Trash Culture’s The Simpsons Reviews: Season 1, Episode 2: “Bart the Genius”

By Chad Denton

Hell, who doesn't remember this image?
Hell, who doesn't remember this?

So it came to my attention that, around the time I started doing my “Simpsons” write-ups, Onion AV Club writer Nathan Rabin has been doing his own reviews. This was kind of discouraging, since one of the reasons I do pop culture write-ups is to make a desperate shot in the dark toward getting a paid writing gig. And while I’m just some random person on the Internet, he gets paid for writing for a major website, which in the light of the Internet’s hierarchy means that I’m a groveling peasant and he’s a bejeweled archbishop.

I honestly did think about giving up this series before I even really began it, but it occurred to me that I’m not writing these as strictly reviews but as a reflection on a show that I literally grew up with. Also I said that I would try to generate more substantial content in this space to try to get you all to throw some change my way, and so here we are. Continue reading Trash Culture’s The Simpsons Reviews: Season 1, Episode 2: “Bart the Genius”

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Could be worse...could be an Aundrey II...or a Triffid...I'm just sayin'...
Could be worse…could be an Aundrey II…or a Triffid…I’m just sayin’…

John W. Campbell Jr. published the novella Who Goes There in 1938 and went on to inspire the next generation of alien invasion stories, usually involving duplication, replacement, and the resulting paranoia. Who Goes There escaped the printed page in 1951 and became The Thing from Another World. That same, year Robert Heinlein published The Puppet Masters, which non-Heinlein fans might facetiously describe as “Who Goes There v. 2.0.” (If we want to be dicks about it.) Two years later, our “friends” at 20th Century Fox chose to distribute a little independent horror movie called Invaders from Mars. The year after that, Collier’s Magazine began serializing a novel from 5 Against the House author Jack Finney called The Body Snatchers.

With all these other Alien Invasion films making such a big splash, Poverty Row studio Monogram Pictures had to snatch up the film rights. It had no choice, having been around since 1931 and gained a well-deserved reputation for low budget Westerns (which weren’t all that bad), Bowery Boys comedies (which weren’t all that funny) and Bomba, the Jungle Boy adventures (which really were all that racist and then some). Like any small timer, Monogram hoped for some respect, and so transmuted itself into Allied Artists Pictures. It began fielding “B-plus” films with at-the-time-insane production costs, sometimes climbing north of one million dollars. Continue reading Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Revenge of the Podcast from the After Movie Diner

"His ideas are garbage!"
"His ideas are garbage!"

Having fled my Evil Self from the Republic Serial Dimension, I take refuge inside the After Movie Diner and discuss two prime examples of 1970s SF goodness: Michael Crichton’s Westworld and Philip Kaufman’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers. (That one with Donald Sutherland’s mustache.) Download, share, and enjoy.

As always, big thanks to Diner host, friend of the show, and theme-song writer Jon X for putting up with my rambling once again. This’ll be the third time I’ve slipped into the diner’s chipped Formica embrace, the previous two being Episode 21: The DIY Superhero Special and Episode 12: Censorship! An Ass-to-Mouth-Palooza. All of which are available for download at The After Movie Diner’s website (hint-hint, nudge-nudge), along with loads of branded T-shirts, coffee mugs, mouse pads and condoms for your wearing, drinking, dust-gathering or freak-getting-on pleasure.

Trash Culture’s The Simpsons Reviews: Season 1, Episode 1, “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire”

by Chad Denton

So I realized that I do, in fact, own the first ten seasons of “The Simpsons,” which is one season plus what I consider to be the show’s “golden age.” Also I realized that I had actually been with the show all through that era, beginning with “Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire.” Because I can never lack excuses to waste valuable timebuild up my writing portfolio, I thought I could start doing what I’ve been doing with “Doctor Who” and just reflect on the episodes – what made them work and why I was in love with the show for so long.

So without further Apu (rimshot)…

"Why you little..."
"He's a looser! He's worthless! He's...a Simpson..."

Continue reading Trash Culture’s The Simpsons Reviews: Season 1, Episode 1, “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire”

Justice League: Doom (2012)

Dutch angles!
Dutch angles!

…is the thirteenth straight-to-video DC animated superhero movie and the last one credited to Eisner Award-winning writer/producer Dwayne McDuffie, who passed beyond the Source Wall to join the fundamental forces of the multiverse on February 21, 2011. He will be sorely missed.

Especially since Doom is far from his best work, that being all those episodes of Cartoon Network’s Justice League show that weren’t written by Stan Berkowitz, Rich Fogel, or Bruce Timm. Together, that team did more to introduce superheroes to “normal” people than the last thirty years of comic book company presidents, all while working withing the constrictions of network television censorship regime. Their movies…I don’t know. They’ve been okay…but I’d only recommend four out of the thirteen to you fine people with any degree of seriousness. Doom could’ve been number five, and it almost was…until I made the mistake of thinking about it for more than two seconds at a stretch. Continue reading Justice League: Doom (2012)

Trash Culture’s Dr. Who Reviews – The Daleks’ Master Plan (1966)

by Chad Denton

"I'll never be able to figure out these cigarette rolling machines. Confound it!"
"I'll never be able to figure out these cigarette rolling machines. Confound it all! And I don't even smoke."

The Daleks begin planning for something called “Operation Inferno” while Mavic Chen, “guardian of the solar system”, confides in an ally that he is planning to betray Earth and its colonies to the invaders in exchange for power. Meanwhile the TARDIS appears on Kembel (the planet from “Mission to the Unknown”) where the Doctor sets out to explore, leaving Steven to recover with Katarina’s help. Steven and Katarina are rescued from a Dalek patrol by Bret and Kert, two soldiers looking for Marc Cory, although the latter is killed by the Daleks. The Doctor learns that they are in the year 4000 and that the Daleks are up to something, but nobody can agree what to do as Steven, the Doctor, and Bret indulge in some alpha male posturing. To escape a fire in the jungle started by the Daleks in order to smoke them out, the Doctor and the others sneak into the Dalek base, where they and their allies have gathered again. While the Doctor disguises himself as one of the representatives, the others work on stealing Mavic Chen’s spaceship. At the meeting, Mavic Chen presents a weapon called the “time destructor” that needs a rare element called taranium, but before the Doctor can learn more his ruse is exposed. Bret prepares to fly the ship without the Doctor in order to make sure they warn Earth before getting caught, but the Doctor makes it to the ship in time, along with the taranium, which he managed to steal in the confusion. Continue reading Trash Culture’s Dr. Who Reviews – The Daleks’ Master Plan (1966)