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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.

Jul 24, 2021

Director David Freyne's follow-up to Irish zombie drama The Cured is this heartfelt coming out drama set in Co. Kildare. 

Fionna O'Shea and Lola Petticrew star as Eddie and Amber, two gay teens just trying to survive school. Spotting that Eddie is equally estranged from their classmates, Amber proposes a solution - they pretend to date until they can finish school!

Shenanigans ensue. This is a sincere and heartfelt film, and the semi-autobiographical touches stir up memories of surviving the 90s for Stevie and Emmet also!

(and before the trip down memory lane, Emmet briefly touches on Kevin Smith's Masters of the Universe for Netflix and the apparent 'controversy'). 

Fionn O'Shea and Lola Petticrew star in Dating Amber (2020).

Jun 30, 2021

"Cruella De Vil
Cruella De Vil
If she doesn't scare you
No evil thing will
To see her is to
Take a sudden chill
Cruella, Cruella De Vil"

Stevie and Emmet review Craig Gillespie's Cruella

Is it a harmless camp foray into Disney villainy with a sidelong glance at the style innovations of Vivienne Westwood, or a heartless corporate product aimed squarely at merchandising aisles? 

Emma Stone in Cruella

In other news, Emmet was recently interviewed by Zoran Ilievski for his podcast Graphic Nature, where he discusses coming to comics, a weird coincidence involving a lost script from the early 2000s and The Beating of Wings

May 30, 2021

How does Emmet draw a long bow connecting Wild Mountain Thyme and Army of the Dead

He finds a way. 

Army of the Dead directed by Zack Snyder

In happier news we also discuss the Matt "Ireland's favourite uncle" Le Blanc meme and if that brown bread ice cream took your fancy, here's where you can get it

May 16, 2021

Stevie and Emmet take a drive to Major Tom's in Kyneton to buy burgers. 

More episodes soon. 

...barring further incidents with our kangaroo neighbours. 

Richard E. Grant in WIthnail and I

In this episode:

Mar 25, 2021

'The Snyder Cut', officially known as Zack Snyder's Justice League, dropped this week on HBO's streaming platform. 

The three year campaign by fans to restore director Zack Snyder's version of Justice League, which we reviewed in episode 42 with Dr Matt Finch, was endorsed by the film-maker and eventually the cast. Additional footage was shot late last year, in combination with original footage and special effects sequences. 

Zack Snyder's Justice League 2021, Ben Affleck, Ezra Miller
If I could turn back time...Ezra Miller as The Flash. 

So what did Tan and Emmet make of it?  

Also you are strongly advised to check out Leslie Jones's delightful live tweet of Zack Snyder's Justice League here

Mar 16, 2021

Well we cracked. We got Disney+ – after welcoming a wee kitten named Wanda into our house – and watched Wandavision

Wandavision - starring Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda

We've got plenty to say about this latest show from Marvel Entertainment. In fact Emmet has a bee in his bonnet about whatever folks are saying about this weekly show that inspired intense speculation. 

But there is a enough going on in this show, with stars Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany and Kathryn Hahn succeeding to make some magical moments. 

(And Emmet spruiks his comic The Beating of Wings, now printed and available at Ownaindi). 

Feb 14, 2021

Save Yourselves! is an alien invasion dramedy with touches of horror starring Sunita Mani (from Glow, much-missed in this parish) and John Reynolds (Search Party) as a couple who escape to the country just as society starts to fall apart. 

And they've just cut themselves off from the internet so for a number of days the couple remain blissfully unaware of their impending doom. 

Save Yourselves with Sunita Mani and John Reynolds

Emmet and Stevie discuss Save Yourselves as an unlikely response to COVID-pandemic and quarantine boredom, and its indie-feature budget inventiveness. 

Also:

  • Emmet delivers some bad news to Stevie.
  • The Eileen Jones article on John Carpenter can be found here.

Just to note as well, this episode was pre-recorded before the latest lockdown in Victoria. 

Jan 31, 2021

Shhh. This podcast has a kitten now - don't wake her. 

Haskiri Velazquez as Daisy in Saved by the Bell 2020

Anyway, dozing cats aside, this episode Stevie and Emmet discuss the revamped Saved by the Bell, with returning stars Elizabeth Berkley, Mario Lopez, Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Tiffani Thiessen alongside a new cast of students returning to Bayside High. 

And you know what? We loved it. Courtesy of writer/producer Tracey Wigfield and a game cast of actors, this is less a nostalgia-fest, and more an attempt to repair and restore a property with plenty of problematic elements that was simultaneously innocuous - and question why that was. 

It's smart and fun stuff people, and pretty underrated as a show. 

Jan 4, 2021

"Die Hard is a Xmas movie? You don't say!"

Insert Willy Wonka meme here. 

Stevie and Emmet missed the boat on their planned 'unexpected Xmas movie run-down', but no matter! They're going to talk about Die Hard anyway. Because, as Stevie says, it's a good film anyway. 

Also she has thoughts about Batman Returns she wants to share. 

