Unboxing Story

66 EpisodesProduced by Jon and Melissa

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

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Iron Throne IRL ft. Stranger Things 3

July 8th, 2019

40:34

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 …

Best in Show: Warehouse 13

July 1st, 2019

59:40

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 …

Breaking Genre: "Story of Your Life" aka Arrival

June 24th, 2019

47:05

Aliens. Time travel. Portals into another world. These are mainstays of science fiction, and can make or break an audience's viewing experience. Ted …

Live @ Wizard World Philly! ft. Dark Phoenix Saga

June 17th, 2019

43:26

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 …

Godzilla: King of the Kaiju

June 10th, 2019

52:45

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 …

INKLINGS MONTH: "On Fairy-Stories" Essay Talk

May 28th, 2019

53:35

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 …

INKLINGS MONTH: C.S. Lewis ft. Matt Crotts

May 20th, 2019

54:01

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 …

INKLINGS MONTH: Surprised by Shadowlands (1993)

May 20th, 2019

32:09

Lewis was a man of many words, but only one woman made him speechless. Learn the love story that tested Lewis' "refining fire & brimstone" …

INKLINGS MONTH: Tolkien (2019)

May 13th, 2019

35:23

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 …

INKLINGS MONTH: J. R. R. Tolkien & Modern Fantasy

May 6th, 2019

47:34

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 …

The End of an Era ft. Avengers: Endgame

April 29th, 2019

45:57

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: …

Poetic Justice: Lawrence of Arabia

April 22nd, 2019

35:17

If brownface could kill, would it murder your movie-watching experience? Melissa and Jon stumble upon a problematic piece of history watching …

Native Son Book Talk #readthe5th

April 15th, 2019

1:14:52

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 …

The Twilight Zone & Small Screen Sci-Fi

April 4th, 2019

1:22:26

"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: …

Jordan Peele's 'Us' & Woke Horror

March 25th, 2019

46:41

"A new nightmare" from screenwriter, director, and comedy giant Jordan Peele invites uncomfortable laughter and thoughtful thrills. Jon and Melissa …

Mid-Knights in Paris ft. Knightfall

March 18th, 2019

40:29

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 …

Captain Marvel & Female Superheroes

March 11th, 2019

1:07:19

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 …

Heels & Feels ft. Song of Achilles

March 4th, 2019

1:12:16

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 …

Robin Williams: Mad Genius ft. The Fisher King

February 25th, 2019

1:30:45

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 …

#OscarsSoWhack: Snobs, Snubs & Our Picks

February 18th, 2019

1:07:01

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 …

Jewish G.I. Joes ft. Philip Roth's "Defender of the Faith"

February 11th, 2019

56:44

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 …

Maniac Pixie Dream Girl ft. Miss Bala

February 5th, 2019

1:11:38

"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 …

Breaking Genre: Neon Noir ft. Drive (2011)

January 28th, 2019

1:03:25

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 …

'Glass' and Quixotic Horror

January 21st, 2019

1:14:17

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, …

Poetic Justice: Langston Hughes

January 14th, 2019

48:17

"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 …

Concept Albums: Third Reich Rush? ft. 2112

January 7th, 2019

54:16

Alt-right Rush?? Say it isn't so! Before "progressive" was a political label, the band Rush were "prog" rockers: composing symphonies of screaming …

Southern Gothic & Flannery O'Connor ft. "A Good Man is Hard to Find"

December 31st, 2018

1:12:40

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 …

More Than Thor ft. Norse Mythology

December 24th, 2018

1:24:01

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 …

Breaking Genre: Mortal Engines is Steampunk Star Wars

December 17th, 2018

1:07:31

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, …

Retconning Reality (ft. Life of Pi)

December 10th, 2018

1:02:01

Perception is everything: in romance, in religion, and in storytelling. Pi Patel's love story was a middle grade game changer, landing on required …

Penny Arcade Primer & PAX Unplugged Preview

December 3rd, 2018

42:23

Fan gatherings are common today, but it wasn't always that way. Explore the humble beginnings of convention culture on an unconventional episode …

Screenwriter Spotlight: Guillermo del Toro

November 26th, 2018

57:53

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 …

Dying at the Summit (ft. The Snows of Kilimanjaro)

November 19th, 2018

1:02:05

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 …

I Am Jack's Podcast Episode (ft. Fight Club)

November 14th, 2018

1:06:25

"Sinful" isn't just a kitschy dessert descriptor: it's a literary genre! Transgressive fiction introduced the world to Patrick Bateman, Humbert …

Concept Albums: Blurryface by Twenty-One Pilots

November 5th, 2018

58:58

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 …

Submarines & Spiritual Sequels (ft. Hunter Killer)

October 29th, 2018

1:11:48

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 …

Monster Mash-up (ft. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein)

October 23rd, 2018

1:32:08

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 …

Murder Maze Mythos (ft. The Shining)

October 15th, 2018

56:43

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 …

Rapid-Fire Rogues (née Venom)

October 9th, 2018

1:32:02

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 …

Screenwriter Spotlight: M. Night Shyamalan

October 1st, 2018

1:42:05

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 …

Lawful Evil (ft. The Handmaid's Tale)

September 24th, 2018

1:10:14

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! …

Gritty & Britty & Agatha Christie (ft. Ordeal by Innocence)

September 17th, 2018

1:12:37

Is the golden age of British cerebral crime dramas influenced by the golden age of detective fiction? Jon and Melissa contrast the classic murder …

Plotting the Escape (ft. Papillon)

September 10th, 2018

53:29

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 …

Chekhov's Space Gun (ft. KIN)

September 4th, 2018

59:31

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 …

While My Theremin Gently Weeps (ft. I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream)

August 27th, 2018

47:37

Darkness reigns in the "golden age of television," including must-watch sci-fi shows, like Black Mirror and Westworld. Melissa and Jon challenge the …

Wizards with Mortgages (ft. The Dresden Files)

August 21st, 2018

1:08:55

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 …

Top 5 Guilty Pleasures (ft. 🎥 / 📺 / 📚 / 🎮 / 🎲)

August 13th, 2018

1:49:38

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."

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Dystopian YA 4 EVR (ft. The Darkest Minds)

August 6th, 2018

52:50

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 …

CalArts Cartoon Coup? (ft. ThunderCats Roar)

August 1st, 2018

57:24

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 …

CSI: Cyber Punk (ft. Blade Runner Novel, Movie & Sequel)

July 23rd, 2018

1:07:46

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.

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Marvelous Realism née Magical (ft. MARVELS & A.D.)

July 16th, 2018

40:53

Is magical realism taking over, or is sci-fi / fantasy becoming more grounded? Melissa and Jon use contemporary comics to discuss an emerging genre.

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Does Outrage Culture Bug You? (ft. Ant-Man & The Wasp)

July 16th, 2018

53:30

Can films have agendas, or is everyone overreacting? Also, a guest! Writer / editor Will Ford-Conway (@wafcstudios) gives his take, and commemorates …

Screenwriter Spotlight: Taylor Sheridan (ft. Sicario 2)

July 16th, 2018

33:13

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 …

Puberty Powers, Activate! (ft. Cloak & Dagger, Impulse)

July 16th, 2018

47:43

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 …

Arecibo Invitational, Incredibles 2, and Behind the Scenes

July 16th, 2018

5:51

An update on our upcoming live event and some thoughts on the Pixar flick, in lieu of an episode.

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She Stole My Heart (ft. Ocean's 8)

July 16th, 2018

43:09

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.

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Walking Simulator or Visual Novel? (Detroit: Become Human)

July 16th, 2018

33:39

Are visual novels cinematic experiences or passive propaganda? Did David Cage do it again or is Detroit: Become Human his first dud?

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Solo: A Prequel Story (Star Wars and Origin Stories)

July 16th, 2018

51:32

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 …

My World's on Fire (ft. HBO's Fahrenheit 451)

July 16th, 2018

54:22

Are dystopian novels propaganda, or something more? Learn about speculative fiction and get our take on the HBO adaptation of Fahrenheit 451.

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This …

Home is Where the Hurt Is (Breaking In & Interstellar)

July 16th, 2018

46:43

What makes home invasion movies tick? Also, did Nolan make a high concept space epic, or a star bore? (...Get it?)

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Blend It Like Lucas (Star Wars & Genre-Blending)

July 16th, 2018

49:45

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!"

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Juggling Infinity (Avengers: Infinity War & Intertextuality)

July 16th, 2018

1:21:31

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!

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Mastering Dungeons (Game vs. Story pt. 1)

July 16th, 2018

45:20

Take a journey into gamified story with this intro to role-playing games.

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Girl Power Gone Wild ft. Tyler Perry's Acrimony

July 16th, 2018

37:20

Jon mansplains female-centric thrillers to Melissa. Will she be able to contain her rage? Also, what is a "muffin movie?"

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Annihilation and Lovecraftian Horror

July 16th, 2018

56:01

The unknowable invades this episode! Also, Melissa and Jon correctly pronounce their last name, and talk Lovecraft.

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Kicked in the Feels ft. Ready Player One

July 16th, 2018

32:45

Does nostalgia ruin story? Join Melissa and Jon's discussion on Ready Player One, the blockbuster video game adventure that tackles escapism, …

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