Episode 130: Vampire Casablanca

The Overthinkers tackle ornithological reproduction.

Matthew Wrather hosts with Peter Fenzel and Jordan stokes to overthink storms in popular culture, ornithologcal reproduction (duck penis), second- and third-class levers, Oscar-bait movies as event pictures, and why New Moon is better than any classic movie you can name.


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14 Comments on “Episode 130: Vampire Casablanca”

  1. Bob in San Diego #

    Non-Sequitor – HEADLINE – ‘Natalie Portman engaged and pregnant’ – its as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.


  2. cat #

    I was expecting a “Hey, everybody. My name’s Louise, what’s yours?” But then I’m in the middle of a Laura Benanti phase.

    This podcast went to a very silly (in a good way) place. I enjoyed the return of fenzel and the ridiculous digressions. How Hemmingway would tell “The Night Before Christmas”? Vampire Casablanca? The best of overthought pop culture.


  3. Gab #

    My favorite storm? The pretentious answer is the one in King Lear (and I’d include here the way it’s portrayed in Christopher Moore’s Fool– same events, different perspective), but the funner answer is a tie between the film version of Jurassic Park and the scene at the end of The Lion King.

    Private Benitez gives the speech from Henry V in Renaissance Man. And Bill Rago wasn’t an old professor, he was an advertisement exec of some kind- he made up commercials and stuff for companies. He in fact gets into a little argument with the gal at the Unemployment office about how he hasn’t ever taught, and she says, “You have a master’s, that means you can teach.” (Renaissance Man is one of my favorite movies of all time, so yeah.)

    Never had duck before, but the running gag on my undergrad campus was (and probably still is) “duck rape.” Ducks live there year-round because the streams and ponds on campus are man-made and kept warm, but the ratio of female to male duck is 1:8 or some jazz. As such, the males constantly gang-bang the females (and the “real” form of “initiation” for new students on was/is witnessing it). Of course, this isn’t exclusive to that campus- apparently it happens in nature all the time. The theory about the ginormous male duck genitalia I have always been familiar with is that their penii are so long because the females are so violently resistant, to the point where the males are in danger if they get close enough to mate with short-range genitalia. So the longer the penis, the further away the male can be while still penetrating, thus getting around the threat of being attacked.

    I saw True Grit, and I must say it’s probably the most coherent Coen Brothers film I’ve seen, in terms of an actual plot arc (but admittedly, I haven’t seen all of their movies, so I could be missing something). Just to give a little more, though, the most fantastic yet hidden performance in it is definitely Barry Pepper, imo- he is so enveloped in the character he portrays that the fact that he’s even there is nearly forgotten. (He’s an actor I wish would get more roles, although perhaps he chooses not to take them.) The entire cast was fantastic, granted, but Pepper subtly stole the show for me.

    I plan on seeing The King’s Speech soon. Although, Fenzel, I think part of why people are talking about it so much is the timing. The Social Network and Inception came out well before the Oscar buzz season, so they aren’t as fresh on the minds of the people writing movie blogs and somesuch. Leo’s other movie, Shutter Island, was “Oscar buzzed” when first it came out, but I don’t think anybody is talking about it now. This could have to do with him also being in Inception and his costar, Mark Ruffalo, being in The Kids Are All Right, movies that both came out more recently (relative to Shutter Island, at least). But I think Inception was both an event and Oscar movie, and I have a feeling The Dark Knight Rises will be, as well. I’d say the event part comes from the marketing and profit desire on the part of the companies involved (the viral ad campaigns and myriad methods of teasing and such), but the Oscar part comes more from Nolan himself and his passion and love for his films. He’s not necessarily going for giving pleasure when he writes and directs, he’s going for making people think while expressing his ideas/ sharing his art. And “artsy” is often equated with “Oscar” to some degree, so I’d say he’s sort of inadvertently making Oscar movies when he makes his movies artsy. (I mean, there is, arguably, such a thing as too artsy, but that’s a different discussion.) But I guess my point is a movie can be both event and Oscar at the same time. I do agree movies can be made with one purpose in mind (like yeah, Tron: Legacy was most definitely going for event alone, while something like the example you guys give of The Reader is certainly meant as an “Oscar movie”), but not always. Think ven-diagram, gentlemen (and any ladies reading).

    Speaking of dinosaur penii, remember the show Dinosaurs? I never, even as a little kid, understood how the T-Rex and brontosaurus in that show could be a couple. For one thing, he’d normally want to eat her (as in consume her flesh, not in the other, funner way). (Tangent: Of course, he’d also want to eat the friends he was hanging out with, too. As a grown-up, I find it incredibly overthinking-ripe how the main protagonists in the show were meat-eating species, but the evil boss and triceratops was so terrifying because, among other things, he fringgin’ ate other dinosaurs.) Second, the mechanics of that kind of relationship are mind-boggling. I was five and thinking, “How would that even work?” And I don’t think it was me being pervy so much as just genuinely perplexed. And I’m still confounded ten years later. And, in retrospect, I also realize the Sinclairs, the main family, were all different species, but that still isn’t as wtf-worthy as a T-Rex coupling with a brontosaurus.


