Case of the Mondays: My Pop Culture Weekend

   Whether you’ve been following and supporting The Mental Vacation from the beginning or you have just recently stumbled across this blog, at some point I’m sure you’ve wondered,

How in the world do they actually watch that much stuff?

   Believe me, it has its challenges, but for the most part we watch as much as we are humanly capable of viewing. It is nothing short of a miracle that we even manage to have a life outside what is our weekly watch schedule. And yet, we make sure to balance how/when/what we watch in any given week or weekend.

   Let me walk you through mine for starters………………….

 Pitch Perfect 2


  I started out by pulling a double feature at the movies on Friday. I chose Pitch Perfect 2 (rather it was chosen for me by my wife) and Tomorrowland. Both of which I knew weren’t going to be amazing, but I had either seen everything else that was out or I just wanted to rip the band-aid that made up these two films off as quickly as possible because I knew I would eventually have to watch them. Overall, they weren’t that bad and you’ll probably be seeing my late reviews on them today and tomorrow. Either way, it was a nice beginning to my weekend.

  The Duff

   Later that evening, I saw The Duff and loved it. I had been in the mood for a romantic comedy for some reason and this was perfect for such a moment. It was an interesting modern-day version of what we are used to seeing from earlier movies like this when it comes to Rom-Coms and believe me, that is high enough praise for a movie that’s called The Duff. I thought it was hilarious in parts and overall told a great story. Definitely an easy summer watch if you haven’t had the chance to see it yet.

 Unfinished Business

   From there, I then turned around and watched Unfinished Business with Vince Vaughn, Tom Wilkinson and Dave Franco. Frankly, this movie killed whatever film buzz I had previously. There were at least 3-4 moments where I was laughing so hard I actually shed some tears, but in between those times I was just on my phone or trying to do everything I could to not pay attention to this movie. Why? Because from the very first scene you already know what happens. You know they win and the only thing left to figure out is how, which trust me, is not that big of a deal. I really hope True Detective season 2 is as good and enthralling as the first because it would mean a reboot per se on the careers of Vince Vaughn and Taylor Kitsch (I’ll get to him later). It saddens me to watch films that Vaughn is in where he clearly is trying to recapture the magic that was Old School or Wedding Crashers and the result is just a sad shell of a movie.

 Mission Impossible: 1,3 & 4

   This next portion of my weekend I’m not going to go a lot into detail about other than to say this: I was on a Tom Cruise kick for some reason which led me down a rabbit hole of most of his movies.

How many of his movies?” you might ask…….the answer is 5 (soon to be 6)

  Well, I had watched Mission Impossible 2 the previous weekend and so why not finish off the set ammiright? In one day, I proceeded to watch Mission Impossible 1, 3 and 4 Ghost Protocol. For some reason, I had it in my head that the fifth installment was coming out soon and I needed to get a jump on it. It doesn’t come out until the end of July so needless to say…I had time. But no matter, I checked that Mission Impossible box. Over and done with. Might I say, I love those movies. That franchise can do no wrong in my eyes. From directors like Brian De Palma, Jon Woo, J.J. Abrams to Brad Bird, all of them have added something special to this franchise in their own way and I can’t wait for Rogue Nation.

 Mr. Robot premiere

   Next, I watched the Mr. Robot season premiere from USA. It premieres on June 24th but a copy of it released early. Much like the Supergirl pilot, I think this was a ploy to garner more discussion and word of mouth traffic about this show. It worked! I will save the full blown discussion about Mr. Robot for when my counterpart and I are together, however, let me reassure you that this show is something special and I’m proud of USA Network for taking a chance on something like this. It was an excellent pilot that set up a world that is very real and very misunderstood. At one point during the show, I leaned over to my wife and simply said, “He’s like the Dexter of the cyber world.(drops mic). She didn’t like the reference and I was slightly saddened because I swore in my mind that that was a clever line. Needless to say, WATCH THIS SHOW! 

