Pretty Much Pop #138: What Are “Creatives”?

Is there really a division in today's culture between those who create and the merely receptive masses? Mark gathers three artists in different media about the place of the artist in society: sci-fi author Brian Hirt, art photographer and academic Amir Zaki, and musician/novelist/ex-English prof John Andrew Fredrick (of The Black Watch). We touch on art education, the  Continue Reading …

Pretty Much Pop #137: Slashing the “Halloween” Film Franchise

What's the appeal of this 13-film franchise that started with John Carpenter's 1978 film Halloween and has purportedly wrapped up with David Gordon Green's Halloween Ends? Actor/SFX makeup designer/horror podcaster Nathan Shelton joins Mark, Lawrence, and Al to figure out if even all the various filmmakers involved understood what the appeal of that first film was.  Continue Reading …

Pretty Much Pop #135: The Breaking Bad-O-Verse

Given the end of Better Call Saul, Mark, Lawrence Ware, Sarahlyn Bruck, and Al Baker discuss this strange TV "franchise" that amazingly produced a prequel that was arguably better than the original. We cover the characterization and pacing, novelistic TV vs. not having a plot roadmap in advance, and whether we want to see another installment in this world. In the post-game,  Continue Reading …

Pretty Much Pop #133: Predator (Films) and Prey

Thanks to the new film Prey by Dan Trachtenberg and Patrick Aison, we now have six films (starting with 1987's Predator) featuring the dreadlocked, camouflaged, infrared-seeing race of alien hunter-jackasses who have apparently been flying around collecting our skulls for 300 years. Thankfully, the new film is good, and adds to the recent spate of Indigenous-centered media,  Continue Reading …

Pretty Much Pop#132: “Too Soon” in Comedy?

To honor the death of Gilbert Gottfried, we discuss jokes like the 9-11 one he was pilloried for. Can comedy really be "too soon" in relation to its tragic subject matter? Is comedy really tragedy plus time, or are jokes in fact most needed immediately when pain and discomfort are most acute? Mark is joined by three comedians: Adam Sank (of the LGBTQ-themed Adam Sank Show),  Continue Reading …

Pretty Much Pop #131: Hope for Jordan Peele’s “Nope”

Jordan Peele's launch from a solid comedy base with Key & Peele to the unexpected Get Out was so impressive that he's generated a huge amount of good will that allows him to play the full-on auteur with huge budgets. Did that pay off with his third film, the monster movie Nope? Mark is joined by Lawrence Ware (philosophy prof. and entertainment writer), Sarahlyn Bruck  Continue Reading …

Pretty Much Pop #130: CODA and Deaf Culture

The 2022 Oscar winner for Best Picture was CODA, a story about a musically inclined girl with a deaf family. Kambri Crews, herself a CODA and author of a much darker story about this called Burn Down the Ground, joins your host Mark Linsenmayer, writer Sarahlyn Bruck, and jack-of-many-intellectual-trades Al Baker to talk about how deaf culture interacts with film. Films tend  Continue Reading …

Pretty Much Pop #129: Wherefore the Cover Song?

Is re-playing or re-recording a song written and performed by someone else an act of love or predation? Mark is joined by Too Much Joy's Tim Quirk, the Gig Gab Podcast's Dave Hamilton, and the author of A Philosophy of Cover Songs Prof. P.D. Magnus to talk about different types of and purposes for covers, look a little at the history, share favorites, and more. A few of the  Continue Reading …

PMP#128: Jurassic Shlock

Mark is joined by NY Time entertainment writer/philosophy prof Lawrence Ware, novelist/ex-actor Sarahlyn Bruck, and filmmaker/Remakes, Reboots, and Revivals host Rolando Nieves to discuss the Jurassic Park franchise in light of the new film, Jurassic World: Dominion. Is the mere presence of cool dinosaurs enough to justify a film, or are these actually good films by any  Continue Reading …

Pretty Much Pop #125: The Dramatics of “This Is Us”

Mark is joined by rhetorician/educator Michelle Parrinello-Cason, Chris Sunami (The Pop Culture Philosopher), and award-winning former journalist Kera Mashek to discuss the recently concluded NBC drama created by Dan Fogelman. What's the message of the show, and is it a good one? Is this comfort food, or a stark portrayal of a diverse array of struggles with death, guilt,  Continue Reading …

Pretty Much Pop #124: What Is Batman?

In light of the recent release of Matt Reeves' film The Batman, we consider the strange alternation of darkness and camp that is Batman. Is he even a super hero? What's with his rogues' gallery? What's with DC's anti-world-building?  Your host Mark Linsenmayer is joined by philosophy prof/NY Times entertainment writer Lawrence Ware, improv comedian/educator Anthony  Continue Reading …

Pretty Much Pop #123: We Are All Jackass

Mark is joined by comedian Matty Goldberg; filmmaker/podcaster Rolando Nieves; and comedy juggler Josh Casey to discuss the Jackass franchise that began in 2000 in light of the new (final?) film Jackass Forever. This is perhaps our sole remaining form of popular entertainment that relies on sheer physicality, without the gamesmanship of sports. What's the appeal of this  Continue Reading …

Pretty Much Pop #122: Maus Shows the Tragic Via Comics

In light of its being recently banned in some settings, we discuss Art Spiegelman's Maus (1980-91), which conveys his father's account of living through the Holocaust. We also consider other war-related graphic novels like Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis (2000) and George Takei’s They Called Us Enemy (2019). Mark is joined by comics scholar Vi Burlew, comics blerd/acting coach  Continue Reading …

Pretty Much Pop #121: Protesting Protest Songs

Are protest songs effective, either as protest or songs? Four songwriters including your host Mark Linsenmayer, Lilli Lewis, Rod Picott, and PMP's audio engineer Tyler Hislop discuss how protest works in various musical genres, who it's aimed at, and when it goes wrong. Has the day of the protest song passed, or is it alive and well? Rod mentions how Bruce Springsteen  Continue Reading …

Pretty Much Pop#120: Dexter the Loveable Serial Killer

Mark is joined by repeat offenders Lawrence Ware and Sarahlyn Bruck and new-to-the-podcast psych/philosophy student Michael Paskaru to talk about the Showtime TV horror-dramedy shows inspired by Jeff Lindsay's novels, in light of the revival show Dexter: New Blood. People loved this character so much that they were very mad that he didn't die at the end of the show's initial  Continue Reading …

Pretty Much Pop #119: Disgraced Artists Like Cosby

Comedian Genevieve Joy, philosopher/NY Times entertainment writer Lawrence Ware, and novelist Sarahlyn Bruck join your host Mark to discuss how we deal with entertainers like R. Kelly, Michael Jackson, Woody Allen, et al. We all watched W. Kamau Bell's Showtime documentary We Need to Talk About Cosby, so most of our discussion is around that. None of us seem able to separate  Continue Reading …

Pretty Much Pop #118: Adapting Agatha Christie

In light of Death on the Nile, we discuss the continuing appearance of the works of the world's most successful mystery writer in film and TV.  Mark is joined by repeat guests Sarahlyn Bruck, Al Baker, and Nicole Pometti to discuss the recent Kenneth Branagh films, the Sarah Phelps TV adaptations (like The ABC Murders), the Poirot BBC TV series, and earlier films. We  Continue Reading …