    • fenzel #

      “the mechanics of that kind of relationship are mind-boggling. I was five and thinking, “How would that even work?” And I don’t think it was me being pervy so much as just genuinely perplexed. And I’m still confounded ten years later.”

      In terms of describing human marriages, the show is shockingly accurate ;)


  4. lee OTI Staff #

    I thought I’d heard everything. And then I heard crow porn music. Wow, just wow.


  5. Rob #

    My favorite literary representations of storms are:
    – Aeneid, book I, lines 80ish-120ish; this storm really sets the tone for the rest of the poem. Sure, any epic has plenty of storms; and sure, if the Aeneid were a movie, the storm in Book IV when (spoiler alert!) Dido and Aeneas get it on would probably end up being more popular, but poetically Book I is where it’s at. Vergil puts his best stuff right up front.
    – Beethoven’s “Pastoral” symphony, movement 4, whose intensity is a really striking contrast to the uniformly upbeat and major tonality of the remaining movements. It really ties the piece together.
    – The Flood, in Genesis chapters 6 through 9. Kinda famous.


  6. Chris #

    I saw both True Grit and The Fighter on Christmas, having made the mistaken presumption that a movie theatre wouldn’t be crowded on a Christmas afternoon. It was the first time I had been to the theatres since Thanksgiving of 2007 (I saw No Country for Old Men) and I certainly have no intention of going back anytime soon. Not coincidentally, the last three times I went to the movies I didn’t have to pay a time. Regardless, both True Grit and The Fighter were really good.

    You talked about the soda machine episode of Sealab, but I think any discussion of the show needs to include the blackout episode. Most of it was a still shot of Sealab with voice over, yet it was excellent.

    I’m reminded of how far film technology has come whenever I watch a particularly early film and I can hear a perpetual soft hissing noise in the background.

    You talked about Vampire Casablanca, but never mentioned the actual line from Casablanca that is most apt: “I stick my neck out for nobody.”

    I said it’s dodgeball time, bitch!


    • Bob in San Diego #

      Chris – Just listened to the episode and the blackout episode was the first thing I thought of. Pretty sure it was just the Sealab and bubbles coming up every so often until the traditional explosion!


  7. Andy #

    Absolutely typical of you coastal elite types, having your podcasts on your internets, to talk about Sealab without mentioning our lord and savior Alvis. Remember people, Alvis is the reason for the season!

    “Vengeance is mine!”
    -Alvis 5:15


  8. Bob in San Diego #

    What a fun episode! I just loved the jazz style free flow of this one, just hit all the right notes with me.

    Some of my favorite storms (And you’ll see how nerdy I am)
    Battle of Helms Deep – just the rain starting on the shields/helmets . . . that is how a storm should start.
    Attack of the Clones – Best part of my least favorite in the Saga was Obi-Wan fighting Jango Fett in a torrential downpour.
    Jurassic Park – The storm causing everything to go to hell. What I like about this storm that isn’t seen in many movies is the aftermath of the storm is seen throughout the movie (puddles everywhere, palms on the ground), subtle but made me appreciate good film making.
    Cape Fear – Need I say more.
    Twister – Just short of holding up well, but still pretty cool.
    The Day After Tomorrow/2012 – I’m not saying by any means these are good movies but damn it, when Roland Emmerich destroys some stuff it is fun to watch!


  9. Sylvia #

    The 2003 Peter Pan is mostly practical effects. Most of the time the kids are on harnesses. When Micheal does his flip and lands on Nana the dog’s back in the very beginning, that part is CGI. The extras on the DVD have a whole section on the stunt work and training done for this movie. It’s really impressive.

    The Hook/Peter Pan sword fight in the end is all practical.

    I love Peter Pan dearly, so I might be a little touchy about this one. :-P


  10. Timothy J Swann #

    But Jason Isaacs and Olivia Williams more than compensate for any CGI.

    Anyhow, thanks for the mention. Made me happy when trying to head home by train, which was proving pretty slow.


  11. EZ #

    Jurassic Park is up there, but still doesn’t top Caddyshack.


  12. Dan from Canada #

    The Star Trek Episode you were talking about with Dr Crusher and the Erotic Candle is called ‘Sub Rosa’ and is pretty much universally voted the worst episode of the series every single time they do polls to do Best Of specials.

    I actually know someone who refuses to watch TnG because they’ve tried to watch it on three seperate occasions across several years, and each time, they ended up having it be Sub Rosa, and couldn’t get through it.


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