Apr 282016
 

TV.OldSchool_061213

This week on Behind the Pop, we take you through 2016 in Television! Some we love, some we hate, and some we’re looking forward to! After that we put our souls on the line and reveal our favorite guilty pleasure programs of all time!

Intro Music Courtesy of https://mathgrant.bandcamp.com/track/space-blocks as provided under the Creative Commons License: Attribution, NonCommercial, Sharealike – If this Podcast were to reach commercial status, this theme would be replaced.

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Apr 242016
 

PrincePurpleRainBanner

It has been a sad week in music history and in a very special episode of Behind the Pop, we share some memories of The Purple One…Prince. We discuss everything from Purple Rain to Musicology and talk about a man who had an impact on pop culture and music throughout the world. In the second part of episode 25 we go over our top 5 favorite soundtracks. It is the music of our lives and we want to share it with you. And stick around for a call in guest and a jelly bean challenge!

Intro Music Courtesy of https://mathgrant.bandcamp.com/track/space-blocks as provided under the Creative Commons License: Attribution, NonCommercial, Sharealike – If this Podcast were to reach commercial status, this theme would be replaced.

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Apr 202016
 

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Ladies and gentleman, I am happy to announce that our Podcast is now available on the Google Play Music platform! I know that this has been a long process for Google and I have faith that they have the best interest of their users in mind; and I knew that when Google announced a Podcast downloading option that we would want to be part of their awesome history! So, you can find us in Google Play Music under Behind the Pop! Make sure to rate and review to help us keep this awesome journey going! Link Below.

 

https://goo.gl/app/playmusic?ibi=com.google.PlayMusic&isi=691797987&ius=googleplaymusic&link=https://play.google.com/music/m/Igiobggtx77odncvxolxtlnw4wm?t%3DBehind_the_Pop_-_Exploring_Pop_Culture_Piece_by_Piece!

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Apr 202016
 

hercules-the-rock-poster-wallpaper-3

 

By Bill Nelson

Well, folks, it’s Tuesday again. You know what that means, right? This week we’re going to take a look at one of last summer’s attempts at a blockbuster hit. I’m surprised that Brett Ratner hasn’t already ended up on Bad Movie Tuesday after the affront that was X-­Men: The Last Stand, but he really hasn’t been as active behind the camera in recent years as he was since his breakout success with the first Rush Hour movie in the late 90s. Here we have the wannabe action master taking on an honest to goodness sword and sandal epic. Let’s see what kind of fun we can have with it.

Hercules actually became something of a surprise hit when it came out last summer. Of course, that has more to do with the popularity and likability of its star, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, than the actual quality of the film. The film itself isn’t so horrible it’s unwatchable, just wildly uneven. The Rock’s charisma carries huge portions of the film that would have fallen flat otherwise.

For those that don’t know, here’s the breakdown. In Greek mythology, Hercules is the son of the king of the gods, Zeus, and a mortal woman name Alcemene. Hercules is blessed with the strength of a god but is hated by his step­mother, Zeus’s wife Hera. Hera does her level best to kill Hercules throughout his entire life, finally forcing him to face a series of trials in order to earn his place among the gods on Mount Olympus but sabotages them in the hope that he dies. In the myth, Herc succeeds and is raised up to Mount Olympus, but the movie takes a slightly different tack.

Instead of presenting the mythology of Hercules as fact, it takes a step back and reimagines Hercules as a mortal man who has developed a reputation for fantastic feats of strength and battle prowess. Seeing the power behind this as a weapon against his enemies, Hercules has played up his own mythology to make himself seem unbeatable, gathering a cadre of warriors who fight with him from the shadows to make it seem as if he is nigh unstoppable. It also reinterprets the myths surrounding Herc slightly, making you stop to think about what they might really have represented in real life. For example, when turning in the heads of the Hydra, it is revealed that they are actually the heads of men wearing reptilian masks creating the implication that the Hydra was actually a gang of thieves using the story of the beast to scare people.

