Earthquakes and dinosaurs. Time-traveling dictators and mutated sharks. Homicidal snow tires and bubble-wrap aliens. There's enough love in the world for the poignant art films of the intellectual community, as well as the ultra-campy, miniscule budget or ultra-absurd film deviants that actually aim to be awful...right?
In the second of our "Loving Bad Film" installments, we look at those releases that don't even attempt to have such time and resource-intensive characteristics like 'plots', 'budgets', or heaven forbid, 'acting skills'. Who needs them, when you have David Hasselhoff battling a 45-foot rabid dino-skunk with a cyber-chainsaw from the year 2137? Seriously.
We're fortunate enough to be joined by the two creative minds and opinionated entertainment insights of Kim Rogers and Sage Young of the fantastic blog Head Over Feels, a online resource that you probably know far better than this one -- and if not, you obviously should!
In a world...where the best laid plans of producers and directors often go awry...
We've all come across some form of entertainment or art that, despite all the best intentions of the creators and artists involved, completely fails to deliver. In the cinematic scope, there are dozens of ways that a film could be an absolute disaster, from technical shortfalls, to budget constraints that force visible shortcuts, to a shoddy scripts and horrific acting.
What some may not always be so ready to admit to is a strange affection for some of these complete disasters -- an odd magnetism that draws a select number of viewers in with a fervor that makes 'cult classics' of them. These fans of failures will step forward as staunch defenders of their ugly darlings, and we're giving them the stage to step up and profess their love for the 'laudable flawed'.
We're joined once again by guests Lauren and Wil -- shameless bad film defenders!
By-Tor slays his foe
The men are free to run now
From labyrinths below
The Wraith of Necromancer
Shadows through the sky
Another land to darken
With evil prism eye
-- Rush: "The Necromancer"; Caress of Steel
From the simple tools of a table, a few sheets of paper and a pencil, to virtual reality helmets and global networking platforms, the concept of the role-playing game has been around far longer than most will realize. Is this such an "insider" sort of game, where complete investment in alternate character personalities and quick improvisation to (literally) roll-of-the-dice chance events are required, or can it be more casually understood, appreciated, and joined?
There's a satisfaction all its own, when parents see reflections of their own interests and passions in the hearts and voices of their children. When this manifests itself in the geek realm, it's nothing short of magical.
Have we turned a cultural corner from the days of weekend soccer tournaments and PTA bake sales as the epicenters of family bonding and social interaction, and are now on a path towards multi-generational LARP events, family cosplay, or even collaborative fanfic composition?
Joined by geek dad extraordinaire Bert T., and podcaster and author Deb Stanish of Verity, we look at the developmental and possibly societal advantages of raising one's kids in a geek household.
Whether it's a major electoral year or a small-town bid for ombudsman or judge probate, there are some who get as interested in political contests, policy debates, and the economy as others might be in Marvel films or the latest Call of Duty release.
What feeds this fascination? Does it stem from a deep-seated investment in the topics being contested, a desire to see one's personal beliefs and platforms upheld by representatives that best exemplify and advance those agendas? Or is this a fanatic enjoyment of the machinations of politics, the holistic nature of government and its impact on the lives of the citizens within it, across all social strata? Could this be the most complex form of geekdom we've yet to explore?
In this episode, we look at the intense fascination some have with the inner workings of politics, from polls to policy, rhetoric to legislation.
In the immortal words of Huey Lewis, "It's Hip to Be Square". While that may be perfectly valid in libraries, on sitcoms, and in certain downtown social scenes, it may not be considered quite gospel in the workplace. What's a gainfully employed geek to do, when trying to be respected and accepted at one's job, while still feeling free to express one's passions and interests? Does a career mandate a certain degree of conformity?
Joined this time around by guests Aimee and Julie, we look at geek life in the workplace, and what it means to be true to one's interests while still on the clock.
Since the gladiatorial days of the Roman Empire, there has been a public fascination with displays of physical prowess, brute strength and virility. Onward through history, Greco-Roman wrestling continued to be an honored sport, later evolving into an entertainment form drawing crowds at 19th century European vaudeville and sideshows, and by the mid 20th century, the popularity of televised boxing saw rise to a new stylization of the ancient arena display: professional wrestling.
What do we really know of this entertainment form, what it seeks to provide the viewing audience, and what many of those devoted audience members expect from it?
Exaggerated features and reactions. Storylines that range from the mortal-mundane to the spiritual-fantastical, often intertwined. Painstakingly drawn, inked and animated, and consumed by hundreds of millions of consumers internationally.
So why is it, then, that so many western observers consider this animation style (based on the manga art form which dates back far longer than most realize) to be nothing more than "Japanese cartoons for teenagers"? What may be keeping this outside observer's generalization from seeing the artistry, depth and value of so many anime productions?
It's as old as cats versus dogs, the Ghostbusters versus the paranormal, or UT versus Texas Tech: the timeless struggle between those introvertive pocket-protector nerds infatuated with their role playing, databases, and Internet chat groups; and the fist-bumping sports nuts, chattering endlessly about their beloved team and players with their fantasy leagues...databases...and Internet chat groups...wait. Is there really a difference here?
Is there such a thing as someone who qualifies as a "geek" about their passion, but that interest just happens to be sports?
