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KnockBack, Episode 86: Superbad

For many of us, high school was a bizarre experience, particularly in hindsight. It turns out that much of what we cared a great deal about in our teens doesn't actually matter whatsoever, but when you're there -- in the moment and living that life -- the gravity is all too real. 2007's Superbad -- starring Jonah Hill and Michael Cera -- celebrates that reality, from the seeming hopelessness of young romance to the pursuit of all-important booze. It also doesn't hurt that the film is...


KnockBack, Episode 85: The Last of Us

It took a while for PlayStation 3 to really get going, but when it did, it graced players with a slew of amazing exclusive games that solidified the console's place in industry history. Interestingly enough, though, it was one of its very last exclusives -- launched in the shadow of PlayStation 4 -- that easily takes the cake as PS3's best game. Naughty Dog's The Last of Us came out in the early summer of 2013, and immediately bowled over millions of gamers around the world with its...


KnockBack, Episode 84: '80s Fashion

Yes, it's true: There's a lot to love about the 1970s. But the reality is, it was kind of a down decade. Unemployment was high, and inflation was, too. An oil embargo crippled western economies. The peace and love of the '60s rapidly gave way to stagnation, corruption, and agitation. By 1980, people were ready to break free, and they did just that. Buttressed by a technological boom and a rapidly recovering market, the '80s were a time of excess, a time to be loud and bold. The music,...


KnockBack, Episode 83: Aladdin

By the early '90s, Disney's much-vaunted animation revival was in full swing. The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast had the company buzzing, yet the decade still had much, much more in store. In late 1992, Aladdin joined the roster, packing a rock-solid cast of voice actors helmed by comedian Robin Williams. Yet, while Williams' ad-libbed performance as Genie is the most celebrated part of the film (and the way Disney treated him perhaps the most notorious), a wonderful crew of...


KnockBack, Episode 82: Our Greatest Childhood Fears

Children aren't exactly the most rational creatures on the planet, and naturally, the Moriarty Boys weren't immune to this reality in their younger years. Today's episode of KnockBack is structured around that irrationality, specifically when it comes to the things kids fear. Dagan was afraid of nuclear war, sharks, and aliens. Colin (that's me!) lived in silent fear of a recurring nightmare known as The Tickley Monster, being buried alive, and often wondered if was he was going to die of...


KnockBack, Episode 81: Jurassic Park

Dinosaurs are a bit of cultural phenomenon, and have been for a century and a half, since the earliest professional paleontologists ventured out to find the fossilized remains of one of Earth's most mysterious and fascinating prior occupants. Yet, perhaps no single piece of fiction has ever played on that human love of dinosaurs quite like Jurassic Park. While Jurassic Park found its origins as a book, released in 1990 and written by the late, great Michael Crichton, it was intended on a...


KnockBack, Episode 80: The Phantom Menace

In May of 1999, the very Earth below us shook as Star Wars fully emerged from dormancy. While George Lucas ate around the edges throughout the '90s, re-releasing the classic trilogy multiple times while launching an absurd amount of toys and other merchandise, it all ultimately led to one thing: Episode I. As the first Star Wars film since 1983's Return of the Jedi, Episode I -- subtitled The Phantom Menace -- had immense pressure put on it from the moment it was announced, and for most...


KnockBack, Episode 79: The Big Lebowski

What can you really say about The Big Lebowski? Well... a ton, as it turns out. The Coen Brothers' 1998 cult-classic comedy is one of the most quotable films of all-time, with one of the most bizarre cast of amazing characters you'll ever encounter in the genre. Smart, witty, and wonderfully written, The Big Lebowski rings loudly more than two decades after its release not because of '90s nostalgia or hazy retro glasses. It's an authentically hysterical movie, and more than worthy of an...


KnockBack, Episode 78: The Road

Even the darkest fiction we watch and read typically has some sort of light at the end of the tunnel. But not Cormac McCarthy's The Road. First published in 2006 (and later turned into a film in 2009), The Road is unlike any father-and-son tale you've ever experienced. Civilization is in ruins, the sun is blotted out by endless smoke, almost everyone is dead, and the world and its few remaining inhabitants are completely unrecognizable. What does it take to survive in such an unimaginably...


KnockBack, Episode 77: Our Favorite Teachers

No matter where we're from, many of us spend something like 14 years in mandatory school systems that served only to distract us from our toys, video games, and watching cartoons. Yet there we were, imprisoned and desperate to escape. But school wasn't always an agonizing experience, especially when you had the right teacher helming your class. Today's episode of KnockBack is dedicated to them, to the teachers we've taken with us, the ones that inspired us, helped us, cared about us, and --...


