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The 2014 PopFilter New Fall TV Challenge

Round 3

 

THE AFFAIR

The-affair_612x832

VS

REMORSE

SURVIVOR’S REMORSE

 

Once the story of the third episode of Survivor’s Remorse gets going, there’s a scene that’s jarring compared to the rest of the episodes. A Make-a-Wish kid tells NBA superstar Cam Calloway that he better fill his face with pussy, or he will tell the world that Cam molested him. Cam is forced to tell his manager/cousin to get the kid some pussy. It’s not shocking that a Make-a-Wish kid would be bored with the typical superstar meet-and-greet; in fact, I bet that shit happens all of the time. It’s that the climax of an episode of Survivor’s Remorse had to rely on such a convoluted plot twist as a kid threatening to accuse everyone of molestation. I’m sure there are more appropriate ways of handling a situation like this than hiring hookers for the kid (although the way the characters actually handled it better fleshed out another of the Calloway crew, pun intended I think). And that’s how good Survivor’s Remorse has been through three episodes: I was surprised when a tiny plot twist was a little hacky. It’s been impressive so far, not just distancing itself from Entourage comparisons, but proving why an athlete’s career makes for more week-to-week drama than an actor’s, what with sports and traveling and injuries and contracts. He hasn’t even played basketball yet! Alas, if you have been following the articles attached to this tournament, you know that if they begin with the praise of a show, it probably doesn’t mean good things for that show.
Almost all of the things I needed fixed in the second episode of The Affair were taken care of in the third episode. The show is really plugging along now, having settled into exactly how Rashomon it wants to be, which, as of right now, isn’t that much. The third episode separates its two halves so much, in fact, that it’s hard to believe that two people can remember things so differently, but it’s been five years, and the show couldn’t have ridden that gimmick forever. The questions have now been defined, and it’s hard for me to imagine not staying on all the way to the end. I also can’t wait to see how Showtime Homelands this up, and figures out a hacky way to make sure the couple is together for a season 2. Maybe they’ll team up to bury Brodie in Pet Semetary, so he and Carrie can be together again. Welcome to the Final Four, The Affair.

 

– Ryan Haley

 

LATER THIS WEEK:

THE FINAL PILOTS OF THE FIRST ROUND, AS THE MCCARTHYS

TAKES ON FRIENDS OF THE PEOPLE!!!

 

The 2014 PopFilter New Fall TV Challenge

Round 1

 

UNCLE

uncle_preview_screencap

VSconstantine

CONSTANTINE

 

See the bracket here!!!

 

Throughout this New Fall TV Tournament, we’ve talked a lot about pilots having to prove to you that you’ve seen (and liked) things like them before, and then – within the same episode – prove to you how they are different, and hopefully better, than those previous things. That’s a lot to do in one episode. It’s easy for most mediocre shows to get through the first round of the tournament, thanks to the amount of crap that has been launched at us, but when two decent-ish shows go to battle, it can come down to the one who proves that they are the most different, while showing us that it’s the same.

 

Uncle is about a slob who suddenly gains a role in a child’s life. Constantine is a supernatural procedural based on a comic book. We need these premises about as much as we do a new Saw movie. If the only TV you watched were shows that had one of these premises, you’re viewing schedule would already be full, and these shows would still be unnecessary.

 

The number one thing that Constantine has over other shows of its ilk is John Constantine. There are ways to break Constantine down (a curmudgeonly loner who sarcastically comments his way through feelings while still being necessary in people’s lives because of his gift) where he still doesn’t seem all that original. He’s the Dr. House of the dark arts. But there’s a certain charm written into the character’s DNA, and if NBC can capture half of that, it’s a reason to tune in. From the pilot, it looks like they almost have. And there are a couple of scares here, as Constantine seems to be taking a page out of Sleepy Hollow’s book, where if you keep things moving fast enough, and throw every type of horror at the wall, no one will notice how dumb everything is. The problem is that the show, and the character, have been neutered. It makes sense; comic book properties are hot, and their audiences are much larger than say Hannibal, the show that should be Constantine’s spiritual guide. So instead of getting a dickhead smart-assing his way through some truly horrible shit, we get a mostly likeable guy who runs in after a bunch of extras have been scared to death. And that, in the end, is just not enough to separate it from all of the other shows with the same premise.
Uncle just barely clears that same bar. It’s odd, and fucked up, and funny in ways that make shows like About a Boy seem even more innocuous. Uncle also has a subplot involving the kid pretending to be the slob’s son in order to get a girl, but this is where the two shows separate, as About a Boy is content going through the motions from that point, whereas this is when Uncle finds the main character getting the shit kicked out of him by a drag queen, only to find out that his subconscious is a music video based around a song about his ex-girlfriend. Sure, it tries to do a little too much, but it’s a pilot, and having more ambition than Constantine is just enough to get you to Round 2.

 

– Ryan Haley

 

TOMORROW:

THE AFFAIR OR SURVIVOR’S REMORSE MOVES ON TO THE FINAL FOUR!!!

 

PopFilter Podcast 169

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On this episode of the podcast, the friends all discuss the best romantic comedy pairings and build a fucking mountain to honor them. They also talk about the new fall TV show “Marry Me” as well as the merits of “The Vanishing”. They also introduce the world to a brand new segment entitled Soap Box. What does that mean, you ask? Fuckin’ listen and find out.

Sheesh…

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!

Kerri Battles the AFI’s Top 100 — #78: Modern Times

I don’t know if I can honestly say I was excited for this week’s film or not. I know I wasn’t dreading it — nothing from Chaplin is ever unwatchable — but I can’t say I was exactly eager for it, either. I think it all boils down to the fact that I want to like Charlie Chaplin much more than I actually do. The man is practically a patron saint of Hollywood, but I can’t seem to watch any of his films all the way through without getting bored or distracted somewhere in the middle. I think I was just hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. Reality fell probably somewhere in between.

It’s okay! I don’t hate it. I promise.

