Summary: Popspotting is a pop-culture blog and show by Jen and Ryan, long-time podcasters based in Hawaii. Popspotting covers movies, television, music, books, art, tech, and pop culture news. Reader and listener participation are a key part of the show, with regular and special segments, including contests and trivia.
For lovers of fantasy and horror, these are boom times on the boob tube. We've got everything from ghosts to zombies to wolves to wicked witches to talk about for TV Tuesday. Today we share our early takes on "American Horror Story" on FX, "Once Upon a Time" on ABC, "Grimm" on NBC, and the much-anticipated second season of "The Walking Dead" on AMC.
This movie has a lot going for it already, with Alexander Payne at the helm and George Clooney in the spotlight. But “The Descendants” is also a film set in, and a film about, Hawaii, based on the novel of the same name by local author Kaui Hart Hemmings. And that’s why we were especially eager to see it.
We wrap up the week talking about movies and books, and close with another song pick, all from your feedback. We revisit the "Ides of March," Ryan Gosling, and Philip Seymour Hoffman, Laura gives thumbs up to Mira Nair, Al makes a John Cusack confession, Stella covers Cameron Crowe, and both propose their own double features. The early returns on "Ready Player One" look good, Daniel gets high-fives for the "Wheel of Time," and Kris gets us dancing to some punk-infused bluegrass.
Joining us this week from the live music Mecca of Austin, Texas, is our long-time friend Greg Bueno. Ryan and Greg began their friendship as cranky muckrakers at the daily student paper at the University of Hawaii over 17 years ago. Jen quickly adopted him as her primary "gay guy friend." Always insightful, often wryly entertaining, and sometimes provocative, we're grateful to have Greg in our lives... and today, on our podcast.
The sleepy East Hawaii town of Hilo is where we met, and is among our favorite places on Earth. With a population of 40,000, it’s the third largest city in the state, but it feels much, much smaller. Back in September, when we took everyone on a tour of the Big Island, we promised that we’d focus on Hilo Town in a future show. Now that a listener is planning a visit, we figured it was time to show you around.
The fourth season of "Fringe" is well underway, while the fourth season of "Breaking Bad" has ended with a bang. Both are among our favorite shows on television right now. This week, after a quick check-in with other freshman series, we focus in depth on the worlds of two Walts: Walter Bishop, and Walter White.
In the not-too-distant future, the sport of boxing swaps robots in for humans. And a young boy's junkyard find sees an unlikely rise to stardom, as he reconnects with the father he never had. We admit, the setup for "Real Steel" seemed cliche, and the trailers suggested a potential bomb. But while our expectations were low, this family-friendly movie easily exceeded them, and gave us something we might even watch again.
For "Feedback Friday," your recommendations for great podcasts, and your favorite cover songs. On the podcast front, we get a wholehearted "hear hear" for our love of "The Moth," and we share our "We Were (Almost) on Car Talk" story. And when it comes to cover songs, we talk about some winners, from Anthony and the Johnsons to Marilyn Manson.
Yesterday’s discussion of “Ready Player One” was sparked by Daniel in Boston (@barkowitz), a long-time listener and generous contributor. After that winner of a recommendation, we knew we had to get him on the show to share more great picks.
Ernest Cline’s first novel, “Ready Player One,” has been described as a “nerd-gasm.” Popspotting listener Daniel in Boston shared a glowing review on our show in August, and Jen and I were sold. So were many of our listeners. Indeed, the book has earned an avalanche of accolades, and the film rights were sold in record time. But does this celebration of ’80s pop culture include more than a string of in-jokes and nostalgia porn? Jen has made it all the way to this novel’s kill screen, and today shares her review. She also pays tribute to Anthony Bourdain, one of our favorite writers, celebrity chefs, and all-round curmudgeonly commentator. From his breakout bestseller “Kitchen Confidential” to his more philosophical later works, Jen explains why it’s worth listening to what Tony has to say. Got a favorite book or author for us to check out? Let us know! And thanks to Daniel for the recommendation. We’ll find out tomorrow what else he’s got to share!
This week's "TV Tuesday" brings our first takes on two more new fall shows: "Suburgatory" on ABC and "A Gifted Man" on CBS. One fares well, one does not. Then we update our reviews of "Free Agents," "Pan Am," and "Person of Interest," for which Jen has already cast a replacement for Jim Caviezel. Finally, prompted by our listeners, we dive into "Modern Family" as the third season gets under way. How'd we like spending time with Claire and Phil, Gloria and Jay, and Cameron and Mitchell?
After a much-needed week off, we return to "Movie Monday" with "Ides of March." With a spectacular leading cast and a setup made for the big screen, do we endorse and pledge our delegates to the ticket, or vote it down as mere Oscar bait?
We kick off this feedback show with a call from Angela in Missouri, who was as happy to find us podcasting again as we were to have her back in the family. She shares some of her favorite Asian dishes, then on the entertainment front, suggests we take a look at "Being Human." How does it compare to the original U.K. series? Shelley in Oklahoma has an opinion on that. Then Geoff shares his love of "Band of Brothers," with a vote of support from Faith in Tennessee.
We’ve been blessed to be able to showcase a number of our fellow podcasters in our Thursday “PopTalk & Trivia” shows, but today’s guest is a first. Rob Valois is not only behind three podcasts over at “The Geek Generation,” but he’s also the man behind the mask of “The Knight Angel Berzerker,” a professional wrestler for Northeast Championship Wrestling. Rob joins us to share his love of the new “Thundercats,” “Warehouse 13” on SyFy, and (of course) “Doctor Who.” Then, unable to challenge his brawn, we instead challenge his brain with obscure trivia. What does a wrestler know about Michael Jackson? Listen to find out! You can find Rob on Twitter at @TheKnightAngel or @GeekGeneration.
It's back to music for "Wildcard Wednesday," as we count down five of our favorite covers.