Episode 282: I Volunteer as Hungry

The Overthinkers tackle “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” starring Jennifer Lawrence.

Matthew Belinkie, Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, and Matthew Wrather overthink The Hunger Games: Catching Fire starring Jennifer Lawrence.


→ Download Episode 282 (MP3)

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11 Comments on “Episode 282: I Volunteer as Hungry”

  1. Amanda #

    To keep my “fashion’s my area of expertise” thread-thing going, let me just well actually you on the fact that “ready-to-wear couture” is a fashion oxymoron.

    Now back to actually listening to the podcast beyond the first few seconds…

    (Also, let me just say, I’m super close to graduating and Sheely is in my thank yous. Will send a pdf once I translate it into English. Overthinking It, putting regular people in touch with badass ethnographers who can help you with your school work since [whenever it was you guys started the site])


  2. Amanda #

    To answer the question of the week, I’d say that, due to Matt’s donkey/Law & Order SVU conundrum, the Hunger Games movie itself is the inappropriate tie-in. To me, the message can be conveyed by the book, but the second you make it into a movie, the conundrum makes it impossible to take that message seriously. It’s like a parent lighting up a cigarrette in front of their kid while telling them “don’t smoke”. The movie can’t possibly convey the message of “Hey guys, watching kids murder each other is awful, let’s not get to that, as a society” while, at the same exact time, allowing people the experience of watching these kids murder each other. It just can’t.
    Now I’m not saying this movie is evil and shouldn’t exist, but that the message of the book is lost and any pretension to be anything other than a donkey effing/cheerleader getting raped spectacle is non-existent by virtue of it being a movie (thus allowing people to experience the exact thing it condemns).
    Now, a solutuon to that could be a Brechtian Verfilmung of the movie, a la the end of Dogville or something, where the deaths are so obscured by whatever Verfremdungseffekt mechanism the director might come up with that there’s no longer any action movie-like enjoyment.

    Now, as far as existent holy shit movie tie-ins, surprised no one mentioned the Django Unchained slave action figure.


  3. Ben Adams OTI Staff #

    “This week at Bob’s Bakery, we’ve partnered with Francis Ford Coppola and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. We’re committed to getting hand guns off the streets, and so we have a special offer: come by any of our locations and drop off any gun for dispsoal, and get a free cannoli.

    It’s our “Godfather: Leave the gun; take the cannoli” special!


  4. Josie FM #

    Interestinly, Wrather’s impression of the movie being “a good movie tied to an okay movie”, with the “good” part being the pre-QQ part, was exactly my opinion of the book. I actually thought the first half of Catching Fire, the book, was the best part of the entire series.

    ***BOOK spoilers below***

    As for the celebrity/totalitarian thing – Katniss speciefically says she resents being a celebrity because she’s famous for killing people. In the book, she also starts out deaf (her hearing blown out by the explosion in the first book) and spends this whole portion having traumatic flashbacks to the Games. And what pushes her towards Peeta – towards actual rather than acted-out romantic involvement – is that he’s the only one at this point who understands what’s she’s been through (I think someone else made this same comment recently, but I don’t recall who, so my apologies). Just as significant for the movie being PG-13 is that – while they kept in Peeta’s lie about Katniss being pregnant – they didn’t keep in their non-explicit sex scene on the train. A hard R version wouldn’t only be more true to the violence; it would also show this scene (and probably also would show Jena Malone’s breasts and have her curse more, because tits and “fucks” are things that hard-R movies have). Of course, including these things would further spectacl-ize the movie, making it even more like the thing it’s condemning.


    • godisagnostic #

      Were they having sex on the train or only coordinating their REM cycles? I always figured they were having sex on the train, but it is pretty vague in the book.


  5. godisagnostic #

    Re: the onion review

    A lot of the discourse (drink) surrounding The Hunger Games involves disparaging it for being “young adult” and aimed at teenage girls as if that means it is undeserving of overthinking. It’s part of a very obnoxious trend in society to minimize media aimed at women, especially young women, in favor of media aimed at men.

    As someone who used to be a teenage girl, I’m insulted by the onion review. Yeah, it’s done under the guise of parody, but it is just another thing telling teenage girls they are too stupid to appreciate anything other than hot guys.

    Was I the only person bothered by this?


  6. Jonathan Badger #

    Fun podcast, but I was disappointed how you used “vomitorium” in the misconception sense (as a place to actually vomit, in ancient Rome or in the all new Chevy Silverado with the Decadence add-on package). Vomitoria are just mass exits of theatres/stadiums, which were metaphorically named for the people being spewed forth rather than the people spewing. Yes, the movie presumably was referring to the misconception with the vomit-inducing drink, but they didn’t actually say the word :-).


  7. PotatoKnight #

    Having read books one and two but having not read three I had always made the (per my googling) apparently common assumption that Panem was once a colloquialism for Pan-America that got formalized. I thought it was a clever bit of one-word worldbuilding never made explicit. It shows a realistic sense of how words evolve. It shows that our world was cataclysmicaly altered, so much so that the very names are forgotten. Combined with the fact that the Capital is going to be in the Rockies–where the NORAD bunker is–the name gives some sense of the fictional history without much clunky exposition or making explicit information that the characters don’t have any reason to know.

    (As a person, by the way, who grew up in the mountain west, I have to confess there is something perversely gratifying about a word where the coasts grovel before the Rockies. Who’s flyover country NOW, district 2?)

    But it looks like even in universe Panem is a bread and circuses reference? Someone who’s read Mockingjay can correct me if I am wrong. If so, that kind of cheapens it for me. If nothing else, doesn’t Panem by itself just mean bread? Without its “et circenses” it kind of lacks its satiric punch.


  8. Agam #

    Have neither seen the movie nor (shame on me) read the book yet, so I’ve only delved into the first twenty minutes of the podcast so far in order to avoid spoilers. But I found this episode’s Question of the Week impossible to resist tackling in visual form. It doesn’t look like I can upload images on the comments. But: an email attachment is forthcoming. (Cue the ominous yet sweeping music in a minor key, think something from “Two Steps From Hell.”)


  9. Agam #

    Cool! Thanks Matt!


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