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.

Mar 12, 2018

This episode we discover the playful (yet terrifically black) comedy The Death of Stalin from director Armando Iannucci. 

The Death of Stalin

This is a fantastic piece of political satire that challenges the safe revisionism of historical dramas onscreen through the choice to have the actors use their actual accents. 

We also talk about the Marimekko exhibition currently on at Bendigo Art Gallery and Altered Carbon on Netflix.  

Also - let us know for an upcoming episode what films personally disappointed you. Email, or drop us a line on social. 

Feb 25, 2018

And we're back - Hopscotch is now a fortnightly podcast, giving us more time to do this whole 'life' business we've heard so much about.

Ladybird with Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf

This episode we talk Ladybird and Black Panther. 

Emmet attempts to link the two by arguing that Ladybird, directed by Great Gerwig, occupies the position of 'sensitive young person comes of age' vacated by male film-makers - who are now applying that model to superhero films. 

Black Panther poster

But is the quickly becoming familiar Marvel model holding back film concepts like the rich world of Wakanda in Black Panther? We discuss. 


Feb 3, 2018

Margot Robbie and Allison Janney are receiving Oscar attention for their daughter/mother roles in I, Tonya. 

But does Craig Gillespie's film play too loose with facts, or is the approach he takes an astute method of confronting audiences too willing to look the other way to stories of domestic abuse? 

 Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding

Also - from next week Hopscotch is going fortnightly. 

Jan 21, 2018

Neevon Mohtaji joins the show to discuss The Post, starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks as owner Kay Graham and editor Ben Bradlee of The Washington Post during its transformation into the paper of record.

The Post - Meryl Streep as Kay Graham

Is this another Oscar contender for Spielberg given its themes of the importance of the Fourth Estate - or a formulaic 'prestige picture'?

Emmet and Neevon discuss. 

Dec 17, 2017

Star Wars and Paddington - two films that smack of adult nostalgia for their childhoods, now re-marketed to children today. 

Paddington 2

Paddington 2, directed by Paul King, conjures up a sense of Englishness that is at once classic, but also modern. 

It's a charming film that is well worth your time.

The latest Star Wars - which Stevie has not seen, so Emmet is left to be interrogated on its merits - is brought to the screen by Rian Johnson. 

Star Wars The Last Jedi

Instead of heavily relying on the established Star Wars formula, Johnson chooses to highlight the use of those repeated plot threads - temptation by the dark side, a Jedi mentor crippled by failure, a resistance army forced to continually retreat from an evil empire in pursuit - then flips these narratives in interesting ways. 

This is a spoiler free discussion that treats of The Last Jedi's position in relation to the original films - and the whole Star Wars marketing phenomenon. 


Dec 10, 2017

Star Wars redefined Hollywood by creating the blockbuster and sfx technology - but does it still work as a continuing story?

And what does it mean for franchises like Star Wars, and Harry Potter, require constant immersion even outside the movie theatre?

Star Wars boring

Dec 3, 2017

The Disaster Artist, directed by James Franco and based on the tell-all memoir by Greg Sestero about his experience of starring in The Room, hits Australian cinemas on December 7. 

And folks - this may be one of the best films of 2017!

The Disaster Artist starring James Franco and Dave Franco

With an all-star cast and a stunning central performance that is more sympathetic recreation than mimicry (Tommy Wiseau being a living cartoon in his own right) - The Disaster Artist has finally made something great out of The Room. 

This week is all about trash cinema meeting the mainstream, but seriously - catch this film. 

Nov 19, 2017

Dr Matt Finch joins the podcast to talk Justice League, Jason Momoa, the DC universe, Jason Momoa, and the impact of the male gaze - and Jason Momoa.

Justice League Ezra Miller The Flash

(pictured - Not Jason Momoa)

This is a spoiler-filled discussion so be warned if you have not yet seen the film. 

But if you're looking for a giddy, rifferific take on the culmination of Zack Snyder's DC movieverse - here it is. 

Oct 29, 2017

When the likes of David Avocado Wolfe are being regarded as medical experts in place of practicing doctors, what does that mean for the discussion of health?

It's a question that has been on my mind lately, particularly in the social media space where expertise is now diffuse. 

Urine Aid Steven Williams

Screening as part of the Melbourne Underground Film Festival, Urine Aid is a documentary all about people who practice urine therapy. These are people looking for answers who have turned their backs on so-called "Western medicine" - so I was interested to learn what lies behind their decision to, well, drink their own piss. 

Finally apologies for the quality of the recording. There were some technical issues on the night that we decided to push through to capture the interview. 


Oct 8, 2017

How do you review a film with a plot so tightly under wraps?

Well we are giving it a shot. 

Ryan Gosling as blade runner K

Ryan Gosling plays K, a Blade Runner on the trail of his long-missing predecessor Deckard (Harrison Ford).  Mysteries are uncovered, human nature gets yet another shake up - and Roger Deakins serves up some visual excess for your enjoyment. 

Blade Runner 2049 Denis Villeneuve

This is also a movie about making a sequel. Is it possible to follow-on from the sacred cow of genre cinema, Blade Runner - a Citizen Kane for the science fiction set? Villeneuve does not simply try to do so, he makes the film about recycling - or replicating - what has gone before. 

Lot's to think on here - but did we like it? Listen to find out. 

Sep 24, 2017

**SPOILERS be here - move on if you do not want to be spoiled**

mother! starring Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem has been released to confounded review notices and furious audience response - but is this really a film that warrants the controversy?

mother! jennifer lawrence

This week Stevie and Emmet review mother!, discuss the controversy surrounding the film - and Stevie get's stuck in to the very idea of spoilers, particularly where it comes to Aronofsky's film. 


