Unboxing Story

Unboxing Story

anchor.fm/unboxing-story
Jon and Melissa Matos compare popular fiction with cult classics, fan favorites, and ancient allusions. Join their weekly celebration of good storytelling, and the positive impact stories have on our everyday lives. Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/unboxing-story/support


Iron Throne IRL ft. Stranger Things 3
Jul 7 • 40 min
Melissa returns from the live-action mega-game “Dragon Thrones,” (played at an actual castle in Bryn Mawr, PA,) to give us her first impressions. The “LARPing” talk continues as Jon talks about his reading of Stranger Things as a millennial and…
Best in Show: Warehouse 13
Jul 1 • 59 min
Authors Jon and Melissa Matos spotlight a show SciFi.com described as “part X-Files, part [Indiana Jones,] part Moonlighting.” Melissa loves this action comedy that balances thrills with believable romance and character growth. Listen as we gush about our…
Breaking Genre: “Story of Your Life” aka Arrival
Jun 23 • 47 min
Aliens. Time travel. Portals into another world. These are mainstays of science fiction, and can make or break an audience’s viewing experience. Ted Chiang crafted a short story that quietly broke the mold, and would later inspire a cerebral blockbuster…
Live @ Wizard World Philly! ft. Dark Phoenix Saga
Jun 17 • 43 min
As X-Men films gaze further and further into their fuzzy blue navels, the original comics remain cult classics. Does Jean Grey’s original rise to power in the Dark Phoenix Saga surpass the recent film and comics, or is it a hot mess? Relive a legendary…
Godzilla: King of the Kaiju
Jun 9 • 52 min
Mon-Stars were around long before Space Jam. Giant blobs and fifty foot women towered above the audience in glorious 35 millimeter monochrome, but in 1956, the king of the monsters was anointed. Godzilla was born, and now he’s back, but do authors Jon and…
INKLINGS MONTH: “On Fairy-Stories” Essay Talk
May 28 • 53 min
Jon and Melissa Matos discuss J.R.R. Tolkien’s defense of fairytales. Decades before D&D and Game of Thrones, the fantasy genre was limited to children’s books and ancient history. In the last episode of INKLINGS MONTH, join our discussion on modern…
INKLINGS MONTH: C.S. Lewis ft. Matt Crotts
May 20 • 54 min
The classics captured Lewis and Matt Crotts much in the same way. Host Jon Matos met Matt, an illustrious illustrator, through his comic book, Kyrie: an Indiana Jones-style adventure set in the 3rd century. Hear the comic creator and history buff baffle…
INKLINGS MONTH: Surprised by Shadowlands (1993)
May 19 • 32 min
Lewis was a man of many words, but only one woman made him speechless. Learn the love story that tested Lewis’ “refining fire & brimstone” theology. Melissa and Jon Matos react to another tragic romance, and review how actors Debra Winger and Anthony…
INKLINGS MONTH: Tolkien (2019)
May 13 • 35 min
How do you solve a problem like Tolkien? The young poet and artist grew up an isolated orphan, but longed to share his love of language with the world. Melissa and Jon Matos review Tolkien (2019), a biopic about love, fellowship and the fantasy that makes…
INKLINGS MONTH: J. R. R. Tolkien & Modern Fantasy
May 5 • 47 min
Seventy years ago, if you walked into the right bar in Oxford, England, you might have heard J.R.R. Tolkien reading an epic poem, about dwarves searching for lost gold, a love beset by evil times, or a great Ring of Power that conquers men’s hearts. Maybe…
The End of an Era ft. Avengers: Endgame
Apr 29 • 45 min
The sun sets on a decade of dynamite entertainment, with the definition of blockbuster bliss. Melissa and Jon revisit the start of their superhero fandoms and review the latest chapter in the Marvel saga, Avengers: Endgame. Maybe you’ll laugh, maybe…
Poetic Justice: Lawrence of Arabia
Apr 22 • 35 min
If brownface could kill, would it murder your movie-watching experience? Melissa and Jon stumble upon a problematic piece of history watching ‘Lawrence of Arabia.’ The overlong epic’s 3 hour and 45 minute run-time led them to read Ray Bradbury’s short…
