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** (out of ****)




Hulu and Netflix shows are fun to review because I can use the amount of shows I watch in a row as a determinate to how good they are. I’m typically very happy when there’s only one terrible episode of a network show to review, because most of them are so stinky, but with online “channels,” I can stop whenever I want. It turns out this isn’t the best gauge, however, as Deadbeat isn’t the worst show I’ve ever reviewed – it might not even be a bad show – but I couldn’t wait for the first episode to be over, much less watch more of the nine other episodes that were available to me. Well, fuck. Now I have to come up with other shit to say about the show.


When a show has character issues, we usually think that means it has no characters, or its characters are all two-dimensional. This is a problem, obviously, but it’s not a solution to make your characters (or in this case, character) three dimensional by giving him the same hacky traits and line-delivery-methods, that we were tired of five years ago. I don’t mind that Deadbeat‘s budget is obviously low, or they don’t have a ton of money to spend on special effects. I expect it when I go to watch a show produced for a website. But that does put a little more emphasis on the things that you can make better for free, like tighter scripts, better jokes, and a fresher lead performance. That, I do expect, at least if you’re going to get me to watch more than one.


Deadbeat tells the story of Kevin, an overweight-slacker-loser-pothead-tells-it-like-it-is-tactless-rude-but-still-sweet-when-he-needs-to-be. He plays one of the most cliched character tropes of our time: Stoner with a Heart of Gold. The trope doesn’t need to smoke weed, he (almost always a he) just needs to display the sort of ambition and worldview that a stereotypical movie/TV stoner would. So this show is Stoner with a Heart of Gold is also a medium who can see ghosts and help them with whatever bullshit they need to do to get our purgatory and get to heaven. So it’s not a premise we’ve necessarily seen before, but it is a character we’ve seen a billion times placed in a scenario we’ve seen a billion times.


Kevin is played by Tyler Labine, who comes with his own fanbase, thanks to Dale and Tucker Vs Evil, and to lesser extent, Reaper. And to a much, much lesser extent, Animal Practice. And throughout all of these roles, Labine has probably worked up something of a go-to persona. Unfortunately, there’s not enough go-to in the basket, yet, and it feels too much like a character we’ve seen before, and have long since grown tired of. I’m not saying this entire trope needs to be thrown out, but Labine needs to, either through improv or the script, find ways to tweak Kevin. His persona can even stay in tact. Typically with things like this, Kevin = Tyler, and Tyler = Kevin, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Tyler Labine could be the most boring person in the world, but that doesn’t matter to us. We’re not watching Tyler, we’re watching Kevin.


It’s not that the plotlines, or little “missions” that Kevin has to go on each episode, are bad. It’s that the showrunners don’t care about them. That’s not the story they want to tell. They want to have a guy that they think is funny interact with wacky characters, and make a show that gets you to laugh out loud. And that’s fine. The missions don’t have to be the most interesting part of the show. But what that means is that Tyler and the writers have less time to get this character and these laughs figured out. And just because all ten episodes were placed on Hulu at the same time, don’t think that means that they didn’t have time to figure it out. Don’t think that the only way people can get better at their jobs is if they have dicks on the internet yelling complaints at them every week. It’s still totally possible, even without your help.


- Ryan Haley

CountDown: AntiHeroes


What makes a hero a Hero? And what’s the dividing line between a Hero, an AntiHero, and a villain? To get to the boot– fuck this. IN this week’s CountDown the friends scream at each other their top 5 personal favorite AntiHeroes. You know the drill!



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It seems like the Weekend Update hosts don’t have to do a whole lot else on the rest of the show, so when Cicely Strong was given the job, I was happy for her, but sad for me, because we were going to lose the show’s strongest character creator. She doesn’t have any great impressions, or characters that are wacky enough to get their own movie, but she’s perfect at taking a plain ol’, regular-ass person, and giving them an authentic twang, and the perfect amount of crazy that makes you want to know more, as opposed to wanting to see them less. Although she has had her weeks where she’s really just the WU anchor, this week gave Strong a few great roles. None, however, were better than this one, as half of a honky, dog-owning couple  (they have real kids too, but don’t seem to give a shit). What starts as a commercial for healthier dog food, turns into every fight I’ve ever been in with every girlfriend I’ve ever had, not to mention every fight I’ve ever seen any couple have. Rogen makes for a pretty good straight man, but it’s Strong’s knowledge of how hard to push and pull the Crazy Lever that makes this the shining moment of the night. – RH


No one NEEDS to know what mofongo is. All you need to know is that David Ortiz digs on this shit real hard. This impression is not just good; it’s completely whacky. I don’t personally know David Ortiz, but his take on how to eat and how to do a commercial is mezmorizing. Add to that the fact that his solution for depression it to be “not sad”, and you’ve got yourself a perfect four minutes of Weekend Update absuridty. – JRN


You know how Ryan was just saying that Cecily Strong going to Weekend Update was both awesome and a giant bummer? Well, he was. And I agree. Fortunately, however, this week gave her plenty to do, with this skit being the height. Everyone has a family member that they might be embarrassed of, but here Cecily creates a character that is easy to be worried about while she is straight up defending you. Now, no one necessarily knew that Rogan’s character was a dick slurper, but Cecily’s insistance on two main facts make this skit perfect. To begin with, he only did it once. Oh, that’s not enough? Fine, the dude he did it to was asleep. Problem solved, or so her character thinks. There is a depth here that is rarely seen on television, let alone SNL. Bravo, Cecily. This was your week. – JRN



Just minutes after giving one his best SNL performances of his career, as Boston Red Sock David Ortiz, Kenan Thompson sucked all of the good will he had just earned out of the room with this steaming pile. Devoid of jokes, or a sensible premise, or an anchoring impression or performance, Undercover Sharpton becomes one of the biggest head scratchers of the the season so far. It’s hard to imagine what convinced…anyone, really, that this was a good idea. – RH


I guess I was supposed to be annyoed by this character, but come on. This “funny” voice made my fucking skin crawl. That, coupled with the fact that this dude simply refused to say or do anything funny, makes me wonder why this one even aired. What’s even more frightening to consider, however, is the fact that something got cut in order for this shit to make it to the final show. I shudder to think what kind of Satan’s jizz that garbage was. – JRN

The List

The List Presents:

Top Ten Pretentious Moments in Modern Music

I know that The Decemberists are a divisive band. Some people love their intensity and use of often long forgotten instrumentation. Other people hate their pretentious faces because every pretentious thing they do is painfully and pretentiously stuffed with pretension. I am in the first camp and, much to the infuriation of the opposition, love their pretentious little faces. It got me thinking that, while they might be the current whipping boys of this topic, they are certainly not alone. With that in mind, I present to you, in no particular order, the 10 times that modern music has been perfectly pretentious.

Naming an Album “Picaresque” (The Decemberists)

This may be an easy one to pick on, but it’s a curious choice by the band. One would assume, knowing this band at all, that a concept album following a silly and dishonest character would follow. Unbelievably, however, the band just makes a rad album full of good music. I guess they just want people to know that they know the word “picaresque”. Pretentious? Yes. Terrific album? Absolutely.

“Basket Ball Get Your Groove Back” (Deerhoof)

This song is fucking banana splits. To begin with, all your hear is a bouncing basket ball. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a very odd guitar riff and minimalist lyrics start trickling in. There is no regard for time or time signatures, the lyrical content is purely absurd and everything about this song is a general mess. Unfortunately, it is all tied together that you have to marvel at the ability of this band to take such a lofty and pretentious idea and turn it into something much more.

