Pop My Culture
  • August21st



    Kick-Ass 2
    2013, 103 mins
    Grade: D

    For the record, I really like the first Kick-Ass film. A fun, meta exercise on super hero excess and comic books, it was subversive and viscerally fun, and well put together under the watch of Matthew Vaughn. Swap out Vaughn for Jeff Wadlow (Cry Wolf, Never Back Down), and suddenly you’ve got a picture that’s just long on ugly and low on fun. The ultra-violence on display lacks the mischief of its predecessor, and just feels brutal and wrong. Add in graphic vomit and diarrhea (I’m not kidding), and you’ve got a pretty gross two hours to kill. Read More

  • August16th

    Melissa Claire Egan interview on Pop My Culture podcast

    Melissa Claire Egan (“The Young and the Restless,” “All My Children”) joins Cole and Vanessa to talk musicals, The Last Session, Simon Cowell’s baby, Lady Gaga, horny dolphins, A League of Their Own, Bowowween, Bugsy Malone, stabbing Susan Lucci, lots of Carries, invisibility, hand-holding otters and seventh grade productions of The Music Man.

    Leave your answer to the firsts question (the first non-domesticated animal you were fascinated by) on our website for a chance to win a brand new Pop My Culture T-Shirt! And be sure to check out riedelcody.org, Melissa’s great animal charity!

    Freshly Popped


    Melissa Claire Egan with hosts Cole Stratton and Vanessa Ragland
  • August14th


    2013, 109 mins
    Grade: B-

    Neill Blomkamp is a visionary director that likes to make films set in garbage heaps. For his first film since the breakout sleeper hit District 9, he goes from the slums of South Africa to the slums of Los Angeles, circa 2154 — the earth has been ruined and overcrowded, only to see the wealthy jump ship from the planet and set up shop in a rotating spacestation called Elysium — basically, one giant french-speaking country club with miracle beds that cure all diseases. Defense Minister Delacourt (Jodie Foster) is on hand to make sure no one disturbs their utopia, shooting down ships with “illegals” from Earth who try to find their way up there. Max Da Costa (Matt Damon), an ex-con trying to go straight in LA, is constantly abused by those around him — the police robots (who break his arm after a wisecrack); his ex-partners in crime; and his assembly-line foreman (who is such a thinly drawn character its hard not to laugh at his awful dialogue). After an accident exposes him to a fatal dose of radiation, Max has a handful of days to find his way up to Elysium, or die trying. Fused with a beat-up mechanical exoskeleton and a hard drive in his brain (that, through a series of events I won’t go into, contains information that pretty much everyone wants), Max has a lot of shooting, running and punching to do. Read More

  • August5th

    Paul F. Tompkins interview on Pop My Culture Podcast 2013

    Paul F. Tompkins (“Mr. Show,” “Best Week Ever”) returns for his third solo episode and chats with Cole and Vanessa about Comic Con, Kemosabe the Porcupine, classic cocktails, celebs using Kickstarter, Real Housewives star Teresa Giudice, arms vs. legs, Dick’s Last Resort, Speakeasy, the voice of the busy dialtone, Dead Authors podcast, Cat Deeley, a field of Zac Efron, traveling magic acts, flying monkey attacks and Paul’s encounter with King of Kong villain Billy Mitchell!

    Leave your answer to the firsts question (the first time you remember gambling) on our website for a chance to win a Mr. Show DVD signed by Paul!

    Freshly Popped


    Paul F. Tompkins with hosts Vanessa Ragland and Cole Stratton

    Mr. Show DVD signed by Paul F. Tompkins giveaway by PMC podcast

  • August5th



    RED 2
    2013, 1 hr. 56 min
    Grade: C+

    It’s always weird when a film that was a fairly moderate success at the box office suddenly gets a sequel — such was the case of 2010′s RED, an lightly entertaining secret agent action comedy with a splendid cast and a cute conceit. Kicking off the dog days of summer, RED 2 (that stands for Retired Extremely Dangerous) finds assassin Frank Moses (Bruce Willis, at his scowliest) and his now-girlfriend Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker) in hiding, stuck in a bit of a relationship rut until good ol’ paranoid Marvin (John Malkovich) tries to lure him back into action. One Costco trip and fake death later, the trio find themselves on the run from pretty much every nation’s government, all concerning an operation codenamed Nightshade that they have no knowledge of but were supposedly involved with. Hot on their trail are Korean assassin/snappy dresser Han (Byung-hun Lee, of the G.I. Joe movies), who has a long-standing beef with Moses and relishes the opportunity to knock him off; steely-eyed American government clean-up man Jack Horton (Neil McDonough, picking up where he left off after Justified); Russian agent and ex-Moses lover Katja (Catherine Zeta-Jones, at her tannest); and MI-6 hitwoman Victoria (Dame Helen Mirren, still the hottest thing in heels). What follows is a lot of globehopping, a murky plot involving a devastating explosive device, and lots of chase scenes and gunfights. Oh, and lots and lots of none-too-subtle product placement from the likes of Papa John’s and Pringles. Read More

  • July30th



    The To Do List
    2013, 1 hr. 44 min
    Grade: C

    The To Do List is a raunchy comedy that takes place in the ’90s — so much so, that it beats you over the head with it. 1993, in fact, which is precisely when I was about to finish high school and head off to college, so the era has a very special place in my heart. It’s one thing to set a film in a time period to dial up some nostalgia — but constantly calling it out instead of just existing in it can make one crazy. Such is the case of this fairly entertaining but troubled comedy from writer/director Maggie Carey, who seems to have a soft spot for the early 90s that, in addition to soundtrack littered with The Cranberries, The Gin Blossoms and Big Head Todd and the Monsters (a LIVE version of Bittersweet, to boot), constantly references things like pagers, Street Fighter II, Growing Pains and Saved By The Bell. One character, who is obsessed with the movie Beaches, remarks that she’s “got it on VHS,” which is a statement that pretty much no one said in 1993, as there wasn’t any other format options — a simple “rented it” would have sufficed. This might sound like I’m nitpicking, but calling attention to these things became more and more irksome every time. Let me notice the hypercolor shirt, you don’t have to have someone remark, “You look good in hypercolor.” Read More