Skip to content

TOP TEN-BLAST FROM THE PAST

THE POP FILTER TOP TEN 

FRANCHISES THAT IGNORED THEIR SOURCE MATERIAL

BLAST FROM THE PAST

10. RESIDENT EVIL

No puzzles, no suspense, all naked-superpowered Milla Jovovich.

9. GARFIELD

None of the biting wit of the cartoon strip.

8.  CAT IN THE HAT

Dr. Seuss was never this terrifying.

7. THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN

Took the characters, left the detailed and interesting story lines. Added explosions.

6. GI JOE

Without the morals at the end, it’s all just flash.

5. IT

A fucking spider at the end?!

4. THE MASK

Remove violence. Add Jim Carrey. Shake until mixed. Remove Jim Carrey. Add Jamie Kennedy. Fuck.

2. BATTLESHIP

Sure, there are aliens and Rihanna. But at least there’s still a bunch of lying kids.

1. TWISTER

twisterspinner

At least Battleship actually had ships in it.

This has been a special all Mike Gravagno edition. If you disagree, leave a comment or email me at mike@yourpopfilter.com

PopFilter Podcast Episode 177

Play

On this, the first of a series of four, the friends all catch up on an album, a TV show and a film from the year that was 2014 in order to better prepare themselves for the all-important “best of” lists!! They also build a mountain in honor of the most iconic reporters of all time because that’s how podcasts work.

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 Superhero Hour Hour 1/2

Play
Play

The boys are back, and with nary a superhero TV show on the schedule this week, they do the only thing they can. They answer the big red phone, open up the bust, hit the big button, and run like turds, arms a’ flailin’, to the PodPoles, and slide down to the cave to watch as many episodes of the 1966 TV phenomenon Batman. Neither was a fan when they were kids, so see if some maturity, some nostalgia, and a half-season of Constantine gives them any more appreciation for this so-called TV classic. Plus, they discuss Netflix’s Daredevil show, and much more.

Kerri Battles the AFI’s Top 100 — #70: A Clockwork Orange

Last Thursday was what I like to call Smithmas, so I opted to take the week off from fighting the AFI. I could have done the same this week, too, with New Year’s Day falling on a Thursday, as well. Trust me when I tell you that the temptation there was real and strong, particularly once I realized what I was up against next. A Clockwork Orange is one of those movies I’m supposed to enjoy. When I first watched it at about 17, I was excited beyond belief to finally view what is widely considered by counterculture and rebellious teens everywhere to be a cinematic masterpiece. Hell, there’s a constant line of tshirts and sundries plastered with the poster image above perpetually available at your local Hot Topic. To a 17 year old, that means it must be awesome. Lesson the first: 17 year olds generally don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about. I learned this lesson during my first viewing and only cemented it further this time around.

Apology not accepted, you little shit.

A Clockwork Orange is the tale of Alex DeLarge and his “droogs” who spend their evenings drinking milk spiked with drugs and committing acts of ultraviolence for fun. One of his droogs complains that they should be committing larger, “manlier” crimes with bigger financial takes, but Alex dismisses him out of hand. The droogs react by trying to boot Alex out of the role of gang leader. To defend his throne, Alex beats them all senseless, then agrees to an attack on a wealthy woman all alone with her cats. During the attack and robbery, the woman fights back, so Alex smashes her in the face with a giant penis-butt-statue. When he hears police sirens, he runs to alert his droogs, who knock him out with a milk bottle and leave him to be arrested. In prison, Alex appears to be the model inmate, spending most of his time helping the prison Chaplin and reading the Bible. However, thanks to omniscient narration from dear Alex, we know he’s really just reading the Bible for the images of violence it provides. When he hears tale of an experimental treatment that will allow him to commute the rest of his 14 year sentence, he eagerly signs up. Only too late does he discover it’s some sort of deeply drastic aversion therapy that combines a nauseating drug cocktail with forced viewing of ultraviolent films scored by his beloved Ludwig Van. Upon his release, Alex finds that his parents have rented his room and consider their lodger more of a son than Alex ever was. With nowhere else to go, Alex wanders the streets, happening upon an elderly former victim of his crimes. The victim recognizes him immediately and calls upon his other elderly friends to return the beating. Alex, suddenly nauseated and paralyzed by his “successful” treatment, is unable to fight back. Thankfully, two policemen happen by and break up the melee. Unfortunately, those policemen happen to be two of Alex’s former droogs. They drag Alex out to the edge of town, beat and nearly drown him, then leave him for dead. Alex manages to crawl to the nearest home, unaware at first that it is yet another scene of one of his grisly acts. The homeowner recognizes Alex immediately from the papers as the boy who received treatment from the government and offers him a place to stay. Homeowner and his friends, you see, disapprove of this current government and hope to use Alex’s story to swing public opinion away from the incumbents. Homeowner ultimately recognizes Alex as the leader of the group who left him crippled and raped his wife so brutally that she died from the injuries. When he and his friends discover that Alex can no longer enjoy Beethoven’s 9th as a side effect of his treatment, they lock him in a second floor apartment and play the symphony until he attempts suicide by jumping from the window. When he awakens in the hospital, Alex is met by the Minister of the Interior, who assures him that Homeowner is “away” in a place where he can never hurt Alex again and hopes that Alex can forgive The Government for their shortsightedness, particularly now that they have reversed his treatment. As a token of friendship, the Minister brings in a large record player to blast Alex’s precious Ludwig Van and prove he’s been cured. Amid sudden daydreams of orgiastic violence, Alex proclaims, “I’ve been cured, all right.”

