Big changes have come to the PopCult Patreon now that we have the PopCult Podcast up and running. Building that support base on Patreon is something that takes time and playing around with rewards and goals that potential patrons are interested in. I’ve updated this post with the changes and I hope you like what you see.
The Pentaverate (Netflix) Written by Mike Myers & Roger Drew & Ed Dyson Directed by Tim Kirkby
In the 2000s, Mike Myers was one of the biggest comedy stars in the world. Just Shrek alone made him rich, but add onto that the Austin Powers franchise and the enduring love for earlier projects like Wayne’s World and So I Married An Axe Murderer. Then The Love Guru came along and like magic it was all over. Audiences cringed at that picture and he hasn’t made a big splash since. Until now that is, with his Netflix series The Pentaverate. I watched this entire show for one big reason, I wanted to see just how bad Myers had become and I had no idea just how terrible it would be. This is one of the worst self-indulgent pieces of media I have seen in a very long time.
Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers (2022) Written by Dan Gregor and Doug Mand Directed by Akiva Schaffer
So much nostalgia that you feel like you’re going to vomit; this is what American mainstream media feels like these days. Every week, another intellectual property is rebooted, remade, sequel-ized, etc. Most of it is complete garbage. Nostalgia is a type of feeling that appeals to very regressive, reactionary, infantile minds. People are reasonably on edge because Western civilization seems to have reached its zenith and is now in a spiral of decline. The Boomers were the first generation that began to dominate with nostalgia; we saw multiple television series from their childhood made into feature films. Nothing has rivaled the Millennials’ slavering thirst to relieve every Saturday Morning Cartoon and blockbuster movie they saw growing up. So it was only a matter of time until Chip ‘n Dale saw this treatment, shaped by the cynical nature of animated comedy.
Legion of Super-Heroes: Five Years Later Omnibus Volume 2 (2022) Reprints L.E.G.I.O.N. #69-70, Legion of Super-Heroes #40-61, Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #4-5, Legionnaires #1-18, Legionnaires Annual #1, Valor #20-23 Written by Tom & Mary Bierbaum, Tom McCraw, Kurt Busiek, Mark Waid, and Tom Peyer Art by Stuart Immonen, Chris Sprouse, Darryl Banks, Joe Phillips, Christopher Taylor, Nick Napolitano, Adam Hughes, Colleen Doran, Brian Stelfreeze, Chris Gardner, Frank Fosco, Curt Swan, Ron Boyd, Mark Farmer, Wade von Grawbadger, Craig Hamilton, Jeff Moy, Ted McKeever, Paul Pelletier, Arnie Jorgensen, and Derec Aucoin
The end of an era was just around the corner. The 1989 relaunch of Legion of Super-Heroes was a bold move, taking the beloved team of future teens and aging them into young adults. Some were married with kids, and others had become estranged or started new relationships. It all played out against the Dominator’s takeover of Earth. Eventually, series writer/artist Keith Giffen transitioned off the title and handed it over to Tom & Mary Bierbaum. They were a fan dream come true, starting as Legion fans in the 1970s and contributing to fanzines. Keith Giffen had become aware of their passionate devotion to the series and was impressed with some of the text stories they’d written. He and Mark Waid, editor of the title at the time, brought in the Bierbaums as Giffen’s co-writers for this new era.
The Taking of Pelham 123 (Directed by Joseph Sargent)
From my review: The most fascinating character, in my opinion, is Mr. Blue, the head of this quartet of criminals. The audience will eventually learn he’s Bernard Ryder, a former British Army Colonel who became a mercenary in Africa. We’re never entirely sure how this crew came to be, but we can assume they met in prison or after getting out. Blue is a rotten man, down to his core. He sees no value in human life but is also calculating. He’s not going to run in shooting; he’ll figure out the angles and force his opponent’s hand. Mr. Green, on the other hand, is, as his name implies, not confident in this criminal activity. Green got involved in the drug trade and was arrested in a bust; upon release, he had trouble getting a job of any means. We learn he operates an airport forklift and leaves in a hole of an apartment. One is utterly unsympathetic, while the other will likely elicit empathy from the audience. Green doesn’t want to kill anyone, but he has gone all-in with this crew. Society seems not to have a way to reintegrate these people, leading to the revolving door of crime.
The Cannes Film Festival has kicked off this year. Many new films will be unveiled, from the Hollywood studio ones to small, independent pictures. Forty-eight years ago, the documentary Hearts & Minds debuted at Cannes. However, its distribution in the United States would be held back when a restraining order was issued by one of the interview subjects, National Security Advisor Walt Rostow. Columbia Pictures, which owned the rights, refused to distribute the film to venues. This led to director/producer Peter Davis and his colleagues being forced to buy back their own movie from Columbia. Why would so many people and institutions work so hard to prevent the public from seeing a film? Because it is a searing condemnation of America and the atrocities it committed in Vietnam.
Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022) Written & Directed by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert
Your life is all you know. We might imagine other possibilities, whether looking back in regret or curiosity about past choices, or contemplating what the future might hold. But, regardless of all of this, we only exist in the present, in now. We can’t ever go back and change things, and the future is eternally unattainable as it inevitably becomes now. Lately, the Multiverse has become a concept in the zeitgeist, made possible by numerous films touching on it. In their latest film, the duo known as Daniels have constructed a story that embraces this cosmic, near-incomprehensible concept’s fantastic and highly human aspects.
The Phantom of Liberty (1974) Written by Luis Buñuel and Jean-Claude Carrière Directed by Luis Buñuel
The comedy anthology film is a rare beast but experienced some popularity in the 1960s and 70s. Monty Python’s contributions are notable, sometimes using an overarching plot to structure the sketches or just featuring scenes that exist independently. Most recently, we have The French Dispatch as a prime example. I think these movies come out of the filmmakers having ideas that weren’t big enough for a feature film but not wanting to make short films as those aren’t as marketable. People want to see a movie, so you take all these little ideas, maybe create some links to move from one bit to the next, and release them that way. This is precisely what Luis Buñuel’s The Phantom of Liberty is.
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974) Written by Gordon Dawson, Sam Peckinpah, and Frank Kowalski Directed by Sam Peckinpah
The films of Sam Peckinpah are violent and coarse. They were considered so shockingly gory that it led to X-ratings and bans in some places. Although they are relatively tame on a technical level by today’s standards, emotionally, there is still a lot of pain present in the work. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia came at the end of Peckinpah’s most fruitful period, and you can see it in the production quality. Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid was a box office failure, so the budget is less. Peckinpah was also known to be an alcoholic, and while the technical filmmaking is very tight here, the anger in the script feels like a seething drunk hunched over a typewriter, dripping with misanthropy for their fellow man.
Female Trouble (1974) Written & Directed by John Waters
Divine was a god damn movie star. Annoyingly he was born Harris Milstead to conservative middle-class parents in the 1940s. The indoctrination into their mundane cult of straight boringness didn’t take, and after being introduced to drag while working as a hairdresser, destiny called. Watching Divine perform feels like an assault and a command performance wrapped up in one. He is so abrasive and confident that I understand why most people were turned off. They aren’t used to experiencing that much glory in a single person. Here we get a mash-up of Divine’s own backstory and a narrative inspired by John Waters’ friendship with incarcerated Manson family member “Tex” Watson. In the world of Waters, things get really wild real fast.