Anthony and Andrew share their spoiler-filled thoughts on the storytelling of The Force Awakens, from the points of view of both a superfan and a skeptic. What works, what doesn't, and what do we expect to see next?

They also look back at their writing accomplishments of the year, and compare and rate some of the year's big pop culture works.

00:00:00 - 00:13:00 - Writing year-in-review

00:13:00 - 01:49:30 - The Force Awakens

01:49:30 - 02:1845 - Pop culture year-in-review

Direct download: storybeater-ep40.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:35pm EDT

 In a giant-sized holiday special double bill, Anthony and Andrew look at the classic Ray Harryhausen movie Jason & The Argonauts, and the recent Marvel/Netflix show Jessica Jones. The discussion covers mythology, inspiration, superpowers, ensembles, and so much more.

Direct download: storybeater-ep39.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:46pm EDT

Anthony and Andrew offer their thoughts on the new James Bond movie, Spectre, directed by Sam Mendes and written by Logan, Purvis, Wade et al. How does it hold up within the Bond canon and as a movie in its own right? How does it handle its villains and its supporting cast? What is it that makes the Daniel Craig movies so different from the other Bonds, and where does the franchise go next?

Direct download: storybeater-ep38.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:34pm EDT

 Anthony and Andrew discuss the classic Gothic horror novel Frankstein by Mary Shelley, the iconic movie adaptation by James Whale, and the enduring influence and legacy of the Frankenstein myth, plus the different versions of the monster from tragic victim to wordless brute. 

Direct download: storybeater-ep37.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:16pm EDT

Anthony and Andrew celebrate the impact that trash culture had on them, from the exploitation movies of Andy Sidaris to the kitsch aesthetic of Tiki, by way of Gymkata, the A-Team and much, much more.

Direct download: storybeater-ep36.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:31pm EDT

Anthony and Andrew discuss Guy Ritchie's quirky and stylish Man from UNCLE, and the tropes, conventions, and significance of the spy genre. Can it ever emerge out of the shadow of James Bond?

Direct download: storybeater-ep35.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:37pm EDT

Anthony and Andrew discuss the storytelling in Peyton Reed's Ant-Man. Did the prior involvement of Edgar Wright help or hurt? How does Darren Cross compare to other villains? Why are the women so poorly handled? And was the movie any good?

The conversation also meanders into a discussion of the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Does Marvel have a sustainability problem?

Plus, self-publishing, self-promotion, presentation skills, and Inside Out.

Direct download: storybeater-ep34.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EDT

Anthony and Andrew discuss the story challenges (and failures) of Game of Thrones season five, including the show's story-breaking approach to heroes, the use of violence against women as a narrative device, and whatever the heck happened in Dorne.

Plus! Following on from last episode's look back at the classic Jurassic Park, the chaps follow up with a quick breakdown of Jurassic World. What worked, what didn't work, and what really, really didn't work?

Direct download: storybeater-ep33.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:05pm EDT

With this weekend's release of Jurassic World, Anthony and Andrew revisit the 1993 classic, looking at the scale and pace of the movie, the character of the dinosaurs, and how special effects play into how movies tell stories. 

Plus, Anthony digs up an old cookbook, and Andrew talks about the disappointment of Sense8.

Direct download: storybeater-ep32.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:23pm EDT

Anthony and Andrew talk about the writing and storytelling in George Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road, covering the development of the Mad Max world, feminism and the presentation of women, and the movie's masterful use of show-don't-tell.

They also talk about digging up old stories, writing lettering drafts, Pitch Perfect 2, the latest TMNT movie, and cheesecake. (Actual cheesecake.)

Direct download: storybeater-ep31.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:49pm EDT

Anthony and Andrew look at the unique comic book phenomenon of the massive multi-part crossover event. Which ones succeeded, which failed, what makes them work, and what can writers learn from these events?

Direct download: storybeater-ep30.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:50am EDT

Anthony and Andrew discuss the villainy, the romance, the world-building, the character arcs, and the plot holes of Avengers: Age of Ultron. 

Direct download: storybeater-ep29.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:15pm EDT

Anthony and Andrew discuss Marvel's Daredevil TV show, including the strengths of the Netflix format; the themes of gentrification and fatherhood; nerdy worldbuilding; the Karen Page arc; morality, Catholicism and death; and the future of the Marvel project.

They also talk about what they're writing and what they're reading. This episode, they've both been reading Marie Kondo's self-help book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which prompts a discussion of how hard it is to declutter your bookshelves!

Direct download: storybeater-ep28.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:43am EDT

Anthony and Andrew talk about the latest installment in one of their favourite movie franchises, Furious 7. How does the movie establish and use its world, what roles do the villains play, how did the death of Paul Walker affect the work, and where does the franchise go from here?

Direct download: storybeater-ep27.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:00am EDT

The books we read as children shape us as adult readers and as adult writers. Anthony and Andrew discuss some of their formative influences, including Roald Dahl, Robert Westall, Robert Munsch, Jackanory and Reading Rainbow, and Bunnicula and Mary Plain! 

Direct download: storybeater-ep26.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:39pm EDT

Anthony and Andrew talk about writing and narrative in video games, from the simple games they grew up with to the complexities of modern day games! 

Direct download: storybeater-ep25.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:30am EDT

Sherlock Holmes is one of the most enduring and iconic characters in modern fiction, still celebrated in his original form, but also constantly reinvented for new audiences. Andrew and Anthony discuss the strength of Arthur Conan Doyle's original creation, the elements of his world, and the most recent reinventions of the character.

Direct download: storybeater-ep24.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:25pm EDT

Anthony and Andrew discuss five of this year's Academy Award nominees for screenplay, including:

The Grand Budapest Hotel
American Sniper
and Birdman

Plus a look at some past winners and nominees and what it might really mean for a writer to win an Oscar. As always, they talk about what they're writing, and what they're reading, with a focus on the comics Mind MGMT and Battling Boy.

Direct download: storybeater-ep23.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:39pm EDT

Anthony and Andrew discuss the 1954 Hitchcock movie Rear Window, a masterful example of the principle of 'show, don't tell', and then discuss whether that famous advice is always worth following. Plus, as always, they talk about what they're writing and what they're reading!

Direct download: storybeater-ep22.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:29pm EDT

Anthony and Andrew discuss the recently released movie musical Into The Woods, directed by Rob Marshall, its presentation of tropes and the choices made in adapting it for the screen. They also discuss the origins of fairy tales and why they remain popular. Plus, scheduling, art classes, and what they've been reading!

Direct download: storybeater-ep21.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:33pm EDT