A Fans Guide to “Picking Favorites”: Episode 3, Aliens on Vacation Eating Spaghetti Westerns


By Shannon Fox, @shannonfox

It’s time for your weekly recap of The Nerd Machine’s “Picking Favorities” Podcast! Every week, I go through the episode and give explanations or examples of each favorite chosen by our hosts and their guest, while adding in my own colorful commentary. A rainbow of rubbish, if you will.

You can find this week’s episode on Soundcloud and/or iTunes.


(image courtesy of IMDB.com)

This Week’s Guest:

Brenton Thwaites
Besides having a really fun last name to say, Brenton is best known for his roles in The Giver, Maleficent, Oculus, and will appear in the upcoming film Son of a Gun. While it doesn’t currently have a release date here in the US, here’s the trailer:

Also, if you haven’t checked out Oculus, THAT MOVIE IS SO MESSED UP.

This week’s discussion began with an appreciation of Ewan McGregor (which I think is a FANTASTIC way to start pretty much anything because that man is a universal TREASURE), after which the guys jumped right into this week’s topics.

Favorite Vacation… City? Spot? Area? Destination? Whatever.
A nice change from the entertainment-related questions! Let’s all agree to send psychic squeeze-hugs to Tyler for his attempt to kite-surf in Thailand, okay? I mean, in my notes for this episode, I literally wrote “TYLER IS AN ADORABLE PRECIOUS PUPPY AND I AM UPSET”. Let’s all sing “Saturday Night” by the Bay City Rollers in solidarity.
But first, it’s time to plug Zac’s episode of “The Getaway” on the Esquire Network, mentioned during this section! See the preview below and watch the premiere on Wednesday, November 19th at 9/8c, or look for repeat showings here.


Onto the favorites!

Bay City, Michigan


(image courtesy of gogreat.com)

New Orleans, Louisiana


(image courtesy of JetBlue.com)

Maui, Hawaii


(image courtesy of mauinow.com)

Hua Hin, Thailand


(image courtesy of abroadsworld.blogspot.com)

Costa Rica

(image courtesy of costaricanews.com)

Also Mentioned:
Vancouver, BC


(image courtesy of bestinbc.com)

Frankenmuth, Michigan


(image courtesy of timelessamerica.com)



(image courtesy of RoyalCaribbean.com)



(image courtesy of HuffingtonPost.com)



(image courtesy of Telegraph.co.uk)

Also, because this was mentioned and it’s awesome, Zac’s Ice Bucket Challenge:

Favorite Western
So, funny story time- as I mentioned, I take notes while listening to the podcast for the recap. When the guys started talking about westerns (since I don’t know much about them), I literally wrote down: “My favorite western is probably Fievel Goes West.” AND THEN RAZZLE LITERALLY SAID THE SAME EXACT SAME THING. We triumphantly high-fived in my mind… and somewhere, Clint Eastwood shed a tear.


The Searchers

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
Open Range

Fievel Goes West

Also Mentioned:
3:10 to Yuma

The Magnificent Seven
The Three Amigos

The Quick and The Dead
Django Unchained

Favorite Alien Movie

You’ll have to forgive me here, because I’m having a moment about neither E.T. nor Close Encounters of the Third Kind being included on this list.  *deep breath*  Okay, I’m over it.  Sort of.  Not really.  On a completely different note, hasn’t technology advanced enough at this point so that I can have an adorable little alien-robot thing follow me around, like Batteries Not Included? Like, Amazon is delivering stuff by drone, can’t we just put a little cute costume on them and make the world a wonderful and magical place? Right, get on that.



District 9

Fire In The Sky

Independence Day

Also Mentioned:
Batteries Not Included
Mars Attacks

Blair Witch Project

Space Invaders

The Abyss

The Signal

Random Thoughts from Shannon’s Brain:
• The clear winner of the “Hey, You’re Awesome” Award this week? The podcast’s producer, Brett, who I’m guessing is to blame for the addition of the violins behind Zac’s complaints that no one asks him about his choices for the topics. I howled. HOWLED, I tell you.
• It was a little tough to tell, but I think it was Tyler who did the IMPECCABLE Harvey Fierstein impression when talking about Independence Day. Bravo, sir.
• Fangirl Moment of the Week: “Thor 3” was mentioned, which has now been confirmed to be titled Thor: Ragnarok and coming into our eyeballs on July 28, 2017… but more importantly, HOW ABOUT THAT UPCOMING MCU LINE-UP, FOLKS??! COULDN’T YOUR BRAIN JUST EXPLODE FROM EXCITEMENT??
• Okay, just for a quick second, scroll back up so that you can see the preview images for both the Son of a Gun trailer and The Getaway preview.  Look at the juxtaposition between Ewan McGregor’s super-intense, gruff face… and Zac sipping innocently on his drink just below him.  Please tell me someone finds this as hilarious as I do, because I seriously cannot stop laughing at it.
And that’s your recap for the week! Remember to subscribe to and rate the podcast on iTunes, and tweet YOUR favorites to @thenerdmachine on with the hashtag “#PickingFavorites”! You can also join the fun in the comments below or over at the podcast’s main post. Thanks for reading- see you next time!


  1. Karen VNovember 19th, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    So when Fire in the Sky was mentioned, I almost literally peed my pants. The amount of trauma I experienced for years after watching that movie…….I mean, the nightmares I had……. Yes, I’ve watched it over and over since then. Shhhh I’m a masochist.

    Aliens wins the category for me, though.

    This was a highly entertaining week for the podcast, which is SAYING SOMETHING because they’re all great. But this just cracked me up so hard!

    And your epic fan guide matched the hilarity! Well done, Foxy! Proud of you!

    For the record, MCU lineup is indeed explode-worthy! EEEEEE!

  2. Emma GibsonJanuary 13th, 2015 at 10:33 am

    Got so excited by the mention of fievel goes west and batteries not included, both epic in their own way!

  3. Jenny BoboJanuary 24th, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    Aliens is the best movie on the planet.

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