Episode 215: Vengeance for Algernon

The Overthinkers tackle Matt Damon’s role (or the lack thereof) in “The Bourne Legacy” and the politics (or the lack thereof) in “The Campaign.”

Matt Belinkie, Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, John Perich, and Jordan Stokes overthink Matt Damon’s role (or the lack thereof) in The Bourne Legacy and the politics (or the lack thereof) in The Campaign.


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17 Comments on “Episode 215: Vengeance for Algernon”

  1. Anthony Abatte #

    After reading the title of the episode, I shouldn’t be surprised that I wasn’t the only one that thought of this comparison. Carry on, OTI.


  2. cat #

    OK, well I have nothing to say about The Bourne Legacy or The Campaign but I did watch the Olympic closing ceremony.

    There was more badly choreographed dancing. And then there was a strange assortment of musical acts as One Direction, the Kaiser Chiefs, Annie Lennox, Russell Brand, Fatboy Slim, Jessie J, Taio Cruz, The Spice Girls, Eric Idle, and Take That performed. I may have skipped some acts but that was the general trend.

    The Kaiser Chiefs were interesting because A) I happen to like them and B) They were another one of the young-ish bands they called out to perform songs that weren’t theirs.

    Nothing makes you realize how badly choreographed an impromptu group dance number is quite like Fatboy Slim. She’s All That, anyone?

    The Spice Girls were entertaining but I don’t remember them sounding quite so shouty. It was kind of sounded like a group of older women do a karaoke version of the Spice Girls at a bar.

    I loved Eric Idle but I was vaguely uncertain about whether to feel offended at the Bollywood dancing part. Maybe it just felt awkward because the pacing was so bad.

    As for Take That, interesting they decided to sing “Rule The World” which contrasts oddly with all those mixed messages we discussed concerning the Opening Ceremony.


    • Ed #

      Wow, that is quite the summary. While I enjoyed the Olympics themselves this, plus the OTI pocast make me very very glad I skipped both the opening and closing ceremonies.


    • LeighH #

      “It kind of sounded like a group of older women doing a karaoke version of the Spice Girls at a bar.”

      Not to be cruel, but isn’t that basically what they are now?


  3. Ed #

    I actually have an answer to the panel question because it is something I have thought about from one of my favorite movies ever. The side movie would be Walter Peck: EPA – The gritty story of an understaffed, under budgeted, overworked lawyer for the Environmental Protection Agency in Manhattan trying to keep the city safe from charlatans who keep unlicensed nuclear accelerators in their basement. After battling political incompetence and leaving NYC in disgrace, he spends the rest of his life working for the FDA trying to have marshmallows removed from stores.

    Regarding characters being in specific political parties in movies or TV, I don’t watch a lot of political movies but the few I can remember does mention specific parties. In My Fellow Americans, Jack Lemmon plays a Republican ex-President while James Garner plays a Democrat ex-President. However, specific party platforms plays almost no role in the movie other then the two of them hating each other on principle. The West Wing on the other hand, does portray the President as obviously a Democrat and mostly supports Democratic ideals. In An American President it is also very obviously Democratic (looking back now due to Sorkin’s writing that movie is pretty much the pilot movie for The West Wing featuring some of the same actors in different roles).


  4. Redem #

    They are no other Godfather movies but they are Godfather video games


  5. Justin Mohareb #

    My own contribution to the panel question is I’d like to see the Bossk Legacy, where we get to see Trandoshan bounty hunter Bossk’s (ultimately futile) attempts to track down Han Solo & the Millenium Falcon to collect Darth Vader’s bounty.


    • Ed #

      If you haven’t already, check out the Robot Chicken Star Wars parodies. They do go into some background and story lines of the other bounty hunters, although I believe Bossk was tragically not done.


  6. Howard Member #

    I watch Parks and Rec! I think the show has gotten more optimistic about the political process, despite a general trend toward pessimism (at least, it seems to me). I don’t remember the first season that well, but by the second season Leslie Knope has become hyper competent. She’s generally foiled by a town filled with crazy constituents that don’t deserve her. By the the third and fourth seasons, the rough edges on most of the supporting characters have been smoothed over – Ron, her libertarian boss, has grown less anti-government, April isn’t as aggressively useless, Andy isn’t as big of a douchebag, etc. It’s almost a Great Man perspective – the system may or may not be good, but Leslie is so hard-working, likable, and genuinely passionate about the town that she can make it work and drag the people around her toward competence.


    • LeighH #

      That’s a great description of Leslie Knope. And her position as a buoy that raises the town is made explicit a couple times, when she gives a rousing speech or does something heroic, and the camera pans to citizens nodding their heads in agreement. Politics in Pawnee isn’t faction against faction – most of the townspeople can easily be swayed by righteousness and justice.