“The Grey Album” and All of the Ensuing Madness (DJ Danger Mouse)

I remember when this came out and blew the pants off of people’s minds. You did what?! With who?! You so crazy, DJ Danger Mouse! And yes, this is a loftily ambitious project, lauded with an appropriate amount of praise. What I have a hard time with is the fact that Danger Mouse was surprised when his shit got fucked. “What do you mean I can’t just mash two incredibly famous things together without permission?”, he would say in his stupidest voice. This album lead to a serious debate about right of first use and freedom of speech, so while this particular album may not be the most pretentious, the righteous indignance and disregard for others give this album a hearty boost of pretension.

“The Mariner’s Revenge Song” (The Decemberists)

Oh, where are we to begin with this one? Calling someone a ‘rake and roustabout’? Check. Talking about a ‘magistrate’ and ‘urchins in the street’? Check. Some vague references to consumption? Double check. This is a 9 minute masterpiece involving revenge, heartbreak and justice. It’s also one of the most arrogant, pretentious and amazing songs released in the last 20 years.

“American Idiot” (Green Day)

I know that this one might fall more under the category of “hubris” or “blind ambition”, but the pretentiousness is here, and in spades. First of all, this little punk band from San Francisco has TWO songs that tip just over NINE MINUTES. That’s ridiculous. Then there’s the whole “punk rock concept album”. And don’t forget the fact that they made this thing into a full blown fucking Broadway stage show. And if you think that wasn’t the idea the entire time, you’re a bit of a dolt. You can’t deny how good this album is, but you also can’t deny the salty pretension that’s all over the face of this one.

The Music Video for “Two Weeks” (Grizzly Bear)

These guys are like the Beach Boys on acid. Which is insane, because the Beach Boys dropped a shit ton of acid. And while this song has all the sweet harmonies, soaring melodies and classical arrangements of a Beach Boys song, the video is an oddly pretentious look at how cool these guys think they are. Those big, bug eyes and holy spirit-esque light pouring out from their every pour all point to a group of dude who may be just a touch too big for their (presumably very tight) britches.

“Kid A” (Radiohead)

This entire album is a bit pretentious, but this song in particular is full of self-important garbage. From a band that you thought you liked, comes a song that’s just layered synths and mumbled gibberish! Hooray! And the worst part? They claimed to be doing all of this shit to save their beloved rock and roll. If that’s not stinky, sweaty pretension, I don’t know what is.

“The Rake’s Song” (The Decemberists)

This is the most pretentious moment on a concept album that is riddled with them. The song is about the narrator of the album and how his wife died birthing their fourth child and how he killed the other three to be free. Here are the highlights:

- His four children are named Charlotte, Dawn, Isaiah and Myfanwy

- He kills his three children by feeding them foxglove, drowning and physically beating and then burning the body.

- He discusses his idea for murder while rhyming the words pest and divest.

Again, this is an incredible song, just admittedly dripping in sweet, dark pretension.

“Með Suð í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust” (Sigur Ros)

To begin, this is a phenomenal album. Okay, that’s out of the way. Originally, this album was going to be in English, which would have been a departure for the band. They then decided to translate it back to Icelandic, which makes sense because that’s where they’re from. Now for the pretentious: some of the songs remained in English, others were translated fully to Icelandic, others still were a mash of the two and some songs were sung in their signature “Vonlenska”, otherwise known as a complete gibberish language that is used to compliment the aesthetic and feel of the melodies and music. Let that sink in and get back to me.

“Reflektor” (Arcade Fire)

For a band that has built up a lot of goodwill over the years with excellent albums, they dropped this bloated, stinking turd on the world. The charm of this band is their passion, their power and their raw ability to attack something so hard you fucking feel it in your dick. This album is polished and tidy that all of the charm of “Funeral” is gone and replaced with the fun of being stabbed in the neck with a number two pencil. The problem is that the band started believing their own hype, and since this album was unbelievably critically and commercially successful, it hurts me to think about how much further down the pretentious rabbit hole this band might fall.


And there you have it. Stay tuned next week when the list returns to start chipping away at the back half of the best album of the 90′s. Until then, stay stupid.


With Love,

Jason R. Noble

PopFilter Podcast 141


This week, the friends wrap up their Bunuel blind spot with Belle de Jour, and fight Ryan’s childhood by watching Last Action Hero. Also, reviews of HBO’s new show Silicon Valley and the new-to-Blu Ray Double Indemnity.

Listen, Fellas, I Don’t Get It Either – The Real Housewives Of….

In 2006, Bravo started airing The Real Housewives of Orange County, a sculpted reality series that follows a group of wealthy, ostensibly beautiful women who are all friends because of their shared interests in money, plastic surgery, and day-drinking on weekday afternoons, when they are least likely to be faced with the grotesque sight of any Poors.  The show was apparently so successful that the network felt it necessary to create nearly identical iterations in New York, Atlanta, New Jersey, D.C., Miami, Beverly Hills, Vancouver, France, Melbourne, and Athens. Some of these were less successful than others, but they’ve all managed to garner some kind of an audience. By “some kind,” I obviously mean droves of chicks who just can’t seem to get enough.

That chick in the middle isn’t even on the show anymore — she’s been replaced with her ex-boyfriend’s new blonde.

Why Chicks Love It

Surprisingly, many of the cast members on these shows are actually intelligent, successful women with legitimate, impressive careers. There are lawyers, journalists, real estate agents, entrepreneurs, and the like. These aren’t exactly careers you can just dabble in as a hobby and suddenly discover one day that you’ve accidentally made a name for yourself. It didn’t even work that way for Elle Woods — there were multiple montages of her studying real hard in Legally Blonde, okay? Yet, despite all their intelligence and education, they’re still concerned with the label inside their dress, the size of the rock on their finger, and which of their backstabbing whore friends called them a bitch this week. So, see?? If intelligent, successful women are also petty and superficial, then it’s totally okay for normal girls to feed into the same  bitch-pack mentality! It’s proof positive that they don’t have to be “better than that” because there is no better than that. This is just how females are intrinsically — perpetually worried about who is the prettiest and who has the best stuff and whether or not they have a handsome man to validate their lives. Chicks want to watch chicks be shitty to other chicks on TV because it gives them permission to (continue to) be shitty to other chicks in real life and still call those other chicks their BFFs.

One of these women is a practicing attorney. And one of them is NeNe Leakes.

Why It’s So Very, Very Bad

If the previous paragraph didn’t convince you, let me explain further. Just being a female in this world is as close to living in Westeros as a real live human being can get. In my 32 years on this planet, I’ve witnessed some of the most heinous girl on girl crime imaginable, from shit talking and backstabbing to creating and pretending to be fake online boyfriends (oh the naivete of the 90s) just to ultimately crush their friends’ hearts. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve been guilty of some of it myself — in the Game of Cunts, you win or you die and everyone must play. When I was a kid, there were three other girls in my neighborhood that I played together with all the time. One day, one of these girls, “Suzy,” decided she didn’t like another one of these girls, “Betsy.” She somehow convinced me and the remaining girl that we should cut Betsy out completely from all of our playdates. I don’t remember the details now, but I’m sure we weren’t kind about it as Betsy’s mom eventually organized a tea with all of us and our respective mothers to see what we could do to correct the situation. It was a lot like a mafia sit down between feuding families, but there were petits fours and way more pleases and thank yous. It was a child’s version of the exact same shit you see happening on any given episode of any one of these Real Housewives shows right after the episode where someone called someone else a bitch and threw a drink in her face. The only real difference is that I was about 11. These are grown women — women with apparent intelligence and successful careers — who still cling desperately to the High School Mean Girl mentality. They pump their bodies full of plastic and chemicals and botulism (never forget, Ladies, that that’s exactly what Botox is) and paint their faces with shellac and a trowel, then wear the sluttiest, skimpiest dress and the tallest, thinnest heels they can find in order to attend a social event on a fucking Wednesday night, all for the sole purpose of confronting their ex-bestie for being a bitch and a whore.  And millions of women tune in each week to bear witness to these inane displays because these women are supposed to be who all women want to be. They’re vacuous and self-centered and really contribute nothing of value to the greater good of humanity, but OH MAN, the clothes! And the shoes and the jewelry! And the cars and the husbands! ALL THE THINGS!