KnockBack, Episode 76: Rosemary's Baby

When Rosemary's Baby hit theaters in 1968, the horror genre as we know it today didn't really exist yet. The scariest flicks of the era were low budget, poorly lit, and corny beyond belief. But Roman Polanski's film helped define a shift towards the same kind of well written, expertly produced and directed psychological horror that had already found a niche on nascent TV. Written by a bohemian novelist, adapted and spearheaded for the big screen by a highly controversial director, and...


KnockBack, Episode 75: Meet Mr. Moriarty

Our beloved KnockBack is a lot of things. It's a celebration of nostalgia and memory, of reminiscing and remembering, and, as it turns out, the many characters that make up The Moriarty Cinematic Universe. As our listenership (that's you!) knows, our dad -- Gerard Moriarty -- comes up all the time, sometimes in jest, other times in seriousness, and always with reverence. So this week, we thought we'd invite him on the show so that you can all meet the man himself. What does Mr. Moriarty...


KnockBack, Episode 74: Resident Evil 2

In 1998, Capcom followed its beloved survival horror game Resident Evil with a sequel. But Resident Evil 2 wasn't just any sequel. It experienced a tortured development, coming to store shelves a full year later than intended, which -- at the time -- was an absolutely catastrophic delay. So expectations were incredibly high. But, with now-famous game dev gods Shinji Mikami (Producer) and Hideki Kamiya (Director) helming the project, it turned out that the wait was more than worth it....


KnockBack, Episode 73: Dagan's Great Adventures

The Brothers Moriarty co-host KnockBack, but it's no secret who the star of the show is: Dagan. So let's focus solely on him today, and hear some of his stories from the '70s, '80s, and '90s. The through-line? These random events -- from his first experience seeing real-life gore to getting chased by the cops through the streets of Philadelphia (and more!) -- are completely unassociated with almost anything else we'd talk about on our retro and nostalgia show. But that doesn't mean these...


KnockBack, Episode 72: The Fourth of July

In America, The Fourth of July -- our so-called "Independence Day" -- is a time of raucous celebration. Families and friends gather around the country for burgers and hot dogs, slaw and baked beans, beers and cigars, and plenty of fireworks (of course). As children, though, The Fourth of July takes on an almost mystical air, when permutations of people get together you don't often see at once, where entire neighborhoods collapse under the weight of visitors, when adults seem to get hammered...


KnockBack, Episode 71: Metroid & Metroid II

When it comes to Nintendo franchises, Metroid sticks out like a sore thumb. It's completely unlike almost any other Nintendo fare. It simply doesn't fit. But that's what makes it so interesting. It all started humbly enough in the 1986 original, but underneath the unassuming facade of a side-scrolling action game was a shockingly deep (and ruthlessly difficult) adventure, one that required its earliest players to make maps by hand, distinguish between items and weapons with unclear uses, and...


KnockBack, Episode 70: Interstellar

Christopher Nolan is one of the modern world's most talented filmmakers, full stop. If you ask 10 people what their favorite Nolan flick is, you may very well get 10 different answers. (Really. He's directed 10 films.) Yet, in a catalog of works-of-art, Interstellar may very well be greatest of them all. Released in 2014 to an astounding critical reception and with hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars grossed, Interstellar tells the unusual (and riveting!) story of the end of the...


KnockBack, Episode 69: Batman (The Animated Series)

Every month, our lovely Patreon audience gets to vote on a topic we cover here on KnockBack, and today, we deliver one such episode. Batman made his comic book debut all the way back in 1939, and his amazing staying power is due, in part, to the exceptional number of ways DC has allowed him to be portrayed. Perhaps one of Batman's most iconic portrayals, however, is in cartoon form. Batman: The Animated Series -- which initially ran from 1992 through 1995 -- is a stellar piece of art, an...


KnockBack, Episode 68: The Arcade

Video gaming began after World War II, when primitive punch card and oscilloscope games were played exclusively on university and government supercomputers. But what started as a small niche for the educated and elite quickly found its way into venues every person could enjoy, like bars, lounges, and restaurants. Before you knew it, pinball machines were everywhere, and by the late-'70s, so too were arcade machines. Space Invaders. Pac-Man. Galaga. Arkanoid. While it may be hard for the...


KnockBack, Episode 67: '90s Nicktoons

With Rugrats, Doug, and Ren & Stimpy, Nickelodeon launched a cartoon revolution in the early '90s. These three initial Nicktoon-branded offerings toted completely unique art styles, stories, tones, and even target audiences, and the trio proved to be animated powerhouses that persisted in popularity long after their initial runs. Nicktoons' positive reputation continued right on through the decade, though, as shows from Hey Arnold and Real Monsters to Rocko's Modern Life and The Angry...