Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going

So it occurred to me that it’s been almost a full year since my last post here. I expect that if you follow this blog you also follow me on social media, in which case this post is redundant. But maybe you don’t, and you’re mildly curious about my absence. Maybe it’s just my ego telling me that there’s a person for whom this post will be relevant, I dunno. For posterity, if nothing else, it’s probably good to send an update.

I’ve actually done a TON of writing over the past year, more than I ever did on Popcorn Culture. I just haven’t been doing it, y’know, on Popcorn Culture. Around April of last year, I joined the staff of Audiences Everywhere, where I’m now a contributing editor. I’m also a contributing editor at Movie Fail now, but I’ve been writing there for two years now. In any case, all of my output has gone into those two sites since my last post here.

“But Josh,” some hypothetical person is thinking, “how will I ever catch up with all your output?” You’re in luck! Over at my new Tumblr, I’ve been posting links to everything I’ve had published, including an insane number of podcasts for Movie Fail. A lot of it’s really good! Here are some of my personal faves:

Marble Hornets“: An appreciation of the eponymous horror webseries, exploring why it works so well against all odds.

The Princess Bride Forever“:  I talk about how much I love The Princess Bride for a while. This one blew up on Reddit, so it’s a good thing it’s some of my better work.

Fixing What Ain’t Broken: Seven Ideal Director/Superhero Movie Match-Ups“: I think these are some solid choices.

Manakamana“: A review of that film.

The Iron Giant: A 15th-Anniversary Retrospective“: Exactly that.

Persona“: A review of that film. I think this is my best review, to be honest. But that’s just me.

So where does Popcorn Culture go from here? I don’t know. Frankly, at this point it’s hard to put a lot of effort into something that’s just for me. I’ve got too much on my plate as it stands, and I’m accountable to others for all of it. I won’t say I’m closing up shop here, because this might be a good space for something or other down the line. But I’ve moved on to bigger and better things, and I hope to keep going in that direction. Popcorn Culture was always meant to launch me into something else, and my best writing (for the most part) isn’t on here, so for the most part it’s served its purpose.

I know that I’m probably the only one who cares about this, so this little eulogy is purely for me. It just didn’t feel right to abandon Popcorn Culture without a proper goodbye. The good news is that this isn’t a goodbye for me! I’ll always be writing about movies somewhere. And now you know where that somewhere is. I hope you’ll follow me in my future endeavors!

–Josh

Fool Me Once: A Review of “X-Men: Days of Future Past”

I am sick to death of superhero franchises. We need to put a stop to them, and quickly.

Studios have realized two things: One, that people will see absolutely anything as long as it’s got superheroes or a Marvel logo in it, and two, that they can trick people into getting invested in the franchise by treating it like a television show. X-Men: Days of Future Past is an infuriating film, mostly because it isn’t a film at all. It’s a palate cleanser, a mega-blockbuster excuse to stroke fandom ego and put pieces in place for their next mega-blockbuster. And they’ve sunk lower than ever before with this one. This movie is less like an episode of a TV show and more like the webisode-prequel to a new season of a TV show. There is nothing accomplished in this movie that isn’t just about moving pieces into place for whatever the next movie is going to be about. It’s an insult to the audience.

Continue reading Fool Me Once: A Review of “X-Men: Days of Future Past”

TV Review: “Fargo,” Episode 1: “The Crocodile’s Dilemma”

In case you don’t already know, Fargo is one of my favorite movies of all time. Depending on the mood I’m in when you ask me, it may even top the list. I elaborated on my love for it in a recent review, but suffice to say that I think it’s a brilliant examination of moral and ethical boundaries; what they mean, why they exist, and why people cross them. My point is that you’d be hard pressed to find a tougher critic for a television adaptation of Fargo than me.

Continue reading TV Review: “Fargo,” Episode 1: “The Crocodile’s Dilemma”

A Review of “Noah”

The funny thing about religious texts, including the Bible, is how much of human nature they take for granted. When Abraham is told to kill his son, the text doesn’t say that he was wracked with indecision for days. There aren’t really any characters in the Bible. The people spoken of are always conduits for God’s word or will and not much else in terms of personality. In fact, the most complex Biblical characters are the ones who don’t obey the word of God. Consider Cain, who is driven by greed and jealousy towards his more successful brother. Is he evil? No doubt. But his motives are more relatable than, say, Moses’, because I’m guessing most people reading this haven’t literally been contacted by God for a personal mission.

Continue reading A Review of “Noah”

Josh’s Favorite Films: “Fargo”

Since the Academy Awards a few weeks ago, there’s been a lull in content on Popcorn Culture. That’s mostly due to the lack of good movies being released, as always happens around this time of year. The Grand Budapest Hotel and Nymphomaniac are around the corner, but they’re not in theaters near me yet. So to compensate for this drought, I’m introducing a new series. It’s something I’ve really never done before, so it should be interesting to see how it goes. Every so often, when there’s some downtime on the site, I’ll write up a review of one of my favorite films of all time. The inaugural post will be for the 1996 Coen Bros. classic Fargo. Enjoy!

Continue reading Josh’s Favorite Films: “Fargo”

Best Picture Odyssey: “Nebraska”

Well, we’ve reached the end of the series. I kinda wish I had something more bombastic to close with, but this isn’t exactly a great list of nominees. I mean, I don’t hate all the films, and a few of them even made my top 10 from last year (including this week’s subject), but for the most part this is a pretty forgettable group of films. It’s a side effect of expanding the field to nine or ten nominees. When’s the last time you heard someone talk about Beasts of the Southern Wild, or Amour? I can’t see Philomena or Dallas Buyers Club still being dissected and analyzed next February.  Continue reading Best Picture Odyssey: “Nebraska”