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Gymkata, Starring Two-Time World Champion Kurt Thomas

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"WHEN GYMNASTICS AND KARATE ARE FUSED, THE COMBUSTION BECOMES AN EXPLOSION."

Gymkata is a movie in which World Champion Gymnast Kurt Thomas is locked in a Deadly Game in the nation of Parmistan, to save the life of his father, who was in the CIA or something. He has to fight a lot of Crazies in The Village of the Crazies, but the good news is, there's a pommel horse at the end of the alley, so that helps a lot.

If you are a person who wants to see an amazing film with a group of great pals who are high or drunk, this is an excellent choice. It was recently re-released on Digital Versatile Disc, which is a great way to enjoy the film.

Patton Oswalt Writes Jason Statham Into Prestige Pictures

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Patton Oswalt has identified a key issue with America cinema: not all films feature Jason Statham, the bad-ass bald guy behind The Bank Job and a lot of movies I haven't seen, but which I bet are cool.

Patton has stood up and done something about this, using his standing in the world of Hollywood script doctors to write Statham-included versions of this year's Oscar bait.

CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON: Jason Statham injects the backward-aging man-freak with a Sino/Chilean rage compound, and they fight in lava pit.

Sino/Chilean? The man's a genius.

Chris Onstad, Creator of Achewood: Interview on The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye

Chris Onstad is the creator of the web comic Achewood, which chronicles the lives of a group of 20-something stuffed animals. It's a surreal and hilarious strip, once named the best graphic novel of the year by Time Magazine, despite not being a graphic novel. Onstad has just published his first book collection of the strip with a major press, called "The Great Outdoor Fight."

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Podcast Coyle & Sharpe Episode 51: Tongue Removal

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Welcome to season two of Coyle & Sharpe: The Imposters! In the early 1960s, James P. Coyle and Mal Sharpe roamed the streets of San Francisco, microphone in hand, roping strangers into bizarre schemes and surreal stunts. These original recordings are from the Sharpe family archive, which is tended by Mal's daughter, Jennifer Sharpe. You can learn more about Coyle & Sharpe on their website or on MySpace. Their recent box set is These 2 Men Are Imposters.

On this episode: Coyle and Sharpe try to convince a man to undergo experimental surgery that would remove his tongue and exchange it with a foreign person’s in order to get rid of their accent.

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A new listening option for donors

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If you're a donor to MaximumFun.org, I've added a new way to listen to The Sound of Young America.

I've created a CD-quality feed of the show as it appears on the radio. An hour long, every week (reruns, sometimes), with intros and sometimes bits and the whole nine yards. That's how we used to do the podcast, but we switched to one-guest-at-a-time podcasting at the start of 2007. Some folks prefer the hour-a-week format, so I thought I'd offer it as a special bonus for those of you who support the shows.

If you're a donor, I just sent some information on the feed to the email address on your paypal account. If you don't use that email, drop me a line and I'll share the feed address with you.

If you're not a donor, I encourage you to give, even if it's only two bucks a month.

Podcast: Jordan, Jesse Go! Ep. 85: The Penguin Thief

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Jesse and Jordan discuss insane Japanese prank shows, Kubiak from Parker Lewis Can't Lose and more.

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

Special sponsor this week: Simpsons Tumblr Eye on Springfield

Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: "The Dinner Party Download"

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Perhaps most Max Funsters are already bona fide dinner party animals. Your Podthinker counts himself as one — or aspires to, in an case. What better way, then, to climb the ladder toward over-the-top gourmand status than with the first podcast geared specifically toward the dinner partier: KPCC's The Dinner Party Download [iTunes link], "the show that helps you win your next dinner party." (Yes, they can be won.)

