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AICNwKH: Harry Discusses The Wonder Of Time Travel With Merrick And LOOPER Writer/Director Rian Johnson!!



Merrick here...


So I went to visit Harry in the basement, and ended up bending the fabric of time.  Such is the magic and power of Harry Knowles.  
I've known Harry for a very long time - since before the inception of Aint It Cool News, since before the birth of my oldest son (now 18).  Harry and I have been through a lot together - triumphs, tragedies, and no small portion of all around fucked-up weirdness.  Yet, even with all this history, I was totally unprepared for what would happen when I visited Harry's basement.  A major tip of the hat to the most excellent crew of AICwHk for keeping the forces of the universe at bay on a weekly basis, not to mention keeping Harry - the master of time, space, and all things obscure - in check.
This week in the basement...Harry speaks with me, Merrick, about DOCTOR WHO - a show we're both relatively new to, and both loving immensely.  Whether you like DOCTOR WHO, hate DOCTOR WHO, or remain wholly indifferent to it...any title which has been on the air for the better part of fifty years (its 50th Anniversary is in 2013) must be doing something right.  I'm happy beyond measure that Harry has decided to check it out for himself - and that he's appreciating it so very much.  Hopefully, our musings and exploration will lead to you doing the same. 
Also this week, the very fascinating and cool Rian Johnson - writer/director of LOOPER - which hits theaters this Friday.  He reveals how his love of BACK TO THE FUTURE nearly...well...see for yourself.  I'd imagine many Geeks have similar stories...
Here's the show.  What you see here  - while feeling like a natural progression of conversation - is actually a heavily distilled version of a discussion which went on for many, many hours.  Literally.   In fact, I'm told this this the longest AICwHK to date - even with so much excised.  So, if you notice certain time travel concepts...or 'obvious' related titles...not being referenced herein (like THE TIME TUNNEL), that material is almost certainly on the cutting room floor. Or whatever that's called in our digital age. Will it someday see the light of day?  Who knows?  Hopefully so.  But for now, here we are.   Personally, I enjoy the result quite a bit. 
Thanks a ton to Harry and his amazing (that isn't hyperbole - they're really great) crew, headed by director Brett A. Hart.  A fine, hugely professional, and all around fun gang - who work their asses off to bring us the AICwHK we see every week.



Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 27, 2012, 11:15 a.m. CST

    First. Cool episode, but no mention of Quantum Leap?

    by Windsmeare

    Harry tell me your a fan of that show, time travel with heart. Even the Shark jumped episodes were great.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 11:45 a.m. CST

    Love me some Final Countdown....

    by theheavy

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 11:47 a.m. CST

    This show is better if you're high.....

    by john

    Harry's "I'm gonna get you Glen!" thing even made me chuckle. I can almost pretend it's the live-action intro to Life with Louie....

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 12:02 p.m. CST

    Of love to.....

    by DirtyWookie

    Id love to Watch this but the wifi in the pub I'm in is shit. Also, being the cool geeza I am, if anyone saw me watching this nerd fest, I'd be thrown out and barred for life. I'll wait till I'm pissed and watch it at home

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 1:08 p.m. CST

    6 posts?!?!?

    by Robert Evans

    this is a joke right? are the TBs broken?

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 1:40 p.m. CST

    Samuel L. Jackson has a new video message for you, motherfuckers!!!!!

    by Michael Lunney

    Great new Samuel L Jackson video riffing on the children’s book, “GO THE FUCK TO SLEEP, which Jackson also narrated. “Say hell no, motherfuckers!

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 1:42 p.m. CST

    choppah - what I just posted might increase might get a reaction...

    by Michael Lunney

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 1:53 p.m. CST

    Harry -- which Doctor Who have you seen?

    by HornOrSilk

    Are you entirely up to date and seen all the new episodes? Or did you start with Matt Smith? For classic Who, what I think is best to watch (as a start) is: The very first episode of Unearthly Child, Inferno Genesis of the Daleks City of Death Caves of Androzani There is, of course, a lot more, but those are a good foundation.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 2:14 p.m. CST

    Usually don't mind these..but..

    by paul burnett, was ok.... i suppose. Would've liked a little more love towards Timecrimes, cos that is one special movie.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 2:32 p.m. CST

