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PopFilter Versus: New Fall Movies

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Last week was TV shows, now it’s time for movies. PopFilter Versus New Fall Movies is where the three friends discuss the films their most excited about, and whittle it down to a single film that YourPopFilter, as an entity, is pumped to watch. As with all episodes where decisions are made, there’s alighting and someone leaves unhappy. Enjoy!

 

Email us to get your opinion on the show: contact@yourpopfilter.com

Or call and leave a voicemail: 1-562 DRDJ POP

Review us on iTunes!

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Want to record your own podcast? Check out Phantom48 for all of your electronic and recording needs!

THE POPFILTER 2014 FALL TV CHALLENGE

ROUND ONE

 

RED BAND SOCIETY


redbandsociety-poster

VS

laura

THE MYSTERIES OF LAURA

 

SEE THE BRACKET AT http://challonge.com/popfilter

 

 

Red Band Society is the kind of trash that, once you’ve been watching pilots for a couple of years, you find yourself almost hoping for. It’s not good, and it suffers from a severe case of pilotitis, a disease that includes such symptoms as exposition overload, and a tone that’s all over the place. But it moves just fast enough to keep you from hating it, and you can see a slight aura of potential around the edges.

Shows like The Mysteries of Laura, however, are depressing, especially when they come so early in the fall TV season. If The Mysteries of Laura is the fall TV groundhog, letting us know whether or not we’re going to have a long, horrible winter, then we are all so, so fucked, and may God have mercy on our souls.

There is nothing to like about The Mysteries of Laura, and that goes far beyond something as cute and adorable as pilotitis. It’s not just that it isn’t sure what type of television show it is; it seems unsure of what a television show is. NBC, along with everyone involved with the show, is so proud of its premise, in which a woman is both a cop AND a mom, that it infuses every single line of dialogue, every scene, every shot with that information. When told that a hitman killed someone for $2500, Laura Mysteries replies “That’s enough for a year’s worth of mac and cheese, but not enough to kill someone.” See? See?!? SEE??!?!?!?!?!?!?!? She’s a mom, but she’s a cop, but she’s a mom.

The best part about Laura (and by best part I mean most fun thing to point and laugh at, not the part that makes this show good) is that it’s hard to determine whether she’s worse at being a cop or worse at being a mom. The one thing you do know is that she’s terrible at both. If this show was some sort of conservative condemnation of working mothers, or a docudrama shining a spotlight on how mentally handicapped people shouldn’t have kids or be detectives, everything would have made more sense. But instead, we’re supposed to find Laura endearing because she shoots a hostage taker while he’s holding a hostage in front of him, or how she loads her kids up with cough syrup so they’ll pass out during an interview to get into a prestigious pre-school. I’m sure that being a single, working mom is difficult. I’ll never know how difficult, thanks to my genitalia. But what I do know is that there are hundreds of thousands of people out there who know exactly what it’s like, and I can’t imagine them looking at this fucking idiot shithead of a main character and feeling empathy or entertainment. I truly hope that The Mysteries of Laura is the worst pilot of the season. Red Band Society coasts to an easy first round one.

We had one too many shows, so Red Band Society and The Mysteries of Laura had to play something of a play-in game, with the winner entering the tournament of 32. So, next up…

RED BAND SOCIETY VS TIM AND ERIC’S BEDTIME STORIES

 

- Ryan Haley

 

Popfilter’s Foreign Flick of the Week

Where Stephanie reviews a film from ‘Notmeria

India’s

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The Lunchbox

 

One of the most fascinating things about foreign films is that they let a viewer see how people in other places go about their daily routines. In India, office building and other workplaces do not have microwaves and refrigerators, so people don’t bring lunches to work in the morning. India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, so naturally, an entire industry has developed, designed to get working people hot meals from home. Here’s how it works: a delivery person called a “dabbawala” picks up lunch boxes from various kitchens and takes them to their destinations by bike, bus or train.

carting

A few dabbawallas in action.

After lunch, the dabbawala picks up the empty lunchbox and takes it back to the kitchen it came from. This system, used by hundreds of millions, is shockingly accurate, especially when you consider how much time it takes for a meal to cool and how many people use this service. It was even the subject of a study done by Harvard’s business school. People say that a dabbawala never makes a mistake. But what if a meal got sent to the wrong person? What kind of otherwise impossible connection might get made?

That is the premise of 2013’s The Lunchbox. The film’s opening scene is of a woman, Ila, cooking. She takes the meal she has made and puts into the lunchbox and hands it off to a dabbawala to take to her husband. Only it never gets to him, it winds up in a different office building than her husband’s and in the hands of a soon to be retiree named Fernandez. The two forge an unlikely relationship that acts a breath of fresh air to their lives.

The lunchbox has four compartments. The number four comes up as another important part of the film because that’s how many couples are in the movie. The film presents each couple in its own compartment with outcomes unique to the people involved. Every other romantic comedy tells the story of the beginning of a romance and ends with a wedding or some other version of happily ever after. The camera turns off before the couple gets over the madly-in-love phase that sciences tells us only lasts about 3-6 months. That’s because there is a biochemical difference between romantic infatuation and committed love. This is all due to a feel-good chemical called oxytocin, a.k.a the love hormone. When you fall in love, your brain starts churning out the stuff like it’s cocaine at Studio 54. You experience a rush of euphoria.

Due for a comeback

Due for a comeback

But like disco, it isn’t built to last. Your brain simply cannot keep up with its production and still function. In order for a relationship to push past this Oxytocin embargo, romantic love needs to be replaced with committed love. For whatever reason, movies rarely depict this phase. The Lunchbox goes there. It goes there showing bitterness and devotion, isolation and community. (But don’t you romantic comedy die hards fret, because there is a wedding, too.)

Director Ritesh Batra makes wise choices that elevate the story without being obnoxiously clever. He shows a sensitivity, a tenderness through his treatment of the characters. Ila and Fernandez never actually meet. Their only communication is through letters they pass back and forth in the lunchbox. Ila writes to Fernandez about her upstairs neighbors, Auntie and Uncle, who are quite possibly the weirdest couple of the four. The audience only experiences Auntie as a helpful voice who talks to Ila through the wall. You never see Uncle, he has no connection to the world outside of Auntie. They are each other’s world. The choice to make Auntie a disembodied voice was a powerful one. It showed their commitment to each other by the total removal from the rest of creation.

One of the most powerful moments in the film was so subtle that if you blinked you might have missed it. It was a shot during Fernadez’s pucky, wide-eyed protege’s wedding. When Shaikh introduces himself to Fernandez, he identifies himself as an orphan. It’s mentioned several times throughout the film. Remember what your high school English teacher said, “If something is mentioned more than once, it’s important.” The archetype of the orphan is that he or she experiences a disconnection to others and longs to replace his or her missing family. Because Shaikh has no people, Fernandez is his only witness at the ceremony. During the scene, the wedding party gathers for a photo. Fernandez is on one side and the bride’s family is on the other.

wedding

The picture is lopsided, with the groom’s side looking lonely while the bride side is crowded. The photographer takes a second picture, this time including everyone. The camera moves about an inch to the right to accommodate her entire family.

wedding2

Suddenly, what was a photo telling a story about an orphan’s sad lack of family is now full of family members. Marriage is the ultimate expression of committed love; a space that was empty is now of people. For an orphan, it is a fulfillment of a lifelong yearning. It’s a complete, beautiful moment in the film.

However, marital commitment isn’t an avenue that leads to only one road. It can spell out isolation just as easily as it can put an end to it. The scenes dealing with Ila and her husband portray strain and a lack of connection. Their relationship depicts the failure of committed love; as it is an exhaustible resource.

ilaConsider this scene where Ila is trying to talk to her husband. Notice the placement of the mirror to the left of the screen. Ila is trying to get his attention, but he is not interested. His eyes are focused on something the audience can’t see. She tries to get his attention by putting on a nice dress, touching him, but he is not present to her. Though she is in a room with her husband, Ila is all alone. Her reflection in the scene is sad reminder that Ila is talking to herself.

