The Incomparable

The Incomparable


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.


323: Abe Vigoda Knows All the Toilets  
"The Godfather" - Leave the gun and take the cannoli—it’s time for us to discuss 1972’s “The Godfather,” truly one of the most lauded films of all time. We discuss why Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone is truly the main character, ponder how that horse head really got in that bed, marvel at how long it takes for news of assassination attempts to reach family members, explain the Vito Corleone retirement plan… and then drop our hands to our side and let the podcast slide naturally out of our hands.

Host Jason Snell with John Gruber, John Siracusa, Joe Rosensteel and David J. Loehr.

322: Tastes Like College  
The beer episode. - We’ve done episodes where we’ve sat around and drunk beer before, but we always had the thin veneer of some other topic to guide us. This time, however, the topic of the episode is beer, and we’ve conscripted listener (and Almanac Beer co-founder) Jesse Friedman to select five different beers for us to imbibe and discuss. Is Jason a monster for liking dark beer? What will our panel think of the sour and bitter choices? What’s the difference between a lager and an ale? What makes dark beer dark? Jesse has the knowledge, and we let him share it while we drink the beer he bought us.

Host Jason Snell with Jesse Friedman, Marco Arment, David J. Loehr, Lauren Snell, Dan Moren, Philip Mozolak, Brian Hamilton and Steve Lutz.

321: Purgatoy Box  
"Toy Story 3." - Our review of Pixar movies reaches 2010’s “Toy Story 3”, the first film in more than a decade for a bunch of classic characters. Are the toys traveling from purgatory to hell to heaven, Divine Comedy-style? Who’s working on that garbage truck? Does the climactic slide to death go too far? And yes, our panel of parents gets a bit weeps as Andy prepares to go off to college.

Host Jason Snell with John Siracusa, Tiffany Arment, Merlin Mann, David J. Loehr and Steve Lutz.

320: The Power! The Power! The Power!  
Rocket Surgery: "Frankenstein Island" - Our rocket surgeons take on 1981’s “Frankenstein Island,” Jason’s go-to bad movie from his high school days. What do balloons have to do with Frankenstein? What’s that brain doing in that tupperware container? Why are there zombies dressed like longshoremen? What is John Carradine doing? How did Jocko lose the eye? There are so many questions, but so few answers.

Host Jason Snell with Tony Sindelar, Steve Lutz, Monty Ashley, Brian Hamilton, Glenn Fleishman and David J. Loehr.

319: Squirting Milky Fluid  
"Alien" - Get out your space pen and take the cat out of its hibernation chamber, because it’s time to take on the 1979 classic “Alien.” We discuss how the film cleverly layers sci-fi and horror movie conventions, discuss its initially slow pace, and speculate about the crew’s taste in underpants and footwear. Corporate android betrayals! Questionable parenting! Phallic concept art! Chest bursting! We break it all down.

Host Jason Snell with Antony Johnston, Liz Myles, Erika Ensign, Monty Ashley and Steve Lutz.

318: Creepy Hug  
"Inside" - We discuss Playdead’s video game “Inside”, a compelling and meticulously realized side-scrolling puzzle game with some amazing surprises along the way.

Host Jason Snell with John Siracusa, Tiffany Arment, James Thomson and Dan Moren.

317: You Broke Your Little Ships  
"Star Trek: First Contact" - On the occasion of Star Trek’s 50th anniversary, we’re talking about one of our very favorite Star Trek movies: 1996’s “Star Trek: First Contact.” (What? We already did a two-parter about TOS!) Featuring zombie-like Borg, a time travel plot, and some great guest stars, it’s the definitive Next Generation movie.

Host Jason Snell with Brianna Wu, Jamelle Bouie, Joe Rosensteel, Scott McNulty, Dan Moren and David J. Loehr.

316: Just Add Jesuits!  
"The Sparrow" - After 20 years, we revisit Mary Doria Russell’s first-contact classic “The Sparrow.” It’s a story about aliens, spirituality, and why God allows terrible things to happen to good people. And boy, do terrible things happen to people in this book. (Content advisory: One of those things is sexual assault of humans by aliens.)

Host Jason Snell with Scott McNulty, Shannon Sudderth and Erika Ensign.

315: Show Some Respect for the Chimp  
"Sunset Boulevard" and "Stalag 17" - Old Movie Club returns with two classic films directed by Billy Wilder and starring William Holden: The darkly tragi-comic Hollywood story “Sunset Boulevard” and the dramati-comic World War II prisoner-of-war story “Stalag 17.” Monty pitches a “Sunset Boulevard” prequel featuring a butler and a chimp. We notice the similarities between “Stalag 17” and an enormous number of sitcoms and comedy films from the following 30 years.

Host Jason Snell with Erika Ensign, Philip Michaels, Steve Lutz, Shannon Sudderth, Andy Ihnatko, Dan Moren and Monty Ashley.