    DVD column protest

    by Chris Kirby


  • But still a cool episode. Now let's get that DVD column for the rest of August before November rolls around.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 3:01 p.m. CST


    by DirtyWookie

    Three things! One: why the fuck was the back to the future clip reversed? Two: what a missed opportunity. Time travel is great and you talked about shit. That interview was crap man. Three: you're a silly fat fuck

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 3:33 p.m. CST

    Been waiting for this for weeks

    by Mister Vertue

    Time for me to take a quick coffee break and kick back and watch. Looking forward to this very much Glen! Here goes...

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 4:13 p.m. CST

    Lot of work gone into that episode.

    by JP

    Thanks. Favourite time travel movie moment?? That Halloween episode of The Simpsons where Homer has a magical toaster and he steps on bugs and kills the dinosaurs.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 4:44 p.m. CST

    The Talented Mr. Oliver

    by Ken Plume

    This is exactly why I pressed Glen for so long to do a podcast with me (and also strongarmed him into watching Doctor Who). A profoundly underappreciated talent at AICN. And a good friend. Though if he uses that damned fart machine one more time, I swear I will strangle him.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 4:56 p.m. CST

    kenplume - I second that

    by Mister Vertue

    Glen is *very* unappreciated. His work each and every week on the Docbacks should be applauded. We can agree to disagree on the fart machine though.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 5:20 p.m. CST

    MOV - Surely

    by Ken Plume

    You mean the infernal machine? The contraptional cause of considerable consternation with which Ken must constantly cope? "Ken's Banal Bane". That one, correct?

  • If time travel were possible, we'd be inundated with tourists from the future.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 5:24 p.m. CST

    One thing this thread shows

    by HornOrSilk

    Introduce people who enjoy good tv and films from the sci-fi genre to Doctor Who, they will more than likely love it once they "get into it."

  • *If time travel were possible, we'd be inundated with tourists from the future.* It always made me think that a cool movie premise would be something along the lines of an action-thriller about current day secret agents who are part of a government conspiracy to capture a time traveler and reverse engineer future technology.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 5:34 p.m. CST

    Superman didn't turn the planet.

    by DrGogol

    Time was going backwards because he was flying so fast. It only LOOKED like the planet was going backwards because time was going backwards. Duh.

  • That scene is just a visualization that time is going backwards because Superman is flying so fast he breaks the light speed barrier. Faster then light speed in some SF stories means you can travel back in time (because the closer to light speed you travel, the slower time gets, until if one would reach light speed, time would actually stop. Faster means time flowing backwards). That's just it. That's what is happening in Superman. I saw that movie when i was like 11 and understood it immediatly. What's so hard to undertstand about that? What, you would need some exposition to understand it? How can that be so hard? Some people actually think that Superman is spinning the Earth the other way around? You got to be kidding me! It's just... unbelievable! It's really not that hard, guys! C'mon!

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 6:27 p.m. CST

    Your dad still needs to cut his fingernails Harry

    by shawn_h

    Fucking weird

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 6:37 p.m. CST

    And also this show is fucking stupid

    by shawn_h

    Are you twelve or something Harry? Dissappearing like Hermine? I cannot take you seriously you fat douche. Your sooo fucking weird.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 7:06 p.m. CST


    by chance72

    On didn't cost you a dime to catch up? Wha?

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 7:26 p.m. CST

    kenplume - reply

    by Mister Vertue

    No, I meant the fart machine. The infernal machine is obviously the BBC. Zing. And with that, I retire to my bed. Goodnight all!

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 7:27 p.m. CST

    Bout a couple of years ago..

    by paul burnett

    ..Fotean Times ran a few articles.What if ufos are future travellers who are preoradained to visit at certain points to keep recorded history intact. ..

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 7:30 p.m. CST

    shawn_h - before I retire for the night

    by Mister Vertue

    Any issues you need to sort out? Online name calling makes you look *so* smart. If you don't like Harry's show (or his website) then go elsewhere. Or does the trolling make you feel better when you go to bed at night? Just curious. 'Night.

