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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Now displaying: 2019

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.

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.


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. ).

May 14, 2019


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

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 )

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

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). 

Jan 6, 2019

Ok well at least it wasn't a sequel to Bright. 

Netflix has claimed some extraordinary viewing numbers over the Xmas season, with 45 million of you streaming Sandra Bullock vehicle Bird Box. Also social media went wild for Charlie Brooker's latest nihilist futurist vision Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (well 1980's futurism - look it makes sense when you watch). 

Stevie and Emmet review the two offerings from the streaming service and question just how engaging a Netflix view is against a trip to the cinema - which has a dollar value attached. 

Bird Box by Susane Bier

Jan 6, 2019


Apologies for the late review, but Xmas descended suddenly and well - we didn't do it. 

So here is part one of a bumper episode, with part two discussing how Netflix dominated the holiday season. 

Mortal Engines is adapted from Philip Reeve's inventive fantasy series by the team behind the Tolkien films - but did they show the same grasp of how to play to the source material's strengths and invent more cinematic sequences? 

Mortal Engines poster - HEster Shaw

Next up - Bird Box and Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.