Modern Times stars The Factory Worker (The Tramp – Charlie Chaplin) as a factory worker on an assembly line with a clear case of repetitive stress disorder. He suffers a nervous breakdown on the job and hospitalized. Upon his release, he is immediately mistaken for a “communist” labor leader and arrested. During his first prison meal, The Tramp salts his entire plate, unaware that the shaker was hiding contraband cocaine. His newfound coke-strength allows him to single-handedly foil an attempted escape by much larger fellow inmates. The Tramp is heralded as a hero and given a cushy cell until his subsequent pardon, which he tries to refuse because of the prison comforts to which he’s grown accustomed. A reluctantly free man, The Tramp witness the pretty Gamin rightfully accused of stealing a loaf of bread and steps in to take the blame. He is placed in custody just long enough for The Gamin to make an escape. When a witness corrects this error, The Tramp intentionally orders food he can’t pay for in a nearby restaurant and is arrested again. He and the Gamin find themselves in the same paddy wagon and, when it crashes, make a run for it together.  The two discuss dreams for a better life together and The Tramp decides to work for it. He gets a job as a night watchman at a department store and … takes advantage of the situation. When he is awoken the following morning as a customer peruses the pile of clothes under which he’s sleeping, The Tramp is arrested again. When he’s released 10 days later, The Gamin meets him and takes him to their new home — a crumbling and decrepit shack on the beach. When he hears the factory is reopening. The Tramp gets a job repairing the machinery, but is informed mid-shift that the entire staff is going on strike. Of course, he’s arrested again. When the 2 weeks for this stint are up, The Gamin tells him she works at a cafe and has a job there for him as a singing waiter. The waiting part leaves something to be desired, but his performance is such a hit that the owner offers him a full time job. Unfortunately, the cops arrive in search of the Gamin for her escape from custody roughly a month prior and she and The Tramp make a run for it. The next morning, by the side of the road, The Gamin sobs and questions the use of even trying. The Tramp tells her, “Buck up — never say die!” and the two walk off into the dawn.

Smuggled Nose Powder

I wasn’t kidding about that coke thing. This is an actual title card from the movie.

 

Modern Times is written by, directed by, and produced by Charlie Chaplin, featuring music by Charlie Chaplin, and, of course, starring Charlie Chaplin. Watching the film will prove that Charlie Chaplin is incredibly talented in all of these departments. When it comes to filmmaking, it’s probably probably been argued by someone somewhere that Chaplin doesn’t actually have any weaknesses at all. I don’t want to speak ill of a Hollywood legend, so let’s just say that some of his strengths aren’t quite as strong as others. For example, cohesive plot lines — maybe not his strongest of strengths. To his credit, Chaplin uses topical and political situations to support his characters and frame his gags. But these events are just scaffolding. They’re the barest and simplest of structures meant to prop up the precious monument inside — the sight gags. This is why I get lost in Chaplin films. I stop paying attention during these scenes because, to me, it’s clear they don’t matter. They’re nothing more than interchangeably generic plot devices used to create an excuse for The Tramp to be in a department store that sells roller skates or a factory with comically large machinery. These scenes are the lead in, not the pay off. By 1936, Talkie Technology had already moved well beyond separate canned soundtracks that had to be perfectly synched to the film like Dark Side of Oz. Quick and quippy dialogue was quickly becoming the bedrock of film comedy — just ask the Marx Brothers. At this point the history of film, Chaplin made an artistic and stylized decision to make this film silent because the emphasis needed to be on what he did best. He’s lucky it paid off.

I think you hit play when this guy roars three times. Right?

The elaborately choreographed, propped, and detailed sight gags Chaplin creates are proof enough for his Hollywood Canonization. Whether or not this kind of humor will push you to riotous laughter is a matter of personal taste (me — not so much), but either way, the artistry is equally as enthralling to watch. He utilizes large crowds of extras in the same way he uses huge cogs in giant machines — as just another prop for The Tramp to grind past and squeeze through and push against all in the name of a laugh. Still, each scene moves like a delicate dance, whether the The Tramp is dancing with a robot that force-feeds him nuts and bolts for lunch or working blue with a filthy solo pantomime. The physicality of it all comes across as both expertly practiced and completely effortless, as though it’s only something Chaplin has practiced because it’s the thing he was born to do. As you watch him fight against the tide of an entire dance floor in order to deliver a diner his roast duck unscathed, you don’t question the realism behind the events that brought him to this restaurant as a waiter. Instead, you marvel at the perfect, bumbling fluidity that leads to that duck being skewered on a chandelier while the wine and empty dishes continue on to the table. It’s the sort of act the medium of film was created to display.

Chaplin dancing off after wrenching noses and nipples.

Chaplin dancing off after wrenching noses and nipples.

I still wish I liked Chaplin films more than I actually do. But now that I’ve forced myself through a Chaplin film in its entirety with an analytical eye, l can at least say that fact speaks more about me as a 21st century viewer than it ever could of Chaplin as an artist and a performer. Film has evolved to suit the audience and, in turn, the audience has evolved to suit film. Certain things about silent films simply don’t hold up against the modern audience’s attention span, but artists who changed the world enough to earn a place in the eternal collective pop culture hive mind will never grow dull. It’s possible that Modern Times is actually the worst Chaplin film in history and I’d never know. But I do think the man deserves at least one spot on The List and Modern Times seems like as good a title as any to fill it with. — KSmith

The 2014 PopFilter New Fall TV Challenge

Round 1

BENCHED

Benched - Pilot

VS

MTM_POSTER_

MIKE TYSON’S MYSTERIES

 

Eliza Coupe (Happy Endings), Jay Harrington (Better Off Ted), Oscar Nunez (The Office), and Maria Bamford is as much of a head start as a one camera sitcom can ask for. And it isn’t like Benched squanders all of the good will it is afforded by that cast. The pilot motors, setting up our main character, destroying her life, and then pointing towards episode 2 and beyond. It does a decent job of introducing us to all of the supporting characters, showing us how they’re just like other television characters you’ve seen, while offering you a glimpse at how they will eventually blossom into something a little different. And it feels just unpolished enough to not feel too tryhardy, which is a boon for the USA network and their future of producing one-camera sitcoms. The problem – which came as a shock to me, just as it will you, dear reader – is Eliza Coupe.

