Skip to content

WE DID IT!'s photo.

We did it! Thank you Filterinos  for your support, be it monetary, emotional, spiritual,, intellectual, sexual, but most of all monetary. It means a lot that everyone would give so generously to a handful of people who are addicted to pop culture, even if you only gave to get us to shut the fuck up. We can’t say how much it means  that this thing we’ve been working on for years can keeping going and move on to the next level. You are all the best.

Get ready for some sweet shit from the YourPopFilter Universe!


Kerri Battles the AFI’S Top 100 — #89: The Sixth Sense


I saw The Sixth Sense once, sometime around when it came out. I remember being quite surprised by the ending, too, so I must have seen it in the theaters on opening weekend because god knows that shit wasn’t a surprise for much longer after that. I think The Sixth Sense might be why the internet invented spoiler alerts. All people could talk about was how they, as higher beings worthy of our adoration, totally knew Bruce Willis was dead the whole time. I haven’t watched it since that first viewing last millenium, so I was eager to find out if it’s even remotely entertaining once you know the “secret twist ending.” I definitely wasn’t expecting it to be. I expected, since I already knew the big twist ending, to be bored out of my skull. I expected to be so bored by the plot that I would hyperfocus on the details and minutiae of the film in order to pinpoint every moment that fellow Philadelphia suburbanite M. Night Shyamalan tipped his hand to the audience. It turns out, though, I wasn’t actually bored at all. Well, mostly not bored, anyway.

Download | YouTube MP3 Converter | Replay Media Catcher

If you live anywhere but the Philadelphia area, the above sentiments apply to you.


 If you don’t know the plot of The Sixth Sense, … congratulations? Or something? I’m not sure — I never know how to deal with people like you. You know, people who have managed to completely avoid any knowledge of hugely iconic moments in pop culture. How do you live?? Still, the next couple sentences are expressly for you because, really, that’s all the movie needs. In the first 5 minutes, my favorite New Kid, Donnie “The Talented One” Wahlberg breaks into award-winning-child-therapist Bruce Willis’ house and shoots him in the stomach for not helping him with his childhood emotional issues which have clearly followed him into adulthood. The following fall, Ghost Bruce Willis starts following around Haley Joel Osment, who sees dead people who don’t know they’re dead. Bruce helps Haley figure out how to handle the ghosts who literally haunt his daily life while Haley helps Bruce figure out he is one of those ghosts. Hilarity ensues. Or something. Also, we, as the audience, are not supposed to know Bruce Willis is a ghost until the last 5 minutes.

See, Marky Mark? THIS is what acting looks like.

Since this wasn’t my first viewing, I was, as mentioned above, in a better position to pay closer attention to detail. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything there to uncover. It’s all laid out in front of you — Bruce Willis is fucking dead and that’s why no one talks to him or even acknowledges his presence. Even first time viewers will notice that those scenes that include people other than the kid feel wrong. Let’s be kind and say this was solid, intentional filmmaking by Night.  It’s also boring as hell. Because once you know he’s dead, Bruce Willis’ storyline is, hands down, the dullest part of this film. Sure, the first time around, you might think he’s an interesting character who really wants to make good for not helping an ex-boy-bander with his psychoses. But once you already know he’s dead and, therefore, really incapable of growing as a character beyond realizing he’s fucking dead, it becomes evident that M. Night Shyamalan really missed the mark on this one by fucking miles. Probably half of the movie is devoted to Bruce Willis’ “crumbling” marriage. Once you realize his wife isn’t just some frigid bitch who seems to be angry with her husband for getting shot, the storyline becomes completely extraneous and wholly unnecessary. I found that what I really wanted was to see more of Haley Joel Osment and Toni Collette. Bruce Willis may be the only one who got billing on the poster, but Osment and Collette’s performances made the movie. If Shyamalan had scrapped the whole “twist secret ending” and spent more of the hour and forty-five minute runtime focusing on these two and their struggles and growth, he could have had a much stronger story to tell. Plus, he would have avoided that heinous one-trick-pony that simultaneous built and destroyed his respectability. Because, you know, when every movie you make has a surprise twist ending, they stop being surprise twist endings. That road leads to The Happening, which I think we can all can agree would have best been avoided by everyone anywhere ever.

No, Marky Mark, doing long division in your head is not the same as acting. WHY CAN’T YOU BE MORE LIKE YOUR BROTHER, DONNIE?

The best performance of all, though, was given by the city of Philadelphia itself. Having recently — and begrudgingly — moved out South Philly for “cleaner” and “safer” suburbs, I always seem to fall in love with any movie filmed in the city that stole my heart. That’s especially true when said movie isn’t trying to pass Philadelphia off as New York (for those that do, please refer to the above Liz Lemon clip) or trying to make the world think that Reading Terminal Market is like a block and a half from Old City (National Treasure, I’m looking at you). Shyamalan at least knew better than that. He knew a lot better. The film, despite all of its flaws, is an open love letter to the city itself. Shyamalan prominently displays the art and architecture found all over the city. He shoots “South Philly” scenes in actual South Philly neighborhoods. He shows very little of Rittenhouse Square because FUCK THOSE SNOBS. He even had Haley Joel’s teacher lecture his class on the  importance of this city in the revolutionary founding of this country. PHILADELPHIA IS THE GOD DAMNED CRADLE OF LIBERTY, BITCHES. DON’T YOU FORGET IT. 

Robot vs. T Rex

It’s also the site of the historic battle between a T-Rex and a Robot on 7th Street between Wharton and Ellsworth Streets circa 2011.

The AFI would probably say this movie was added to the list for reasons related to, “I see dead people.” Maybe that’s true, but I maintain that it was a missed opportunity for M. Night to make a much more interesting movie that replaced Bruce Willis’ entire storyline with a  scene where Osment takes a class trip to Eastern State Penitentiary. If nothing else, I could watch this movie again just to pay attention to the scenery. And to my Canadian friend who considers this whole film a bold-faced lie because “no block in Philadelphia has ever been that clean,” I say Shyamalan just cherry-picked the blocks that required the least amount of de-littering. — KS



Doctor Who/Whovians

Doctor Who cosplay

In its 50 year history Doctor Who’s evolution has gone through some interesting phases; what was originally considered a silly sci-fi clunker by the BBC became a beloved Saturday night tradition for generations of British families before traipsing across the pond to rise as an underground cult hero to American 80’s nerds.  Now thanks to the slick modern reboot and the powers of the internet, Doctor Who lives on, slowly gaining momentum as the largest science fiction fandom in history. With an ever revolving door of villains and charming companions, and 12 versions of the title’s wandering hero, there is someone for literally every fan to cosplay. Just watch every con from here on out, Doctors posing in a bowtie and fez, converse, or a long ass scarf continue to largely outnumber any other character.  Of course that could be chalked up to due to the high comfort factor…I’m not entirely sure I want to know how Stormtroopers use the bathroom.

