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.

569

The Worst Way to Write a Book, Ever

Book Club

Back in 2014, we read Helene Wecker’s novel “The Golem and the Jinni,” and we liked it! Little did we know that she was listening to us… and that she would end up as an Incomparable panelist! Now a sequel, “The Hidden Palace: A Novel of the Golem and the Jinni” has arrived! In this special episode, Jason and Helene discuss the first novel, how real life can intrude on a publishing schedule, the value and temptation of research, and how “The Hidden Palace” ultimately came together.

Book Club Jason Snell with Helene Wecker


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568

Collateral Damage

Put on your capes because we’re flying into superhero action with season one of Prime Video’s “Invincible,” based on Robert Kirkman’s long-running comic. Before the Spoiler Horn, we’ll tell you why this show is worth watching—and warn you about how it mixes its love of brightly colored superhero imagery and storylines with logical but unrestrained violence and gore. Then we break down some of this adaptation’s interesting story choices and ponder where it might be headed in season two and three.

Jason Snell with Glenn Fleishman, Moisés Chiullan and James Thomson


567

Summer of Man-Thing

We know there are a lot of superhero movies out there. Sometimes it seems like there are so many, it’s as if a random-number generator just assigned pieces of intellectual property to film directors. But where some might despair at this situation, we looked at it as an opportunity to harness the terrible power of the random-number generator and use our own creativity to assign the right directors to the right comic-book film projects. Now listen to our choices and try to tell us that any currently in-production films are any less ridiculous.

Jason Snell with Nathan Alderman, Monty Ashley, Lisa Schmeiser, Philip Michaels, Moisés Chiullan and David J. Loehr


566

Everyone Loves Metroman

Olo! It’s time to discuss an underappreciated superhero movie that’s only become more relevant after a decade full of superhero movies. It’s 2010’s “Megamind,” which transcends being an extrusion from the Dreamworks animation factory (well, except for its pop-music soundtrack) to become something greater. With an all-star cast led by Will Ferrell and Tina Fey, this is a great riff on the Superman mythos and the true meaning of destiny and heroism. Code: It’s great.

Jason Snell with Chip Sudderth, Annette Wierstra, David J. Loehr and Moisés Chiullan


565

The Avengers of Cities

Book Club

Our Book Club returns with a new way to approach this year’s SF novel shortlist: we’re reading all the Hugo and Nebula novels in three batches. First up: “Black Sun,” “The City We Became,” and “Piranesi.” Plus: What are we reading?

Jason Snell with Erika Ensign, Scott McNulty and Aleen Simms


564

The Millennial Falcon

Don your winged jetpack and strap on your cybernetic arm, because it’s time to fight over a shield. Marvel’s second Disney+ series, “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” picks up the story of two of Captain America’s pals as they confront serious societal issues, the representation of America in the modern age, and a gaggle of super-powered foes. It’s a show that takes some big swings, even if it does get a bit muddled, and we discuss its ambitions, what it gets right, and where it misses the mark.

Dan Moren with Kelly Guimont, Lisa Schmeiser, James Thomson and Nathan Alderman


563

When Harry Met Sally (With Monsters)

Drop the camcorder and whatever you do, don’t run toward the bridge! 2008’s “Cloverfield” mixes giant monsters, post-9/11 reactions to urban destruction, rom-com tropes, “Jaws” style monster hiding, and found footage shaky-cam into an incredibly intense movie experience. Does it matter that the main characters are generic, or does it actually help? Is this a slasher film or more of a smasher film? Why did it kick off a nonsensical franchise of unrelated movies? And if it was made today, how would it be different? (Hint: Less shaky-cam!) Find a quiet place to hide somewhere and join us!

Jason Snell with Annette Wierstra, Moisés Chiullan, Jean MacDonald and James Thomson


562

The Gentleness Axis

We have reached the end (for now) of Miyazaki Club. So we gather back together to consider why we’re drawn to Hayao Miyazaki’s work, how we define the differences between films as different as “Ponyo” and “Spirited Away,” a list of the director’s favorite things, subs versus dubs, the music of Joe Hisaishi, and which of Miyazaki’s movies we all prefer.

Jason Snell with John Siracusa, Aleen Simms and Steve Lutz


561

Lackeys Don’t Wear Khakis

Rocket Surgery

After years of Monty telling us we should watch it, we’ve given in. It’s time to discuss 1981 South African karate movie “Kill and Kill Again,” a film featuring many middle-aged men kicking people, as well as a James Bond-style plot about a madman who wants to take over the world via an unusual application of potatoes. We cover strange ties to “CSI: Miami” and “The A-Team,” introduce you to the wonders of Hot Dog and his bag of tricks, weigh the movie’s knowing sexism against its unflinching racism, and contemplate Villanous Operations and how they are named. Also, Jason has a tight five about t-shirts.

Jason Snell with Monty Ashley, Steve Lutz, Annette Wierstra, Moisés Chiullan and Tony Sindelar


560

Gaseous Anomaly Platform

In space, all warriors are cold warriors! An ecological disaster leads to the breakup of an enemy empire, but in “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country” it’s the Klingon moon Praxis subbing in for the Soviet power station Chernobyl. Kirk and company struggle with their animosity toward the Klingons, but we are more concerned with what graduate school Gorkon’s daughter went to, the Klingon guard who carries a box, the one Klingon who laughed at McCoy’s joke, the importance of gaseous anomalies to Federation politics, and the lack of respect given to the Enterprise court reporter. Discussing this movie must’ve been our lifelong ambition.

Jason Snell with Erika Ensign, Steven Schapansky, David J. Loehr, Dan Moren and John Moltz


559

Men vs. Selves

Old Movie Club

Six episodes ago, Jason made Phil mad by suggesting that “Chariots of Fire” and “Amadeus” might not be worthy of their Academy Awards for Best Picture. This episode is Phil’s revenge, as we watch two acclaimed early-80s films and see how well they hold up. They’re both period pieces, but one is set to the electronic sounds of Vangelis and the other to the classical masterpieces of Mozart. Running in slow motion has never looked better, and there’s never been more braying laughter in a film!

Jason Snell with Monty Ashley, Philip Michaels and David J. Loehr


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