The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


May 20, 2013

Benji Tunnell: Outside of the theater, movies are still entertaining

JOPLIN, Mo. — Every once in a while, I like to take a break from the weekly movie grind and explore some other entertainment avenues. Being a movie geek, I often gravitate toward film-related stuff. Here are a few different options I've discovered recently.

For your listening pleasure

I am an early podcast adopter, having first started listening to various shows in 2005 to fill time while doing certain tasks at work. As such, I've paid close attention to those shows that have gotten attention through various means, be it recommendations related to shows I downloaded, various media outlets, or just general friend comments.

Yet, it was only recently that I discovered "The Flop House," a podcast devoted solely to the evisceration of bad movies.

The hosts consist of three friends, two of whom write for "The Daily Show," and their punishing quest to watch and discuss the worst movies released into theaters.

As a closet movie masochist, I feel as though I've found kindred spirits in men who can take the occasional pleasure in slogging through drek; as a pseudocritic, I appreciate the surprisingly cogent and thorough analysis offered on movies that truly deserve much less.

The format is pretty well set. On episodes where the three are together, Elliot Kalan offers up a breakdown of the plot as Dan McCoy and Stuart Wellington contribute their insights, and the trio tear apart the movie. After in-depth discussion, the three then render their final verdicts on whether there was any enjoyment to be found in the film, then offer recommendations for alternatives to suffering through what they just watched.

Mixed into this are the tangents on which the three will go off, sometimes rambling, sometimes barely even tied to the film, but always funny. I assume it is some kind of verbal symbolism of the walls the brain throws up to protect itself from crap, as I've often found my mind wandering while suffering through the latest Robin Williams offering or anything starring Ashton Kutcher, and their unhinged rants are a pretty close approximation to what the mind will actually do.

And, unlike so many podcasts offered today, there is a professionalism to their recording and presentation. As a fellow podcaster (*cough* "Tales of the Smoking Chihuahua" -- find us on iTunes or Facebook *cough*) I appreciate the work and effort put into making a quality sounding show.

I've heard shows that are offshoots of large magazines and newspapers that sounded as though they were recorded on computer microphones, so it is nice to find something that is both listenable and extremely funny.

This is a much more enjoyable alternative to actually watching films like "Old Dogs," "The Killers" or "Sucker Punch." Believe me.

And in case I haven't sold you enough on the show, "The Flop House" is, I think it's safe to say, the foremost podcast authority on movies in which a ding dong is ripped off.

Text Only
  • 071814_whiskeydicks.jpg Stretching out: Whiskey Dick's can do more in a bigger downtown location

    For the Whiskey Dick's owners, it isn't a matter of what's in a name but more of a place where everybody knows your name.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • 072514_LIVEWIREcar.jpg Livewire's new video debuts on Billboard (w/VIDEO)

    The song is currently on Billboard's Top 40 charts for Texas Music and Texas Regional Radio Report. It is the latest release since the band's first full-length album, "Livin'," which was released in 2012 with Way Out West Records.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Film-Hollywoods Ape M_Cast.jpg Benji Tunnell: Great CGI, solid writing make 'Apes' a near-perfect blockbuster

    A couple of weeks ago, we saw "Transformers 4," a big, computer-driven blockbuster film that was symbolic of all that is wrong with filmmaking today.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • polyphony.jpg Marta Churchwell: New Mexico marimba group returns for concert Sunday

    They're back. Polyphony Marimba, the Santa Fe, New Mexico, band that wowed the crowd with African music during a Downtown Joplin Third Thursday last summer, received such a response to that performance that they're coming back on Sunday.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • River Regatta 2013.jpg Dave Woods: Nevada regatta makes for a birthday escape

    In just three weeks, I'll spend my 50th birthday floating down the Colorado River with 35,000 of my closest friends.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow 1 Story

  • 071814_pickin trimmin.jpg New festival focuses on short independent films

    As Jack Truman saw his films play in festivals around the world, one lingering thought persisted: He wished that such festivals existed in his hometown area.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 071614 Glory Days_72.jpg Glory Days Music to resume weekly in-store concerts

    The staff at Glory Days Music have been working their business as usual. Musicians demonstrate guitars, drums and other instruments. Music is sold; lessons are taught. But something has been missing.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug_joe-hadsall-112613.jpg Joe Hadsall: All the hidden secrets in "Weird Al's" "Word Crimes" video

    I sincerely believe the "Word Crimes" video will become the most important song in history, and the most mandatory-to-watch video in schools across the country.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug_joe-hadsall-112613.jpg Globe Phone Test: Concept is clever, but transitions tricky with Asus PadFone X

    It's kind of embarrassing to point this out, but "Candy Crush Saga" is one of the best ways to illustrate how well the Asus PadFone X, a smartphone and tablet combo really works.

    Anyone who has more than one device will understand this situation completely: Let's say a player fires up "Candy Crush" on his tablet computer and really digs the game. A lot. So much so that he downloads it to his smartphone.

    Only there's one problem: All the progress made on the tablet is stuck on the tablet. The smartphone has a completely separate path of progress, meaning the player has to play each level twice. This makes progress through the game twice as long. (This problem can be fixed by signing up for the game on Facebook, but no one really wants their Facebook friends to know they spend so much time crushin' candy.)

    The Asus PadFone X is the dream solution to this nightmare of a problem.

    Available exclusively from AT&T, the device is actually two devices. A standalone smartphone can be plugged into a tablet computer, meaning the owner can take his pick of how he wants to play the game, and all the progress he makes is saved on one device's hard drive.

    AT&T loaned us a device that we tested for more than two weeks -- didn't like having to send it back -- and we found a lot of its qualities and quirks.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tantric tours in support of latest studio album

    "37 Channels," the latest album from Hugo Ferreira's band, features a lineup of guests including Hinder's Austin Winkler, Shooter Jennings, 3 Doors Down drummer Greg Upchurch, Uncle Kracker guitarist Kevin McCreery, Saving Abel guitarist Scott Bartlett and Leif Garrettt.

    July 11, 2014