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.

Jul 16, 2017

This week Emmet interviews writer Christian Read on his new book Nil-Pray, available from Gestalt Publishing

Nil-Pray by Christian Read

Nil-Pray is the titular city of the dead, where tensions between restless spirits and different species of undead are mounting. Into the middle of this politically fraught situation comes Edmund Carver, a disgraced Waughvian necromancer with a shameful past.

Read discusses how the story fits within the weird fiction canon, the traps of fantasy novel 'worldbuilding', and gives a guided tour to this strange city inhabited by cowboy vampires, zombie slaves, and werewolf berserkers. 


Jul 9, 2017

This week we have the return of Edgar Wright with his feature-length adaptation of a music video concept Baby Driver, and the arrival of Spider-Man in the Marvel Universe.

Baby Driver - Ansel Elgort and Lily James

First cab off the rank has Stevie and Emmet discuss whether Wright's technically stunning car heist movie succeeds.

Is this a genuinely original film, or simply a parody of 1970s B-movies?

Spider-Man Homecoming

Next Spider-Man returns to high school with a younger cast and a passing of the torch from Robert Downey Junior's franchise leader Iron Man.

Does the Marvel Studios endorsed webslinger enliven the prospect of an IP relaunched for the third time in fifteen years?

And in next week's episode we will definitely not be talking about superheroes!

Jul 2, 2017

We discuss Girl Boss from Netflix, Preacher, iZombie and American Gods as adaptations to television - and the return of Twin Peaks. 

Girl Boss - Netflix

Is this the advent of a second 'Golden Age' of television?

Or are we looking at the diversifying of media to cater to all tastes. 

American Gods - Shadow and Laura Moon

Shows discussed in this episode include - 

* Girl Boss
* Braindead
* Designated Survivor
* Preacher
* iZombie
* Hannibal
* American Gods
* Twin Peaks seasons 1/2
* Twin Peaks: The Return


Jun 25, 2017

Image by Stevie O'Cuana - Dark Mofo

This week a slightly sickly Emmet and Stevie* discuss #DarkMofo. 

*courtesy of a chill-inducing swim in the Tasman for Winter Solstice

Art, sex, music and sacrifice - the pagan antics on the island of Tasmania have caused controversy, but is there more going on here than sensationalism?

Image by Stevie O'Cuana - the boat from MONA to Hobart

Despite attending only the tail end of the festival, there was still so much to see within the environs of Hobart, including:

Live performances from Einstürzende Neubauten and the Twin Peaks-inspired music of Xiu Xiu (see more here

James Brett's exhibition at MONA The Museum of Everything, which the curator uses to disrupt common understandings on the division between established art and 'outsider art'

And so much great winter food and drink, with Seven Shed's Fuggled Porter earning Emmet's stamp of approval


Image by Stevie O'Cuana - Dark Mofo Winter Feast

The event also led, predicably to some controversy, giving rise to a letter to the Hobart Mercury that claimed -

"Parents are subjecting their children to a demonic and satanic culture that existed in the Dark Ages. At what cost this unexplained confused weirdness?"


Emmet mentions in passing during the discussion of Dark Mofo's mashing up of paganism and Christianity a William Blake's poem - so here it is:

The Little Vagabond 
Dear Mother, dear Mother, the Church is cold,
But the Ale-house is healthy & pleasant & warm;
Besides I can tell where I am use'd well,
Such usage in heaven will never do well.

But if at the Church they would give us some Ale.
And a pleasant fire, our souls to regale;
We'd sing and we'd pray, all the live-long day;
Nor ever once wish from the Church to stray,

Then the Parson might preach & drink & sing.
And we'd be as happy as birds in the spring:
And modest dame Lurch, who is always at Church,
Would not have bandy children nor fasting nor birch.

And God like a father rejoicing to see,
His children as pleasant and happy as he:
Would have no more quarrel with the Devil or the Barrel
But kiss him & give him both drink and apparel.

Jun 18, 2017

Steve Carrell and Kristen Wiig return as the heads of a super(villain) family that everyone loves.

Also there are Minions.

Stevie and Emmet talk about how the film's treatment of blended families gives the slapstick some soul and how Trey Parker's villain, an 80s obsessed former child celebrity desperate to make his fantasies real, feels apt to today.