There is one more couple in the film, Ila’s parents. There has to be some mystery, so I’ll leave that to your imagination. The Lunchbox  has made a huge splash on the world’s stage and swept through Cannes like a hurricane. That’s remarkable considering this is Batra’s debut as a director and writer. He is especially adept at depicting an India that is running so fast that it may have dropped its soul somewhere along the road. If this film is any indication of direction, India may soon be a major contributor to the art of filmmaking.

With love,

-Stephanie Rose

 

THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE

THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE

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THE POPFILTER 2014 FALL TV CHALLENGE

 

For the last couple of seasons, the PopFilter editing staff has attempted to tackle every new fall premiere, trying to determine whether or not they were good shows based solely on their pilots. All that we learned was that pilots are painful garbage that probably cause cancer. We’ve tried so hard, and for so long, to eliminate the need for you to watch everything, by trudging through this disgusting mud, and coming up for new synonyms for “sucks.” This season, we’re going to try something different. We’re going to spend the next six weeks determining a champion, making it so you’ll know the one new show of the fall that you need to get caught up on. The losers will then fall by the wayside, drowning in a flood of tears that reek of shame.

We’re going to do this bracket style, because sports would be better if they were more about pop culture and less about sports. You can follow the bracket at http://challonge.com/popfilte, and the action will be updated daily right here at yourpopfilter.com. Two pilots will battle it out to see who moves on to the next round. From the premiere of Red Band Society, all the way to The McCarthys, PopFilter writers Ryan and Stephanie will be doing a full write-up of the battles, detailing why the winner will move on, and why the loser should be canceled immediately. This won’t be like a normal sports bracket, as we won’t be waiting to start round 2 until after round 1 is over. As soon as a section of the round 2 bracket is filled out, we’re reviewing them, based on the pilots and second episodes. Round 3 will feature reviews up to the third episode, and so on. All seeding was done based on the date of the premiere.

Strap in, folks. This is going to be a crazy six weeks for us, and a calm, quiet six weeks for you, as you are able to skip all of the garbage, and instead re-watch Friday Night Lights on Netflix, waiting for the single greatest show of the new fall season. We’re not doing a Top 5. We’re not doing a Rushmore. There can only be one.

 

THE TOURNAMENT KICKS OFF IN TWO DAYS, WHEN RED BAND

SOCIETY TAKES ON THE MYSTERIES OF LAURA!!!

Kerri Battles the AFI’s Top 100 – #82: Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans

I’ve been battling the AFI’s list since mid-May and, in that time, there have only been a rare few titles that didn’t sound even remotely familiar to me. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans falls into that category. I didn’t have a clue of what I was getting into this week, aside from the handful of deductions I could make from the fact that it was released in 1927: it would be silent and black and white. Beyond that, I presumed some kind of love story because of the subtitle. All of those facts turned out to be correct, but they still couldn’t have prepared me for the 94 minutes of WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK that I was about to view.

It pretty much felt like staring at 94 minutes of this.

Our story begins in the summer of 1920-something, when everyone is on vacation in a small seaside town of God Knows Where. A Woman from the City (the character’s actual name) has lingered for weeks in said little haven, having a not-so-secret affair with The Man, who is married to The Wife. Woman from the City convinces The Man to murder his wife and make it look like she accidentally drowned, then sell his farm and come to the city with her. The Man attempts this very thing the next day, under the ruse of taking his wife on a nice day trip to the city on the other side of the water. He stows a bundle of reeds in the boat so he can use those to float to shore when he capsizes it. He makes his attempt in the middle of the water and The Wife, quickly realizing what is happening, pleads for her life. The Man loses his courage and rapidly rows to the opposite shore. The Wife runs off and catches a trolley to escape, but The Man hops on the car and begs her to not be afraid of him. After watching a wedding together in the city, The Man weeps in The Wife’s lap over his broken vows to keep and protect her from harm and The Wife forgives all. They have a lovely day in the city. On their way home, now blissfully in love once more, a storm hits. The Man ties his bundle of reeds to The Wife just before the boat capsizes. He washes ashore and quickly raises a search party, seemingly to no avail. He returns to his home, catatonic and inconsolable. The Woman from the City, assuming that he has merely followed through with her dastardly plan, shows up at his home. Instead of embracing her with love, he tries to strangle her to death. He is only stopped by the sound of an old woman shouting to him that The Wife has been found alive after all. The Husband runs to sit by The Wife’s side as The Woman from the City takes a wagon out of town.

Before I say anything else, let me just state for the record that FW Murnau did pull some pretty neat film tricks with Sunrise, particularly for 1927. He did some fun things with superimposition using double-exposed film. He played with a recorded soundtrack that utilized both music and a certain level of ambient sound, which was pretty innovative at the time. He genuinely made a nice looking picture for 1927. It was pretty to look at, but not fun to watch. The story itself felt like it was written by a child with just the basest of grasps on human nature. Everything seems to happen without even the slightest provocation from logic. There’s near-matricide, followed by attending a wedding, and then getting a fancy shave at a barber’s for professional photos. All of this is capped off with attendance at a fair with a roller coaster, elephants, and a fancy supper club and dance floor. A third of the movie is spent at this fair and, at one point, The Man chases a pig into a kitchen where the pig proceeds to get drunk off spilt wine. All of that sounds exactly like what you get when you ask a 4 year old to tell you  a story and you just keep asking, “And then what happened?”

Big Bird Sassy B

And the characters! Oh the characters…. Every character in this film is fucking despicable. The Woman from the City is a homewrecking flapper hussie with an incite-others-to-murder streak that would impress Charles Manson. The Wife openly forgives her husband maybe a FUCKING HOUR after he almost took her life, then decides to spend the rest of the evening smooching and canoodling with him (Shut up, it’s not victim-blaming if it’s a fictional fucking character). The Man tried to strangle The Woman for suggesting he kill his wife, then he changed his mind and made out with her instead. He fully intended to murder The Wife, then changed his mind and pulled a knife on a guy for looking at her sideways, then decided to murder The Woman when he thought his wife was dead. What a catch, amirite ladies? What kind of asshole watches a movie like this and says, “YES. PRESERVE THIS FOREVER AS A TESTAMENT TO HUMANITY’S ACHIEVEMENTS!” (Answer: The AFI in 2007, apparently, since it didn’t appear on the original 1997 list) Now, I’ll admit that I’ve watched far dumber movies and have enjoyed them much more than this unfettered turd. Hell, I watched the Lifetime unofficial biopic about Saved By The Bell last week and enjoyed every deliciously terrible second of it. But I’m also not asking anybody to add that one to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress for being culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant. 

Now the original, on the other hand, is a National Treasure.

Sunrise having a spot on the AFI’s list is perplexing, at best. I get that FW Murnau did some amazing things with a camera that were impressive for the time. But, though I seem to come to the same conclusion almost every other week, I still just can’t wrap my head around how the AFI — that is, the AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE — appears to overlook a mediocre at best story in favor of focusing on the incredible techniques used to tell it. Film, at its core, is a storytelling medium. If your story isn’t worthwhile, then all the effects in the world won’t save it. It’ll just be … Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow… Avatar… Star Wars: Episode I … anything by Michael Bay…  . — KSmith

PopFilter Podcast Episode 163

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On this, the 163rd edition of the PopFilter Podcast, the friends finally discuss Pickpocket from Robert Bresson as well as The Fault in Our Stars. Yes, maybe some of them cried. And yes maybe they needed hugs, but they also found a way to fight through it and make sure to erect a Mount Rushmore in honor of all of the most iconic cancer patient pop culture has created and they find out how much Mike and Jason know about the PopFilter Hall of Fame, or the PFHOF. Which, when you say it right, sounds really fucking dumb. Enjoy in your ear canals!

Email us to get your opinion on the show: contact@yourpopfilter.com

Or call and leave a voicemail: 1-562 DRDJ POP

 

Review us on iTunes!

 

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Want to record your own podcast? Check out Phantom48 for all of your electronic and recording needs!