 

It may be Nina, Eliza Coupe’s character, that’s the problem and not the actress herself, but she was able to define her comic persona so perfectly in Happy Endings that at this point it’s hard to separate the two. Therein lies the problem. For most of the episode, it seems like her comic persona is doing battle with other Ninas that had been written in the show’s past. Maybe Nina was a very different character in an old version of the script, and they reshaped it when Coupe was cast. Or maybe this is just yet another case of piloititis, in which the first episode of flails to settle into its eventual tone, and Eliza Coupe is the shining beacon of evidence. No one seems sure exactly who or what her character is. Is she tough? Is she a fuck up? Is she a clutz? Is she fake? Is she a puss? Is she in the middle of a mental breakdown, or is she always this nuts? All of these situations can create laughs, but not all of them at the same time. Towards the end of the episode, Jay Harrington’s character gives Coupe a pep talk, telling her not to let her ex-fiance turn her into a dope, and be the strong character she actually is. Harrington should tell that to the show runners as well.
Benched is fine, but Mike Tyson’s Mysteries features Mike Tyson, his teenage adopted daughter, a foppish ghost, and a man who was turned into a pigeon, driving around solving mysteries. The first episode finds them getting hired to write an ending to Cormac McCarthy’s newest book, only to end up riding on McCarthy’s horseman body (I didn’t say centaur, I said horseman!) and flying off into the sunset. It’s was ten minutes of magnificence, and it moves on to Round 2.

– Ryan Haley

 

The Superhero Hour Hour 10/25/14

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Mike and Ryan finally get a chance to put the spotlight on Arrow, and the return of Thea. They also try to justify talking about the Avengers 2 trailer because it debuted during a comic book television show.

PopFilter Versus Horror Movies of the 2000s

To celebrate the most terrifying month of the year (as we are legally obligated to do), we bring you PopFilter Versus Horror Movies of the 2000s. Listen to the gut-wrenching and death-fedying conversation between Mike and Ryan as they countdown they’re favorite recent horror films. They also discuss what it takes to be a good horror film, and quite a long tangent about Quentin Tarantino. 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!

 

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

 

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

 

The 2014 PopFilter New Fall TV Challenge

ROUND 2

THE AFFAIR

The-affair_612x832

VS

the_flash___poster_ii_by_mrsteiners-d79te0z

THE FLASH

 

See the bracket!!!

 

I know that The Affair isn’t getting the kind of buzz that Showtime was probably hoping for, but I seriously didn’t learn until I just recently watched the first two episodes back-to-back that THIS SHOW IS MCNULTY VS RAWLS. I feel let down by all of you, and my ability to keep my thumb on the pulse of pop culture is slipping. It’s a sad-ass day.

 

I feel like it’s my job here to explain that even though The Affair is moving on to Round 3, it’s not simply because it’s a prestige cable drama, while The Flash is a cheesedick superhero show on The CW. The Flash is one of the best new shows of the fall. It had a great pilot, and the second episode was as good as could be expected. I think both shows took a step back in the second episode (more on The Affair in a minute), but The Flash’s step backwards was inevitable. This isn’t just because the pilot was so good, but instead because the pilot had too much energy. It was unsustainable. In the second episode, we get a better glimpse of what The Flash will be for the rest of its run: fun, episodic, dependable. It’s a special show, but The Affair might be special…er.
That being said, The Affair shows a few too many of its strings this episode. I’m really digging it, but it already feels like it might run out of steam. I know why it’s shot so dreamy sometimes, as the two main characters are doing their darndest to remember something that happened years ago, but too often it feels like I’m watching an hour long douche commercial. Flash, you were a great competitor, and The Affair, if you want to win this thing, you better shape up quick.

 

– Ryan Haley

 

 

Kerri Battles the AFI’s Top 100 — #79: The Wild Bunch

Each week, I try to do as little research or reading up on the film I’m about to watch prior to viewing it because I like to go in with a completely open mind. I usually glance at the runtime and basic credits on IMDb, but that doesn’t often give much away. However, the moment I saw Sam Peckinpah listed as director of The Wild Bunch, I had a pretty good idea of what I was in for this week — a good old fashioned shitkicker western full of blood and gore as far as the eye can see. As expected, Peckinpah did not disappoint.

No, I’m not kidding.

Our tale begins as a group of US Army soldiers ride on horseback into a small south Texas town and head straight to the railroad office. Once inside, it becomes clear that these men are not soldiers at all, but rather a  wild bunch of outlaws, led by Pike Bishop, using Army-issue guns to take a railroad fortune. The Bunch are sloppily ambushed by Pike’s former comrade, Deke Thornton, and a group of bounty hunters Thornton repeatedly refers to as gutter trash. A bloody melee ensues and, with the aid of some human shields formerly known as the South Texas Temperance Union, Pike and 4 of his men escape unharmed. Most of the townsfolk don’t fare quite as well. Pike and The Bunch soon discover that the large cache of silver they thought they’d swiped is actually nothing more than steel washers — bait for a poorly laid trap intended to snare the hefty prices on their heads. Pike and The Bunch ride on to a small town in Mexico where one of them, Angel, was born. As they find rest and refuge, Pike and Ernest Borgnine discuss the need to find one last great score to retire. They also discover that a General Mapache has been through the town to loot, plunder, murder Angel’s father, and woo away his best girl. When they stumble upon a merry party held by Mapache, Angel spots his ex-girl canoodling with the General and shoots her dead on the spot. In order to make good with the General for the loss of his puta, The Bunch agrees to rob a US train of rifles and ammo on his behalf. In exchange, the General promises to reward them handsomely. Later, Angel requests to give up his share of the promised gold in exchange for one of the cases of rifles. He laments that, if his hometown had been better armed, they may have stood a fighting chance. The heist goes off as planned though, because he knows how Pike’s mind works, Thornton and his men give good chase. Ultimately, the thugs take a swim in the Rio Grande thanks to a shoddy trestle bridge and a little TNT. After The Bunch delivers their booty — in small increments so as not to be double crossed — Mapache informs them that Angel has been ratted out by one of his own and takes him captive as The Bunch escapes. Unfortunately for The Bunch, Thornton and his men continue doggedly in their pursuit. With no where else to turn, they seek refuge back in Mapache’s camp. Upon their return, they find Mapache dragging Angel behind his sweet new car. Pike offers to give back half his share of gold in exchange for Angel, but Mapache decides Angel isn’t worth that much and continues his joy ride. After some rest, reflection, and stinky on their hangdowns on Mapache’s dime, The Bunch decides to make a stand. Meagerly armed, they approach Mapache as he holds court and demand Angel’s return. Mapache agrees and prepares to shove a half-dead Angel into their arms. At the last minute, he pulls out a knife and slits the “traitor’s” throat. Without contemplation, Pike riddles Mapache’s body with bullets. So stunned by this act, none of Mapache’s men immediately react. Borgnine laughs and Pike shoots  Mapache’s German advisor in the head. That’s when things get ugly.  Bullets and blood fly everywhere until none but a few remain. It’s then that Thornton and his men arrive. Thornton, seeing his corpse dangling from a machine gun, takes Pike’s revolver from the holster and tells his men they’re free to take the bodies back to collect their rewards. He plans to remain.