It’s a penis-butt-statue. What else would you call it?

Let me start off by saying I have never even attempted to read the source material for Kubrick’s flick, so I’m not  taking the original novel into consideration at all when judging this film. Still, judge I shall because I really didn’t enjoy this movie at all. There’s a lot of good things here, from Malcolm McDowell’s performance to interesting cinematography and impeccable use of score. Unfortunately, they didn’t do enough to counter the two things that continued to irk me about almost every scene: THE EVER-PRESENT BOOBS AND VAGINAS. If you’re a straight guy reading this, you’re probably thinking that sounds more like a reason to watch A Clockwork Orange than not. And for you, maybe it is. And I’m also sure that Kubrick would say it was just meant to display the hypersexualization present in this near-future London he was trying to create. But if you’re going to claim symbolism as your answer, then I’m going to unpack that symbolism with a feminist fist. Why does hypersexualization have to equal naked women in submissive poses? Aside from that giant rocking-horse-butt-penis above, there’s only one other scene I can recall that showed any kind of penis and it was in the form of lewd graffiti. Yet in every home depicted in the film, there’s at least 2 or 3 paintings just like the ones also showed above — naked women just waiting to be “taken.” Even the milk-plus bar where Alex and his droogs spend their nights is furnished entirely with naked female mannequins that dispense said milk-plus out of their breasts. There are also two different rape scenes that are each much longer than they needed to be to get the point across. Hell, the one female character that dared to fight back against Alex was bludgeoned to death by a giant cock. That’s not just hypersexualization, my friends. That’s the definition of misogyny and the objectification of women all rolled up into one neat, two and a half hour package.

… I’ll just leave this here …

I realize that Stanley Kubrick is considered an auteur and master of film and that everything he touches is deemed to be gold. Four of his movies even appear on the AFI’s list. Unfortunately, Doctor Strangelove notwithstanding, I just don’t agree. Most of the time, his “voice” as a director reminds me of that asshole that was in the back of every film class I ever took, as though his presence was a required part of the curriculum for the rest of us. That asshole would either claim deep symbolism in his student film that the rest of us were just too obtuse to understand or would browbeat us with “symbolism” so obvious and overt that it no longer stood up to the name. One way or the other, that asshole’s goal always seemed to be to alienate the audience in such a way that left them afraid to admit they didn’t get it for fear of being labeled “uncultured swine.” I’ve never had a fear of that label because, well, I’m pretty sure I am uncultured swine. With that said, let me just add this: The merits of A Clockwork Orange have been grossly and unjustly exaggerated. –KSmith

PopFilter Podcast: Oscar Draft

Play

This week, the friends have an Oscar draft? What’s an Oscar draft, you ask? Well, the friends all draft the 6 films that they believe will garner the most nominations. What about the awards, you ask? Fuck ‘em! They just want those sweet, sweet nomees. What are nomees, you ask? Okay, that’s enough questions. Just listen to the show. It’s a good one.

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

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

Review us on iTunes!

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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

PopFilter Podcast Episode 176

Play

It’s draft time! With Sony’s canceling The Interview, and North Korea about to attack all of our freedoms in all of the future moments, the Taste Buds have a fantasy draft, assembling the teams that will fight back. The one condition? They all have to be Disney Villains. Join the friends as the create the perfect evil Disney cabal, pulling from characters from the past, but not the present, nor the future.

The Superhero Hour Hour 12/19

Play
Play

With only a new episode of Constantine to discuss, Mike and Ryan turn towards the past, and review the first four episodes of The Adventures of Superman, starring George Reeves.

Popfilter Versus: Christmas Movies

Play

In a very seasonal Bracketology the friends tackle the genre of Christmas movies, betting out and whittling down until there is only one ultimate Christmas movie. Will it be a timeless classic or a black-hearted new upstart? Listen and find out!

We’ll return with Versus in the new year, have a very happy holiday no matter which holiday you celebrate!

Kerri Battles the AFI’s Top 100 — #71: Saving Private Ryan

This week’s movie is one I’ve owed a viewing to for quite some time. During the many years I spent in film school, it became readily apparent that the first 10 or so minutes of Saving Private Ryan were important since I was shown this piece and this piece only in no less than six different courses. Unfortunately, not one of those professors found the remaining 159 or so minutes to be nearly as educational or important because they never bothered the screen the entire thing. I, on the other hand, was so horrified by the scenes at Normandy that I’ve just never taken it upon myself to push past that to the rest of the movie. This week was the week I righted that wrong.

This is in the first like 90 seconds.