If I’m to believe what Bravo is selling, that all women, deep down, really just want to be the grownup version of Homecoming Queen, then I’m going to need to see something else. Something like The Real Justices of the Supreme Court, where Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor get into hair-pulling slap fights because GOD KNOWS that Ginsburg bitch looks like the type to tell you to your face that your Supreme Court Justice robes look really good on you, then call Sandra Day O’Connor that night to let her know that she missed out on how fat your earrings made you look.

Just kidding — these women are all my heroes and Ruth Bader Ginsburg is precisely the kind of “bitch” I aspire to be.



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


Download | YouTube MP3 Converter

AKA: $$$$

REVIEW: Kids are idiots. At least that’s what movie studios and parents think when they assume kids will love a sequel to the most forgotten CGI cartoon of the new millennium. Also, they’re idiots because they will probably like it. There’s silly voices, bright colors, fart jokes, singing, brig colors, singing, jokes they don’t get not because they’re adult but because they’re not really jokes. What more could they want? I’m sure this movie will try to teach kids about the importance of family, and going where you’re not comfortable and blah blah blah. Hopefully the kids realize that’s all bullshit and walk out of the theater.

SPOILER: Apparently, Rio 2 assumes kids are going to LOVE the Cats reference. Because everyone knows kids love old Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals.

RATING: *(out of ****)



Download | YouTube MP3 Converter

AKA: Moneyer Ballier

REVIEW: Very not hot on the heels of another sports movie determined to show that the drama off the field is just as exciting as that on the field, Draft Day mediocrely and meekly shuffles into theaters this week. In his attempt at a Costnaissance, Kevin’s Realized he can’t only make movies ripping of Liam Neeson, and now he’s going for the Brad Pitt move. Maybe next month we’ll see him a Southern father raging against the uncaring cruelty of nature and life while wife attempts to bring grace into their children’s lives. Or maybe he’ll make a follow up wo this, mixing his two new paths, called Draft Day 2: Another Day to Draft where he holds everybody up at gunpoint until he can decide which college players HE wants goddamnit. This movie is dumb.

SPOILER: Breakout role for nobody.

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

CountDown: Ultimate Soundtrack Mixtape


Movies, at best, have one good song. And their songs everyone knows, from watching the movie over, and over, and over again. SO when you’re on a long ass road trip with your boring ass friends, pop in the Ultimate Soundtrack Mixtape– guaranteed to make you all sing your guts out.


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


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This is going to be a rough fight against SNL this week. Anna Kendrick’s episode was filled – I mean, FILLED – with music. She sang, she danced, she sang and danced some more – and some of it was decent. But we bring you these skits through Hulu, which doesn’t have, or want to have, the rights to any of that music. So if you watched the show on Hulu, it seemed very short, and very Kendrick-lite. So, without further adieu, Jason and I present the “Best and Worst of what Hulu has allowed us  to see from this week’s SNL.” We’ll probably just stick with the original title. Let’s start with a musical skit that actually made it on screen. Apparently this is a recurring bit, but I’ve never seen it before, so I got to freshly enjoy the batshit, before I get annoyed with it the next time I see it. I don’t know if it’s making fun of our ignorance of other cultures, or the ignorance of other cultures, but who cares? Anna Kendrick and cups, right? – RH


I’m not sure who got this on, but here is another example of why Kyle Mooney needs to be on SNL. If you watched the entire show, there were some highs and more than a couple lows. But nothing, and I mean abso-fucking-lutely nothing is funnier, both in context and out, than “two poos in a pod”. And if that wasn’t enough, Beck Bennett has two lines and kills them both. This is what I want from my SNL. – JRN


These reccuring characters are difficult for me. On the one hand, they make fun of how terrible Fox News is. On the other hand, duh. It’s terrible. Can I please have some jokes? This week, they decided to answer my question with a resounding ‘yes’, and the results were not bad. In truth, this skit makes the hit list because of how fucking terrific it made Anna Kendrick look. Her time on screen was small but her character was great and if she was reading off a cue card, you would never know. And for a host, that is a spectacular feat. – JRN




SNL has been regularly giving all of the girls a moment or two to sing and dance about things girls think are funny. Most of them have been pretty good, like the song about hooking up in your childhood bedroom on Thanksgiving, but this one was pretty fucking lame. The song wasn’t good, and the premise barely held together. Apparently, this group of women fly to exotic places, fill up on exotic dongs, and then one minute later, fly home. Super – RH


Fucking stop it. Just fucking stop it. This guy wasn’t funny once, and now this is the fourth or fifth time we go back to this well? And for as awesome as the Fox and Friends skit was for Anna Kendrick, this one was equally bad. In fact, this skit has never made a host look anything better than incompetent. Fuck you, principal Frye. Fuck you a bunch. – JRN

Top Ten – Movie Urban Legends

Movie Urban Legends



It was just like any other night for James Bond, he makes an entrance in a swanky casino, foils the cheating scheme of an International criminal, and takes the guy’s secretary to bed as his reward.  But next thing you know Oddjob knocks him out cold and when he comes to pretty Jill Masterson  has been suffocated to death by being covered in gold paint…actually that’s not really too far out of the ordinary for Bond either. But it is out of the ordinary for say, reality. That’s not how breathing works, it’s just science. Yet ever since 1964 people have sworn up and down that that wasn’t just your run of the mill disposable Bond Girl death, but the actual dead body of actress Shirley Eaton who shared her character’s gruesomely gilded demise. I literally just read YouTube comments stubbornly insisting she died for real making the movie written this year. The fact that Eaton only acted for a handful of years after Goldfinger then disappeared from the public eye couldn’t have helped, I give 60’s audiences a pass for that one but not Millenials with the entire freaking internet at their fingertips.  The easily-verifiable truth is she’s very much alive to this day; it’s just not nearly as exciting a story to have an actress quit Hollywood for her family as it is for one to be dipped in gold preserved as a Bond Girl for all eternity.

The Poltergeist Trilogy


Poltergeist is the classic tale about a bunch of ghosts so pissed off at the construction on top of their graves they take to killing the family living inside. So you would imagine the people spending months working in a movie telling that story would know better than to use real human skeletons as props. You would be wrong. And thus is the beginning of the fatal Poltergeist curse that claimed four lives of the course of three movies. Veteran actors Will Samson and Julian Beck portrayed the good and evil spirits respectively in the second film, and both died shortly after its theatrical release. Dominique Dunn was strangled to death by her boyfriend shortly after her first turn as older daughter and panty flasher Dana Freely. And poor little Heather O’Rourke who played adorably creepy Carol Anne in all three films was only 12 when she died suddenly of septic shock shortly before the wrap of the third. Looks like the spirits finally got that delicious life force of hers.


The Crow

The Crow

It’s true Brandon Lee tragically died while filming The Crow, thus cementing himself forever as the Goth River Phoenix. While shooting a scene a prop gun misfired and Lee took a dummy round to the chest with the same force of a real bullet. But contrary to mythology the actual death footage isn’t part if the movie, it’s fairly obvious they finished the last few scenes with Lee’s stunt double using as much obscured view as possible. Less easy to explain away is the rumor that Lee was killed by the same Chinese Mafia who were responsible for his father Bruce Lee’s suspicious death, as retribution for exposing martial arts secrets…which incidentally sounds like a way better movie.

