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PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates!

PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates Features a new prompt each weekday to weigh the good, the bad, the overrated, the unbelievable, and the amazing throughout the worlds of books, film, and TV. We can't figure out how to build a greater pop culture until we dissect the mess we already have. Want to contribute your perspective to the debate? Email PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle with your take: DaveSwindlePJM [@] gmail.com Image via shutterstock/ DarkGeometryStudios
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60 Questions to Provoke Debates About How to Fix Our Popular Culture

Monday, December 1st, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates!

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Editor’s Note: We’re launching some new discussions and debates this winter in dialogue with the new fiction publishing company Liberty Island. See the previous installments: David S. Bernstein on November 19: “5 Leaders of the New Conservative Counter-Culture,” and Dave Swindle on November 25, “7 Reasons Why Thanksgiving Will Be My Last Day on Facebook.” Some of the questions from the PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture debates feature from over the summer might make for good starting point as we start to consider the novels coming this month, SuperEgo by Frank J. Fleming and  The Big Bang (Lonesome George Chronicles Book 1) by Roy M Griffis. To learn more about Liberty Island and to see some of the writers contributing see the most recent collection of interviews and story excerpts: “How To Join This Unique Team of 33 Creative Writers. ” Submissions are due in a week for their current Writing Contest seeking messed-up Holiday short stories. Details here

Which Fantasy and Science Fiction Trends Should We Embrace?

  1. What If Obi-Wan Wanted to Tell Luke The Truth About His Father But Yoda Overruled Him?
  2. Who Are the Most Terrifying Figures in Fantasy Fiction and Films?
  3. Which Fantasy Stories Most Inspire You to Want to Fight For Freedom?
  4. Star Trek, Star Wars, Both, or Neither?
  5. Who Are the Scariest Science Fiction and Fantasy Villains of All Time?
  6. DC Vs. Marvel: Which Company Created a More Compelling Fictional Universe?
  7. What Are The Best Time Travel Stories?
  8. Is Game of Thrones Good Or Bad For Fantasy?
  9. Star Trek (of any Flavor), or Babylon Five? That *Is* the Question.’ Regards, Allston
  10. Who Are the Best Characters in the Star Trek Universe?
  11. How Would You Rank the Star Trek Movies?

What Are the Best and Worst in Film?

  1. Who Is Today’s Most Overrated Filmmaker?
  2. What Is Oliver Stone’s Worst Movie?
  3. What Is the Coen Brothers’ Best Movie?
  4. Is Wolf of Wall Street One of Martin Scorsese’s Worst Films?
  5. Who Is the Gen-X Woody Allen? Linklater Vs. Smith Vs. Baumbach
  6. What Are Stanley Kubrick’s Greatest Films?

What Makes For Innovative TV?

  1. What Is the Most Shocking Crime Drama on TV Today?
  2. What TV Shows Were the Most Ahead of Their Time?
  3. What Are the Top 5 Episodes of The Prisoner?
  4. Is The Prisoner TV’s Greatest Cult Classic?
  5. Is The Prisoner Actually a Continuation of Secret Agent?
  6. Who Are Your Favorite Fictional Moms?

Geeks In Love: 8 Questions To Spark Passionate Debates About Video Games and Chick Flicks

  1. What Are the Top 10 Classic Nintendo Games?
  2. What Are the Most Overrated Video Game Franchises?
  3. Which Generation of Nintendo Game Consoles Gave You the Most Joy?
  4. Do Some Violent Video Games Actually Inspire Real World Killing?
  5. Which Video Games Should Be Respected As Art?
  6. What Are the Best Romantic Comedies Of All Time?
  7. What Is the Difference Between a ‘Chick Flick’ and A Romantic Comedy?
  8. Who Are Your Favorite Fictional Married Couples?

Adaptation Success

  1. What Creative Magic Makes Some Adaptations Succeed and Others Fail?
  2. Which Video Games Should Be Adapted Into Films or TV Shows?
  3. Is It Better To Adapt Books as Netflix Shows and TV Mini-Series Instead of Films?
  4. What Are the 10 Most Disastrous Comic Book Adaptations?
  5. Lord of the Rings Vs. Harry Potter: Which Film Series Better Captured their Books’ Spirit?
  6. Which Science Fiction Novels Should Be Made into Films and TV Miniseries?

Questions So We Can Figure Out the Cream of the Crop In Popular Music Genres

  1. Are Black Sabbath and the Rolling Stones Better Than the Beatles?
  2. Who Are the Greatest Country Music Artists Everyone Should Have In Their Collection?
  3. Who Are the Greatest Female Vocalists Of All Time?
  4. What Are the 5 Essential Rap and Hip-Hop Albums?
  5. What Are the Most Badass Punk Rock Songs?
  6. How Did Your Music Tastes Change As You Grew Older?
  7. What Are the Most Overrated Beatles Songs?
  8. Which Classical Music Recordings Do You Listen to The Most?
  9. What Is the Most Under-appreciated Beatles Song?
  10. Who Are the Most Disturbing Figures in Music History?

