The Blog of Young America

Maximum Fun is your home on the internet for things that are awesome. Our blog will guide you, our family of podcasts will entertain and inform you, and our lively forum community will connect you with others. About

Podthoughts by Ian Brill: "Battleship Pretension"

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Are good podcasting skills contagious? Not that Battleship Pretension was a bad show before Never Not Funny’s Matt Belknap appeared on the twenty-third episode. It’s just that I have noticed since that appearance hosts Tyler Smith and David Bax have improved as podcasters and made Battleship Pretension a much better show. The earlier episodes had stimulating content but they started with awkward conversations between the hosts. These newer episodes get right into the movie talk. Now Battleship Pretension is the latest podcast I look forward to hearing every week.

You’ve probably noticed that I’m especially interested in discovering podcasts about films. This reflects my own fandom. Film as a topic offers limitless discussions possibilities. What matters is the quality of discussion. I enjoy Filmspotting but I’ve felt lately that hosts Adam Kempenaar and new host Matty Robinson can be more than a little snobbish. I liked the format of Watching the Directors but Joe and Melissa Johnson’s commentary rarely goes beyond the superficial. Battleship Pretension’s name is actually a misnomer. Listening to Tyler and David I don’t hear much pretensions. Rather, I hear two guys who are extremely knowledgeable of films but never turn that knowledge into haughtiness. They’re style lands right where I want movie discussions to be. Tyler and David open episode twenty-five by creating some talking points designed to be controversial to combat the idea that they’re far too positive on the show. I’ve got nothing against the positive nature of the show as it’s clear coming from these guys’ deep understanding of the medium.

How much do these guys know movies? Episode twenty-five is devoted to the work of cinematographer John A. Alonzo, who worked on Harold and Maude and Scarface. It is one thing to talk an hour about a director but to talk about a cinematographer is really impressive. Tyler and David pay close attention to how Alonzo changed his approach from film, sometimes being an acolyte of the French New Wave with its shaky camera work to going in the total opposite direction and having very centered shots in his later work. The best compliment I can lend to Battleship Pretension is, with just the previous example alone, it changes the way I look at films I already love.

Have Netflix? Watch A Thousand Clowns


My favorite movie (well, one of my three favorite movies), "A Thousand Clowns," has been out of print since the early 90s. It never came out on DVD.

HOWEVER, astute Max Funster Carol noticed that for some reason, it IS available on Netflix "Instant Viewing."

So, if you have Netflix and a PC, you can watch the movie by clicking here, then clicking on "Play." I urge you to do so.

Comix tonight!


Hey gang... I'm posting from my hotel room in NYC. I'm headed over to WNYC to visit my radio pals, then I'm off to the Grand Finale of the Project Breakout contest at Comix. Comix put some great comics on the bill, above and beyond the contestants -- Jordan Carlos (best known as Stephen Colbert's black friend) is opening the show, and Ted Alexandro (one-time TSOYA guest) is closing it while the votes are counted. Seems like at least a few Max Funsters will be meeting up. I know at least two who've traveled from Lawrence, Kansas! (OK, I think it was a coincidence that they were in NY when I was... but still...)

See you tonight, NYC.

Podcast: Austin Grossman


Austin Grossman is the author of the new novel "Soon I Will Be Invincible," a literary look at a team of superheroes and their nemesis. Before he became a novelist and academic (he is currently a PhD candidate at UC Berkeley), he was a writer for video games.

Video of this interview is viewable above, or downloadable via bittorrent at Myspleen. MySpleen is invite-only; if you need an invite, email me and mention your favorite TSOYA moment (to keep out the riff-raff).

Please share your thoughts on this program on our forum!
Download This Show (MP3)
Subscribe in iTunes
Review the show in iTunes
Please Donate to Support the Show

Listen to This Week's Show Online

Please allow our low-bandwidth server a little time after you click "play"

Embeddable Audio Player Code (Copy and Paste)

Embaddable Video Player Code

Our intersititial music is provided by Dan Wally

You might also enjoy these past interview programs:
Comics & Comix with Art Spiegelman (MP3)
Comics & Comix Pt. 2 with Harvey Pekar (MP3)
Moustaches, Etc with Andy Daly and Richard Montoya of Culture Clash

"We are sleepwalking into the future."

| 1 comment

MaxFunster Neal pointed on our boards to this wonderful TED Talk from James Howard Kuntsler that is, essentially, a basic manifesto for The New Urbanism. It's fantastically funny and insightful, and will make you think about public space in a new way -- and about the future of American places with a new zeal.