Native Son Book Talk #readthe5th
Apr 15 • 74 min
Does injustice end with one hand-out? Richard Wright questions “pay-it-forward” morality through his novel, ‘Native Son,’ where an awkward racial encounter turns deadly, virtually setting Chicago on fire. Jon and Melissa struggle through a story even more…
The Twilight Zone & Small Screen Sci-Fi
Apr 4 • 82 min
“You are about to enter another dimension, not only of sight and sound, but of mind.” So began the most iconic sci-fi anthology series in history: 156 episodes over 5 years, and everyone has a favorite. Melissa and Jon reflect on the show’s history, as…
Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ & Woke Horror
Mar 25 • 46 min
“A new nightmare” from screenwriter, director, and comedy giant Jordan Peele invites uncomfortable laughter and thoughtful thrills. Jon and Melissa offer (non-spoiler) thoughts on the how Jordan’s sophomore movie fits into the horror genre, and what they…
Mid-Knights in Paris ft. Knightfall
Mar 17 • 40 min
Chivalry lives on in Knightfall, a series set in the twilight of the Knights Templar. These warrior monks seek to find and protect the Holy Grail, as powerful individuals seek to use or abuse it. Melissa and Jon praise this high watermark in holy war…
Captain Marvel & Female Superheroes
Mar 11 • 67 min
Gender-bent homages and femme fatales have fallen. From the rubble, Marvel re-envisioned classic characters to better represent their readers. Captain Marvel is the latest adaptation, and the perfect Rosetta Stone to decipher what makes a female hero…
Heels & Feels ft. Song of Achilles
Mar 4 • 72 min
The classics and modernity clash in ‘Song of Achilles,’ a critically-acclaimed crossover of Greek myth, romance and historical fiction. ‘Achilles’ Trojan-horsed an Illiad prequel on your friendly neighborhood hosts, who expected an updated retelling of an…
Robin Williams: Mad Genius ft. The Fisher King
Feb 25 • 90 min
Absurdist director Terry Gilliam met his match when Robin Williams walked on the set of 1991’s ‘The Fisher King.’ Few actors embody the chaotic creativity Williams brought to this Arthurian comedy, as well as a dozen other farcical films. After a few…
#OscarsSoWhack: Snobs, Snubs & Our Picks
Feb 18 • 67 min
Ceremonies matter to film fans young and old, but social media has made 2018’s carnival of controversies its own sideshow. Jon and Melissa eschew hot takes for a conversation on how style and substance clash. The most controversial show since 2018 will…
Jewish G.I. Joes ft. Philip Roth’s “Defender of the Faith”
Feb 11 • 56 min
M*A*S*H meets Sedaris in this slice-of-life short story about being Jewish in World War II. Can you be an American soldier and keep kosher? Does army life mean no life at all? Jon and Melissa interrogate the text, and ask if a story can be political…
Maniac Pixie Dream Girl ft. Miss Bala
Feb 5 • 71 min
“Bullets solve everything,” or at least they do at the Mexico border, according to our bad boy antagonist. Ismael Cruz Córdova plays a gang leader and captor of our lead heroine played by Gina Rodriguez. Their cat-and-mouse relationship sparks…
Breaking Genre: Neon Noir ft. Drive (2011)
Jan 28 • 63 min
Grab your synth cassettes and the keys to the Mustang. Nicholas Winding Refn’s Drive updates crime noir all the way to the 80’s, creating a new generation of retro thrillers that has invaded films, TV, and video games. Do the neon lights and electro-pop…
‘Glass’ and Quixotic Horror
Jan 21 • 74 min
Meet the kooky criminals at the center of ‘Glass,’ the third in a genre-bending trilogy including ‘Unbreakable’ and ‘Split.’ This superhero-thriller closes with a conflict between a vigilante, a mastermind, a man/beast, and a cynical psychologist. Fanboy…
Poetic Justice: Langston Hughes
Jan 14 • 48 min
“Soul” is used to describe jazz music if the 20’s and 30’s, but it also fits the melodic poetry of Langston Hughes. Jon and Melissa try to express what makes Hughes poetry so accessible, despite it’s contrast to today’s turbulent racial politics. Is…
Concept Albums: Third Reich Rush? ft. 2112