Bonus: Music Questions from This Fall’s season of “Allston’s Afternoon Rockout” featuring tracks from the music lists of PJ Lifestyle’s classic rock guru.

  1. What Are the Most Essential Clash Tracks?
  2. Who Are the Coolest Women of Rock?
  3. Is ‘Free Bird’ The All-Time Greatest Guitar Song?
  4. How Would You Rank David Bowie’s Best Songs?
  5. Which Tracks Define the ‘Proto-Punk’ Sound?
  6. Can You Name a Bad Led Zeppelin Track?
  7. What Are the Best Songs For Driving Fast Across America?
  8. Who Are Your Favorite Rock Drummers?

What issues and controversies in popular culture do you want to see analyzed, debated, and explored in the coming months at PJ Lifestyle? What problems do you see as most serious and what kind of media should be made to counteract them?

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What If Obi-Wan Wanted to Tell Luke The Truth About His Father But Yoda Overruled Him?

Monday, July 28th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates!

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In partnership with the new fiction publishing platform Liberty Island, PJ Lifestyle is going to begin promoting and co-hosting a series of debates and discussions about popular culture. The goal is to figure out what works and what doesn’t so that in the future we can promote and create better fiction and culture of our own. These are public brainstorming sessions for writers and culture advocates interested in developing a more vibrant popular culture. You’re invited to submit your answers to any of these questions — or a related one of your own! — that interests you:

A) in the comments

B) Via email to PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle.

C) at your blog, then let us know in the comments or via email.

The most interesting answers may be linked, cross-posted, or published at PJ Lifestyle.

From IGN.com:

A long forgotten deleted scene from Return of the Jedi reveals that Obi-Wan Kenobi wanted to tell Luke Skywalker the truth about his dad, except Yoda wouldn’t allow it.

Casual fans may think of Yoda as the infallible high priest of the Force, but the reality is the Jedi Master made a lot of questionable calls.

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Who Are the Most Terrifying Figures in Fantasy Fiction and Films?

Thursday, July 24th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates!

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In partnership with the new fiction publishing platform Liberty Island, PJ Lifestyle is going to begin promoting and co-hosting a series of debates and discussions about popular culture. The goal is to figure out what works and what doesn’t so that in the future we can promote and create better fiction and culture of our own. These are public brainstorming sessions for writers and culture advocates interested in developing a more vibrant popular culture. You’re invited to submit your answers to any of these questions — or a related one of your own! — that interests you:

A) in the comments

B) Via email to PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle.

C) at your blog, then let us know in the comments or via email.

The most interesting answers may be linked, cross-posted, or published at PJ Lifestyle.

Apostic with a great answer to yesterday’s question, “Which Fantasy Stories Most Inspire You to Want to Fight For Freedom?”

The Iron Dream by Norman Spinrad. Nah, just kidding.

Seriously, I’d say The Screwtape Letters, which defines the mechanics of evil, told as advice from a senior demon to a junior demon on how to corrupt people and, upon successful corruption, devour their souls. Thematically there’s not much dif between devouring a soul and “owning” someone; when someone is owned, the owner is, in a sense, devouring that person’s life. Seeing it spelled out like that lets you recognize that kind of life-devouring evil when you see it in the real world — and motivates you to fight against it. Result: Fighting for freedom.

Who are other figures in books and movies who personify evil for you?

****

images via shutterstock /  zebra0209

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Which Fantasy Stories Most Inspire You to Want to Fight For Freedom?

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates!

In partnership with the new fiction publishing platform Liberty Island, PJ Lifestyle is going to begin promoting and co-hosting a series of debates and discussions about popular culture. The goal is to figure out what works and what doesn’t so that in the future we can promote and create better fiction and culture of our own. These are public brainstorming sessions for writers and culture advocates interested in developing a more vibrant popular culture. You’re invited to submit your answers to any of these questions — or a related one of your own! — that interests you:

A) in the comments

B) Via email to PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle.

C) at your blog, then let us know in the comments or via email.

The most interesting answers may be linked, cross-posted, or published at PJ Lifestyle.

From Page 77:

"Tolkien detested Wagner's neopaganism." - David P. "Spengler" Goldman, page 77 of It's Not the End of th

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Star Trek (of any Flavor), or Babylon Five? That *Is* the Question.’ Regards, Allston

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates!

Babylon Five?

In partnership with the new fiction publishing platform Liberty Island, PJ Lifestyle is going to begin promoting and co-hosting a series of debates and discussions about popular culture. The goal is to figure out what works and what doesn’t so that in the future we can promote and create better fiction and culture of our own. These are public brainstorming sessions for writers and culture advocates interested in developing a more vibrant popular culture. You’re invited to submit your answers to any of these questions — or a related one of your own! — that interests you:

A) in the comments

B) Via email to PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle.

C) at your blog, then let us know in the comments or via email. 

The most interesting answers may be linked, cross-posted, or published at PJ Lifestyle.

The Next Generation?

Deep Space Nine?

Voyager?

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What TV Shows Were the Most Ahead of Their Time?

Thursday, July 17th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates!