Three Men and a Baby

Three Men and a Baby

You’re just minding your own business, watching the hijinks three, wacky bachelors struggle to take care of an infant when HOLY SHIT WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT CREEPY THING?!?!?! Why in the middle of a light-hearted 80’s romp is there a terrifyingly evil looking little boy staring at me through the camera like he wants to eat my soul? Oh because a nine-year old boy killed himself with a shotgun in the house the movie was filmed in of course ,everyone on the internet knows that. Except he didn’t. The movie was actually filmed on a sound stage not a real house. What looks like Damien himself is actually a cardboard cutout of Ted Danson that was used in scenes cut from the final version of the film. So we can all go back to regular viewings of this beloved classic now…or you know, just let it slip back into obscurity.

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Indiana Jones

In arguably the most famous scene of the Indiana Jones franchise our hero is backed against the wall by a skilled sword fighter. As the bad guy tries to intimidate with intricate moves and war cries, Indy looks at him tiredly and shoots him dead because ‘aint nobody got time for that. Turns out the brilliance of that gag was all because Harrison Ford had diarrhea. True story. Some bad Tunsian food or something gave him dysentery while on location, yet he was still expected to film a three page action scene where he heroically snatches the sword with his sweet whip skills. Ford suggested he just shoot the sucker and call it a day. {Insert Han shot first joke here}

The Lion King/ The Rescuers/The Little Mermaid

Lion KingLittle Mermaid Penis


You know you’re a 90’s kid if you spent hours trying to get these happy shiny classics paused just right on the VCR to giggle over dirty Disney. Everyone knows when Simba does the life-is-so-hard emo flop, dust particles rise into the air to spell SEX…and if you didn’t know there’s always that friend who just has to prove it to you. And while the official explanation is rumored to actually be planted by special effects team as a signature spelling S-F-X, I couldn’t find a single reputable Disney source stating as such, just a bunch of internet speculation. Similar story with the apparently penis-obsessed The Little Mermaid. Rumor had it a disgruntled animator inserted a rather phallic spire to the underwater castle but tons of poorly cited blogs claim the guy came forward to say it was a coincidental product of an all-nighter rather than a fuck you on his way out the door. But there’s no explaining away the flash of very non-animated boobies in The Rescuers that would’ve shocked Miss Bianca and Bernard had they turned around at the right moment. It’s such a blatant gaffe Disney blew the whistle on itself, three days after the 1999 home movie re-release millions of copies were recalled. Which of course only drives up the sales on e-bay for that  vintage original pre-recall VHS copy you’ve been holding onto all these years.The Rescuers

 The Wizard of Oz


Because it’s been beloved and tolerated for it’s really no surprise the number of rumors and legends about the classic top almost any other film. Some are completely true, for example the shabby coat worn by Professor Marvel when he meets Dorothy was bought from a thrift store for its second-hand appearance but upon closer inspection truthfully was very coincidentally owned by the book’s author Frank L. Baum. And Buddy Ebson was indeed initially cast as the Tin Man but had to quit when he contracted a deadly lung infection from the silver aluminum mixed into the original body paint.  But did a depressed munchkin really commit suicide by hanging right there onscreen as the gang skips merrily past? Not a chance. Digitally re-mastered footage very clearly shows that the vague shape seemingly swinging is actually a large emu, one of the film’s many animal cast members. And generations of stoners were heartbroken when Pink Floyd stated they did not purposefully sync up Dark Side of the Moon with the film. Or maybe they just didn’t want to be known as friends of Dorothy…



This one’s so old it may actually be the original urban legend of the silver screen. Lush and overblown classic of the MGM golden era, Ben-Hur was the most expensive film of its time and the most dangerous. They racked up an unknown number of human and animal deaths filming the climactic chariot race, all in the name of authenticity in Le Cinema. The most spectacular death of all was the stunt double for big bad Messala who is said to have been a little too committed to the craft and actually died while filming the spectacular antagonist-killing crash. A juicy little rumor hints the fatal shot was purposefully left in by the director against the wishes of the grieving widow. But is it true? It’s a bit murky because there’s more than one Ben Hur, specifically four theatrical releases as of 2003. So while Chuck Heston’s autobiography swears up and down nobody was seriously injured on his watch that doesn’t preclude earlier versions. The 1929 film had an actual death toll so alarming they completely replaced all race footage originally shot in Italy for a tamer reshoot in California, because it’s impossible to race half-assedly in Italy I guess.

The Omen

The Omen

Lightning only strikes once…unless of course you’re involved in an unlucky movie about Satan and possibly cursed by him. Three times in fact while shooting, three different planes carrying actors and producers of the film were struck by lightning. And once a Gregory Peck came thisclose to getting on a plane that ended up crashing and killing everyone on board. Director Richard Donner had the misfortune of not only getting hit by a car during production but being in a hotel bombed by the IRA. Basically Satan got pissed these guys were making light of his presence and tortured everyone involved. In the most obviously prophetic scenario, special effects artist John Richardson, who had created the scene where the photographer gets beheaded, was in a tragic car accident with his girlfriend – she was beheaded. **whispers scarily** Legend has it as Richardson crawled away from the crash he saw a road sign for the town of Ommen, 66.6km. **ooowoooooo**

The Shining

The Shining

Kubrick is a filmmaker who knows how to get attention, whatever you opinions on his movies you have to give him that. His legendary attention to detail and habit of leaving damn near everything up to interpretation are the perfect conditions for the very craziest of myths and theories surrounding his work.  The most bonkers of all claims The Shining is one big allegorical confession from the filmmaker about his involvement in faking the 1966 Moon landing. Seriously there are people who believe this. There are entire books and documentaries hysterically pointing to hundreds of “signs” all throughout the movie. Obviously Kubrick denies the whole thing which only fuels the conspiracy because there’s nothing nut jobs love more than a cover-up! I’d list the evidence but if you honestly believe the Moon landing was fabricated for TV you deserve to have Buzz Aldrin ambush you at work and punch you in the face. – AS



PopFilter Podcast 140


The three friends make their way through their Luis Bunuel blind spot, this week watching and reviewing Viridiana. Also, reviews of Surviving Jack and the new John Frusciante album. Top that off with the Mount Rushmore of TV Dads, and maybe an entry or two into the PopFilter Hall of Fame, and you got yourself a show.


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


AKA: Avengers 1.3 (The Buildup Continues)

REVIEW: Summer comes early with what’s the biggest blockbuster of the year yet, especially since Divergent fizzled int he Hunger Games spot. Captain America: The Winter Soldier sees everyone’s least favorite non-superpowered  cinematic Avenger to center stage riding high on that fact that Marvel can do no wrong in film at this point. Even if they bomb they’ve created a giant safety net on the backs of green giants, golden haired giants, and metal men. The Winter soldier adds nuance to the world, it’s no longer good guys fight absurdly bad bad guy. It asks the question: what do you fight for when the ideals you’ve always stood for are dead? The answer? Vengeance. And because it’s the only thing you know how to do.

SPOILER: Captain America goes on a killing spree as his alter ego- The Winter Soldier.

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


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AKA: Bizarro Jude Law

REVIEW: Hopping on the old guys as criminals train before he’s even that old, Jude Law is challenging the world to see more than a pretty face, with great cheek bones and eyes you can drown in. And he doest a fine job as Dom, that irascible scamp the movie demands we love because, well, he’s Jude Law underneath all the awfulness. It’s a bold move to make Dom with zero likable qualities, but the trouble is instead of giving him nuance, they just keep handing him smarmy one-liners to spit out. His regret at not meeting his grandson, doesn’t elicit the sympathy the movie wants it to because it’s literally the only human moment he’s allowed. The old guy from Girls is pretty good as the comic relief.

SPOILER: Look out for Dom Hemingway 2: Good Day to Dom next year

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

CountDown: Actors Comeback Please


Too often actors go away or get way way way less good as their careers go on. This podcast covers those we’d like to come back to their (talented) roots.



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Popfilter’s Foreign Flick of the Week

In  which Stephanie Reviews a Film from Notmerica


Let the Right One In

Let the Right One In came out in 2008 and directed by Tomas Alfredson. It is the story of a lonely boy named Oskar who befriends a strange girl who moves in next door named Eli. There is something a little different, a little other worldly about Eli. We soon find out that Eli is not like other children, she is in fact, a vampire.

