Sunday, April 23, 2017

Nostalgia Theater: Filmation's The Tom and Jerry Comedy Show

Last week's post about Tom & Jerry Kids on Fox Kids got me thinking about another cartoon series chronicling the comedic cat and mouse team that debuted exactly ten years earlier on CBS: Filmation's The Tom and Jerry Comedy Show. As we've discussed quite often previously, Filmation was king of kidvid in this era, and so it was an easy sell for MGM to license the dueling duo for a brand-new animated show that would actually be their second made-for-TV series (we'll talk about the first some other time). Check out the intro:

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

INTERVIEW: Steve Wozniak on Sci-Fi, Comic Books, and How Star Trek Shaped the Future

From co-founding Apple Computer in the '70s to his continued work in groundbreaking new technologies right up to the present day, Steve Wozniak is a pioneer in the field of personal computing. His current project, however, hopes to meld a love of science fact with the worlds of science fiction and fantasy, with this weekend's second annual Silicon Valley Comic Con.

Bringing together such diverse luminaries as astronaut Buzz Aldrin and NASA scientists to cast members from TV's The Walking Dead, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and more, the three-day gathering in downtown San Jose hopes to showcase the ingenuity and diversity of geek culture via a showcase of colorful costumes, fan favorite productions, and scientific innovation.

I had the pleasure of chatting with the spritely and gregarious "Woz" during his recent swing through San Francisco, and we discussed his own roots in geek culture and what he hopes the Silicon Valley Comic Con will become in the future. Read on for some highlights of our conversation:

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The MovieFilm Podcast: The Fate of The Fate of the Furious

But that's not all for the MovieFilm Podcast this week! We still had more to say, so we hung around a little while longer to offer up our thoughts on the latest (greatest?) entry in Universal's long-running Fast & Furious franchise, The Fate of the Furious, which revved its engines to the tune of a $500 million-plus global opening this past weekend -- the biggest in history. So, how does Vin Diesel's latest "family" adventure play compare to its forerunners? Does the series weather the loss of co-star Paul Walker? How soon before the Rock conquers the world? We ponder all these questions and more in a special Fate of the Furious extra episode of the MovieFilm show! Listen below, or at iTunes or Stitcher or Google Play. Hit "like" on our Facebook page, and send any questions or comments to MovieFilmPodcast@gmail.com.

The MovieFilm Podcast: Star Wars News Galore + More!

The MovieFilm boys are back with their takes on the latest news and new releases! This past weekend brought a whole boatload of Star Wars news out of the famed Star Wars Celebration in Orlando, and we're here with our takes on the first teaser trailer for The Last Jedi, plus word that Star Wars: Rebels is coming to a close, as well as the hints that have been dropped for the franchise's future past 2019's Episode 9. Beyond that, we also have quick thoughts on the new trailers for Thor: Ragnarok and Transformers: The Last Knight, as well as news that Arnold Schwarzenegger's long-developing The Legend of Conan likely won't happen after all. It's a breezy 85 minutes, and you can listen to it all via this link or the embed below, or at iTunes or Stitcher or Google Play. As always, please hit "like" on our Facebook page, and send any questions or comments to MovieFilmPodcast@gmail.com.

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Batman-on-Film Podcast: Star Wars: The Last Jedi Teaser Reaction

Click the embed below to catch my appearance this past weekend on the latest Batman-on-Film Podcast. This time around host Rick Shew had me join regular panelists Justin Kowalski and Ryan Hoss, and special guest FJ DeSanto for an in-depth geek-out session as we picked apart the first reveal of footage from December's Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I had a great time with this one, and I'm sure you'll enjoy listening to it as well.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Nostalgia Theater: Tom & Jerry Kids Starts Fox Kids

In past installments of Nostalgia Theater I've discussed the propensity from purveyors of kidvid to shrink animated icons down to pint-size. For whatever reason, this trend proliferated for about a five year stretch, and then went away as suddenly as it began. We saw it with the Flintstones and Scooby-Doo on ABC, Yogi Bear on NBC, and then in 1990 Hanna-Barbera did it again with the beloved cat and mouse duo for Tom & Jerry Kids, the very first show to air as part of Fox's kid lineup, and the last of H-B's kiddie-fied cartoons. Here's the intro:

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Zaki's Review: The Fate of the Furious

Read my 2013 review of Fast & Furious 6 here

Read my 2015 review of Furious 7 here

Eight movies in, there are relatively few surprises left to be had from Universal’s Fast & Furious films, which is probably fine. Like with any long running series, be it Star Wars or Star Trek or Harry Potter, it’s the thrill of the familiar as much as anything else that has that has audiences lining up for each new installment. And from 2001’s The Fast and the Furious to now, the films’ single defining characteristic has become their chameleonic ability to switch up tones and genres with whiplash rapidity, morphing from “Point Break with street racing” to Ocean’s Eleven-esque heist pictures to glorified superhero movies.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Recommended Reading

Last week saw Majority Leader Mitch McConnell do away with the filibuster for Supreme Court picks as a way to ensure that President Trump's nominee Neil Gorsuch would make it onto the bench. This, of course, was the ultimate endgame of a long con that began just over a year ago when Antonin Scalia unexpectedly passed away and McConnell conspired to deny President Obama his Constitutional duty of picking a new justice, in hopes that Republicans could get their own guy in there instead. Given that this is merely the latest volley in an anti-American onslaught by McConnell, The Washington Post's Dana Milbank has had enough:
By rights, McConnell’s tombstone should say that he presided over the end of the Senate. And I’d add a second line: “He broke America.” No man has done more in recent years to undermine the functioning of U.S. government. His has been the epitome of unprincipled leadership, the triumph of tactics in service of short-term power.
Read more here.

Tape Thoughts

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Nostalgia Theater: Ernie Doesn't Want to Live on the Moon

Like most kids of my vintage, I grew up watching Sesame Street. Even far away in Saudi Arabia, I formed an early attachment to Bert, Ernie, Big Bird, and I especially consider the songs from that show the first "playlist" of my life. One number in particular that really stayed with me was a melancholy little ditty called "I Don’t Want To Live On The Moon."

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Spin, Spicer, Spin!

My contributions to the #SpicerSpinsMoviePlots hashtag that was trending on Twitter yesterday:

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Recommended Reading

Josh Marshall makes a pretty important observation about the impending Senate showdown over President Trump's SCOTUS nominee, which will very likely prompt a Democratic filibuster and, in turn, an invocation by Mitch McConnell of the so-called "nuclear option" getting rid of the supermajority requirement for the Supreme Court:
Mitch McConnell's historically unprecedented and constitutionally illegitimate decision to block President Obama from nominating anyone a year before he left office was the real nuclear option. The rest is simply fallout.
There's much more at the link, but the key point is that we didn't just suddenly end up here. This is the inevitable result of a path that Republicans chose to place the country on. As such, it's worth understanding the real crux of the story rather than being taken in by a media narrative that Democrats are sacrificing Senate norms to the altar of naked partisanship.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Diffused Congruence: Dr. Ihsan Bagby

For this month's show, we're joined by Dr. Ihsan Bagby, professor of Islamic Law at the University of Kentucky. Listen as he shares the story of his own journey to Islam, as well as his experience working for social equality over the last several decades. Check out the show at the embed below or at this link. As always, send any questions or comments to diffusedcongruence@gmail.com, or at our Facebook page.


Sunday, April 02, 2017

Nostalgia Theater: The Stars Are Back on NBC!

It's a ritual we've become accustomed to every season. As the TV networks go through the process of rolling out their fall wares, there's inevitably a new campaign they construct the season around. Back in 1993 the big push by NBC was "The Stars Are Back!" to highlight not only the many popular shows the Peacock Network had in their back pocket, but all the big name stars that were returning to the network.

In terms of "popular shows" we had stuff like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Wings, Blossom, and The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. And as far as "returning favorites," viewers in 1993 could look forward to John Larroquette (debuting his eponymous sitcom), Bill Cosby (starring in The Cosby Mysteries), and Kelsey Grammer (in the process of transitioning from Cheers to Frasier -- whatever happened to that show?).