Episode 177: Batman: Arkham Chamber of Commerce

The Overthinkers tackle Batman: Arkham City and J. Edgar.

Matthew Wrather hosts with Mark Lee, Joshua McNeil (eating bacon), John Perich, and David Shechner to overthink supernatural spouses, Arkham City, J. Edgar, Hell on Wheels, and listener feedback.


→ Download Episode 177 (MP3)

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18 Comments on “Episode 177: Batman: Arkham Chamber of Commerce”

    • Matthew Wrather OTI Staff #

      Yeah, I picked that up after the whole thing was edited and exported. I didn’t know if anyone would notice. With our audience, I shouldn’t have wondered.


  1. Pasteur #

    Jacob does take his shirt off nearly immediately; Anna Kendrick again gets a great cameo that is almost worth the price of admission.

    The movie dwelt more on the act of sex and less on its premeditation than the book – I don’t think the word “soul” is said onscreen once. I wouldn’t say the physical act itself is “alluded to” so much as “shown to the point of PG-13”?

    Interestingly, the worst part of the film is by far Taylor Lautner’s VO work. It has been said on the podcast before that even in bad movies, the technical work is good; but I honestly think something went wrong in the producing of the audio.

    The movie ends immediately after her transformation into vampire-dom (vampire-hood?), which follows her labor. All in all, it’s not as good as Twilight, but much better than New Moon.

    The really interesting thing is just how entertaining the world that has been built would be if it didn’t include Edward and Bella. The Jessica Stanley/Charlie Swan/Seth Clearwater sitcom would make for amazing television.


  2. Chris #

    I have seen all three episodes of Hell on Wheels thus far. Even episode has been by the narrowest of margins good, but it also has been a bit lackluster. None of the characters really stick out to me, and the show has been plodding quite a bit. The whole thing has felt like the episodes of Breaking Bad where they are setting up chess pieces, only the characters aren’t as interesting and the story isn’t told as well. I will agree, however, that Colm Meaney has been the best thing about the show so far. Meanwhile, the main character has been really unengaging. I’m going to keep watching, but partially because there isn’t anything else on at that time currently, which is owed solely to watching sporting events live on the West Coast.

    Also Matt, you made a mistake. You said “Super Mario Kart 64” when surely you meant “Super Mario 64” which is the only video game on the planet that matters. Death to all other video games!

    Also, how great was last week’s Community? Very great is the answer.


    • Chris #

      I got so engrossed in the podcast, I completely forgot to react to the Detroit baiting. So: How dare you, sir! My work here is done.


  3. Eric #

    Re: the idea of living half a game as Batman and half a game as Bruce Wayne, I feel like this format has already been sort of pioneered by the Shin Megumi Tensei: Persona series. You spend the day in the “real world” being in high school/doing random jobs and then half (or more, depending on how much you like dungeon crawling) fighting. Fun games.


    • fenzel OTI Staff #

      Yeah, the game concept itself isn’t all that novel – the reason you’d want to play this one is because you want the experience of being batman, similar to other open-ended or free-roaming games where the real experience is getting into the life of the character.

      Batman would be fun, but you know who would be a lot better for this? Superman.

      You play as Clark Kent, but at any point, you want, you can take off your glasses and suit and become Superman (dramatic music, red S on the chest through the lapels, phone booths, whole 9 yards).

      The main mechanic in the game is civilians. You are mostly invulnerable – only Kryptonite and really heavy hitters can actually hurt you. But you really care about the citizens of metropolis, and if civilian casualties go above a certain figure, you fail. Whenever you become Superman, people do the old “It’s a bird! It’s a plane!” and rush out on the streets to see you. If anybody actually sees you change from Clark Kent to Superman, they will start following around Clark Kent in growing numbers.

      This, of course, exposes them to danger, because you probably don’t become Superman unless something dangerous is happening. So you have to hide in phone booths to change, and once stuff starts going down, you not only have to beat the bad guy or stop the plane from crashing or the meteor or whatever, you need to do it while protecting the civilians who have come out to rubberneck.

      So, maybe you can play “Man of Steel Mode,” where you just fly around as Superman doing side missions to save the citizens of Metropolis (or a larger environment if they can make it) from various bad things and attacks and stuff.