Saving Private Ryan begins with the Allied Forces storming the beaches at Normandy and subsequently getting almost entirely blown to smithereens. Tom Hanks and his unit manage to survive and make a hole for the second wave, thus turning the tide of World War II. In the quiet of the aftermath, Hanks is asked to take seven men deeper in country to find a Private James Francis Ryan (Iowa), the only surviving Ryan out of four brothers sent to the front. Hanks collects six of his best men — Tom Sizemore, Ed Burns, Vin Diesel, Giovanni Ribisi, Barry Pepper, and Chandler’s creepy-ass roommate from that one episode of Friends — and one translator who hasn’t held a gun since basic training — Daniel Faraday from Lost. Together, the eight of them head off on their mission to find “a needle in a stack of needles” and make sure a mother of four from Iowa isn’t forced to sacrifice all of her sons on the altar of freedom. Vin Diesel dies first from a sniper shot as he tries to save a crying child from a crumbling tenement. Giovanni Ribisi goes next as Hanks makes the arguably unnecessary call that the remaining seven take on a fortified machine gun. From this little skirmish, they leave one enemy survivor to wander off blindfolded, assuming Allied troops will pick him up as a POW. Ed Burns thinks it’s a really shitty idea, but lets it go when he finds out Hanks was a schoolteacher pre-war. They find Private James Ryan, but discover quickly that Nathan “Malcolm Reynolds” Fillion isn’t the James Ryan they’re looking for and continue on their way. The correct James Ryan — Matt Damon —  helps to save his remaining six rescuers by blowing up a tank. When Hanks tells Damon of their mission, he refuses to leave his small platoon even more short-handed in their mission to protect an important bridge. Unwilling to forgo his own orders to protect Private Ryan, Hanks orders his men to help with this bridge mission. When the Germans arrive on the scene, another battle ensues and everyone but Ed Burns,  Daniel Faraday, and Precious Ryan dies just before Allied relief arrives. With his last breaths, Hanks tells Ryan to earn the life they’ve all given theirs to secure for him.

This was basically my reaction to everything, too.

I always take notes as I watch the film of choice each week so I have something to refer back to when it comes time to write. Depending on the film, the length and depth of these notes will vary. This week, I only wrote down one thing: “Don’t shoot! Let ‘em burn!” This is a quote shouted by a random Allied soldier as Hanks and his crew set fire to an enemy bunker at Omaha Beach and flaming Nazis fall from its windows. It comes during the tail-end of the Normandy scene and, despite all of the blood and brains and explosions and guys carrying their own missing limbs, this line was the thing that struck me the hardest. I found it so telling of havok war can wreak on the human condition. At this point, I was further than I’d ever gotten before into the film, but still only scratching the surface. I had no idea what other darkness and weight lay in store just ahead. Spielberg has been praised by all for the level of accuracy and attention to detail he put into portraying the gruesome realities of World War II, even when he took artistic license for dramatic effect. From the violence and viscera to the bonds of brotherhood, Spielberg uncovers every last corner of what I presume it must be like for soldiers when the ravages of war replace the mundanity of daily life. And presume I must because, as far as I’m concerned, this movie is as close as this particular film nerd should ever get to real battle. Saving Private Ryan is engrossing and riveting. Spielberg and Kaminski did their damndest to make it impossible to look away. In doing so, they also made it incredibly hard to watch.

I am not exaggerating here.

I’ve been at this whole Watch All The Movies game for … ever. Somewhere in that span, I started creating my own categories for movies for when conventional genres just aren’t specific enough to work for me. For example, Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Reservoir Dogs aren’t crime dramas or action flicks. They’re what I like to call Vice movies — flicks where the protagonists aren’t necessarily good guys. And Labyrinth and The Black Cauldron fall into the Deeply Disturb Your Children realm. There’s one category that, until this week, has only ever contained two titles: Kids and Requiem for a Dream. That category is So Good You Must Watch, But Just Once is Enough. Saving Private Ryan is now the third entrant to this elite club. The subject matter, technical expertise, and overall impact should make it required viewing for all. But it’s also that impact — that intellectual and emotional torment it creates that both keeps you watching and makes you want to turn away — that makes one viewing enough for most. That’s what caused me to take just a single note. It wasn’t because nothing else in the film was noteworthy, but rather because I realized I wasn’t going to forget anything I was watching for a very long time. Saving Private Ryan isn’t The Shawshank Redemption. It isn’t the movie we’ll all quote from Pop Culture Hive Mind Memory because we watch it every chance we get. It’s the movie that strives to depict the burden of sacrifice and heroism in the name of maybe the greatest of all Greater Goods. It’s the movie that puts us closer than we’ve ever wanted to be to all the worst parts of life. For that, it definitely deserves a spot here. — KSmith

The Tuesday Blues

THE

TUESDAY BLUES

12/16/14

 

THE SKELETON TWINS


MV5BNzk5MjM3NDEwN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDIxNjYzMjE@._V1_SX640_SY720_

*** (out of ****)

The opening segment of The Skeleton Twins finds the suicide attempt of Maggie (Kristin Wiig) interupted by a phone call from a nurse who explains that Maggie’s twin brother Milo (Bill Hader) has survived his suicide attempt. This is one of the scariest scenes you can see, not because of the deathly serious topic of suicide, but because it’s a sign you’ve entered into Twee-Indie-Drama-Land. Twee-Indie-Drama-Land is a less than happy place that loves cleverness over truth. This puts a lot of pressure on whoever the actors are. Here we have two SNL-alums; one, a budding superstar still trying to figure out how to aim her shining light, and the other, a comedian not well known outside of SNL fans, and even to them he’s known as a master impressionist. The film is comedic, but not a comedy. This is the kind of opening scene that makes me scared about that actors won’t be able to pull this off, or whether the movie will even allow them. All of a sudden, I’m taken out of the movie, more worried about Kristin and Bill’s career than I am Maggie and Milo’s lives.