Jan 7 • 54 min
Alt-right Rush?? Say it isn’t so! Before “progressive” was a political label, the band Rush were “prog” rockers: composing symphonies of screaming guitars and soulful ballads. But how did their space opera earn them a comparison with Nazis? Is “2112” just…
Southern Gothic & Flannery O’Connor ft. “A Good Man is Hard to Find”
Dec 31, 2018 • 72 min
The nightmare after Christmas is Southern-fried with racism on the side. Melissa and Jon explore the imagery and irony in Flannery O’Conner’s short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” and compare it to Gothic writers and modern art theory. Does O’Conner’s…
More Than Thor ft. Norse Mythology
Dec 24, 2018 • 84 min
What if history had a three-act structure? For Vikings, the gods enacted the biggest blockbuster of all, with frost giants, comedic cross-dressing, and a bloody finale. Join Melissa and Jon as they use Neil Gaiman’s book to discuss the wisdom of Odin, the…
Breaking Genre: Mortal Engines is Steampunk Star Wars
Dec 17, 2018 • 67 min
The furnace burns, smoke billows, and Peter Jackson’s mega machine gobbles up a YA series, just to spit it back onto the silver screen. Did Weta Workshops create the steampunk dystopia of Melissa’s dreams? Meanwhile, Jon asks why ads for an adventure film…
Retconning Reality (ft. Life of Pi)
Dec 10, 2018 • 62 min
Perception is everything: in romance, in religion, and in storytelling. Pi Patel’s love story was a middle grade game changer, landing on required reading lists and becoming a cult classic coming-of-age film. But does the story of a shipwrecked…
Penny Arcade Primer & PAX Unplugged Preview
Dec 3, 2018 • 42 min
Fan gatherings are common today, but it wasn’t always that way. Explore the humble beginnings of convention culture on an unconventional episode about fandom and how it’s changed. Learn first-hand how the Melissa and Jon discovered their favorite…
Screenwriter Spotlight: Guillermo del Toro
Nov 26, 2018 • 57 min
Fear comes in many forms. Directors often rely on disgust as a method of scaring the viewer, but Guillermo del Toro uses it to intrigue his audience. Del Toro’s fans, us included, love ‘Hellboy,’ ‘Pan’s Labyrinth,’ and ‘The Shape of Water’ for making…
Dying at the Summit (ft. The Snows of Kilimanjaro)
Nov 19, 2018 • 62 min
A life is haunted by death, despite great success, in today’s story by Ernest Hemingway. Globe trotter, big game hunter, Nobel Prize winner, and Hemingway still felt stalked by misfortune and misery, expressed in the tragic beauty of “The Snows of…
I Am Jack’s Podcast Episode (ft. Fight Club)
Nov 13, 2018 • 66 min
“Sinful” isn’t just a kitschy dessert descriptor: it’s a literary genre! Transgressive fiction introduced the world to Patrick Bateman, Humbert Humbert, and Tyler Durden: misanthropic avatars of disaffected masculinity. Do these bad boys protest too much,…
Concept Albums: Blurryface by Twenty-One Pilots
Nov 5, 2018 • 58 min
Hot off the heels the Queen biopic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ Jon and Melissa analyze the princes of alt rock, Twenty-One pilots. Are they Jesus freaks? Are they rappers? Who is Blurryface and does he need a tissue? That and more in our first episode…
Submarines & Spiritual Sequels (ft. Hunter Killer)
Oct 29, 2018 • 71 min
Sink or submerge? Despite Hunter Killer’s 36% on Rotten Tomatoes, it took us deeper into our love of political and tactical thrillers. Melissa and Jon detail the dryness of the war genre, how Hunter Killer tackles common overused tropes, and whether it…
Monster Mash-up (ft. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein)
Oct 23, 2018 • 92 min
Horror comedy: it’s alive! But before the racial satire of ‘Get Out’ and the meta-humor of ‘Scream,’ Abbott and Costello paved the way for the marriage of humor and horror. Join co-host Melissa and Jon as they discuss their favorite Universal monsters, as…
Murder Maze Mythos (ft. The Shining)
Oct 15, 2018 • 56 min
