Episode 334: As God Is My Witness, I’ll Never Go On the Hunger Games Again

The Overthinkers tackle “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1” starring Jennifer Lawrence.

Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, and Matthew Wrather overthink The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 starring Jennifer Lawrence.


→ Download Episode 334 (MP3)

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11 Comments on “Episode 334: As God Is My Witness, I’ll Never Go On the Hunger Games Again”

  1. Adrian #

    Guys. Guys. You need to see ‘Birdman’. Everyone who has ever had anything to do with live theatre needs to see ‘Birdman’.


  2. Connor Moran #

    To follow up my tweet about fascist ads, I was indeed mostly referring to the poster for the movie. I haven’t seen the movie yet but from the book I obviously recognize that a nod to fascism is very deliberate and not done uncritically in the work itself.

    It’s a bit disconcerting, though, to walk through an American city and see posters of a white woman in military garb in front of a massive flaming symbolic bird. The message is less “see this movie” and more Exterminate All Who Oppose Great Leader Jennifer. Her JWord is JLaw.

    Although I will say, I just looked closer at the poster in writing this comment, and when you look closely Ms. Lawrence’s face actually kind of manages to bring in some of the critical edge. She shows the vulnerability and pensiveness of Katniss, which is a pretty stark contrast to the imagery surrounding her–imagery of invulnerable armor and immortal firebird. That’s the kind of subtlety that is a bit rough to catch as my bus swings by a movie theatre, though.


    • fenzel OTI Staff #

      I mean, I guess, but if the criticism is “This movie poster I saw might potentially be trying to convince me to empower a 26 year old actress with totalitarian control of the government while I’m riding past it at 15 miles an hour and not looking very closely” is kind of a soft sort of criticism.

      The rest of the ad campaign for Mockingjay Part 1 has been fairly circumspect — particularly the Julianne Moore in gray in front of the gray wall poster (there are also ones for PSH and Elizabeth Banks).

      Also, there were the economic propoganda posters with the joyless district inhabitants and their industry-related crops. All very Communo-Fascist-propagandish.

      Although I guess what I’m saying is that if the poster was disoncerting, then good, because that’s an accurate reflection of the movie, which is also disconcerting. I’m not sure if you’re calling out its disconcerting-ness as something that’s undesirable or that you oppose – I guess my knee-jerk reaction is that you “have a problem with it?” I guess?


    • Jamie #

      Okay, someone needs to take one of those posters and add the tagline “Her JWord is JLaw”.


  3. Connor Moran #

    A soft kind of criticism is a fair characterization of my feelings about it. I felt uncomfortable seeing the poster in a way that I don’t think the designers of that particular poster intended, but that discomfort is not out of line given the work as a whole. More an observation than a problem.

    Tangentially, while I was of course kidding about Jennifer Lawrence’s rise to absolute power (Everyone knows she could never defeat the Swift faction) I can’t help but note that she would not be the first 26-year-old actress to accrue substantial political power.


  4. Josie M. #

    Well, it’s good to hear that this movie, at least, is to some degree critical and “not unselfconscious”. I’ve read the book and I think liked it more than most people, relative to the first two, but I haven’t seen the movie yet. My expectations based on the first two movies and the marketing (not just of this movie but of the whole series) were that it really would not be, hence my tweet, but you also didn’t exactly discuss the point I was trying to make. Which is that no matter the level of self-awareness, the degree to which it’s a mass-marketed corporate franchise product – a 4-quadrant movie, as you noted – inherently undermines any actual criticism it could possibly make of real-world social orders.

    I’m also still in the “as good as Jennifer Lawrence is, they should have cast someone who actually looks like book-Katniss” faction, but that’s moot at this point.


  5. cat #

    The only podcast that would make Hunger Games/Carousel musical crossover jokes. I love you guys.


  6. Julia Mathias #

    Guys, please tell me that you have a Serial themed podcast coming? I know it’s a subject that kind of deserves overthinking, but surely you can make an exception, right?


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