The Untenable Podcast, Episode 135: The City at the Edge of F***s

trek discovery

The one with speculations about speculations.

In this week’s new episode, Mike and Jay talk iterations of Star Trek: Mike’s reactions to CBS Prime’s new show, Star Trek Discovery and his shared reactions to news of Quentin Tarantino’s involvement in another Trek movie; and of course, speculations about their own reactions to Star Wars The Last Jedi.


Intro song: “The God That Failed” Metallica   Outro song: “God Given” Nine Inch Nails


The Untenable Podcast, Episode 134: The CGI Between Us


The one with the regrets of a universe misspent.

In this week’s episode, Mike and Jay share their joint reactions to Pixar’s Coco, as well as their continued frustrations with the DCEU and Justice League’s shortcomings, and Mike also wanders into some gaming territory while Jay rambles on his own gaming journeys lately.


Intro song: “Golden Slumbers” Elbow

Outro song: “Remember Me”  Gael García Bernal, Gabriella Flores, Libertad García Fonzi

The Untenable Podcast, Solo Cast: Talkin’ About Coco


The one with the offerings.

In this week’s solo cast, Jay reflects on his experience with Pixar’s Coco, and remembers the dearly departed and lessons learned about Day of the Dead offerings.

Link to New York Times article about Danny Lozano’s store and his role in the community

The Untenable Podcast, Solo Cast: The Punished


The one with all the guns.
In this week’s solo cast, Jay talks about his reactions to Netflix’s The Punisher, starring Jon Bernthal as tormented Marine Recon veteran, Frank Castle.

The Untenable Podcast, SoloCast: 31 Days of Horror Review

The one with the horrific rambling.

In this week’s solocast, Jay talks about some of his favorites from his list of 31 horror movies posted to the blog during October.


Intro song: “Heathens” twenty one pilots

Outro song: “The Sky is a Neighborhood” Foo Fighters


31 Days of Horror: The Phoenix Tapes ’97

the four ill-fated campers from The Phoenix Tapes '97_0

Dir. Anonymous

This was somewhat interesting and it did one thing that most found footage does not do well – era specific tech and footage presentation. This looked as if it were filmed and presented on Hi8 or similar tech from 1997. It wasn’t miraculously filmed in HiDef 1080p resolution like too many found footage titles are. Some great moments that felt real, and the build up was cool, but the ending was sort of a letdown, considering how some lead up sequences were tense and well executed. Good, but not great.

As stated, the one great achievement is its success with aesthetic presentation and immersion. The era specific degradation of the film quality is so on point that I did pause for just a moment and ponder its origins. But that is the point of found footage – to make it seem plausible that the footage has indeed been found. There is a good wraparound with the “survivor’s family” or in this case the father of a man who was supposedly killed for possessing the footage that we see. It’s a nice touch for the genre and the presentation. However, as also stated, the third act is a let down and a disappointment considering all of the good will built up to that point. It is well worn and trodden, the path of the narrative in the third act. Which I would not have any real problem with, but noting interesting is done with it. This is the same problem that many other recent alien abduction mockumentary, found footage, or general narratives all have in common – painted into a corner within the confines of the genre tropes. The banter between the friends in this movie seems genuine, which also built a solid foundation for believability. But that felt inert and ultimately ineffective in the third act. The rest of the movie is fun and has some interesting ideas that are not executed effectively enough. But still, not a bad way to spend about 90 or so minutes.

31 Days of Horror: WNUF Halloween Special


Dir(s).  Chris LaMartina, James Branscome, and Shawn Jones  (2013)

Prior to watching  WNUF Halloween Special last year around this time, I had heard quite a bit of praise for it. I had also heard how difficult it was to obtain a copy of the film outside of the con circuit, which clearly helped it garner a cult following. And by the time I watched it last year on Shudder, I was ready for the experience. And let it be known that this movie is an exercise in aesthetics, VHS and community cable aesthetics to be specific, and it succeeds because of the amount of detail paid in its production. For those who do not remember the 80’s and its tendency towards hyperbole in its local productions, it was a sight to behold. Oftentimes national affiliate channels in Chicago or New York would produce themed shows for different holidays, and then show movies in between the original programming. Then, they would also have live events, either in-studio or on location. Which brings us to how WNUF starts out, as a live on-location special for a local New York (assumedly fictional) affiliate.

The details are what make this movie. The interstitial commercials that were individually produced and curated specifically for the movie really tie, literally and figuratively, the appeal and feel of the movie. The production was filmed and then reproduced multiple times to give the worn VHS feel and look, capping off the aesthetics over indulgence. And the affiliate channel’s cheesy Halloween banter between the hosts is on target, as is the put upon field host’s frustration with the live event. The story itself is often goofy, but the details of banter and interactions makes it work, as does the staging of the events. It’s a traditional haunted house event with the hopes of finding something supernatural, and it does show something nefarious taking place. This is a rare success of aesthetics building up the effects of the storytelling.