overture and Apes
Pick up a femur, order a moon sandwich, and always remember to bring your space helmet with you! On its 50th anniversary, we’re discussing Stanley Kubrick’s classic “2001: A Space Odyssey.” What is the Monolith’s purpose? When and why does HAL become murderous? And why is there so much solarized stock footage of landscapes? Watch out for cheetahs!
3 Nov 2018
368: This Movie Ends, Right?
Time for 1997’s “Batman & Robin”, featuring George Clooney as Batman, Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze, Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy, and Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl. At least we can laugh about it now… to keep from crying. (Part two of two.)
26 Aug 2017
328: Panspermia, but for Clothes
We deconstruct and reconstruct the recent release “Arrival,” staring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker, and based on a story by Ted Chiang that we discussed nearly 300 episodes ago. There’s praise for the story’s restraint, quiet tone, beautiful scenes of solitary obelisks in remote cow pastures, and realistic portrayal of its main characters. We also enter a spirited debate about the film’s sci-fi plot mechanism, the way its aliens (and alien language) are portrayed, and the morality of a choice that one character may—or may not—have made.
27 Nov 2016
414: Credible Hulk
The Summer of Marvel continues our walk through the Marvel Cinematic Universe with 2008’s “Incredible Hulk,” starring Edward Norton. Released weeks after “Iron Man”, it’s often ignored, and yet it’s a fascinating look at the decisions Marvel did (and didn’t) make as it built its film franchises. Also just for kicks, we compare and contrast with Ang Lee’s 2003 “Hulk” starring Eric Bana, because gamma dogs.
7 Jul 2018
443: Right Off the Bat
It’s time to dive in to the first film in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, 2005’s “Batman Begins.” We discuss how it changes the tone after the embarrassing Joel Schumacher films, its remarkable roster of acting talent, the more grounded tone and technology, and a whole lot more. Plus, one panelist’s deep love of Michael Caine is revealed at last.
26 Jan 2019
355: What Would Pop Do?
We take a deep dive into Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather Part II”, which is really two movies in one. Robert De Niro stars as young Vito Corleone, who comes to America and learns how to become The Godfather. And Al Pacino stars as Michael Corleone, trying to live up to the standard set by his father in the first film. In this episode we talk about its overarching themes, the two-timeframe approach, and the first portion of the film itself, including a visit to pre-revolution Cuba and Lee Strasberg as a grumpy old man who really wants you to look at his cake. [Part one of two.]
28 May 2017
200: Butter Zone
We celebrate our 200th episode with this mega-sized installment. We discuss what it means to have geeky enthusiasms (and whether we should grow up), and then listen to some reader feedback. Plus there’s a draft, some beer, and special guest stars.
27 Jun 2014
393: The Ol' Reverse Lucifer
“The Good Place” just finished its second season, and we still couldn’t love this show more. We discuss the moral growth of all the show’s characters in season two, break down the meaning of the final episode, and float a bunch of theories about where the show might be headed next.
10 Feb 2018
470: Futterwacken Hats
Our Rocket Surgery crew returns to the current decade to discuss Tim Burton’s billion-dollar 3-D smash hit, “Alice In Wonderland.” What if everything you remember fondly from Lewis Carroll was turned into a catchphrase? Why so much eye stabbing? Who is the Jabberwocky and what has it done with the Jabberwock? What does Johnny Depp bring to his role of a mild hat enthusiast? When did Monty give up and start reading IMDB trivia? Nobody mention how big the Red Queen’s head is!
21 Jul 2019