TOP TEN- BLAST FROM THE PAST

THE POP FILTER TOP TEN

BLAST FROM THE PAST:

We at YourPopFilter are aware how intimidating it can be to wade your way through years of back content. And we’re aware the viewership is growing all the time (thanks for that bt dubs!). So every once in awhile we’ll pull something from the murky past and throw it at you again. 

DYSTOPIAS WE WOULD ACTUALLY LIKE TO LIVE IN

(Originally posted September 5, 2011)

10.TOTAL RECALL

I think the primary reason I could handle living in this dystopian future is the presence of an alien young lady with 3 breasts.  I actually love ALL of the Martian characteristics, and I understand why the main character felt compelled to go there.  But I gotta ask: how awesome would his life have been if he hadn’t shattered the illusion.  Hot wife, easy job, people programmed to treat you well.  Sounds perfect to me.  Lie to yourself, you dolt! Stick it out with the hot blonde and you won’t have to almost suffocate on the surface of Mars! -LF

9. STARSHIP TROOPERS

So if you’re like me you want to live in a world where Neil Patrick Harris is our national hero, hilarious recruitment ads litter the airwaves and Americans have all migrated to Buenos Aires.  I mean yeah, you would have to worry about asteroids being launched at us by a legion of alien bugs who are pissed because we invaded their planet for no reason, but I think that’s a pretty small price to pay for what amounts to a paradise of hilarity and leisure.  I mean even if you did join the military and your parents got wiped out by the bugs, the worst that could happen is that the bugs kill the guy who’s macking on your lady.  Then you show up and save her and look like a hero AND you get to bang Denise Richards in the end.  That’s a deal I’d take any day of the week.  Also let’s just forget that those sequels ever happened shall we.-ASW

8. SOYLENT GREEN

There are two things I’m afraid of – taking forever to die and doing it without ever knowing what people taste like.  Living in the world of Soylent Green would solve both of those problems for me.  As soon as I turn 70 or so and my memory starts to give out I hop over to the suicide place, listen to some sweet tunes and get pumped full of poison.  When I die, my body gets turned into the delicious green wafers I enjoyed eating my whole life.  It’s how I will have would have wanted to go.  That’s worth putting up with a little over-crowding for.  Soylent Green is just the Lion King circle of life, except instead of antelope eating the lions when they become grass, other lions eat them after they’re processed into crackers.  Also, there are no antelope or or lions, because we pretty much fuck the eco-system all up.  Oh, well.-DT

7. DEMOLITION MAN

I hesitate to call the world of “Demolition Man” a dystopia, because that shit seems fucking wonderful. No more commercial breaks on the radio? Check. Taco Bell everywhere? Check? Black dudes with bleached blonde hair? Check. Naked Sylvester Stallone frozen in a giant, clear doughnut? Check. (I saw that clear doughnut with a fake Sylvester Stallone in it at a Planet Hollywood once. No matter what angle you looked at it, you could not see his wiener.) The world of “Demolition Man” has it all. Even if you got tired of Taco Bell (yeah, like that could happen), you could just head on down to the sewers for a delicious rat burger. I even think the “no cussing” thing would be fine, we would just have to dramatically cut the word requirements on Pop Filter articles. – Fuckshit Tittysquirt

6. IDIOCRACY

Idiocracy is a cautionary tale of what the future may hold if the human race continues to favor consumerism and fart jokes over intelligence and personal responsibility. But when I watch all I see is an awesome visionary society where I don’t have to leave my couch to poop and getting a handy is as easy as going to Starbucks. The “water fountain” that dispenses the Gatorade-like substance Brawndo is supposed to be a bad thing that makes the audience recoil in horror…but do you know how often I drink regular water? Damn near never! If I had Vitamin Water readily available on tap I would never have to drink the boring stuff again and it’s those innovations that make me drool like a retard. How much better would the Casey Anthony trial have been if instead of weeks of boring testimony the bitch had to battle a monster truck – exactly a million times better! Sure there is the constant fear of being buried alive in a garbage avalanche or zooming off an unfinished freeway overpass to a fiery death, but as long as I can sit in my house watching hours of “Ow, My Balls” and ingesting all necessary nutrients through a straw it’s really really easy to say fuck it not my problem.-AS

5. DISTRICT 9

If you have ever thought that you want to see an alien, be an alien or know an alien, this is the society for you. Not only is seeing an alien something that could happen, it probably would AND you could visit them whenever you want. If they bite you, who gives a shit?! When you turn into an alien, you can build super cool ships or weird fucking flowers out of discarded scraps of aluminum foil. And while this universe does seem to be a little heavy on the anti-apartide preaching, the fact that aliens not only exist but survive is enough to make any future fun to think about. – JRN

4. CHILDREN OF MEN

OK, don’t think I’m evil. I’m not evil. I just lived right next to a playground for four years. Have you ever noticed how the sound of children playing is less like the joyful tinkering of bells and more like an air-raid siren? The first week we lived next to the playground, I kept running outside to save some stranger’s child from what sounded like a savage stabbing. The kids were fine. They were just having such a good time that they were screaming like they were being murdered. And the kids are mean! Just as big a bunch of jerks as I remember from my childhood. I was constantly hearing things like “You can’t play with us anymore” and “I don’t like you because you’re lame.” I saw an 8 year old steal a 5 year old’s bike. A bunch of thugs, the lot of them. So it’s not that I’m evil, I just never want to hear the sound of children playing again. Because they’re all evil sociopaths. KH

3. WALL-E

Don’t lie to yourself, you want to live in a world where you can float around in a chair all day and order food- from said chair- and not do a damn thing. Having a job would be unnecessary! Being socially awkward wouldn’t matter because no one talks to you anyway! Did you get picked last for gym class?? Don’t worry about it! Society, as a whole, has gotten so fat no one wants to play your stupid moving games anyway! The people in Wall-E got to live on what is basically a luxury cruise line for free… pretty epically sweet if you ask me. Robots will do all the work for you, all you have to do is keep your eyes on the screen in front of you and don’t try and get out of your chair.  Kiinda like what you are doing right now… except not worrying about how you are going to pay next months rent. Awesome. -MV

2. SERENITY

When it comes to dystopian worlds, there are a lot of shitty ones to choose from. That’s why they’re called “dystopian.” Every once in a while, though, you come across one that has all the defining characteristics of a dystopia, but still looks like a sweet set of circumstances to deal with. The universe in Serenity falls into this category. Sure, you’ve got your totalitarian government with a love for nefarious plots against their populace and your horrifying, flesh-eating monsters. You’ve also got the lives of Wyatt Earp and Han Solo rolled into one. The Alliance may have a tight control on some of the terra-formed planets, but their grasp is much looser on others. It’s these outer planets that I’m interested in. They all give off a vibe of Tombstone meets Tatooine. There are no strange-looking species hanging out at a cantina, but there are gun fights, land speeders, Wild West rules, and space travel.  Since I first heard The Steve Miller Band, I’ve been curious about what being a space cowboy would entail. Joss Whedon executed the notion perfectly with Malcolm Reynolds. I’d hop a ride on that firefly-class ship any day. Plus, you get to swear in Mandarin, which never ceases to sound cool. -KS

1. THE MATRIX

You have two options for the dystopian world of the Matrix. Either you have no idea that the truth of the world is awful and you go about your life like everything is normal, never knowing you’re a battery for the robot overlords. Or you’re aware of the robot overlords, you live in squalor and constant fear of death by robot, and you live your short pathetic life fighting against them while those around you consistently die. The reason this would be a sweet place to live is- it’s either exactly like life is now so who gives a fuck, or if you’re aware of how awful life truly is you still get to jump into the matrix with any knowledge or skills you want and be a total fucking badass until you inevitably die. Both living like I do now, or miserably 90% of the time and a fucking super-being 10% of the time sound awesome to me.  There is no spoon… mostly because I’m poor and can’t afford one; and if I can blame that on dick robots programming my life to be horrible, I’ll take that over having to accept I’m lazy and worthless.  -MG

TRAILER TRASH

TRAILER TRASH

In which we review the films opening this weekend, just based on the trailer, to 100 percent accuracy.

