My Pod Week: Week ending 11/09/14

Mike Flinn (@realmikeflinn) isn’t just a podcast producer and engineer; he’s also an avid fan of the form. “My Pod Week” recaps and reviews the many varied comedy podcasts Flinn listened to or attended live tapings of during the previous week. Enjoy!

THE SYLVESTER STALLONE PODCAST (Episodes one through four)

This is a podcast miniseries special event like no other. Paul Scheer from the How Did This Get Made podcast and The League (FXX) moderates brief episodes. For 30 years and over 70 movies Sylvester Stallone has been kicking ass on screen. In the debut episode Scheer runs down the impressive highlights as the crew stands by for the tardy guest of honor. Episode two began and Stallone was running late, so Paul reads questions from fans. First “Was the weight training device installed in the truck cab in Over The Top developed for the movie, or was it an existing product marketed to truckers?” We will have to wait for Stallone’s answer, he’s not there yet. The device in question is a pulley machine with weights like you would see in a gym, only this contraption is wedged to the right and slightly behind the drivers seat in our hero’s big rig. Over The Top is, in my humble opinion, the best father-and-son arm wrestling road trip film in the history of cinema. Sly would travel the American highways steering his truck with his left arm, while putting in a hard workout on his right arm, and “parenting” between arm wrestling competitions. His son just looked out the window of his prison on wheels trying to hang on to some shred of sanity while the metallic clanking sound of weights echoed around the cab. How Stallone’s left arm was able to not look like an atrophied baby arm by comparison is part of the suspension of disbelief that one must engage in when it comes to Over The Top. In episode three Paul is joined by Nick Kroll. Nick answers questions as Sylvester Stallone while Frank Stallone made a cameo through Paul’s impression. I hope that Paul’s high pitched caricature leads to a celebrity boxing match. I saw Frank Stallone at a grocery store recently, and at age 64 he looks like he can still kick some ass. On day four / episode four Mr. Stallone’s eventual participation was in question as Paul found communications between himself and the Stallone camp at a standstill. His phone call to Stallone management was less than helpful. “…So you’re telling me to go fuck myself…” This attempt at celebrating an American screen legend continues for another week. Check it out.


Cameron Esposito and Ricky Carmona got together to talk about Birdman. Before our hosts get to this strange mix of small stage meets big screen they sum up the current climate of superhero movie gossip. Is Channing Tatum a good choice to play Gambit from the X-Men comic books? No. Cameron finds him too stocky to play the card throwing Cajun “He looks like a member of Roxette.” Ricky and Cameron also talk about the new Terminator franchise possibilities. Time loops and character reimagining garbage are coming to a theater near you next year, featuring Emilia Clarke from Game Of Thrones as a young and fashionable looking Sarah Connor. Something about the new Sarah Connor does not seem to fit with the original Linda Hamilton version. Ricky tries to put his finger on it. “Linda Hamilton just has a very specific look.” “She’s got Sigourney face is what you’re trying to say.” I won’t give anything away here but I will take this opportunity to notify you that this episode does discuss a major plot point and talks about the ending. Birdman is not an easy movie to describe but Cameron did it. This thing has layers upon layers, and she summarized it as a commentary on superhero movies, wrapped in a commentary on Hollywood, wrapped in a commentary on theatre, wrapped in a commentary on art, wrapped in a commentary on futility, wrapped in a commentary on death. “I really feel like this could have been twelve movies.” Yes, it is all of those things and it left me wanting more bird and less man. Michael Keaton plays a washed up former action hero turned Broadway actor. Reflections of real life are all over this film in the way that we got a version of the real John Malkovich in Being John Malkovich. Ricky had problems with the third act. He found the portrait of art versus criticism to be oversimplified. Birdman’s ex wife Amy Ryan, lawyer Zach Galifianakis, and foil Edward Norton turn in powerful performances, but Emma Stone’s Lindsay Lohan bird-daughter character didn’t do much for anyone. Ricky gives it 3.75 pooping Birdmans. Cameron gives it a 4. “I didn’t love it but I found it a lovely conversation piece.”

Mike Flinn is a podcast producer/engineer based in West Hollywood, Calif., for All Things Comedy. The views expressed in My Pod Week are purely his own.

Mike Flinn

After a brief and unsuccessful attempt at a conventional education Mike Flinn started a band in his hometown of San Diego, CA. In 1998 he moved to the San Francisco Bay area and founded Back From Booze Hell zine. It was a collaborative effort dispensing equal doses of pop culture and prose, and made it's way into independent bookstores in the Bay Area, New York, and Los Angeles. Playing in bars and self publishing did not pay the bills. I held, I mean Flinn held many jobs during those years, most of them in warehouses. Like Bukowski without the talent. At some point Flinn walked off the job at Costco, breaking his mothers heart. Things get a little "hazy" around this time. He was an actor for a few years and then went back to songwriting and performing. Let's just skip ahead. When not playing with his iPhone or on a trip to Trader Joe's to pick up salads you'll find him watching live comedy in Los Angeles, recording podcasts, and writing.

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