Episode 144: Uncanny Valley Ranch

The Overthinkers tackle the Summer Movies of 2011 (Part 1).

Matthew Wrather hosts with Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, and Dave Shechner to commence the annual tradition of Summer Movie Preview for 2011.


→ Download Episode 144 (MP3)

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23 Comments on “Episode 144: Uncanny Valley Ranch”

    • Lee OTI Staff #

      But save the old mic to make recordings with your experimental noise collective.


  1. Bob in San Diego #

    Great episode and the microphone wasn’t as horrible as you may think.

    Just a random thought – When I heard you guys talking about breaking apart ‘Mars Needs Mom’s’ and selling it for parts – it reminds me of ‘Star Wars’. The movie was very close to being torn apart and having the FX shots used in TV shows. This is similar to what they did with Battlestar Galactica. I always loved when they used the X-Wing scenes in Muppet Babies because 1) I love Star Wars and 2) They put it in as a super meta joke making fun of how it was almost used as stock footage.


  2. Miguel Lavín #

    There’s something about the British isles that engenders man-crush generating characters like Russel Brand. My own hetero-pet-peeve happens to be Allan Cumming.

    As in this here video:

    Maybe it’s a different kind of sophistication, or better language abilities. Hummm…


    • Gab #

      So do you watch The Good Wife?


  3. cat #

    Win for the return of Shechner and the In & Out reference. Callback to Mars Needs Moms? Joan Cusack has a great monologue in that movie. In & Out, not Mars Needs Moms. Well, I don’t know. She might. I haven’t seen it.

    I think you might be on to something with Russell Brand be better at improvising. He’s been great on quiz show appearances but in a lot of his acting he’s kind of dead in the eyes but I don’t think it’s because he’s disinterested. He justs seems to not connect as well.

    So how do you personally distinguish between SN1, SN2, E1, and E2 reactions when presented with reagents? Kidding, in a way…


    • Gab #

      The rant you’re talking about, is it the one in the bar?


      • cat #

        Emily: I lost 75 pounds. I lost 75 pounds!
        Howard: I’m a horrible person. You have every right to hate me. You should hate me. I insist that you hate me. I’m scum, I’m garbage, I’m vermin and I’m sorry.
        Emily: You’re sorry?! You’re sorry?! After I wait for you! No, not just three years! My entire life! After I plan my future around our wedding. After I base my entire concept of self-esteem on the fact that you’re willing to marry me! And you’re sorry! Thank God my parents are dead, this would have killed ’em!… Are you really…gay?
        Howard: Mmm-hmm.
        Emily: Is there-oh- ANY OTHER TIME YOU MIGHT HAVE TOLD ME THIS! I’M WEARING A WEDDING DRESS THAT YOU PICKED OUT! I highlighted my hair because you said I needed shimmer. I loved you and believed you and pretended not to notice the Streisand thing. I thought you were just creative and I thought you were just smarter than me and more sensitive and more interesting. I just thought you were the most wonderful man that ever lived. I thought you could just change my life and show me the whole world. And teach me about art and life and magic and I thought you could make me feel like a beautiful woman instead of the girl nobody wanted.

        The bit where Matt Dillon finds her is great too, though not a monologue.


        • Gab #

          Oh, man, I remember that now. I haven’t seen that movie in ages.


    • shechner OTI Staff #

      My entries:
      “Mars Needs Big Momma’s House.”
      “Mars Needs to Throw Momma from the Train.”

      Yay, Cat, my fan! :)

      Hrm – without the specifics, it’s hard to say. Is it sufficient to say that an SN2* mechanism will induce a change in stereochemistry, while SN1 will typically produce a racemic mixture? As for E1 and E2, it gets a bit trickier. BUT, the overall reaction rate might be first-order overall in the case of E1, and second-order overall (first-order with respect to each of the reaction components) for an E2 reaction. This would require that the dissociation step isn’t rate-limiting. For example, the reaction’s:
      B + HA-X –> B-H + A-X –> B-H + A + X
      the first reaction is bimolecular, while the second is unimolecular. Hence, if the second step remains rate-limiting, then either an E1 or E2 reaction’ll show apparent first-order kinetics. (Of course, if you drop the concentration of B low enough, that won’t always be the case…).

      Beyond that, you might have to start arguing about steric occlusion and so forth. Or resort to kinetic isotope effects, as I often do.

      Hope this helps!

      *-“Backside attack,” the phrase which elicited _nearly_ the most mockery of any in my orgo class, after Emil Fisher’s name (rhymes with “Anal Fissure.”)


      • cat #

        Sadly, I did not do as well as I’d hoped. Better than the first time I took the course with a different teacher. Worse than the first test. But I am staying positive and optimistic for the rest of the semester. Thanks for the help.