In partnership with the new fiction publishing platform Liberty Island, PJ Lifestyle is going to begin promoting and co-hosting a series of debates and discussions about popular culture. The goal is to figure out what works and what doesn’t so that in the future we can promote and create better fiction and culture of our own. These are public brainstorming sessions for writers and culture advocates interested in developing a more vibrant popular culture. You’re invited to submit your answers to any of these questions — or a related one of your own! — that interests you:

A) in the comments

B) Via email to PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle.

C) at your blog, then let us know in the comments or via email. 

The most interesting answers may be linked, cross-posted, or published at PJ Lifestyle. 

Also check out Monday’s question “Is The Prisoner Actually a Continuation of Secret Agent?,” Tuesday’s question: “Is The Prisoner TV’s Greatest Cult Classic?,” Wednesday’s question:What Are the Top 5 Episodes of The Prisoner? and Francis Poretto’s great essay. “Escaping The Village: Freedom And The Prisoner.”

Andrew X, yesterday:

You want “ahead-of-its-time”? “Ahead-of-its-time???

Take a look at this episode list for ‘Max Headroom’.

Max Headroom [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Headroom_(TV_series)]

When the show debuted in 1985 (UK), the computer mouse had been on market just one year. Windows, in so far as it existed, was a DOS interface. Few knew what a modem was, and a standard one would probably load this web page in about six hours. Cell phones for millionaires were the size of a brick. (Cue ‘Wall Street’ beach scene ref.) The Internet was eight years away.

Read that list, then let’s talk about “ahead-of-its-time”.

MaxHeadroom_Comp_anim

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What Are the Top 5 Episodes of The Prisoner?

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates!

In partnership with the new fiction publishing platform Liberty Island, PJ Lifestyle is going to begin promoting and co-hosting a series of debates and discussions about popular culture. The goal is to figure out what works and what doesn’t so that in the future we can promote and create better fiction and culture of our own. These are public brainstorming sessions for writers and culture advocates interested in developing a more vibrant popular culture. You’re invited to submit your answers to any of these questions — or a related one of your own! — that interests you:

A) in the comments

B) Via email to PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle.

C) at your blog, then let us know in the comments or via email. 

The most interesting answers may be linked, cross-posted, or published at PJ Lifestyle. 

Also check out Monday’s question “Is The Prisoner Actually a Continuation of Secret Agent?,” yesterday’s question: “Is The Prisoner TV’s Greatest Cult Classic?“ and Francis Poretto’s great essay Tuesday: Escaping The Village: Freedom And The Prisoner

“The Chimes of Big Ben”?

“Many Happy Returns”?

“Hammer Into Anvil”?

Here’s a full episode list via Wikipedia

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Is The Prisoner TV’s Greatest Cult Classic?

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates!

In partnership with the new fiction publishing platform Liberty Island, PJ Lifestyle is going to begin promoting and co-hosting a series of debates and discussions about popular culture. The goal is to figure out what works and what doesn’t so that in the future we can promote and create better fiction and culture of our own. These are public brainstorming sessions for writers and culture advocates interested in developing a more vibrant popular culture. You’re invited to submit your answers to any of these questions — or a related one of your own! — that interests you:

A) in the comments

B) Via email to PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle.

C) at your blog, then let us know in the comments or via email. 

The most interesting answers may be linked, cross-posted, or published at PJ Lifestyle. 

Also check out yesterday’s question “Is The Prisoner Actually a Continuation of Secret Agent?” and Francis Poretto’s great essay today: Escaping The Village: Freedom And The Prisoner

Other potential out-there shows that might top The Prisoner?

Is Twin Peaks better?

What about Lost?

Or is The Prisoner without peer?

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Is The Prisoner Actually a Continuation of Secret Agent?

Monday, July 14th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates!

In partnership with the new fiction publishing platform Liberty Island, PJ Lifestyle is going to begin promoting and co-hosting a series of debates and discussions about popular culture. The goal is to figure out what works and what doesn’t so that in the future we can promote and create better fiction and culture of our own. These are public brainstorming sessions for writers and culture advocates interested in developing a more vibrant popular culture. You’re invited to submit your answers to any of these questions — or a related one of your own! — that interests you:

A) in the comments

B) Via email to PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle.

C) at your blog, then let us know in the comments or via email. 

The most interesting answers may be linked, cross-posted, or published at PJ Lifestyle. 

An email received on Sunday from one of the most thoughtful commenters at PJ Lifestyle:

A friend and I were just debating this – is the television show The Prisoner actually the continuation of the show Secret Agent Man?  We both finally decided, yes it is.

Regards,

Allston

We’re going to talk more about The Prisoner, one of TV’s most innovative cult classics, this week at PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates. What are some more of the mysteries and questions about the show you want to discuss?

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What Is the Coen Brothers’ Best Movie?

Friday, July 11th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates!

In partnership with the new fiction publishing platform Liberty Island, PJ Lifestyle is going to begin promoting and co-hosting a series of debates and discussions about popular culture. The goal is to figure out what works and what doesn’t so that in the future we can promote and create better fiction and culture of our own. These are public brainstorming sessions for writers and culture advocates interested in developing a more vibrant popular culture. You’re invited to submit your answers to any of these questions — or a related one of your own! — that interests you:

A) in the comments

B) Via email to PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle.

