The Abysmal Brutes

2018 The Year So Far In Pop Culture

It’s July. We are half way through 2018 and The Abysmal Brutes are looking back at what they’ve dug so far. On the TV front, shows like The Terror and Legion. Authors Sam Wiebe, William Boyle, Kristen Lepionka, Laird Barron, Jonathan Ames and Caitlin R. Kiernan released excellent fiction this year. The cinematic front brought You Were Never Really Here, Annihilation, Red Sparrow, Quiet Place and Black Sparrow.  Of course Bill throws an anachronistic curve ball by including older pop culture consumed this year. He wouldn't be Bill if he didn't. And there may or may not be an Abysmal Brutes Festival on the horizon.

Caitlin R Kiernan

Why Does Every Story Suck Now?

Pop Culture storytelling is in a deficit right now. Blockbuster movies are bust. Television shows make dark, unrelenting melodramas. And can there be a novel without the title “A Girl in the…”?  Have we heard, read and seen every story there is? Has the expressive voice of the creator been muted by studio or publisher bottom lines? Half of the Abysmal Brutes believes there is no ceiling on wondrous tales now and to come. The other half doubts the current path of cinema, television and other storytelling mediums.  Is it us? Is it you? Or does everything just suck?

Music: Matt Mitchell Project "This Town"

Writing Your Obsessions

George Savile, a British statesman and writer from the 1600’s wrote, “A man may dwell so long upon a thought that it may take him prisoner.” Our obsessions can hold us captive or set us free. Why not use writing as the key to your freedom? Allow your thrilling thoughts to ignite your fiction. Rob and Bill explore their own intrusive passions in creating characters and fictional landscapes. Hell, they even quibble on what is an obsession. Perhaps one of the Abysmal Brutes compulsions is to argue over the trivial.  Join us this episode to find out!

Music: Matt Mitchell Project "This Town"

Popcorn Time with Red Sparrow

This episode the original Brutes are back together after a short hiatus.  We catch up on what we are reading or watching in Pop Culture.  Frank Bill’s “The Savage” thrilled our own Wild Bill. Rob binged on a new sci-fi book called “Serpent’s Pact” by one W.E. Wertenberger.  The Abysmal Brutes discussion turned to a movie that got tepid reviews on Rotten Tomatoes but they found a tense modern Cold War type tale, a strong Jennifer Lawrence vehicle that is different than Atomic Blonde but held our interest just as much.  The Abysmal Brutes are back. We never left. And it’s jabberin’ time!!

Music: Matt Mitchell Project “Back to Me”

Books: “The Savage” Frank Bill

“Serpent’s Pact” W.E. Wertenberger

“Homesick for Another World” Ottessa Moshfegh

Oscar Fastball Special

The Abysmal Brutes don’t really care if you watch the 90th Academy Awards show but we celebrate them none the less.  A siege of films invaded the theaters last year to the delight of the masses and the curse of critics. The Academy membership plucked such films as “The Shape of Water”, “Dunkirk”, “Get Out”, “Darkest Hour” and “Lady Bird”.  Directors and actors considered exemplary this year are Guillermo del Toro, Allison Janney, Willem Dafoe, Greta Gerwig, Sally Hawkins, Christopher Nolan and Margot Robbie.  Rocko and Rob bring their rough-hewn opinions on who should win and who should have been nominated instead.  Get on board our Oscar Fastball Special!

The Shape of Water: Celebrating the Other with Guillermo del Toro

Once upon a time Guillermo del Toro took his passion for Creature of the Black Lagoon and re-imagined it into a Cold War fairy tale where the creature and mute cleaning woman consummate their love.  The Abysmal Brutes are lifelong fans of del Toro’s wondrous and macabre storytelling. Giant piloted robots, grotesque vampires, supernatural Nazi’s and hard luck princesses.  What is so great about del Toro’s films, is that there is so much depth and detail to discuss after a viewing. Rocko and Rob take that deep dive into this latest and most successful movies of Guillermo del Toro’s career.  Plunge into The Shape of Water with the Abysmal Brutes but mind the Gill-man and fairy princess.

Music: "This Town" Matt Mitchell Project


Top 3 Pop Culture Creators of 2017

Whoever is tired of “Best of 2017 Lists” raise your hand high? Wow. That many? Just wow. So basically all of our listeners have had their fill. Maybe that’s because you haven’t heard Rob’s love for two great P.I. novels by Sam Wiebe and Kristin Lepionka. Or that Bill couldn’t finish Christa Faust’s Money Shot fast enough. Comics, novels, films and television shows are all fair game in our endless cheerleading for Pop Culture storytelling. Mister Miracle, The Orville, Atomic Blonde, Invisible Dead, The Last Place You Look, The Driver, Money Shot and many other creations are discussed in our year end wrap up. Our business is Pop Culture storytelling and business is good.

Music: Matt Mitchell Project “Glad You’re Gone”

Finish Your Work

I’ll never finish. This story sucks. I suck. Everything I’ve written is garbage. Total soul-sucking garbage!! No one will read my book, not even my mother. Have you ever had these thoughts as a writer? Thoughts so pervasive they crush your will to create? They are mostly mind-gremlins scheming to take you off task. The one truth they do contain is that no one will read your book if you don’t FINISH. Bill and Rob confess their own issues with finishing creative work and discuss ways to fight off your own personal mind-gremlins.

Music: Matt Mitchell Project “This Town”

Dialogue Is Sacred

Are you one of those writers who think your dialogue is untouchable? That everything else is fair game for critiquing but don’t even think about changing your dialogue. Not. One. Iota. These convictions place you on Bill’s side of the battlefield. If you are of the mind that none of your writing is sacrosanct and is open to editing, you stand with Rob’s faction. All you Elmore Leonard wannabes need to pay heed. Will this frothy fracas lead to the end of the Abysmal Brutes as we know it? See whose side you belong with on this episode!

Music: Matt Mitchell Project “This Town”

Cultivating Beta Readers

A good Beta Reader is more precious than gold, Frankenstein and myrrh. I think I got one of those right and that’s why you need a Beta Reader…to let you know what doesn’t work. Clarity, tone and pacing are just a few of the areas benefiting from a second pair of eyes. Bill likens them to his “screening audience”. Rob values their worth but is experiencing a recent dearth in Beta Readers and potential candidates. The time to hunt for these valuable allies to your success in writing is now.

Music: “Life in Stereo” Matt Mitchell Project