THE DROP


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AKA: The Town, but a Different One

REVIEW: How do you make a crime dram interesting? Well for one, you put in ah-mahzing actors like Tom Hardy and the late, great James Gandolfini. More importantly, make it about a man’s reputation, his legacy, his self-worth, more than it’s about the crime. The Drop tackles aging and one’s place in the world in a way normally reserved for Noah Baumbach-style indie fare and then adds the guns and blood money from HBO doing what it does best. If that doesn’t sound like a combination you wanna check out, you’re a goddamned fool.

SPOILER: The puppy steals the movie. Because of course it does.

RATING: ***(out of ****)

THE SKELETON TWINS


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REJECTED TAGLINE: Let’s get serious.

REVIEW: Transitioning from goofy sketch actor to being taken seriously isn’t something easily done. Really, only Bill Murray’s pulled it off in a successful manner. Will Forte is early on his path, and looks like he’ll be able to succeed as well. And with their contemporary’s midwestern success, Kristin Wiig and Bill Hader are throwing in with the dramatic roles. Sure, there are still lots of laughs to be had so it’s the best of both worlds. They say that to make people laugh, you have to be able to understand what makes them tick, what moves them…and these two have that down to an emotional science…and have now figured out how to make us cry. Luke Wilson is pretty good too.

SPOILER: You’re gonna try to lip-sync with your sibling now. It’s going to be lame.

RATING: ***(out of ****)

POPFILTER VERSUS NEW FALL TV

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The fall television premiere season is upon us! Gone are the summer nights of dredging through reality TV or the weird concept shows networks dump in the hottest months of the year. Now is when we see the work they really believe in…but is it all (or at all) good? In this episode of Versus, the friends discuss which new shows their most excited about and pretend they’re in a world where they have to choose one network a night to watch. Take an ear-gander!

Email us to get your opinion on the show: contact@yourpopfilter.com

Or call and leave a voicemail: 1-562 DRDJ POP

 

Review us on iTunes!

 

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Want to record your own podcast? Check out Phantom48 for all of your electronic and recording needs!

Battle For The Net

avatar-pink

 

If you woke up tomorrow, and your internet looked like this, what would you do? Imagine all your favorite websites taking forever to load, while you get annoying notifications from your ISP suggesting you switch to one of their approved “Fast Lane” sites.Think about what we would lose: all the weird, alternative, interesting, and enlightening stuff that makes the Internet so much cooler than mainstream Cable TV. What if the only news sites you could reliably connect to were the ones that had deals with companies like Comcast and Verizon?On September 10th, just a few days before the FCC’s comment deadline, public interest organizations are issuing an open, international call for websites and internet users to unite for an “Internet Slowdown” to show the world what the web would be like if Team Cable gets their way and trashes net neutrality. Net neutrality is hard to explain, so our hope is that this action will help SHOW the world what’s really at stake if we lose the open Internet.If you’ve got a website, blog or tumblr, get the code to join the #InternetSlowdown here: https://battleforthenet.com/sept10thEveryone else, here’s a quick list of things you can do to help spread the word about the slowdown: http://tumblr.fightforthefuture.org/post/96020972118/be-a-part-of-the-great-internet-slowdown Get creative! Don’t let us tell you what to do. See you on the net September 10th!

via Battle For The Net.

The List!!

The 10 Best Songs of the 1990’s

Oh, the difference a decade makes…

 

After a seemingly endless amount of time spent pouring over the best songs of the 90’s year by year, it is only fitting that the list finds the culmination of this topic by listing the 10 best songs of the entire decade. That’s right, these 10 songs are the best that the 90’s had to offer. Get ready to be angry about a stranger’s decisions!

 

10. “Nothing Compares 2 U” Sinead O’Connor – 1990

The oldest song on the list is easily the best from its year. Sinead O’Connor did something that is not unusual for an artist in striking a chord with an audience. Her brilliance, however, comes from the fact that this song will never die. People will never stop covering this song, from a band performing for 50,000 in a sold-out stadium to a broken-hearted lover, listlessly strumming a guitar…or something…I wouldn’t know.

9. “Friday I’m in Love” The Cure – 1992

The 90’s were an odd decade that saw the real cultural impact of music videos. Being talented wasn’t enough, but the Cure already had enough insanely devoted fans that it didn’t really matter that Robert Smith looked like a pumpkin with dry brooms bristles for hair. No, this song transcended his weird, goth-kid look and put these guys into the discussion for artistic greatest, and not just selling records because they fit a niche.

8. “Basket Case” Green Day – 1994

If anyone reading this was alive in the early to mid-nineties, and I hope you all were, then you remember what a big fucking deal this album was. While there are almost as many radio hits as not on this (17 track!) album, this one will always stand out as the first and greatest. “She”, “When I Come Around” and “Longview” are all phenomenally good in their own right, but “Basket Case” is in a clear league of its own and deserves all of the accolades that have ever been heaped upon it.

7. “Say it Ain’t So” Weezer – 1994

There is a lot of debate about what the greatest Weezer song of all time is. What most people will not debate, however, is that it came off of the Blue Album. A number of snoots will tell you everything from Pinkerton is better than anything from their debut, but that is simply not true. And while I am not 100% sold that this is the absolute best song from Weezer, this is the most important song that came out in the decade. Also, it’s clearly the best Weezer song.

6. “Santeria” Sublime – 1996

Anyone that had any interest in music in the 90’s should still be able to repeat every one of the lyrics to this song, verbatim, right now. Every single thing about it is either flawless or nearly flawless. Fuck, this is only the 6th best song of the decade. The 90’s were a good year for music. Oh, what’s that? You don’t believe me? Well…

5. “No Surprises” Radiohead – 1997

Boom, bitches! Radiohead is back and better than ever. “No Surprises” is a surprisingly (no) underrated Radiohead song. This came out in a time where the collective pop culture hive mind was not totally ready to dig on such a softly understated tune with murky-at-best meaning. Radiohead, however, said fuck that and found a way to make people become ready to dig and actually dig the shit out of it. That’s not just impossible, it’s…okay, it’s nearly impossible. But they did it! That’s crazy!

4. “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” Neutral Milk Hotel – 1998

The latest year to get a mention on the list is still bringing a pretty fucking heavy tune. “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea”, off of Neutral Milk Hotel’s album of the same name, is a shining example of just how important your intangibles are to making your music great. While Jeff Mangum isn’t the most gifted musician of all time, the humanity and general prosody of his vocals are too haunting not to grab your attention and, if you have half of a fucking brain, make you fucking feel something. Few things on this poignant album are as poignant as this one song, and that’s a lot of poignancy for one single to handle.

3. “Fake Plastic Trees” Radiohead – 1995

Boom, bitches! Radiohead is back and this time, they’re going back to 1995. That’s right, the very best that the halfway mark of the decade had to offer is so stunningly gorgeous and enigmatically layered that all you can do is marvel at how someone could possibly conceive of writing, arranging and mustering up the balls to perform it. Radiohead was a fucking absolute force in the 90’s and I don’t know if any one of their songs is more perfect or better proves it than this one.

2. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” Nirvana – 1991

No. That is not a typo. This is the SECOND best song of the decade. There are those out there that believe this is one of the absolute best songs ever written. They are wrong. There are some that believe this song is hot garbage covered with salty cat vaginas. They are also wrong. The truth of the matter is that Kurt Cobain and his boys wrote a number of rad tunes, but none hit so vicerally as this. This song changed things in a major way and opened the doors for so many impossibly important acts that it’s not hard to see why they draw comparisons with the Beatles. And even thought the Beatles had a shit load more songs, Nirvana was able to connect with the world by screaming about an albino and his labido. Take that, Sir Paul.

