The PMP core four (Mark, Lawrence, Sarahlyn, and Al) discuss the original 1883 freaky children's story by Carlo Collodi and consider the recent rush of film versions, from a new Disney/Robert Zemikis CGI take to Guillermo del Toro's stop-motion passion project to a heavily costumed Italian version by Matteo Garrone, which is the second to feature Oscar winner Roberto Benigni in … [Read more...] about PMP#143: Pinocchio the Unfilmable (Yet Frequently Filmed)
Since 2008, Dave has written cheeky (but actually heavily researched) letters to rock stars that point out logical flaws in and/or deliberately misunderstand their lyrics. Many of these have been answered by the artists and housed in three books: Dear Mr. Kershaw, Dear Mr. Popstar, and Grammar Free In The U.K. Mark Linsenmayer and Al Baker talk to Dave about the "green … [Read more...] about PMP#142: Lyric Literality w/ Dave Philpott
The PMP A-Team (Mark, Lawrence, Sarahlyn, and Al) talk about the canon of Christmas songs, from centuries-old carols to current attempts by pop stars to get added to this cycle of cash-flow. Happy holidays, everybody! We also do a bit of year-end reflection, getting into various things we've watched with some recommendations and ambivalent takes. This is the first time … [Read more...] about PMP#141: Christmas Songs
Western pop culture has increasingly explored stories of Indigenous Americans (and Canadians), through a spate of TV shows and films like Reservation Dogs, Rutherford Falls, Yellowstone, Prey, and others. As a further installment in a series that began with Mark's Partially Examined Life episode on American Indian philosophy and the previous Pretty Much Pop episode interviewing … [Read more...] about PMP#140: First Nations Culture w/ John Beaubien
We cover the first chunk of Neil Gaiman's 1989 comic and its new Netflix adaptation. Mark is joined by acting coach Anthony LeBlanc, Sarahlyn Bruck, and Al Baker. What are the narrative challenges of depicting a god? What is the show's metaphysics the role of storytelling in it? Were the updates and story choices for the TV show helpful, or was the comic truly "unfilmable," … [Read more...] about PMP#139: The Sandman Cometh
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 … [Read more...] about PMP#138: What Are “Creatives”?
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. … [Read more...] about PMP#137: Slashing the “Halloween” Film Franchise
Mark, Lawrence, Sarahlyn, and Al convene an emergency podcast recording to react to this brilliant, mind-blowing, possibly immoral HBO comedy docuseries, wherein Fielder supposedly helps ordinary people rehearse difficult personal confrontations, but this plan goes off the rails after 1.5 episodes out of the six that made up its first season. This series builds upon Fielder's … [Read more...] about PMP#136: Nathan Fielder’s “The Rehearsal”
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. A few articles we … [Read more...] about PMP#135: The Breaking Bad-O-Verse
With the dissolution of popular music culture by the Internet, what is it now to be into music genres that aren't currently popular? Is it still an act of rebellion, or is even that passé? Mark is joined by composer/multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Segel from Camper van Beethoven, philosopher Matt Teichman of the Elucidations podcast, and musician and Internet DJ Steve … [Read more...] about PMP#134: Unpopular Music Genre Fandom
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, … [Read more...] about PMP#133: Predator (Films) and Prey
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), … [Read more...] about PMP#132: “Too Soon” in Comedy?
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 … [Read more...] about PMP#131: Hope for Jordan Peele’s “Nope”
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 … [Read more...] about PMP#130: CODA and Deaf Culture
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 … [Read more...] about PMP#129: Wherefore the Cover Song?
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 … [Read more...] about PMP#128: Jurassic Shlock
We discuss the appeal of this Julian-Fellowes-penned British historical drama in light of the new film. Is this really "a new era" or just more of the same, and is that bad? Mark is joined by returning guest Jon Lamoreaux (host of The Hustle music podcast), plus a couple: former newscaster Corrinne MacLeod (whom Mark SCANDOLOUSLY went on one date with at age 12) and her … [Read more...] about PMP#127: You Down with Downton Abbey?
On the novel series and TV show written by James S.A. Corey (aka Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck). Mark is joined by fact-checker Al Baker, educator Sabrina Weiss, and voting rights guy/former reality TV editor Colin Cole. We talk about the politics, dialects, casting, message, etc. How well did this adapt to TV? Are the books actually better? Plus passive vs. active … [Read more...] about PMP#126: Political Sci-Fi in “The Expanse”
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, … [Read more...] about PMP#125: The Dramatics of “This Is Us”
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 … [Read more...] about PMP#124: What Is Batman?