  7. LeighH #

    I saw The Bourne Legacy today. Everything you guys say about it is true – that the Jason Bourne references weigh it down, that the movie tries to do too much and fails, etc. But that totally ignores just how compelling the movie is. One of the best things about the original Bourne series is how on edge and exciting the movie feels, and this installment definitely has that going for it. The main problem, I think, is that the snippets of recyled material that they keep tossing out pull you out of this movie and deposit you in some weird space between the movies. Fortunately, after a few seconds, you get ripped right back into the here and now; the recycled bits become a mere irritation between the really good bits. This movie belongs on the same shelf with the previous three volumes, so if you liked those, you’ll dig this one too.


  8. MomentEye #

    I’d like to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory from the viewpoint of the Oompah Loompas.
    I see it similar to an Avatar where the tribe has been subjugated under a benign but unstable autocrat. So the original story becomes about an imminent regime change.
    The OLs become extremely concerned with the character and ethics of the candidates and upon learning their flaws entice them into dangerous and/or fatal traps.
    Ultimately even Charlie is found wanting but tribe has descended into civil war as self rule seems imminent. The sheer violence of the conflict leads Wonka to hand over the reigns to Charlie despite his kleptocrat tendencies.
    Obviously, it remains a musical comedy.


    • cat #

      Ooh, great idea. I see it more like this. As their benign but unstable autocrat, Wonka has decided to test his candidates by enticing them with Slughorn’s offer and the trip through the factory is more of an actual tour. However, because they are omnipresent, the OL’s have discovered his plan and have decided amongst themselves that they must convince Wonka that all the children are terrible candidates because A)they want Wonka to remain their leader B)they want their eventual freedom C)both (maybe their are two factions with common interests). Due to the OL’s scheming, Wonka sees the flaws in all of the characters and the OL’s are at the brink of success (despite internal rivalry and rising tensions throughout the film). However, as we know, Charlie then makes a pivotal decision convincing Wonka to hand the reins over to Charlie. The story could go in many directions at this point. A) The OL’s accept their failure. B) The OL’s stage an uprising when Wonka and Charlie return from their glass elevator trip. C) One faction of OL’s stage an uprising and then the rest of the film (or the sequel) becomes about whether the other faction will join them or support Charlie and Wonka.

      Perhaps at some point there’s the threat of the OL’s being revealed to the world. I don’t know, I’m spiraling at this point. I’m going to stop.


  9. CrazyLikeAFox OTI Staff #


    I liked your comment at the end about Nerf arrows being phallic because of physics, not imagery. This is something that I frequently think when people talk about phallic imagery, particularly when they take it out of the arts and into psychoanalysis or sociology. While artists might sometimes a gun or projectile for the phallic imagery, that doesn’t mean every long/straight object always (or even usually) has a phallic connotation – to quote Neil Stephenson “Topography is destiny.”

    A gun is shaped the way it is because it’s the best way to fire a projectile really quickly, and a sword is shaped the way it is because it’s the best way to disembowel people. Soldiers don’t carry longer rifles because they’re trying to compensate or symbolize something phallic – they want to carry a longer rifle because it makes bullets more accurate (and hence, easier to send long distances and kill people with).

    I haven’t seen The Campaign so can’t comment on the use in the movie, but I suspect the Nerf guns were probably incidentally as opposed to deliberately phallic (and the only Nerf projectile I can’t think of that ISN’T phallic is the little yellow balls, and I supppose those aren’t TOO much better in the imagery department).


    • LeighH #

      Some Nerf guns shoot plastic discs. And considering the physics of the Nerf spring-loading action, a disc would actually travel faster and farther.


  10. Gab #

    Another movie that shows how a movie corrupts the politicians is State of the Union, a classic starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. I actually show a few clips from it when I teach the intro-level class at Purdue because it demonstrates the concept of “dirty hands” that political theorist Michael Walzer elucidates wonderfully in a kind of famous essay. The basic idea is we elect politicians for a number of reasons, all revolving around how it’s impossible to be in politics, truly be in politics, without getting one’s hands dirty; we both love and hate our politicians for it. In the movie, Tracy’c character starts out as the typical “outsider,” uncorrupt and pure; by the end, he’s made shady deals and kind of hates himself, while his wife, Hepburn, has lost all respect for him because of it. It sounds like the arc repeatedly described by you guys is the one described by Walzer. I highly recommend the essay, and love it so much, I’ll give you a link: http://www.duke.edu/~nrt/Walzer2.pdf

    Ah, well, I think Sorkin rather unabashedly shows parties in his films and shows; and one of my favorite political comedies, My Fellow Americans relies heavily on the divide between the parties of the two main characters. Other than Sorkin, I’ll admit, I’m not sure I can think of others… The “womanizing democrat” sort of happens a lot, I feel, though.

    Given the discussion of who is important with respect to the “politerati” (nice term, btw), I’d say it sounds like what’s really going on is a difference between monetary and social capital and how that affects power. And I believe you’re saying that who one knows is just as, if not more, important than how much money one has.


  11. Rob Northrup #

    Dammit, I’m always late commenting on the podcasts. Here’s a helpful way to remember the difference between Dylan McDermott and Dermot Mulroney:


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