Sherlock /Sherlockians or Cumberbitches

It makes zero sense how such a normal and down to Earth show inspired such ridiculously deranged devotion…that is until you get lost in Benedict Cumberbtach’s stormy eyes then time stops and you go all gooey inside and what were we talking about again? BBCs modern version of the classic detective has Benedict as Sherlock, a brilliant and sexually frustrated genius who feels like nobody in the world understands him but his one obsessively close friend…I mean seriously, tumblr never stood a chance.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic/Bronies


So I watched a bunch of these to try to understand the Brony phenomenon and I just don’t get it. I’m not one to judge, but I can’t understand why adults connect with it let alone the bros. It’s just a crappy 80’s cartoon reboot, sparkly pony tails aside it’s barely watchable. But the community has exploded online and in real life shouting “love and tolerate” in everyone’s faces. Forums and cons are absolutely flooded with Bronies these days and you have to admit they’re some of the most creative people out there. The scene’s fan art is seriously impressive to the point that the official Hasboro plastic ones pale in comparison to the fan made dolls…not to mention the creepy accuracy of the homage pony porn. Because rule 34 of the internet.


The surprisingly long-lasting CW drama about two beautiful pouty brothers traveling the country to fight demons and work out daddy issues has an increasingly crazed fanbase. Famous for “having a gif for everything” these obsessed girls ages 13 and waaay up lurk on tumblr just waiting for an opportunity to change any innocuous post into something about Supernatural. But it’s not their fault, with 9 seasons worth of death and feels to process after about the 5th time Dean dies most just snap and start incoherently posting pictures of Jared Ackles with #pie over and over into oblivion.

Joss Whedon/Whedon-ites or  Browncoats

Joss Whedon creator of: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Dollhouse, Firefly, Serenity, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog, The Avengers, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.


Fans of cult icon Joss Whedon are gluttons for punishment who knowingly sign up to suffer loudly at the deaths of beloved characters. Then cry even more when the opportunity to kill everyone you ever loved is cut short every time a show is canceled.  Whedon’s fans are a people who passionately worship at the altar of emotional turmoil and sarcasm, willing to keep the flame burning for characters we never fully got to know and others who have been off TV for over ten years and thus make do with tons of fan art and creator penned comic books. With his recently brilliant takes on Shakespeare and Marvel and the internet clamoring for Joss to put his stamp on a new Star Wars movie, it’s very possible he’s building a worldwide nerd empire one fandom at a time.

Vlog Brothers Hank and John Green/Nerdfighters

A Nerdfighter is one who instead of being made of cells and tissue and stuff is made purely of awesome. Not only is Nerdfightaria easily the internet’s most positive fandom, it may have the most schwag too. First there’s the mission statement to decrease world suck, the motto DFTBA (don’t forget to be awesome!) and of course the gang sign (see above). With their 12 Youtube channels and combined total of over nine million views, brothers Hank and John Green have not only won the internet they did it by giving teenagers a safe and positive community of good advice and sharing feelings. And those shiny happy teens in turn band together every December to do good and support all kinds of charities in the Vlogbrother’s Project 4 Awesome, and In 2013 ran an Indigogo crusade so successful it became the most funded web campaign in Indiegogo history. On top of all that older brother John is an award winning YA author mostly known for the recent hugely popular movie based on his hugely popular book The Fault in Our Stars. It’s the reason your niece is suddenly crying all the tears and using a cigarette as a metaphor. With the rabid adoration of so many emotionally fueled teens we’re seriously lucky these two are so far away from Slytherin their actually Hufflepuff.

The Colbert Report/Colbert Nation

If you doubt that Stephen Colbert is a cult leader than you haven’t been paying attention. The charismatic host of TV’s second best fake news show wields some very real power even if he does it with a wink. He sent marching orders to the Colbert Nation to vote en masse and get his name on EVERYTHING from animals and sports team mascots to a NASA treadmill. The Smithsonian agreed to hang his portrait in the National Portrait Gallery for 4 months! It was a joke but still that’s impressive. I can’t wait until Stephen Colbert is president, and let’s not kid ourselves, that day is coming. Hopefully it marks the beginning of new political parties of ironic stereotype candidates playing characters of the politicians they actually disagree with…it just might be crazy enough to work.

Star Trek/Trekkies

simpsons comic book guy klingon

Who knew that Gene Roddenberry’s 1966 cheesy space opus would spawn six television series, twelve movie and for some an entire lifestyle?  The original haven of the rabid fanboy, Trekkies have always been uber devoted and thus often-mocked as. And though “Trekkie” may be the first fandom nickname ever it’s now considered by some to be a derogatory depiction of the gross socially awkward fan like say, the Comic Book Guy, so the PC term is Trekkers now thank you very much.  Anyone who has ever been in an episode has a job for life signing autographs on the convention circuit and with the new movie reboot we can be assured many more years of weird things translated into Klingon.

Harry Potter/Potterheads


Potterheads tend to be somewhat quieter than other groups on this list, I guess that’s to be expected from the fandom of cuddly scarves, big dusty books and the world’s only four-eyed Hero. These are the fans that are going to spend the rest of their lives puttering around on Pottermore, making pilgrimages to Diagon Alley in Florida and shedding a tear over every beautiful “always” tattoo they see on Pinterest.  A Potterhead will always be able to tell you which house they’re sorted into, what their Patronus is and exactly what they think about Rowling’s Harry/Hermione confession. There’s also tons of terrifying fanfic involved for some reason. You’ve been warned.

Insane Clown Posse/ Juggalos

Fans of the one and only nightmare clown rap genre Insane Clown Posse, Juggalos are indeed rabid, as in rabid pack of dogs. At least that’s how they seem to the outside world, but apparently they’re actually a misunderstood group of individuals who are all about tolerance and acceptance. To be fair face tattoos and chain wallets don’t exactly scream peace-loving so you can see where the confusion comes from. Juggalos claim to be just outsiders who have banded together over common interests like horror movies, wrestling and soda.  And thus the Juggalo Industry is a thing; from wearing HatchetGear clothing to exclusively drinking Faygo soda this self-proclaimed “family” sticks to it’s own. The Gathering of the Juggalos is such a widely attended event of intensely and almost scarily devoted fans that in 2011 the FBI declared the Juggalos a gang. A bonafide gang of backyard wrestlers who probably spent the morning painstakingly applying their clown makeup while listening to angry horrorcore before heading to drug bridge to get all kinds of hopped up. Remind me to NEVER go to there.