This actually works a lot to the flick’s benefit because it rounds out Hercules a bit and keeps you from seeing him as a completely infallible character. Plus, since the film intentionally keeps the actual parentage of Hercules a secret, it turns into a playful mystery as to whether or not he is, in fact, a demi­god. The problem is that the movie really doesn’t give you any hints one way or the other whether the gods actually exist. They are spoken of as religious figureheads throughout the film, but there aren’t any specific moments where you can point and say that happened because of a god. It plays it straight until **SPOILER ALERT** Hercules needs to be a god in order to defeat his enemies. He’d performed several feats that, while not physically impossible for a mortal man, were at the far fringes of one’s limits, over the course of the film but suddenly in the last act he’s shown doing things far beyond the abilities of any human being. For me this was what ruined the film because, while the scenes were spectacular, they went against everything we’d been shown for the previous hour and a half.

The acting is about as tongue in cheek as you can get from the main crew. The Rock gives his usual grin and pummel performance that works so well for him. Quite frankly, there aren’t really any action stars in the newer generation that are as adept at handling both the action and the comedy as well as him. Rufus Sewell gives a borderline scene­ stealing performance as Autolycus, reimagined from the greatest thief in Greece to a Spartan warrior who fights alongside Hercules. Quite frankly, he gets most of the best one liners in the flick. Ian McShane plays an elderly mystic warrior fighting alongside Hercules as well and whatever good lines Sewell doesn’t get he chomps right down on. They along with The Rock make up the best parts of the movie. It’s the villains that drag it down acting wise. John Hurt may be British acting royalty, but he’s woefully miscast as a king seemingly looking out for his people’s best interest while working his own agenda and Joseph Fiennes is givn far too little screen time to even bear mentioning The action sequences are solid and the battles are well shot if occasionally a little confusing. Ratner is clearly more comfortable directing these types of scenes than in developing any kind of story or building his characters beyond stereotypes, but he lacks Michael Bay’s skill for crafting a ballet out of chaos.

It’s kind of sad in a way. I went into this movie expecting to hate it and as I watched it found myself really wanting to like it. By the time it was done, the best I could say was that I didn’t hate it. I enjoyed the way they played with the nature of mythology. I just wish that Ratner and his team had committed more to that aspect. It would have been fun to have teases that the gods were present throughout the movie without actually saying they were responsible for anything. All in all, though, this is an average action flick without anything in it worth really remembering.
Stank Ranking ­- – 7/10

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Apr 172016
 

jungle-book-2016-posters-mowgli-baloo

In this weeks episode, your heroes dive deep in to the jungle and learn to sing with bears! That’s right, we’re reviewing 2016’s The Jungle Book! Does Jon Favreau add a worthy line up to the live-action Disney family? After our review, we dive in to the long and illustrious career of funny man Bill Murray! We give you our top 5 Bill Murray movies! Did your choice make the cut?

Intro Music Courtesy of https://mathgrant.bandcamp.com/track/space-blocks as provided under the Creative Commons License: Attribution, NonCommercial, Sharealike – If this Podcast were to reach commercial status, this theme would be replaced.

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Apr 152016
 

best-tim-burton-movies

 

Well guys, we had an awesome Tim Burton-centric episode all ready to go for you guys! And then…well, audio issues! There are so many issues that can happen when you’re dealing with audio, and this was completely unexpected! Maybe we’ll put it out later, but I don’t think it’s passable, and we strive for the best audio quality for our fans! Catch episode 24 on Saturday, where we’ll be reviewing the new live action version of The Jungle Book, talking the strange career of Jon Favreau, and busting out our top 5 Bill Murray movies! Love you all!

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Apr 112016
 

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This week, your heroes, Bill and Bryant, discuss a variety of superhero stories NOT BASED ON COMICS! That’s right, we’re breaking stereotypes and picking a few hero movies that would have worked as comics just as well as movies! Before that, we give you a mini-review of the new Jeff Nichols movie, Midnight Special. After that, we discuss the current season of Trailer Park Boys and Mike Smith’s domestic “incident.” Remember, leave us a review for your chance at a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Intro Music Courtesy of https://mathgrant.bandcamp.com/track/space-blocks as provided under the Creative Commons License: Attribution, NonCommercial, Sharealike – If this Podcast were to reach commercial status, this theme would be replaced.