It isn’t a surprise when I say that all the stories we human beings tell, whether they are in a movie, TV show, a novel, or even joke we tell to a friend, they all deal with a certain aspect of our humanity. Monster movies are especially about humanity, because they reveal something about humanity’s fear and purpose. This is ultimately why Twilight sucks donkey balls, because instead of showing vampirism to be a wretched curse, it instead imbues those infected with it superpowers, immortality and the attractiveness of a sex god. It says nothing about what it means to be a human being. Who wouldn’t want to be a vampire if they are just super human?

Especially when they save so much money on body glitter.

Especially when they save so much money on body glitter.

Let the Right One In is not a typical horror/monster movie. But it has a lot to say about the nature of human connections. If I had to put it into a genre, it would be romantic horror.  It’s certainly filmed like a horror movie, using Sweden’s desolate wasteland for a background. The shots are filled with snow, not pure white, but somehow tainted. Even the score is filled with hollow, foreboding sounds. But unlike horror films, which can leave an audience tense and uneasy, the way the Alfredson builds the budding relationship between Oskar and Eli lures the audience into a safe place. Take a look at Oskar and Eli’s first scene together:
first scene
They are far away from each other, and she is on a much higher level than he is. This is their first encounter. Now take a look at the next time these two meet:

Here they are much closer together, and they are physically connected through this toy, this innocent gesture of friendship. The very next time these two get together they’re all like:

Here we see the two on the same level, meeting each other as equals.

The time the director allows and the vulnerability of the two child actors allures the audience into the safety that these two come to feel in each other’s presence. The film is called Let the Right One In for a reason. On its surface, it refers to that old lore that a vampire cannot enter a room unless invited. But it has a lot more to say about the manner in which people let others into their little personal bubble. There are many relationships in this film that are huge failures precisely because of an inability to connect and  for one character to be what the other one needs. Oskar’s parents are divorced. A neighborhood couple pay the ultimate price for their inability to connect.  (spoiler alert) It happens because this neighbor man is lashing out at his girlfriend because his best friend was killed by, well, all he knows is that it was a child. After getting yelled at, she runs out into the street only to get attacked by Eli. She gets infected, knows she is all alone in the world and doesn’t want to face this curse alone so she commits suicide via sunlight in the hospital. Her boyfriend gets there just in time to witness the carnage. The scene of her catching on fire, well that doesn’t really do it justice…the scene of the raging inferno of fire and writhing limbs is so incredibly jaw dropping awesome. It’s the big Hollywood moment in the film, if there was one.

But the biggest contrast of good connection/bad connection are associated with Eli. On one hand you have her weird, creepy caretaker. He amounts to nothing more than a bumbling failure of a serial killer. Though he obviously cares for Eli, and even gets jealous of her friendship with Oskar, they aren’t able to do anything for each other. Then you have Oskar. Though he is just a little boy, weaker and with no credit, Eli is still safer with him than she was with this man she called, “papa.” They are more equals, and take care of each other. In one of the final, gruesome scenes in the movie, Eli protects Oskar from his bully tormentors, in something I can’t in good conscious spoil. It’s too clever a set up and too well done to describe, so you filterinos are just going to have to go see for yourselves.
So what does this say about humanity? Let the Right One In is about the human desire and failure of making a connection with another human being. A process that is slow and cannot be forced or exist just because you really want it to. That can lead to letting the wrong one in, which this movie makes no bones about is detrimental. It’s clear when Eli enters a room to show Oskar what happens when she comes in uninvited and she starts hemorrhaging blood from every pore and orafice.
This is a truly remarkable film, with so much there there. They did an American remake called Let Me In with YPF darling Chole Moretz, but it seemed to entirely miss the point of the original for a more flash and bang horror movie, a transition common in American remakes. It was wholly unnecessary, especially because this is a great foreign film that is palatable for American audiences.

Next Week: Brazil’s City Of God


Stephanie Rose










In SNL land, 5 minute skits that should have been 3 minutes feel like they lasted for 30. And then there’s Dyke and Fats, a 2 minute skit that I could have watched for another 30, at least. This is the opening titles for a 70′s buddy-female-cop TV show, starring Kate McKinnon as Les Dykawitz and Aidy Bryant as Chubbina Fatzarelli. I’m not sure what else you would need, but we also get the two of them fighting crime in their own patented, best friend way, as they acrobatically kick a group of criminals, and, for some reason, Dyke stands on Fat’s shoulders as they shoot at the TV screen. This is to say nothing of seeing Dyke hand a hot lesbian a note that reads “Call me. 911,” and then seeing Fats hand that same note to a hamburger. Because she’s fat. Bonus points for the skit never dropping the look and feel of those 70′s shows.  - RH


When Louis C.K. hosts, I get a little giddy now because it means we get a brand new chunk of stand up from the best in the game. This is no exception. He rails on God, wifebeaters and everything that’s just kind of generally shitty in life. He never gets George Carlin level preachy but his message hits just as hard. – JRN


I know Ryan has some rule about gameshows, but I don’t. And this one killed me. There’s no pretention here. They didn’t make a fictional show called “I Know Black People!” or “Black Folks be Krazy!”. They simply decided to take an existing game show and make it, for lack of a better term, black. The structure, the stage and everything else is the show you know and love, but to watch a sweaty Louis C.K. play an African American studies professor against Jay Pharoah and Sasheer Zamata worked on all levels. Pharoah, Thompson and Zamata all killed it to the point that there was a three way tie for best performance. And when Louis is involved as the least funny person in your sketch, you’ve done a really good job. – JRN



Another episode, another cold open with Barack Obama. What has Barack Obama done since the last episode of SNL? He appeared on Between Two Ferns. So this is about that. Why don’t we go back (for the first time?) to having political skits when the writers have something to say about politics, as opposed to forcing it into every show, whether they have something or not. – RH


This is a rough one. I will start, however, with a compliment: this looks like a shitty ASB presidential video. Good job there. Now, the one thing I would like to tell Kyle Mooney is that if you’re going to parody something that isn’t intrisically funny, add jokes. If you can make fun of an easy target (like this one), make sure that you still add jokes. This skit allowed the premise to make Mooney feel comfortable enough that he didn’t need to search for jokes, which seems to be a more dangerously recurring problem every week for the show in general. Everything needs jokes. That is a simple thing to remember, yes, but an important one nonetheless. – JRN


Ryan’s Top Eight:

  1. Beck Bennett – Baby Boss returned this week, and basically guaranteed another season for Beck Bennett. He’s becoming a go-to straight man, AND he can turn his body into the body of a baby. Nicely done.
  2. Kyle Mooney
  3. Mike O’Brien – Mike O’Brien rises up the list because of this week’s Darth Vader skit. His range seems to be limited – at least from what we’ve seen so far – but his deadpan is perfectly suited for a skit like that.
  4. Sasheer Zamata
  5. Colin Jost – It’s admittedly a little unfair, as he’s the only one of these seven that gets a guaranteed five minutes every week, but SNL’s new Weekend Update host has proven capable if not spectacular.
  6. Noel Wells
  7. Brooks Wheelan
  8. John Milheiser – The Morwenna Banks of our generation.


Jason’s Top Eight:

  1. Beck Bennett – He now officially has a character. He appears to be the least new of all the new guys. In fact, I’d take him over a couple of the vets.
  2. Kyle Mooney – When his don’t-call-them-digital-shorts work, they’re brilliant (and he’s usually solo or just with Bennett). But when they fail, watch out. That aside, he understands the show and seems to be fitting in pretty nicely.
  3. Colin Jost
  4. Mike O’Brien
  5. Sasheer Zamata – Not a lot going on here, but she has a presense and she does bring some energy. I hope we get to see what she can do next season.
  6. Noel Wells – Hasn’t been given a lot. Hasn’t seemingly fought for much.
  7. John Milheiser – Awful. But not as bad as…
  8. Brooks Wheelan – “This isn’t working out. Sorry, but you’re no good at being the straight man and your comedy isn’t really suited for audiences” – What I hope Lorne Michaels says at the end of the season.