Honorable Mentions

Alas I had to narrow it down to only ten for this list and thus I apologize to the fans of Homestuck, Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Pokemon, Soul Eater, Model War, Hannibal, Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Disney, Marvel, DC, Hello Kitty, K-Pop, Halo, Final Fantasy, Divergent, Hunger Games and all you Ringers, Beliebers, Gleeks, Twihards, Weirdos, Parrotheads, Little Monsters, Trubies, Directioners, Gaimanites, Hiddlestoners and Pine Nuts out there.  Please don’t flame me.~AS

PopFilter Podcast Episode 156


This week, the friends all get serious when talking about the Ghostbusters that never were for the year 2005. They also discuss Jenny Lewis’ latest offering The Voyager and FX’s newest, Married. They ALSO continue their journey through the Korean War drama MASH. That’s a lot of things. And it’s all here for you. So sit back, relax and enjoy this wild ride through pop culture friendship.



Help us make this shit look way better by donating! Special fire sale of rad and rare prizes for the next 48 hours!!


Email us to get your opinion on the show:

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!



While I write this update, I’m drinking a Bloody Mary, and doing so for a couple of reasons: First off, because it’s Saturday. That means it’s totally okay for anyone to start drinking whenever they feel like it, regardless of what “time” it is or how many “families” with “kids” are running around to say it’s improper or never be like that “sad” “man” or whatever. Secondly, I’m drinking in celebration of three years of YourPopFilter. This week marks three years of countless DVD reviews, TV reviews, music reviews, video game reviews, Top Tens, Trailer Trash, Hey You Knows, Fucking Calves, drinking games, drunken podcasts, and just general love/hate for everything pop culture. It’s meant a lot to me, and everyone at YPF that we have people who want to read and listen to things we have to say about said pop culture, especially since they’re often said (apparently) drunk. So thank you for being here with us, whether you’ve been here since the first day when we learned how to put a subject and predicate together, or if you’re new. You, the Filterino, mean a lot to us. Because we couldn’t do it without you. I mean, we could, but it wouldn’t be as fun. Mostly because in thinking about you guys, I’m realizing myself, and possibly the entire staff of YPF, have a drinking problem.

Photo on 7-26-14 at 1.22 PMTHIS IS YOUR FAULT

To celebrate three years of pop culture and drinking, we’re doing something special in the KickStarter. In addition to the normal donation prizes, we’re offering EVERYONE who gives today the first 100 episodes of the podcast, which our now impossible to get. This is only good until midnight tonight (July 26, 2014) and the Kickstarter ends in 4 days!

Enjoy the journey of YourPopFilter and the PopFilter Podcast. And thank you. I’m gonna order another drink.








Nostalgia is a beautiful thing. It let’s you reminisce about the bittersweet past in the warm glow of the present, never really remembering how awful that past was. This mixtape does it’s darndest to remind you the best, and worst, of 1999 music. Let’s all party like it’s 1999, a much sillier time when we were just afraid of computers attacking humankind.




Email us to get your opinion on the show:

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!




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



Download | YouTube MP3 Converter | Replay Media Catcher

AKA: the Rock’s 300

REVIEW: Hercules does something interesting (and only one thing). Because he’s such a well-known character, they get to do an origin story/coming out of retirement for one last gig all at the same time. Now there could be some interesting discussion about fate or what is legend versus what is real and the expectations that puts on someone with celebrity, but instead Hercules’ wife and kids die (not by his hand like it happened in REAL life) and he goes around smashing Hades’ army. By ignoring the myths of ancient Greece, this version of Hercules plays out like a live-action reboot of Disney’s but without Danny Devito, or the hottest cartoon ever, Meg.

SPOILER: We find out Hercules’ favorite band is Queens of the Stone Age, and he doesn’t shut up about it.

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


Download | YouTube MP3 Converter | Replay Media Catcher

REJECTED TAGLINE: The Scarlett Johansson SciFi movie of 2014 that WON’T make you think too much

REVIEW: “Lucy” is the newest film to tackle that weird lie that movies like to spout how we only use 10% of our brain. I don’t think it’s a lie of malice or true misleading, like say telling kids Columbus discovered America or that their vote matters, but it’s some fun misinformation that allows for crazy science fiction to happen. This has been a banner year for ScarJo– with “The Winter Soldier”, “Under the Skin”, and now this, she’s finally found her niche and seems comfortable, you know…acting. As someone who used to scoff when people said they liked her, I’m fully on the bandwagon now. She does otherworldly/creepy better than anyone else right now and can still ground it in human emotion, even as her character is losing that. Oh, and Morgan Freeman does a pretty good job playing Morgan Freeman.

SPOILER: She looks up at the sky at the end and flies away. It’s a little derivative.

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

Kerri Battles the AFI’s Top 100 — #90: Swing Time

GUYS GUYS GUYS GUYS GUYS. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I was this week. After years of only seeing clips here and there of their awesome talent, I was finally going to sit down and watch an honest to goodness, feature length Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers classic! There was no doubt in my mind that there would be lots of cheap puns, cooky misunderstandings, and accidental misrepresentations that are always the bedrock of comedies from this era. There was bound to be crooning and flowing gowns that floated just right while waltzing and tapping. Of course, there was going to be more dancing than one would think humanly possible, too, because FRED AND GINGER, duh! And there would be … misogyny? Degenerate gamblers? BLACKFACE? Ohhh Fred. Say it ain’t so.


First, let’s get this premise business out of the way. Fred Astaire plays John “Lucky” Garnett, a dancer/degenerate gambler who shows up two hours late to his own wedding, mostly because he scheduled it at the same time he was expected to be on stage with this dancing troupe. When he finally arrives to ostensibly marry his bride, all the guests have already been sent home and the bride and her father are more than just a bit put out. Lucky promises his bride’s father that he’ll make $25,000 and return to, as I understand it, pay said money to bride’s father in order to marry her. So, in the first five minutes, we’re already treating women as property. Though, for her part, the bride doesn’t appear to be too upset about it. Lucky heads off to New York City to make his fortune and, almost immediately upon his arrival, begins to charmingly lie, cheat, and gamble his way into the heart of young Penny Carroll (Ginger Rogers). Of course, now that they’re in love, Lucky has to figure a way to tell Penny that he’s already engaged. The best he can think of is to just never make $25,000 at one time. That way, he never has to return to marry poor Jilted Bride. Of course, Jilted Bride eventually comes to New York to find her groom. Penny uncovers the truth and, brokenhearted, agrees to marry a Ricky Ricardo wannabe who’s been after her for ages. When Jilted Bride and Lucky finally have a minute to talk, she explains that she only came to the big city to tell Lucky she’s in love with someone else. Realizing he’s free and clear, Lucky runs off to stop Penny’s wedding by … stealing the groom’s pants. That’s actually how the movie ends. Fred Astaire steals Ginger Rogers’ groom’s pants and they decide they can’t get married after all. Then they all laugh about it as the giant “The End” fades in over top of them in ornate script.

RKO Logic right here.


Now, before I go any further, let me be clear: Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers are phenomenal performers. I enjoyed every last minute of the scenes where they sing and/or dance. But that’s about all I enjoyed.

The plot itself was beyond contrived. As a fan of classic movies, I was prepared for a goofy scenario that could have been cleared up in five minutes if you didn’t want to make a movie out of it. But the plot of Swing Time is in a category of supremely stupid all by itself. First, Lucky is late to his own wedding because of the aforementioned scheduling conflict. However, he’s actually made to miss his wedding by the other members of his troupe, who apparently have no talent of their own and realize they will be out of jobs without Lucky’s talent to carry them. They come up with a  scheme to make him so late that the bride will think he didn’t show. Their “clever ruse,” mind you, is to tell Lucky that his pants are lacking cuffs, which is the new style, and get him to agree to let them take the pants to the tailor. Then, while waiting for his pants, they distract him with a rousing game of dice. By the time his pants return, Lucky is so involved in throwing dice with unparalleled grace and panache and winning the hard earned money of his so called friends that he actually forgets that he was supposed to be in a rush to his own wedding. The bride, of course, is only upset until she hears that Lucky is willing to buy her back for what amounts to a princely sum in 1935. By no more than 2 days later, he’s in love – for realsies this time, you guys – to a ginger Ginger who can dance like no other. SOMEONE WAS PAID REAL AMERICAN DOLLARS TO WRITE THIS. Even by the cheese-tastic standards of the day and the fact that they only needed to create excuses for Fred and Ginger to show off their moves, the writers of this script should be ashamed of themselves.

What the writers probably did with their fat studio paychecks.

Even worse than the script itself was the elaborately staged and innovatively filmed 8-minute dance number in which Fred Astaire dons blackface and dances to a song called “Bojangles of Harlem.” Now, again, as a fan of classic movies, I’ve gotten used to the subtly whitewashed level of racism you’ll find in most of them — people of color were, at this point, basically relegated to roles as servants or, if they were lucky,  comedic side kicks. Usually, it’s not that much different from watching any major modern Hollywood movie — if it stars Kate Hudson or Katherine Heigl or some shit, you can bet good money there aren’t going to be many prominent roles for people of color.  This ornate dance number, though, which began with a pair of giant shoe soles made to look like a giant black face — complete with giant red lips — was much more than I expected. It was downright fucking disturbing. You can say, “Those were the times” and “But AL JOLSON” all day long. You’ll still never convince me that someone on the AFI panel in 2007 couldn’t have stopped them all for a moment and said, “Hey, guys, maybe we pick one of the 9 other Fred and Ginger movies that doesn’t involve an uncomfortably long overtly racist dance number. Whaddya say?”

How the AFI panel would react to that statement, I presume.

All in all, Fred and Ginger’s performances were everything I expected and then some. If I hadn’t been so distracted by the fucking blackface, I would have been wildly impressed with Fred’s dancing during those 8 minutes, too. So, without having seen any of them, I say that if you want to watch a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers classic, pick any one but Swing Time.  — KS





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


A commonly used sentence by people trying to find ways to bitch about a movie or TV show is “I didn’t feel like I had anyone to root for.” Who gives a fat flying shit? What you root for is totally irrelevant to both me and the filmmakers of whatever you’re describing. What the person probably means to say is that no one in the film is compelling, which is made even more obvious by the fact that there is no one to root for. I am not rooting for anyone in the movie Sexy Beast, but the characters COMPEL me to want to watch and learn more. I am rooting, however, for the Cleveland Indians to win in Major League 2, but that doesn’t change the fact that the movie isn’t very good. The next time someone tells me that they didn’t have anyone to root for, I’m going to shrug my shoulders, and then ask them what they thought of whatever we’re talking about, because I still have no idea. Either that, or my usual reaction to things, which is to scream at the top of my lungs and pull out clumps of my hair.


There is no one to root for in You’re the Worst. It’s on purpose. It’s the story of two awful people who try to give a relationship with each other a go. There are times where their awfulness rises and falls, usually inversely proportionate to each other, but for the most part, they are shitty shits. They are both hard to root for individually, much less root for them to live happily ever after. So, has FX doomed themselves? Why would they purposefully make a show with no one to root for, if it’s guaranteed to be bad?


FX hasn’t doomed themselves by giving us two unlikeable characters. They have doomed themselves by making these unlikeable characters boring. It’s a premise that feels like it could be great, until you really think about carrying it out. Two horrible people trying to balance their horribleness together sounds like it could be interesting and funny. But without the deftest of hands, the show would (and does) either constantly reinforce to its audience how terrible these people are, or go too far the other way and make large sweeping attempts to redeem them. The show would have to carve out a little wiggle room directly in between those mindsets, and that’s a lot to ask for. It’s the same problem Don’t Trust the B had with their B. We get it. They’re awful.
The “Next time on…” after the pilot episode actually gave me the biggest glimmer of hope. It shows the couple at the movies, arguing with another couple who told them to shutup. If the show was never more than throwing these two assholes into rom-com tropes, then it might be worthwhile for the show to stick around. It’ll never grow into greatness, but maybe it doesn’t care. Unfortunately, it will need to figure out a way to put a much funnier spin on everything than it has so far.


- Ryan Haley

PopFilter Podcast Episode 155


This week on the PopFilter Podcast, the friends continue building their Rushmore monuments to the Ghostbusters cast. They also discuss Extant, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and the classic sitcom MASH. In the interest of full disclosure, however, they’re mostly excited about all the mountains they’ve been able to dedicate to Ghostbusters.

Check out our KickStarter for awesome prizes!

Email us to get your opinion on the show:

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!



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


Download | YouTube MP3 Converter | Replay Media Catcher

REJECTED TAGLINE: For people who LOVED “Hall Pass”

REVIEW: “Sex Tape” is the follow up to “Bad Teacher”, a movie everyone said was ‘pretty decent for a Cameron Diaz movie’, and a ‘huge fucking step down for the Seges.’ By everyone, I of course mean me, because who else calls him the Seges. But let’s get it to catch on, shall we?  The reason I bring up the mixed reviews of “Bad Teacher” is that most people have forgotten it exists, and this movie is a step down from the previous partnership. Normally, Hollywood plays up it’s lack of knowledge of tech for horror, here it attempts to make its ignorance funny. Diaz and Segel have to run around collecting an destroying iPads they’ve given to people. because we all know “THE CLOUD” connect every device we’ve touched at one time. The Evil and Mysterious Cloud works through fingerprints, and that’s why the sex tape is sent to everyone. Technology is really wacky huh? There are some great comedic actors in this movie, and it’s a damn shame no one could improve it by changing the premise and by treating sex like it’s something fun.

SPOILER: You don’t even get to see Skinny Seges’ wang. WTF?

