Episode 4: The Art of History and Mystery
About This Episode
Get out your controllers and settle in for a long night of not communicating with the outside world, because this time around, the Screeners are reviewing 2K Games’ blockbuster Bioshock Infinite. If you’re not a gamer, though, not to worry; there’s still plenty of movie and TV talk to go around.
The Lightning Round Redux
Before getting into the meat of this episode’s lightning round, the Screeners take a minute to confess that they haven’t really been sticking to a 60-second answer limit in previous episodes (though we’re sure no one would have known if they hadn’t pointed it out). They then introduce the nemesis of any long-winded Screener, the Jump Cut buzzer. We’ll see if they need it...who are we kidding? Of course they’ll need it.
The questions start out with Gerard Butler and Olympus Has Fallen, the White House-levelling action thriller. Melody and Chad take turns mocking the amateurish visual effects and praising the...delightfully campy visual effects. There might have been some talk about the acting and the script too, but let's just say there was only one Screener who liked the movie unconditionally. Guess who that was?
From DC to Marvel; topic 2 is the new Wolverine trailer—err, “tweaser”. Seems the kids are using this thing called “Vine” to do...whatever kids do with 6 seconds of video, and film studios may have picked this to be the one time they’re ahead of the content distribution curve. Josh complains that he’d like to see just a few more cuts in the trailer, and everyone else agrees. Wait; that can’t be right...
The next jump is from movies to metrics, as the Screeners observe a moment of silence for Neilsen’s decades-old ratings model. With an in-depth Wired piece as a reference, they consider that the week-long ratings cycle might finally be dead, especially for cable-scorning hipsters like Chris and Melody. Oh, and let's have a moment of silence for that poor Neilsen family. All they ever did wrong was like bad TV.
Rounding out the lightning round is a quick review of the Screeners’ personal favorites in the podcast world. Here’s a shocker: Josh hasn’t heard any of the others’ favorites. Notable mentions include A Cast of Kings and The Q & A Podcast.
For this week’s main event, you may want to crack open your favorite secessionist American history book and a copy of Atlas Shrugged, because the Screeners are reviewing a video game. (If you can think of a less likely second half for that last sentence, please let us know in the comments.)
Bioshock has always been a genre-defier, and the latest incarnation is no exception. It’s won awards and nearly universal acclaim, but do the Screeners agree? As of this recording, they’ve all played it, but they’re at different points in the story, so Josh refuses to let Chris and Chad (those overachievers) spoil the ending for anyone.
Ha ha, Made you Watch
For this episode’s Cutting Room Floor, the Screeners have come up with a new game to enlighten and/or torment each other. They’re calling it “Convince Me to Watch”—each Screener picks a movie specifically for one other host to watch, and the pair convene during the episode to discuss.
As a side note, all these movies are streaming on Netflix as of this writing, so if you have a subscription, you won’t have to spend any money to join in this segment’s fun.
First up is Melody, who tells Josh he really should watch Side By Side, a documentary about the movie industry and the reception of digital production in a world ruled by film for so long. The movie’s discussion is moderated by Keanu Reeves, and Josh’s main complaint about the film (can we call them “films” anymore?) is that Keanu has apparently judged himself competent enough to say more than “Whoa.” in a movie.
Switching roles from reviewer to presenter, Josh has selected Visioneers, an offbeat dystopian comedy built around a growing epidemic of people spontaneously exploding. He’s picked this for Chris, and he’s positively giddy about his choice because he loved the movie and thinks there’s a small chance Chris liked it too. He’s guessing, though, that Chris's lack of experience with soul-crushing jobs, existential crises, and introspection about the nihilism lurking behind every corner of modern life might lead him to a somewhat...different reaction than his own. Either way, at least one of them will be happy.
Chris then introduces The Imposter, another documentary about the disappearance of a small boy and his possible reappearance over a decade later. This one’s for Chad to comment on, and he spends much of his time remarking on the way director Bart Layton has used the documentary format in a somewhat unconventional way. No plot spoilers here; the less you know about the movie, the better; but it’s worth listening to Chad’s review so you can be on the lookout for some of the film’s finer production details.
Last up is Chad, who takes great joy in having recommended a movie about the world of mixed martial arts to a mother of two young children. Melody admits that she wasn’t too excited by Warrior at first, but what did she think by the end of it? Well, we're not giving away the ending of that one either.
That does it for this episode; if the Screeners convinced you to watch (or play) something, let them know what you thought of it in the comments. See you next time!