C) at your blog, then let us know in the comments or via email. 

The most interesting answers may be linked, cross-posted, or published at PJ Lifestyle. 

And 3 Bonus questions:

1. Is Anton Chigurh the Coens’ scariest villain?

2. Where does Miller’s Crossing rank in their filmography?

3. Is Big Lebowski the Coens’ supreme comic achievement or does one of their other films bring you more laughs?

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Who Are the Best Characters in the Star Trek Universe?

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates!

In partnership with the new fiction publishing platform Liberty Island, PJ Lifestyle is going to begin promoting and co-hosting a series of debates and discussions about popular culture. The goal is to figure out what works and what doesn’t so that in the future we can promote and create better fiction and culture of our own. These are public brainstorming sessions for writers and culture advocates interested in developing a more vibrant popular culture. You’re invited to submit your answers to any of these questions — or a related one of your own! — that interests you:

A) in the comments

B) Via email to PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle.

C) at your blog, then let us know in the comments or via email. 

The most interesting answers may be linked, cross-posted, or published at PJ Lifestyle. 

Earlier this week we started a discussion about Star Trek: How Would You Rank the Star Trek Movies?

Who’s up for a continuation? What Trek-themed debates should PJ Lifestyle explore?

Here are some character-based questions for today:

1. Which of the Captains is the most dynamic, well-written, emotionally engaging character?

(Editor’s Note: I’m a Benjamin Sisko and Deep Space Nine partisan and will explain why in a future list post… Any others in my Trek tribe out there? Exhibit A for Sisko’s supremacy in the Trek pantheon below…)

2. Who are the most interesting characters on Star Trek: Voyager?

3. Is Worf a strong enough character to warrant his own spin-off show?

4. What about villains and bad guys? Q? Khan? Gul Dukat? The Borg? Have any of the series’ enemies really hit the mark?

5. What are some new Star Trek shows you’d like to see? Here are some great ideas from one of PJ Lifestyle’s strongest contributors, Walter Hudson: 7 Ways to Reboot Star Trek With a New TV Show

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How Would You Rank the Star Trek Movies?

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates!

In partnership with the new fiction publishing platform Liberty Island, PJ Lifestyle is going to begin promoting and co-hosting a series of debates and discussions about popular culture. The goal is to figure out what works and what doesn’t so that in the future we can promote and create better fiction and culture of our own. These are public brainstorming sessions for writers and culture advocates interested in developing a more vibrant popular culture. You’re invited to submit your answers to any of these questions — or a related one of your own! — that interests you:

A) in the comments

B) Via email to PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle.

C) at your blog, then let us know in the comments or via email. 

The most interesting answers may be linked, cross-posted, or published at PJ Lifestyle. 

A very thoughtful email from Richard B. to get the discussion going:

Hi Dave!

When you said that you were going to start ranking the films, I said “YES!”.

The interesting thing is that you have to use multiple groups to rank them:

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home    This would be the best of the original series. But it’s really the third film of a trilogy

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn      Just sheer fun that revitalized the series. Beside, Ricardo walked off with that movie.

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock     Had to come up with a way to bring back Spock and besides, it helped Nimoy learn to direct a major motion picture, setting the stage for IV.

I put Star Trek The Motion Picture equal to Star trek VI: The Undiscovered Country       Both were good for opening and closing the original series movies. (Besides, you had Jerry Goldsmith for music here. Say “Patton”? Another list for you, Best movie composers. Goldsmith was original while John Williams is derivative.)

Star Trek V…….(I don’t even remember the title. Please be aware that I’ve seen every movie on opening night and that was the only time I saw this one. I keep the unopened DVD in my collection, but I won’t update to Blu-ray.)

Next Group:

Next Generation Movies

Star Trek: First Contact   Could be the best of all the movies. Good use of two simultaneous stories. Besides, I like how they brought in continuity from the Original series. (Goldsmith hits a grand slam with his soundtrack. It might the best of any movie.)

Star Trek: Generations   I think this was actually a pretty good movie, aside from killing Kirk. (I hate the speed of light error.)

Star Trek: Insurrection

Star Trek: Nemesis (I’ve seen both of these twice in the theater, just to “insure” that they make more.)

Alternate Timeline Movies:

Star Trek  A very good movie, great action, nice way to reimagine the series. (I did like the way they mentioned Admiral Archer.) (Why do they have the speed of light error again?)

Star Trek Into Darkness  Another good movie, Cumberbatch did a good job of being the new Kahn.

Well, that’s all I can think of.

Thanks!

What do you think?

Also: what are some Star Trek and science fiction-themed lists and articles you’d like to see at PJ Lifestyle? Your thoughtful comments are appreciated.

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Is Wolf of Wall Street One of Martin Scorsese’s Worst Films?

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates!