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


Download | YouTube MP3 Converter | Replay Media Catcher


REVIEW: Gone are the rules and order of the first Purge, this is Purge: Anarchy, where everything gets…anarchical. These aren’t structured murders man, it’s crazy! I think what I love most about this movie is that in the premise of of the Purge, all crime is legal for 12 hours and they still have to specify, “including murder”. As if they didn’t remind everyone they can kill, they’d all just steal and rape like normal people. If the Purge was real, I’d just litter for 12 hours straight. That’s real anarchy! Oh, and the hamfisted class and race commentary is doubled down and even hammier. So if that’s what you really dug the firs time out, not the random murders, then you’ll love the sequel even more.

SPOILER: This is replacing Paranormal Activity as the cheap horror series that has way more sequels than you think. Next up, “The Purge: EcoTerrorism”

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

CountDown: Emmy Flubby Snubs 2014


Last week the Emmy nominations were announced. We thought we’d give you a week to ponder the flubs and the snubs (who shouldn’t have been nominated who was insulted by not being nominated) before giving you our opinions on the matters. Because it’s a week later than most of the conversations around this topic, expect deeper analysis and more drinking. Enjoy!

Check out our KickStarter for awesome prizes!

Email us to get your opinion on the show:

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!




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


Watching NBC’s new summer comedy hour, including Welcome to Sweden and Working the Engels, has convinced me that my job writing about pilots has come to an end. It’s not because I have changed the world, and have clearly expressed – to both fans and networks – all of the ways a pilot can be impressive or horrible. It’s not because I’ve driven myself insane with the amount of exposition, forced characters, and horrible jokes I’ve witnessed since I first started doing this. It’s because NBC’s two shows, when watched back-to-back display everything that can go right and wrong in a pilot. It’s amazing how it is throughout the entire viewing process that Sweden is a quality product, and Engels is an unfixable mess.

What’s so amazing is that they both have the same jobs. They have to do the same things. Why did one work out so well, and the other one fall apart so quickly? There’s three things that need to be introduced in a pilot: the characters, the premise of the show, and the tone. How deftly these three are issues are handled will always tell you the quality of the pilot you’re watching, and sometimes tell you the quality of the show the pilot is for. On the podcast me and the friends will rate pilots, and then unnecessarily predict the rating the show will get in the future. Are we psychic? Do we have special TV powers? No. What we’re doing is grading the clunkiness of these introductions. If a show delivers a great premise, and proves to have a tight grasp about the type of show it is, but klunks out the character introductions, this might make for a mediocre pilot, but you can still see how it will become a good show. So, let’s line these fuckers up.


Again, I don’t care what your premise is. I care how you deliver it. If someone told you the pitch to Cheers or Roseanne or The Simpsons, you’d scream “WHO GIVES A SHIT” right into their fat face. And look how those turned out. It’s not the premise, it’s the delivery. Welcome to Sweden stars Greg (Amy’s brother) Poehler as a guy who quits his wealthy-ass life to move to Sweden, and live with his girlfriend’s family. Does the premise blow you away? No. Does it seem like it can be mined for comedy anyway? Probably, depending on how they do it. Check it:

Scene 1: Main character Bruce decides to move to Sweden.

Scene 2: Bruce arrives in Sweden

Scene 3-the rest: Wacky things happen in Sweden.

Shit, bitch. Of course that’s all you should do. Why would you ever do more? In a comedy? On NBC? What kind of asshole are you that you actually think that you’re capable of doing more, much less should?

And then there’s Working the Engels.

Scene 1: A lawyer (the always underrated Colin Mockery) tells a widow (Andrea Martin!?!) that her husband left her in a ton of debt. Then the widow inexplicably tells the lawyer about all three of her kids, and what they’re doing right now. The kids spend 22 minutes making their way back to their mother and their home town. At this point, we still have no idea what the premise is. By the end, the non-wacky daughter has decided to leave her potentially high-paying lawyer-job, and come work for the family firm, in order to get them out of debt. In a way, it’s the same premise as Sweden’s but we have to waste 22 minutes to figure that out. And by then, we can more accurately scream “who gives a shit?”


Bruce is the main character of Welcome to Sweden. He is the one being welcomed to Sweden. Once he arrives in Sweden, he meets each of his girlfriend’s family members, one at a time. He is us! We, as an audience, are also going to Sweden for the first time, and need to be welcomed! Not by everyone all at once, mind you, but one at a time. You know, like how people meet people. Each new character is assigned two traits, one that is obvious and easy to exploit for a quick laugh, and one that isn’t as obvious, and can be mined and explored as the series continues. For instance, Emma (Bruce’s Swedish girlfriend) has an uncle who is obsessed with American pop culture (something that brings about easy jokes), but is also a little weirder than that in some less obvious ways (something for us to learn about later). Characters who just have the obvious trait become immediately stale and boring, while it’s difficult for many people to attach themselves to someone who is all mystery.

Working the Engels introduces all of their characters in an easy-to-digest monologue to open up the show. Is this lazy? Yes. It is used all of the time anyway? Also yes, which makes it hard to pick on Engels too much for that fact alone. But the narration given is such an odd mishmash of convoluted backstory and hacky frontstory that any need to go easy on the show goes right out of the window. I said earlier that the widow Martin mentions each of her kids for no reason, but the reason is obvious. She needs us to know who each one of them is. And because they live far away from each other, and have to come back to their home town to start the premise of the show, they can’t use each other in the first episode to play off of each other, or as their foils. This is a plot point that we could do with a lot less of. It automatically shoots the show in the foot.

How should we start our story?


But shouldn’t we make them all live far away from each other, so they have to come together in to start the story?


If you started your story when the story begins (which will hopefully be the beginning of episode 2), then you don’t need the character introduction monologue. We will just watch the characters interact, and go from there. That’s all we need.


If you’re a fan of the comedies I’m a fan of (Parks and Rec, New Girl, Brooklyn 99, Veep, The Mindy Project), then you’ll recognize Welcome to Sweden’s tone right away. Although both shows are one-camera, Welcome to Sweden feels more like it. Engels is very broad and loud, and without their need to have a narrator explain characters, probably would have felt more at home with a laugh track. But my point isn’t that Welcome to Sweden is higher up my alley than Engels is, thereby making one show good and one show bad. Just like with premise, it isn’t about which tone you choose but about how successful you display it. Sweden is quiet, and dry, and lets their characters tell their jokes. There aren’t major life lessons, and there isn’t a ton of pandering. Engels, however, feels like it passed through dozens of executive’s hands before it finally got to us. It’s so all over the place that it’s hard to give the show too much shit, because if you have no idea what a show was trying to do, how can you say it did it badly? Ultimately, this is what won’t get you that bonus rating on the podcast when we try to predict your future. Premises and characters are easy to tweak and replace, but it takes someone smart and talented to change a show’s tone once it’s already been established. Of course there’s some exceptions, but all signs point to Working the Engels being a frenzied mess for the rest of its five week run.

See? It’s not that hard. Welcome to Sweden tells its story in the way only it can, with a firm grip on its tone and endearing, funny characters.

