Welcome to StorySmack, a podcast hosted by AB Kovacs and Scott Sigler about stories and storytellers in the world of pop culture.
1. Dr. Strange 12/7/16
Scott & ARealGirl get all mystical and chat about Doctor Strange.
2. A New Hope 12/16/16
We’re off to see ROGUE ONE, and to celebrate, let’s talk Star Wars Smack! Many, many nerds have waxed endlessly how Episode IV: A New Hope (the original 1976 Star Wars flick), and Episode VI, The Force Awakens, are the exact same movie. Professor Sigler and the learned Doctor Kovacs delve deep into this comparison to give you a StorySmack diagnoses.
3. The Die Hard Christmas Special 12/23/16
In this episode, we get into the muck of one of the world’s greatest, most enduring philosophical questions: is DIE HARD a Christmas movie? We also cover a shit-ton of tidbits, trivia and facts about this enduring classic, including:
Who was supposed to play John Mclane? Is this a sequel to a Sinatra flick? The book (yes, book this movie is based on). Which member of this cast served hard time? Which famous lion tamers were cast as bad guys? Does anyone in this flick actually sprechen Deutsch?
4. Four Rooms and New Year's Eve 12/30/16
Happy New Year from the Future Dark Øverlord and the Director of Døøm! And, yes, the Dog of Døøm as well. To celebrate the incoming wonders that 2017 brings, we review the quirky New Year’s Eve anthology comedy known as FOUR ROOMS. Join us for a discussion of Tim Roth‘s masterful physical performance that ties together a shit-show of short films by Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Allison Anders and Alexandre Rockwell.
5. Galaxy Quest! 1/7/17
If you haven’t seen Galaxy Quest in all this time since 1999, let’s just say you’re missing out. Or, more correctly, if you’re a fan of this ‘cast, or scifi, or nerdom and you haven’t seen Galaxy Quest … you’re totally missing out. Just trust us, see it.
6. Friday the 13th (the original!) 1/13/17
It’s Friday the 13th, so what else would we cover but FRIDAY THE 13th? The original, people, not a remake, not a reboot, not a sequel, but the carnage-fest that started a billion-dollar franchise. A first-generation slasher film that created many copies, this horror classic is slathered with the blood of horror movie history.
7. Hollywood lessons learned from 2016 box office 1/20/17
Yes, 2016 generated an all-time high in box office revenue, but when you adjust for inflation how successful was it, really? Is Hollywood heading for major crash, a-la the music business of the 90s and the publishing biz of the oughts?
We cover that in this episode, as well as:
What were the Top-10 highest-grossing films of 2016? The influence of Chinese investors and the Chinese government on Hollywood. What year set the record for attendance, not for revenue? Why it’s better to root for the Dark Side. The evil that is Herbie the Love Bug.
8. RESIDENT EVIL is worth one beeelion dollars. 1/27/17
This week Scott and A discuss the Resident Evil franchise. We talk about all five movies current available for at-home viewing, and our experience marathoning them this month. It’s been a wild ride, and we’re excited to go see Resident Evil: The Final Chapter this weekend!
Even if you’re not into these games or these movies, the success of these films can’t be ignored. And, honestly, they’re better than you might think at first.
9. 2016’s Most Expensive Movies 2/3/17
Yes, 2016 saw some serious coinage being tossed about Hollywood in a festive manner. But which of those obscenely bloated budgets was the biggest and girthiest? And did those huge expenditures result in equally huge profits? Your FDØ and ARealGirl get into the numbers game on this week’s StorySmack.
10. JOHN WICK & the danger of killing random dogs 2/11/17
We’ve got some of our own storytelling afoot, with a few things in the works that ate up every spare moment of this week — so here’s a shorter StorySmack to talk about the fantastic flick JOHN WICK. And hopefully, soon we can tell y’all what’s got us so busy.
11. WAYNE’S WORLD 25th Anniversary 2/17/17
Can you believe it? Twenty-five years since WAYNE’S WORLD landed its most-excellent ass in theaters. If that shocks you, you are old!
12. LETHAL WEAPON 30th Anniversary 3/7/17
This week’s Story Smack has us going back in time to a weird, wonderful Los Angeles, and a sterling example of the buddy cop movie. Lethal Weapon turns 30 this month, and we revisited the original to see how it stands the test of time. And to see Mel Gibson’s enormous hair. Give us a listen and let us know what you think!
13. GLADIATOR 17th Anniversary 3/11/17
Why are we celebrating the random 17th anniversary of GLADIATOR? Because we’re idiots and somehow got it in our head it was 25 years old (a “thank you” to Junkie Shane who pointed out that maybe we need to lay off the sauce for a bit …).