      Or, you can follow the missions, where, as an investigative reporter, you get on the trail of a major conspiracy involving LexCorp, the government, aliens, whatever. Periodically during these missions you will have to change into Superman to deal with a problem without giving away that you are Superman (or else you fail the mission – you can’t investigate the case properly if people know you’re Superman).

      So maybe you’re interviewing somebody, and suddenly a bus hits a guard rail and teeters on the edge of a bridge – you have to leave the interview, duck behind a wall, change, then fly over, lift the bus, deposit it safely on firm ground, go change back, and meet the person you were interviewing, all in one smooth go.

      Then during big boss fights, the bosses can try to distract you by going after the civilians, and you have to protect them (or you lose) – even a mini-mission as simple as jumping in front of bullets being fired at a convenience store owner by a bunch of gangsters (and then ducking when they throw their guns at you) would be fun.

      Then you could keep an apartment or fly to your Fortress of Solitude, and collect both Clark Kent and Superman costumes, maybe you get to take Lois Lane on dates – where awful accidents happen and you have to fix them without tipping your hat that you’re Superman. They could even put in an arena in space where you fight other super-beings.

      If it were done right, I would play the Hell out of this game, especially if it had proper Superman music.


      • fenzel OTI Staff #

        You could also have Daily Planet side-missions, where you have to get around town on foot and report on stories within a tight time-frame, very restricted on where or how you can use your superpowers – or maybe you can do mini-missions as Jimmy Olsen, running around town taking pictures.


  4. fenzel OTI Staff #

    Hey All!

    Sorry I couldn’t do the podcast this week – I dialed into the call, but if you’d been there to hear my voice, you would not have wanted me on there either. And I couldn’t find a good enough Twilight soundboard that wasn’t for android to use in lieu of my voice to answer questions, so I took the night off.

    But listened to the podcast on my way to work, which I realize I should probably do every week. I very rarely listen to the podcasts out of nerves – like a lot of performers, I don’t like seeing or hearing myself. But it’s useful, and I’ll do more of that to help my own performance and the podcast and stuff.

    Glad you guys held it down, and hope the listeners enjoyed it. Next time I will try not to attend a college football game where my team loses by 40 points, causing an entirely inappropriate amount of my talking during the day and through the night to be angry shouting. Gotta save that voice.

    Anyway, was the question – what movie would be improved by switching the actors of the lead roles, or what two movies would be improved by switching the actors of the lead roles?

    If it’s the former, I’d love to see a version of Fight Club where the unnamed protagonist (Jack) is played by a jaded and complacent Brad Pitt and Tyler Durden is played by a crazed and violent-tempered Ed Norton. It always seemed a bit on-the-nose that Tyler was so much hotter than the protagonist, or that the protagonist was so obviously a schlub. I mean, I guess it helps make the movie comprehensible – if the original were swapped from the get-go, we probably wouldn’t even have this conversation, but with the familiarity of the original built up, the opposite seems interesting.

    If it’s the latter, then I’d say _Bram Stoker’s Dracula_ and _Van Helsing_, either with Hugh Jackman playing John Harker and Keanu Reeves playing ridiculous action star Van Helsing – or with Hugh Jackman playing serious scientist Van Helsing and Anthony Hopkins doing crazy CGI wire stunts. Although I guess Anthony Hopkins tried that in the Mask of Zorro sequel, and that wasn’t too great.

    More seriously and less vampire-ey, let’s say for the former As Good as it Gets, except Helen Hunt is an angry and mean-spirited novelist and Jack Nicholson is a single dad who works at a diner. I love that movie, but the gender roles cheapen it a bit – if Jack Nicholson was serving breakfast, and Helen Hunt put her own needs above those of the sick kid, I think it would seem more sincere and bring out more of the cool stuff in the movie about human relationships. The situation is cliche enough that we don’t realize how weird it is relative to reality – switching it up would make it more believable.

