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.
So, I’m writing this from the airport. I’m sitting in the Delta Sky Lounge exceptionally early for our 5:30 connecting flight. I can honestly say that I sat in our hotel room the last 24 hours with anxiety in my gut that we had forgotten something, and they would tell us we could not board. I realized I have so much insecurity still to overcome in my life, and when we are settled, I do need to see a therapist. This morning, as my stomach roiled with worry, I thought about people who just live life without this kind of worry. I think it is a combination of stuff from when I was growing up and the anxiety induced by our extremely class-stratified society.
Immortal Hulk Book Three (2021) Reprints Immortal Hulk #21-30 Written by Al Ewing Art by Ryan Bodenheim, Joe Bennett, German Garcia, Tom Reilly, and Matías Bergara
Al Ewing’s Immortal Hulk run has been an excellent survey of every supporting character, villain, and central plot point of the Hulk. With Book Three, Ewing wraps up the General Fortean plotline while laying the threads for the eventual return of Hulk’s arch-nemesis, The Leader. As with everything that has come before, Ewing puts characters first to evolve the plots and conflicts naturally out of those revelations and details. We get glimpses into Fortean’s past, we get more character bits with Gamma Flight, especially the Absorbing Man & Titania. The book is just as much an ensemble piece as it spotlights Bruce Banner and his struggle with the Hulk.
McCabe and Mrs. Miller (directed by Robert Altman) Robert Altman is one of my all-time favorites, and it’s a shame this movie doesn’t come up more often in discussions about westerns. It isn’t a cowboys vs. Indians shoot ’em up. Instead, it’s a bleak & hopeful melancholy love story. John McCabe (Warren Beatty) is a gambler that stumbles into a small Western Washington town. He quickly takes a position of prominence and control in a place populated mainly by lethargic miners. To keep control, he builds a brothel and pays for three sex workers from a few towns over to live there. One of them, Constance Miller (Julie Christie), has excellent business acumen, and the two become partners in building up the town. Unfortunately, their business decisions make them a target of more prominent, more powerful men, which can only lead to tragedy. In addition, opium comes to their home, and that serves to further complicate things. Altman referred to the picture as an anti-Western, and it’s clear because it completely subverts all the tropes you expect from such a movie.
The Sopranos Season 5 (HBO) Written by Terence Winter, David Chase, Matthew Weiner, Michael Caleo, Toni Kale, Robin Green, Mitchell Burgess, Michael Imperioli Directed by Tim Van Patten, Alan Taylor, John Patterson, Rodrigo Garcia, Allen Coulter, Peter Bogdonavich, Steve Buscemi, Mike Figgis
Season five of The Sopranos begins with what might be seen as some retconning or lore building. A group of convicted New Jersey & New York family members are all released around the same time after serving their sentences and prove to be an injection into the current system that threatens to spin things out of control. Tension has been building between Tony and New York’s liaison Johnny Sac since the last season, and now it appears as though their friendship will be shattered by these new arrivals and some shake-ups in New York’s leadership. In some ways, the new arrivals are taking threads of new versus old ways of operating seen between Tony & Ritchie in season two and allowing them to be explored and developed even further.
The Sopranos Season 4 (HBO) Written by David Chase, Terence Winter, Michael Imperioli, Maria Laurino, Robin Greene, Mitchell Burgess, Nick Santora, Lawrence Konner, David Flebotte Directed by Allen Coulter, John Patterson, Tim Van Patten, Jack Bender, Henry J. Bronchtien, Steve Buscemi, Dan Attias, Alan Taylor, James Hayman
Season Four of The Sopranos is one of those brilliant artistic constructions that begins with such nuance and then dazzles in the finale. The season close has one of the best scenes between Tony & Carmela the show has ever presented, more on that a little later. So many of the plot threads here were seeded in season three and very carefully cultivated and developed over that season and this one. Once again, Ralph is an ever-present pest and a reminder of what Tony is/could become.
We have officially sold our house and moved out. We kept waiting for the closing date, and then early Monday morning, our broker told us it would be Wednesday if we wanted. We wanted it and spent the next 24 hours working harder than we have in a long time to pack, donate, and move things over to my sister’s place. This morning we went to the attorney’s office and signed the papers. We were in shock when we learned that because this was our primary residence and we’d sold no other houses this year, we would not be taxed on the sale. This is a life-changing experience because we doubled our money on the house. Because of the insane housing market, we sold it for 92% higher than we purchased.
Tuca & Bertie Season 1 (Netflix) Written by Lisa Hanawalt, Raphael Bob-Waksberg, Lee Sung Jin, Rachelle Williams, Nick Adams, Karen Graci, Gonzalo Cordova, Shauna McGarry Directed by Amy Winfrey, Aaron Long, Mollie Helms, James Bowman, Adam Parton
At first glance, Tuca & Bertie looks like an Adult Swim reject show that was influenced by the style of Bojack Horseman. The first two episodes were challenging for me to get into as they settled me into their universe. Tuca (voiced by Tiffany Haddish) is outgoing, loud, hard to focus, while Bertie (voiced by Ali Wong) is the more cautious, anxious, soft-hearted of the two. It’s the story of two best friends who are adjusting to the changes in their lives. Bertie moved in with her boyfriend Speckle (voiced by Steven Yeun) in the same apartment complex and used to room with Tuca. Thanks to the default narrative, the immediate thought that crosses your mind is that Tuca will get in a lot of trouble, and Bertie will have to explain or tag along. Sort of a Sarah Silverman Show scenario.
John and the Hole (2021) Written by Nicolás Giacobone Directed by Pascual Sisto
There’s been a trend in independent cinema for the last decade and a half to focus on cold neutral aesthetics. For some films, that can work given a well-written script with strongly developed characters. While these movies often lure me in with moody slick trailers, I find myself utterly bored while watching them. This isn’t to say there’s something wrong with slow, atmospheric films, but you need to be a very skilled filmmaker to make this particular aesthetic pop. John and the Hole failed to do that and was a true slog to watch.