Lose yourself to find yourself in a labyrinth of mind-bending mayhem in the maze. Join Jon and Melissa on a journey into the mysteries of King, Kubrick, and Mark Z. Danielewski (House of Leaves), as they discuss symbolism and subtext on the silver screen…
Rapid-Fire Rogues (née Venom)
Oct 9, 2018 • 92 min
Heroism has changed. The box office is booming with foul-mouthed mercenaries and feral mutants with a heart of gold, and those are just the ones in tights! In light of the release of Venom, (but in lieu of discussing the film,) Melissa and Jon shout out…
Screenwriter Spotlight: M. Night Shyamalan
Oct 1, 2018 • 102 min
Don’t call it a comeback, but Shyamalan has had a rollercoaster of a career. Two fans discuss the hits, misses, and misunderstandings surrounding his work, and why we’re excited to see more from this prolific genre iconoclast. —- This episode is sponsored…
Lawful Evil (ft. The Handmaid’s Tale)
Sep 24, 2018 • 70 min
New wave feminism meets new wave sci-fi in the bold but bleak dystopia of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale.’ And this time, the revolution IS being televised! Jon and Melissa mill over the difficulty of separating their own beliefs from an unorthodox novel turned…
Gritty & Britty & Agatha Christie (ft. Ordeal by Innocence)
Sep 17, 2018 • 72 min
Is the golden age of British cerebral crime dramas influenced by the golden age of detective fiction? Jon and Melissa contrast the classic murder mysteries of Agatha Christie with contemporary TV from across the pond. What do modern adaptations of…
Plotting the Escape (ft. Papillon)
Sep 10, 2018 • 53 min
Brotherhood is forged in the fires of captivity… sometimes. Jon and Melissa discuss their favorite prison escape stories and the novel, Papillon. Topics include bravery, male hubris, and the bonds created by corruption and suffering. —- This episode is…
Chekhov’s Space Gun (ft. KIN)
Sep 3, 2018 • 59 min
Distractions are deadly in storytelling. That’s why Russian playwright Anton Chekhov stated that if a gun is hung on the wall in act one, it should be shot by act three. This week, Jon and Melissa use the sci-fi shoot-em-up KIN, as well as other films and…
While My Theremin Gently Weeps (ft. I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream)
Aug 27, 2018 • 47 min
Darkness reigns in the “golden age of television,” including must-watch sci-fi shows, like Black Mirror and Westworld. Melissa and Jon challenge the genre of “new wave” sci-fi, via Harlan Ellison’s mind-bending short story, “I Have No Mouth, and I Must…
Wizards with Mortgages (ft. The Dresden Files)
Aug 20, 2018 • 68 min
Not all warlocks mentor hobbits, knights, or vampire-slaying cheerleaders. Some, like Harry Dresden, save the world all on their own, while others chomp cigars or try to kill God. Melissa and Jon discuss this new brand of heroism that mixes the magical…
Top 5 Guilty Pleasures (ft. 🎥 / 📺 / 📚 / 🎮 / 🎲)
Aug 12, 2018 • 109 min
Why do we love garbage trash? Because why not?? Jon and Melissa get deep into their least liked stories, and try to explain what makes them redeemable. The key word being “try.” —- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast.…
Dystopian YA 4 EVR (ft. The Darkest Minds)
Aug 6, 2018 • 52 min
Who likes dystopia? We like dystopia! But did ‘The Darkest Minds’ revive the YA dystopia genre, or put the last nail in its coffin? Jon and Melissa use the plot of this latest book-to-screen adaptation to discuss common YA tropes and what predecessors…
CalArts Cartoon Coup? (ft. ThunderCats Roar)
Aug 1, 2018 • 57 min
Aah! We’ve been invaded by meta-humor anime girls on acid! Or… maybe we’re just not hip anymore? Those theories and more as Jon and Melissa discuss modern animation (i.e. Adventure Time, Steven Universe, and the upcoming ThunderCats reboot,) and how they…
CSI: Cyber Punk (ft. Blade Runner Novel, Movie & Sequel)
Jul 23, 2018 • 67 min
Melissa and Jon dissect everything Blade Runner: from the novel ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?,’ to the 1982 film and its recent sequel, Blade Runner 2049. —- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast.…
Marvelous Realism née Magical (ft. MARVELS & A.D.)