    As for the latter, I’d say Million Dollar Baby and Life As We Know It, with Hillary Swank and Katherine Heigl. Make Katherine Heigl train enough that she actually looks tough, so that the toughness means something, rather than picking the toughest-looking actress you can find for it – and when you put together the couple that has to work together to raise the dead friends’ family, don’t pick a woman who is so obviously the one the guy is supposed to fall in love with to be the one he doesn’t want to fall in love with. It would bring the closeness that comes from cooperating with somebody on something like that, which is the point of the movie, into sharper relief.

    I’m a big fan of breaking type.


    • fenzel OTI Staff #

      As for supernatural spouses, I’d pick Baba Yaga, because she’s independent and does her own thing but also understands what dudes go through and is willing to cooperate and be helpful. Plus, she loves kids and owns a house.


  5. James T #

    Don’t know if this was done intentionally for comic effect, but you guys seem to have conflated Woody Guthrie (writer of “This Land is Your Land”) with his son Arlo (writer of “Alice’s Restaurant”) The elder Guthrie’s music was generally pretty left-leaning; he had songs about joining the Union and about how California was exploiting undocumented immigrant workers. It is really more folk than country, though.


    • John Perich OTI Staff #

      Done unintentionally for comic effect. I realized the mistake almost as soon as we signed off.


  6. Wade #

    Just wanted to pop in and thank Josh for the Hardcore History recommendation. This is fascinating stuff, and in looking it up I wound up downloading episodes of three other history podcasts.

    One thing that struck me about J. Edgar was how the film was structured as a layered series of flashbacks. Jedgar dictates the life story of the Bureau to a series of typists, and what becomes clear over the course of the film is that the way he handles so many events in his life is almost a complete constant. He’s just as manipulative during the Lindbergh investigation as he is in his dealings with Kennedy or Nixon. It eventually becomes clear that this isn’t a biopic about the way J. Edgar Hoover changed over time, but about the way his unwavering paranoia and neuroses wound up shaping the lives of his country and the people in it. At least, that’s what I took from it.


  7. Jasin #

    Thanks for reading my letter! I blogged about it (weshouldbesponsored.tumblr.com) every road trip needs a blog, my enormous readership will now listen to this podcast.

    As for the question, I would switch Michael cera in Superbad and rObert pattnson from twilight. It will improve twilight by highlighting the theme of ‘you love someone because you just do’, no matter how much better team Jacob is. Robby p will do fine in Superbad because he has proven his ability to be awkward, skinny, pale, and not want to sleep with girls.



  8. Gab #

    Wow, I haven’t laughed as much during an opening question in a while. You guys, you guys… If I didn’t have a weekly date with some of my friends to watch Once Upon a Time and The Walking Dead, I’d offer to guest again. Maybe when the season’s up.

    Hell on Wheels has been okay… Honestly, I don’t think it has improved all that much since the pilot. Sorry McNeal… I think the dialogue is rather terrible, and the symbolism is overdone to the point of distraction. Perhaps that’s what they’re going for, but I’ve seen it executed better in other places, so I’m not sure what to think about it. I’m still watching it, but eh.

    Yeah, SPOILER, the “confrontation” is just a big standoff. No actual action. Ugh. And yes, as has been said on another thread, Bella friggin’ passes out during their honeymoon and wakes up bruised. Rape, it’s friggin’ rape. The whole premise of a terrifying first time and then a terrifying pregnancy as a result reminds me of the anti-abortion movie where the pregnant girls get, like, abducted or something, and one of them friggin’ dies or something (called “The Life Zone”, not out yet, the trailer is terrifying, look it up). I said terrifying a number of times there, but yeah…


    • Pasteur #

      The movie didn’t really seem to imply that Bella lost consciousness at any point – in terms of sexual violence, I’m mostly disappointed that (naturally) Rosalie’s story won’t make it into the films. Not in the sense of “I love it when that happens to women”, but in the sense of “I remember having some difficult and intense discussions after that story that wouldn’t’ve happened otherwise”.

      Seriously, it’s a better film than New Moon!


      • Gab #

        And I suppose the movies were each slightly better than the books… I haven’t seen this one yet, but I saw all of the other ones. Sigh…


    • Timothy J Swann #

      I’m obviously in favour of the Exacta Crew doing more guest slots.


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