The Incomparable is a weekly dive into geeky media we love, including movies, books, TV, comics, and more, featuring a rotating panel of guests and hosted by Jason Snell.

478

Death Snuggle Fort

Our survey of the films of Hayao Miyazaki turns to his most recent film, 2013’s “The Wind Rises.” In many ways, it’s his most adult film, the story of an aeronautical engineer who must pursue his dreams amid earthquakes, rising geopolitical tensions, and personal challenges. Is movie tuberculosis like real tuberculosis? Is Miyazaki’s approach to pre-war Japan (and its allies, Germany and Italy) delicate or problematic? Does the film sufficiently address whether creators are complicit in how their work is used? Is the wind still rising?

Jason Snell with John Siracusa, Steve Lutz and Aleen Simms


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Previous Episodes

477

Klimt Versus Monet

Our season-by-season survey of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” goes to college, as we explore season four. UC Sunnydale is full of welcoming professors, friendly TAs, annoying roommates, and a collection of government commandos who are experimenting on the local demons and vampires. Spike returns as comic relief. We’re all about Willow and Tara. And then there’s that episode where nobody talks and that other one where they’re all dreaming. We break it all down like it’s 1999.

Jason Snell with Aleen Simms, Jean MacDonald, Quinn Rose, John McCoy and Steve Lutz


476

Lucky Crime Shirt

The Summer of Spider-Man concludes with 2007’s “Spider-Man 3”, a controversial sequel that’s packed full with villains (Sandman, Venom, and Extreme Sports Goblin) battling the increasingly unpleasant emo version of Peter Parker. Sandman’s daughter is very ill. Eddie Brock is an awfully unpleasant person. And at long last, the greatest character in the franchise—Bernard the Butler—gets his due. We watched it so you don’t have to!

Jason Snell with Steve Lutz, Jean MacDonald and Moisés Chiullan


475

Count the Coats

Our Summer of Spider-Man swings on with 2004’s “Spider-Man 2.” Flush with the success of the first film, this is a much more confident outing that’s also more clearly set in modern times, isn’t afraid to have a sense of humor, and makes great use of director Sam Raimi’s horror-movie resume. And at the center is perhaps the biggest reason for the film’s success: Alfred Molina as Dr. Otto Octavius, a Frankenstein who is his own monster, after having created a set of robotic limbs so intelligent that each pair needs its own jacket.

Count the Coats

Jason Snell with Steve Lutz, Moisés Chiullan and Joe Rosensteel


474

World Unity Day

We live in a world awash with superhero films today, but back at the beginning of this century it was a dark age. 2002’s “Spider-Man” finally brought one of the world’s most popular superheroes to the big screen, setting the stage for the genre’s elevation later in the decade. The Summer of Spider-Man is here, as we revisit Sam Raimi’s three Spidey films and judge how well they hold up to modern eyes. Up, up and away, web!

Jason Snell with Moisés Chiullan, Jean MacDonald and Guy English


473

Belarusian Chupacabra

Comrades, we come to discuss HBO’s excellent miniseries “Chernobyl.” It’s simultaneously a horror movie about radiation poisoning, a indictment of a system that suppressed the truth in order to avoid showing signs of weakness, a tragedy about a humanitarian disaster, and an exciting tale of scientists attempting to work the problem and avert a continent-wide catastrophe. The subject matter may be hard, but the result is some of the most compelling television we’ve seen in some time.

Jason Snell with Moisés Chiullan, Kathy Campbell and Brian Hamilton


472

33 Percent Rule

Book Club

Our Book Club returns with reviews of the six finalists for the Hugo Award for best science fiction/fantasy novel of the year. You’ll be thrilled by our panelists attempting to remember what happened in books they read months ago! We liked five out of the six, which is a great batting average—but oh, that sixth book. Also, we read some novellas and short stories, too! And Erika’s up for another Hugo!

Jason Snell with Erika Ensign, Aleen Simms and Scott McNulty


471

High School Is a Strange Time

A long time ago we used to be friends, but I haven’t thought of you lately at all—until you got that new series at Hulu, anyway. We’re discussing the UPN/CW classic series “Veronica Mars”, featuring Kristen Bell as a teenage noir detective trying to solve her best friend’s murder with the reluctant help of her disgraced private-investigator dad. If you’ve never seen it, it’s worth a watch! We discuss season one of the show in detail (including revealing who the murderer is at the end), but don’t discuss much at all about the next two seasons and don’t touch at all on the contents of the fourth season that just premiered.

Jason Snell with Aleen Simms, Quinn Rose and Nathan Alderman


470

Futterwacken Hats

Rocket Surgery

Our Rocket Surgery crew returns to the current decade to discuss Tim Burton’s billion-dollar 3-D smash hit, “Alice In Wonderland.” What if everything you remember fondly from Lewis Carroll was turned into a catchphrase? Why so much eye stabbing? Who is the Jabberwocky and what has it done with the Jabberwock? What does Johnny Depp bring to his role of a mild hat enthusiast? When did Monty give up and start reading IMDB trivia? Nobody mention how big the Red Queen’s head is!

Jason Snell with Steve Lutz, Monty Ashley and Shannon Sudderth


469

Snap, Blip, Pop, Crackle

Fresh from the theater, we tackle “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” We consider the lighter side of the death and resurrection of billions of people, the unique position this Spider-Man has in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the value of various surrogate dads. We’re also surprised at how interesting Mysterio turned out to be despite the fact that he’s Mysterio.

Jason Snell with Cicero Holmes, Moisés Chiullan and Chip Sudderth


468

Did the Shark Order Takeout?

Old Movie Club

For 4th of July week we’re going to the beach — Amity Island, to be precise. Old Movie Club takes on the original summer blockbuster, 1975’s “Jaws”, directed by some kid named Steven Spielberg. Two of our panelists have never seen it! But we all learn some important lessons about how much blood the human body contains, the ins and outs of tourism marketing, and how the most important part of the journey is the sharks we met along the way.

Jason Snell with Philip Michaels, Moisés Chiullan, Jean MacDonald, Dr. Drang, Don Melton and David J. Loehr


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