Working the Engels doesn’t.


- Ryan Haley


Kerri Battles The AFI’s Top 100: #91 – Sophie’s Choice


I have been referencing Sophie’s Choice for jokes for years — probably more than a decade.  It amuses me to no end to compare having to choose just one ice cream topping out of 100 delicious ones to Nazis forcing a mother to choose which of her 2 children will live. What can I say? I’m a sick bastard. But what’s even more amusing is that I’d been making that reference for that long and I’d never actually seen the movie. It never mattered. People always got the joke. No one ever replied to, “Wait, I can only have guac or pico on my burrito? This is worse than Sophie’s Choice!” with, “Who?” This is solid evidence to support my firmly held belief that spoiler alerts are a bullshit expectation for movies that are at least 10 years old. It’s also a good reason to actually watch the thing. If it’s so culturally pervasive that I can make a joke about it without knowing any more about it than that one single plot point, it’s probably worth finding out what else it’s hiding. When all you know going into a movie is that, at some point, some chick named Sophie gets told by Nazis that she must choose which of her children will be exterminated in a concentration camp, you sort of expect a certain thing. Sophie’s Choice was not that thing.

This. You expect this.

Sophie’s Choice is exactly like The Great Gatsby. We have our Nick Carraway — a young writer named Stingo (?? — 2 and a half hours of movie couldn’t explain what the fuck kind of name that is) who has recently relocated from Dixie to Brooklyn to pen his first great novel. Gatsby and Tom Buchanan are rolled into one character, Nathan, ostensibly a biologist at Pfizer with a paranoid mean streak. The place of Daisy is, of course, filled by Sophie, our irresistibly beautiful Polish immigrant bearing an Auschwitz tattoo on her arm. Nathan and Sophie are a fun and eccentric couple who take Stingo under their wing in a city where he knows no one. Stingo falls sort of in love with them both, at first in spite of and then because of their faults. Instead of lavish galas with live bands and flowing liquor, the three have grand days at Coney Island and theme parties for just the three of them. Of course, in the end, it all falls tragically to pieces, as it must, with our young Stingo discovering that neither Sophie nor Nathan were truly who they claimed to be. Really, the only difference is that The Great Gatsby focuses on a social circle who all seem incapable of discovering true happiness under their piles of money and puddles of gin while Sophie’s Choice tells the story of working class people trying to get through the day while coping with the truly horrific traumas they’ve experienced.  Well, that and, instead of epic party scenes, there are flashbacks to concentration camps.

It wasn’t a perfect movie, but it was incredibly magnetizing and engrossing. I will also say that the things about it which I found imperfect were probably due to my own personal hang ups. For example, my issues with Peter MacNicol. It doesn’t matter how many things the man acts in or how many years pass. I’ll never be able to look at this face:

without immediately thinking of this:

followed directly by this:

and then I just feel sad and scared for the rest of the day. And, really, it’s not all Peter MacNicol’s fault. Throughout the full 180+ minutes of Sophie’s Choice, I kept half-expecting him to slip into that really creepy accent from Ghostbusters II. It would have sounded more natural to me than Stingo’s southern drawl because somewhere in my childlike mind, Peter MacNicol is Dr. Janosz Poha, forever and always.

I also have issues with Kevin Kline. First and foremost, I have a hard time reconciling my love for Kevin Kline with my objective knowledge that he made a successful career of playing a boisterous fool in everything. That holds true for Sophie’s Choice, as well. I usually just end up telling myself that, while he might not seem to have a lot of range, Kevin Kline does what he does so very fucking well. It doesn’t matter if I’ve seen it 100 times in 100 starkly different projects because he always nuances the performance in just the right way as to make it seem like the natural fit. At the end of the day, I can live with that. What I can’t live with, though, is the knowledge that his wife of 25 years, Phoebe Cates, has not aged a single day since Fast Times at Ridgemont High was released. It’s apparent that she’s discovered the real Lisle Von Rhuman (played by Isabella Rossellini in the dramatization Death Becomes Her) and has dropped out of the world of Hollywood simply because she’s afraid of anyone taking too much notice. Or, of course, she watched Death Becomes Her as a cautionary tale and realized how easy it would be for her to take a tumble, break her neck, and not die, thus revealing her cosmetic little secret to the rest of the world.

1989 vs. 2011. I’M NOT WRONG.

Still, these are really my issues, not the film’s. And they felt like minor annoyances in the face of the always impeccable THE STREEP. When I wasn’t being distracted by the above or wondering why this movie was two and a half hours long, I was wondering why I never knew that Meryl Streep was really a Polish immigrant. Her performance — the way she naturally stumbled through English, searching out just the right word and making the tiniest of mistakes — you’d think English really was her second language. Of course, we’re talking about THE STREEP here, so there was never any doubt that her performance would be flawless. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards, but only THE STREEP took home an Oscar for Best Actress because of fucking course she did. She’s Meryl God Damned Streep. The AFI should be praising every performance. They may as well publish her filmography and call it, “The AFI’s Top Meryl Streep Performances of All Time.” THE STREEP DESERVES IT. — KS





While it’s touted as a magical family adventure, this right here is the movie that taught me not to trust the government. What’s the point of befriending an Alien if it means a bunch of faceless, evil HazMat suits can just seize your home and do terrifying medical tests on you both? Thanks Obama.


Probably given to most of us by well-meaning parents who saw the cartoon rabbit on the cover and thought hey my kid loves animals this should shut him up for a couple of hours. Oh you love bunnies? Did you know they’re ALL GOING TO DIE?? You sure as hell do now, this movie makes sure of it in a never-ending series of traumas. Here’s a bunny getting run over by a train, there’s one choking on barbed wire, here’s a whole clan of them led by a floppy-eared dictator going bezerk in a bloodbath of bunny on bunny violence.  It’s like baby’s first nihilist fairy tale – nothing matters because in the end all the fluffy bunnies die and so will you. Now sleep tight!


Download | YouTube MP3 Converter | Replay Media Catcher

After so many years of watching the shiny happy original on network TV, lots of families in the 80’s were excited about the new sequel…then systematically creeped out scene by scene. I think the first indication this isn’t going to be as cuddly as the classic comes when Dorothy is locked up in a mental institution. She escapes to Oz just in time to avoid electric shock therapy only to find a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Oh God, then she meets the Wheelers…terrifying rollerblade mutants who made me awkwardly afraid of people in wheelchairs for years. By the time the head-hoarding Princess Mombi locks Dorothy up so she can cut off her head and take it for herself you’re almost de-sensitized to the horror of new Oz. That is until the headless body chases her down the hall of screaming imprisoned heads. Ugh I still have nightmares, no wonder Fairuza Balk grew up with the crazy eyes.