Thornton lives out the rest of his days with this guy, Sykes, and a bunch of Mexican Guerilla fighters with machetes. … That’s also not a joke.

None of this may sound very original or unique for a Western. Fighting railroad tycoons by blowing up bridges and shooting Mexicans is basically the plot of 50% of the genre. But what makes it all stand out is the fact that these men are a dying breed. The Wild Bunch is set in 1913, when the rest of the world was preparing to go to war with Germany for the first time. Pike Bishop and his men should have been shot or hanged a long time ago, even if they are the best. Unfortunately, they’re so good that they’ve lasted longer than they should — longer than the evolving world around them would like. They ache for one last great score on which to retire because old age isn’t the only thing threatening to put an end to their bandit ways. These are good old fashioned cowboys grasping at what’s left of their lives in a world that is already starting to look at cowboys as relics from days past. The moment that they all decide to stand up to Mapache isn’t just a moment of fraternal love and respect for one of their own. It’s also the moment they all realize that there is no retirement from the firm of Outlaw, Bandit, & Thief. It’s the moment they realize the only way they can go out is in one last great hail of bullets, blood, and glory. They don’t think they can win. Hell, they’re fully prepared to lose. But they know they’re going to take down as many of Mapache’s men as they can in the process. In that, at least, they’re successful. And for all of this, The Wild Bunch becomes far more intriguing than your average root-for-the-outlaw Western.

Who wouldn’t want to watch this mug for two and a half hours?

Also pushing The Wild Bunch ahead of the genre pack is the equally artful and grotesque eye of director Sam Peckinpah. The man’s talent for editing is unparalleled and, in this project, he utilizes quick cuts to create tension and action in ways that would make Darren Aronofsky look like a film school amateur. At the start of the film, just after the railroad office robbery has gone awry, there is a scene of utter chaos and destruction in the center of town. In this moment, Peckinpah chooses to focus on two terrified, blonde, cherubic children who cling to each other as women are trampled and horses are shot all around them. He alternates between long, steady shots of these two innocent faces as they stare in abject horror and rapid fire edits of the violence and carnage that surrounds them. And OH is there carnage. The opening credits include shots of children laughing as a colony of ants eats a scorpion. Then the children light them all on fire. At that point, it becomes readily apparent why Peckinpah is known for his displays of butchery on film. Everything after that moment is just super-fake-blood-and-dismemberment-flavored gravy. Frankly, it’s a refreshing thing to see in a genre that more commonly pretends people don’t really bleed that much after gunfights at high noon.

This is one of the lighter scenes

I probably should have led with this because disclaimers are generally best suited at the start. Still, you should know that I’m actually a big fan of the Western, so I was a bit biased this week. I was prepared to like this movie. I wasn’t prepared for how much I would like this movie. For 2 weeks running, the AFI and I are on the same page with a pick.  I’m afraid to get too comfortable with that. –KSmith

The 2014 PopFilter New Fall TV Challenge

ROUND FOUR

GOTHAM

Gotham-Chracters-1024x624

VS

140908200928-falltv-transparent-horizontal-gallery

TRANSPARENT

See the bracket!

 

(NOTE: This is Gotham’s first four episodes versus Transparent’s first four.)

 

One of the things I like about Gotham is the way it tows the DC universe lines. Now, the good folks at the Popfilter offices have pledged allegiance to the Marvel flag. With good reason, Marvel has been outshining DC going on two decades now. But growing up, Batman was my jam. The comics that created the city of Gotham had a special appeal to me. The black and white color saturation, the use of streetlights and shifty headlights and blacked-out buildings gave Gotham a kind of urban grit. It created an atmosphere that allowed peculiar criminals to slither out of the shadows and disappear as if they were smoke. Cliche as it may be to say this as a critic but Gotham is a character in an of itself, and one that is integral to the Batman story.

 

Gotham the television series knows where it came from. It translates the look of the comics to the screen impressively well. But I find myself wishing the show would take more time to develop the intricacies of the city’s identity. The darkness and grit are what makes Gotham Gotham. This show should be about the degradation, seediness, with the focus on the criminals. The latest episode’s introduction of a female singer that Fish plans on using as a weapon is enthralling. But so far the show has too many troubling issues. The campiness can be problematic. What at first I found kitsch I am beginning to find obnoxious. Gordon’s fiancee Barbara is a weak character and I can’t decide if its the acting or the writing. Gotham is falling short of the potential I saw for it in the beginning.

 

Speaking of plunging an audience into a mysterious world, Transparent is Gotham’s opponent in this round. Transparent lets the audience become familiar with a world that has only existed on the fringes of society since, well, always. At the same time, it covers familiar ground with as much depth as it allows the uncharted territory. The ground breaking nature of the show is in the subtitles. I had heard it said, but never really understood, that trans people and homosexuals get unfairly marginalized together. Transparent was able to show me just by Jeffrey Tambor’s Maura banging on her new neighbor’s wall with her shoe, screaming at them to turn down the music. This show is about the agony of finding a place to belong. Congratulations, Transparent, you are our first finalist!!

