The Pop Culture Juke Joint

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

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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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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