There is an entire subculture involving cosplay that is rapidly growing beyond the convention halls, and beginning to overlap more mainstream media and social outlets. With this increased exposure, however, comes the misconceptions and bias towards the art form, as well as towards those who embrace it, both recreationally and professionally.
Can an increased education and awareness of the nature of this activity help to dispel the misapprehension, both from the 'outside' observer? Furthermore, what can be done about problems of exclusion within the subculture itself?
(Our first episode release as part of the illustrious Gonna Geek Podcast Network!)
Have you ever been excluded from a discussion, or otherwise accused of being wrong because of your opinions on a book, comic, graphic novel, or other printed source? Ever seen a book club descend into something more closely resembling Fight Club? Better yet, have you ever seen a rabid "shipper" tear into an unsuspecting reader who was simply looking for explanation of some character subtext?
There are many among us who immerse ourselves in the books, comics, graphic novels, and other printed tales with such fervor that we defend them adamantly. But what happens when our loving, possessive nature starts dividing the fanbase, pitting readers against each other in ill-tempered (but often quite detailed) debates?
From the early days of "Candid Camera", to the 90's boom of "Big Brother", "The Real World" and "Survivor", to today's "The Deadliest Catch", "The Voice", and "Hell's Kitchen", the concept of unscripted television has evolved from a format novelty with roots in documentaries, to a cornerstone of the modern broadcast programming schedule, even on such unlikely networks as the History Channel AMC, and Bravo.
A currently divisive form of entertainment, we seek to find the goals and aspirations of the gems within this television format by talking with some of the individuals who help create these programs, and in doing so, identify the positives of an oft-maligned genre that we may both applaud and enjoy.
As most people who have heard me co-host on Gallifrey Public Radio know, I'm a rather large-scale fan of the British science fiction television series, Doctor Who. As such, I'm also an avid listener to the audio dramas produced by Big Finish studios.
Just today, they made an announcement about an upcoming release that involves a (before unheard of) combination of characters. One of the resulting comments to the studio's Facebook post was, in one fell swoop, both a pre-hate judgement and a lambasting of a character whom many other fans of the program genuinely love.
Being the gadfly I am, I couldn't let such a blunt statement go unchecked, and chose to speak my mind -- not in the interest of inciting an argument, far from it. Surprisingly, I was rewarded with a response from the individual (and others) who recognized the value of both giving as-of-yet-released material a fair shake, and furthermore, not crashing down on an aspect of the show that others within the fandom are pleased to see or hear.
Unedited, save for protecting the named of those involved:
BIG FINISH PRODUCTIONS: Coming in May 2016 – Doctor Who: Doom Coalition 2.
The Doctor’s past is catching up with him. And so is his future... As a dark chapter dawns for the universe, a friend is at hand. But how can River Song help the Doctor if she can’t meet him?
A brand new boxset starring Paul McGann, Alex Kingston, Nicola Walker and Hattie Morahan.
CK: This is horrible news. I had hope the complete stupidity of the Moffat era would be localised to seasons 5-7 of the new tv series. Now the worst character with the lost ridiculous backstory is being transplanted into big finish? Cash grab much?
Keir: Thankfully, it won't intrude on your head-canon, and you can choose any other great BF release to focus on and enjoy. Please try not to pre-hate, casting judgement on something that hasn't even released yet. All you're doing is discouraging others who may really enjoy it.
CK: Point taken. But I sincerely doubt my opinion will effect anyone who may enjoy it from buying it. River Song is perhaps the most polarising character in the history of Who, certainly in New Who. There's been many comments made here, the vast majority by those who love the character.
I'm on the other side of the fence, and I doubt there would be any change by lovers or haters of the character.
I'll add the Alex Kingston is an amazing actress and Big Finish always produces brilliant stuff, IMHO. I sincerely appreciate that they have revealed this so early, because it's cash I will redirect to the Fourth Doctor Adventures.
KS: Fortunately, Big Finish have a reputation of taking characters that have a polarising or negative reaction with the fans and puts them in the hands of genuinely capable writers in great stories. Don't forget what The One Doctor, Iterations of I and The Juggernauts did with The Sixth Doctor, Adric and Mel, respectively.
I'm personally looking forward to how these new releases go :)
Keir: See? This sort of "I see your opinion, and feel otherwise, but still respect where you're coming from" is what I love to see from Whovians. I wish other fandoms could be as open-minded in their discussions. Bravo, kids.
While the friendly debate over mutually appreciated film or television programs can spur further passion and appreciation over the material, there are extreme factions within these fandoms that become exclusionary, derisive, or even explicitly hateful against others who do not share precisely the same view, or come from the same fanatical source.
From the camps of the Star Trek original series bickering with those who actually enjoyed J.J. Abrams' films, to the vitriolic bashing of the 'Phantom Menace' fans within Star Wars, to the hard-line division between American and British productions of the same programs, are we bred to bicker, or is there a place for everyone at the geek family table?
Our premiere episode! *ding!*
We know those who hear or see something about a film, television, music or literary production yet to be released, and suddenly leap to conclusions about how it will be based on that morsel of information, along with a large scoop of typically negative personal opinion. Let's look at this pre-hate condition, and how accurate it could really be without seeing the final product.