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 7:32 p.m. CST

    Another Really Good Episode Harry!

    by Real Deal

    I love time travel movies! Time After Time is one of the best. According to most recent theories BTTF 2 had it right! If you go back in time you're changing things just by doing that. So what you really do is go back into a parallel reality which didn't include you so you can't create a paradox. If any of you guys like theories about this stuff you should watch shows like " Through the Wormhole " with Morgan Freeman on the Science Channel. It really gets into the latest stuff on the possibilities of time travel as real physicists see it. An example :

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 7:44 p.m. CST

    man_of_vertue - before I retire for the night

    by f700

    Any issues you need to sort out? Or is it okay for you to troll Herc every chance you get and not okay for any one else? Is the one of the perks of being an industry "professional" or one of the perks of having Merrick so eager for your load up his back? stick to your gay ass docbacks

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 11:09 p.m. CST

    We get Superman......

    by Kenny8

    ...what proponents of "Superman going back in time, not the planet" overlook is that when Supes travels back in time, why isn't his earlier self not there? He should meet himself in either scenario. It's still a clanger no matter what theory you subscribe to. Same goes for "Star Trek Generations"!

  • Sept. 27, 2012, 11:09 p.m. CST

    And I really hate having to criticise STM in any way

    by Kenny8

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 12:35 a.m. CST

    About Hawking's quote: wouldn't those time travellers

    by Bedknobs and Boomsticks

    end up in alt history universes, because of their very presence, since we are in the unchanging original timeline where no time travellers have shown up?

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 4:34 a.m. CST

    just wondering....

    by DrFever

    .....was the Dark Knight Rises Levitt praise just a set up for the Looper man love?

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 4:46 a.m. CST

    Summer time machine blues!

    by red_weed

    A funny Japanese film from 2005, my favourite time travel film. Time travel films in general are a real passion of mine. Love the video AICN!

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 10:33 a.m. CST

    hawking is a retard

    by animas

    time travelers are here, fuck face.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 3:25 p.m. CST

    Flopped image

    by Skraggo

    I think the reversed image of the Back To The Future video has to do with an attempt to avoid copyright violations. Supposedly it messes with the video's watermark or "fingerprint" or something.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 3:39 p.m. CST


    by DrGogol

    Why doesn't Superman see his past self when he goes back in time? You mean, on the entire planet that Superman is flying around? What a weird, useless question. And also, no one was talking about you. It's Harry and his whitebread pal that didn't get what Supes was doing. He asked why there wasn't earthquakes when Superman goes back in time.

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 10:16 p.m. CST

    Sayeth the pundits -

    by Nintendarth

    boxofficemojo - Forecast: 'Looper' Likely to Lose to 'Hotel Transylvania' This Weekend

  • Sept. 28, 2012, 11:40 p.m. CST


    by FreeBeer

    The film surmises Old Joe killing Sarah eventually made Cid become the Rainmaker. But Old Joe can’t become Old Joe without first being killed and letting Young Joe grow up to meet his wife. In that timeline though, Cid would grow up normal because Sarah wasn’t killed by Joe. How does that all work? How does the Rainmaker exist in a timeline where Old Joe didn’t kill his mom?

  • SPOILER was the fuckup from the future? or was his need to prove himself about having been 'saved' and seeing harry dunn as a father figure? SPOILER

  • Sept. 29, 2012, 4:28 p.m. CST

    Saw it at the Arclight in Hollywood, and he introduced the movie.

    by Ian Masterson

    Seemed very humble. And the movie was great, too.

  • Sept. 29, 2012, 7:48 p.m. CST

    How do you talk about time travel films and not mention Primer...?

    by aramis2112

  • Sept. 30, 2012, 12:26 a.m. CST

    My favorite AICN episode thus far. Harry & Merrick have good chemistry

    by where_are_quints_hobbit_set_reports

    I had no interest in Dr. Who but your shared enthusiasm and the way you communicated with each other was very appealing & engaging... you make a good onscreen team in terms of how you work off one another. I thought Looper was brilliant, and I really appreciated the fun, thoughtful questions Harry asked, as well as the answers. The garagefire anecdote was kinda harrowing... there must be many alternate timelines in which young Rian did not live long enough to become the FilmMaker !!!