Nonetheless, this is a movie that holds up better than most. It’s a lovely, fragile, hard-as-nails movie. Full of anger and grace and humanity and morality. It’s an essential movie for anyone who likes fight movies, historical movies, love stories and even interpersonal dramas. If you’re looking for parody, this isn’t that, but otherwise, I think you’d really dig it.
14. European Tour & how travel impacts storytelling 3/27/17
The European Tour of 2017 rolls along. We took a few minutes to talk about our feels and impressions from some of the amazing, life-changing things we’ve seen. We also discuss how seeing such things can affect a storyteller’s views, and impact (or create whole cloth) future stories.
15. Murder 1-2-3: courtroom definitions in storytelling 4/7/17
This week we’re taking a break from movie breakdowns as we recover from our European jet lag.
Everyone’s seen plenty of courtroom dramas, cop stories, and forensic investigation on television and in the movies. So much that our sense of justice and the law is surely informed by what we’ve seen on the screen. And what’s on the screen isn’t always real-world accurate, surrendering dry legal wrangling for entertaining fiction.
Scott and I breakdown the degrees of murder as they’re written in California so we can see where reality and fiction diverge. If you’re a storyteller or just a big fan of true-crime stories, these are things you should know. We’re here to help!
16. HALF-BAKED: 4/20 Special Episode 4/20/17
It’s 4/20, the favorite day of every stoner on the planet. At StorySmack, we decided to do a little medical experimentation — why not do an episode about a stoner movie, on 4/20, while on 4/20 ourselves?
We feature the Dave Chapelle movie HALF-BAKED for your listening pleasure. ARealGirl got the giggles. And, yes, munchies were involved after the fact.
17. ALIENS: Scott’s favorite movie of all time 4/28/17
This week we were going to do an ALIENS watch-along. We didn’t get that off the ground. We’ll tell you all about it in the episode. Instead, we’re doing a traditional movie review Story Smack, but for Sigler’s favorite movie of all time. ALL TIME!
The thing is … ALIENS is Scott’s favorite, but it’s also a hugely important and influential movie in general. Sigourney Weaver is luminescent in every sense of the word, all the while being a difficult, ornery character, in unfathomable circumstance. It’s a performance of a lifetime, and it’s only one part of the movie. If you have never seen it, do watch it before listening.
18. The Fifth Element • 20th Anniversary Review 5/6/17
You may be shocked to know that THE FIFTH ELEMENT is 20 years old. That’s two decades of multipass, folks. We break down the storytelling elements (see what I did there) in the Luc Besson-directed classic.
19. SNATCH (with special guests: the FDØ’s nephews) 5/13/17
We sat down to watch SNATCH this week while Scott’s nephews were in town. They’d never seen this awesome crime flick from 2000, and it was pretty interesting to chat with them about it afterward. Listen in to hear the next generation Sigler men share their opinions on shakey-cam fights with their decidedly anti-shakey-cam uncle.
20. PREDATOR 30th Anniversary 6/23/17
Hey you mandible-toothed ugly motherfuckers, can you believe it’s been three frickin’ decades since PREDATOR opened up a can of painless on movie audiences? Well, it has, and your erstwhile journalist tag-team champs have jumped straight off the top rope and dropped the elbow on this bad boy. Come groove with us as we rock out with Ah-Nold and his amazing cast.
21. MAD MEN First Episode 10th Anniversary 7/10/17
The first episode of this ground-breaking series aired on July 19, 2007. A decade later, the FDØ and the Director of Døøm sit down to discuss the cultural impact it had on television and on long-form storytelling.
22. Shallow Grave & guest, author Rob Reid 8/1/17
This week we have a guest! Author Rob Reid joins us on the release day of his new book After On, to discuss one of his favorite movies — Shallow Grave.
First, a bit about Rob’s new title: The definitive novel of today’s Silicon Valley, After On flash-captures our cultural and technological moment with up-to-the-instant savvy. Matters of privacy and government intrusion, post-Tinder romance, nihilistic terrorism, artificial consciousness, synthetic biology, and much more are tackled with authority and brash playfulness by New York Times bestselling author Rob Reid.
Rob came to the office to discuss this awesome 1994 black comedy starring Christopher Eccleston, Ewan McGregor & Kerry Fox. If you haven’t seen it yourself, watch before you listen to us!
23. LAST OF THE MOHICANS: 25th Anniversary 8/4/17
So we’re a few weeks early on this celebration. Sue us. Keep in mind that I’m just a small-town pizza lawyer, but I know how to defend against egregious lawsuits.
This movie stars three-time oscar winner Daniel Day Lewis and Madeleine Stowe, but the show is completely stolen by Wes Studi. Studi’s portrayal of Magwa is one of my favorite roles of all-time — positively bad-ass. And this flick? Yeah, it’s got lots (and lots) of violence.
