Nerd Lunch Podcast 127: Ip Man Movies

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CT is out this week so Pax and Jeeg invite Jon Cross from the After Movie Diner to come discuss the Donnie Yen Ip Man movies.  We talk about our favorite fights and favorite characters.  We even discuss all the other Ip Man movies that have come out due to the popularity of the Donnie Yen movies.  Nerd to Dos include the new Captain America movie, Arrow and Fringe.

Snipes Web Comic 36

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Week 36 of Snipes by Bill Wiist…




6 Thoughts about The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

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Thanks to Tom McAuliffe for this awesome graphic
Stephen Colbert will take over as host of The Late Show in 2015 replacing the long-running David Letterman. I will miss Dave, but honestly, I haven't really watched him much in recent years. I have really enjoyed The Colbert Report and look forward to him taking over. I would like to have seen Conan have another shot at replacing Letterman, but his network ship has probably already sailed.

A few random thoughts and predictions of mine (none of this is for sure, just what I think will happen):

1. Colbert will not keep his ultra-conservative persona for The Late Show. I think we'll see him continue his very dry and satirical approach to comedy. I assume a few bits will translate over (like "The Word" or "Tip of the Hat…"). I also think he'll keep his narcissism.

2. The Late Show will stay in the Ed Sullivan Theater (EST). CBS owns this building. It is historic and I would guess there's no need to dump it and set up shop elsewhere. The Colbert Report already records in NYC. There might be some appeal to move the show to LA, but I just don't see that happening.

3. Dates for Letterman's departure have not been finalized, but I would guess he'll wrap up in May of 2015 with Colbert taking over in the Fall to give them time to overhaul the theater. Or, Colbert sets up shop in a temporary studio for the summer and then moves to the EST once it's complete.

4. Colbert will stick pretty close to the typical format of a late night talk show. There'll be a band (as unlikely as it would be, Ben Folds comes to mind as an idea for this gig), monologue, comedy segments, he'll sit behind a desk, and there'll be guests. I can't see him bringing in a sidekick though.

5. Not only will Letterman have a year to say farewell to his television audience, but The Colbert Report shutting down also means it gets a year to say farewell. I fully expect a lot of great shows from each of them over the next year or so as they wind it down.

6. When all is said and done, Colbert will not be the ratings leader in that time slot. He'll have his audience, but his humor is too dry and he himself is not generally endearing enough to have the mass appeal he'll need to win. But, I think he'll do well enough to have a good run.

Nerd Lunch Podcast 126: Summer Nerd To-Dos 2014

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In the early part of March 2014, Atlanta was shaken to its core when the Nerd Lunch Podcast crew all met together in person for the first time. Also joined by Shawn Robare (Branded in the 80s) and Jaime Hood (Shezcrafti) of the Cult Film Club Podcast, the fearsome five recorded a podcast. Hear a report about the escapades of the crew during the visit in Atlanta and then follow that up by listening to them talk about what they are looking forward to seeing, smelling and doing this summer!

Snipes Web Comic 35

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Week 35 of Snipes by Bill Wiist…




Nerd Lunch Podcast 125: The Atomic Weeks - Breakfast Cereals

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nl_crunch


Michael DiGiovanni wraps up our Atomic Weeks theme month by joining us for a drill down on breakfast cereals.  As part of our balanced breakfast, we catch up with DiGio a bit and get details on the upcoming 250th episode of The Atomic Geeks podcast. Then we cover our all time favorite cereals, highlight some of weirdest and worst, discuss the best and worst cereal mascots, and then pitch a pop-culture themed cereal for a property that never had one. Along the way we make copious use of the awesome resource that is Mr. Breakfast. Our Nerd To-Dos feature The Wire, a double helping of Fringe, the Clone Wars cartoon, and the New Adventures of He-Man.


Muppets Most Walrus

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I was ready to pack it up and walk away from the Muppets three years ago, but The Muppets wound up being a true surprise for me and I found myself not only enjoying that movie, but hopeful for the franchise's future again. Combine that with my having a daughter I've raised to enjoy the Muppets requesting to see it, I yet again braved the crowds to see this movie today.