  • Sept. 30, 2012, 8:41 a.m. CST

    How often...?

    by Dheep

    How often do you walk out of a movie and think about it for more than a minute anymore ? I can tell you I don't very often. Been thinking about this one (Looper) on and off since I saw it last evening. What a wonderful accomplishment. He weaved together so many things. Very Impressive !

  • Sept. 30, 2012, 8:43 a.m. CST

    Likely to lose....

    by Dheep

    Unfortunately you may be right. There was a huge line waiting for "Transylvania" . To show you the level of person waiting to see it - I walked up and asked "what are you people waiting to see?" Wondering what line it was for. A man actually replied " I have no idea What this if for" . ............ okay..........

  • Sept. 30, 2012, 3:15 p.m. CST

    I was never able to get into Dr. Who

    by hallmitchell

    I just don't get it.

  • Oct. 1, 2012, 4:37 a.m. CST

    The Girl Who Leapt Through Time....

    by Darren

    Animated Version. Beautiful.

  • Oct. 1, 2012, 12:49 p.m. CST

    Time travel IS theoretically possible...

    by PorkChopXpress

    ...just not in reverse.

  • Oct. 1, 2012, 6:21 p.m. CST

    One time I shit so hard it sent me back in time five minutes.

    by Metroid_Fetish

    Then I had to take that exact same shit again. Infinitely. I finally broke the loop by rubbing one out to a picture of Andie MacDowell. Thanks to this experience I'm writing a script treatment for next year's sure-fire hit "Brown Log Day"

  • That's why Superman speeding around the Earth to go back in time is B.S. Traveling the speed of light would only result in time slowing down relative to him. So when he stopped days would pass for the Earthlings whereas only minutes or hours passed for him. The only way that time travel to the past would be conceivable would be if you believe in the multiple universe theory and one of those alternate universes was behind in time to us but exactly the same in every other way. And if it were somehow possible to travel to this universe. But, then you would only be changing the future for that alternate universe. It wouldn't change the original universe you came from.

  • Oct. 5, 2012, 9:59 a.m. CST

    Its a cool thing that Dr Who and The Who

    by bobbofatz

    have so many things in common. The best and most clever is the fact that Who is in both titles. And Townshend was the first Doctor Who.

  • Oct. 6, 2012, 9:40 a.m. CST

    just seen it. what a piece of crap

    by JAMF

    b movie shitefest this is... like fushing "push" or "jumper"... terrible time travel mechanics rivalling the ridiculous "marty's hand is fading away" moment in bttf... terrible stuff. turned out exactly like i thought it would too so no surprises along the way.

  • Oct. 7, 2012, 6:19 a.m. CST

    Looper = Pooper Scooper aka bullshit.

    by Rakesh Patel

    some great acting but the story was crap. You know this would have been like a sub par episode of fringe.

  • Oct. 8, 2012, 3 p.m. CST

    can't say I loved it.

    by animatronicmojo

    Sorry to say, I was a little underwhelmed. While a few truly heartfelt moments, a heaping helping of cynical social satire, and a healthy dash of comic book camp saved it for me, the overall premise is just as vile as it is ridiculous. <BR> It was kinda fun how Johnson paid homage to so many other movies, it's kind of a blitzkrieg pastiche. Maybe he was envisioning some sort of name-that-reference drinking game- "They Live!" The Fury!" "Akira!" "The Tin Drum!" "Live Free of Die Hard!" etc.... <BR> Personally, I was hoping for a more Primer / Time Crimes- style finale, where the paradoxes become ever more intricate and overwhelm reality.

  • Oct. 8, 2012, 3:07 p.m. CST

    O Superman

    by animatronicmojo

    And, yeah, I also thought that the ending of Superman also made zero sense. <BR> Wouldn't he become pure energy if he attained the speed of light? Hell if I know, but it is indeed a clanking dues ex machina cop-out, conferring Supes with the power of God right out of left field. <BR> And what, that was all just for Lois? Nice to be on a personal name basis with Supergod, I guess, because what about the hundreds of thousands of others who have been blown-up, drowned, crushed, irradiated...!? <BR> Go back and stop the nuke from destroying California, Übermensch! *GAAHHH!*