  4. Chris #

    I just recently watched The A-Team. I also think it was good, and it could have been really good if they had replaced Jessica Biel with an actress who wasn’t terrible.

    I really liked Duncan Jones’ first movie, Moon, but Source Code was just too far fetched for me to be interested in.

    The most important thing is that you guys have maintained your long standing tradition of making almost comically slow progress through your summer movie previews.


    • Chris #

      Also, I too saw Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken. My elementary school showed it one day after school in the gymnasium. More importantly, it was the first and only time I ever had Orange Drink.


  5. Wade #

    Just wanted to thank you guys for not giving us an episode of Underthinking It this week. I loved the April Fool’s joke in the site, but an ironic anti-episode might have melted my brain.

    (And now you know what to do for next year…)


  6. Timothy J Swann #

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1uhmnNnmL8 is my favourite Russell Brand clip. The imitation was pretty good really. Better than some past English accents. I haven’t seen Source Code yet (going tomorrow), so I’ll get back to you on the expected impact on death and resurrection… it all depends on how the 8 minutes ‘targets’ I reckon…


  7. Brian #

    Can you guys compose a Barber Shop quartet style ending to synch up the “level of scrutiny it probably doesn’t deserve” outro so the show always goes out on a up beat? Something like the Looney Tunes outro mayhaps or a solemn monk chant?


  8. Gab #

    Fenzel, you were on a roll with the vague and awesome references to songs/movies/etc. this time around. Thumb up. (And another for saying “sh*t-ton.”)

    The premise of Mars Needs Moms kind of irked me for its heteronormative nature. Mars needs moms, not parents. Boo. I could rant more, but yeah.

    Did you guys miss Rango or did I miss you mentioning it? I enjoyed it quite a bit, and it had a lot of fourth-wall breakage and self-awareness going on. Alfred Molina, btw, provides one of the voices.

    “Because we don’t hate women.” I just want to restate that one. Nice. But I don’t think it’s just the schoolgirl outfits that cause it to be a problem. I haven’t seen it myself, granted, but from the reviews I read and from the things some people have told me, Sucker Punch is pretty exploitative. The plot revolves around girls in a brothel that have to seduce their way out or something like that. And I’m hoping Nolan will reign in Snyder’s crazy for Superman, since not only is Nolan producing, but his buddy David Goyer is doing the writing. Maybe this will be the movie that kind of tones down Snyder’s slooooooooooooow moooooooooooootion fetishism. Maybe.

    I know it came out in March, but I think Jane Eyre got a somewhat limited release. I’d like to see it, but it isn’t available where I’m at any more, I don’t think.

    Read Class War? by Benjamin Page and Lawrence Jacobs. It’s a quick read that proves there really isn’t a big split in American public opinion about economic inequality. But have any of you seen the original Arthur? I certainly enjoy that movie, so I wonder if the remake will do it justice. I don’t think I’ve seen any of Russel Brand’s movies, so I’m not sure how he’ll do.

    I remember Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken. I actually sometimes confuse it in my head with Untamed Heart, having seen both at about the same young, impressionable age.


    • fenzel OTI Staff #

      I wonder whether _Mars Needs My Two Dads_ would have bombed worse than _Mars Needs Moms_ did. Probably not – it at least would have attracted more car-wreck rubbernecking.


      • Gab #

        Hold the phone, Fenzel, you’re totally onto something. That could be the next season premiere of Glee!


        • cat #

          Where do you live? Jane Eyre is still playing. I’m trying to find time to go.


          • Gab #

            I’m in Indiana. The closest it’s playing to me is Indianapolis, which is about an hour away. I drove that far to see the first half of HP7 at midnight (because it sold out here), but that’s different- it was frikkin’ Harry Potter, after all. ;p

  9. Sananana #

    Aww, no one wants the last 8 minutes of Rasputin’s life? Or perhaps a Roman emperor? Those seem fun, if a bit painful.


  10. TimH #

    Late to the party I know, however the bus posters for Source Code and Thor that went past me this morning made me think the practice of promoting films by saying from the x of y is worthy of some thought.

    No tag lines on either but the statements

    From the director of Moon
    From the Studio that brought you “Iron Man”

    Trying to sell a big budget action film on the basis that the director is the same as an excellent but not particularly well known hard science fiction film seems a bit odd and it would the studio one seems tricky as we could be talking about two entirely different crews with nothing else in common than their paymaster.

    The mentioned case of from the people to do with Saw and Paranormal Activity seems to have a bit more of a shorthand to it, i.e. this is going to be scary/gory.

    What is the aim here, are we looking for shorthand to get target particular audiences, is it supposed to be some kind of endorsement in the absence of press quotes or is it just something to put on the poster if they can’t think of a tag line?


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