Jul 16, 2018 • 40 min
Is magical realism taking over, or is sci-fi / fantasy becoming more grounded? Melissa and Jon use contemporary comics to discuss an emerging genre. —- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support…
Does Outrage Culture Bug You? (ft. Ant-Man & The Wasp)
Jul 16, 2018 • 53 min
Can films have agendas, or is everyone overreacting? Also, a guest! Writer / editor Will Ford-Conway (@wafcstudios) gives his take, and commemorates over a decade of comics and superhero movies with his high school chum. —- This episode is sponsored by ·…
Screenwriter Spotlight: Taylor Sheridan (ft. Sicario 2)
Jul 16, 2018 • 33 min
Mexico jumps from the headlines to the silver screen in Sicario 2, and the man behind the movie is screenwriter Taylor Sheridan. This episode, we discuss how the political and personal drama in Sheridan’s screenplays set him apart. —- Support this…
Puberty Powers, Activate! (ft. Cloak & Dagger, Impulse)
Jul 16, 2018 • 47 min
Does too much angst sully the TV show sauce? Are the CW or YouTube Red worth watching? Check out our opinions of Cloak & Dagger, Impulse, and Marvel’s Runaways. —- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/unboxing-story/support
Arecibo Invitational, Incredibles 2, and Behind the Scenes
Jul 16, 2018 • 5 min
An update on our upcoming live event and some thoughts on the Pixar flick, in lieu of an episode. —- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/unboxing-story/support
She Stole My Heart (ft. Ocean’s 8)
Jul 16, 2018 • 43 min
What makes a good heist movie? Is ‘Ocean’s 8’ fun or flat? And what’s the next random selection for our Patreon podcast, the Random Media Mini-cast? Find out inside the wavelengths of today’s episode. —- Support this podcast:…
Walking Simulator or Visual Novel? (Detroit: Become Human)
Jul 16, 2018 • 33 min
Are visual novels cinematic experiences or passive propaganda? Did David Cage do it again or is Detroit: Become Human his first dud? —- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast:…
Solo: A Prequel Story (Star Wars and Origin Stories)
Jul 16, 2018 • 51 min
Are prequels fan service or world-building? Also, what makes Solo so good, and “The Prequels” (aka Episodes 1, 2, and 3 of the Star Wars saga,) so bad? —- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app…
My World’s on Fire (ft. HBO’s Fahrenheit 451)
Jul 16, 2018 • 54 min
Are dystopian novels propaganda, or something more? Learn about speculative fiction and get our take on the HBO adaptation of Fahrenheit 451. —- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this…
Home is Where the Hurt Is (Breaking In & Interstellar)
Jul 16, 2018 • 46 min
What makes home invasion movies tick? Also, did Nolan make a high concept space epic, or a star bore? (…Get it?) —- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast:…
Blend It Like Lucas (Star Wars & Genre-Blending)
Jul 16, 2018 • 49 min
Knights. Empires. Magic. This used to be fantasy, but ever since 1977, it’s the stuff of sci-fi. Join us in this Star Wars celebration! PLUS: A new segment called “Paper in a Hat!” —- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a…
Juggling Infinity (Avengers: Infinity War & Intertextuality)
Jul 16, 2018 • 81 min
It’s hard writing one character; try seventy-six! (…and 10 years of film history …and over 75 years of comic book history…) Explore the “text” of Avengers 3 with your friendly neighborhood podcasters! —- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest…
Mastering Dungeons (Game vs. Story pt. 1)
Jul 16, 2018 • 45 min
Take a journey into gamified story with this intro to role-playing games. —- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/unboxing-story/support
Girl Power Gone Wild ft. Tyler Perry’s Acrimony
Jul 16, 2018 • 37 min
Jon mansplains female-centric thrillers to Melissa. Will she be able to contain her rage? Also, what is a “muffin movie?” —- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast:…
Annihilation and Lovecraftian Horror
Jul 16, 2018 • 56 min
The unknowable invades this episode! Also, Melissa and Jon correctly pronounce their last name, and talk Lovecraft. —- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app Support this podcast:…
Kicked in the Feels ft. Ready Player One
Jul 16, 2018 • 32 min
Does nostalgia ruin story? Join Melissa and Jon’s discussion on Ready Player One, the blockbuster video game adventure that tackles escapism, nihilism, and nerd culture. —- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast.…