Download | YouTube MP3 Converter | Replay Media Catcher

I’m convinced this was not a movie created to entertain children so much as really drive home the importance of stranger danger. Because y’know, little kids are always being turned into donkeys and enslaved in salt mines.  Poor Pinnochio has been alive for like ten minutes before being manipulated by the first of many nefarious strangers out to make a buck off the kid’s naiveté. The entire Pleasure Island scene could never be made today, it’s such a wonderfully long sequence of children smoking, drinking and fighting. And cursing! I totally forgot they said “jackass” in this, you’d never see that in Frozen.


Frollo creeping on Esmeralda

Frollo creeping on Esmeralda

Many Disney movies leave emotional scars, after all it’s a well-known fact children can only go on adventures after their parents die. But this movie is no mere tear-jerker, it’s a toe-tapping tale of religious extremism, lust and murder. Judge Frollo never really gets his due as one of the most terrifying Disney villains, considering in the very first scene he murders Quasimodo’s mother for being an illegal immigrant and attempts to drop the disabled infant down a well. Later he sings an entire song about how watching Esmerelda dance gives him naughty thoughts, and to cap off his reign of very adult-themed villainy Frollo tries to burn her at the stake because apparently being hot is a sin? Seriously this movie is just built on so many fucked up messages about religion and sexuality, gargoyle sidekick antics can only do so much to lighten the mood here.


An eccentric hermit with a penchant for murdering ill-mannered children entraps a group of unsuspecting victims on his palace of horrors. One by one the children are systematically murdered based on their vices by his army of midget slaves. At one point Gene Wilder sings a nursery rhyme while forcing everyone to watch a close up of a chicken getting its head chopped off. These are actual facts about a beloved kid’s movie. The 70’s really have a monopoly on gritty quirkiness and I love ‘em for it,



Obviously witches are always on the hunt for the delicious blood of children, everyone knows this. What makes this children’s horror movie so effective is the witch isn’t hiding in the woods, she’s in suburbia and at your resort vacation and EVERYWHERE.  And more often than not, the witches come out victorious with bone-chilling antics like imprisoning the little girl in the painting. Sure Luke and his grandmother stop the plot to change all the world’s children into easily-murderable mice. But he’s stuck in rodent form for the rest of his life, and it was made pretty clear grandmas going die soon from the diabet-us. So…happy ending, sorta not really.


Download | YouTube MP3 Converter | Replay Media Catcher

Don’t get me wrong, I love Labyrinth with every fiber of my being. It’s an excellent re-watch at any age and only half that entertainment value lies in the amazement of what gags were aimed at children and realizing exactly where my issues come from. It’s really unsettling just how romantic I thought David Bowie was for trying to get a 15-year-old’s love…by kidnapping her baby brother? But it’s not only the Goblin King’s disturbingly large bulge that stole our childhood innocence, Jim Henson had a hand in giving life to a whole new generation of nightmares.  The way the Firey’s (a.k.a. Demon Flamingoes) went from lighthearted reggae to playing with amputated body parts is beyond unnerving.


A gang of gross mutated puppet people befriend a lonely kid; no doubt this was supposed to be an edgy and vulgar fantasy adventure for mad for kids to adore and parents despise. What it looks like 27 years later is the story of a bunch of Alien? Mongoloids with “powers” like vomiting on command and occasionally munching people’s toes off. The “adventure” entails the GPK’s being forced into sweatshop labor, partying hardy with bikers at a Road House and being put on death row for being too ugly. You know, typical kid stuff.


It’s like they set out to make a movie that explained sexuality to children when they animated Jessica Rabbit. Not to mention infidelity! This was probably the first time kids realized sexual affairs were a thing and people hired private investigators to take pictures of them. Even if in this case sex was actually patty-cake, the rhythmic moaning was very instructive. Cut to Christopher Lloyd in his scariest role ever dipping a doe-eyed baby cartoon in what is basically a vat of acid and it’s essentially Scarface Junior. – Amelia Stainmetz

PopFilter Podcast Episode 154


The friends continue their epic run of Rushmores by deciding who would have been the Ghostbusters if the movie came out in 1995. Will this foursome be better than the original, or 1990′s quartet of Eddie Murphy, Steve Martin, Tom Hanks, and Michael J. Fox? Also, reviews of the new Morrissey album, the new HBO show The Leftovers, Under the Skin, and season one of MASH.

CountDown- Fargo Wrapup


A thousand apologies for the delay Filterinos! Some technical difficulties occurred at the PopFilter HQ, but all should be well now (Rachel may have poured [not spilled, but straight up poured] coffee on the servers). Some minor electrocution aside, things seems to be working again. Let your hungry earholes feast!

We finally wrap up Fargo discussion! We hinted this would happen in Episode 148, and here’s the proof we’re not liars! We get into the entire run of the series so if you haven’t caught up, probably skip this one for awhile. But it’s great, really splendid stuff. Enjoy!

You may have heard we’re KickStarting! Check out the prizes!


Email us to get your opinion on the show:

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!



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


Download | YouTube MP3 Converter | Replay Media Catcher


REVIEW: If people were disappointed there was only a couple of Ape v. Man scenes in Rise, they’ll be excited to learn there’s double that amount. But that still means 2 hours of talking about how similar/different the apes are to to us for 20 minutes of sweet primate on primate action. And if the conversations lead somewhere, or didn’t come off as preachy, the drama of these two struggling societies would be riveting. Instead it comes off as Gary Oldman screaming about the dangers of apes, while the dude from Zero Dark 30 is like “nah man, they’re like us”. And wouldn’t you know it, there’s apes who feel the same. So maybe they are just like us or something? Nah, they’re goddamn dirty apes, and they should be killed.

SPOILER: We might FINALLY see some fighting in the follow up: THE COMING OF THE WAR OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

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


Download | YouTube MP3 Converter | Replay Media Catcher

AKA: They Did What? … Why?

REVIEW: The only thing anyone is talking about in regards to Boyhood is how shitballs crazy an idea it is. Richard Linklater got a little kid and then filmed him every couple of years to truly capture what it’s like for someone to grow up. The other actors all got older too I guess, but really who cares. Ethan Hawke now is just a slightly more grey raspier than Ethan Hawke 12 years ago. But this kid. This little kid who’s lived an insane life where he’s a normal dude 88% of the time, and then he hangs out with Patricia Arquette, Hawke, and Linklater for ten day stints. I hope we see him again after this, though it’s likely Boyhood could become the only thing he’s for which he’s ever known. To act well as a six year old is rare, maybe 5 child actors are actually GOOD actors (and that’s a generous estimate). But to act well at 6, at 8, at 10, 12, 14, 16, 18?  To channel each moment so purely? This kid is the shit. If you don’t like coming of age movies that make the room dusty, and make you think about how you were at all those ages (including how shitty you were at certain ages) this is not the movie for you. And you’re a dummy.

SPOILER: It’s not a documentary.

