The Pop Culture Juke Joint

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

Ep. 30: Best, Worst and Plum Weird Commercials of Super Bowl 2018

February 5th, 2018

Check out the latest episode of 'The Pop Culture Juke Joint' podcast where TV fanatic Anthony Venutolo is joined by co-host Jack Lugo as they delve into the pop culture aspects of the SUPER BOWL 2018. They chat about what made their best and worst list as well as the spots that were just too weird to put on either. They also chat about the plethora of film and TV trailers that debuted as well as Justin Timberlake's halftime show.


Ep. 29: HBO’s ‘The Deuce’ is David Simon’s Ode to Dirty NY

October 31st, 2017

Anthony Venutolo and Jack Lugo are joined by TV critic Vicki Hyman in a discussion about HBO’s 'The Deuce' that you don’t want to miss. Created by David Simon and George Pelecanos 'The Deuce' explores the New York City sex trade in the early 1970s centered around Times Square. The panel each offer their individual thoughts on what they liked about the show as well as some of their qualms with the series. Among many topics, we discuss the complexity of Maggie Gyllenhaal’s character Eileen / Candy as well as whether we feel James Franco successfully played his dual role as twin brothers. Find out why Vicki and Anthony intensely dislike Chris Coy, and how we feel about the show’s long-term plans going forward.  So, grab yourself a drink, sit back, and enter the juke joint.


Ep. 28: Is ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Season 9 Larry David’s Return to Form?

October 2nd, 2017

'Curb Your Enthusiasm' has returned and with it begins a whole new season of antisocial awkwardness and insensitivity that only Larry David can deliver. Anthony Venutolo and Jack Lugo discuss the long-awaited season 9 premiere in which “Larry” must deal with an “un-fireable” assistant plus the fallout of having offended the Ayatollah as well as squirm his way out of new faux pas involving Richard Lewis’s dead parakeet and a lesbian wedding. Anthony and Jack discuss the cultural influence of Curb versus the comedy of Jerry Seinfeld. Anthony also has an interesting story to tell about Richard Lewis from his early newspaper days. So, grab yourself a drink and start lampin’ because you don’t want to miss this all new episode of The Pop Culture Juke Joint.


Ep. 27: Will ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Boldly Find it’s Streaming Audience?

September 27th, 2017

In a solo episode, co-host Jack Lugo weighs in on the much anticipated world premiere of 'Star Trek: Discovery.' CBS has decided to use the show to launch its subscription-based media streaming platform CBS-All Access. Sonequa Martin-Green stars as the series lead Commander Michael Burnham, a human Starfleet officer raised on Vulcan by Sarek (Spock’s father).  A violent encounter with a Klingon forces Burnham to take extraordinary measures to try to protect her ship and the Starfleet captain who has served as her mentor for seven years.  

Jack gives his thoughts on the series debut as well as whether or not CBS’s choice of roll out method for this show worked.  Is the show good enough to entice Star Trek fans to sign up for yet another streaming service platform or are CBS’s expectations illogical?  Find out in this special mini-episode of The Pop Culture Juke Joint Podcast.

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Ep. 26: ‘The Last Tycoon’ Creator Billy Ray Talks His Passion Project

September 19th, 2017

Set in Hollywood in 1936, 'The Last Tycoon' explores a pivotal time in American history. The Amazon original series, based on an unfinished novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, features a stellar cast and impeccable production values to tell a complex and compelling story set against the backdrop of a time when movie studios collaborated with Nazi Germany to censor their own films.  

Anthony Venutolo and Jack Lugo speak to series creator, writer, and executive producer Billy Ray to talk about 'The Last Tycoon' and comment on the recent announcement from Amazon that they were cancelling the series after just 6 weeks. Billy Ray shares his thoughts on the relevance of this series to our world today and explains why it’s so important for these kinds of stories to be told. If you haven’t started watching The Last Tycoon, we highly recommend this incredible series. There is currently a petition to sign. If you search for the hashtag #SaveTheLastTycoon in Twitter you should find it easily. This series deserves a chance to continue and after listening to our conversation with Billy Ray, we hope you’ll agree with us on that as well.

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Ep. 25: Was ‘Twin Peaks’ on Showtime 18 Hours of WTF?

September 9th, 2017

Grab a booth at the Double R, order up a slice of cherry pie, and prepare to drink a damn fine cup of coffee because we’re about to talk Showtime's 'Twin Peaks.' In this episode of The Pop Culture Juke Joint, Jack Lugo and Zachary Towlen try to make some sense of what happened throughout the new season of 'Twin Peaks' as well as during the unsettling finale. David Lynch’s attempt to bring arthouse cinema to television has been met with both praise and frustration from fans of the series. Did it take too long for us to see the Dale Cooper we grew to love? What’s going on with Audrey, and why is David Bowie’s character a giant tea kettle? Jack and Zachary try to make sense of it all during their conversation. So sit back, settle in, and have a listen as we try to decipher 18 hours of David Lynch’s return to Twin Peaks and where this journey leaves fans of the show.

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Ep. 24: ‘Dice’ on Showtime Returns for Season Two and It Just Gets Better

August 24th, 2017

The Diceman is back on Showtime for a second season of misadventures and irreverent vulgarity that only Andrew 'Dice' Clay himself could deliver. Anthony Venutolo and Jack Lugo couldn’t possibly be more overjoyed with the return of the comedic gem of series.

As we discuss the merits of Dice’s Showtime series, Anthony dives into his own personal history with Dice both as a fan and as a journalist. We also talk about the general format of this Curb-esque type comedic series and whether or not we’ve grown weary of them. This is a discussion you won’t want to miss. So get yourself a drink, sit back, and relax. We promise we won’t break your balls, but if you go see Dice at a club be warned... He just might break yours and that’s why we love him.

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Ep. 23: Is ‘Logan Lucky’ Soderbergh’s Return to Form?

August 19th, 2017

Jack Lugo gives his quick review of the new Steven Soderbergh film 'Logan Lucky.' This is the Oscar-winning aeuter's return not only to theatrical filmmaking but to the heist film genre after his previous success with the 'Oceans' film franchise.

This heist flick touts a stellar cast featuring Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, and Daniel Craig in his most uncharacteristic role yet – a Southern explosives expert named Joe Bang. Does this “Hillbilly Oceans film” live up to the heights Soderbergh achieved with Danny Ocean and company? Does it offer enough BANG for your movie bucks? Find out in this mini-episode of The Pop Culture Juke Joint.


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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