 

-Stephanie Rose

 

NEXT TIME: THE FLASH VS THE AFFAIR

Top Ten – Costumes You’ll See at Every Halloween Party in 2014

Top Ten Costumes You’ll See

at Every Halloween Party in 2014

Frozen

2014-10-19_21.16.21

The biggest animated hit this decade came out last November, which means little girls all over the world have been frothing at the mouth for 11 whole months just dying to dress up like their favorite new adorkable princesses. I’m just saying prepare for absolute hordes of little Anna’s and Elsa’s running around this year people. Tons of adult interpretations too if Pinterest’s hair inspiration boards are any indication. Not to mention the obligatory slutty styles that have already popped up, but you expect the Legs version of the princess sisters.  The Slutty Olaf the Snowman costume however was requested by no one, it just appeared one day as an example of the lowest point of humanity.

Walking Dead

 

Televisions best zombie drama just came back into our lives last week and just in time to go trick or treating as your favorite walker or apocalypse survivor. Darryl and Michonne will remain popular choices, who doesn’t want to rock a crossbow or machete? Rick and Carl are a good option for a father/son duo looking to do a coordinated look that makes the most of their burgeoning tension and adolescent angst. The beauty of dressing up as someone from The Walking Dead is the chance to pretty much just wear regular clothes splattered in dirt and blood and call it a costume.

Guardians of the Galaxy

These are going to be the groups winning all the costume competitions. Not only is Star-Lord like the coolest superhero we’ve had in a while, practically every guy will be able to pull him off – it’s just a fact that gasmasks and leather jackets look good on everyone.  Nebula and Gamora are both total kickass chicks tyhat basically just require body paint and some skintight pants. And we all know that one guy who lifts all year long so he can go shirtless on Halloween, Drax was made for him. Groot will be a challenge being a 7 foot walking tree and all, maybe some of you nerds have an old Ent outfit in the closet you can repurpose. Add a Rocket raccoon cape and mask to the dog and you have a group costume that’s fun for the whole family.

Hunger Games

Halloween comes just a month before everyone’s favorite Dystopian teen franchise ends, well begins to end in part one of the two-part ending. Katniss is great because you have a choice between super glamorous Girl on Fire in crazy makeup and a ballgown, or go low key with a causal Katniss hunting at home look just add jacket, braid and bow and arrow. Effie is always a good look as a complicated character who oozes style, plus most girls have a ridiculous bridesmaid dress that makes the look when worn with a blonde wig and neon eye shadow.

Doctor Who

There’s a new Doctor in town and fans can’t wait to cosplay as his latest dignified and brusque persona. Peter Capaldi’s Doctor is so easy too without any wacky scarves or hats,  all it takes is a button down shirt, long-ish jacket (lined in red if you’re being picky) and serious case of attack eyebrows. Add a cutie-pie chipmunk of a girl in a short skirt, black tights and bangs and you have a super easy couples costume of the Doctor and Clara that is sure to be all over the place come Halloween. Don’t forget your sonic screwdriver, and maybe something that goes ding when there’s stuff.

Ebola Patient Zero

Ebola

As the biggest Ebola outbreak in history it’s practically all that’s in the news these days and a legitimately scary threat…so naturally we need to make fun of it. Abstract ideas make the most fun costumes so I predict lots of different takes on this one. Most generic zombies out there this year will probably work ebola into their names somehow and hospital gowns and nurse outfits are sure to reign. There’s even bound to be a flippant few actually dressed as America’s first diagnosed patient Thomas Duncan, they’ll be the ones in the neon green jackets giving HIPPA the finger.

Maleficent

maleficent headpiece

Angelina Jolie is the quintessential fantasy “hot girl” every woman wants to be so it’s no surprise her characters are always Halloween favorites. Female villains are most appealing cosplay when they exude a wicked elegance  and  this summer saw Jolie’s cheekbones starring as the Queen of the wicked fairies herself. Those delicate sharply pointed horns worn with a corset and wings will make any woman look like a dark goddess and spend all night perfecting her deeply sardonic drawl.

Captain America/Black Widow

While all of the Avengers will be well represented as costume choices, Captain America and Black Widow starred in the most recent chapter of the Marvel saga and the general public is ruled by a short attention span. So I foresee your parties boasting lots of redheads prowling around in cat suits and tons of patriotic heroes in varying degrees of authenticity from molded plastic muscles to jeans and an American flag tee shirt. And for the couple who is way too cool for that level of enthusiasm, Steve and Natasha as undercover mall hipsters in the Apple store are the epitome of laziness and obscurity.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 

TMNT

Mark my words Turtles are going to be big this year with all of those poor little kids whose parents let them believe in Michael Bay’s distorted vision of our heroes in a half shell. And with 90’s kids all grown up and appalled to see what has been done to our beloved culture icons who will bdress as the classic Turtles to spit in the face of a new regime. But most of all with college girls looking for a tutu based group costume…because there isn’t a single classic cartoon that hasn’t been ruined by sorority girls in tutus.

American Horror Story: Freakshow

Twisty the Clown

AHS is a completely different show every season but what remains the same is how it serves up mind blowing nightmares with such style. This season’s atmospheric and deteriorating 1950’s creeptacular carnival is rife with characters that would make great Halloween costumes. Jessica Lange is impeccable as the fabulous, aged German cabaret singer, the costume would be worth it to wear the furs alone. Jimmy Darling the Lobster Boy and his mother the Bearded Lady would both make excellent costume options, and the two headed twins would be a fun and eye catching look for a couple of girls who don’t mind being joined at the hip all night. But I think we’re going to see the most of Twisty the murderous clown. We’ve been afraid of clowns for a while now as a society and Ryan Murphy has found a way to interject new life into the trope with Twisty’s terrifying mask of human flesh. This costume is guaranteed to reduce most children to a quivering mess, and  isn’t that what Halloween is really all about?
– Amelia Steinmetz

PopFilter Podcast Episode 168

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This week, the friends have the most important draft of all time: what six powers would you take if everything was on the table? That’s right, the friends all become super friends and take the time to blow everyone’s dick off by becoming the most powerful, amazing and super nerdy nerds on the planet. As with all drafts, come for the friends, stay for the yelling and hurtful name calling.

