Pretty Much Pop #80: Reliving Groundhog Day (and Palm Springs, Russian Doll, etc.)

Happy Groundhog Day! The ’93 film has had dozens of imitators spanning various genres in recent years, but the idea goes back more than a century. Mark, Erica, Brian, and guest Ken Gerber touch on popular and obscure examples examples from film and TV to explore the philosophical themes and storytelling techniques. 

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Pretty Much Pop #77: The Big Screen Experience

What’s the post-COVID future of movie theaters? Mark, Erica, and Brian compare past moviegoing habits and reflect on the big-screen vs. small-screen decision. How would we optimize the theatrical experience? We consider films affected like Tenet, Soul, etc.

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Pretty Much Pop #76: Wonder Women (84 and Others) w/ Vi Burlew

Returning heroine Vi (now a grad student in comics history) joins Erica, Mark, and Brian to put the new film in context, bringing in the weird ideas of WW’s creator as shown in the 2017 biopic Professor Marston and the Wonder Women. Do the new film’s themes actually make sense? We talk political ideals, truth, love, feminist utopias, ’70s TV, and more.

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Pretty Much Pop #73: Beloved Bad Films w/ Manos’ Jackey Neyman Jones

What makes a film transcendently bad? A cult classic, as opposed to merely unwatchable? Child Jackey appeared in 1966’s Manos: The Hands of Fate, and she joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to discuss growing up in community theater, being reintroduced to her family movie by MST3K, and the over-confident auteur. 

We also touch on Birdemic, Catwoman, The Happening, and Battleship, as well as films about the making of bad films: The Disaster Artist, Best Worst Movie, Ed Wood, and Dolemite Is My Name

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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. 

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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?

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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?

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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?

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PMP#43: The Korean Wave w/ Suzie Oh

Parasite, K-Pop, and K-Dramas have reached the U.S. as part of Hallyu, an official Korean effort to expand cultural influence. Suzie Hyun-jung Oh joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to decode the zeitgeist in hopes of understanding films like Snowpiercer, A Train to Busan, The Burning, A Taxi Driver, etc.

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This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life network and is curated by openculture.com.

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Pretty Much Pop #40: #MeToo Depictions in TV and Film

Heavily watched media like Bombshell, The Morning Show, Unbelievable, and 13 Reasons Why attempt to cover sexual assault and harassment while still entertaining. Does that work? Erica, Mark, and Brian consider what makes for a sensitive as opposed to a sensationalized portrayal.

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This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life network and is curated by openculture.com.

Pretty Much Pop #38: Costuming w/ Whitney Anne Adams

http://podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/traffic.libsyn.com/partiallyexaminedlife/PMP_038_3-24-20.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 54:17 — 50.1MB) How does clothing mesh with set design, cinematography, sound design, etc. to create the mood in a film? Whitney designed for and dressed leads and crowds on The Great Gatsby, the Happy Death Day films and several indie flicks. She joins Erica, Mark and Brian to discuss how clothes Continue Reading …

Pretty Much Pop #36: Criticism with Noah Berlatsky

Do we need professional critics regulating our entertainment intake? Noah writes for The Washington Post, NBC News, The Guardian, Slate, Vox, The Atlantic, etc., and he now joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to talk about the function of criticism, criticism as art, and the joy of negativity. We talk 1917, Midsommar, Marvel vs. Scorsese, Yesterday, Bob Dylan, Twilight, and more.

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This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life network and is curated by openculture.com.

Pretty Much Pop #30: Why Every Film Will Win the Oscar! (A Debate)

The 2020 Academy Awards are imminent (or maybe past, if you’re hearing this later; it’s fine!). Mark, Erica, and Brian, each argue in favor of three of the best picture nominees: that it should win, or maybe just will win. What is it to be an Oscar winner as opposed to the type of film that people actually like?

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This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life network and is curated by openculture.com.

Pretty Much Pop #29: Martin Scorsese the Auteur w/ Colin Marshall

We consider The Irishman in the context of Scorsese’s body of work and the styles and themes that his films tend to exhibit.

Writer/podcaster Colin Marshall joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to talk about connecting with Scorsese’s sensibility and their status as “art films.” Plus S’s use of music, comments on Marvel, CGI age alternation, and more.

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This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life network and is curated by openculture.com.

Pretty Much Pop #28: The Alpha Female Trope w/ Margaret Colin

What’s the deal with images of powerful women in media? The trope of the tough-as-nails boss-lady who may or may not have a heart of gold has evolved a lot over the years, but it’s difficult to portray such a character unobjectionably.

Margaret was a lead in Independence Day and The Devil’s Own, is a mainstay on Broadway, and has appeared on TV roles like the mother of the Gossip Girl and as an unscrupulous newscaster on the final seasons of VEEP. She leads Mark, Erica, and Brian through an instructive tour through her career playing assertive women.

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This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life network and is curated by openculture.com.

Pretty Much Pop #27: For the Love of Star Wars

http://podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/traffic.libsyn.com/partiallyexaminedlife/PMP_027_1-3-20.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 47:45 — 44.9MB) Mark, Erica, and Brian grasp the low-hanging fruit in pop culture to talk about Star Wars: The unique place that these films have in the brains of people of a certain age, how we grappled with the prequels, and why we feel the need to fill in and argue Continue Reading …

Pretty Much Pop #22: Untangling Time Travel

Time travel rules in The Terminator franchise are notoriously inconsistent. Can we change the future or not?

Mark, Erica, and Brian are joined by Ken Gerber to talk through time travel rules and plots, covering the randomness of Dr. Who, being your own grandfather, time travel comedies, time loops, freezing time, historical tourism, and more. 

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This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life network and is curated by openculture.com.

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