I soon find out that I’m an insane, untrusting asshole. After we spend some time getting to know Maggie and Milo separately, we get to see what their estranged relationship is like now. It’s their unhappiness with how far apart they are that gives the audience hope that these two will get past their bullshit and show off that rapport. It’s easy to imagine two other actors, who didn’t spend seven years on the same set writing and acting out skits, struggling to get the audience to believe that their relationship had crumbled, and now they are slowly building it back. The script would have had to rely on lines like “Our relationship has crumbled, and now we slowly are building it back.” With Wiig and Hader, you can just turn the camera on and let them figure the moments out together.

All of this relationship repairing has to take the mandatory dark turn. Just before that, however, we get the best example of Hader and Wiig overcoming the odds of this becoming a typical Indie drama. To cheer Wiig up, Hader begins to lip sync a song they must have liked when they were children. She mopes for as long as she can, but Hader breaks her down, and she jumps up to dance and once again enjoy the fact that she has a brother. On paper, it’s more schmaltzy than the opening, and more cliche. It’s the kind of scene that gets thrown into movies so the trailer for the film can have some action or music. And yet, despite all of that, it’s pure fucking delight, and a contender for the scene of the year.

Wiig’s Maggie is good, but in a lot of ways she’s just a less witty version of most of Wiig’s straight women. Hader is the revelation here, and not just because he at no point relies on his vocal talents. Hader is straight, and Milo is gay, and Milo has effeminate tendencies, and it’s hard to walk the line and make sure you stay true to the character. There’s no cringe inducing moments here, with Hader making his wrist go a little limper to get a harder laugh. The other scene-stealer, against all odds, is Maggie’s husband Lance, played by Luke Wilson. The character is set-up to be the douchiest of douches, one that Luke Wilson would fight against in movies of the early 2000’s. But as the film goes on, Wilson and the filmmakers don’t present Lance as a loud, “bro” screaming, asshole. Instead, Lance is a simple, uncomplicated guy who let Maggie trick him into thinking she was uncomplicated as well, just as she was tricking herself into thinking that she can be married to someone who is so uncomplicated. A two-hander with Wiig and Hader would have been good, but Wilson grounds the two, and gives the movie the dark edge it so clearly wants.

– Ryan Haley

PopFilter Podcast Episode 175

Play

Can you believe the friends have made it all the way to 175 episodes of the PopFilter Podcast? Neither can they!! To prove that they haven’t become too big for their pop culture britches, they present you with the very first episode of PopFilter 101, where they tackle a pop filter topic they have very little background in! Humble? You bet. Genius? Of course.

In this inaugural episode, the friends all discuss the much maligned, if not misunderstood genre of emo music. From the DC punks of yesteryear to the mascara-wearing cry babies of today, they dig into a genre that kind of made them who they are today.

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 Superhero Hour Hour 12/12

Play
Play

It’s mid-season finale week, as Mike and Ryan try to catch their breath after the thrilling mid-clusions of SHIELD, Arrow, and The Flash. Also, there was an episode of Constantine that made them not lose their breath.

Pop Filter Versus: Character Actors

Play

It’s time for another Bracketology. In this edition, Ryan and Mike pit the top character actors against each other to determine who will be the next Steve Buscemi. Only one can move on and prove they have what it takes to make the jump from obscurely recognizable to full blown star. But who will it be?!?

 

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 – #72: The Shawshank Redemption

This week’s battle is with an old favorite that, if you have even basic cable, you’ve already seen a thousand times (THANKS TNT). I know I have. I’ve watched it in edited bits and pieces — for content, to fit my screen, and to run in the time allotted — more times than I can count, but I honestly couldn’t tell you the last time I watched The Shawshank Redemption unedited from titles to credits before this weekend. I’m sure that I have, but it may have been about 19 years ago, when it was first released on home video. That seems appropriate, anyway, since that’s about how long it took Andy Dufresne to tunnel out of his cell.