Despicable Me 3

In the second half of the show Emmet discusses the Nick Broomfield documentary Whitney: Can I Be Me.

While the film examines the theories surrounding the singer Whitney Houston's sexuality and the revelations of drug use, it also features incredible concert footage from Rudi Dolezal that showcases how amazing a performer she was. 

Whitney: Can I Be Me

As always, you can find us on Facebook and Twitter, and give us a rating or review on iTunes

Jun 12, 2017

This week we were very sad to learn of the death of actor Adam West. 

While his career was indelibly linked to the television adaptation of Bill Finger and Bob Kane's The Batman, West also gave the character a truly iconic introduction to the world. 

His Bat was a Pop Art essay in high camp, a performance that creators in comics and movies spent half a century responding to - sometimes aggressively. Glen Weldon, whose book The Caped Crusade we highly recommend, has commemorated the actor here

RIP Adam West

In other news from film, we discuss what the critical drubbing received by The Mummy means for the next cab off the studio franchise rank Dark Universe.

Has the 'Marvel Studio formula' succeeded for any other franchise besides Marvel's own? And can it then be considered a formula?

When did movies become advertisements for other movies instead of telling self-contained stories?

As always, you can find us on Facebook and Twitter, and give us a rating or review on iTunes

Jun 4, 2017

Neevon Mohtaji from 2 Dollar Movie Reviews returns to discuss the Armenian genocide drama The Promise

The Promise

Starring Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac, the film has attracted headlines for being a Hollywood production centred on the events of the Armenian holocaust - and for the online protests, particularly on imdb where the film has been downloaded thousands of times to dissuade people from viewing the film. 

Neevon and Emmet discuss the film, as well as the protest's potential for straying into the Streisand Effect by drawing attention to the very events that would be buried. 

The Promise Oscar Isaac and Tom Hollander

As always, you can find us on Facebook and Twitter, as well as iTunes

May 30, 2017

Patty Jenkins has done what Joss Whedon, George Miller, Ivan Reitman and Joel Silver failed to do. 

Make a film about Wonder Woman. 

Wonder Woman

Out in cinemas June 1, we discuss what the film got right, the critical buzz around the project in the last few weeks - and answer the question, is Wonder Woman actually any good?

As always, you can find us on Facebook, Twitter and iTunes - let us know what you think of the show. 

May 28, 2017

Taking a wee break after the recent weeks of sturm and drang for two quieter dramas, before the much belated arrival of Wonder Woman next week, we discuss John Butler's Irish comedy drama Handsome Devils and Mike Mills' semi-autobiographical film 20th Century Women

Handsome Devil movie poster

Handsome Devil is a sweet drama featuring a stand-out performance from Andrew Scott as an English teacher in an Irish boarding school obsessed with sport. 

Ned (Fionn O'Shea) is an alienated student at the school who is excluded because he has no interest in sport. Subjected to homophobic bullying, he creates a sarcastic outsider persona as a defense. When a new boy arrives at the school and becomes Ned's room-mate (Nicholas Galitzine), early resentment between them slowly evolves into a fragile friendship. But what led to Conor, a stunning rugby player, being expelled from his last school - and what will Ned do once he learns his only friend's secret?

20th Century Women

Annette Bening's Oscar snub seems more unbelievable now this film is out in Australia. Heading up a stellar cast including Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig and Billy Crudup, Mike Mills draws on his childhood for this story of a young teenager being raised without a male role model and his strained relationship with his mother. 

Quietly powerful and featuring interesting digressions into the histories of the characters' lives with archive footage, 20th Century Women is a time capsule from a vanished era of Californian optimism and free thought. 

This episode is dedicated to the memories of Roger Moore and Dennis Johnson. 

As always, check us out on Facebook and Twitter @hopscotchfriday, and drop us a rating on iTunes.

May 21, 2017

Two movies that couldn't be more different - but what can we learn from how John Wick: Chapter 2 and King Arthur - Legend of the Sword use onscreen violence?


Or punctuation,  for that matter!


John Wick: Chapter 2 and King Arthur

May 14, 2017

As our resident morbidly obsessed hypochrondriac, Emmet interviews scientist, educator and author Paul Doherty on the many interesting ways the human body can, er, snuff it. 

