Having just watched Avatar again last night and discovering your podcast today I was pleased to hear your insights on the film. A lot of which echoed my own thoughts while watching it again and revealing other insights I felt were spot on. As far as other films I genuinely disliked but grew to appreciate; I remember in 2012 I was really annoyed with both Skyfall and The Dark Knight Rises, two films I eagerly anticipated. I thought they showed much ambition and style but failed too often in thoughtlessness where story and character were concerned. But something about them stuck with me and I had to revisit. Since then I can appreciate them for the grandiose spectacles that they are and look past their shortcomings much like your opinions on Avatar. As for a film I really enjoyed in the theater but realized how awful it was; I do agree with the phenomenon of seeing a bad comedy in a theater. I saw Weekend At Bernie's II opening weekend with a near sold-out crowd and I've yet to share such a solidly enthusiastic response with an audience since. I tried watching it again on home video and found it very hard to get through. Anyway, very much enjoyed the podcast. I look forward to catching up!
I decided to go way back and start listening to your podcasts from the very beginning. One thing that struck me immediately: you've really cut down on unapologetic burping since the early days. Clearly those were more innocent times.
Patrick questions the purpose of Jake's dead brother - why this is part of the story - it could just easily be someone already in the Avatar program like Norm as the main character. I agree it's never properly explored from a character standpoint. But the story function is simply to allow the main character to be in a wheelchair and thusly be spontaneously thrilled by the experience of suddenly regaining ambulation. Also, it's so the character can be an outsider to the program and receive exposition and approach things from a non-scientific/experiential standpoint.