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.

582

We Have All Ridden Buses

Get out your bus ticket and get ready to go live on the Internet, because it’s time to talk “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” Marvel returns exclusively to theaters, and so do we, as we discuss Tony Leung, the dangers of deferred maintenance on articulated buses, hanging a lantern on a dragon, and the emotional weight of a single arrow.

Jason Snell with Moisés Chiullan, Kelly Guimont and David J. Loehr


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581

Bad Dad, Cellphone Dad

Arr, matey! Not only be it days from the equinox, but it be International Talk Like a Pirate Day. What better time to wrap up the Summer of Spielberg with “Hook,” a (misguided?) Peter Pan sequel starring Robin Williams as Peter, Dustin Hoffman as Captain Hook, and Julia Roberts as Tinkerbell, all gallivanting around a very crowded and overlit stage-set version of Neverland. We discuss the movie’s appeal to early-nineties kids, Spielberg’s commercial sensibility as a director, and the film’s many misguided creative decisions.

Jason Snell with John McCoy, Kathy Campbell, Moisés Chiullan and Annette Wierstra


580

We’re Gonna Be Good CEOs

Rocket Surgery

As we prepare to exit the Summer of Spielberg, things have taken a bit of a turn. We’ve taken out our surgical tools to diagnose just what went wrong with “Ready Player One,” in which a director who is much more interested in movies than video games and who himself deeply influenced 80s culture is put in charge of a too-faithful adaptation of a book about video games and 80s culture. We spent a lot of our time imagining a much better movie that could have been made instead of this one.

Jason Snell with Brian Hamilton, Erika Ensign, Annette Wierstra, Moisés Chiullan and Chip Sudderth


579

Bad Dad, Crane Dad

Hop on your tripod killing machine and watch out for common cold viruses — if it’s New Jersey, it must be an alien invasion! We cover 2005’s “War of the Worlds,” starring Tom Cruise as a dad who just wants to protect his kids from the end of the world. Well, maybe one of his kids. Screaming! Explosions! Implausible plot points! Not enough Miranda Otto! Maybe too much Tim Robbins! The 9/11 influence is strong in this one.

Jason Snell with Shelly Brisbin, Monty Ashley and Jean MacDonald


578

Fish in the Milk

Stand up and prepare to operate your computer by waving your hands! The Summer of Spielberg continues with 2002’s “Minority Report,” a sci-fi noirish murder mystery combined with a vision of the future and a dose of social commentary. We discuss the future’s retinal-scanning obsession, Tom Cruise’s security eyes, and the amazing precog named Agatha. Is it now? I’m tired of the future.

Jason Snell with Erika Ensign, James Thomson, Monty Ashley and Annette Wierstra


577

Robot Monster Truck Rally

The Summer of Spielberg turns its eyes to “A.I. Artificial Intelligence,” a project begun by Stanley Kubrick and completed by Steven Spielberg. Whether it works for you may hinge entirely on if you consider it a science-fiction story or a fairy tale. We marvel at some great performances, are frustrated by some creative choices, and in the end find ourselves applauding the boldness of the ending. (Now pass us some tissues, we’re ugly crying.)

Jason Snell with Erika Ensign, Cicero Holmes and Monty Ashley


576

Unlicensed Dinosaur Park

The Summer of Spielberg continues with what was once the biggest movie of all time, “Jurassic Park.” And you know what? It holds up, though we have an awful lot of questions about John Hammond and his business choices. Unfortunately, we also watched the Spielberg-directed cash-grab sequel, “The Lost World: Jurassic Park.”

Jason Snell with Cicero Holmes, Kathy Campbell, Tony Sindelar and Jean MacDonald


575

You’re Going to Your Sister’s? I’m Going to Space!

Prepare your mashed-potato sculpture and zip up your red jumpsuit, because we’re about to discuss the 1977 film classic “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” We discuss why this film is Steven Spielberg’s tapas, French-American UFO projects, “American Graffiti” with flying saucers, and much more. Plus Dan reveals a most unusual location to watch this film for the first time. It’s shaping up to be a real Summer of Spielberg.

Jason Snell with Cicero Holmes, Julia Skott, Annette Wierstra and Dan Moren


574

Time Cop, Not a Time Cop

Grab a TemPad and step through a Time Door, because we’re discussing “Loki”, Marvel’s Disney+ series about how the god of Mischief met his match and learned to love himself. Along the way we talk about the “Doctor Who” references, the deep-cut comics references, the mighty Richard E. Grant, and the spectacular look and sounds of this outstanding series.

Jason Snell with Aleen Simms, Moisés Chiullan, Kathy Campbell and Nathan Alderman


573

Evil Helicarrier

Put on your catsuit and your tactical vest, because we’re about to talk about Marvel’s “Black Widow,” which some of us saw in theaters. (And some of us didn’t.) This is a movie delayed from pre-COVID times, it’s the first Marvel movie in the Disney+ era, and it’s set during 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War”—conveniently before the main character dies. With all that, it’s also a film that puts its title heroine at the center of a “Mission: Impossible” style story that’s also, strangely, about a couple of particularly messed-up families.

Jason Snell with Chip Sudderth, Dan Moren, Kelly Guimont and James Thomson


572

Selfie in the Weed Room

Get out your ice skates, baseball bats, kitchen knives, and samurai swords—pretty much any weapon at hand, because we’re watching 2011’s “Attack the Block”! While not officially part of the Cornetto Trilogy, this British alien-invasion film shares a lot of DNA with those movies, and it’s about as close an analog to “Shaun of the Dead” as you’ll find—but with the comedy dial turned down a bit. It features career-making performances by John Boyega and Jodie Whittaker, who went on to become the faces of famous sci-fi franchises. And after the last 10 years, some of the social commentary in this film hits home more than ever. Allow it!

Jason Snell with Antony Johnston, Lisa Schmeiser and James Thomson


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