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

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The 2014 PopFilter New Fall TV Challenge

Round Three

A to Z

a2z

VS

Transparent-TV-show

TRANSPARENT

See the bracket!

 

Today’ combatants are both part of the elite eight, but for very different reasons. Both 30 minute comedies, their formats are enormously different. A to Z is more of a standard sitcom with a familiar format. And by the third episode, its settling comfortably into its formula. You have your main characters, Andrew and Zelda, having a misunderstanding but coming back together for the third act, the two foils rounding out the story, and a B-plot centering around Andrew’s boss. The boss character is probably the best thing on the show, but the writers aren’t really sure what to do with her. This week had her spying on her employees using software that monitors their email. Her best moments come in the form of interactions she has with her assistant or meetings with the staff. The cohesiveness of the episode can’t support giving her an entire narrative to run through. The two the side and the main story don’t belong in the same show.

Then there is Transparent. There’s been a whole new era of the 30-minute comedy ushered in by Louis CK’s Louie. These shows are nothing like typical sitcoms. Far from light-hearted romps intended to let an audience escape from the heaviness of their own lives, they highlight human failure. These shows are all about a character’s ineptitude at leading a normal life. They embody the comic spirit’s bottom line: life is kind of shitty and then you die; that’s the joke. The true embodiment of the comic spirit is The Joker.

If you find my synopsis grim, stick with shows like A to Z. However if you want a little more from your viewing experience, Transparent is the better show. There are no B-plots, no formula and no resets to normal by the end of the episode. This week the transgendered father unable to come out to his son, there’s an abortion, a failed drug-induced threesome, and a failed marriage. I kind of surprise myself stacking up the plot points like that. How can a show effectively deal with that much drama? The fact is that these kinds of comedies do drama better than dramas. There is one fundamental difference, Transparent conveys how awkward people are. The oldest daughter, played by Amy Landecker has a scene where she is anxiously writhing around the kitchen about to tell her husband she is in love with another woman. It was astounding. It is the clear winner this week and moves on to the final four.

 

-Stephanie Brady

NEXT UP: THE FLASH VS THE AFFAIR

The Superhero Hour Hour 10/17/14

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The Walking Dead is back! Mike and Ryan discuss whether or not the season premiere shows any sign of the series fixing their problems, and then giggle about explosions and fire. They also discuss the new episodes of Arrow, The Flash, Gotham, and Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD.

The 2014 PopFilter New Fall TV Challenge

Round One

MARRY ME

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VS

images

JANE THE VIRGIN

The Bracket!!!

I never saw it coming.

 

First, Marry Me happened. It’s a sitcom about a couple who can’t quite get their proposal right. If I were a betting man, it would have had my money on it to make it until at least the third round. It’s because I believe in the talent of stars Carey Wilson, Ken Marino and creator David Caspe. All three have proven themselves to be home run hitters and Marry Me is no exception. It’s genuinely, exceptionally funny. Wilson is amazing. She can do some fearless physical comedy and has an incredibly instinct for how to get the most out of her lines. Ken Marino is a great team player and seems to be enhanced by and thrive off the energy and talent surrounding him. Marry Me has some great people behind it.

 

The only real problem I have is with one of the supporting players. They made an odd choice casting Sarah Wright (a.k.a Jerry from Park’s and Recreation’s daughter) as Wilson’s best friend. She does okay with the lines she’s given, but I don’t quite understand how she fits into this world. At the top of the episode, Wilson goes on a incredible rant about how Marino hasn’t proposed yet where she calls her best friend a hipster who is probably going to die a spinster. With a description like that I pictured the neighbor from Selfie, not supermodel Sarah Wright. This implies a lack of awareness about what this character’s role should be. But if you’ve ever seen Capse and Wilson’s other vehicle, Happy Endings, you’d understand why I have complete faith in this show to figure it out. Happy Endings was an incredible ensemble piece; that can’t happen unless a show figures out how to use the entire casts’ strengths. You only have to look at Marino’s mother to understand Caspe’s ability to give a bit character one of the funniest moments on the show (when she’s in the car singing along to Pink’s Fuckin Perfect after overhearing Wilson call her a bitch, it just about killed me.) This show is a must see.

 

Then it happened: Jane the Virgin came bounding out of the red corner with such lightness of foot and energy it totally bowled me over. I don’t know what’s going on over there at the CW, but they have gone from cheesedick young-adult drama to some of the most compelling tevelvision of the fall. It’s a network Cinderella story!

 

Jane the Virgin was great. Great in a way I did not expect, and great in a way I did not know was possible. It’s almost hard to review. It took all these telenovela themes and insane plot twists and presented them earnestly, without overacting, and without the absurd edits that don’t give big moments time to land. The plot is like an control-tower radar screen busy with air-traffic, but not overly convoluted because the trajectory of each plot-point easy to follow. The strength of this show isn’t even in its plot, but in its characters. The plot just gives the characters agency. Each week, the viewers will tune in for Jane and co. and not because there is a bunch of crazy crap going on. The characters are ordinary people put in extraordinary situations, the former being something that soap operas typically fail to develop.

 

These two shows are clearly heavy weights. This round, which comes as a surprise to everyone, including me, is going to the underdog: Jane the Virgin. Marry Me moves on to a regular spot on my TV schedule while Jane the Virgin moves on to the second round.

-Stephanie Rose

TOMORROW: UNCLE VS THINGS YOU SHOULDN’T SAY AFTER MIDNIGHT!!!

PopFilter Versus Ex Machina

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The journey to educate Jason on comic books continues! This week the friends tackle Brian K. Vaughan’s superhero deconstruction/post-911 story Ex Machina. Is that an accurate description of the comic? You decide! Will the friends keep reading K Vaughan after this? You find out! How many times will Ryan and Mike try to make Jason feel bad when they know more about comics because he lived a “life” during childhood? So many times!

 

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!

