Read it and Weep
Summary: Read it and Weep is a good podcast about bad books, movies, and TV. Each week 2.5 comedians and a guest make fun of things like Twilight by Stephanie Meyer, Dear John by Nicholas Sparks, Going Rogue by Sarah Palin, and anything Keanu Reeves has been in.
Hush little baby, don't say a word. Daddy's going to disappear leaving a gaping hole in your life that can only be filled by dating a man who don't treat you well. And 80% of the way through the book you'll find out that man's a fallen angel. Let's face it, we're all living in a post-Twilight world. Everybody and their love triangle is writing young adult romance about a new guy at school with a secret. Hush, Hush just another in the line of book series about such a new guy. This one just happens to be about an angel, which you don't know for a really long time except that you saw the cover of the book so you were pretty sure. It's not better or worse than Twilight, because it's exactly the same book. The only redeeming thing about this book is nothing. Thanks a lot, Sarah, for sponsoring this and forcing us to read it.
My Little Pony raises some difficult questions. Why are some ponies magical unicorns, others are flying Pegasuses, and some are just small horses? Why does the princess unicorn get to decide where everybody lives and what they do for a living? Why do they keep baby dragons as slaves? Because they're ponies, is the only answer, and pony life isn't fair. It's not all bad in Ponyville, however. Every day is a holiday; there are more feasts and parties than residents. And every 22 minutes, all the problems of the day have been solved, no matter what. Sure, some of the problems don't make much sense, like ponies having to clear out winter while raccoons and squirrels get to sleep in their dens. But there's always a solution to be found and a lesson to be learned, even if that lesson is "I'm so glad I'm not a pony." Despite its flaws, there is a certain charm to My Little Pony. It's sincere, cute, and occasionally funny. One of the main characters is dumb as manure, and that's always fun. There's a foppish river dragon with half a mustache. It's fine. It's not good as good as you'd expect, given the fact that everypony on the Internet has a poner for it, but it's a pleasant ride.
Before there were drawn out elections for national leaders, with debates and attack ads, people did things the easy way. The king was the man who pulled a magical sword forged by a river maiden out of a large rock. Don't let the delightful premise fool you. Excalibur is not a happy romp through medieval legend with occassional squirrel-mating, like in the Disney movie. No. It's an epic of awkward sword fighting in armor, incestuousness, fog machines, and metal skull caps. It's filmed in the forests of Ireland and despite having some great actors, is mostly just weird. Avery Monsen joins us in our confusion about the plot, tells us about his dreams, and is charming and fun as always. He's got a new book out called All My Friends Are Still Dead and it's delightful. Go buy it now. Thanks to Nancy for sponsoring this episode!
In 1997, James Cameron made a movie. In 1999, when the third act was finally over, people went home pissed. If there was one thing you might suggest was wrong with Titanic, you might say "the dialog" or "the pacing." You might even say something like "the characters aren't believable." In fact, you could probably list problems for hours before you'd come to "it was only in 2D." Well, Cameron decided to fix only that "problem" in his release to mark the centennial of the worst disaster to ever lead to a movie with Kate Winslet's nipple in it. Fortunately, the best parts of the movie remain as well: the aforementioned nipple, Kate Winslet's face, her figure in a period dress, and everything about Leo DiCaprio except his acting. Really, there are worse ways to spend 7.5 hours than watching Titanic 3D. But I wouldn't recommend them. Oh! I almost forgot. This episode also contains an interview with Titanic expert and author of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, Katherine Howe. For the first time, we get to interview the author of a book WE MADE FUN OF! Besides being a terrific human being, she's also got a new book out that has Titanic elements and themes in it. So please go out and buy The House of Velvet and Glass.
Sarah Palin is the subject of much scorn from the liberal media; they call her stupid, dishonest, crazy, and extremist. This movie sets out to defend her by being all those things and also boring. Stephen K. Bannon's film watches like a Sarah Palin stalker film. She doesn't appear in it voluntarily, but instead he uses her audiobook to provide narration AS IF she was helping with the movie. Then, he uses hundreds of stock-footage clips to make up the visuals, thus managing to produce the entire thing with iMovie and a membership to istockphoto.com. The slap-dash production only adds to the insane feeling of the whole project, but the crowning achievement of the movie is completely skipping over the fact that her and Senator John McCain lost the election in 2008. It focuses on her time as governor and her popular campaign appearances, but then takes an abrupt lunch break during results time.
Sometimes we want to have a discussion about a topic that isn't super hilarious. The Hunger Games was such a movie. Although it was enjoyable, we all had some serious problems with it that we wanted to discuss.
In the year 2 thousand and a while from now, a tyrannical government keeps its people in line by forcing their children to fight to the death, showing those fights on TV, and by using shaky cameras and quick cuts to make sure everybody watching will be a bit sick. But the future isn't all bad. Novelty facial hair abounds, the food looks pretty tasty, and there's plentiful high speed rail. Even the death matches aren't all bad; the kids are beautiful and have great make-up that doesn't smudge even during the fiercest battles. Since the movie was pretty good, we decided to invert our normal format. We start and end with a hate sandwich and play a compliment game in the middle. We also bring back Gabi Moskowitz, the editor-in-chief of Broke Ass Gourmet, the blog and cook book about eating great on a tight budget, and ask her questions about the future of food. And cooking with land mines.