Andy Dufresne first enters Shawshank Penitentiary in 1937 after being (wrongfully) convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his wife and her golf pro lover. In 1939, he first speaks to Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding, a man who knows how to get things, and he likes Andy right from the start. Andy hopes Red can procure him a rock hammer, the sound of which makes Red lays eyes on the laughably small instrument. Andy Dufresne really does just want to make his own chess set out of obsidian and soap stone. Though Andy maintains his innocence at all times, he makes the best of his sentence. He succeeds in rebuilding the prison library and uses the experience of his former life as a fancy suit-wearing banker to get on the good side of the guards and, finally, the warden, who finds  Andy’s financial expertise quite useful in his massive money laundering scheme. When new fish Tommy Williams arrives with his greaser pompadour in 1965, Andy takes him under his wing and helps Tommy earn his high school equivalency.  When Red tells Tommy the story of woe that put Andy in Shawshank with the rest of them, Tommy looks sick. Finally, he explains — his former cell mate in another prison told him all about the murder of Andy’s wife because he committed it. Andy takes this information directly to the Warden, hoping for some assistance in getting a retrial. The Warden, more concerned with his off-the-books earnings than the fate of a wrongly accused man, has Tommy shot by a guard and reports it as a failed escape attempt. Andy tells Red, who has been denied parole twice, that when he does finally get out, he needs to head to a big field in a small town and locate a large piece of black volcanic glass under a giant oak tree. Andy tells Red there’s something buried there that he must see. When Red asks what it could possibly be, Andy tells him he has to dig it up to find out. Shortly thereafter, Andy escapes through the tunnel he’s spent decades digging out of his cell using only the laughably small rock hammer. He takes with him all the records of the laundered money and the phony identification for the phantom man he created on paper. Rather than face indictment, the Warden takes a bullet to the chin. When Red finally earns parole, he finds that tree, along with a note from Andy and hundreds of dollars. From there, he meets Andy in their tiny seaside dream town in Mexico.

This is the point in the weekly post formula where I usually start to explain what makes this week’s film stand out, for better or for worse. It’s where I’d start arguing for or against the AFI’s choice, hoping to sway you to seek out or avoid the film at all costs. I can’t do that with The Shawshank Redemption. I can’t tell you anything you don’t already know about this story of existentialism and the indomitable human spirit because, thanks to Ted Turner’s network and the otherwise entertainment-free-zone that is Saturday afternoon programming, every last one of you has seen it more times than you can count. You all know Brooks was here. You know Red was originally written as an aging, graying Irish ginger and Morgan Freeman, true to Morgan Freeman form, performed the shit out of that role anyway. You know [insert any other famous 90s leading man’s name here] turned down the role of Andy Dufresne and has been kicking himself ever since. Hell, I probably could have left out the summary paragraph this week and no one would have noticed because the story of Shawshank is so ingrained in our minds. But did you know that this tale of the triumph of hope in the face of all odds was actually a box office flop that never won a single major award and somehow went on to become the film darling of viewer hearts and minds everywhere?

META. AS. FUCK.

Between its initial limited release, official wide release, and Oscar-buzz-generated rerelease, The Shawshank Redemption brought in barely more than its total budget at the box office. It was nominated for seven Oscars, two Golden Globes, and two SAGs, but only cinematographer Roger Deakins brought home a statuette — the American Society of Cinematographers award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography. That’s not exactly the type of awards show that gets red carpet coverage on E!. That’s also not exactly the type of results that any Hollywood studio in the business of making money would call a success. Yet, amid all of this ostensible failure, Warner Bros. shipped over 300,000 rental copies to video stores nationwide. Their gambit paid off and The Shawshank Redemption became one of the most highly rented videos of all time. Then, as previously mentioned, Ted Turner stepped in, worked some broadcast-rights-magic, and made it [probably] one of the most viewed films in the history of American cinema. If existentialism is all about rejecting preconceived philosophies and labels in order to determine or define your own meaning behind your existence, then The Shawshank Redemption provides examples of this in both fictional metaphors and the real world.

C’mon, you get it — salvation lies within!

I have only ever met one person on this planet whose official stance on The Shawshank Redemption was “overrated” and that dude was wearing skinny jeans as he uttered those words, so his opinion was already suspect at best. The rest of us have all accepted the film into our Pop Culture Hive Mind as one of the greatest of all time. And it’s not just because the broadcast copyright lapsed without anyone noticing and TV stations everywhere seized the opportunity to air it for free every Christmas (#20, I’m looking at you, you unfettered steaming piece of dung). It’s because of all the reasons you already know. It’s because, even on the surface as well as deep below, it’s a story that reminds us all why it’s important to find our own meaning and joy in life in spite of what hardships we might face. It’s because, in less than 2 and a half hours, you’re warmly reminded of the one simple fact of all life that Andy Dufresne states so succinctly. Get busy living or get busy dying. — KSmith

Popfilter Special Report: Watch a Movie for Social Justice

DO_THE_RIGHT_THING

If you’ve visited the website for longer than 2 seconds, you get that the tone ranges from semi-serious reviews to the out-and-out farcical. We do our best to shy away from political discussions of any kind, as they are mostly total bummers. We try to be entertainment about entertainment, and (because we refuse to do it ourselves) don’t try to inspire our audience to think-critically about the socio-political world that surrounds us.

 

That being said, I’m going to recommend that everyone in the country watch Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing. This film was released 25 years ago, but the news cycle as of late makes it incredibly topical and gives it a high cultural premium.