The 2014 PopFilter New Fall TV Challenge

Round 2

SURVIVOR’S REMORSE

REMORSE

VS 

gracepointcanren1

GRACEPOINT

Follow the bracket here!!!

Just as I start to realize that this tournament is setting television writing back decades, and giving no shows their proper due, it dawns on me why this tournament might actually work. The vast majority of new fall shows are stamped with a big red “suck,” only to be forgotten as soon as the networks will allow us to. It’s almost a habit at this point. We’re supposed to check our baggage at the door, and review each new piece of media with an open mind, but we’ve been conditioned to equate “new fall show” with “shitty,” and sometimes forget to take a second look. The bracket has allowed/forced me to do something I would have never done otherwise, watch the second episodes of Survivor’s Remorse and Gracepoint, and I have to say that I kind of enjoyed myself, something that isn’t said very often when it comes to pilots.

Well…”enjoyed myself” might be a little strong when talking about Gracepoint, yet another show about a dead kid (hey, at least there’s no fat, bearded, ginger sidekicks). Although the first episode definitely had its rough, lingering moments, the second episode allowed the plot to take over a little bit, and things are starting to move. The list of suspects has started to grow, and although there’s a good chance that none of them are the killer, at the very least they’re all weirdos, and it’s hard to not want to find out just how weird they are. It’s the binge-iest of binge shows, which I should have realized right after the pilot. Although more and more members of the PF staff are speaking out against binging, Gracepoint doesn’t really apply. If you binge Breaking Bad, you’re not really appreciating each episode as its own unique thing, and it’s just too much information for one brain to handle. You’ll lose some awesomeness. Gracepoint, however, is no Breaking Bad. The episodes do not seem to reward viewers with self-contained themes and tones. It’s just a long ass story, and thrives on you needing to see the next episode. Gracepoint isn’t awful, but if you’d rather wait for a Netflix-fueled sick day, as opposed to going week-to-week, more power to you. If you decide to that, though, please be warned: this show stars David Tennant.

I’ve never seen Doctor Who. Maybe he was good on that show. Maybe he’s good in almost everything he does, but the writers just decided to fuck him by creating one of the most hackneyed characters on TV. It doesn’t matter. Through two episodes, he has tanked this show so hard that Survivor’s Remorse could be half as good as it is, and still move on to Round 3. Tennant feels like he got lost on his way to some cheesedick Miami Vice ripoff, wound up on the Gracepoint set, and just decided to stay. This show would be fine if Breaking Bad-alum was the sole detective on the case, or if it decided not every show needs a god damn antihero. Attention networks: you don’t need more drama in a show about a murdered child. That should provide so much drama, in fact, that it deems boring, prickish, antiheroes completely unnecessary.

Survivor’s Remorse has become my favorite Cinderella story of the bracket so far (sorry A to Z). What started as a decent, if not amateurish, pilot has grown into a pretty compelling ensemble dramedy. It isn’t really that funny, but since it’s 30 minutes long, we’ll go with dramedy. Within the first five minutes of the second episode, the mother of the main character, young NBA star Cam Calloway, has told a reporter that she used to whoop her kids, and then we predictably, but rewardingly, go from there.

In two episodes, creator Mike O’Malley (that same one) has already removed all Entourage comparisons, and even if Survivor’s Remorse never hits the dizzying mediocrity of that show in its heyday, it still offers something that Entourage never cared about: compelling characters. Welcome to the Elite 8, Survivor’s Remorse.

– Ryan Haley

 

TOMORROW:

JANE THE VIRGIN AND MARRY ME ENTER THE TOURNAMENT!!!

Kerri Battles the AFI’s Top 100 — #80: The Apartment

The Apartment is categorized as a romantic comedy, a genre of which I’m notoriously judgemental. Still, I was excited to watch anything with a young Jack Lemmon and a young Shirley MacLaine. With Fred MacMurray following those names, I was pretty sure I was in for a goofy 60s rom-com with pratfalls and missed-by-moments-connections intended to leave me rolling in the aisles in stitches! I was woefully unprepared for anything I was about to watch.

Finding this as a sudden plot twist is the only thing that might have surprised me more.

The Apartment begins with a voiceover from C.C. “Buddy Boy” Baxter  (Lemmon) as he explains his job at an insurance company, his talent for remembering facts and figures, and the particular commodity he has that will really get him ahead — his cozy apartment that four philandering executives at his company find perfect for their not-so-secret trysts with not their wives. When he’s called up to Mr. Sheldrake’s office, the Head of Personnel, Baxter is certain his promotion is imminent. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Baxter can have his promotion all right — just so long as he leaves his key and his address on Sheldrake’s desk for that evening. Sheldrake even throws in two tickets to The Music Man to sweeten the deal. Baxter agrees and, ignoring any immoral aspects of the trade, asks the pretty elevator operator, Fran Kubelik (MacLaine) to join him at the theater. She tells him she already has a date with an old boyfriend, but she expects it to end quickly, so she agrees to meet him at the theater just before curtain. However, Fran’s date — **GASP** SHELDRAKE!!!  — has other ideas. In their usual back booth in a seedy Chinese restaurant, Sheldrake tells Fran that he intends to leave his wife, she believes him, and they head back to Baxter’s apartment to rekindle their romance. Because of course they do. As Fran and Sheldrake’s affair escalates, Baxter gets his promotion and a spine. At the company Christmas Eve drunken orgy party, he intends to ask Fran on another date. Instead, through a wacky turn of events involving Sheldrake’s nosy secretary/scorned ex-mistress and a broken compact mirror Fran left behind in the apartment, that plan basically gets shot to hell. Baxter winds up drunk at a bar while Fran cries to Sheldrake in his apartment over being just another in a long line of pieces on the side. Fran gives Sheldrake a personal and thoughtful Christmas gift. Sheldrake gives Fran a Benjamin and tells her to buy herself something nice because he’s got to get home to his wife and kids. Fran watches Sheldrake leave, then takes Baxter’s prescription for sleeping pills. All of it. Baxter stumbles home just in time to save Fran’s life, with the help of his neighbor, Dr. Dreyfuss. Sheldrake tells Baxter over the phone to keep it quiet. Upon doctor’s orders, Fran remains in Baxter’s apartment to recuperate, play cards, and fall in love. Upon his return to the office, Baxter plans to tell Sheldrake he’s prepared to take Fran off his hands because, well, he loves her. Unfortunately, Sheldrake is prepared to tell Baxter precisely the same thing. Since Secretary/Ex-Mistress told Mrs. Sheldrake the same things she told Fran, he’s been living at the athletic club.  But, of course, now that he sort of has to, Sheldrake is prepared to make it official with Fran. He just needs a new copy of Baxter’s key because, in light of Fran’s “accident,” he threw the last one out the window of the commuter train and he certainly can’t take her to the Y. Baxter calmly tells Sheldrake he can have a key — the key back to the executive wash room. Baxter quits on the spot, but not before telling Sheldrake he can’t take any women back to his apartment again, but especially not Fran. That evening, New Year’s Eve, as Sheldrake and Fran sit in their usual booth in the Chinese restaurant, he tells her of Baxter’s surprising resignation and the reasons why. As the lights dim for midnight, Fran realizes where she needs to be and runs to the apartment, where Baxter declares his love for her immediately. Fran smiles and tells him to shut up and deal a hand of Gin Rummy.

