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 24, 2018

For his second horror flick recommendation, Emmet makes the case for George Romero's Night of the Living Dead. Not just a classic of the zombie genre, but a game-changer for independent cinema as well. 

Night of the Living Dead poster

Oct 23, 2018

For the second Hallowee Horror Bite Stevie chooses Tremors - and gives a sneaky shout-out to Irish horror flick Grabbers. 


Oct 22, 2018

Hereditary is our first pick for this Halloween season. Not just a good scary flick, but a genuine horror classic. 


Oct 21, 2018

This year we're trying something different. From now until Halloween, Hopscotch Friday will be posting short reviews of our personal favourite horror films - in case you're looking for something to watch over the season. 

Betty Grable classic Hollywood Halloween

Oct 8, 2018

This episode we review - Damien Chazelle's biopic of Neil Armstrong First Man, Tom Hardy's cannibal alien flick Venom, and the latest adaptation of Nick Hornby 'Juliet, Naked'. 

And we also shout-out Fearscape from Vault Comics, by Ryan O'Sullivan and Ram V. 

Venom poster

Sep 11, 2018

Last season the Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling were trying to get a show together. 

This year they are fighting to not get cancelled. 

It's a show about gender politics, the vagaries of the entertainment industry, discrimination - and lots of wrestling. 

Also this episode - 

ACMI's Alice exhibition, Wonderland, which is wrapping up in Melbourne this October. 

And Emmet retracts a book recommendation. 


Sep 5, 2018

Does Insatiable, a vehicle for star Debby Ryan that caused a wee stir with its headline grabbing trailer, challenge fat-shaming in society?

Or is this a show that wallows in discrimination while claiming to be satire?

Debby Ryan star of Insatiable

We talk all things Insatiable this week, as well as give shout-outs to - 

Somebody Feed Phil

Glow season 2 from Netflix

Giant Days volume 8 from John Allison and Max Sarin

Oh and Stevie's side project

Aug 13, 2018

Mission Impossible: Fallout follows on from the events of Rogue Nation, and continues to mark the franchise's upswing in quality. 

Partly this is due to the rewarding collaboration between star Tom Cruise and director/writer Christopher McQuarrie. 

But this is also a franchise that has found its feet after the initial post-Cold War confusion as to who the enemy is. 

Turns out, it's us. Anyway we dive in to what we liked about the most recent entry and trace the series' growth over the years. 

Aug 2, 2018

This episode we talk A Quiet Place - is it a Christian right parable for family values....or just a silly monster movie?

A Quiet Place

Then we talk season 3 of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which begins at the lowest point of Rebecca Bunch's life (brilliantly played by show co-creator Rachel Bloom) and then ends on a cliffhanger that has us eager to see where the show will finish in season 4.

And while you're there....


Jul 14, 2018

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and Neve Campbell star in this Hong Kong-set riff on Die Hard. There's a building - but a bigger one. There's terrorists - but they're beefier. And there's an unstoppable family man on the loose to stop them - but instead of Bruce Willis, it's the Rock. 

What did Emmet and Stevie make of it all? Listen to find out.

Skyscraper with Dwayne Jones

Also discussed - 

Ant-Man and The Wasp/Incredibles 2
Top five 'good' comics from the past ten years

Eleanor Davis - How to be Happy
Roger Langridge - Snarked.
The Long Weekend in Alice Springs - Joshua Santospirito.
Gary Spencer Millidge's Strangehaven serialised in the Meanwhile... anthology from Soaring Penguin Press.
Emily Carroll - Through the Woods.

Jun 17, 2018

Cinemascore be damned - Hereditary is great!

Gee people whaddya want?

Hereditary - Toni Collette

Beyond the conversation about the difficult measures horror cinema is held to by both critics and fans, we also review Ari Aster feature film debut. 

J.A. Bayona's Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is discussed, as well as the declining appeal of Chris Pratt. 

In addition:

The Trauma Cleaner: One Woman’s Extraordinary Life in Death, Decay & Disaster by Sarah Krasnostein 

Bloomsday in Melbourne, as well as the Bloomsday theatrical production Holy Cow! 

PCAF - Perth Comics Arts Festival, featuring both a symposium and a market day 

Halloween (2018) and Here Alone (2016)

May 29, 2018


Firstly - Stevie is back! And then we open our review episode of Deadpool 2 by discussing Ireland's Repeal the 8th Amendment referendum. Other points raised include

  • Marvel UK's Knights of Pendragon and Schitt's Creek
  • Deadpool 2
  • Was Shatterstar ever cool?
  • Deadpool as a blend of badass and camp.
  • Did the screenwriters employ the hoary comic book trope of 'fridging?'
  • 'Would that this hoodie were a time hoodie'.
  • Black Tom Cassidy!