 

What is so profound about this film is the rate at which it portrays racially-charged tensions accelerating into violence. The first two thirds of the movie barely touch on racial tension, or handles it in an absurd way, but the third act explodes with it. Racial tension is represented as a super-charged thing that isn’t always visible, but is constantly boiling subdermally. It’s like a river of lava bubbling half a mile below the surface of the earth. It’s got several megatonnage of potential energy, and when the right amount of pressure is applied, all hell breaks loose.* The catalyst that initiates the violence is almost hard to nail down. Sure, the excessive and unnecessary use of deadly force by the police plays a major role, but it’s not the genesis of these catastrophic events. There’s a monster hiding under the bed of the community that’s responsible for what happens.

 

This movie is a quarter of a century old, yet it deals with issues we have barely begun to comprehend, and should stop pretending like its not happening. There has been so much discussion about what happened in Ferguson and now the tragedy of Eric Garner. This movie is a great example of how art holds a mirror up to society and shows the ugly truth we don’t always want to see. Do the Right Thing doesn’t have the answers, but it promotes understanding, something that’s so important for a society trying to wrap its head around its own demons. The truth is, we are all responsible for what happened to Eric Garner/Mike Brown/countless others; we’ve all got blood on our hands. And we’ve got to own the responsibility. This movie gives a voice to a fictional community where almost the exact circumstances of these incidents happened. The police, though major players in the injustice, are not the only problem and to stop with them doesn’t address the real problems. The poison has long been steeping in the tea kettle we all drink from. If we refuse to recognize the ways in which our society doesn’t work, how are we ever suppose to put an end to the violence?

 

*Scientifically speaking, this is not exactly how volcanoes work. I worded it that way for metaphor. See your local 6th grade science teacher for more information on volcanoes.
-Stephanie Rose

The Tuesday Blues

THE

TUESDAY BLUES

12/09/14

 

FRANK

FRANK

*** (out of ****)

Before the journey of Jon, the non-eponymous protagonist of Frank, officially begins, Jon asks Don, played by the increasingly reliable Scoot McNairy, what exactly Frank’s deal is. Don doesn’t think Jon is talking about Frank’s giant fake head, but instead about his brilliance, to which Don nods his head and confirms Frank’s brilliance. It’s a dangerous move for a movie to make, as we now know that at least one person in this world thinks another one is great before we’ve had an opportunity to decide for ourselves. Are we going to spend the rest of the movie’s run time realizing the same thing, or finding out that Don is an idiot and Frank is crazy?

Jon is a loser. He’s too old to live with his parents, but he’s too attached to his dream of being a songwriter to remedy the situation. He believes in himself…kind of, but doesn’t give us a reason to think that he’s any good. One day, while he’s out writing his songs/avoiding writing his songs, he stumbles upon a band called Soronprfbs, watching their keyboardist try to drown himself. Bada boom bada bing, Jon is replacing the keyboardist in the local show that night. The band is filled with the type of artists Jon isn’t, including Don, a psychopathic theremin player played by Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Frank, played by Michael Fassbender, the aforementioned musical genius, wears a giant fake head that he never takes off. He performs in it, he sleeps in it, he showers in it, and he drinks liquids through a straw that runs up it. Jon puts his dream of writing bland contemporary hits to the side to join what he believes are real musicians. Frank decides to make Jon the permanent keyboardist, just before the band moves to a cabin to record what they believe will become one of the greatest albums of all time. And this is where Jon, not to mention the audience, gets to determine if good ol’ Scoot was right about Frank or not.

If Jon is the wannabe hit machine, than Gyllenhaal is his polar opposite, an artist who wants nothing to do with fame and success and pleasing audiences. And then there’s Frank, who gently floats like a bubble between the two. Gyllenhaal obviously has some power over Frank, although we don’t know to what degree or why. Jon, whether he knows it or not, wants the same power, that same relationship with Frank. And whether or not Frank is the genius that Don purports no longer matters by the time Jon gets to know him. He’s infectious and honest and endearing, alternating between that being because of his head or despite his head until you almost forget that the head is fake. Frank is the tortured artist that Jon and Gyllenhaal long to be, but Jon has none of the torture, and Gyllenhaal has none of the artistry. They both need Frank to prop up their dreams and fears. They don’t take the time to consider why Frank needs to hide inside of his head, as long as they can hide behind it.

This might all sound like it adds up to a heavy story about artsy-fartsies, but it’s not even close. Director Lenny Abrahamson keeps everything light and bouncy, with a style and a score that makes this feel more like Rock Star than Sid and Nancy. And that’s a good thing. Maybe a dark, gritty version of the lead singer with a big paper mache head would have worked, but now we never have to find out. Instead, we get to focus on Michael Fassbender, who doesn’t let his face being covered up end the roll that he’s on right now. Instead of playing the sexy asshole we’ve all been jealous of over the last five years, he plays a nerdy Midwesterner, and, with just his hands and his voice, perfectly balances between lovable genius and off-putting weirdo. By the time we get to the final act, which could have been mired in TV movie bullshit, we’re ready for whatever Fassbender has to sell us.