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



almost royal

*** (out of ****)



Almost ten years after its release, Borat still has such a grip on its (very) specific genre that it’s still hard to release anything that recalls it. That genre, of course, is “comedies where improvising character actors trick everyday folk into thinking that the actors are not in fact actors but real people just like themselves.” This maybe like saying “it’s hard to release a sci-fi movie with a character named Darth Vader and not get compared to Star Wars,” but this isn’t a genre that Sacha Baron Cohen invented. Perfected? Maybe. Modernized? Definitely. So what does this mean for future entries of the genre?


Almost Royal is a BBC America original that follows the 50th and 51st in line for the English crown. Any dumbfuck can be in line for the crown as long as they have the right blood, as opposed to the democratic ways of the United States, where that dumbfuck has to instead have the right money. These particular two dumbfuck are Brittain’s version of celebutantes: selfish, snobby pricks who are famous only because they are royal. Georgie and Poppy’s father’s last wish was that they tour the United States. After he dies, the brother and sister pair, along with a camera crew to mockument their travels, board a plane for the great wide mystery that is the United States. They start in Los Angeles, where they meet Fabio in a grocery store and try out for a soap opera. So far, so America.
The actors who portray Georgie and Poppy aren’t without their skills and charm. They’re quick on their feet, and they’re both able to keep a straight face, even when the normal folk can’t, failing to hide their incredulousness at these blue-blooded bumpkins. Almost Royal, given the premise, is about as funny as it needs to be. Some of the scenes work better than others, almost like it’s a skit show, but they seem to do a pretty good job of editing out the fluff and keeping only the funniest moments. In the end, though, we’ve seen all of this before. Americans and Brits have their stereotypes, and it’s easy to point and laugh at them. Even with the upper hand of knowing that this in fact a mockumentary, Georgie and Poppy make sure to let Brittain have it as much as they give it to America but the show doesn’t seem to have much more on its mind than that, and that’s probably Borat’s fault. Is that fair? Probably not, but it does, once again, give us a chance to blame something on the Kazakhstanians.

- Ryan Haley


Popfilter’s Foriegn Flick of the Week

In  which Stephanie Reviews a Film from Notmerica



My Neighbor Totoro


“The Anti Disney-Princess Fantasy Movie somehow still brought to you by Disney”


Okay, that retitle is a little misleading. My Neighbor Totoro is a film by legendary animator and director Hayao Miyazaki (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away) and released in 1988. It was one of many Miyazaki films that Disney acquired the distribution rights to, because that what happens to popular franchises these days. Under strict instructions not to cut a single scene or reedit in any way, Disney hired American actors, most notably the very talented Fanning sisters, to re dub the movie and it was rereleased in the United States in 1996. Thanks to the acclaim of having a genius Japanese director in part with Disney’s enormous distribution complex, the film became an instant cult classic among film lovers and hipster parents who don’t want to raise their daughters with the kind of values prescribed by some of Disney’s more famous franchises: the Disney Princesses. It is exactly what makes this movie different from your typically Disney movie that makes it so compelling.


Totoro: Too cute and dumb to be menacing.

This movie is of the fantasy genre. It tells the story of two sisters, Satsuko and Mei, who are growing up in a post-war Japan. The film opens with the girls moving to the country with their gentle and supportive father. Some of the most gorgeous animation of the entire film is found in these scenes of the Japanese countryside. Long enough into the first act when you really start to think, “where the hell is the mother?” It is revealed that the girl’s mom is not with them because she is sick in the hospital. Dealing with her illness and subsequent separation from her makes up the main conflict of the story. The fantasy element is introduced when the girls befriend a big, furry, rabbit like forest creature named Totoro.

What truly sets this movie apart from other children’s stories is the way that it incorporates fantasy in the storytelling. Having been a Disney-oholic as a child, I believed that fantasy as it existed in story telling was a portal that provided an escape from the conflicts and drudges of day to day life. I didn’t just believe it, I didn’t see how it could be used any other way. Consider the aforementioned Princess movies. The story of The Little Mermaid where Ariel dreams of living on dry land, a place she knows nothing about, to escape the familiar boring world under the sea.

On land I don't have to deal with my mother's disappearance and a violently angry father the two of which I am sure are not connected in any way.

On land I don’t have to deal with my mother’s disappearance and a violently angry father. The two of which I am sure are not connected in any way.

Now remember Sleeping Beauty, who falls into a coma, which means she was legally brain-dead, and only a kiss from a hot prince can revive her. In The Beauty and the Beast Belle is from a poor, French, hick town where all the filthy ignorant yokels shun her for *gasp* reading books and she is stalked by an obvious rapist.

This man should be in prison.

This man should be in prison.

Belle is kidnapped into a magnificent castle full of books and adorable servants made out of inanimate objects who sing songs and make her an 18 course meal because she was, “a little hungry.” No god-damn wonder she wasn’t in a big hurry to leave. Fantasy has always served as an escape from what is boring, awful, uncomfortable and dangerous. Escapist fantasy is directly linked to what the imagination perceives as a threat. That would make escapist fantasy and the imagination inextricably linked through fear and the imagination’s concept of how to remove the threat causing the fear.

In a move unique to my understanding of the fantastical, My Neighbor Totoro uses the fantasy elements not as an exercise of the imagination or the threats it believes it’s up against, rather these elements exist outside the imagination and serve to pull the main characters out of the fears and threats the imagination conjures up and, ironically, root it in reality. Consider the the most iconic scene of the movie:


This is where older sister Satsuko meets Totoro (who can only be seen if he wants to be seen) for the first time. One day, the sisters go to their father’s bus stop in a rainstorm to give him an umbrella. It’s getting dark, it’s pouring rain, and it is getting later and later without any sign of their only live-in parent and to boot, they are in the middle of a spooky and unfamiliar forest. Just as Mei falls asleep and the isolation and fear start to set in for Satsuko, this big hulking spirit creature shows up and…just stands there next to her. Had this been an escapist fantasy he might have been some sort of handsome knight come to protect Satsuko and Mei from the evils of the forest, but look into his big dumb eyes; there is no threat, no danger, and dad will be along in a minute. He hands Satsuko a gift, a bamboo leaf full of acorns to plant. Besides the obvious life-cycle metaphor, Totoro gets Satsuko out of her own head and grounds her into what is happening in the present moment. He exists outside of her imagination. He isn’t there to take the girls away to a place without danger, a place where her mother isn’t sick, somewhere where there is no pain and suffering. He exists as a fantastical element here to lure her out of the most frightening place there is (and I think every kid can relate), the place in her imagination where fear lives and grows. He is a fantasy element that enables the characters he presents himself to to live life as it is and not be incapacitated by fear.

As an American moviegoer this movie blew my mind away with possibilities I didn’t know existed in storytelling. Miyazaki is famous for children’s stories that don’t treat children like dumb little bags of money. I honestly can’t wait to go share this movie with my nieces.

-Stephanie Rose