Category Archives: 2017
Get a small group of people together with a common interest, it’s going to get competitive. Give it a little time, it’ll get political and weird, too. Christopher Guest’s Best In Show is the epitome of competitive subculture movies, barking up the tree of conformation dog shows. But if you thought dog shows were weird, you haven’t lived till you’ve seen a chicken pageant. While Best in Show is a mockumentary, Pecking Order is the real thing. Watching the chicken breeders of Christchurch, New Zealand strut, preen and scheme against one another is giddily surreal, enough to make you cluck and crow.
Here on planet earth, it’s a different story! Screams of fright, horror and joy abound when we’re talking about the Alien film franchise. You know, the one made famous by directors Ridley Scott and James Cameron: Alien in 1979 and Aliens in 1986. They were the first R-rated films that an under-age me needed to see. Well, those two and Canadian classic, Porky’s.
Those two highlight films have spun-off a flurry of pop culture gold that includes five other Alien-centered films of varying quality (two of which enthusiastically co-star the sci-fi classic Predator creature) with a new and eagerly-anticipated film in the horror franchise only a month away from release.
There’s even a day of the year dedicated to the Alien franchise, an unofficial holiday for fans around this planet: #AlienDay is today, April 26! Tweet out those chest-busters!
With pop culture supremacy, of course, come loads of comic books. Appropriately, then, today sees the release of the first issue of a new mini-series…Aliens: Dead Orbit #1, the perfect accompaniment to a day dedicated to everyone’s favourite xenomorph!
My father had collected and read collected those books during the mid-to-late 1970’s. in the early 1980’s, I found them on the shelf, dusted them off, and stared at the covers for what seemed like forever! The Beasts of Tarzan, Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar, Tarzan Triumphant and Tarzan and the Leopard Men, as well as the others, are remembered very, very fondly.
Those covers by artist extraordinaire, Neal Adams, leapt off the page with thrills, menace and dramatic excitement! They introduced me to pulp adventure and fueled my imagination, leading me towards a burgeoning love of the fantasy and science fiction genres.
They also cemented a common pop culture bond between father and son.
Through Tarzan, other Burroughs classics came to my attention, chiefly, the strange and fascinating worlds of Barsoom and Pellucidar and all the characters that inhabited those continents.
Today sees a childhood imagination rekindled with the intermingling of disparate characters in the pop culture world of comic books.
Of course, that series would need to have the greatest pulp title ever devised…and it does with: The Greatest Adventure #1!
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Every year when The Show comes out, I follow the same routine: Create a new player from scratch and head into Road to the Show. This year, my mountain-man bearded, 6’4″, 220-pound first baseman from Florida (you can’t select Toronto for some reason) wasn’t doing very well in the showcase games where you get scouted for the upcoming draft. Even though he looked like a bearded hulk, he couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat and ended up being projected to go late 2nd/early 3rd round. I wasn’t happy about it, but ended up being drafted late by the Houston Astros. Then something happened. Read the rest of this entry
High school dramas are back with a vengeance. There’s the noir soap opera shenanigans of Archie, Betty and Veronica on Riverdale, and the sharply observed teen pathos of Thirteen Reasons Why. Both series paint a portrait of high school about fifty shades darker than the quaint distractions of a John Hughes movie. Out on the big screen in limited release this weekend is My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea, joining the class of 2017 with a surrealistic romp fusing teen comedy and disaster movies to hilarious effect.
Just ask any writer of Biff Bam Pop! Heck, ask just about any reader that frequents these digital pages. This site has a love for pop culture, sure, but there’s an underlying need and desire to listen, to read about, and to share favourite music.
Ask Andy Burns, Editor-In-Chief of Biff Bam Pop! and his ever-lasting love of prog-rockers, Yes. And yes, he was there in New York City last weekend when Yes finally entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Ask Less Lee Moor, resident Managing Editor of this site as well as the Editor-In-Chief of Popshifter. Besides sharing her enthusiasm for all things music in her regular Pump Up The Jam column here on BBP!, you’ll find that she often waxes lovingly for Richard Oakes-era Suede on social media.
These are the bands, this is the music, that we all grew up with – specifically through our formative years.
And that bit of musical magic brings us straight to the excitement of The Complete Phonogram Hardcover, released today.
You know you’ve done it. You’re breezing through Twitter, and some outrageous post pisses you off. You retweet it with a snarky comment, probably signing off with a SMH or FFS. You’re still riled, so you repost it to Facebook. People start commenting, tempers flare. Friends are texting you. Meanwhile, you’re hopping off the bus and headed to a restaurant, checking in your location on Facebook, hardly thinking about the myriad crumbs you’ve left in your wake, info bits awash in the net’s digital ocean. “Digital exhaust” is what Prof. Ron Diebert calls it, the ephemera of our constant internet output waiting to be hoovered up and fed into patterns that reveal more than you could possibly imagine. It’s bad enough here, where we mostly fret about corporations assembling minutely accurate portraits of our likes and dislikes to sell us more stuff. In other places, the governments actively use Facebook and other internet media to mislead and pinpoint activists and critics, rounding them up and arresting them. In some countries, posting the wrong thing can get you killed.
I got the chance to catch Nicholas de Pencier’s documentary Black Code as part of TIFF’s Human Rights Watch Film Festival, where he and Prof. Diebert engaged in a Q&A after the screening. The doc has been playing the festival circuit, and it’s well worth checking out, if you want to stress out about how piss-poor your digital security practices probably are. The film was released in 2016, and speaking about its concerns in a contemporary context, it was clear both men recognized how the intervening year has only made their film even more painfully relevant.
There’s nothing quite like a David Lynch movie. You know the second you find yourself immersed in one of his unsettling worlds, the strange blend of earnest innocence and churning malevolence vying against one another, light and dark and laughter and horror and violence but especially the eeriness. Nobody but nobody does eerie like David Lynch. Which makes David Lynch: The Art Life so fascinating, a movie about a movie-maker that takes up all the stuff he does other than movies.
The world doesn’t need another milquetoast Canadian indie comedy. But it’s a national specialty, so they keep coming around, safe, inoffensive, government-funded and mildly amusing. Unfortunately for Chokeslam, safe and inoffensive aren’t the words you want to hear about a wrestling comedy, even if it aspires to the romantic variety. Director Robert Cuffley’s attempts to fuse the world of wrestling with the genre clichés of rom-com make for a cute, unassuming yarn that never quite gets off the mat.
Two years next month, in fact.
That’s when the first issue of Providence, the first of twelve bi-monthly issues, dropped into the pulpy hands of eagerly anticipating readers who love horror-themed graphic fiction. May of 2015.
But Providence is much more than just horror. It’s a fascinating take on American outsider culture during the early part of the twentieth century, on the eve of the war to end all wars, written and illustrated by two of the comic book industry’s greatest.
Finally, the series comes to a head: Providence #12.
And it is both the end of days and the beginning of a new, stranger, world!