1. “Creep” Radiohead – 1993

Boom, bitches! Okay, so you know how I was just talking about Radiohead? Well, this is the one song that I “couldn’t think of”. This song is, plainly put, fucking important. What Kurt started and was, however unintentionally building towards, Radiohead took and ran with. The instant the door was open, Radiohead kick it off the hinges, whipped their dicks out and started softly crying in the corner. The crazy part is how much everybody loved it. Radiohead is hugely influential and their decade was very clearly the 90’s, but even with that, the fact that they are 60% of the top five songs of the decade is something that no one could have or should have seen coming. No, Nirvana may be the poster child for the decade but Radiohead is the true talent that gave us the most amazing highs and lows to celebrate and wallow in respectively.

 

And there you have it, Filterinos. These are, without question, the best songs of the decade that was 1990. Hit me up an jasonnoble@yourpopfilter.com to lavish me with praise about how amazing and wonderful and perfectly perfect my list is. Oh, and for those who think this list is all about the songs that I personally like, notice how Modest Mouse and Biz Markie aren’t here? Yeah. I’ll also be accepting apologies at the aforementioned email address as well.

 

With Love,

Jason R. Noble

Kerri Battles the AFI’s Top 100 – #83: Titanic

I’ve been dreading this week since I first began this project. I lived through Titanic mania in 1997 when the film was released and saw it in theaters with the rest of the human population of Earth … except for maybe those tribes in the Amazon who shot arrows at helicopters. Those guys probably weren’t rushing to the theaters and didn’t have to deal with the seemingly ever-present wail of Celine Dion or the constant shouts of, “I’m the king of the world!” Huh. Spears, loincloths, and a lack of civilization as we know it is starting to sound appealing. I guess what I’m trying to say is I really, really  wasn’t looking forward to reliving this piece of 1997. At all. Ever. Unfortunately, self-imposed duty called and I was forced to answer by my own need to not cheat on this project. I hadn’t subjected myself to the nearly three and a half hour torture that is Titanic since the theaters, but I was certain that I remembered everything I was in for. Memories can be misleading.

In case you, dear reader, are a former member of one of those Amazonian tribes, let me first say congratulations on learning how to peruse the internet instead of beating your computer with a stick because it’s probably witchcraft. Now, let me provide you with a brief synopsis of Titanic. Bill Paxton is a petty treasure hunter masquerading as some sort of historian. In his search for an insanely rare diamond necklace known as the Heart of the Ocean, he meets an old woman who claims to be Rose DeWitt Bukater, a passenger who reportedly perished in the sinking. Nearly 101 year old Rose regales Paxton and his crew with the tale of her time on the ship and how she came to possess the Heart of the Ocean. Young Rose (Kate Winslet) was on board the Titanic with her mother and her wealthy but loathsome fiance, Billy Zane, whom she must marry in order to keep her mother living in the lifestyle to which she has become accustomed. Rose, desperate and seeing no way out of her terrible fate of having to marry Billy Zane, considers jumping overboard. Young steerage passenger Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio), talks her down, then saves her when she slips while trying to climb back on deck. As the two predictably fall in love, we are treated to expository dialogue that details the many ways in which the unsinkable Titanic is woefully unprepared for such a possibility. The ship hits the iceberg just as Zane is realizing his precious trophy bride is planning to leave him for steerage scum. About an hour and a half of heart-pounding and heartbreaking action ensues, culminating in poor Jack using his last freezing breaths to make Rose promise she’ll live enough for them both. Also, like 1500 other people die slow, agonizing deaths alongside them. Paxton realizes he’s misunderstood the meaning of the wreckage he’s been looting and Old Rose walks to the back of his boat and drops the priceless diamond necklace overboard and into eternal watery oblivion.

NO! WHAT? WHY OLD LADY? WHYYYY?????

Titanic is nearly three and a half hours long. That’s roughly an hour longer than it took the Titanic itself to sink. In order to give the respect truly due to the gorgeous monstrosity of human hubris and the roughly 1500 souls it took, you need time. And Cameron certainly took his. A quick Google search will tell you just how much research and effort went into making every last physical detail of the ship and its sinking as accurate as possible. He dove to the wreckage numerous times. He had the original manufacturers of the carpet resurrect the retired pattern so he could reproduce it exactly. He rescaled the original proportions of the staircase so that it would look just as impressive against today’s slightly taller person. His efforts certainly paid off. They also drove the budget up to more than the ship itself would have cost in ’97 dollars. The same, unfortunately, can’t be said of Cameron’s depiction of the passengers and crew. It’s pretty well documented that James Cameron took extreme literary license of the facts for dramatic effect and entertainment value. But that’s true of any movie that’s Based On A True Story. I mean, Psycho and Texas Chainsaw Massacre are both Based On  A True Story. In fact, they’re both based on the same true story — Ed Gein. So, yeah, it sucks that Cameron painted a man lauded as a hero in his hometown as a bumbling, bribable coward. But he’s certainly not the first one to fudge some details about Titanic in order to sell some movie tickets.

What is truly terrible about Titanic are the characters. They’re all flat, one-note characters with zero depth or layers. I could spend pages and pages detailing how simple and overt their challenges are and how predictably they overcome or succumb to them. Hell, half of that space could be spent on the fact that this movie is a perfect example of why Leonardo DiCaprio will never win an Oscar (He has resting douche face — the dude version of resting bitch face. His face was born to look douchey and punchable, no matter how cool he might actually be. It’s not his fault, but it is his burden). Instead, I’ll just say that, if you take away the sinking ship and tweak some of the details, you could just be watching Lady and the Tramp instead. But that’s okay because the love story isn’t the real reason why we’re here. It’s just the excuse, even if it is flimsy at best.

If you are here just for the love story …

As the credits rolled, it occurred to me that sometimes you need distance from the hype of a thing — in this case, 17 years of distance — to realize that maybe it’s not as overrated as you originally thought. Three and a half hours of Titanic went by a lot easier and faster than, say, three and a half hours of Ben-Hur. It’s an opulent and engrossing film, perhaps just as grand and beautiful as the ship itself. It also may be just as secretly flawed, with a predictable love story and flat, overt characters completely lacking in any subtlety or nuance. Still, those fictional characters exist for the express purpose of giving the audience a human touchstone within the elegance and the horror. Billy Zane has to be such an outrageous psychopath that he can’t wait the hour or so it would take to let the Atlantic do his dirty work for him. Instead, he has to chase Jack and Rose back into a half-sunk ship with a gun because we have to see every last second of this ship’s demise. At its base, Titanic is a disaster action flick and, from that perspective, it might really be the best of all time. — KSmith

PopFilter Podcast Episode 162

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This week, the friends discuss the merits of Interpol’s latest album, “El Pintor” and the classic Robert Bresson film “A Man Escaped”. Also, a sweet mountain is built in honor of the most iconic female lead singers of our time. If that isn’t enough, Mike and Jason scream at each other about which of two random films are better while Ryan judges as harshly as he can. It’s almost too much fun.

Email us to get your opinion on the show: contact@yourpopfilter.com

Or call and leave a voicemail: 1-562 DRDJ POP

 

Review us on iTunes!

 

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Want to record your own podcast? Check out Phantom48 for all of your electronic and recording needs!

 

PopFilter Versus Pride of Baghdad

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In the ongoing journey to educate Jason on comic books, Ryan and Mike continue forcing Brian K Vaughn down his eyeholes. This week the 3 friends discuss Pride of Baghdad, which yes, is about a group of anthropomorphized lions running around the streets of Baghdad in 2003. Sounds fun and certainly not political!

 

Email us to get your opinion on the show: contact@yourpopfilter.com

Or call and leave a voicemail: 1-562 DRDJ POP

 

Review us on iTunes!

 

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Want to record your own podcast? Check out Phantom48 for all of your electronic and recording needs!

 

 

TRAILER TRASH

TRAILER TRASH

In which we review the films opening this weekend, just based on the trailer, to 100 percent accuracy.

THE IDENTICAL


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AKA: Elvis Rights Were Too Expensive

REVIEW: Because sometimes fanfic gets made into movies, The Identical asks the question: what if Elvis had a twin brother who’s adopted parents wanted to beat him until he became a preacher but he became an Elvis impersonator instead? Got all that. I just save you 107 minutes and $14.83

SPOILER: Hes was both guys the whole time. Or he was the happy one all along? Something like that.