Listen, Fellas, I Don’t Get It Either – Veronica Mars

In the mid-90s, wealthy film producers realized that creating a broadcast network whose sole purpose was to pander to the whims of teen girls would be a lucrative venture. These (most likely) men were both brilliant and careless, and so, The WB was created. The flaws in this plan began to present themselves roughly 3 years after its inception — the maximum lifespan of your average teen girl’s fandom in any one thing — and the network slowly and systematically moved away from this model before merging with UPN — the Lazarus to a few of The WB’s fallen programs — to create the unholy alliance that is The CW. Through this experiment, we as a culture have learned that teen girls as a demographic are somehow both a rabidly loyal and fiercely fickle bunch. In order to please them, the media as an entity apparently decide that new content must constantly be generated, regardless of its quality. Most of it is horrendous garbage. Every once in a while, though, when no one is looking, you get that monkey that types out Hamlet. The short-lived Veronica Mars is one of those plagiarist-monkey-moments.

It was the best of times, it was the BLURST of times?!

Why Chicks Love It

It’s Nancy Drew for the 21st Century! She’s pretty, smart, and solves crimes on the side. Plus, it’s set in seaside California town, so it gives salivating young girls a glimpse into the polished lives of celebutante Californian teens and their petty troubles. There are love triangles involving equally pretty boys with equally large Scrooge McDuck piles of money. There are scandalous affairs and nefarious dealings aplenty. There’s even a new drama each week for Veronica to resolve, sometimes involving threats from a dangerous biker gang with tattoos! It follows who’s dating whom, who’s just sleeping with whom, and who’s wearing what to the prom. And Veronica, our plucky heroine, used to be part of the In Crowd, but now spends most of her time brutally defeating them in battles of wits. This show does truly tick all the same boxes as your generic Beverly Hills, 90210 wannabe teen soap. At least, that’s what I thought it was about based on the promos I saw when this show was originally airing. I avoided it like the plague during it’s 3 seasons on the air because I had discovered too young that teen soaps became outrageously boring very quickly when there’s no deeper or overarching subplot beyond, “Will Johnny Football Hero ask the slightly less popular brunette to the prom instead of Prom Queen Blonde?” It wasn’t until a few years after Veronica Mars wrapped that I found old quotes praising the brilliance of the show from two of the greatest media figures ever in my mind: my own personal Pop Culture Maharishi, Kevin Smith, and the man who made strong women cool, Joss Whedon. It wasn’t until my personal heroes of screens both large and small told me I should that I decided to give Veronica Mars a fair shake. That’s when I figured out …

They both had cameos, too.


Why It’s So Much More Than That

Veronica Mars is nothing like your average teen soap. In fact, it’s more like if Encyclopedia Brown and Cam Jansen grew up, got married, and raised their only daughter to be a jaded and snarky yet wildly resourceful teen detective capable of unraveling the plots of psychotic murderers with barely a broken nail. Instead of being another boring carbon copy of the teen soap that started them all, Veronica Mars is more like a page out of The Maltese Falcon with a twist. Instead of Sam Spade waxing poetic about the getaway sticks attached to his latest sexy widow client, we have a surprisingly determined and gritty high school junior wondering who really murdered her best friend in cold blood rather than wondering if she’ll be a part of the Homecoming court this year. We have a pretty, popular cheerleader whose rose-colored world crumbled around her from the weight of darkness and conspiracy and, instead of crumbling with it, she figured out how to thrive amid the rubble, even as the adults around her struggle to do the same. When this show was originally airing, the teen girl market was mainly pushing and either/or scenario. On one hand, you had strong female characters who were superheroes of one form or another and could face an apocalypse with aplomb. On the other hand, you had smart, “real” girls seeming powerless over everyday scenarios, wasting away as they pine for the ones they can’t have, then cutting off their trademark hair because their hairstyle is thing they can control in their own lives. Out of this dichotomy came a stylized and clever neo-noir show about a “real” girl taking charge of situations that would cause most adults to fall to pieces using nothing but some simple spy gear and an acerbic tongue.


PopFilter Podcast 139


This week, the friends tackle double the Bunuel, with The Exterminating Angel and Los Olvidados. Plus, a review of the new Cloud Nothings album.



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


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REJECTED TAGLINE: Go, or we’ll flood your face.

REVIEW: The biggest problem with translating a bible story to film, other than the possibility of offending millions of Christians, or turning away millions of non-Christians, is where is the drama. God warning Noah of a coming flood, driving him to build a gargantuan boat in the middle of the desert to the chagrin of his family and derision of the community? Boring. So, what’s a filmmaker to do? Shave his head, give him flaming sword, and send a barbarian king at his big ass desert boat. Now we’re cooking with holy gas!  Now how can Aronofsky make David and Goliath interesting? Give David a  giant sentient spider to ride (and make quips!) Bible movies are easy.


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



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AKA: Arnold’s Back (for realsies)

REVIEW: A weird thing the Avenger’s movie did was make everyone interested in teams far more than they were before. We used to like the plight of the individual, a lone hero against all odds,  perhaps with a plucky sidekick to join. But now it’s about inter group dynamics,  the personalities can clash, group chemistry tried by Ocean’s 11 but no one really cared. We don’t want one-dimensional, one note, one-liner characters, but fully developed (as possible) people interacting. While this film is likely to get Expendables comparisons, it’s only because of the aging action star. In fact, Sabotage is the first full-blown no-tights no-tongue in-cheek action movie to still somehow not get cheesy we’ve had in years. It’s not trying to wink at its stars heyday, or show how silly action movies are. It just jumps forward, guns blazing, and proves action can sometimes be neat even without special powers. It just sucks that it sounds like Arnie’s reading no matter if he’s conveying sadness, anger, or jokes.

SPOILER: Arnold stole the cash. Never expected that, didya? Also, I can’t spell his last name and refuse to look it up.

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



In which we dig in to each specific channel, seeing if there really is something to this whole “channel personality” thing




Did the FOX network create Channel Personalities? I’m not old enough to remember what the world was like before FOX, but I do remember them quickly becoming the network that certainly did not belong to your daddy, or anyone else’s father, unless your father was a rude dude who wore his saggy pants backwards and called things “bad” when he thought they were “good.” The narrative was that God, on the seventh day, created the only three networks that would ever be, until a bunch of fucking punks got together and slapped God in the face, using only audacity and crudeness. FOX  arrived, and there was nothing you suit-wearing suits could do about it.


This is what everyone looked like back then. I’m serious. Stop laughing, asshole.

Is this still the case today? Sort of not really. If it is, it’s really just based on history and reputation, as opposed to actual programming decisions. They’re the only major network that supports animated programming at all, having essentially dedicated an entire night to it, every week for decades. This is something that would have seemed crazy 30 years ago, but institutions like The Simpsons, King of the Hill, and Family Guy have made prime time animation a pretty standard thing. They used to be the network with the black shows, but that throne was taken over, and has since been abandoned, by the WB/CW. (A good way to tell if someone is 5-6 years younger than me is finding out they’ve never seen an episode of In Living Color, but have seen every episode of Homeboys in Outer Space and The Wayans Brothers.)


