The Pop Culture Juke Joint

Straight pop culture and showbiz talk from two hard-boiled writers. Grab a drink and settle in…

Ep. 22: Did We Throw Tomatoes at the Season 1 Finale of ‘I’m Dying Up Here’?

August 14th, 2017

While Anthony reviewed the debut episode of the season one Showtime drama 'I'm Dying Up Here' a couple of months back back in Episode 15, in this mini-episode of The Pop Culture Juke Joint, Jack Lugo reflects on the season finale.

It’s been a season of ups and downs for this Jim Carrey-produced show, but was it worth sticking with until the end? Does this show deserve to stay on the main stage on Showtime or should it be relegated to open mic night down in the cellar? Jack gives us the scoop. So grab that drink and step into the juke joint to find out.

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Ep. 21: Yo, Adrian! We Just Saw the Unreleased ‘Rocky V’ and it’s Amazing

August 7th, 2017

‘Rocky V’ is a film that most fans have grown to begrudgingly accept as a low point in an otherwise heartwarming and inspiring franchise. Anthony Venutolo and Jack Lugo discuss an unreleased workprint / director’s cut that casts this entry in the Rocky franchise in an entirely new light. WE SAW IT AND IT'S AMAZING! Many sequences in the workprint differ greatly from the theatrical cut resulting in a viewing experience that in our opinion is vastly superior to the film that most fans have grown used to.

In addition to ‘Rocky V,’ Anthony and Jack discuss the documentary ‘King of the Underdogs’ about the career of director John G. Avildsen who directed ‘Rocky’ as well as ‘Rocky V’ and the first three Karate Kid films. We also talk about what lies ahead for the future of Rocky as we’ve recently learned that Sylvester Stallone has embarked upon writing the screenplay for 'Creed II,' which will no doubt continue the legacy of the Rocky character and possibly feature a confrontation between Rocky and Ivan Drago.

If you’re a Rocky fan, this is a discussion that you shouldn’t miss. So, before you decide to swallow a glass full of raw eggs and pop in some Bill Conti score as you triumphantly run up the Philly Art Museum steps, check out this episode of the Pop Culture Juke Joint. You won’t be disappointed and you won’t have to listen to ‘Go For It’ or ‘Measure of a Man’ either. In fact you just might walk away feeling like maybe there’s a lost Rocky film out there that needs to be cleaned up and included in the next Rocky box set.

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Ep. 20: Epix’s New ‘Get Shorty’ TV Series Misses All the Marks

August 2nd, 2017

This episode, Anthony Venutolo and Jack Lugo review the new Epix series remake of 'Get Shorty.' Is this series worth diving into or should we stay far away from it like a certain locker being monitored by the DEA? Without giving too much away, let’s just say that just like Chili Palmer’s jacket, some things just shouldn’t be messed with.

Speaking of Chli Palmer’s jacket, Anthony has a personal story to tell about his quest to find the perfect Chili Palmer leather jacket back in the day. While the remake of 'Get Shorty' may have failed to impress us, it does give us an opportunity to talk about why we love the original film.

We also offer a sneak peek at the topic of our next episode, which is one that we’re both incredibly enthusiastic about: We plan to take a close look at the unreleased 'Rocky V' workprint as well as a new documentary about the career of director John G. Avildsen. So, grab yourself a drink and stay away from any loose balcony railings because we want you to stick around even though we feel like this Get Shorty remake series is heading for a nasty fall.

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Ep. 19: HBO’s ‘The Defiant Ones’ Defines Genius by Exploring Dr. Dre & Jimmy Iovine

July 18th, 2017

Anthony Venutolo and Jack Lugo take on the HBO Documentary 'The Defiant Ones.' Bookended by the multi-billion dollar acquisition of Beats Music and Beats Electronics by Apple, 'The Defiant Ones' offers an intimate look at the lives and careers of both music business producer-entrepeneur Jimmy Iovine and hip-hop visionary Dr. Dre.

Both rose to unimaginable heights while contributing to as well as shaping music culture over the span of decades. Anthony and Jack discuss this four-part documentary in detail, highlighting the many segments they found fascinating.  So before you groove to your favorite track on your iTunes playlist, grab yourself a pair of Beats headphones, pour yourself a shot of whiskey, and enter The Pop Culture Juke Joint for a discussion that should not be missed.

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Ep. 18: ‘GLOW’ on Netflix is the Perfect ’80s Throwback

July 5th, 2017

Anthony Venutolo and Jack Lugo are joined by TV critic and journalist Vicki Hyman (Anthony's former partner in crime during his news days) to discuss the new Netflix original series 'GLOW'

Our panel discusses why this female driven "dramedy" may just be the breakout hit of the year. Starring Alison Brie, Marc Maron and Betty Gilpin, 'GLOW' explores the relationships between its female characters in quite a refreshing and empowering way.

Anthony, Vicki, and Jack take a deep dive exploring the elements of this show that appeal to each of them and how this show compares to other programs. We also discuss why we think Netflix’s business model seems to have garnered so much success. This podcast does contain SPOILERS so please beware if you have yet to complete the series. So grab yourself a beer, pick a seat close to the ring, and listen as our panel manages to “body slam this podcast.”

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Ep. 17: Gawker Media, Hulk Hogan and the ‘Scumbaggery’ of Journalism

June 28th, 2017

This episode, Anthony Venutolo and Jack Lugo talk about the Netflix Original documentary “Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press.” The new documentary takes a close look at the lawsuit stemming from the Hulk Hogan sex tape and the ultimate downfall of Gawker Media including several individuals responsible for that publication.

There are also broader implications that go beyond the surface of this case that the documentary chooses to highlight with varying degrees of success. Anthony’s 20 year experience working in newsrooms as a writer and web editor lends him a unique insight into some of the events that drive this documentary as well as many of the current relevant topics involving the media today.

This may be a complex and, at times, divisive topic, but we hope you find our observations of interest nonetheless. Grab yourself a drink (perhaps make it a double) and listen as we discuss this controversial yet fascinating topic involving the media, the First Amendment, the right to privacy, and how all of these issues converge in our complex society today.

Editor’s note: Anthony was having temporary mic problems that should be fixed by the next episode.

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Ep. 16: What’s Old is New Again… Beware of Rejoice?

June 15th, 2017

Anthony Venutolo and Jack Lugo discuss the never-ending slew of remakes, revivals, and reboots of TV shows and films that permeate pop culture. Grab a drink and join us as we talk about some of the current and upcoming nostalgia productions that have piqued our interest this year. Some of the properties we discuss include: 'Roseanne,' 'One Day at a Time,' 'Fuller House,' 'Twin Peaks,' 'Fargo,' 'Get Shorty,' the Universal Monster films, 'Creed,' 'Dirty Dancing,' 'Lethal Weapon,' 'Miami Vice,' and Stephen King’s 'It.'

With all these franchise properties being remade or redone in some way, it’s a wonder anything original ever gets produced at all. The phenomenon of the remake remains a perennial staple of popular culture sometimes much to our collective chagrin, however, a select few of these recent 'new' remakes pleasantly surprise us and dare we say exceed our expectations. Find out which of these productions earned our respect and which of them deserve to be cast away never to return (even though we know at some point they will).

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Ep. 15: Break out the Bell-Bottoms! Showtime’s new ‘I’m Dying Up Here’ has Arrived

June 11th, 2017

Bell bottoms... Check. Porn stache. Check. Wretched excess? CHECK! Anthony Venutolo gives his quick impressions of the new Showtime period drama "I'm Dying Up Here," which takes a deep dive into the gritty stand-up comedy scene of the seventies. Based on the book "I'm Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Standup Comedy's Golden Age" by William Knoedelseder and executive produced by Jim Carrey, the show is chock-full of period detail and boasts a stellar cast that includes the terrific Melissa Leo, Robert Forster, Cathy Moriarty, Alfred Molina and Ari Graynor. But does it deliver? Anthony explains...

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Ep. 14: ‘The Leftovers’ Series Finale Discussion [spoilers]

June 4th, 2017

Anthony Venutolo and Jack Lugo discuss their thoughts on the series finale of 'The Leftovers.' After three creative seasons, the critically-acclaimed HBO drama was never one to shy away from complex themes and subjects centering on faith and loss. But did the finale deliver? Jack and Anthony dive in. Caveat, however, it's filled with spoilers. 

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Ep. 13: Can ‘Wonder Woman’ Save DC Comics on the Big Screen?

June 3rd, 2017

There's a lot riding on DC Comics' big screen version of 'Wonder Woman.' And for good reason... Many of the previous DC films were overbloated, bleak and severely misguided. Could the big-screen incarnation of the Amazonian princess and warrior save Big Blue, Bats and the rest of DC's big screen universe from the monotonous glut they've written themselves into? Don't get your hopes up. Jack Lugo reviews the film and tells us why he just finds it all so tedious. 

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