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
pop culture podcast
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”
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?
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 … [Read more...] about PMP#123: We Are All Jackass
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 … [Read more...] about PMP#122: Maus Shows the Tragic Via Comics
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 … [Read more...] about PMP#121: Protesting Protest Songs
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 … [Read more...] about PMP#120: Dexter the Loveable Serial Killer
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 … [Read more...] about PMP#119: Disgraced Artists Like Cosby
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 … [Read more...] about PMP#118: Adapting Agatha Christie
Supergiant's Hades is now the first video game ever to have won a Hugo award (i.e. sci-fi/fantasy fiction) and has set a new standard in the Roguelike genre, which features relatively short "runs" through a randomly-generated dungeon (or some equivalent) with perma-death, i.e. you die, you go back to the beginning. Generally, these games are very hard. Your host Mark is … [Read more...] about PMP#117: Roguelikes Like Hades
Animator/musician David Heatley, comedian Daniel Lobell, and academic/3anuts author Daniel Leonard join your host Mark Linsenmayer to discuss Charlie Brown and his author Charles Schulz from Peanuts' 1950 inception through the classic TV specials through to the various post-mortem products still emerging. What's the enduring appeal, and is it strictly for kids? We talk about … [Read more...] about PMP#116: Good Grief! Peanuts Persists
How does canonization work in popular music? Is Rolling Stone's 500 Best Albums of All Time list just a modest record of the favorite albums of people associated with Rolling Stone? Is it a statement of what "experts" in popular music enjoy? Does it reflect English-American popularity, and what responsibility to list-makers have to experience and include world music, indie … [Read more...] about PMP#115: So-Called Greatest Albums
Did it make sense for Steven Spielberg to remake one of our nation's most beloved musicals (with music by Bernstein and Sondheim!), attempting to fix the parts that did not age well politically? Is the new version a modern classic or a doomed Frankenstein? Your host Mark Linsenmayer is joined by Broadway scholar, theater critic, and actor Ron Fassler; Remakes, Reboots, and … [Read more...] about PMP#114: The “West Side Story” Story
It's a Pretty Much Pop season one reunion, with Brian Hirt and Erica Spyres back with Mark Linsenmayer, plus very special guest Abe Linsenmayer, Mark's adult son. In light of the release of The Matrix Resurrections, we talk through the franchise as a whole. What made the first one remarkable, and does that a bar that any sequel can reach? We talk through the choices that fed … [Read more...] about PMP#113: The Matrix Regurgitated