314: Vampire Batman  
"Astro City" - There are a million stories in Kurt Busiek’s “Astro City”—and that’s why we love this comic-book anthology series. From alien invaders to creepy floating protectors to regular everyday people, the broad canvas of “Astro City” awards the reader with short stories and longer arcs. Plus: What are we reading?

Host Jason Snell with Lisa Schmeiser, David J. Loehr, Shannon Sudderth and Tony Sindelar.

313: The Ziggurats of Yavin IV  
"Star Wars: Rogue One" trailer analysis - Nope, Jason, John, Serenity, and Dan aren’t going to analyze the trailer for “Star Wars: Rogue One.” It’s not going to happen. It would take rebel podcasters, striking from a hidden studio, to bring this podcast to its knees…

Host Antony Johnston with Liz Myles, Chip Sudderth and Moisés Chiullan.

312: A Cyborg Dolphin  
"Johnny Mnemonic". - Our Rocket Surgery series returns to the heady days of the ’90s, home of questionable cyberpunk movies, to watch Keanu Reeves in “Johnny Mnemonic.” How can a movie written by the godfather of cyberpunk, William Gibson, be such a disaster? We’ll fax you the answer.

Host Jason Snell with Monty Ashley, Joe Rosensteel and David J. Loehr.

311: Chekhov with Two H's  
"Star Trek Beyond" - We review “Star Trek Beyond,” the latest installment in the J.J. Abrams-produced “Star Trek” movie universe. What are the best cast pairings? Why was Idris Elba’s character in need of simplification? When does the spin-off about Jaylah in Starfleet Academy start filming? And what is this franchise’s best destiny?

Host Jason Snell with Erika Ensign, Scott McNulty and David J. Loehr.

310: I Hated Mrs. Slimer  
Women instead of men! Slimer with a girlfriend! Dogs and hats living together! Mass hysteria! We review the 2016 version of “Ghostbusters.”

Host Jason Snell with Shannon Sudderth, Erika Ensign, Lisa Schmeiser and Helene Wecker.

309: Boats in Space  
Spaceship draft - Strap in and prepare for the jump to lightspeed—it’s time for us to pick the very best (and weirdest) spaceships throughout film, TV, books, and more. Let’s hope this thing where we draft spaceships doesn’t get too nerdy!

Host Jason Snell with Erika Ensign, John Siracusa, Monty Ashley, Brian Hamilton, Chip Sudderth, Joe Rosensteel and Scott McNulty.

308: Is Winter Coming?  
2015-16 TV season, Game of Thrones season six - We convene a panel to discuss the TV shows we’re watching and liking from the past year, and then take our traditional deep dive into the latest “Game of Thrones” season.

Host Jason Snell with Erika Ensign, Brian Hamilton, John Siracusa, Dan Moren, David J. Loehr and Aleen Simms.

307: Mascot Hands  
"Cool Cat Saves the Kids" - Our Rocket Surgery panel attempts to apply logic to “Cool Cat Saves the Kids,” an inexplicable educational film featuring a couple of people in animal suits, some music videos, parade footage, and many questionable lessons for children. But there are cameos by Erik Estrada and Vivica A. Fox! Anyway, our logic slides right off.

Host Jason Snell with Steve Lutz, Philip Michaels, Monty Ashley and Brian Hamilton.

306: Only One Spaceship  
Professor Siracusa's Anime 103 - Professor Siracusa’s Anime class is back in session, as we watch two short films with similar themes, both by director Makoto Shinkai. First there’s “The Voices of a Distant Star,” which features a boy and a girl separated by light-years as she fights an alien scourge. Then there’s “5 Centimeters Per Second,” in which a boy and a girl are separated by… a long train journey. Both are beautiful explorations of teenage romantic angst and isolation, with images that will stick with our panelists for a long time.

Host Jason Snell with John Siracusa, Erika Ensign and Aleen Simms.

305: Mint in Box  
"Toy Story 2" - Ride like the wind, Bullseye! Our survey of Pixar films continues with “Toy Story 2,” the movie that introduced us to that Pixar Moment. You know the one. (Bring tissues.) We also discuss the philosophy of the Toy Story movies, a bunch of amazing gags, the state of the art of computer animation in 1999, and a whole lot more.

Host Jason Snell with John Siracusa, Merlin Mann, Steve Lutz, Aleen Simms and Dr. Drang.

304: Law of Diminishing Ninja Returns  
Superhero TV season wrap-up - We convene a panel of superhero TV experts to recap the past year’s superhero series, including “Arrow”, “The Flash”, “Gotham”, “Agents of SHIELD”, “Agent Carter”, “Daredevil”, “Supergirl”, “Legends of Tomorrow”, and “Jessica Jones.” (If you’re a complete spoiler-phobe, you may want to avoid some of these segments, though there is probably not a single character death or other twist that couldn’t be reversed at any point…)

Host Jason Snell with Monty Ashley, Lisa Schmeiser, Tony Sindelar, Philip Mozolak and Dan Moren.

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