Is the Wolf of Wall Street Martin Scorsese's most decadent celebration of evil? #movies #culture #crime #evil

In partnership with the new fiction publishing platform Liberty Island, PJ Lifestyle is going to begin promoting and co-hosting a series of debates and discussions about popular culture. The goal is to figure out what works and what doesn’t so that in the future we can promote and create better fiction and culture of our own. These are public brainstorming sessions for writers and culture advocates interested in developing a more vibrant popular culture. You’re invited to submit your answers to any of these questions — or a related one of your own! — that interests you:

A) in the comments

B) Via email to PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle.

C) at your blog, then let us know in the comments or via email. 

The most interesting answers may be linked, cross-posted, or published at PJ Lifestyle. For this week’s debates we’re going to focus on crime in fiction. Monday’s discussion: “What Is the Most Shocking Crime Drama on TV Today?

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What Is the Most Shocking Crime Drama on TV Today?

Monday, June 30th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates!

In partnership with the new fiction publishing platform Liberty Island, PJ Lifestyle is going to begin promoting and co-hosting a series of debates and discussions about popular culture. The goal is to figure out what works and what doesn’t so that in the future we can promote and create better fiction and culture of our own. These are public brainstorming sessions for writers and culture advocates interested in developing a more vibrant popular culture. You’re invited to submit your answers to any of these questions — or a related one of your own! — that interests you:

A) in the comments

B) Via email to PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle.

C) at your blog, then let us know in the comments or via email. 

The most interesting answers may be linked, cross-posted, or published at PJ Lifestyle. For this week’s debates we’re going to focus on crime in fiction.

From Dave Swindle:

So I had a few list articles the past few days and I’d like to use them as a catalyst to launch a few weeks of debates and discussions about crime in popular culture. At the PJ Tatler:

30 Books For Defeating Valerie Jarrett’s Cult of Political Criminals

In the article I concluded with talking about how the books themes all come together in President Jarrett’s favorite TV show, Scandal. Then on Saturday at PJ Lifestyle, I concluded this piece excerpting from the conclusion to explain why I considered it #1 on the list:

The 10 Most Terrible, Overrated Shows on Netflix Streaming You Must Avoid

On my list I named many shows that start with small crimes and then have to progressively up the ante to keep viewers engaged. But there’s loads of TV today that I haven’t seen. Maybe there are others worse? What shows today do you think have transgressed too many moral lines and descended to trash?

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Who Is the Gen-X Woody Allen? Linklater Vs. Smith Vs. Baumbach

Thursday, June 19th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates!

In partnership with the new fiction publishing platform Liberty Island, PJ Lifestyle is going to begin promoting and co-hosting a series of debates and discussions about popular culture. The goal is to figure out what works and what doesn’t so that in the future we can promote and create better fiction and culture of our own. These are public brainstorming sessions for writers and culture advocates interested in developing a more vibrant popular culture. You’re invited to submit your answers to any of these questions — or a related one of your own! — that interests you:

A) in the comments

B) Via email to PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle.

C) at your blog, then let us know in the comments or via email. 

The most interesting answers may be linked, cross-posted, or published at PJ Lifestyle. For this week’s debates we’re going to focus on individual filmmakers with inflated reputations. Monday’s question: What Is Oliver Stone’s Worst Movie?, Tuesday’s question: Who Is Today’s Most Overrated Filmmaker?, Wednesday: What Are Stanley Kubrick’s Greatest Films?.

Also check out the previous weeks’ writing prompts and email in your thoughts on any questions that strike your fancy: Geeks In Love: 8 Questions To Spark Passionate Debates About Video Games and Chick Flicks5 Questions To Figure Out What Makes Some Adaptations Succeed and Others Fail5 Questions So We Can Figure Out the Cream of the Crop In Popular Music Genres5 Geek Questions To Provoke Debates About the Future of Sci-Fi and Fantasy5 Controversial Questions To Inspire Spirited Debates About Music.

Who are the most gifted filmmakers who capture the experience of the generation now starting to enter their 50s?

Is Kevin Smith overrated? Is he more his generation’s junior George Lucas – a gifted marketer – rather than a serious filmmaker? Or is there merit to his best work?

Which Richard Linklater movie is his greatest triumph? Is the third one in his Sun series worth watching?

What about Noah Baumbach? Do his recent films live up to the promise of The Squid and the Whale?

Do any of them have the potential to have a cultural impact comparable to Woody Allen, who had several of his films included in Kyle Smith’s best of the 1980s list today?

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What Are Stanley Kubrick’s Greatest Films?

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates!

In partnership with the new fiction publishing platform Liberty Island, PJ Lifestyle is going to begin promoting and co-hosting a series of debates and discussions about popular culture. The goal is to figure out what works and what doesn’t so that in the future we can promote and create better fiction and culture of our own. These are public brainstorming sessions for writers and culture advocates interested in developing a more vibrant popular culture. You’re invited to submit your answers to any of these questions — or a related one of your own! — that interests you:

A) in the comments

B) Via email to PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle.

C) at your blog, then let us know in the comments or via email. 

The most interesting answers may be linked, cross-posted, or published at PJ Lifestyle. For this week’s debates we’re going to focus on individual filmmakers with inflated reputations. Monday’s question: What Is Oliver Stone’s Worst Movie?, Tuesday’s question: Who Is Today’s Most Overrated Filmmaker?