It should be noted that, as a sign of their still-relative youth, or their incredible laziness, FOX has 7 less hours of programming a week than ABC, CBS, or NBC. The “Big 3” programs from 8-11, every night, and then lets their affilates pick whatever shitty local news show or syndicated sitcom it wants to air for the other 21 hours of the day. (Technically, Sunday nights from 7-8 also count as prime time, but everyone just airs a bunch of bullshit, so fuck it.) That’s seven fewer hours that FOX has to pay for, seven fewer hours that FOX has to worry about, seven fewer hours FOX has the opportunity to define its brand. What would go in these hours, if FOX had to air something (which seems unlikely, as this is the way its been for almost 30 years, while just about every “old rule” of how television works seems to be getting flushed down the toilet)? Genre dramas and musical-reality-competition shows, based on its current line-up. This leaves FOX in a weird place, priding itself for being less boring than CBS, but certainly without that crazy edge that they think they had in the nineties.


Other shows in the original WB lineup included Black High School, and Black Mailmen Be Crazy (shown above)


Off the top, FOX’s biggest problem might be shows like Almost Human. Almost Human is by no means perfect, but it’s fun enough, watchable, and a perfectly fine replacement when you’re too broke to go to the movies. But even though they are seemingly cutting every corner they can to keep the budget manageable, it still feels way too expensive to stay afloat. It’s really cool that FOX wants stuff like this to work. It’s the only channel that really tries to get these genre shows to stick (sorry CBS, Intelligence doesn’t count) But in order for them to keep paying the bills, it essentially has to become the BIGGEST SHOW ON TELEVISION. In order to become the biggest scripted show on television, it has to be the exact same thing that’s popular right now (another CSI), or come totally out of nowhere for no explicable reason (The Big Bang Theory). As much as it sucks to say, FOX can’t tell themselves that they are going to make a quality show with a cool premise, and guarantee huge ratings. You might be able to do that with the box office returns of a summer movie, but not in network television. So Almost Human will probably spend the rest of its life getting retooled and reshuffled, until all of a sudden we’re three years into the future, and the only time we remember the show is when some nerd on a website screams about a reunion movie, in which Nathan Fillion will play every single part. It’s the fate of 90 percent of the shows like this. And FOX will try it all again next year, with an even higher budget and premise.



Next season on FOX: Agent Gold Car: Weekly Explosion

Remember Terra Nova? They wasted so much money, on something that was so cheesy, and the nation collectively cared so little, that I kept looking for Kevin Costner’s name in the credits. I don’t know if television audiences can give FOX what it would take to get a show like this to six seasons and a movie anymore. It’s just not the way the world works, and even if enough people were watching, no one has the tools necessary to measure that. It’s like FOX is trying to out-movie the movies by keeping sci-fi on the televisions. But the one way FOX has messed up the most over the last decade (and relatively speaking, there aren’t as many mistakes as you’d think), is by acting like the movie theater is their enemy, when it no longer is. It’s time for networks to shake the hands of the movie studios, tell them it was a fun, 60 year war, and take aim at their true enemy: all of the other ways we can get “television” on our television. If you want huge ratings, forget it. You’re never going to get that again. But if you want just enough viewers to make a profit, you need to cut budgets in half, or make sure you have a slam dunk on your hands. Shows like Almost Human aren’t going to cut it.


What should be on FOX next season: Soda Man, brought to you by Coca Cola.

FOX’s other big flaw (and this has been the case for years now) is not knowing how to take a hit and make it grow even bigger. They really only know how to take a hit and force it so far down our throats that our farts sound like a high school kids singing a capella. Remember The OC? Of course you do. You’re probably like me, and remember it every night before you go to sleep. Although it was probably never the cultural phenomenon that FOX claimed it was at the time, it’s ratings were better than FOX expected. So they ordered way too many episodes, and promoted it to the point where people no longer wanted to be welcomed to the O.C., bitch. Same with those aforementioned Glee kids. People spent the first two seasons mildly enjoying it, the second two seasons hoping all of those singing fucks died from a ball-peen hammer thrown straight at their face, and the final two seasons (this and next) surprised that the show is still on. Is this just the fickle nature of today’s television viewer? Maybe. But it happens enough to FOX to think that their “Next Big Thing” anointments may have something to do with it. All of this means that the ideal FOX show is, of all things, Bones.



Yep. Bones. Bones just got renewed for it’s tenth (TENTH!) season. Just to put that in perspective, it’s something that’s only happened to about 40 scripted shows in THE HISTORY OF TELEVISION. It’s genre-ish. It looks like a CSI show but somehow  isn’t. It’s runs on a seemingly affordable budget. And it has a fanbase that is fervent enough to watch for the last decade, but was never so big or rabid at any point that FOX felt the need to order sixty more episodes over the next three months or release Christmas albums featuring the characters singing “Deck the Bones” and “We Bones You a Merry BonesBones.”


Sunday remains FOX’s most reliable night. It doesn’t pull in the same numbers it did in the heyday of The Simpsons, or when Seth MacFarlane almost took over the network, but it’s still dependable enough. Let’s also not forget to mention that FOX’s Sunday line-up is the home of the single greatest show on TV, so they’ve got that going for them. The FOXiest night of the week, however, might belong to Mondays, despite its lack of cartoons or black people. Monday seems like the night that FOX likes to air its genre shows, most likely counterprogramming to CBS’ powerhouse comedy line-up. Bones will be back here soon, after proving that it could hold on to its viewers on Friday nights. This is also where you would find Almost Human, the critically-hated-but-commercially-decent The Following, and FOX’s new baby, and the most-likely-to-suffer-from-overkill candidate, Sleepy Hollow. This is how a network creates a name for itself. FOX has stepped out as the first of the major networks to tell all of the old rules to go fuck themselves. No longer will they be slaves to pilot season, ordering 100 shows to be made so they can choose one or two of them. No longer will they force themselves to schedule season premieres during the same three week period that everyone else does. I think all of that is fine. Better than fine. Ballsy even. The old rules no longer work, and new rules aren’t going to hurt anything. But what this does do is give FOX this one night, Monday night, all year round. Viewers can tune in every Monday night to see two hour long sci-fi/action/mystery/thrillers no matter what. For instance, half the year will be Sleepy Hollow and Almost Human, the other half will be Bones and The Following. If networks are still really aiming for “appointment viewing,” which is essentially like aiming to open a yellow pages printing press, then this is the only way to do it. Hey, people that like these shows! We’ll put them all here for you! It might just hold off the death rattle of network television as we know it today.


The best show currently on TV, as if you didn’t know that already.

And then there’s Tuesday. Oh, sweet Tuesday. NBC’s Thursday night line-up used to be the only bright spot of my entire week. There was one or two sweet seasons where The Office, 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, and Community were in peak form, and all other shows could rot on my DVR for all I cared. The closest thing we have to that now, in both quality and diminishing ratings, is FOX’s Tuesday night. The Big Bang Theory wouldn’t stop to pick up the ratings of these two nights if they were lying in the gutter, but for some reason both FOX and NBC enjoyed the critical success and word-of-mouth that came with the less-than-stellar ratings. The problem is that this places all of these shows  perpetually on the cancellation bubble. New Girl, Brooklyn 99, and The Mindy Project (which barely escaped cancellation) have all been renewed for next season, although they’ll probably never feel 100% comfortable. And then there’s Dads. Oh, Dads. It hasn’t technically been canceled, but when FOX realizes that they’re keeping those other three shows around because they’re good, as opposed to ratings bonanzas, they’ll probably want to ditch the one that is both low-rated and one of the worst shows of all time.


The only other night that FOX airs a full slate of original, scripted programming, after Animation Sunday, Genre Monday, and Comedy Tuesday, is Friday nights. Friday doesn’t have its own clique at FOX high school. FOX treats Friday night more like a AAAA ball club: shows that have graduated past the minor leagues of pilot season (this analogy is running out of steam), but aren’t really ready to graduate to the big leagues of the other three nights. Raising Hope has already been cancelled, just biding its time until it’s syndication eligible. But no one knows what’s really going to happen to Rake and Enlisted. Both of them are decent enough, and probably deserve to stay on the air. But Rake doesn’t really fit in on Monday, and Enlisted isn’t cool enough to hang out with the Tuesday crew.