RATING: *(out of ****)

GOD HELP THE GIRL


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AKA: Wes Andersen’s 60′s Pop

REVIEW: It’s always interesting (read: only occasionally interesting) when an artist switches mediums. Jennifer Lopez went from Fly Girl to Pop Sensation, and the world was spellbound. Then Jennifer Lopez went from Pop Sensation to Mediocre Actress and the world shrieked in despair. Sebastian from Belle&Sebastian is transitioning from indie darling to filmmaker, and it’s…somewhere in-between JLo’s two transitions.  Before we move on, I’m well aware his name isn’t Sebastian, but I’m certainly not looking that shit up. Seb obviously poured a lot into this project (based on an album he made with others) and there’s a lot of genuine heart and behind the scenes moments of a pop group figuring out what it means to be a pop group. But there’s also generic indie movie drama of mental hospitals, and obvious love triangles that weigh down the parts that work. It’s a first effort that hopefully will lead to a more fulfilling second take on making a movie in a year or so. Or he can just sing a sad song about the experience that has countless teenage girls who write poetry crying because they know exactly what he went through, and no one else does.

SPOILER: The titular girl learns life is more about performing music, it’s about the people who do it with you, but mostly it’s about those sweet sweet royalty checks.

RATING: **1/2(out of ****)

Popfilter’s Foriegn Flick of the Week

Greece’s

Dogtooth-One-Sheet

Dogtooth

 

A few years ago, an art exhibit in Brooklyn featured painting of a black Virgin Mary splattered with elephant feces.  Not surprisingly, this got people talking. Soon enough there was a nationwide debate about what art is suppose to be and, since the exhibit received government money, whether the taxpayers should subsidize “offensive” art.

If only smell-o-vision was a thing...

If only smell-o-vision was a thing…

The artist, a British man by the name of Chris Ofili, claimed that he was challenging the idea that art should only be beautiful. And yes, this is art. It pushes sacred imagery to a perverse end and challenges the way in which the viewer places meaning on symbols. You have to ask yourself why it is offensive to have the Virgin Mary portrayed this way. Is it great art? Hell no. It lacks is any semblance of subtly. It smacks you in the face with a fistful of shit, calling you a bourgeois pig as it scoffs at you for misinterpreting the work.

"My greatest work to date. I call it butt nuggets."

“My greatest work to date. I call it butt nuggets.”

What defines a work of true quality is one that doesn’t take its audience for granted. It does this by not flat out saying what its message is. That’s what makes good art interesting; it will do something meaningful that will create a discussion. Discussion isn’t possible when art wears its message in bold print. Good art makes the viewer work a little bit for the message and will invite him or her to think about life in a way that they hadn’t before. That’s what sets Greece’s Doogtooth aside from an average film. Like Ofili’s painting, this film takes a sacred subject and pushes it to a perverse end. Dogtooth’s subject is the raising of children by parents. This movie elicits such strong feelings in the viewer. Director Yorgos Lanthimos applies such a deft hand that the strings manipulating the viewer are all but invisible. This is the story of a family with three adult children who have never left the property on which they grew up. They have had no exposure to the outside world and have had only their parents to influence them. This can be funny at times. At one point the son asks the mother what a zombie is and she tells him that they are little yellow flowers. In a later scene, he is in the yard and screams, “Mom! I found some zombies in the garden, should I bring them in?” Lanthimos has been compared to Luis Bunuel for his efforts here and the influences are visible. There is a tone, a deftness with which this film progresses that infuses each scene with a almost horror like quality.

index

This shot is an example of the subtle creepiness of the film. Lanthimos breaks the fundamental rule that the scene be broken up into thirds by making this scene symmetrical. He breaks this rule for effect. The shot seems wrong somehow, eerie and foreboding, reminiscent of the scene from The Shining with the twins.

index1

Still makes me want to run screaming from the room.

This is not a feel good, family film. It calls into question the dynamics of the nuclear unit. The infantilzation of the three grown children ranges from endearing to grotesque. The film dives into the roles that parents and children play. The job of a parent is to create a safe environment for a child to grow up in with the goal that they become successful adults. This film asks what happens when the attempt to make the kids safe is all that matters. The parents high level of control over their children puts “adulthood” on a permanent hiatus. This film is a criticism for the lies every parent tells on behalf of his or her children. When does it cross the line from protection to inhibiting the well being of children to allow them to believe in Santa Claus? This is a sacred human responsibility; it gets to the absolute heart of what we humans are trying to do with this whole life thing. We are trying to ensure the health and well being of future generations of the species. After all, the most basic definition of life is that it is DNA trying to replicate itself. How well is our species doing?

 

-Stephanie Rose

THE POPFILTER TEEVEE PREVEE

The PopFilter Fall TeeVee PreVee

ace

CABLE!

 

THE AFFAIR (SHOWTIME)

PREMIERES SUNDAY OCTOBER 12TH

WHAT IT BE:

In Treatment creators Hagai Levi and Sarah Treem jump to Showtime for this 10 episode story of two couples, and the affair that breaks them apart or brings them together, or both, seeing as how it lasts for ten episodes.

WHY IT MIGHT BE DECENT:

If you’re going to spread out the story of a married man fucking a married chick over ten episodes, you get the people who brought you something methodically paced and yet still incredibly engrossing. Nah…who am I kidding – PopFilter Hall of Famer Jimmy McNulty is the cheating husband. He looks exactly the same, by the way.

WHY IT MIGHT SUCK BUTT:

The amount of times the main character is forced to say “What’d I do?”

WHAT CHANNEL SHOULD THIS HAVE BEEN ON?

The Sundance Channel? There’s something about Showtime that feels like they need a little more hitch than a show like this would have in its giddy-up. Or maybe this is the award winner that Showtime needs to balance out their popcorny line up.

 

 

HAPPYLAND (MTV)

PREMIERES TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 30TH

WHAT IT BE:

I’m not sure how we’re going to get around that trailer, but I’ll try. There’s this girl that works at a shitty, half-rate Disneyland, who wants to live like a shitty, half-rate Disney princess, but life isn’t always what you see in the movies. Sometimes, you have toSHE FUCKED HER BROTHER.

WHY IT MIGHT BE DECENT:

Because most shows featuring incest these days are pretty good. I don’t think it’s because of the incest, but what if it is?

WHY IT MIGHT SUCK BUTT:

I don’t know if it will, but if it does, it will be its own brother’s butt.

HOW MANY EPISODES BEFORE I QUIT IT?

As many as it takes to get to that sweet twist…

 

INTRUDERS (BBCA)

PREMIERED SATURDAY, AUG 23RD

WHAT IT BE:

Based on a novel by Michael Marshall Smith, Intruders follows a former LAPD officer who is asked to stand around and guess and some crazy shit going on in a small town.

WHY IT MIGHT BE DECENT:

Because it’s the BBC, and everything they do is at least classy, if not good. Right?

WHY IT MIGHT SUCK BUTT:

This is NOT a BBC show that got shipped to America! This is a show made specifically for BBC America! Well, I never! This bad boy actually already premiered to middling reviews, with most critics citing the fact that it’s way to confusing to make up for its dumbness.

HOW MANY EPISODES BEFORE I QUIT IT?

Since I haven’t started my fall binge yet, we’ll see if I can get around watching any of these. But based on what I’ve heard so far, you have to make it through the first couple to get any idea of what’s going on.

 

KINGDOM (DIRECTV)

PREMIERES WEDNESDAY, OCT 8TH

WHAT IT BE:

A father (Frank Grillo) tries to build the next MMA superstar while keeping his gym and his family afloat.

WHY IT MIGHT BE DECENT:

It seems like we should have had a solid drama about fighting for awhile now. Kingdom seems to have picked a good role model, eschewing Lights Out for the movie Warrior.

WHY IT MIGHT SUCK BUTT:

Is the main character played by one of the Hydra agents who betrayed Nick Fury and Captain America in The Winter Soldier? Sorry, I’m out. Wait…is the future superstar played by Nick Jonas, of the Brothers Jonas? Wait…I’m back in.

