Pretty Much Pop #68: Raised by Wolves: Biblical Sci-Fi

Brian, Erica, and Mark reflect on this weird sci-fi HBO Max series by Aaron Guzikowski and Ridley Scott. How much are we supposed to understand? Can we identify with any of the android and/or wild child and/or murdering characters? Is the imagery too heavy handed? How does it compare with Westworld, The Walking Dead, etc.? Warning: Spoilers ahoy! So watch it yourself or let us reveal its craziness to you.

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

Pretty Much Pop #67: Borat Pod Show! Very Nice! With Aaron David Gleason

Mark, Erica, Brian, and musician/actor Aaron consider the comedy of Sacha Baron Cohen, especially Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, where his co-stars are unwitting dupes and embarrassment is served in large helpings.

We talk through the ethical and political issues, why Cohen’s targets act how they do, and what this is as humor. 

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

Pretty Much Pop #64: The Last of Us: The Best Movies We Ever Played

Is the Last of Us franchise actually a good video gaming, or just long cinematics that are only good by comparison to past video game cut scenes? It’s great, but not exactly “fun.”

Mark, Erica, Brian, and Drew Jackson talk about balancing narrative and gameplay, the message (“revenge is bad”), the shifting points of view (including playable flashbacks!), critical and fan reaction, representation, and more.

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

Pretty Much Pop #62: Mulan Re-Disneyfield w/ Michael Tow

Is the new Mulan the equivalent for Asian-Americans what Black Panther was for African-Americans? Did the film work? Was it better than the 1998 animated film?

Actor Michael Tow joins Erica, Mark, and Brian to discuss the development, aesthetics, and political controversies surrounding the film: How have feminist messages changed over Mulan’s various re-tellings? Does the film’s “you be you” ethic mis-represent Chinese culture, and does that matter?

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

Pretty Much Pop #61: Philosophy of Photography w/ Amir Zaki

Amir the photographic artist and prof (see amirzaki.net) joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to consider decision making in picture taking, how our purposes for photography have changed with the advent of new technologies, iconic images, witnessing vs. intervening, capturing the particular vs. the universal, and more.

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

Pretty Much Pop #60: Manga 101 w/ Deborah Shamoon

Mark, Erica and Brian (all manga noobs) are joined by Japanese Studies prof. Deborah Shamoon to talk about barriers for Americans to appreciate manga, different manga types (Deborah works on shojo manga, i.e. for girls), Osamu Tezuka (the “god of comics” who created Astro Boy et al), classic vs. new manga, gender portrayals, and more.

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

Pretty Much Pop #59: David Lynch’s Popular Surrealism

Mark, Erica, Brian, and guest Mike Wilson discuss the director’s films from Eraserhead to Inland Empire plus Twin Peaks and his recent short films. We get into the appeal and hallmarks of his mainstays–Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, Lost Highway, and Mulholland Drive–and also consider outliers like Dune, The Elephant Man, and The Straight Story. How many of these films actually make sense, and is failing to do so bad?

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

Sponsor: Get 15% off earbuds at BuyRaycon.com/Pretty w/ offer code “Pretty15.”

Pretty Much Pop #58: “TAYLOR SWIFT RULES!” (Conversation with a Swiftie)

Prompted by the release of new album Folklore and the 2020 documentary Miss Americana, Mark, Erica, and Brian speak with Amber Padgett about her love of Taylor, ranking the albums, why the hate, weird levels of fan engagement, double standards for female artists, and more. Designed to interest fans, haters, and folks curious as to what all the fuss is about.

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

Pretty Much Pop #57: Back to the Damn Arena – The Hunger Games Prequel

Remember when The Hunger Games was everywhere? Suzanne Collins returns to Just War Theory lessons with the prequel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

Mark, Erica, and Brian review the new book and look back on the YA novel/film franchise. Does the work critique yet glorify violence at the same time? Will the film version of the new novel be our next Phantom Menace?

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

Pretty Much Pop #56: Black + Nerd = BLERD w/ Anthony LeBlanc

The Interim Executive Producer of The Second City joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to discuss the scope of black nerd-dom: what nerdy properties provide to those who feel “othered,” using sci-fi to talk about race, Black Panther, afrofuturism, black anime fans, Star Trek, Key & Peele, Get Out vs. Us, and more.

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

Sponsor: Get 15% off earbuds at BuyRaycon.com/Pretty w/ offer code “Pretty15.”

Pretty Much Pop #53: The Hamilton Phenomenon w/ Sam Simahk

Erica, Mark, and Brian are joined by Broadway actor Sam to discuss this unique convergence of musical theater, rap, and historical drama.

Does Hamilton deserve its accolades? We cover the re-emergence of stage music as pop music, live vs. filmed vs. film-adapted musicals, creators starring in their shows, race-inclusive casting, and the politics surrounding the show.

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

Pretty Much Pop #52: The Twilight Zone from Serling to Peele

Something’s strange… Is it a dream? If it’s a morality tale with a twist ending, you’re probably in the Twilight Zone.

Brian, Erica, Mark, and guest Ken Gerber are in it this week, discussing the thrice revived TV series. Does the 1959-1963 show hold up? What makes for a good TZ episode, and does Jordan Peele’s latest iteration capture the spirit? We talk about episodes new and old, the 1983 film, plus comparisons to Black Mirror and David Lynch.

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.

Pretty Much Pop #51: Pictures Telling Stories w/ Joseph Watson

https://podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/traffic.libsyn.com/secure/partiallyexaminedlife/PMP_051_6-27-20.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 41:10 — 38.1MB) Is it really true that “every picture tells a story”? Storytelling is part of Joseph’s method, whether he’s creating city scenes or public sculpture or children’s illustrations. So how does the story an author may have in mind affect the viewer, and is this different for different types of art? Joseph, who works in Continue Reading …

PMP#50: MJ’s Last Dance w/ Seth Paskin

Brian, Erica, Mark, and Seth from The Partially Examined Life interrogate the 10-part ESPN documentary on Michael Jordan’s Bulls’ six championships.

Was it worth ten hours? Does its time-jumping structure work? Is it really hagiography, or is the vision of ultra-competitiveness repulsive? Why are sports amenable to creating cultural icons? Does the doc’s success mean many more?

For more, visit prettymuchpop.com. Hear bonus content for this episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop.