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The Hopscotch Friday Podcast

Hopscotch Friday is an informed and impassioned pop culture binge. What does that mean? Well, it means we’ll review stuff and give you a good idea of what’s good, what’s bad, and what’s probably worth a cheeky watch anyway. Importantly, we also give you the *why*. Online we mostly focus on movies and DVDs. But we also like music, games, telly, comics…you name it. If you like what you hear, give us a shout at hopfriday@gmail(.com). Join Stevie and Emmet O'Cuana each week for a bit of pop culture pillow talk.
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Hopscotch Friday is an informed and impassioned pop culture binge. What does that mean? Well, it means we’ll review stuff and give you a good idea of what’s good, what’s bad, and what’s probably worth a cheeky watch anyway. Importantly, we also give you the *why*. Online we mostly focus on movies and DVDs. But we also like music, games, telly, comics…you name it.

If you like what you hear, give us a shout at hopfriday@gmail(.com).

Join Stevie and Emmet O'Cuana each week for a bit of pop culture pillow talk.

Feb 25, 2020

Stevie attended the premiere for Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears and interviewed stars Essie Davis and Nathan Page, as well as author Kerry Greenwood. 

Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears stars Essie Davis and Nathan Page at the Melbourne premiere screening

This cinematic outing for Miss Fisher, out in Australian cinemas this week, follows a successful crowdfunding campaign, a testament to passionate fans of the television series. Stevie got to meet some of them in person at the 1920s costume themed event at the (appropriately art deco) Rivoli cinema in Camberwell

 

Feb 13, 2020

Priscilla Queen of the Desert

In part two of Stevie and Emmet's chat about films they relate to in particular - and it's a long 'un - you can hear discussed:

  • The popularity of The Castle
  • Priscilla Queen of the Desert
  • Australian film and cultural cringe
  • The Dish
  • Romper Stomper
  • Hugh Sullivan's The Infinite Man
  • Shirley Temple's The Blue Bird
  • Trading Places
  • Wayne's World
  • Hackers
  • Scully from the X-Files as a role model
  • Morgan Freeman in Seven
  • Tea With The Dames
  • Pontypool
  • The Godfather
  • Raging Bull
  • David Harbour
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal
  • Luc Besson's Lockout
  • Jurassic Park
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger movies - The Last Action Hero, Kindergarten Cop, Terminator: Dark Fate and Maggie

Phew!

Jan 28, 2020

Tip of the hat to Brett Goldstein's Films to be Buried With.  We borrowed his structure of an interview on film based around the premise that the subject has died and is looking back on their favourite flicks. 

We in turn asked one another a series of questions about the films that make us who we are. 

So join us on this trip at times nostalgic, sometimes regretful, and listen as we learn a bit more about one another. 

Part one of two episodes. 

Scene from Cinema Paradiso

 

Jan 14, 2020

Making a welcome appeal to kindness and care for others, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood follows on from last year's documentary on Fred Rogers Won't You Be My Neighbor

Impressively this fictionalised account of a journalist (Matthew Rhys) encountering Rogers when his life is at a low-point manages to combine the needs of narrative and a genuine impression of the television entertainer's life. 

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Tom Hanks and Matthew Rhys

As a complement to Heller's film, we also discuss John Mulaney And The Sack Lunch Bunch. (available on Netflix) While the approach is not the same as Mr Rogers, the sincere interest in what children are thinking allows for the comparison. 

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is out in Australia from January 23. 

Dec 31, 2019

We are not reviewing Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. And that's because, well, we've already said everything we needed to.

While this household is a The Last Jedi is good household, two years ago in episodes 44 and 45 of this podcast we had already discussed how narrow the focus of Star Wars as a franchise had become. 

Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

So here are extracts from those episodes highlighting concerns we already had with the franchise, which The Rise of Skywalker...let's say it leaned into them and leave it at that. 

 

Dec 20, 2019

Jake Kasdan and cast return to Jumanji for the sequel that provves if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Then a change of pace for Scarlett Johansson vehicles Marriage Story and Jojo Rabbit.

Jumanji: The Next Level poster

Dec 10, 2019

We're taking a trip back to 1980. 

That is, we're revisiting the worlds of The Shining and The Empire Strikes Back, courtesy of Mike Flanagan's Doctor Sleep and The Mandalorian from Disney+. 

Doctor Sleep

Also discussed, Diane Johnson's account from 2018 on adapting the Shining with Stanley Kubrick.  https://scrapsfromtheloft.com/2018/01/08/writing-the-shining-by-diane-johnson/

Are these films plumbing the nostalgia dollar? Where's left to go after recycling elements of works that were themselves recycled versions of 1950s pop culture? 

Finally Emmet plugs his story Kill Screen, w/ Jeferson Sadzinski and Colin Bell, which was published in The Art of Hate http://centrala.org.uk/shop/the-art-of-hate/

 

Oct 31, 2019

It's Halloween, so we've got zombies, satanists, space necromancers - and killer robots from the future. 

Ready or Not

In this episode we discuss:

  • the deliberately repetitive zombie humour of the sequel to 2009's Zombieland
  • Samara Weaving vehicle Ready or Not, an Eat the Rich fable for our time
  • Tamsyn Muir's Gideon the Ninth (with a tip of the hat to the author interview on Death//Sentence)
  • and Linda Hamilton's triumphant return in Terminator: Dark Fate. 

So something spooky and ooky for everyone. 

 

Oct 8, 2019

What two episodes in one week!

Well we do like to spoil you. 

This episode sees the return of guest, film-maker Tanzeal Rahim, to discuss all things The Joker. 

The Joker Joaquin Phoenix

Now in something of a change of format, here Tanzeal has been asked to *convince* Emmet to go see the film. Listen to find out if he was successful. 

 

 

Oct 6, 2019

This week we try to look past the Ad Astra hot takes (daddy issues in space, Apocalypse Now in space, Space Cowboys 2....did we miss one?).

Is this a film loved by critics, but not by the punters? 

On an entirely unrelated note, we also review Dark Phoenix...let's get it over with. 

Ad Astra moon pirates

Sep 16, 2019

While Pennywise the clown is back in the cinemas, with IT: Chapter 2, Stevie and Emmet did not particularly like the first one. So they have not gone to see it. 

This inspired a conversation all about Stephen King's four decades of immense commercial success and just why is it people are attracted to his stories about flawed characters facing off against cosmic horrors. 

In this episode: IT, The Shining, Salem's Lot, The Mist and Mike Flanagan's upcoming adaptation of Doctor Sleep. 

Poster for Doctor Sleep directed by Mike Flanagan and starring Ewan McGregor

Also discussed –

Japanese and American Horror by Katarzyna Marak 

"You have always been the caretaker: the spectral spaces of the Overlook Hotel, Mark Fisher's discussion of trauma and abuse in The Shining, collected in K-Punk from Repeater books

Mud and Starlight: The Alan Moore Interviews 2008—2016 by Pádraig Ó Méalóid

 

Sep 2, 2019

20 years on we take a look at The Matrix, its influence on the broader pop culture and the reported return of the franchise courtesy of Lana Wachowski. 

Plus we oo and aah over the ageless Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss. 

The Matrix

In addition:

  • The Matrix as a gateway to cyberpunk
  • The changing meaning of 'red pilling'
  • That time Grant Morrison thought The Invisibles was ripped off
  • And when Australia was the site of film culture in 1999!

Our recommendations this episode –

High Weirdness by Erik Davis
https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/high-weirdness

Television by City Calm Down
https://youtu.be/alws83lvELM
http://smarturl.it/CCDTelevision

Aug 16, 2019

This episode, director Tanzeal Rahim – who previously appeared on episode 39: Urine Aid – returns to discuss Quentin Tarantino's latest Once Upon A Time in Hollywood. 

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood


The discussion takes in the use of violence, Tarantino's essential convervative vision, the choice to cast the Manson family with the daughters of Hollywood actors and directors – as well as Tarantino's own critic-proof reputation as a cinematic genius.

 

Aug 2, 2019

Booksmart and Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, two movies that defy segues and punctuation. 

We could try and sell you on how the two films treat of gender from their respective positions of indie movie critical darling and monster global franchise about cars...and spies?

Hobbs and Shaw

But let's not. 

Look we've been drinking some wine you guys. 

Jul 10, 2019

Well first off spoilers for Avengers: Endgame. 

This second collaboration between Marvel and Sony Pictures on Spider-Man is an unexpected conclusion to the events in that film. 

Tom Holland and Jake Gyllenhaal in Spider-Man Far From Home

In addition to the usual superheroics (with a dash of media commentary), Far From Home also returns the winning cast of classmates for Peter Parker, including Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Martin Starr and Angourie Rice. 

And then we squeeze in the most bingeable of Netflix shows, Stranger Things 3, which goes in hard on the 80s nostalgia. 

Jun 25, 2019

How do you have a world without the Beatles and the Rolling Stones are exactly the same!

Well Yesterday doesn't trouble itself with such questions. 

Yesterday poster Danny Boyle Richard Curtis

We discuss Richard Curtis and Danny Boyle's Beatlemania 'Mandela effect' movie Yesterday. 

Then we round out the episode with Men in Black: International which powers along thanks to the combined charm of Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth. 

Jun 10, 2019

Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens was a favourite book of Emmet's back in the 90s and over two decades later it has landed on Amazon Prime. Last year Justin Cronin's vampire apocalypse epic The Passage also was adapted to television (sadly it has since been cancelled. As a fan of both books, Emmet has thoughts on their televised iterations (Stevie didn't read the book, but also has opinions on the shows). 

