Featured

PopCult on Patreon

2021 is the year I make a big push to grow PopCult into something beyond what it has been. Readership jump tremendously in 2020 with a 29% increase in page views and a 32% jump in visitors. Part of our growth will be centered around Patreon. I don’t expect I will live independently off of Patreon, but I think I could generate enough to pay a couple of bills a month. For more on what’s going on with me at the start of the year, read up on last week’s Weekly Wonderings.

Continue reading “PopCult on Patreon”

Sponsored Post Learn from the experts: Create a successful blog with our brand new courseThe WordPress.com Blog

Are you new to blogging, and do you want step-by-step guidance on how to publish and grow your blog? Learn more about our new Blogging for Beginners course and get 50% off through December 10th.

WordPress.com is excited to announce our newest offering: a course just for beginning bloggers where you’ll learn everything you need to know about blogging from the most trusted experts in the industry. We have helped millions of blogs get up and running, we know what works, and we want you to to know everything we know. This course provides all the fundamental skills and inspiration you need to get your blog started, an interactive community forum, and content updated annually.

Movie Review – Assassination Nation

Assassination Nation (2018)
Written & Directed by Sam Levinson

You will probably hate this movie. I can’t say I liked it, but it certainly was a terrible mess like I expected it to be. After seeing the trailer in 2018, I was worried we had another #Horror on our hands, one of the worst “Hello, fellow kids” movies I’ve seen in recent memory. Assassination Nation is nowhere near that bad. At its worst, the film is a little overly ambitious. It’s heavily preachy & on the nose in the final scene, which irked me a little. I think the same themes could have been communicated in just as clear but more subtle manner.

Continue reading “Movie Review – Assassination Nation”

Weekly Wonderings – January 25th, 2021

Recently, as I’ve been waiting for some sort of full/part-time remote work to come along, I have been wondering what I could do with my teaching skills in the gig economy. There is a service called Outschool that lets parents pay to sign their kids up for special interest classes. I’m waiting for the background check process to complete, but with COVID-19 and living in a deplorable state when it comes to an efficient government, it takes a while. There’s also Teachers Pay Teachers, a website of materials created by educators selling them to other educators. I’ve made seven products in the last couple of weeks to put up there and will probably keep trucking along with that. Such is life living in the gig economy, eh? Today, I want to talk about what it is like to be an elementary school teacher (pre-COVID mostly).

Continue reading “Weekly Wonderings – January 25th, 2021”

Patron’s Pick – Hook

Welcome to our inaugural Patron’s Pick. This is a special reward available to Patreon patrons who pledge at the $10 or $20 a month levels. Each month those patrons will get to pick a film for me to review. They also get to include some of their own thoughts about the movie. This Pick comes from Matt Harris, my brother. Hook was a movie we watched a lot when we were kids. Here’s what Matt had to say about it:

One of my favorite moments:
Captain Hook: You bet against me bringing Pan back here, didn’t ya?
Pirate: No.
Captain Hook: Aw, tell your captain the truth.
[pirate starts to cry] Aww, say it. Say it.
Pirate: I did.
Captain Hook: Yes, you made a boo-boo.
Pirate: [nods] I did. I did!
Captain Hook: The Boo Box.
Pirate: Not that! Not the Boo Box! NOO!!
[he is then locked into a chest filled with scorpions.]

(Editor’s note: That pirate locked in the Boo Box was actually played by Glenn Close of all people!)

Hook (1991)
Written by Nick Castle, Carrie Fisher, Jim V. Hart & Malia Scotch Marmo
Directed by Steven Spielberg

I found that it’s pretty impossible to watch Hook without thinking about the passing of Robin Williams. In December, this film will turn 30 years old. In August, Williams will have been gone for seven years. I can’t say Williams was ever my favorite actor, but I certainly love some of his films with a sense of nostalgia. Pictures like Hook and Jumanji were significant movies for me growing up. I know we recorded Hook off an airing on ABC and rewatched that VHS tape so many times. I think this viewing was tinged less by Steven Spielberg’s trademark maudlin sensibilities and more how the film’s themes sting a little harder when you think about the tragedy of Williams’s death and the circumstances surrounding it.

Continue reading “Patron’s Pick – Hook”

Movie Review – Lantana

Lantana (2001)
Written by Andrew Bovell
Directed by Ray Lawrence

Ray Lawrence took sixteen years off between his first and second films. His career seems to coincide with the two peaks in international interest in Australian cinema in the last forty years. In the 1980s, there was a sudden spike of interest in the United States around Australian media. Directors like Peter Weir and actors like Mel Gibson became hot commodities. Crocodile Dundee was a pretty massive phenomenon in the States. Even bizarre comedies like Young Einstein starring the comedic actor Yahoo Serious had their moment in the spotlight. Lawrence’s Bliss came out in 1985 and never really swept up Americans, but it was definitely given a high stature in Australia. Jump to 2001, as a new wave of Australian films begins capturing the attention of audiences, and Lawrence gives us the highest-grossing movie in Australian history, Lantana.

