In this issue: This week we go outside our comfort zone for a bit, and then school Young Zach on the movies he should see before he turns 22.


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Critical Hit #177: Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire


  1. December 8, 2012 at 8:08 pm — Reply

    I was listening to you guys talk about women in comics I as reminded of another blog I read earlier this week. The blog post was about why are so many films horrible.

    “Hollywood has always made most movies for a juvenile crowd. A producer, I think his name was Zanuck, worked out the logic like this: Girls will see anything boys will see, but boys will not see most things girls will see. Younger kids will see anything that older kids will see, but older kids will not see things made for younger kids. Adults will see most things that older teenagers will see, but older teenagers will not necessarily see things that adults would see. Therefore, the correct money-making demographic to make a movie for is a 17 year old boy.”

    Full article can be found there
    I Know when I was taking children’s Lit classes one of the challenges for teachers it is often hard to get boys to read a book about girl lead characters but Girls will read about boy lead characters no problem.

    For Comics part of me always thinks its comes down to the money. As stated about what gets you largest reader base. And so things don’t change in nether film or comics over time. Yes small changes happen, but on whole I don’t feel any large earth movements coming.

  2. J_Michael_T
    December 8, 2012 at 8:36 pm — Reply

    Interesting argument. Explains a lot regarding the movies we see these days.

    By the way, I loved the topics discussed on this podcast (Hang in there Zach, you’ll be ‘all growed up’ before you know it! And then Stephen beware …)

    I guess I’ll never get a chance to take Stephen’s class so I hope he publishes his movie list with notes regarding why the movie listed is an important one… It’d be a cool reference to have while going through the list. I recently watched Citizen Kane for the first time and wouldn’t have appreciated it as much if I hadn’t been aware of its importance to the film industry.

    Hope Zach’s movie time becomes a thing in future shows :D

  3. December 9, 2012 at 6:43 pm — Reply

    Great recommendations for Zach’s Must Watch Movies, but no love for comedies? Dying is easy, comedy is hard. There are some GREAT comedies you should see Young Zach:

    Duck Soup and A Night At The Opera with the Marx Brothers…Episodic Vaudevillian antics and the precursor to sketch comedy.

    Bringing Up Baby…Textbook romantic/screwball comedy establishing tropes still in use today, except this one is actually funny. Cary Grant offers a master’s class in comedic timing, and Katherine Hepburn is just about perfect.

    Dr. Strangelove…Cold War hilarity presenting brilliant satire and social & political commentary. Dark.

    Airplane!… Pound for pound, probably the funniest movie ever made. Still being emulated tragically and incompetently in the _________ Movie, movies.

    Fast Times At Ridgemont High, The John Hughes teen comedies, and Better Off Dead…80s teen comedies that ‘got’ the era and helped define it too.

    This is Spinal Tap…Gave us the term mockumentary. The improvised dialog in this movie rang so true, some people thought they were a real band. Best, and truest movie about heavy metal ever made.

    There are probably hundreds more, but these are ones that came immediately to mind as important and influential.

  4. December 10, 2012 at 7:45 am — Reply

    Don’t kow if they’ve been mentioned or not yet, but:
    The Sixth Sense, Usual Suspects, and the one movie where half to all of Matthew’s references comes from…….Real Genius.

    • December 10, 2012 at 8:57 am — Reply

      The other half comes from George Carlin’s A Place for My Stuff… so… read and listen, and you’ll never have to hear Matthew again? Ba-Zinga

      • December 10, 2012 at 9:26 am — Reply

        The statute of limitations on that joke has officially expired…

  5. Russ Catt
    December 10, 2012 at 8:54 am — Reply

    I thought Jackie Chan’s principle North American debut was Rumble in the Bronx. Could be wrong.