Emmet also raises examples of Die Hard-likes, such as Dwayne Johnson's Skyscraper (which we reviewed here) and the bloody good fun of Steven Yeun and Samara Weaving going on an office-workplace rampage in Mayhem

Also mentioned:

Dec 25, 2020

With apologies to the guests Emmet invited to join him - here is a belated pilot episode for a dedicated podcast on every issue of Jeff Smith's Bone. 

Bone by Jeff Smith Stupid Stupid Rat Creatures

For a conversation about issues #1 and #2 of the comic, Emmet speaks to author, journalist and comic creator Anthony Castle https://anthonyncastle.com/. 

Dec 4, 2020

The Queen's Gambit, based on Walter Tevis's novel, is the latest hit from Netflix. 

The Queen's Gambit from Netflix

Starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Marielle Heller and Moses Ingram, the miniseries explores themes of addiction and isolation through the experience of chess prodigy Beth Harmon. 

Stevie and Emmet discuss the show, its treatment of addiction and the subsequent criticism of it within the press, and why Emmet is reluctantly going to watch The New Mutants

Nov 22, 2020

First off, we open the episode with the ambition of reviewing The Queen's Gambit. That did not happen. We had too much to say about Lovecraft Country. So check back in with us next episode for that!

Lovecraft Country – Jonathan Majors as Atticus Freeman

Instead Stevie and Emmet get stuck into a discussion of Misha Green's Lovecraft Country. Jonathan Majors, Jurnee Smollett, Wunmi Mosaku and Michael K. Williams are among the excellent cast-members of this horror series that centres the genre legacy of Lovecraft against the lived experience of Black Americans. 

Also mentioned: 

  • Josephine Tay's novel The Daughter of Time
  • How Lovecraft Country exemplifies the critical approach to the author H.P. Lovecraft the genre needs.
  • 'Blank spots' in how history is taught in the US and Australia.
  • Emmet's piece on Michael Shea.
Nov 3, 2020

Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street is a horror film documentary with a lot to say. 

Focusing on the experience of actor Mark Patton, who starred as Jesse in A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge, it explores the impact on the actor of the gay panic response to the homoerotic themes and imagery of the film. 

Patton's candid and pained reflections on homophobia in Hollywood, and the wider world, in the era of AIDS and religious lobbyists targeting gay rights, form the spine of this emotional film. 

Directors Roman Chimienti and Tyler Jensen also features the contrast of 'Freddy fans' who mock the perceived gay content of the film with advocates reclaiming both Freddy's Revenge, and Mark Patton, as an icon for queer cinema. 

Stevie and Emmet discuss the film and the emotional highs and lows of this sensitive subject matter. 

Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street poster

Also:

Oct 11, 2020

So as it becoming custom, we open this episode with an apology for the delay in posting!

2020 has been...eventful. And we are now living in country Victoria after escaping Melbourne's COVID-lockdown. 

In a funk of post-move fatigue, we binged five Fast & Furious movies. 

Fast & Furious

Turns out we have a lot to say about these films, from Vin Diesel's self-insert fantasy of an indomitable and virile hero-figure, to Lucas Black aging ten years in a scene, James Wan's prominence in Australian cinema and that bloody plane runway in Fast & Furious 6.

Sep 3, 2020

In our Emmy Awards round-up episode we mentioned the Hugh Jackman vehicle Bad Education. Here we go into the story of Frank Tassone – and shout-out to Laci Mosley's excellent show Scam Goddess which brought the Roslyn school district scandal to our attention.

But like everyone in Melbourne, we are still in lockdown, so instead of risking our lives to go see Tenet, we binged seasons 1 & 2 of Battlestar Galactica

Battlestar Galactica

(Seriously don't risk your life to see a movie, it's not worth it). 

Does the show live up to our memories of it? How about the controversial ending to the show, or how it handles politics, religion and paranoia as a genre show in a time before Game of Thrones mainstream plaudits? 

Also:

 

Aug 16, 2020

Next month on Monday 21 September 2020, the 72nd Emmys will be held. 

We haven't really discussed the Emmys before but this year has a cohort of nominees that caught our eyes. 

From Succession, to Schitt's Creek, Watchmen to The Mandalorian, we give a quick accounting of our picks from the bunch.  

Emmys 2020 announcement with Leslie Jones

Aug 1, 2020

This episode is a real sink and swim effort for any listener who hasn't played the Dragon Age video game series. Emmet reached out to Aimee Hart from Gayming Magazine after reading her article Here's Why You Should Play Dragon Age 2, Like, Right Now.

Following up on Aimee's piece, which identifies a number of ambitious themes featured in the writing for this much maligned game, this episode also touches on the gameplay, choosing the personality for main character Hawke, criticisms of Dragon Age 2, and how it sits with other entries in the franchise Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age: Inquisition.

Dragon Age 2 playthrough The Deep Roads

On and Dragon Age 2 came out 9 years ago, so there are spoilers aplenty in this discussion.

And for fans of the series, here's Emmet's interview with Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir the writing team behind Dragon Age: Blue Wraith, over on Deconstructing Comics.

