Weekly Wonderings – February 1st, 2021

A new month means some new series on the blog. I’d normally post my Weekly Wonderings today, but because it’s February 1st those wonderings will be centered around what is coming up on PopCult this month. And another chance to push my Patreon, which I want to grow just because I really liked my first Patron Pick last month and wish I had more people requesting films like that. But before we get into the look ahead, here is the weekly Spotify playlist for your listening pleasure.

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Movie Review – The Little Things

The Little Things (2021)
Written & Directed by John Lee Hancock

Noir is a genre that can be better than anything else when done right but can crash and burn miserably when all the elements fail to come together. The Little Things doesn’t get noir right. It certainly has some great aspects, but it sputters out when it comes time to put everything together. If this had been a purely theatrical release, I would have skipped it, but because it was offered on HBO Max, I was willing to give it a try. The trailer is intriguing enough and provides a hint of a good mystery with some brooding protagonists. Yet, when I saw Jared Leto come on the screen, I had to worry if it would prove to be a disaster.

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TV Review – Wandavision Episode 4

Wandavision Episode 4 (Disney+)
Written by Bobak Esfarjani and Megan McDonnell
Directed by Matt Shakman

I’m going to be a little snarky here. I am genuinely baffled by people on social media acting surprised or wondering what the twist in Wandavision is. I don’t feel like the show has hidden much from us that can’t at the least be easily inferred. I may be biased because I carved out a large chunk of dedicated brain space for comic book knowledge & tropes long ago. Everything we have seen so far, including this most recent episode, feels is telegraphing the plot beats to the audience. It felt obvious to me who the villain was in this mini-series from the second episode or so. 

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TV Review – Search Party Season Four

Search Party Season 4 (HBO Max)
Written by Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles Rogers, Christina Lee, Emily Heller, Jordan Firstman, Matt Kriete & Andrew Pierce Fleming, and Starlee Kine
Directed by Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles Rogers, John Lee, and Alia Shawkat

Every season I ask myself, “Where could this show go next.” When I step back and look at the four seasons of Search Party that have been made, it is quite hilarious and stunning how its creators can morph and shift the narrative into something surprising. Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles Rogers continue to explore, ruminate, skewer, and satirize Millennials. It’s clear they are a part of a particular gentrifying class in New York City, but they are honest about their peers’ neuroses and incredibly harmful psyches. These characters exist in a world where it’s stunningly easy to compromise your values; you’re encouraged to do so. And anytime someone tries to escape, they are inevitably roped right back in.

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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).

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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.

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Weekly Wonderings – January 19th, 2021

If you enjoy what you read here on PopCult, please think about becoming a supporter on my Patreon. I want to grow this blog into something special in 2021. To learn more about the exciting reward tiers that let you decide what we will feature check out my Patreon page.

Last week I talked about nostalgia some, and that made me think about libraries. When I was a kid, going to the library every week was one of my favorite things in the world. I can remember libraries I visited going back to when I was about six or seven years old and even books I checked out and read from those places. I definitely do not to libraries much at all anymore, even before COVID-19. I think with the digital age, I can access books much more quickly. Part of that is thanks in part to my local library adapting to this new world and subscribing to ebook services. Here’s my weekly Spotify playlist first:

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TV Review – Wandavision Episodes 1 & 2

Wandavision (Disney+)
Episodes 1 & 2
Written by Jac Schaeffer
Directed by Matt Shakman

Many people genuinely love the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and I am glad they have movies they can rewatch and enjoy like that. I wouldn’t count myself as someone enamored with superhero movies of any kind, though I do always give them a viewing. I am entertained by them, but I don’t think too much about the films when they are over. The most I revisit them is with my niece and nephew, who they honestly are intended for. The people who should get the most excited about superhero movies, Star Wars, and the like are little kids. 

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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.

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Weekly Wonderings – January 11th, 2021

Well, that was a rough start to 2021.

One week in, we have already had a Nazi terrorist attack on the Capitol in Washington, D.C. My mom is a full bore QAnon Nazi, I haven’t spoken to her in over a year now, and I just don’t see much hope for them. I got too much on my own plate to have to try and reason with people who have made plugging their ears and saying “lalalala” a permanent state of mind. And this is about as much time as I’ll be spending on this topic here. I have certainly ranted my fair share in other corners of social media since Thursday. Check out this week’s playlist, and I’ll jump right into my wondering.

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