    Couple of thoughts on anime series:
    – I have developed a certain caution when approaching a full TV series whose basic premise is to retell or expand on a previously released movie or OVA. Read or Die is my holdout example.
    When you try to take a solid 1-3 hour original premise and expand it to about 13 hours you can run into serious “Dilution of Awesome” problems. A longer series usually requires a larger cast of characters who all need development time to build viewer investment. This development time can hurt the overall plot and by the time the writers get to the “Story they Want to Tell” the viewers no longer care.
    – The reverse can also happen when you try to crystallize a longer manga series into a 2-hour movie. Trying to cram all the major plot points into a small amount of time can lose your viewers, rendering the finished product “flashy, but confusing”. A good example of this is Akira.

    If you want to see an example of a current anime series that hits all the major notes of good plot, good characters and good art look for Sword Art Online. (You can find the episodes streaming on some not-so-legal sites with a minimum of searching)

    Great episode! I’d love to hear more on Film History/Techniques informing Pop Culture in the future.

  6. December 10, 2012 at 10:18 pm — Reply

    No matter what you think of the cheese-factor, there’s TRON, the first movie to predominantly show GCI, and everyone’s (or at least my) favorite, and the late great Robert Preston’s last movie, “The Last Starfighter.”

  7. Brad Kalmanson
    December 10, 2012 at 10:20 pm — Reply

    Pardon me, CGI.

  8. December 12, 2012 at 1:25 am — Reply

    Stephen, would you please post your list of 100 movies? I would be very interested in working my way thru some new movies I haven’t been able to see yet.

  9. December 12, 2012 at 1:49 am — Reply

    On the subject of armour with fake muscles, here’s a real-life example. The Wallabies (Australia’s national rugby union team) has a uniform with pecs painted on. I suppose it’s designed to make them look tougher, much like the rationalisation you came up with for the movie Batman’s armour… although there is no excuse for nipples.

  10. Shush
    December 12, 2012 at 8:25 am — Reply

    I want to add my thought on the Batman’s armored abs. Now, I can’t exactly explain away all the various movie’s outfits, but as for the Nolan Movies I feel that a certain aspect was overlooked: Functional Mobility.

    At first glance it may seem just superficial and, to some, silly, but that particular area of the body has to be both armored and flexible. The human body has abdominal muscles shaped the way they are, because the body bends at the waist. So too does the Batsuit. Were those little segments giving it the look of abs filled in to be one solid piece, then the Batman would lose a large portion of flexibility and he would have a much harder time pulling off back-flips and somersaults.

    With this in mind it becomes obvious that the Batsuit, like the human body, should have abs to offer up what protection it can while still being sufficiently flexible and badass to be a -Tool Against Evil-.

  11. December 12, 2012 at 9:49 am — Reply

    Love you guys, love the show, but I must respectfully take issue with the part where Stephen references a conversation he had with Scott Kurtz and wonder why comic creatives don’t just “go out and do something original?”

    The Answer: Because doing something original is a huge investment in time and money, with very little guarantee of any kind of return (Like I have to tell the Major Spoilers crew that). It’s a big risk to take and, as you guys are always pointing out, the bottom line is dollars. Artists gotta eat too, you know. As much as I would love giving up my 40 hour a week job drawing stuff I’m only semi-interested in to self-publish my steampunk fantasy epic (, I gotta go with what pays the bills.

    While I respect Scott Kurtz as an artist and entrepreneur, I feel that he often depicts becoming rich and famous at webcomics as just a matter of follow through, while down playing the risks and pitfalls.

    • December 12, 2012 at 11:36 am — Reply

      I would agree with you on your points, but I would also point to Gail’s Leaving Megalopolis Kickstarter campaign that was highly successful, and is an original work. Also, with Gail’s talent specifically (which is what the conversation was vaguely referencing), she could easily step over to Image Comics and have a creator owned work that doesn’t require her to work for one of the big two…

      • December 12, 2012 at 5:05 pm — Reply

        But I think part of the problem came in the inferrance that work for the Big Companies is inferior because it’s not creator owned, which harkens back to the argument that good comics can’t be about superheroes. I don’t think you meant to imply that, in either case, but I can see how one might get the idea from the discussion we had.

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