Episode 124: Strangely Apropos

The Overthinkers tackle their veteran status and the release of Unstoppable and Call of Duty, as well as introduce a fun new game.

Matthew Wrather hosts with Peter Fenzel, John Perich, and special guest Randal Schwartz to introduce a fun new game (“Ironic, Unfortunate, or Strangely Apropos?”) while discussing their veteran status, the film Unstoppable, and the release of Call of Duty.


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9 Comments on “Episode 124: Strangely Apropos”

  1. Randal L. Schwartz #

    Ironically, it is not unfortunate that the title of this episode is Strangely Apropos. :)


  2. Gab #

    Dude, is the name of that karaoke bar really Asgard, or did I hear you wrong, Perich?

    One could say the end of Denzel’s career in American Gangster was forced. He got arrested.

    How about a bunch of fifth-graders overpower the Science Fair-PTA-Juggernaut in a proletariat revolution involving traps and the like made of sporks, rubber bands, and other things they could find in their classrooms and school cafeteria? I don’t know what you’d do about the nudity thing here, though.

    “Fenzelian” sounds like “Denzelian.” Is that strangely apropos, or just unfortunate?


  3. Wade #

    WELL ACTUALLY, Fenzel, Tony Scott is Ridley’s brother, not his son.

    I’ve got to say, the ad campaign for this new Call of Duty game has me kind of confused. There’s a firefight going on with schoolgirls, fry cooks, businessmen, Kobe Bryant, Jimmy Kimmel, etc. Am I supposed to take from this that it’s a multiplayer-centric game with little in the way of single player campaigns, or that everyone on earth will be in this game. Because I think it would be kind of fun to play a first-person shooter as Jimmy Kimmel.

    I actually know nothing about this game other than that one commercial, so I’m probably very, very wrong.


  4. John Perich OTI Staff #

    Am I supposed to take from this that it’s a multiplayer-centric game with little in the way of single player campaigns,

    Yes. This has been true of first-person shooters for a while.

    (Well ACTUALLY, some of them have good single player campaigns. But the draw has been, and will continue to be, the online experience)


  5. Howard #

    Set in the near future, we open on a young businessman getting ready for his day at the office. A television with the news on plays in the background, informing us that the president of the US plans on delivering a speech on the economy, with some unemployment and GDP growth numbers thrown in (the news isn’t good). Cut to the president delivering a JFK-esque speech in which he (or she) states that to rejuvenate the economy, the government will begin massively investing in infrastructure, putting people back to work and preparing the nation for the century to come. But that’s not all – the president also declares that the US will build a space elevator to reach low earth orbit and use that as a staging ground for further space travel (shades of Kennedy).

    As our businessman enters his office, it becomes clear that he is a VP of *mumble mumble*. Quick conversation with the secretary establishes that he is newly promoted. A woman presents him with a breakthrough from the R&D department in carbon nanotubes (or whatever miracle material you prefer), making something like the space elevator possible. After she leaves, the VP flips through the folder and discovers that the woman is the lead researcher on the project. The VP goes to present this to the board and pushes for them to take the lead on the new space elevator. However, the board and the union representatives are not convinced – the company has barely recovered from near-bankruptcy, and the administration’s plan is plenty for them to survive and protect their own. Here we set up the conflict (and how we make the blue collar guys the antagonists): doing something adequate and surviving vs taking a risk to do something great. The old guard is too conservative and has too much to lose to make the leap that the young VP wants to.

    After that, there’s a choice. If it’s a lighter movie, the VP can gather his team of misfits and drag the company into the future, wooing the researcher on the side. A somewhat more serious one, though cheesy in its own way, could see the VP banging his head against the conservative powers arrayed against him for a little while before deciding to split off and take the research team with him, resigning his safe position with the company to start up again. The new company patents their discovery, going through some growing pains to create some conflict in the middle third of the movie, before working out the kinks and building a proof-of-concept space elevator.

    To power the elevator during construction, and as part of the infrastructure buildup, the new company presents an ambitious plan to upgrade the nation’s power grid to better suit a distributed network of solar cells planted in the desert (the titular smart grid) – high efficiency cells and transmission lines, controlled by a center at the future site of the elevator. The government buys in and, in a strangely apropos coincidence, the old company is hired to do part of the construction under the supervision of the young (now former) VP. Ground is broken for the space elevator.

    50 years later, the ending scene mirrors the opening. The now elderly businessman gets ready as the TV (hologram?) in the background touts the elevator and the effect it had, both in stimulating the economy and propelling the world into a new age. Finally, it is reported that the first interstellar spaceship is about to launch. He rides the elevator up into low orbit, standing in the audience as a new president christens the ship. The ship blasts off. Roll credits.

    Smart Grid, coming to theaters 2012.


  6. Howard #

    In non-fake-movie related commenting, I think that part of the multiplayer draw of games like Call of Duty is that there’s no cross-game compatibility. If your friends have moved on to Black Ops, it’s not as much fun to still be playing Modern Warfare 2. I’d also be interested to see if sports games have comparably large openings. Maybe not Call of Duty big, but I think FIFA 10 is one of the best selling games of all time. I’m sure the latest Madden game had a big opening week too.

    Other movies that had large openings would be Toy Story 3 (I’d guess Finding Nemo and Cars are also up there). Pixar movies are pretty rare in that they have a very large target audience. Maybe Inception and the Dark Knight?

    Team Fortress 2 has taken as much of my time as any game that is not Final Fantasy Tactics. Great, great game. The classes all play extremely differently, and if you don’t play as a team, you will die and lose. A lot.


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