Story
While The Muppets was steeped in nostalgia, I like that this one tried to move into the future rather than be a love letter to its past. That's not the say it doesn't borrow greatly from its spiritual successor The Great Muppet Caper, but this doesn't try to outright be a remake of that movie unlike The Muppets did with The Muppet Movie.

I'm going to pull out my favorite phrase right off the bat: This was one good rewrite away from being a really good movie. As it was...it was okay with glimmers of "good." While it's predecessor was a return to making the story about characters this one takes a step back to being very plot-driven. That's not to say there weren't some nice character bits, but they were buried by the plot trying to be clever.

In fact, the movie should have rested entirely on the character story lines. What happens when Kermit's shepherding presence leaves the Muppets and is replaced by an anarchist? Can Kermit land in an entirely new situation and build something from the ground up that is just as good as the Muppets? Those two questions are addressed, but in their hurry to be clever, the answers cease to be poignant.

Too much attention is given to the human characters in this one without a good thematic connection to the Muppets storyline. In The Muppet Movie, Kermit and Doc Hopper's life goals parallel each other and result in the emotionally charged final showdown. In The Muppets, Jason Segel and Walter's stories parallel each other's and give commentary and perspective on each side. In this one, the departure of the real Kermit should have given rise to another Muppet trying rally to keep the Muppets together. Walter makes an effort, but it isn't the true "number two" role that Ricky Gervais' character could have truly been a parallel for. That would have just been one way to handle it. Unfortunately, Ricky Gervais' character becomes rather one-dimensional and a complete misuse of Gervais' talents.

Surprisingly, the Sam the Eagle and Ty Burrell subplot was exceptional. I would love to have seen other characters get some similar treatment. There are a lot of cameos in this movie from Hollywood stars, but it felt like several popular Muppets had cameos at best. Gonzo does practically nothing in this movie. Rizzo even states he's taken a backseat in this one and the last one (and the following Muppet cameo was a nice tribute to the recently departed Jerry Nelson). This is the downfall of having an ensemble cast as huge as the Muppets. Every character is someone's favorite and not every movie can give each character the attention they deserve. It does seem the balance has been better in other movies though.

Overall, I'll give the story three walruses. That might be a half more than I should give it, but there's enough in this that it's still enjoyable. And it's still the Muppets.

Presentation
I still enjoy watching the first two movies and marveling at how they got puppets to ride bikes, drive cars and just interact with the world. This movie doesn't exude that feeling though. It feels like this is a mostly set-based movie. It also feels like there is a lot...I mean, A LOT of green screen. And not especially well done green screen either.

The acting didn't stand out as the best. As I mentioned before, Gervais seemed wasted. Burrell was a delight, but besides Jemaine Clement and his Gulag team, no one else really stood out to me. Tina Fey also seemed miscast. Especially considering she was the "Kermit the Frog" of 30 Rock. She could have been given a better role more suited to her talents.

The big thing worth mentioning here is the music. After watching The Muppets, I did track down the Flight of the Conchords DVDs and Bret McKenzie is the perfect guy to write these songs. Is there another "Man or Muppet" in this batch? I don't know, but "Something So Right" is a contender. I have never been a fan of any of Piggy's songs from previous Muppet productions, but in Muppets Most Wanted, her song is the big stand out song for me. The rest of them are fun, Muppety songs. It anything, it's disappointing that the main Muppet cast doesn't get enough to sing. Constantine gets two songs (one of which is very good) and Tina Fey and the prisoners gets one, too.

I'll give the presentation a matching three walruses. No rewatchable walrus, though I'm sure I'll see it again and again anyway.

Total: SIX WALRUSES

An okay addition to the Muppet franchise but it could have been better. For context, I rank the theatrical Muppet movies like this:
  • The Muppet Movie
  • The Muppets
  • The Great Muppet Caper
  • The Muppet Christmas Carol
  • Muppets Most Wanted
  • Muppets From Space
  • Muppets Take Manhattan
  • Muppet Treasure Island
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