 

Jul 5, 2020

Eurovision, a heady brew of camp and pop music, has finally landed in the consciousness of American pop culture zeitgeist thanks to this Netflix film starring Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams and Dan Stevens. 

Stevie and Emmet discuss the film, their connections to Eurovision, and throw in a nod to John C. Reilly flick Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

Jun 14, 2020

Emmet interviews Craig Cormick and Harold Ludwick on their book On A Barbarous Coast. A reimagining of the HMB Endeavour's arrival - it sinks - Cormick and Ludwick discuss how this fork in the accounting of Australia's history allowed them to reflect on how indigenous Australians have been excluded from the colonial record. 

Craig Cormick and Harold Ludwick On A Barbarous Coast interview

The authors also discuss:

  • how their collaboration came about
  • how their book treats of Captain Cook
  • the use of language
  • and the relevance of BLM protests to their account.

 

May 24, 2020

Nick Hornby's High Fidelity was adapted to film in 2000, and now Ugly Betty's Sarah Kucserka and Veronica West have brought it to Hulu as a vehicle for Zoe Kravitz. 

High Fidelity on Hulu starring Zoe Kravitz pictured with Parker Posey

Stevie and Emmet talk about the television series, comparing it to the Stephen Frears/John Cusack flick from 2000 and the original novel. The gender-swap conceit is addressed, as well as the ensemble cast (Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Jake Lacy, David H. Holmes, Kingsley Ben-Adir and Rainbow Sun Francks) and how the show fails to properly update material to the times leaning on nostalgia. 

Thinking to put their money where their mouths are, Stevie and Emmet then share top five lists for one another. 

To listen, check out this playlist on Spotify

Also, here is a list of album cover art by Elaine 'Sgraffito' Nic Cuana

Oh and this was our 100th episode! Thanks for listening folks. 

 

May 9, 2020

Alejandro Landes's film Monos has screened to rave reviews around the world. Our roving reviewer Neevon Mohtaji attended a screening back in March. In this episode, Emmet challenges Neevon to try and remember a film he saw two months ago, in the before-COVID-19 times!

Monos Alejandro Landes chose a cast of young non-professional actors

For digital release details, Australian listeners should check Madman for updates. Stay safe folks! 

 

 

 

May 3, 2020

Oh why oh why did we agree to this!

In the last episode Emmet joked about watching the sequence of films that led to Alien Versus Predator in 2004 - and a listener thought that was a great idea. Apparently this was more a geas than a simple request, so Stevie and Emmet watched:

  • Predator
  • Predator 2
  • Alien Versus Predator
  • Aliens Versus Predator: Requiem

Alien versus Predator

Phew!

The credit due to Randy Stradley, Phil Norwood, Chris Warner, as well as Mark Verheiden's comics work in setting this franchise in motion, published by Dark Horse, is also discussed. 

Also discussed:

Apr 19, 2020

Handily collected on Netflix, the Jurassic Park franchise has been a blockbuster staple for almost thirty years. 

Jurassic Park 3, Sam Neill and the raptors

Stevie and Emmet discuss the first, third and most recent 'Jurassic' flicks, the underrated Jurassic Park III, the overall theme of capitalism and science being turned to deadly or humanist ends - and just how creepy was Jeff Goldblum's Dr Ian Malcolm? 

Also in this episode:


We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often being in art, and very often in our art, the art of words.

Ursula K. Le Guin

Mar 30, 2020

First thanks as always for listening folks. In this episode Emmet and Stevie relate a personal bereavement and how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted them. The eulogy for Gerard Cooney can be found here https://www.emmetocuana.com/news/2020/3/20/rip-gerard-cooney-1942-2020

Tiger King Joe Exotic Netflix

In the meantime, now that we're all shut-ins following social distancing protocols, some recommendations:

  • Tiger King, the Netflix docuseries that's taken the world by storm
  • Unbelievable, a rape drama series inspired by true events starring Kaitlyn Dever, Merritt Wever and Toni Colette
  • Crowded, a near-future comic about a 'murder app' from Christopher Sebela, Ro Stein, Ted Brandt, Triona Farrell and Cardinal Rae https://imagecomics.com/comics/releases/crowded-vol-1-tp

Shout-outs also to Jason Franks and Neevon Mohtaji for....well helping us with groceries from our quarantine. 

Jason Franks https://jasonfranks.com/

Neevon Mohtaji https://player.vimeo.com/video/240460026

Mar 9, 2020

Belatedly we catch up with the critical furore around Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn (...now rebranded as Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey). 

After wading through all of ...that... we cover Queen & Slim, out in Australia this week.

Queen and Slim

Written by Lena Waithe and directed by Melina Matsoukas, this film takes head on the themes of 'black lives matter' and police violence head on. Emmet argues Waithe's screenply juxtaposes the figures of Slim (Daniel Kaluuya) and Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith), with the idea of the outlaw so precious to American folklore. Full of sudden bursts of violence and artfully staged sequences that point to Matsoukas' history as a music video director, Queen & Slim is a provocative and rich picture for our times. 

Also mentioned:

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