Apparently Adam Sandler looked at the Clumps movie and thought "what if I played my sister in a movie? Wouldn't that be great?" No, Adam. It isn't great. This movie stinks like the poop jokes you filled it with. Adam Sandler plays the boy-half of two fraternal twins and then puts on a wig and plays the girl-half too. As twins, they're nearly identical: they both look like Adam Sandler and neither is any way funny. The two go through some trials and tribulations, most of which are fart related. Eventually Al Pacino sings a rap song about a coffee beverage, proving that the one talent Sandler has is getting important people to be in a crappy movie. Joining us is Daily Show writer and host of the Flophouse Podcast Dan McCoy. He is, as ever, delightful.
Without a doubt, the worst thing about The Iliad is that it doesn't have Brad Pitt in it. Wolfgang Peterson fixed that in his 2004 movie that has almost no basis in the works of Homer. Troy completely re-imagines the epic poem about the Trojan war as an over-long action movie about people fighting for no reason. It also updates many things modern audiences would find boring. Instead of an all-stabbing war, the movie includes giant flaming balls of twine. Instead of a war without a Trojan horse, the movie includes a particularly plausible Trojan horse. Instead of women being property, they're people! It was much less pleasurable than listening to the book, but that was mostly because it was a short nap instead of a good night's sleep. Joining us once again is our favorite British blogger, Kyra of FerretBrain.
When we last left our friends, they were killing each other in front of the walls of Troy. After another 300+ pages, they're exactly where they started, though with slightly diminished numbers. But the Iliad, like so many things, is more about the journey than the destination, and like the band Journey, the Iliad tried my patience. The parts that aren't boring don't make a whole lot of sense. Achilles doesn't want to fight because of some stupid slight against him, then his friend dies (in a war. Shocker!) and he fights. At one point he kicks a river's ass. There's a funeral that lasts 10 days and consists of horse racing and wrestling. War is hell. In this episode, we've got regular guest Stephen Carter sitting in for the traveling Ezra, and special guest Nick Delehanty. The two most frequent guests, together at last.
War between the Trojans and the Greeks is like the battle for my Internet service between the cable company and the phone company. Neither side has moral righteousness, nobody is ever going to be declared the winner, and people are constantly getting stabbed. Yet despite the high level of stabbing, the Iliad is mostly about being boring. There are endless lists of people and where they're from, none of which are important to the story. There are speeches on speeches, mostly about how everybody should just keep fighting, just keep fighting. And the hunting analogies. Oh the hunting analogies! Fortunately, even this great work of the Western canon, isn't safe from our ability to sleep through something and then make fun of it.
Did you know that fairies like to have sex? I didn't either. Turns out it's pretty much all they do. They solve a crime here or there, try to kill each other to gain the throne, and they have lots and lots of sex. A Caress of Twilight is the second book in a series of disgusting fairy porn books in which every kind of magical creature lives in LA and is super horny. There's some kind of political intrigue between members of various courts and ancient races of blah blah blah. And then there's more sex. You see, in order to get a fairy pregnant she has to have sex with everybody she meets for about a year, ergo couplings of all kinds are encouraged and described in great detail. There's even a parasitic twin attached to a dwarf that can't talk but has fully functioning genitals. Have I talked enough about the sex? Because I want to ram this point home. Laurell K. Hamilton writes erotica about weird creatures. That's it.
We are truly blessed to have three of the worst TV shows ever on at the same time. Rob, Whitney, and Are Your There Chelsea? are impressively bad. Have no doubt, friends, we are living in the.... what's the opposite of a golden age? Meat age? We are living in the meat age of bad TV. Rejoice! It's a race to the bottom of epic proportions. Will it be Rob's racism and criminal abuse of Latina abuelas and Cheech Marin's career? Will it be Whitney's inability to make a joke and put John Cleese to good use? Or will it be Chelsea's.... uhn. I'm done. The always entertaining and likeable Bri Pruett helps us destroy these shows. Please someone give Bri her own sitcom already. It will be so much better than this.
Be prepared to meet the coolest dog ever. He drives boats. He breaks up smuggling rings. He orders hot dogs for hobos for crying out loud. This dog is perfect. Sadly, the plot and the rest of the cast are just not up to Cool Dog's standards. There's an evil step mother, a stupid bully, and a sea monster-esque landlady. They all suck, especially compared to Cool Dog. Thanks so much to the Denver Comedy Co-op's podcast, The First World Privilege Hour for sponsoring this episode and having great taste in bad movies. Joining us is comedian Anthony Lopez, who is freaking awesome.
We all know that some parents live out their dreams through their children. But it's one thing to know it and another to watch it happen in all it'srhinestoned, overly made-up sadness. Toddlers and Tiaras is another brick in TLC's plan to give every psychotic person their own reality show. This show follows the lives of prepubescent pageant contestants and their mentally ill mothers who force them to compete. Each episode focuses on three young girls who are hoping to take home the crown for Ultimate Mega Jumbo Laser Supreme, the highest title in beauty pageants. In almost every case the children hate it but their mothers won't let them quit. As an added bonus, some of the moms suffer from another mental illness called Extreme Couponing. There's only one person to bring on for an episode about at terrifying TLC reality show: Colleen. You may remember her from Episode #106 - Hoarders Reviewed and just like Hoarders, she's already watched this whole series. It's sick, but it comes in handy for our podcast.