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.

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? 



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


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

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

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

Jason Franks

Neevon Mohtaji

Mar 9, 2020

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

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


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.

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


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

Television by City Calm Down

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.


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