Also check out the previous weeks’ writing prompts and email in your thoughts on any questions that strike your fancy: Geeks In Love: 8 Questions To Spark Passionate Debates About Video Games and Chick Flicks5 Questions To Figure Out What Makes Some Adaptations Succeed and Others Fail5 Questions So We Can Figure Out the Cream of the Crop In Popular Music Genres5 Geek Questions To Provoke Debates About the Future of Sci-Fi and Fantasy5 Controversial Questions To Inspire Spirited Debates About Music.

Which is a better film: 2001 or A Clockwork Orange?

Is Dr. Strangelove superior to Lolita?

Eyes Wide Shut: artistic masterpiece or pretentious porn pretending to be art?

Are Full Metal Jacket and The Shining exemplars of the war and horror genres or failures?

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Who Is Today’s Most Overrated Filmmaker?

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates!

In partnership with the new fiction publishing platform Liberty Island, PJ Lifestyle is going to begin promoting and co-hosting a series of debates and discussions about popular culture. The goal is to figure out what works and what doesn’t so that in the future we can promote and create better fiction and culture of our own. These are public brainstorming sessions for writers and culture advocates interested in developing a more vibrant popular culture. You’re invited to submit your answers to any of these questions — or a related one of your own! — that interests you:

A) in the comments

B) Via email to PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle.

C) at your blog, then let us know in the comments or via email. 

The most interesting answers may be linked, cross-posted, or published at PJ Lifestyle. For this week’s debates we’re going to focus on individual filmmakers with inflated reputations. Monday’s question: What Is Oliver Stone’s Worst Movie?

Also check out the previous weeks’ writing prompts and email in your thoughts on any questions that strike your fancy: Geeks In Love: 8 Questions To Spark Passionate Debates About Video Games and Chick Flicks5 Questions To Figure Out What Makes Some Adaptations Succeed and Others Fail5 Questions So We Can Figure Out the Cream of the Crop In Popular Music Genres5 Geek Questions To Provoke Debates About the Future of Sci-Fi and Fantasy5 Controversial Questions To Inspire Spirited Debates About Music.

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What Is Oliver Stone’s Worst Movie?

Monday, June 16th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates!

In partnership with the new fiction publishing platform Liberty Island, PJ Lifestyle is going to begin promoting and co-hosting a series of debates and discussions about popular culture. The goal is to figure out what works and what doesn’t so that in the future we can promote and create better fiction and culture of our own. These are public brainstorming sessions for writers and culture advocates interested in developing a more vibrant popular culture. You’re invited to submit your answers to any of these questions — or a related one of your own! — that interests you:

A) in the comments

B) Via email to PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle.

C) at your blog, then let us know in the comments or via email. 

The most interesting answers may be linked, cross-posted, or published at PJ Lifestyle.

Also check out the previous weeks’ writing prompts and email in your thoughts on any questions that strike your fancy: Geeks In Love: 8 Questions To Spark Passionate Debates About Video Games and Chick Flicks5 Questions To Figure Out What Makes Some Adaptations Succeed and Others Fail5 Questions So We Can Figure Out the Cream of the Crop In Popular Music Genres5 Geek Questions To Provoke Debates About the Future of Sci-Fi and Fantasy5 Controversial Questions To Inspire Spirited Debates About Music.

For this week’s debates we’re going to focus on individual filmmakers with inflated reputations. The occasion of Oliver Stone releasing yet another version of one of his most maligned films has inspired this week’s subjects. Which directors do you think should be up for scrutiny in the coming days?

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Geeks In Love: 8 Questions To Spark Passionate Debates About Video Games and Chick Flicks

Sunday, June 15th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates!

videogamelove

In partnership with the new fiction publishing platform Liberty Island, PJ Lifestyle is going to begin promoting and co-hosting a series of debates and discussions about popular culture. The goal is to figure out what works and what doesn’t so that in the future we can promote and create better fiction and culture of our own. These are public brainstorming sessions for writers and culture advocates interested in developing a more vibrant popular culture. You’re invited to submit your answers to any of these questions — or a related one of your own! — that interests you:

A) in the comments

B) Via email to PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle.

C) at your blog, then let us know in the comments or via email. 

Also check out the previous weeks’ writing prompts and email in your thoughts on any questions that strike your fancy: 5 Questions To Figure Out What Makes Some Adaptations Succeed and Others Fail5 Questions So We Can Figure Out the Cream of the Crop In Popular Music Genres5 Geek Questions To Provoke Debates About the Future of Sci-Fi and Fantasy5 Controversial Questions To Inspire Spirited Debates About Music.

1. What Are the Top 10 Classic Nintendo Games?

2. What Are the Most Overrated Video Game Franchises?

3. Which Generation of Nintendo Game Consoles Gave You the Most Joy?

4. Do Some Violent Video Games Actually Inspire Real World Killing?

5. Which Video Games Should Be Respected As Art?

6. What Are the Best Romantic Comedies Of All Time?

7. What Is the Difference Between a ‘Chick Flick’ and A Romantic Comedy?

8. Who Are Your Favorite Fictional Married Couples?

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image illustration via shutterstock / jugulator

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Who Are Your Favorite Fictional Married Couples?