Sep 16, 2017

Originally posted on our youtube channel, here is a short review of Andy Muschietti's IT starring Bill Skarsgard. 

Aug 27, 2017

The BBC has done it again. After last year polling film critics on the best films ever made, the Culture team polled 253 writers on film on the movies that make them laugh out loud. 

His Girl Friday - Howard Hawks

Not LOL. Oh no. Because very few of the 100 film titles listed here date from this century

Emmet and Stevie discuss whether this poll represents the best comedies of all time - or the films that have been safely judged by critical consensus. 

Also what did they miss? Here are a few suggestions - including the much-maligned Death to Smoochy.

Death to Smoochy

What did you make of the list - and what films did we also manage to miss? 

Aug 13, 2017

In a week when everything has been pretty terrible, Emmet makes the case for Valérian and Logan Lucky being two films about hope. 

While Luc Besson's spiritual sequel (or response to) The Fifth Element has attracted criticism, is this is misreading of the film's naive sincerity?

Dane De Haan plays Valérian as a young man who has read Romantic Heroes for Dummies, partnered with the far more competent Agent Laureline (‎Cara Delevingne). They chase McGuffins, uncover a conspiracy to destroy the peace enjoyed by humanity's space-faring utopian future - and all the while try to discover the meaning of love. 

It's a film that lives or dies on its appeal to the audience's sense of sentiment. Also, it's very pretty. 

Logan Lucky is a far more recognizable world of working class Americans ground down beneath corporate greed. Our unlikely Robin Hood is Channing Tatum, whose Jimmy Logan conspires with brother Clyde (Adam Driver) and Mellie (Riley Keough) to rob Nascar. All they need is an explosives expert - enter Daniel Craig's wonderful creation Jimmy Bang.

This is another film with heart and soul, skillfully made by Soderbergh while not eschewing emotion. Strongly recommended. 

Aug 13, 2017

First off - apologies for the sound quality in this episode. But as promised in episode Episode 27 here is a mini-episode on Kumail Nanjiani's The Big Sick, directed by Michael Showalter and starring Zoe Kazan and Holly Hunter. 

Here is a romantic comedy with a difference. First it draws on the real life experience of Nanjiani and his wife Emily Gordon, so the tropes of cinematic romance are skewed with a nice dose of real-life insight. 

On top of that we have an Apatow comedy-stable film that is tighter and less indulgent than the free-form improvisational pictures the producer has previously served up. 

It's also a movie about race that both utilises that in its plot - but does not employ tokenisms. 


Aug 7, 2017

This week we take a tour around Spain with Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan, and then revisit the cold calculations of murder in 1989 Berlin.

Michael Winterbottom's The Trip to Spain is the third in a series of would-be travelogues that blends reality and farce to excellent effect. Brydon and Coogan play versions of themselves, again musing on death, fame, sex - as well as the passing of David Bowie.

The Trip to Spain Rob Brydon Steve Coogan 
In between driving each other to distraction with dueling impersonations, the pair enjoy amazing food lovingly prepared onscreen and go on yet another literary tour, this time following the foolhardy exploits of Cervantes's Don Quixote. 

Less literary fun is to be had in David Leitch's Cold War espionage thriller Atomic Blonde - although Bowie *does* of course pop up again. This is Berlin after all. 

Atomic Blonde - Charlize Theron James McAvoy

Adapting Antony Johnston and Sam Hart's comic The Coldest City to the big screen, Charlize Theron stars as Lorraine Broughton, an MI6 operative sent to Berlin to recover a McGuffin taken from a murdered former lover by a KGB agent. 

There she encounters James McAvoy's gone-native agent Percival, who clearly knows more than he's letting on, and is tailed by a French agent played by Sofia Boutella. 

Complete with a stormer of a soundtrack of 80s hits, Theron carries the picture with a heady mix of cool glamour and a capacity for savage violence. 

This week Stevie and Emmet also recommend -

Tim Powers's Medusa's Web
Birthright by Joshua Williamson and Andrei Bressan
Jon Ronson's So You've Been Publicly Shamed

Jul 31, 2017

This week is all about monstrous metaphors and how horror can speak to us.

A Monster Calls - poster

Firstly we review A Monster Calls, starring Felicity Jones, Sigourney Weaver, Liam Neeson and impressive young actor Lewis MacDougall.

Adapting Patrick Ness's illustrated novel to the big screen, director J.A. Bayona realizes the allegorical theme of grief for the loss of a loved one with judicious CGI and animated 'fairy tale' sequences.

In this fashion Bayona's film follows in the tradition of horror as metaphor defined by the work of George Romero, who died on 16 July 2017.

Day of the Dead - Bob

Known principally as a zombie movie icon, the Pittsburgh native was also a film-maker committed to the principles of independence. His investment in the locality of Evans City gave an economic burst to the depressed blue-collar region, and it's this ethos of DIY film-making for which Romero deserves more recognition.

From the inevitability of death represented by his zombies, to the deromanticised vampire Martin ("There's no magic") and Ed Harris's modern-day King Arthur in Knight Riders reduced to a Renaissance Fair performer, Romero raised up the ordinary instead of escaping to fantasy.

Jul 23, 2017

Neevon reviews this film adaptation of a 19th century Russian novella, that draws loosely on the Scottish play. 

Lady Macbeth

This episode discusses the application of Shakespeare's themes outside of the plays and the exploration of feminist and class themes in the film.

This is a shorter episode in advance of a bumper show next week - including our tribute to George Romero, and a review of A Monster Calls. 

Lady Macbeth posters


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!

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 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 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

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