‘Do You Like Prince Movies?’ Podcast: ‘Unfriended,’ Poptimism, and More


This week, Alex and Wesley take a few minutes to share some things. Wesley tells Alex he actually does like Madonna’s new album, the somewhat badly titled Rebel Heart. It’s been an unfortunate winter and spring for her — she creaked at the Grammys, tumbled during a European show, did something weird to Drake’s face at Coachella, and found something nice to say about Margaret Thatcher. But that’s in the past! This album is forever. Wesley strongly recommends Track 11, “Body Shop.” Alex asks Wesley whether he’s watched the new Star Wars trailer, which was unveiled at a very special Star Wars event; he also approves Wesley’s decision to just start watching Season 5 of Game of Thrones without having seen most of the rest of it. We’ll see how that goes.

Then it’s on to a discussion of the teen horror film Unfriended, whose entire production design consists of a laptop screen. Alex really likes it. Wesley really likes the idea of it. They agree it should be a one-and-done. But also: They know better.

Next is a new discussion of the old (old) debate over so-called poptimism, which, loosely, stipulates that pop is as valid and good as music that critics tend to hold up as great and important (the critical prioritization was labeled rockism). Chris Richards revisited the debate last week in the Washington Post, and Alex makes an eloquent argument that this line of critique tends to issue forth, transparently, from affronted white men.

They failed to mention this during last week’s show, but there’s a new book club title, Paul Beatty’s The Sellout, which they’ll discuss during the May 27 episode.

Listen to the podcast here

Here are link to topics discuss in this week’s show:


“Clickbait: The Many Open Windows of ‘Unfriended,’” Grantland, April 21, 2015

“The Call Is Coming From Inside of Skype: The Tech Terror of ‘Unfriended,’” Grantland, April 17, 2015

“Scared Senseless: The Indie Horror Boom and What Frightens Us Now,” Grantland, March 25, 2015


“Do you want poptimism? Or do you want the truth?,” Washington Post, April 17, 2015

Do You Like Prince Movies? Podcast: ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier,’ the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Guest Steven Hyden,” Grantland, April 9, 2014

“The Pernicious Rise of Poptimism,” The New York Times Magazine, April 4, 2014

“The Perils of Poptimism,” Slate, May 9, 2006

“The Rap Against Rockism,” New York Times, October 31, 2004

“All Ears: Disney Dreams Up the Best Radio Station in 30 Years,” Village Voice, March 14, 2000

“Hipocalypse Now: Hip-hop pre-millennial tension,” Weekly Wire, September 20, 1999


Rebel Heart, Madonna, 2015

The Star Wars trailer

The Batman v Superman trailer

Nicholas Fehn

Jam of the Week

“Don’t Cry for No Hipster,” Ben Sidran, 2012

Filed Under: Grantland Network, Podcasts, Do You Like Prince Movies?, Poptimism, Unfriended, Madonna, rebel heart, Star Wars, Wesley Morris, Alex Pappademas