 Outlander Season Finale

   At this point in my weekend, I struggled a little bit. I knew I needed to finish Outlander, but I didn’t really want to at the time because I had remembered where the previous episode left off and I knew it was going to be emotionally draining. Early reviews I had skimmed on Twitter were only confirming that the finale was more of the same, however, I waded back into the pool that was my Scottish obsession still questioning myself after investing in 16 episodes what was it that kept drawing me back to this show? I still have no concrete answer. It was a solid finale that left me actually excited about next season. Even as I’m writing this I am shaking my head as to why I watch this show…… clue.

This next one is a weird one….

  John Carter

   You know how sometimes you catch like 10-20 minutes of a movie on TV while you’re in between shows or movies and then move onto watching something else? Well, that happened to me only instead of a quality film it turned out to be John Carter. Now I’m one of the few people that didn’t hate this movie. I must admit I’m partial to Taylor Tim Riggins Kitsch but this movie is asking too much from a viewer who hasn’t read the books that it was based upon. However, I was committed until the end and watched it in its entirety. Riggins Kitsch is another person who I hope that through the success of True Detective gets a second chance at the leading man roles. He’s a decent actor who was at the forefront of a huge box office bomb. He’s been in “movie jail” long enough people. Texas Forever and FREE TAYLOR KITSCH!

   Back to my Tom Cruise obsession…

 The Firm

   I had been dancing around The Firm as my next watch for most of the weekend and finally decided to hit play. The movie was during Cruise’s peak early/mid-90s era and still holds up for the most part. The funny thing that you cannot look past nor forgive is the 90s fashion. Good Lord it’s horrible!!!! I’m talking pleated pants, huge brick cell phones, suspenders and loafers horrible. And the soundtrack is atrocious! It’s this meandering piano modern jazz/elevator music hybrid that literally takes over the story and is so distracting I actually laughed out loud at times. It was not a good choice going into my regular “Sunday Funday” routine, but I knew that those shows wouldn’t let me down so the risk/reward was worth it.


Game of Thrones

 Silicon Valley


   Like I had hoped my Sunday shows came through for me. Game of Thrones delivered its best episode of the entire series and will be talked about for a very long time. Silicon Valley was kind of in the middle of the road. They have produced better episodes, but they’ve also done worse. Finally, Veep was more of the same. It had funny moments, but overall it was nothing to impressed with. Mind you, I was still coming down off my GoT high. DANG! That episode was amazing!!!! WARNING: For our Sunday Funday podcast, I fully expect this episode of GoT to take up A LOT of our time.

  But back to my Tom Cruise obsession……..

 Jerry Maguire

    I don’t know what’s going on in my mind at the moment, but I guess I’m trying to run through most of Cruise’s nineties filmography. Why??? I’m not sure yet, but I will tell you when I finish. Jerry Maguire was next on my Cruise list. I’ll be honest, this movie came out when I was rather young and I just didn’t really care for it. Now that I’ve had a chance to go back and watch it I loved it! As far as romantic (dark) comedies go, this is one of the all-time greats. It was also amazing to see Cameron Crowe, the writer and director of this movie, at his finest. He had a distinct writing style and it showed. This was back when he was just getting to the top of his game, that coming later with Almost Famous. It pains me to see his most recent movie Aloha just get blasted by the critics. I’m secretly hoping that when I eventually see it there will be something still great about Crowe’s influence. Fingers crossed. I guess at this point I could make a Jerry Maguire reference about Cruise like: Tom Cruise……completes me. But I’m not gonna do that.

Editor’s Note: I already plan on watching Far and Away tonight after all of my other shows. It’s on my TOP 10 all-time favorite movies and is a must watch in my opinion.

  So there it is in a nutshell. My pop culture weekend. I managed to watch more than I actually thought possible. To be honest, I was on a kind of nostalgic movie kick when I should’ve been finishing seasons of shows I had already started, but I guess I needed a break from the regular viewing. What was your pop culture weekend like? What did you watch (against your better judgement)? 


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