With all of these personalities, what does that make FOX? What does FOX look like, when we’re finally able to create a laser that we can shoot at inanimate, intangible objects and turn them into humans?


The FOX network.

Punk rockers have to grow up. They have to do as much damage, and make their message as clear as possible, while they are an appropriate age. Then they have to mature, while attempting to maintain reasonable amount of that punk rock mentality in every thing they do. Otherwise they’ll kill themselves. FOX was punk rock. Then it matured, and became a legit network. In 2007, it became the most watched network on television. Since 2002, its ratings in the key demographics have left even the CBS’ of the world envious. The only thing left is stabilizing. Moving into the fully-adult phase of the rest of its life. Green Day albums will never again be tagged as “the one where they are maturing.” That part’s done. And although that “mature” album seems hard to do, since there’s so many ways to blow it, the more interesting part is what happens after the maturation has happened. Where does the drama and inspiration come from? What is your next goal, when you’ve already reached what seems to be the final goal of maturity? We haven’t mentioned FOX’s real money makers, the NFL and American Idol, but I don’t think they’re relevant. Not only are they unscripted, but they would be hits on any network. They don’t tell us anything about FOX. What FOX needs to do is get a better understanding of what it is they do. Don’t look at the success of Sleepy Hollow (another show whose initially decent ratings they weren’t able to hold on to) and try to recreate it or exploit it. Instead, I want them to know that they can do the cheesey genre shit while making a quality show. Brooklyn 99 is the comedy example of this. They hired all of the right people to make a cop show that isn’t a cop show, and it isn’t a cop show so well that you don’t even care that it might be the most unrealistic cop show of all time (except for Cop Rock. Always except for Cop Rock). 15 or 20 years ago, FOX was the most unreliable network for me. Every new show was destined to be my favorite of all time, or the worst shit I’ve ever seen. Now, they might be the most reliable of the big five, at least as far as quality goes. Now let’s see if they can finally get people to tune in.


- Ryan Haley

The List

The Best Songs of the 1990′s

1995 Edition

I have a lot to say about the songs from this year. I am not going to bore you with some long-winded introduction. Seriously. Here’s the list.

10. 1979 by Smashing Pumpkins

This song, yes this song, is only the 10th best song of the year 1995. Are you fucking kidding me? That’s insane! But it is true. And rather than try to knock this song, I will use its placement to point out that 1995 was not just a really amazing year for music in general, but a spectacular year for rock music specifically. This song, with its cool vibe, mumbled lyrics, distinct melody and unmistakable Pumpkins guitar tones, is and will remain a classic for decades to come.

9. Accident Prone by Jawbreaker

With that lazy bass line, those dissonant chords, the energy, the build up and the tear down, all you can say is…fuck. This song is good. When someone has this kind of unpolished quality to their voice, the only thing you can hope for is that it is accompanied with passion and conviction. Not only is that here in spades, but the structure of this song is beyond reproach. The double time pre-chorus sandwiched between the mellow verses and wide-open choruses creates a song that is nearly flawless.

8. Stars by Hum

Some bands try to bring you in with self-restraint only to build you up to a more rousing section of their songs. With “Stars”, Hum doesn’t give one single, solitary fuck about what some bands do. The song is either at 1 or 10, with almost nothing in between. Every second of every minute is used so judiciously that the song stands as an impressive real-life execution of Phil Specter’s wall of sound theory.

7. Wonderwall by Oasis

You know this shit. It’s all like, “today is gonna be the day…” etc. But when was the last time you really listened to this song? Liam Gallagher’s vocal performance on this track is fucking breath taking. I didn’t think it was possible to be apathetic, desperate and biting simultaneously but that is precisely what he is able to do. And yes, the melody is stupid good. I get it. Damnit, have I mentioned how good this year was for music?

Bunny puppy break!!!!

6. Tonight, Tonight by Smashing Pumpkins

I dare you to hear that first symphonic run of the strings on this track and not get excited for the next four minutes of your life. Billy Corgan has such a grating voice that there need to be some amazing things happening behind it to make it sound great. Somehow, the Pumpkins find a way to make that happen, and never more than on this track.

5. It’s Oh So Quiet by Bjork

Lounge-singer-turned-holy-shit-that-chick’s-super-talented. I don’t know if that was the pitch of this song, but it might as well be. Bjork goes from super cheesy with all of her “shhh” business to a vocal powerhouse with more ease than most people do things like blink and breathe. While both performances are impressive, the fact that they come so closely and flawlessly back to back is what sets this song apart from its contemporaries.

4. High and Dry by Radiohead

Guys. Do you remember Radiohead? Like before they went all “In Rainbows” on us and were making rad music that had all kinds of integrity and beauty? If you don’t, pop this track on and just revel in the soundscape these Brits are able to produce. From Thom Yorke’s effortless falsetto to the acoustic strumming to one of the biggest bass drums of all time, this song has something for everyone. And by everyone I mean everyone who has a brain, heart and a pulse. So…everyone.

3. Champagne Supernova by Oasis

As seen from the Hubble telescope, circa 1995.

The chord and melody structure of this song leave less to the imagination than “Wonderwall” but these lyrics are too good to ignore. And while these chord changes and delicate melody are sort of cheats to get you to feel things, it works. And it fucking works over and over and over. And while this vocal performance isn’t quite as densely layered as others from Oasis, the song comes together in such a satisfying way that you can’t help but be affected by it.

2. Bullet with Butterfly Wings by Smashing Pumpkins

The music on this song is great and innovative and inspiring and important and blah blah blah. Let’s get real; this shit’s all about the lyrics. Starting your song with an a capella “The world is a vampire” is pretty ballsy. From there, shit only gets crazier as Billy Corgan sounds like the saddest, cynical bozo you’ve ever seen with a mangy beard petting an imaginary cat on the corner. Somehow, it totally works and what should come off as insanity comes off as a focused and generation-defining angst.

1. Fake Plastic Trees by Radiohead

Sometimes nothing beats a gorgeous song about fake trees that is totally not an allegory for anything at all. But for serious, this song is the kind of song that if you hear it in the background, you will eventually stop what you’re doing as it takes all of you attention. This might not be the song that changed everything for rock and roll, but it certainly sent everything down a very good and necessary path.

That’s it. Every year, the lists get a little tougher to narrow down. In fact, 1995 was so good that I would like to let you know the songs that just couldn’t find a way on to this list. Honorable mentions to follow! (Also, email me at to let me know what you think should have made this flawless list)

The Bends by Radiohead

Gorgeous, but not as good as 1979. Sorry, Radiohead but I guess you’ll have to live with only 20% of the list.

Take me Down by Smashing Pumpkins

This might be the most self-indulgent song I have ever put anywhere near a list. But fuck it. This song is dreadfully under appreciated. How do I know that? When you read the title you thought, “what the fuck song is that?” And that, dear readers, is a goddamned shame.

You Oughta Know by Alanis Morissette

Before this song, I don’t really recall too many songs with such a terrible and frightening woman-scorned angle. And boy, there’s not a lot more unsettling than an ex-girlfriend talking about how she’s sure that your new girlfriend will make a really excellent mother.

Just a Girl by No Doubt

Between Alanis, Gwen and Bjork, I definitely made the right decision. That said, this is a nearly flawless tune from a band with a serious up-and-down relationship with the music industry.

Lump by Presidents of the United States of America

This song gave us “Gump” by Weird Al. And for that, I will ALWAYS be grateful to the Presidents of the United States of America.

Brain Stew by Green Day

I know this entire album was a bit of a disaster, but this song (and its brethren “Geek Stink Breath”) proves that good things can grow from both muck and mire.

With Love,
Jason R. Noble