Thursday, June 12th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates!

Carl and Ellie?

In partnership with the new fiction publishing platform Liberty Island, PJ Lifestyle is going to begin promoting and co-hosting a series of debates and discussions about popular culture. The goal is to figure out what works and what doesn’t so that in the future we can promote and create better fiction and culture of our own. These are public brainstorming sessions for writers and culture advocates interested in developing a more vibrant popular culture. You’re invited to submit your answers to any of these questions — or a related one of your own! — that interests you:

A) in the comments

B) Via email to PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle.

C) at your blog, then let us know in the comments or via email. 

The most interesting answers may be linked, cross-posted, or published at PJ Lifestyle. Last Week’s Pop Culture Debates focused on video games, so it seems only reasonable that this week should go in the opposite direction: so how about a week of discussing the best/worst/over/underrated in romantic movies and books? Check out the previous questions this week: “What Is the Difference Between a ‘Chick Flick’ and A Romantic Comedy?,”What Are the Best Romantic Comedies Of All Time?

Also check out the previous weeks’ writing prompts and email in your thoughts on any questions that strike your fancy: 5 Questions To Figure Out What Makes Some Adaptations Succeed and Others Fail5 Questions So We Can Figure Out the Cream of the Crop In Popular Music Genres5 Geek Questions To Provoke Debates About the Future of Sci-Fi and Fantasy5 Controversial Questions To Inspire Spirited Debates About Music.

Carl and Harriette? 

Bill and Alice?

Mickey and Mallory?

Robert and Cora?

Are Marge and Norm the best married couple of 1990s cinema?

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What Is the Difference Between a ‘Chick Flick’ and A Romantic Comedy?

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates!

In partnership with the new fiction publishing platform Liberty Island, PJ Lifestyle is going to begin promoting and co-hosting a series of debates and discussions about popular culture. The goal is to figure out what works and what doesn’t so that in the future we can promote and create better fiction and culture of our own. These are public brainstorming sessions for writers and culture advocates interested in developing a more vibrant popular culture. You’re invited to submit your answers to any of these questions — or a related one of your own! — that interests you:

A) in the comments

B) Via email to PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle.

C) at your blog, then let us know in the comments or via email. 

The most interesting answers may be linked, cross-posted, or published at PJ Lifestyle. Last Week’s Pop Culture Debates focused on video games, so it seems only reasonable that this week should go in the opposite direction: so how about a week of discussing the best/worst/over/underrated in romantic movies and books?

Also check out the previous weeks’ writing prompts and email in your thoughts on any questions that strike your fancy: Questions To Figure Out Makes Some Adaptations Succeed and Others Fail5 Questions So We Can Figure Out the Cream of the Crop In Popular Music Genres5 Geek Questions To Provoke Debates About the Future of Sci-Fi and Fantasy5 Controversial Questions To Inspire Spirited Debates About Music.

A comment from Reformed Trombonist on yesterday’s prompt asking for the greatest romantic comedies of all time:

Great romantic comedies? Is that a trick question?

Nine out of ten romantic comedies are straight-ahead, unapologetic chick flicks. Chick flicks, as a species, follow a general pattern:

1. Girl pines for her soul mate, while all around her, her girl buddies have guys. She can’t be too beautiful. This is important. You can be too beautiful to make it in chick flicks. I used to call it the “Meg Ryan” Rule: no actress more beautiful than Meg Ryan can make a living in chick flicks. Meg Ryan appears to be gone now, but the mantle keeps bouncing around. Sandra Bullock, perhaps? She might be the exception that proves the rule. Reese Witherspoon? Drew Barrymore? Renee Zellweger? A chick flick actress must be what I call “girl pretty” — that is, girls think she’s pretty, but guys are mostly unmoved.

2. Handsome man appears. Seems almost perfect. Helps if he’s rich or a European prince. He doesn’t need to have much of a character development. Mostly, he’s a prop.

3. Misunderstanding and soul-searching. Maybe she thinks he loves another woman. Maybe she’s trying to succeed in her career and is afraid that falling in love at this time of her life will keep her from achieving her goals. Maybe she doesn’t think he respects her goals. This leaves her free to behave bitchily. That’s allowed. She’s allowed to abuse him, and he’s permitted to take the abuse like a man and still have undying love for her.

4. Reconciliation. On her terms. Why, he may be a Danish prince with more money than Warren Buffett and more charisma than Jesus, but he just can’t be happy until his darling says yes.

The moral of the story is that an occasionally bitchy woman who is less than beautiful (since that describes 99.9% of women movie-watchers, that’s quite a market) she can still bag Prince Charming.

That said…

“My Big Fat Greek Wedding” wins the prize for sheer wittiness.