24. Magic & Mullets: WARLOCK 9/8/17
Straight outta the 80s, ladies & gents. This schloctastic smörgåsbord of a flick sends us in the wayback machine to bad FX, worse hair, even worse plot holes, and pounds and pounds of glorious, tasty cheese.
If you’ve seen this gem, listen in to learn some things that you might not know. Gracias to our sponsor “GoDaddy Coupon” who keeps this show free as a bird. Or a warlock.
25. SUPERBAD came out a decade ago (yes, feel old) 9/15/17
An episode about high school awkwardness, losing virginity, fake IDs, the cops we all wish were real, and drawing dicks.
26. Upcoming movies & other hilarity 9/22/17
With 25 episodes under our belt, we dive into the listener mail bag (awwwww yeah) to look at y’all’s suggestions for future installments. We also talk about the difficulty of reviewing books, TV series, why movies are the low-hanging grapes (awwwww yeah) and why Hollywood keeps remaking the same schlock over and over again.
27. Jerry Before Seinfeld 9/29/17
Jerry Before Seinfeld is a look back by one of the most successful comedians in the world. We starting watching thinking it would be an hour of comedy, only to find an origin story instead. Scott and A discuss this surprising and charming special.
28. The Big Lebowski, recorded live at SiglerFest2k17 10/13/17
We recorded our coverage of this cult classic live at SiglerFest2k17 in Las Vegas. Junkies (the fans of Scott Sigler’s books) got to ask us questions. Also, there were many White Russians, so don’t count on Scott or ARealGirl to be all that sharp in their responses. Drunken StorySmack is the 300 game of podcasting!
29. Chinatown — the perfect screenplay? 10/27/17
In this week’s episode Scott and I discuss the storied screenplay for Chinatown. The movie came out in 1974, and the screenplay has been heralded as near-perfect since then. There is a lot to unpack and discuss about the movie, the script, the crew and the era of American filmmaking, so jump right in!
30. STARSHIP TROOPERS 20th Anniversary 11/17/17
Scifi classic, or classic trash? You have your opinion, we have ours, which we share in this lovely recap of an extremely fun and slightly polarizing movie that came out twenty years ago.
So come on, you apes — do you wanna live forever? Dive into this delightful cheese-fest with us. Would you like to know more?
BEST SHOT OF THE MOVIE: “Damn, Carmen, when you said big bugs might splatter our windshield I had no idea!”
31. Good Will Hunting 20th Anniversary 12/12/17
Hard to believe it’s been twenty years since Good Will Hunting was released! Hard to remember a time when Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were small time enough to be caught in development hell trying to get this movie made. Back before they were Oscar winners.
Thankfully they got through all of that, and Good Will Hunting stands the test of time! Join us while we discuss the good, the bad and the legend that is Good Will Hunting.
32. John Williams:Evil Musical Genius 12/29/17
Story Smack is a podcast about storytelling, but I must admit we talk quite a bit about movies. Today, however, we’re going to talk about a movie maker. In fact, the most Oscar-nominated movie maker on Earth. Actor? Director? Nope — orchestrator and conductor John Williams.
I know you love John Williams’ work. I know I love the Star Wars score, and the Indiana Jones score. Those are both his. But so many others you know and love are also John Williams’ work. You’ll be amazed at how much of the score to your own life is lifted from work he’s done.
33. Pierce Brown live interview for IRON GOLD 1/17/18
Scott interviews #1 New York Times bestseller Pierce Brown as Pierce kicked off his world tour for IRON GOLD, volume IV in the Red Rising saga. Recorded live at Mysterious Galaxy Books in San Diego, the exact site of Pierce’s very first appearance as an unknown author in 2014. Pierce talks about his new work, his struggles to get published, and the intense pressure that comes with following up a literary juggernaut.
34. Han’s rescue — what, exactly, was the plan? 3/10/18
THE LAST JEDI has come under fire for nonsensical plot elements and characters making LOST-esque idiotic decisions, but if we jump in the WayBack Machine™ and take a look at RETURN OF THE JEDI, we find that nonsensical might be endemic to all STAR WARS movies — read also, if there was a “plan” to rescue Han, what the hell was it, and how did it go so wrong?
35. SiglerFest2k18 — the ins and outs of a fan festival.
An episode about the ins and outs of putting on a fan appreciation weekend. We talk through the evolution of SiglerFest and what’s coming this year!
36. Raiders of the Lost Ark
On this episode, Scott and A revisit Raiders of the Lost Ark. (Spoiler alert: it totally holds up.)
We we lucky enough to see the Rooftop Cinema showing, which is rooftop, outdoor viewing with cocktails. It was a really fun addition to the overall experience! If there’s something like this in your town, don’t miss the chance to go!
This episode doesn’t have our normal “timestamp discussion” of the movie because of the aforementioned venue change. But since it’s such a classic, I bet that’s just fine.