Foul Language


There has been some concern amongst the higher ups about foul language (bleeped, of course) on The Sound of Young America. None of it anything to be angry about, to be clear, but it still gets me thinking. It seems like when this comes up, it's always about protecting someone else's ears.

Anyway, above: Steve Coogan, funny as usual. (Warning: contains some foul language)

Podthoughts by Ian Brill: "Creative Screenwriting Magazine"

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

When a movie like Transformers comes out there’s a lot of press about the director and the stars but there’s little talk of the screenwriters. Their job is a tad less glamorous than others who work in movies so their story behind the story rarely gets told. Jeffery Goldsmith of Creative Screenwriting Magazine offers screenwriters a place to be heard as they talk about their role in putting films together.

I mentioned Transformers above because I think Goldsmith’s interview with writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman is a perfect example of how this podcast gives you a story you haven’t heard before. I haven’t even seen the film, it looks like the film that would best be viewed in fifteen minute chunks when picking up/dropping off a friend from his house, but I was fascinated. It was both informative and, to be honest, a bit depressing to hear how a modern Hollywood blockbuster is made from when it is first green lit to its release. Hearing Orci and Kurtzman talk about how they had to attend “Transformers school” at Hasbro headquarters and that they also attended a merchandising meeting before having come up with a full story is much better example of “a behind-the-scenes look” than anything that will appear on the DVD release. I had no idea that Patton Oswalt contributed to the script and for few minutes that made me want to see the film.

Goldsmith is both knowledgeable and enthusiastic but never too easy on his guests. I believe what separates good interviews from bad ones is how much homework that interviewer has done. Listen to Goldsmith examine the history of The State with David Wain and Ken Marino for his interview for The Ten and you can tell this guy can give you a great interview. Talking to Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg for Superbad it’s clear Goldsmith knows to transfer his appreciation for a film into provoking questions. Back to The Transformers interview, Goldsmith probably made a lot of people happy, including Gene O’Neil, when he asked what the Hell was up with that ending. It's said that film production is like making sausages, as much as you love the final product you don't want to see how it's made. If you're not one of those people and want a look inside the "sausage factory" then download an episode or two of Creative Screenwriting's show.

RIP to Adam Finley


Adam Finley, a blogger at TV Squad and tireless advocate of great comedy, died late last week after being hit by a bus while riding his bike. He wasn't carrying identification, and was identified using the serial number of his iPod. Losing Finley and Daniel Robert Epstein in one year is tough to bear, two young men who were among the few in media who sincerely love comedy. Our thoughts go out to Adam's family, both in Des Moines and at TV Squad.

Ep. 37: Rom Coms


On this week's program, Jordan discusses going to see "Good Luck Chuck" against his will, and an extensive discussion of the romantic comedy is had.


* Share your feelings on the romantic comedy. What's your favorite? If you're a lady, do you feel like they appeal to you particularly or specifically?


* Review the show on iTunes.
* Do you have a dispute Judge John Hodgman can solve on a future broadcast? Email it to us! Put Judge John in the subject line.
* Have personal questions for Jesse and Jordan? Call 206-984-4FUN and tell us what they are!
* Would you like to play Would You Rather with us on a future episode? Email us or give us a call at 206-984-4FUN.

Call 206-984-4FUN to share your thoughts on these ACTION ITEMS.

Subscribe in iTunes
Podcast Feed
Discuss the show on the forum
Download This Episode

Hear This Episode Now

Our theme music: "Love You" by The Free Design, courtesy of The Free Design and Light in the Attic Records

The Brand New Funk

| 1 comment

DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince - Brand New Funk

DJ Jazzy Jeff f. Peedi Peedi - Brand New Funk 2K7

Syndicate content