WHAT CHANNEL SHOULD THIS HAVE BEEN ON?

This is one of those shows where the channel dictates how the show goes. Kingdom on FOX would be wildly different from Kingdom on FX. But for the channel to be DirecTV…that seems to scream that no one else wanted it. Then again, that’s what we used to say about AMC, and what we today say about AMC.

 

SURVIVOR’S REMORSE (STARZ)

PREMIERES SUNDAY OCTOBER 4TH

WHAT IT BE:

Grantland’s Bill Simmons’ always pitched that Entourage shouldn’t have ended, but instead should have replaced Vinnie Chase with a young black rapper, and re-started the story. Homeboy really needed more Entourage. Well, instead of a rapper, we have a young basketball player, and instead of HBO, we have Starz. Win some, lose some. Well…win rarely, lose often.

WHY IT MIGHT BE DECENT:

If this show goes the route of Mulaney, and just announces “Hey, we’re like that thing you know,” that might allow it to get over that hurdle and move forward.

WHY IT MIGHT SUCK BUTT:

If you come up and tell me you’re a douche bag, that doesn’t mean I’m all of a sudden no longer tired of douche bags. I don’t know if the world is ready yet for anything remotely resembling Entourage. 

HOW MANY EPISODES BEFORE I QUIT IT?

2. I can do two.

 

Z NATION (SYFY)

PREMIERES FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 12

WHAT IT BE:

3 years after a zombie breakout (4 years after a zombie TV show becomes a ratings record-setter), a group of people find someone who has survived a zombie bite (a group of people decide there’s enough room on TV for another one).

WHY IT MIGHT BE DECENT:

Harold Perrineau?!? Tom Everett Scott?!? DJ Qualls?!? Fuck yeah!!!

WHY IT MIGHT SUCK BUTT:

Does any channel, outside of OWN and Lifetime, have a worse track record than Syfy? This looks like it was made to suck in the same way Sharknado was, but with that they’re only asking to you HateLike something for two hours a year. This is for an hour a week. Fuck and no.

HOW MANY EPISODES BEFORE I QUIT IT?

I’ll get Mike to watch this one.

 

We did it! See you in two weeks for the 2014 Fall TV Extrvaganza!!! The

Mysteries of Laura and Red Band Society!!! Shit!!!

 

Kerri Battles the AFI’s Top 100 — #84: Easy Rider

It wasn’t until sometime Saturday afternoon, as I was heading with friends to drink beer while riding inner tubes down the Delaware River, that I realized I had no idea what movie was on deck for this week. I pulled up the list on my phone and let out a groan as soon as my eyes rested on #84. “Oooooooh Easy Rider,” my friend said, with a tone that suggested it was right up my alley. A firm, “No!” was all I could say in reply. As someone who firmly believes she was born at least 30 years too late, Easy Rider should be one of my favorites. After all, it’s hailed as Hollywood’s touchstone to the counterculture of the late 60s. Unfortunately, my desire to turn on, tune in, and drop out is far outweighed by my need for a coherent fucking narrative. Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, however, don’t appear to have been overly concerned with such filmmaking conventions.

This gif makes about as much sense here as anything that happens in Easy Rider.

To spare you the pain of having to sit through this turd, here’s a summary. Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper purchase a metric fuckton of coke from a Mexican guy. Then they immediately sell said coke to Phil Spector in a Rolls-Royce. Fonda rolls their many dollars into a rubber hose and hides it in the tear drop gas tank of his chopper. Then he and Hopper decide to head to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. They pick up a hitchhiker and drive him to his commune, where they skinny dip with some ladies and pick up some acid “to be taken at a special time with special people” before continuing on their way. Somewhere in Texas, they accidentally find themselves in the middle of a parade and try to march on their bikes as best they can. Still, they’re arrested for parading without a permit and thrown in the local jail. There, they meet Jack Nicholson’s character, a drunken ACLU lawyer who agrees to help them out. He gets Fonda and Hopper out on a minimal bail and joins them on their way to Mardi Gras for the sole purpose of visiting the Best Little Whorehouse in the South. The three stop for a bite at a diner in a small town and run afoul of the locals, including the sheriff, just by being them, man. Camping that night, they’re set upon by the locals and Nicholson is beaten to death. Fonda and Hopper leave (possibly burn?) his body and take his belongings. They head to the whore house in Nicholson’s honor and eat their special acid with some prostitutes in a Catholic cemetery while reciting the Nicene Creed. Then, on their way out of town, rednecks in a pick up shoot them both to death with shot gun and Fonda’s star-spangled chopper goes up in a burst of flames. The end.

Dafuq did I just watch?

It’s wildly apparent that Fonda and Hopper were on a plethora of drugs during the making of Easy Rider. For evidence, just re-read the above paragraph. That’s literally the entire movie. It’s not even in a nutshell. That’s just what happens. And all of that takes up maybe 30-40 minutes of the total runtime. The rest is just extensive filler scenes of Fonda and Hopper riding their bikes through the American Southwest or stoner hippies waxing existential around a campfire. Nothing of interest happens until Jack Nicholson shows up a little over halfway through, and he gets beaten to death 30 or so minutes later. The rest is just an obvious excuse for Hopper and Fonda to get high on the studio’s dime. By studio standards, it wasn’t a very large dime, so there wasn’t much of a downside for the execs, especially after the film became a box office sensation. I can only assume that this is because the entire movie-going public as a whole was also perpetually stoned in 1969. I think that’s the only way a person can find this film even remotely entertaining.

Maybe licking a hypnotoad would do it.

The AFI and critics will tell you this film deserves cultural recognition for at least a couple of reasons. The first would be the use of the soundtrack and on this point, I’d have to begrudgingly agree. As much as I loathe the film as a whole, a soundtrack full of Jimi Hendrix, The Band, The Byrds, and Bob Dylan does make it easier to get through. It makes the scenes where absolutely nothing happens much more watchable than the scenes where supposedly something is happening, but I just can’t figure out what that something is. Working against this stellar soundtrack, though, is the second reason those who should know better continue to praise the film: its editing. Fonda and Hopper, who pull double-duty as shit filmmakers and shit stars, employed jump cuts left and right in an attempt to create the disconnected and fractured feeling of being on drugs. This mistake technique is used liberally throughout the film, but most irritatingly as a transition between scenes. It’s done in a way that’s reminiscent of when VCRs were still a thing and you’d record programs off of TV. If you are the right age to remember this, then you’ll also remember when you’d try to record something on a tape that had been recorded over too many times; occasionally, what you tried to tape over would pop through in the middle of your new recording for a frame or two.  This is something that every child of the 80s will remember as an annoyance at best. To Fonda and Hopper, though, it was art, man.

MAKE. IT. STOP.

Easy Rider is objectively terrible and, as someone who spent her formative years on a mission to consume and love everything “pop” about the 60s, I’m qualified to make that judgement. It makes no great, sweeping commentary about the state of America. It’s not the story of a couple of counterculture heroes as they try to make the world a better place.  It’s just the story of a couple of drug smugglers who ride their choppers to NOLA and fuck up a bunch of people’s lives — including their own — along the way. Hell, these are guys who leave the dead body of their traveling companion to rot on the side of the road because they just have to make it to Mardi Gras, man, and take hallucinogenics with hookers. And that’s the least nonsensical piece of the “plot,” to boot. So, either the good folks over at the AFI are on copious amounts of mind-altering drugs or … Huh. I can’t think of any other logical explanation for giving this shit show valuable real estate on the list when all-time classics like Jurassic Park are conspicuously absent.  – Kerri Smith

PopFilter Podcast Episode 161

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This week, the friends are back with an all new show that will leave your balls in your shins! Listen in as they discuss the Bresson film Diary of a County Priest as well as the new CInemax show The Knick. They have a great time discussing the best fictional clergymen of all time and they may even find a way to sneak someone into the hallowed halls of the PopFilter Hall of Fame. Like I said, the friends will leave your balls in your shins.