I can’t unsee Fred MacMurray playing a slimy, cheating louse. Kindly 60s sitcom widowers will never look the same.

There may be quite a bit in the above paragraph that could be construed as cliche, but there’s a reason why that paragraph is so fucking long. The Apartment takes a well-worn premise that could easily come across as hackneyed and spins it into a subtly detailed yarn of gold. The above paragraph is just the stunted synopsis of what happens between Fran and Baxter and even every one of those details is important for just a basic understanding of the story because this isn’t just a simple boy-meets-girl light-hearted romp. There’s humor, of course, but there’s also a layer of grit and soot sprinkled on top that isn’t often a part of your average rom-com formula. Baxter and Fran’s destination is ultimately the same as, say, Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler, but those generic couples always seem to take the well-traveled road . Nothing about Baxter and Fran’s journey is predictable.  And theirs isn’t the only love story The Apartment tells, either. You have Dr. and Mrs. Dreyfuss, who have no secrets, or Baxter’s landlady and her reluctant West Highland Terrier. You have My Favorite Martian and his fling with the Marilyn Wannabe. You have the drunken wife of a jockey jailed in Cuba for doping race horses with whom Baxter shares his wallowing. Most of the secondary characters in The Apartment offer the audience a glimpse into their own unique relationships and each is just as intriguing and well drawn as that of our main characters.

Not him, too! Sweet Jesus, my naive, Nick-at-Nite-raised brain cannot handle this.

If I tried, I could find some mean, cheap shots to take at The Apartment. I could mock some characters as stereotypical or convenient. I could comment on the dated views of women and sex. I could do that, but I won’t because it would be forced and disingenuous. In hindsight, those points of view could be argued, but the film simply doesn’t read that way while watching it. Instead, the characters are enthralling, amusing, and accessible. For the first time in too long, I’m with the AFI on this one. In fact, I don’t know if I’ve done this before, but I actually strongly recommend The Apartment to everyone except ignorant assholes who poo-poo anything and everything black and white. Those people don’t deserve this joy anyway.  — KSmith

PopFilter Podcast 167

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Filterinos, do you remember when a bunch of new stuff came out and the PopFilter friends didn’t talk about it? Wasn’t that weird? Well…they DID talk about it and now you’re finally going to hear what they think about BoJack Horseman, Alt J’s “This Is All Yours”, Night Moves, Captain America: Winter Soldier and so much other shit! You thought they forgot about you? Never. They call you their “babies”, which would be really sweet if they didn’t use such a tremendously creepy collective voice.

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 2014 PopFilter New Fall TV Challenge

Round One

THE AFFAIR

The-affair_612x832

VS

cristela-key-art-season-1-premiere

CRISTELA

See all the bracket action at http://challonge.com/popfilter

 

Today’s match up has Showtime’s The Affair pitted against ABC’s new sitcom Cristela. That sentence has all the information you need to determine the winner. End of article? No! Keep reading.

 

Showtime has given the world some great television, such as the first two seasons of Weeds and Dexter. Showtime has also given the world some abysmally terrible television, such as the remaining seasons of Dexter and Weeds. What we know for sure is that Showtime is good at getting a conceptual show off the ground. What’s high concept about The Affair isn’t the premise, it’s about two people who cheat on their spouses. Rather, the conceptually interesting thing about it is how the pilot deals with the truth of the world its building. The story is framed by an investigation that has the two affairees, The Wire alum Dominic West and Ruth Wilson, in an interrogation room being questioned. Their statements are a literal he-said, she-said account of their relationship. The truth of either version is not up for debate; this is all about how Noah and Alison express cognitive dissonance. Their stories reflect what they want to believe about what happened in order to not be totally responsible for it. I was very impressed by the way the lead actors pulled off the two different characters they play: the Noah and Alison of his story and the Noah and Alison of hers. The choices the actors make highlight the way people cast themselves as well-meaning, innocent bystanders of circumstances beyond their control in the stories they tell about their lives. This is an amazing debut and I can’t wait for the second episode.

 

Cristela is the kind of sitcom pilot that TV writers who want to sell their show should study. Its easily digestible, introduces its characters subtly but with an understanding of what their roles are, and takes on enough plot to set up a world while not feel crammed into 22 minutes. The star of the show, Cristela Alonzo, is likeable enough to make her cheesy lines work. The biggest flaw comes in the form of Gabriel Iglesias, a comedian whose stand-up I really enjoy. He is there because he is the only recognizable name on the show but the writers don’t know what to do with him. So what do they do? They force him in with awkward results. His character has a crush on Cristela, but she adamantly rejects him making his persistent advances creepy. They need to figure out how to make him work or axe him. Still, I’m rooting for this show to become a hit and for America to make Cristela Alonzo a star. But it is no match for The Affair. The Affair is incredible.

 

Looks like Transparent finally has some real competition.

 

-Stephanie Rose

NEXT TIME: GRACEPOINT VS SURVIVOR’S REMORSE