Deadpool and friends

May 12, 2018

Neevon is back - and he comes with reviews of Amy Schumer's I Feel Pretty and the Martin Freeman zombie flick Cargo

This episode we:

  • Talk about Avengers Infinity War quickly, without any spoilers
  • What comics you should read to catch up on the events of that film, including Jim Starlin's Warlock
  • I Feel Pretty's theme of body confidence
  • Emmet's simmering resentment that Cargo didn't win Tropfest
  • The use of Indigenous peoples as fantasy figures in genre stories
  • The potential advantage of Cargo landing on streaming for horror in Australian cinema

Till next time, cheers folks. 

Apr 24, 2018

Peadar Ó Guilín stops by to talk about The Invasion, his sequel to the Irish mythological horror series that started with The Call.

The cover of The Invasion by PEADAR Ó GUILÍN

Peadar talks his sources of inspiration for the series, the changing face of genre writing - and a tease of what's in store with his upcoming stories for George R.R. Martin's Wild Cards series. 

(Also we get into a quick study of what the séimhiú is and how to pronounce Saoirse Ronan - so Irish students, take note). 

Apr 10, 2018

Ugly Delicious host David Chang eating a taco

David Chang's series on Netflix sparks an unlikely conversation encompassing politics, culture and identity. 

It also has Chang, food critic Peter Meehan, and other chefs in beautiful locations around the world eating fantastic looking meals. So far, so Bourdain. 

But this show organically develops into a far more wide-ranging discussion - and Stevie and Emmet are fully on board. 

(so on board they took a break on their wedding anniversary to discuss). 

Ugly Delicious

Also in this episode:

Judas Priest

Quitting Facebook

Penny Dreadful

And the charming film Pork Pie (which we reviewed in episode 13)

Mar 27, 2018

Blockers cast Kathryn Newton, Geraldine Viswanathan, Gideon Adlon

Kay Cannon's Blockers really surprised me. While I went in expecting a grossout comedy after catching the trailer (which caused Stevie to bow out), what I discovered instead was a sincere and sharply witty film about our attitudes to sex. 

Concerned more with the hang-ups of parents played by Leslie Mann, John Cena and Ike Barinholtz than their onscreen children (Kathryn Newton, Geraldine Viswanathan and Gideon Adlon), Blockers does indulge in scenes with bodily fluids flying hither and thither - but it's also an interesting investigation of the pressures we put on young women when it comes to sex. 

Next we discuss Alex Garland's long-awaited Annihilation, adapting the first novel of Jeff VanderMeer's The Southern Reach trilogy to the...well our smallscreen as it turns out. 

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 11, 2018

A series of mortals travel to a land of Faerie - and things go bad. 

This is the substance of Jason Franks's novel, a wickedly inventive take on fantasy fiction, or "C.S. Lewis with curse words" as Emmet puts it. 

Faerie Apocalypse by Jason Franks

And if you are in Melbourne on Thursday 15 February at 6.30, come along to the launch at Readings Hawthorn, 701 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn, Victoria 3122 to meet the author (and you can check out the book itself here). 

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. 

Jan 16, 2018

Driven to his sickbed by a nasty bug, Emmet decided the only thing for it was to read Michael Wolff's surprisingly slim cause de célèbre Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. 

Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury

Then we talk Guillermo del Toro's aquatic romance The Shape of Water starring Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon and Octavia Spencer, with Doug Jones as the underwater lover. 

Godspeed You! Black Emperor The Holy Body Tattoo Monumental

Finally the gig that Godspeed You! Black Emperor just hosted in Launceston for MOFO, in partnership with dance troupe The Holy Body Tattoo - which simply had to be seen to be believed (we try to talk about it anyway). 

It was very loud. 

Next week Neevon returns to discuss Spielberg's The Post. 

Jan 7, 2018

Is pop culture something we're passionate about - or something we're told to be passionate about? 

Black Mirror - USS Callister episode promotional image

That's the question we're asking ourselves with this episode, which turns into a recommitment to what Hopscotch Friday was meant to be from the beginning, a show about the things we love. 

This week we talk the backlash against critics, toxic fandom and the PR media cycle, as well as:

Bright starring Will Smith and Joel Edgerton

Dec 22, 2017

Here it is, our wrap up of all the things we loved in 2017. Books, films, telly and comic books - we've got our picks of the things we loved, including some we already reviewed here on the pod. 

Hopscotch Friday's year in review

And if you want a sampling of what we discuss in this episode - 

  • Twin Peaks The Return
  • Brooklyn 99
  • The Good Place
  • Colossal
  • Thor Ragnarok
  • Logan Lucky
  • Get Out
  • Logan
  • Ladybird
  • My Favorite Thing is Monsters
  • Giant Days
  • Legion
  • Woman of Substances
  • The Flop House
  • I Don't Even Own A Television
  • My Favorite Murder
  • The Dollop

Happy new year folks - see you in 2018. 

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. 


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