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Apr 072016
 

scoobydo

 

This week, your heroes go behind on the original Mystery Team! That’s right, in classic BTP fashion, we’re talking about one of our favorite things…CARTOONS! First we start with an in depth talk about Scooby Doo in the gang! Who originally played Scooby? Why did the gang come in to existence? What famous hero team and wrestlers have been animated in to the world of Scooby Doo? Then, we tackle our top 5 Children’s Cartoons! Woohoo! Will your favorite make the list?!? Listen this week for the winner of the iTunes contest and go Behind the Pop!

Intro Music Courtesy of https://mathgrant.bandcamp.com/track/space-blocks as provided under the Creative Commons License: Attribution, NonCommercial, Sharealike – If this Podcast were to reach commercial status, this theme would be replaced.

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Apr 052016
 

Lazarus-Effect

 

By: Bill Nelson

Today we’ll be taking a look at 2015’s The Lazarus Effect, starring Mark Duplass, Olivia Wilde, Sarah Bolger, Evan Peters, and Donald Glover. The basic premise of this movie reminds me a bit of the old old Kevin Bacon/Kiefer Sutherland/Julia Roberts thriller Flatliners. In that film a group of medical students decide to test the idea that there is life after death by temporarily stopping their hearts and then allowing themselves to be resuscitated at the last possible safe moment. In The Lazarus Effect we trade out med students for pharmaceutical researchers who are working on a drug that maintain brain activity for extended periods of time in the absence of oxygen with the hope that they can extend the time available to resuscitate someone without permanent brain damage, however, their drug (which they call the Lazarus serum) seems to have the ability to reactivate electrical activity in the brain even after extended periods without oxygen, essentially giving them the ability to resurrect the dead.

Mark Duplass and Olivia Wilde head the film playing Frank Walton and his fiance, Zoe Mcconnell, who originally developed the serum while Evan Peters and Donald Glover play fellow scientists working on the project with them. Sarah Bolger plays a videographer brought in to document the strange turn their research has taken. After successfully bringing a dog back from the dead the team spends a few days monitoring the creature. Strangely the dog’s body seems to heal itself of disease such as cataracts clouding its eyes. It also seems alternately reluctant to respond and overly aggressive. The dog also exhibits odd abilities that only the audience is clued into initially. Eventually the university gets wind of the research the team is doing which is in violation of the grant they are operating under and all of their research is taken by the pharmaceutical company that owns the grant in an all too brief cameo by the great Ray Wise. The team, fearing that their contributions in the development of this seeming new wonder drug will be ignored, sneak back into their laboratory seeking to document one last experiment to prove they originated the Lazarus serum. Tragedy strikes when a power surge leaves Zoe dead. Zack, overcome with grief, demands they use the serum on her and, of course, all hell breaks loose.

So yeah, that’s the movie. If it sounds predictable, it is. The only real differences between this and Flatliners is that everyone in Flatliners tries the experience of dying and all of them eventually deal with what they brought back from the other side. Here, only Zoe dies and no one really knows how to deal with her. The talent is strong in this cast, particularly Wilde and Duplass who elevate the dull, early part of the movie to the point that you almost think it’s going to be better than it really is but the truth is none of the people appearing in this flick deserved the level of crap that it descends to.

So why, if there’s so much talent here, is the movie that bad? True, predictability in and of itself doesn’t make for a bad movie, just a boring one. The Lazarus Effect commits one of the most cardinal of cinema sins by not committing to a genre. It’s ok to be a hybrid genre and at times that appears to be what The Lazarus Effect is going for, but it never quite gels the thriller aspects of the story with the horror. By the time the film abandons the psychological build up that’s been occurring for almost the entire movie and gives itself over to full balls to the wall supernatural horror it’s too little too late. There are some definite flashes of story potential here and there but overall this is just not a good movie. In fact, it’s the worst that a horror movie can be because it’s boring. At least if it had been so bad it’s kind of funny there’d have been a reason to watch it.

Stank Ranking ­- – 8/10

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