And Then You're Dead: The world's most interesting ways to die

Emmet asks Paul Doherty to explain how the project first came about, the book's use of gallows humour and what steps can be taken to resist the anti-science movement in the world today. 

May 7, 2017

Jordan Peele's debut mixes horror and social commentary on race relations to impressive effect. Smashing the box office, this film has won over audiences in the States and is now screening in Australia. 

Get Out poster - Jordan Peele director

Peele's greatest success with this scary and fitfully very funny movie is the passion pounding away at its core. The story concerns a young man Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), whose white girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) invites him home to meet her parents, avuncular well-to-do liberals played by Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener. Yet despite the kindness of Rose's family, Chris cannot escape the feeling that something is wrong. 

Peele's script has Chris assume at several points that the problem is his being black - and that gets to the heart of out Get Out treats of racial tension. 

Get Out is discussed within the context of films that have used the constraints of genre to explore social commentary - such as Starship Troopers, Children of Men, Night of the Living Dead and Idiocracy.

 - Emmet O'Cuana

Apr 30, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is back, with more tunes and more antics from this galactic misfits. Stevie and Emmet chat about the film and where it fits in the Marvel Studios. James Gunn has delivered a film that promises to get close and personal with Quill, Gamora, Drax and Rocket - but does it deliver?

Guardians of the Galaxy - team shot

Then Neevon Mohtaji from 2 Dollar Movie Reviews is back to talk Kiwi comedy Pork Pie, starring Dean O'Gorman (The Hobbit prequels, Trumbo, The Almighty Johnsons) and James Rolleston (Boy, from Boy, went and grew up!). 

It's a show of tunes, chases and grand desperate gestures. 

As always you can find us on Twitter and Facebook - and if you feel like giving us a rating pop over to iTunes

Apr 23, 2017

To quote Pauline Kael, this week is all about Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang.

Or just Bang Bang.


Stevie and Emmet talk violence in movies, from the taboo busting films of Arthur Penn and Sam Peckinpah, up to the work of James Cameron in the 80s and Michael Bay's stylised chaos.

Free Fire

Then Neevon Mohtaji from 2 Dollar Movie Reviews drops by to talk about Ben Wheatley's new film Free Fire, a movie that extends a gun fight to the very extremes.

This week's show is all about bullets and blood, with a run through of our favourite movies that use action and violence to make a point - or even leave a mark.

Apr 16, 2017

Two very different movies - one a historical drama directed by Mick Jackson of the David Irving libel case, and Nacho Vigalondo's curious horror rom-com Colossal - that feel very close to home today. 

Rachel Weisz plays Deborah Lipstadt, a Holocaust historian who is sued in London by David Irving (Timothy Spall) for identifying him as a denier of the genocide of Jewish people in German concentration camps. 

Denial also stars Andrew Scott and Tom Wilkinson and has a great deal of resonance to current events given its focus on freedom of speech and the abuse of same. 

Denial - Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson, Andrew Scott


Colossal is an original and inventive picture by Spanish director Nacho Vigalondo that stretches from South Korea to rural America. This international production mashes up Kaiju monsters with the tropes of Hollywood romantic comedy and then serves up something genuinely startling. 

While this vehicle of Anne Hathaway has been described as a metaphor for addiction, there is far more at work here. Stevie and Emmet dance around potential spoilers while trying to sketch out exactly why you should see this curious and powerful film. 

Colossal - Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis

Also Emmet tries to suggest a tagline for the film 'The personal is Colossal.'

Apr 9, 2017

This week's films run the gamut from the poignantly romantic to the perplexing and strange.

Stevie and Emmet review British romantic drama (made by Danish director, Lone Scherfig), Their Finest starring Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin and Bill Nighy. Set in 1940, the film follows Catrin Cole as she negotiates the man's world of propaganda films during wartime.

Their Finest with Gemma Arterton

Stevie then explains to Emmet why she's not sure about Olivier Assayas' Personal Shopper, a surreal vehicle for Kristen Stewart. Acclaimed by some, Stevie's not sure if it's brilliant or ordinary.