ALSO RELEASED

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

If you’re anything like me, and not an asshole, than you’ve already seen this movie three times in theaters. That doesn’t mean that you aren’t ready for another run-through. Remember that time when Rocket gets really mad and kicks a weed to death? Or that time where Quill flies a space ship with a space ship? There are so many parts of this movie that didn’t get enough giggly, fanboy discussion, and now is their chance. Just so you know, you can get this in 2-D, 3-D, a Target exclusive 2-D, and five different versions of the cover, each with a member of the team. Buy them all. Don’t be an asshole.

 

SAFE

SAFE

Criterion anoints Safe into the canon this week, and it’s even more topical and striking today than it was twenty years ago. Julianne Moore plays a ditzy housewife, whose daily to-do list contains things like “be pretty” and “sit in a chair.” She gets very sick, and the illness might be an allergy to her environment. She goes to live with a self-help cult, but that doesn’t work either. Todd Haynes’ (I’m Not There) breakout film doesn’t offer any easy answers, and works as much like a quiet horror movie as it does an in-depth look at the banality of upper class life. Special features include two docs, a commentary, and Todd Haynes’ first short film, The Suicide. 

HEAVEN AND EARTH

heaven-and-earth-movie-poster-1993-1020190450

The third entry in the Oliver Stone Vietnam trilogy, after Platoon and Born on the Fourth of July, this is the one that nobody remembers, and rightfully so. It’s not that it’s awful. It just feels like Oliver Stone is trying to get his typical ‘Nam rocks off while addressing critics of his manly, souped-up style. This all adds up to a movie that does in fact feature a female protagonist, but one that still needs male character to rescue her and make her decisions. It’s a good try, but ultimately the movie feels too schmaltzy and pandering.

 

DIAMOND LUXE EDITIONS

(BATMAN, BEN HUR, THE GREEN MILE, GREMLINS, FORREST GUMP, NATURAL BORN KILLERS)

GREMLINS

 

What a bag of bullshit this is. This is the week Warner Bros. introduces the world to Diamond Luxe, a new way of packaging the movies you already own. If you are not a modern collector, please stop reading this immediately, as this does not apply to you. If you are a modern collector, and I have to assume you are from this point forward, you are in fucking luck.  The Diamond Luxe Blu-Rays, or D. Luxe, as it will probably be known on the streets soon, don’t necessarily have new features, but do offer slick packaging that brings the total width of your Blu-Ray, when closed, to a half inch. If you want to try this awesomeness, get Gremlins, which actually does have a bunch of new special features, and you probably don’t already own it. Plus it’s a Christmas movie in which one of the main character’s fathers dies stuck in a chimney dressed as Santa Claus. Classic.

 

– Ryan Haley

 

 

 

TOP TEN- BLAST FROM THE PAST

THE POP FILTER TOP TEN 

TV THEME SONGS

BLAST FROM THE PAST

10. THE MUPPET SHOW

Download YouTube Video | YouTube Converter | Advanced Video Downloader

Sometimes the point of a theme song can be to introduce you to the characters, or to the premise of the show. Sometimes it can be nothing more than shit that plays just so the opening credits won’t be silent. And sometimes – not often, but sometimes – it serves to get you pumped the fuck up. The show’s theme song is introducing the show that the show is about, with all of the main characters getting ready to put on a show, which will be the main point of the show, which will show some of that in the show. This could be confusing if you had missed the theme song, or if a more generic theme song was used. But it wasn’t, so it’s not, and you will understand everything that’s going on the entire time. Or you’ll still be confused, but who gives a shit? You’ll be excited enough not to care. It’s time to play the music. It’s time to light the lights. – RH

9. THE OFFICE (US)

Download YouTube Video | YouTube Converter | Advanced Video Downloader

Yes, it’s instrumental. Yes, it’s relatively short. Yes, it will get stuck in your head for days. And yes, this is the only part of the show that is completely better than the UK version. The Office (US) has a theme that goes from sounding like a pomp and circumstance to a rock n’ roll classic. I’m not sure why or how they made the transition in moods as smooth as they did, but it is ultra impressive every single time. I assume that this was written by Devo with God’s dick on paper made from the hides of cows that are so well kept that they make the cows that go to making Kobe beef look like dog shit that is trampled through the house on the shoe of an eight year old. Now I don’t know if that’s true, (it almost definitely is) but it seems like the only way that something this deceptively simple yet completely awesome could ever be remembered. Or they just used regular paper. – JRN
8. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES

The video cannot be shown at the moment. Please try again later.