Each episode of The Dinner Party Download adheres strictly to a format. First comes the "ice breaker," a corny joke. (Personal favorite: "How do you turn a duck into a popular soul singer? Microwave it until its bill withers.") Then, in "small talk," hosts Brendan Newnam and Rico Gagliano talk to reporters — usually the ones across the hall at Marketplace — about which events of the day make for the best hors d'œuvre conversation. After that, it's "time for cocktails," where they talk about an event from the week in history and then ring up a bartender to find out how to make a drink kinda-sorta related to it. They then converse with the "guest of honor," some famous interviewee like M.C Frontalot [MP3], Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh [MP3] or filmmaker David Fincher [MP3], who seems to have fallen on creative hard times. In the "main course" that follows, they talk to foodmakers about food: fancy peanut-butter sandwiches [MP3], rare-bird delicacies [MP3], that sort of thing. Finally, there's "one for the road, a song to play on your way to or departing from your dinner party."

A pretty solid set of features, to be sure, but what's most fascinating is, in this jungly world of podcasts, how... public radio-y the show sounds. It's got everything public radio stations seem convinced will attract new blood to the listenership — young, just-laid-back-dudes hosts; semi-ironic pop cultural references; chats with artists that those twentysomethings seem to love — but it also retains the trappings that, unconsciously included, identify it to other, non-public-radio podcasts as Not One of Us. First and foremost, every segment noted in the above paragraph is crammed into about fifteen minutes, causing that rushed-along feeling one knows (and probably doesn't love) from all stripes of traditional radio. This takes a serious toll on the interviews, which feel as if they run about twelve seconds and are conducted using the same two questions every time ("What are you sick of being asked?" and "Tell us something we don't know about yourself"). As a hardcore fan and creator of the interview form (and one who considers the sub-30-minute interview to be essentially worthless), your Podthinker is pained by this.

Second, after having listened to hundreds of honest, mumbly podcaster voices, the interaction between Rico and Brendan — indeed, between most professional public radio hosts — sounds suspiciously polished, like it's the fifth or sixth rehearsed take. And third: please, public radio producers, take this to heart: there's no need to wedge a music bed under everything. There are many answers to your problems; music beds are not among them.

Vital stats:
Format: cultural variety
Running since: July 2008
Duration: ~15m
Frequency: biweekly, roughly
Archive available on iTunes: four months

[High-priced Podsultant Colin Marshall accepts all offers at colinjmarshall at gmail. Discuss Podthoughts on the forum here or submit your own podcast for the next by-Max-Funsters column here.]

Some Blogs I Love, Volume 2

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I read a quajillion blogs, and

Broke-Ass Stuart's Guide to New York & San Francisco: Stuart Schuffman interview on The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye


Stuart Schuffman is the author of "Broke-Ass Stuart's Guide to Living Cheaply in New York City," a follow-up to his zine and book "Broke-Ass Stuart's Guide to Living Cheaply in San Francisco." They're travel guides for residents -- particularly residents keen on knowing which happy hours have cheap domestic beer and free food. They also feature guides to little-known, bizarre and beautiful attractions like San Francisco's Columbarium.

Previously: a text interview with Stuart.

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If you enjoyed this show, try these:
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Click & Clack Host "A Thousand Clowns"

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Regular readers probably already know that my favorite movie which does not feature a Great Adventure is 1965's "A Thousand Clowns." It's the heartbreaking and hilarious story of Murray Burns, as played brilliantly by the great Jason Robards. Murray's an unemployed comedy writer, struggling to come to terms with his responsibilities as an adult, not least of which is the nephew his sister abandoned in his apartment as a baby, and child services' imminent repossession of said nephew. Anyone who's ever wondered how to hold onto wonder and irreverence without letting go of adulthood will be profoundly moved by the film.

Unfortunately, it's never been released on DVD, and has been out of print on VHS for many years. For a while, it was available for streaming on Netflix, but it looks like it isn't anymore. I'm told it pops up regularly on the classic movie channels, so if you've got a Tivo, tell it to watch out.

If you live somewhere near Brookline, Mass, though, you've got a special chance to see it Monday night as part of the 75th anniversary celebrations of the Coolidge Corner Theater. Even better is that the screening will be hosted by two men almost as charming and irreverent as Murray himself -- Tom & Ray Magliozzi, aka Click & Clack the Tappet brothers, the host of NPR's Car Talk. Apparently it's their favorite movie too. You can find more information here.

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