 Personal Shopper Kristen Stewart

Apr 2, 2017

Mårten Eskil Winge - Tor's Fight with the Giants

Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology sets about retelling the stories of Thor, Loki and Odin in the author's voice. The book is an accessible and enjoyable read. 

But in the telling of these stories, has Gaiman produced a piece of fiction, or is the retelling similar to a fanfic about your favourite superhero or starship captain? And if he has, should there be a stigma attach to that?

Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology

Stevie and Emmet discuss the book in relation to Gaiman's successful career as a storyteller who brings his dedicated following to his reinventions of DC/Marvel Comics properties or Doctor Who. The conversation then segues into Meg Downey's The Age of Transformative Works Has Changed The Rules of Compelling Narratives. What does it mean to tell stories today when there is competition between published authors and licensed creators with fans willing to produce novel-sized manuscripts on their favourite characters? For free, to boot! 

Why is diversity being blamed for dips in publishing sales by Marvel Comics, when fan fiction readily caters to diverse audience? And has given rise to successful mainstream creators who first found a following writing about Potter, Buffy, or Twilight? What exactly lies behind the stigma against fan fiction? 

Mar 26, 2017

Lego Batman

It's the Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny....again! Lego Batman has Will Arnett's arrogant and conceited Caped Crusader confronted with his greatest fear - and a host of villains from too many movie franchises to count. 

Stevie and Emmet discuss the Lego movie series and its blending of marketing and playfulness, the question of how Batman became dark and broody in the first place - and the endless cameos that will have long-term Bat-fans pleasantly surprised. 

Mar 18, 2017

Movie trailers

In A World....where Stevie and Emmet talk trailers: the good, the bad, and the upcoming.

How does studios target certain audiences to sell a picture? What about a movie that is in trouble - can a trailer make the difference in earning primo box office? What about trailers that are nothing like the finished film?

We talk some of our favourites from over the year such as Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, Inherent Vice, Watchmen; how the rabidly uncommericial Coen Brothers films have been poorly served by previews for The Big Lebowski, A Serious Man, Hail Caesar!; and we discuss the upcoming Wonder Woman and Edgar Wright's Baby Driver.

Wonder Woman trailer

Mar 13, 2017

Logan Loving Legion


As the man said, "L, L, L, you ring my bell." 

Stevie and Emmet first discuss the latest X-Men movie, Logan (not for kids, okay), a fitting last stand for Hugh Jackman and Wolverine.

Then, they chat Loving, the civil rights story of Richard and Mildred Loving (played by Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga).

Rounding out this week's chat is FX's Legion, again with the X-Men, and the small screen awesomeness and WTF going on there. The colours! So pretty!

Feb 27, 2017

Netflix is changing not only how we watch films and television - through its commissioning of original content, the streaming service is raising the bar by introducing a diverse range of content. 

Stevie and Emmet discuss how Netflix is changing the game with its revenue model - and review the CW co-production Riverdale and Scott Aukerman's surreal variety show Michael Bolton's Big, Sexy Valentine's Day Special


Feb 19, 2017

It's already late-February so let's get this over with. Stevie and Emmet list their most anticipated films of 2017, and say why they're looking forward to them.

Unsurprisingly, there's some overlap! Combined, the list includes Anna Biller's The Love Witch, Danny Boyle's T2: Trainspotting, Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok, Blade Runner 2049, Luc Besson's Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and Edgar Wright's Baby Driver. Oh, and Logan somehow manages a reference in there too!


Feb 12, 2017

Posters for Silence and The Family


Stevie and Emmet ponder how to recommend films that need to be watched, but may not be of general interest, specifically Martin Scorsese's Silence, Rosie Jones' The Family and, briefly, Steve Oram's Aaaaaaah!

Feb 7, 2017

In Episode 2, Stevie and Emmet talk about movies that make them happy.

After watching Garth Jennings' Sing, twice, the pair discuss other happy movies including The Hudsucker Proxy, Wayne's World, Bringing Up Baby and Edgar Wright's Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.

Jan 29, 2017

Split - Universal Pictures

Hopscotch Friday is relaunching - as a podcast. And we chose M. Night Shymalan's Split, starring James McAvoy for our first show. 

So join us, Stevie and Emmet, for a pop culture discussion of deep cuts and pillow talk. 

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