Apostic called My Man Godfrey a romantic comedy. Funny, he’s right, but I never thought of it that way. I don’t see anything remotely romantic about William Powell’s Godfrey, and he so clearly dominates the picture, I never thought of it as more than a William Powell tour de force. It helped, though, that Carole Lombard was in that movie, the perfect foil to Godfrey’s rare moments of befuddlement.

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What Are the Best Romantic Comedies Of All Time?

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates!

In partnership with the new fiction publishing platform Liberty Island, PJ Lifestyle is going to begin promoting and co-hosting a series of debates and discussions about popular culture. The goal is to figure out what works and what doesn’t so that in the future we can promote and create better fiction and culture of our own. These are public brainstorming sessions for writers and culture advocates interested in developing a more vibrant popular culture. You’re invited to submit your answers to any of these questions — or a related one of your own! — that interests you:

A) in the comments

B) Via email to PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle.

C) at your blog, then let us know in the comments or via email. 

The most interesting answers may be linked, cross-posted, or published at PJ Lifestyle. 

Also check out the previous weeks’ writing prompts and email in your thoughts on any questions that strike your fancy: Questions To Figure Out Makes Some Adaptations Succeed and Others Fail5 Questions So We Can Figure Out the Cream of the Crop In Popular Music Genres5 Geek Questions To Provoke Debates About the Future of Sci-Fi and Fantasy5 Controversial Questions To Inspire Spirited Debates About Music.

Last Week’s Pop Culture Debates focused on video games, so it seems only reasonable that this week should go in the opposite direction: so how about a week of discussing the best/worst/over/underrated in romantic movies and books?

Do the 5 movies embedded in this post crack your top 10 list?

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What Creative Magic Makes Some Adaptations Succeed and Others Fail?

Saturday, June 7th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates!

In partnership with the new fiction publishing platform Liberty Island, PJ Lifestyle is going to begin promoting and co-hosting a series of debates and discussions about popular culture. The goal is to figure out what works and what doesn’t so that in the future we can promote and create better fiction and culture of our own. These are public brainstorming sessions for writers and culture advocates interested in developing a more vibrant popular culture. You’re invited to submit your answers to any of these questions — or a related one of your own! — that interests you:

A) in the comments

B) Via email to PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle.

C) at your blog, then let us know in the comments or via email. 

The most interesting answers may be linked, cross-posted, or published at PJ Lifestyle. 

Also check out the previous weeks’ writing prompts and email in your thoughts on any questions that strike your fancy: 5 Questions So We Can Figure Out the Cream of the Crop In Popular Music Genres5 Geek Questions To Provoke Debates About the Future of Sci-Fi and Fantasy5 Controversial Questions To Inspire Spirited Debates About Music.

1. Which Science Fiction Novels Should Be Made into Films and TV Miniseries?

2. Lord of the Rings Vs. Harry Potter: Which Film Series Better Captured their Books’ Spirit?

3. What Are the 10 Most Disastrous Comic Book Adaptations?

4. Is It Better To Adapt Books as Netflix Shows and TV Mini-Series Instead of Films?

5. Which Video Games Should Be Adapted Into Films or TV Shows?

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Which Video Games Should Be Respected As Art?

Friday, June 6th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates!

In partnership with the new fiction publishing platform Liberty Island, PJ Lifestyle is going to begin promoting and co-hosting a series of debates and discussions about popular culture. The goal is to figure out what works and what doesn’t so that in the future we can promote and create better fiction and culture of our own. These are public brainstorming sessions for writers and culture advocates interested in developing a more vibrant popular culture. You’re invited to submit your answers to any of these questions — or a related one of your own! — that interests you:

A) in the comments

B) Via email to PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle.

C) at your blog, then let us know in the comments or via email. 

The most interesting answers may be linked, cross-posted, or published at PJ Lifestyle. This week we’re talking about video games. See Monday’s question:  ”What Are the Top 10 Classic Nintendo Games?,”  Tuesday’s: “What Are the Most Overrated Video Game Franchises?,” Wednesday’s: “Which Generation of Nintendo Game Consoles Gave You the Most Joy?”, Thursday’s: “Do Some Violent Video Games Actually Inspire Real World Killing?

Also check out from last week’s discussion about adaptations: Monday’s question “Which Science Fiction Novels Should Be Made into Films and TV Miniseries?,” Tuesday’s question “Lord of the Rings Vs. Harry Potter: Which Film Series Better Captured their Books’ Spirit?,”  Wednesday’s question “What Are the 10 Most Disastrous Comic Book Adaptations?“, Thursday’s question “Is It Better To Adapt Books as Netflix Shows and TV Mini-Series Instead of Films?,” Friday “Which Video Games Should Be Adapted Into Films or TV Shows?“ 

See the previous weeks’ writing prompts and email in your thoughts on any questions that strike your fancy: 5 Questions So We Can Figure Out the Cream of the Crop In Popular Music Genres5 Geek Questions To Provoke Debates About the Future of Sci-Fi and Fantasy5 Controversial Questions To Inspire Spirited Debates About Music.

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Jon Bishop: When We Start Playing Oscar-Winning Movies

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Next week’s subject for pop culture debates is still up for grabs. Please leave your suggestions in the comments for the next realm in pop culture we should discuss. 

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