It’s only the catchiest, most reference tv theme song in the history of man. Back in the days of Alexander the Great they would describe the victors in battle as ‘heroes in a half-shell’.  Intercut with the amazing 80’s poprockness, the Turtles describe the show and themselves to the viewer. Are you looking to watch a group that’s really hip? You’re in luck my friend, within the first 3 seconds of the song they let you know that’s what you’re in for. While bombarding you with awesomeness you’ll be singing for eons to come, it’s also giving you the loose backstory you’ll need to be able to watch the show from any point. They’re Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, they’re green, they’re the world’s most fearsome fighting team, Splinter taught them. Most importantly, Leonardo leads, Donatello does machines, Raphael is cool but rude and Jason’s name is Jason Noble. Now you can watch the show.-MG
7. THE WONDER YEARS
I’m not a television insider but I bet it’s either considered bad form or a risky move to use an already existing song for your opening theme.  But if the shoe fits, make a cover of a  Beatles song your opening theme song because the Beatles are awesome.  A story is about to be told here, this theme song says, and it’s not wrong. –SB
6. X- MEN
I still get a little kid boner when I hear this song. X-Men mentally prepared me for the day every morning, and it’s what got me into comic books. None of that would’ve happened if the theme song hadn’t grabbed my childish brain with it’s driving forcefulness. This song means business, so much so that the show would use at the end of every episode in the climactic fight. Because, sure they could score the show with more music, but why when you have the most epic fight song already written? Most important, it’s literally the only instrumental theme song everyone knows the lyrics to. If you think you don’t, listen to it and you’ll know exactly where to put the words “Gambit, too!”-MG
5. SANFORD AND SONS
Bum-bum-bwan-up
Bum-bum-bwan-up bwan-up bwao
Bum-bum-bwan-up
Bum-bum-bwan-up bwan-up bwaoYou smiling right now? Yeah, I know you are. – RH

4. BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES


Quite possibly the most epic theme song for any show ever, let alone any cartoon. Right away it sets the tone of the show, letting you know this isn’t going to be some happy campy bullshit. It starts off eerie, and then kicks into high gear with an explosion.  The intro bleed noir, and gives an air of danger and violence rarely seen in cartoons even today with its gorgeous animation mixed with the haunting orchestra. This is a show where Batman gets real and fuck shit up, and he’s going to tie a batarang around your legs and drag you along for the ride, and you’re going to love it.-MG

3. THE SIMPSONS

The video cannot be shown at the moment. Please try again later.

For over 500 episodes now the Simpsons theme has been steadily ingraining itself into all of our brains.  We have all now been programmed, almost as much as Homer is programmed to drool at the sight of a glorious donut, to expect some whim, fancy, delight, and satire for at least some of the following 24-30 minutes. Danny Elfman’s composition sets a tone of fun and folly which we expect from the series.  No matter what is going on in the world around us when we hear the opening chorus of singers, we can trust the city of Springfield to spring to life, with a predictable (and comforting) set of events inevitably following. Grocery checker scanning Maggie: check. Lisa sax solo: check. Bart scrawls topical joke on chalkboard: check. We’re ready to be whisked away to a word where no one ever ages and everyone’s hands only have 4 digits. Thanks, Simpson’s theme song. –LF

2. THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL AIR

The only rap song that all of America knows every word of, the theme song from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air did something that’s kind of dated, but that I kind of miss: it told the origin story. Every single week, before we got to see exactly how the Will Smith, the pussiest street tough of all time, would torment the poor Banks family that took him in and tolerated him like he was one of their own, we would be re-told the story of how all of this came to be. Never would there be any confusion as to how this kid wound up in this house. We would always know exactly how his life both got flipped AND turned upside down, regardless of what else happened in the episode. The rap duo DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince had a few other hits to call their own, but nothing they ever created as a team would have the effect that this sixty second chart topper would have. – RH

1. CHEERS

Download YouTube Video | YouTube Converter | Advanced Video Downloader

A good theme song can be hummed by someone who has never even seen the show, but someone who has never seen Cheers can do much more than hum it; they probably know the song word for word. Where Everybody Knows Your Name, written by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart, feels much more like an actual song, as opposed to something that’s “just a theme song”, which is a lot of the reason that it was able to have crossover popularity and burn up the Billboard charts of 1982. When I recently burned through the entire run of Cheers, I didn’t skip the opening credits a single time, which is something I rarely do. I didn’t skip it because it really is a good song, but it also embodies the feeling and tone of a show more than any other theme song of all time. Any time you hear it, you don’t feel like your watching the show, you feel like you’re inside that fictional bar, and that’s impressive for any song to do, theme song or not. – RH

PopFilter Podcast Episode 174

Play
Play

This week on the PopFilter Podcast, the friends discuss the new Smashing Pumpkins album “Monument to an Elegy” as well as Lisa Kudrow’s “Comeback”. They also build an incredible mountain to the four most iconic pop culture comebacks of all time. For the first time, they also let the world know what they need to settle down about. What does that mean?! Fucking listen to the show and find out! Jeez man…

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 Super Hero Hour Hour 12/5

Play

The show you have been waiting for is here, discussing the shows you were waiting for but have already seen, but haven’t heard Mike and Ryan discuss them! Mike and Ryan tackle the Flash/Arrow two part crossover, along with reviews of the latest episodes of Constantine, SHIELD, and The Walking Dead. Plus…Preacher update!

Mixtape: Ultimate Wedding

Play

To break up all of the holiday cheer that you’ll be inundated with over the next month or so, we decided to make an episode dedicated to a different kind of cheer- Wedding cheer! Now I know that might seem out of character for PopFilter, but we believe in love and all that gushy stuff, we just think it could be done better. So enjoy the top 15 tracks that will complete your wedding and make it better than your dumb friends’ and families’ that included the chicken dance. The goddamn chicken dance. Monsters. Enjoy!