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Early on in Now Playing Podcast’s Star Wars review, creator and host Arnie Carvalho is asked whether he thinks George Lucas’ legacy blockbuster is the best film ever made. It’s a question that deserves more than a simple yes or no, and the answer is just one of many revelations listeners can expect throughout the podcast’s 11-episode retrospective series, which began Tuesday and will continue past the release of December’s The Force Awakens.

The retrospective is poised to be the biggest in Now Playing Podcast history, not only because of its cultural relevance, but because the show is breaking from a long-held preference not to review the franchise. Carvalho touches on this in the first few minutes while discussing the backbiting that exists with the Star Wars community, and how it discouraged him wanting to talk about the films outside of sister podcast Star Wars Action News.

Longtime listeners who have been demanding these reviews for years will relish these “inside baseball” chats, while casual Star Wars fans will enjoy the sparks of childhood nostalgia as Carvalho and fellow hosts Stuart Atkinson and Jakob Brewster navigate the Star Wars universe. Atkinson, the only one of trio who is not a hardcore fan, has a wonderful moment early on in which he relays his limited Star Wars knowledge in a jumbled paragraph that may enrage some die-hard jedi. It will be interesting to hear his take when the hosts review the non-theatrical entries in the saga.

Like all Now Playing Podcast retrospectives, this one will hit the high, low, and forgotten entries in the Star Wars franchise, including TV movies Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure and the Star Wars Holiday Special. I’ve only seen clips of the Holiday Special on YouTube, but I remember those Ewok films (Caravan of Courage is followed by Battle for Endor, starring Wilford Brimley!).

And that’s always been the appeal of Now Playing Podcast retrospectives. Every discussion stirs a recollection of your childhood movie-going experiences, while pointing out the “gee whiz” moments you might have missed in a way that’s more inclusive than any Blu-ray bonus feature or Easter Egg infographic. This show has a way of connecting with you, whether you’re the kid who snuck into a theater to see Friday the 13th or if you waited in a line around the block for Indy’s Last Crusade, Now Playing Podcast always makes you part of the conversation.

The next few months should be fun.

Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 8.50.54 PMBy nearly every account, the new Fantastic Four film is a disaster, and every day it seems we’re learning more about what happened behind the scenes of this train wreck. This is the kind of Hollywood flop they write books about, the kind that (hopefully) will inspire the person who already directed a documentary about previous Fantastic Four train wreck to direct a sequel about the new one.

I’m so fascinated by this story. I’ve never had any interest in the comic, and I’ve disliked all of the previous films. Yet I am so intrigued by what went wrong with this reboot. That’s why I couldn’t wait to hear this week’s episode of Now Playing Podcast. Here are some things that stand out:

  • One host defends the movie as another says it’s even worse than the Roger Corman version
  • The question is asked (and answered) as to why the Fantastic Four continues to be told on screen rather than, say, a TV series
  • One host calls it an “admirably interesting failure” (and you’ll want to hear why)
  • One host accuses a rival company of trying to “poison” the film

After you hear the show, get in on our Facebook conversation and tell us what you think should happen with the franchise. Listeners are split over whether FOX should make a sequel or reboot it again, or just stop altogether. It’s a great show and a great debate, join us.

Cover art to Now Playing Podcast's "Fantastic Four" retrospective series.
Cover art to Now Playing Podcast’s “Fantastic Four” retrospective series.

Snip20150707_7Are you at #SDCC this week? Want to meet your favorite hosts from Now Playing Podcast, Star Wars Action News, and Marvelicious Toys?

Venganza Media is holding a podcast listener meetup event on Saturday, July 11 at 8 p.m. inside the Yard House in downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp District.

Come on down and have a drink with Venganza staff and our great listeners. This is the first Now Playing Podcast Comic-Con meetup since 2010. You can hear more details during this week’s review of Terminator: Genisys. We’re also holding a Terminator giveaway contest, you’ll hear the details in the show.

Hope to see you Saturday night!


Something you might hear mentioned from time-to-time during Now Playing Podcast episodes is the hectic show schedule. While most tentpole flicks (especially superhero flicks) are given a release date years in advance, that’s not the case for every film. So when Now Playing is set to review a movie and suddenly the release date shifts, that can throw everything into chaos.

For instance, imagine if Universal had pulled Furious 7 at the last minute and released it in July instead of April. Now Playing Podcast would have had to scramble to fill seven weeks of programming. It’s not like there are backup shows ready to air.

So I grabbed host Stuart Atkinson for a few minutes and asked him about his role as Now Playing’s schedule-maker, what kind of surprises he’s dealt with in the past, and how Mission Impossible wound up on this week’s calendar.

You can read the story at the Venganza Media website.


Easter weekend is winding down and Opening Day is tomorrow, so I wanted to get a quick post in before I’m completely consumed by work and baseball. At least until next month when I’ll be completely consumed by Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Snip20150405_111) Now Playing Podcast

This weekend I posted a brief Q&A with the hosts of Now Playing Podcast. We talked about the upcoming Spring Donation Drive, which will finally see the hosts cover the Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park films. There will be a few other surprises mixed in there, you can find all the details in the article.


Snip20150405_122) Furious 7

I thought about writing a longer post with all of my thoughts on Furious 7. After seeing it for a second time this morning, I decided to just put down some brief thoughts here. It’s not the best entry in the series, but it’s still a great flick, and if you’re a fan, you’ll get real emotional at the end. I’m not gonna say I didn’t cry like that time when Bruce Willis pushed Ben Affleck back onto the space shuttle in Armageddon, cause that would be a lie.

3) Furious 7 and Now Playing Podcast

Don’t forget that the final entry in Now Playing’s Fast & Furious retrospective will be released on Tuesday. Also, on the Now Playing Facebook page, I’ll be posting a link to my F&F Spotify playlist. I’ve been asking fans to name their favorite songs from the flicks and help me put together the ultimate playlist, so that’s something to look forward to.

Venganza Media’s first Kickstarter project turned out to be a ridiculous success. When the clock ran out on the 30-day campaign this morning listeners had pledged more than $115,000 to fund “Underrated Movies We Recommend.”

That means there’s enough funding to deliver “Underrated” as a hardcover and audio book. You can read more about that here.



I should probably hold off on posting this, because the good news is likely to become great news in the next few hours.

What’s the news? If you’ve been following my tweets today, you saw that Now Playing Podcast’s Kickstarter project passed its $95,000 stretch goal. That was just before noon, and as I write this, the campaign is just a few hundred dollars in pledges away from hitting $100,000.

That’s insane. I don’t have a lot of experience working on Kickstarter campaigns, but to hit $100 grand — with an original $40,000 target — is crazy. This is a runaway success, and the campaign doesn’t even officially end until early Thursday.

It’s been such a thrill working on this campaign, and the listeners came through in ways no one expected. It had me wondering today, how many independent podcasts can claim this kind of success and this fan base? Now Playing is legit, too legit, like the song!

Even better, today the Fast & Furious review was released. I urge you to listen and find out why this is the best podcast on the planet.