37. Songwriter/Storyteller Evan Diamond
Today we have an guest! Evan Diamond, band leader for Scott’s band “Evan Diamond & The Library,” joins us at Empty Set Studios to talk about the new EP Intersections, along with a host of other things. We talk songwriting as storytelling, what it’s like to play live and see folks react to your personal moments made musical, and listen to each song from Intersections.
Plus a big announcement for those of you going to/considering SiglerFest 2k18!
38. Rush Hour Twentieth Anniversary
In these trying political days, sometimes you want some good old-fashioned fun. StorySmack aim’s to please, which is why were talking about the 20th anniversary of the Chris Tucker/Jackie Chan buddy-cop flick RUSH HOUR. Can you read the words coming out of this screen?
Not only did this box-office beast firmly establish Chan as star of American movies and catapult Tucker into super-stardom, it featured two minority leads long before the birth of social media. RUSH HOUR spawned two sequels (and perhaps a third, listen in!). We had a blast re-watching, join us for a conversation about this killer flick.
39. BLUE BALLS, a Very Special Episode...
If you’ve read my novel NOCTURNAL, you may recall the character Pookie Chang’s idea for a cop show. Like HILL STREET BLUES, BLUE BLOODS, NYPD BLUE, ROOKIE BLUE, SHADES OF BLUE, etc., Pooks decided his show should have that color as a titular part of the title. Hence, BLUE BALLS.
In NOCTURNAL, Pookie might be considered the sidekick to Bryan Clauser’s lead character. In BLUE BALLS, which Pookie writes as a spec script to sell to network TV, he is the heroic lead, and Bryan is the bumbling also-ran. Pookie’s buddy cop script plays on many cop-show tropes.
For the past three SiglerFests, we’ve live-recorded a portion of Pookie’s script for Season One, Episode 2, titles “Dolla Dolla Bills, Y’All.” Attendees get to read most of the parts. My plan was to release them as individual episodes leading up to SiglerFest2k18, but I screwed up last year’s recording (I paused it at one point, then forgot to continue it), and for the life of me I can’t find the SiglerFest2k16 recording.
So, my pal Stephen King (no, not that Stephen King, and yes, that is his name) gathered up some of his actor pals and we recorded the entire pilot script as a live table read. Many props to Iceberg, our editor, for putting this together.
If you know screenwriting, you might notice some painful script clichés in here. Blame it on Pookie — he’s an amateur.
This script is off-color (no pun intended) and rather “blue” (pun intended) in its humor. We hope you enjoy it.
We’ll be recording Part I of BLUE BALLS, Season One, Episode Three at SiglerFest2k18.
Where is Episode One, you might ask? You’d have to ask Pookie. Maybe you buy him some Kung Pao shrimp and a nice bottle of bubbly, and you can talk him into it …
40. TREMORS, A Horror/Comedy Classic
Recorded live at SiglerFest2k18 in Las Vegas: Diseased Penis Teeth Monsters. The Bacon Number. A script that took five people to write. Fred Ward. A well-armed Mr. Keaton from FAMILY TIES. Reba. Egg from BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA. Land Sharks. The glory of this flick goes on and on. Join AB Kovacs and Scott Sigler for a delightful review of this campy classic.
41. Fan festivals for creators – a SiglerFest2k18 recap
Our big party is over. The FDØ and ARealGirl recap SiglerFest2k18, the biggest SiglerFest yet.
Fan appreciation is a major part of the business for some creators. This episode provides insight as to what goes into a fan appreciation event, and how creators can manage such events when growth drives attendance far beyond expectations.
42. BODIED Hollywood Premiere
Scott and A were invited to attend the Hollywood premier of BODIED, a film by Joseph Kahn. They discuss the movie, as well as the red-carpet and post-party experience. The film is in theaters now and will soon be on YouTube Red.
43. Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse
Scott and A take a look at the Golden Globe-winning film that could have long-term ramifications on superhero storytelling. When a film so successfully brings a comic to life as a comic, what does that mean for big-budget live-action superhero films? Are the days of live flicks doomed?
44. The Storytelling Drama of Combat Sports
“But fights aren’t stories,” you say? WRONG-O, FISH-BREATH! Companies like the UFC are exceptional storytellers, creating tales with live performers and unwritten endings. A discusses her initial dismissal and disdain for combat sports, and how she’s come to change her mind. Scott talks about how getting punch in the mouth can lead one to discovering proper, civilized behavior. They both use UFC Fight Night 143 to discuss how these real-life storylines play out, with all the drama, violence, sacrifice and the built-in “Hero’s Journey” path.
45. Groundhog Day
Groundhog Day on Groundhog Day? Are we in a time loop? Scott and A become gods (but not the god) as they discuss this 1993 classic, and the hordes of rodent-like movies “inspired” by it.