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TOP TEN- BLAST FROM THE PAST

THE POP FILTER TOP TEN

BLAST FROM THE PAST:

We at YourPopFilter are aware how intimidating it can be to wade your way through years of back content. And we’re aware the viewership is growing all the time (thanks for that bt dubs!). So every once in awhile we’ll pull something from the murky past and throw it at you again. 

B-LEVEL COMIC CHARACTERS WHO DESERVE A MOVIE

(Originally posted Oct. 10 2011)

10-Black Widow

Black Widow, Natasha Rominov, Marvel comics

The Black Widow is a devastatingly attractive and deadly lady-assassin that will fuck you and then kill you. Most movies have to make pretty ridiculous stretches to get a character like that and this movie would be based around one. She wears all black, she fights some people, fucks a guy and then kills even more people. This would be one of the greatest shove-popcorn-down-your-gullet-until-you-can’t-breath movies of all time. And if it starred S.J., we might finally get to see a titty or two. Unless you already saw them on the internet, in which case it could star somebody else, with titties we have only dreamt of seeing. I’m looking at you Camryn Manheim. – JRN

9- Harley Quinn

Harley Quinn, Harlene Quinzell, Joker, Batman villains

Dressed like Lady Gaga at an awards show, Harley Quinn is an awesome character well deserving of her own feature. With her roots as a Joker hench-woman, her story would be crazy-nuts. Rumor has it that she was supposed to be a post-Batman & Robin movie with Madonna slated to play Ms. Quinn sharing co-Bad-guy duties with Scarecrow. I’m glad that wasn’t ever done, because it would be way cooler if she was depicted in a grittier style…I’d seriously get a boner if Hayden Panettiere was cast in this role and she was able to be a royal bitch.  That would be heavenly. -LF

8-Bucky

Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier

People not staying dead is very much a part of comic book history.  If a character dies, you can’t make money off him.  It’s that simple.  But for a very long time, Bucky Barnes was one of the few notable exceptions.  He died in the 60′s and when they finally did decide to revive him ($$$) they pulled out all the stops.  In one of the most badass retcons in Marvel history, it turns out Bucky was trained by the US government to do the dirty work Captain America couldn’t stoop to.  After his ‘death’ the Russians revived him, gave him a sweet bionic arm turned him into a super assassin.  Eventually he gets better and even becomes Captain America for a while before he…uh, dies.  Either way, this would be an awesome movie about human nature, the loss of innocence and bionic arms.  The fact that secret assassin Bucky hooks up with Black Widow doesn’t hurt either. -DT

7-Iron Fist

Iron Fist, Danny Rand

If you’re just judging by costume,  Iron Fist can seem kind of lame.  His green spandex and yellow mask don’t exactly invoke fear in the hearts of criminals but look past it and Iron Fist is one of the coolest superheroes in the Marvel Universe.  Besides the power of the Iron Fist, which is a pretty awesome glowing power fist, Iron Fist has a fuck ton of martial arts skills that he can fuck you up with.  Basically he’s bestowed this power by the magic city of K’un L’un, who picks a warrior once every generation.  It’s kind of like Mortal Kombat, but with spandex.  Anyway, Iron Fist didn’t always used to be so awesome as he was created to  be kind of a cheesy kung fu character.  Then Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction started writing him, added a healthy dose of grit to his adventures and he became one of the coolest heroes in the Marvel library.  If you follow that story, this would make for a  pretty excellent flick.  Just get Ryan Gosling to play Danny Rand.  He looks the part and if he can make something like Drive semi-successful at the box office then he could be box office gold here.  I’m just going to hope that  the superhero fad doesn’t die down any time soon because then maybe Marvel will run out of ideas and finally make this movie a reality.

6- Jessica Jones

Alias, Jessica Jones

Jessica Jones is a more recent edition to the Marvel universe.  Granted the standard superpowers of strength, endurance and flight through the standard radioactive accident, her character is initially pretty vanilla.  Then she falls under a villains mind control and is subjected to Dean Koontz levels of sexual depravity.  (That guy writes about rape a lot.)  Kind of soured on the whole costume thing she tries to escape the super powered world by opening a private detective agency, only to find that her only clients are super heroes who need someone who understands how their world works.  A gritty noir-style murder mystery where a woman with a troubled past is drawn back in to a world she hates to solve one last crime?  In the climactic fight sequence instead of guns, they throw cars at each other?  It writes itself. -DT

5- The Great Machine

Ex Machina, The Great Machine

The Great Machine is the story of what would happen if a superhero capitalized on his fame to run for Mayor of New York. It has everything: religion, politics, super hero antics, personal struggle and triumph, cross-dimensional conquerors…it’s basically begging for a movie. Brian K. Vaughan is a genius, and proved he can work the screen when he made Lost watchable again for a while. He would write, Aaronovsky directs because he’s the best, and I executive produce. Find me another comic where a super hero has to figure out who’s murdering garbage truck drivers and who spray painted the ‘N-word’ on a picture of Lincoln at the same time. You can’t…those are impossibly specific challenges. -DT

4-Lobo

Lobo, DC comics

I’m totally gonna blow my cover here, but I don’t know shit about comic book characters unless movies have been made. But once I heard about Lobo, I really thought: “I want to see that movie” which might’ve happened if Guy Ritchie hadn’t made ANOTHER Sherlock Holmes franchise that kept him too busy to finish making this one. I am glad it didn’t get made, though, because I really want to see him in a movie as the perennial villain, like the kind that doesn’t die at the end of the movie and maybe forces a sequel. The other thought I had was if he starred in a parody movie as the retarded anti-Wolverine with muscles and no brain. I am not sure where the nerd stance is on genre self-parody, but I can promise you it wouldn’t be as campy as Stan Helsing. I’m picturing the writing acumen of the X-men animated TV series, but with real actors and a sweet special FX budget. I could envision the group of super heroes/villains sitting around in one scene passing around a mutant bowl of weed and giggling hysterically. Wait a second. What am I talking about? NO ONE would watch this movie. I need a better plan. Can somebody call Guy Ritchie?-LF

3-Y the Last Man

Y the Last Man, Yorick, Ampersand

It’s easy to say that things should be nine movie franchises, or HBO series, so that every comic in the run can be transfered from the page to the screen. Seing as how neither of the these things is likely to happen for any comic book, tackling the Y: The Last Man movie is a little scary. The sixty issue maxi-series follows Yorick Brown and his pet monkey Ampersand, as they travel across the country as the two last keepers of the Y-chromosome, after every male human and animal in the world dropped dead. Can all 60 issues be whittled down to one movie? Maybe. But as great as Yorick’s unfolding story is, it’s writer/creator Brian K. Vaughn’s character play and dialogue that carry this thing. I don’t care if the movie covers one issue or all 60, as long as Vaughn has a hand in writing it. – RH

2-Invincible

Image comics, Invincible

Is Invincible the greatest superhero comic of all time? Probably not. But if it was the last superhero comic of all time, I think that would be O.K. Mark Grayson is the halfbreed son of a human and a Viltrumite, an alien race in which every member has superpowers (and moustaches). Invincible is the perfect example of how a comic can be a little post-modern, deftly guided by creators who know their comic history, and the exact amount to borrow from the past, particulary Spidey and Supes. But it’s a great original comic in it’s own right as well, creating an entire universe filled with allies and enemies. It’s also not a title that dozens of franchises or millions of dollars depend on, giving writer Robert Kirkman the ability to do whatever he wants in his universe, an odd place where dead means dead. It’s also violent as shit. – RH

1-The Boys

The Boys, Garth Ennis, Wee Hughie, Simon Pegg

There are two main reasons why I am right and I win. 1) The Boys comic is so obviously the next step in superhero comic book movies. The disillusionment of Watchmen and meta-awareness of Kick-Ass is brought to fulfillment in The Boys. The “good guys” are assholes and rapists, (obviously- we all went to high school, right?) and it is up to the creeps and the rejects to keep them in check. The creeps are super creepy, though. So there are no good guys. Also, 2) the main character, Wee Hughie, should so obviously be played by Simon Pegg that I thought he was played by him in the comic. If they do make this movie, I expect casting credit. I also expect a puke bucket, because it is gory as shit.-KA