Continue reading “Movie Review – Lantana”

TV Review – The Best of Amazing Stories Part 3

Go to the Head of the Class (Season 2, Episode 8)
Original airdate: November 21, 1986
Written by Mick Garris & Tom McLoughlin and Bob Gale
Directed by Robert Zemeckis

Hot off the heels of 1985’s summer hit Back to the Future, Amazing Stories brought Robert Zemeckis, Robert Gale, Alan Silvestri, and Christopher Lloyd back together again for this silly horror tale. The producers understood what a big deal they had on their hands and made this only the second hour-long episode of the anthology joining Spielberg’s The Mission. You can also see the production value is a little higher here with some really impressive animatronics for a series that would show its budget in many weaker episodes.

Continue reading “TV Review – The Best of Amazing Stories Part 3”

TV Review – Wandavision Episode 3

Wandavision Episode 3 (Disney+)
Written by Megan McDonnell
Directed by Matt Shakman

As promised by the trailers, this episode moves us into yet another era of the American sitcom. This time around, we’re in something around the late 1960s/early 1970s. The faux theme song has hints of The Partridge Family, while Wanda & Vision’s house’s interior is a definite nod to The Brady Bunch. We’re also introduced to the fact that Wanda is experiencing an accelerated pregnancy, going through trimesters in a matter of hours. This is something the couple tries to keep hidden from the neighbors along with their powers, but it proves difficult when Wanda’s powers go haywire as she goes into labor.

Continue reading “TV Review – Wandavision Episode 3”

Movie Review – Bliss (1985)

Bliss (1985)
Written by Ray Lawrence & Peter Carey
Directed by Ray Lawrence

In twenty-one years, Australian filmmaker Ray Lawrence made three movies with a sixteen-year gap between his first two. His first film, Bliss, caused hundreds to walk out of its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and won the 1985 Australian Academy Award. Lawrence was born in London in 1948 and moved to Australia when he was 11. After he graduated from high school, Lawrence attended and subsequently dropped out of university. This lead to his work in advertising in Sydney and then a move back to London producing commercials. When he finally returned to Australia, Lawrence started his own production company that became one of the top producers of commercials in the continent. It was during his time in advertising that Lawrence met author Peter Carey and they became quick friends. This led to a screenwriting partnership that led to two full-length screenplays. Eventually, they decided to adapt Carey’s award-winning novel Bliss for the big screen.

Continue reading “Movie Review – Bliss (1985)”

Movie Review – Koko-Di Koko-Da

Koko Di Koko Da (2020)
Written & Directed by Johannes Nyholm

I’ve recently tried to pin down what specific type of horror that resonates most with me. I know people who love over the top gore and what veers into comedy. Others enjoy the haunted house jumpscare ride experience. The horror I am drawn to is often based on human grief and is a slow burn. It doesn’t fall back onto cheap spooks and actually delivers horrifying moments that sink in and stick with the viewer.

Continue reading “Movie Review – Koko-Di Koko-Da”

Movie Review – The Climb

The Climb (2019)
Written by Michael Angelo Covino & Kyle Marvin
Directed by Michael Angelo Covino

Two men toil up a road in rural France, barely enjoying the countryside, one more slightly out of breath than the other. A secret is revealed, and suddenly the friendship crumbles. This is one of many deaths and rebirths we will see of these two guys as they rekindle their bond, only for one of them to continually stomp it out through selfishness. The Climb is a remarkable indie comedy that manages to be quirky without falling over into the cliches around this genre. The two lead actors are genuinely hilarious, and the film is masterfully shot. Many Steadicam and long takes with hidden cuts make the story feel a little more sweeping than you would expect.

Continue reading “Movie Review – The Climb”

Movie Review – His House

His House (2020)
Written by Felicity Evans, Toby Venables, and Remi Weekes
Directed by Remi Weekes

In the 19th, 20th, and now 21st centuries, Africa’s history is a testament to colonialism’s evil. There are constant think pieces published in the papers and magazines of note in the United States & Europe attempting to figure out what went so wrong for the continent. Recently, I saw one blaming it all on the tsetse fly. Colonists will do everything in their power to not accept their role in creating the horror inflicted upon the African people through the rabid extraction of resources. Sudan is an oil-rich country, and therefore massive conflict exists. Many people from Sudan and refugees that settled there having fled conflicts in their own regions have taken the dangerous trek up the Atlantic with dreams of possibly reaching Europe and the United Kingdom. His House is the story of two of these refugees and the horrors they face in their new home and those they bring with them.

Continue reading “Movie Review – His House”