*Also Emmet messed up - the nod in the Roman sequence of Good Omens was to Spartacus, not Ben Hur*

Good Omens David Tennant and Michael Sheen

May 28, 2019

Here we are folks, a movie franchise about a man who is on an unstoppable rampage of revenge, full of bloody violence - and we love it. We want more!

John Wick Chapter 3 Parabellum

In this film, John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is stripped of all protections by the mysterious High Table and is forced to go on the rule, while his former allies are investigated by the Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon). 

Also lots of dudes die. 

Stevie and Emmet talk director Chad Stahelski's emphasis on stuntcraft, connections with other films - and the appearance of the one, the only, Jason Mantzoukas.

(For more of Priscilla Page's writing on John Wick, see her Twitter account, e.g. https://twitter.com/BBW_BFF/status/1129895235876581376 ).

May 14, 2019

*SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS*

Well everyone else was doing one, so we did too. 

A review of Avengers: Endgame that is. 

So what did we make of this closing chapter to a series of 22 films? And is this the death of cinema, or just a good time at the movies that will in all likelihood make you cry? Listen to find out. 

Marvel Cinematic universe

 (Also we talk Hellboy...yes the new one). 

Apr 8, 2019

We review Marvel's Captain Marvel and DC"s Shazam!, who used to be Captain Marvel....confused yet?

First up Brie Larson's turn as the galactic superhero who lands in the 90s. How does this character introduction in a film that acts as a bridging chapter between Avengers movies pan out? And what did Stevie make of the use of chart music from the mid-90s (spoiler - not a fan). 

Shazam! starring Zachary Levi

Then Warner/DC's Shazam! veers into a happier, sunnier superhero flick for that fictional universe (with occasional flashes of David F. Sandberg's horror credentials). 

Where Captain Marvel has to introduce a new character, Shazam! feels like a tonal course correction for a studio. We were big fans. 

Also if you are in Sydney on 26 April, check out the Ledger Awards ceremony at the State Library NSW for a celebration of all things Australian comics. For more information visit http://ledgerawards.org/

Mar 31, 2019

Us and Russian Doll are two special auteurist productions that defy easy categorisation. 

Firstly Jordan Peele's Us delivers on its promise from the first shot of a strange fable about America, with nods to 80s horror. Then Natasha Lyonne's Russian Doll escapes the dangers of an autobiographical warning about the dangers of excess, by becoming an existential fable that soars. 

Lupita Nyong'o as Red and Adelaide in Jordan Peele's Us

Now only one of us went to see, um, Us, so it's a one-sided discussion, but we're both going this week. So take that as you will. 

(Also this interview with 'Us' star Winston Duke by Scroobius Pip is well worth your time http://tiny.cc/edhm4y )

Mar 19, 2019

Stephen Merchant's comedy biopic of Paige, WWE star and the first of a new generation of wrestlers - is an absolute treat. 

Heartfelt, touching, and very, very funny. 

Fighting with my Family Florence Pugh Nick Frost Lena Headey

Also Nick Frost and Lena Headey are a revelation as the loving parents of Paige (played to great effect by Florence Pugh. 

This is a great flick and well worth your time (also it stars The Rock!). 

Apologies for the late episode folks, but it's been quite busy in the O'Cuana household. For one thing Emmet's got a comic out called Faraway, illustrated by Jeferson Sadzinski and Thomas Mauer - learn more about it here https://www.emmetocuana.com/news/2019/2/23/faraway-is-here-away

Feb 17, 2019

Speculating about the Oscars is clearly more fun *than* the Oscars. But the 2019 promises to be something of a shambles. 


From missing presenters, to nominee controversy, there's a lot to shake one's head at. 

But certain nominations - and snubs - have really got Emmet and Stevie's goat up. So that's what this episode is mostly about (also, Avengers Endgame and sad Steve Rogers, but that's more an aperatif). 

Oscars snub Hereditary

Feb 10, 2019

The marketers have declared - seniors at the cinema means big dollars. 

But while this commercial push for films aimed at older cinemagoers has produced some regrettable flicks - Last Vegas... - there are quite a few films about aging and reflection that are enjoyable. 

Tea With the Dames poster

Stevie and Emmet talk Tea With The Dames and Last Orders, two films that capture a generation of British acting talent. 

This episode is also dedicated to the memory of Albert Finney. 

Jan 21, 2019

Stevie, following a binge of Netflix's recent acquisition of You from Lifetime, wanted to know if the show has something to say about onscreen relationships. 

You starring Penn Badgley

In this episode we discuss other examples of emotionally abusive relationships on screen, from You to Gone Girl, and whether these productions represent a shift in how we talk about this topic since the days of the bunny boiler. 

(Also Emmet manages to segue the conversation to Supernatural, because of course). 

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