Re-Introducing Sub-Cult, Now at Nathan Rabin's Happy Place!


I have referred to this here website in the past as Nathan Rabin’s Happy Place and column graveyard after outside columns like My World of Flops, The Simpsons Decade and Pod-Canon ended up here after getting cancelled by the websites that originally commissioned them. As is generally the case with me, calling the site an outside column graveyard is less a joke than a way of acknowledging a painful truth in quasi-humorous way. 

Well, the graveyard just got a little bigger and a little more prestigious, because I am both proud and a little embarrassed to welcome my column Sub-Cult to the website after a three year run on Rotten Tomatoes. I started writing Sub-Cult not long after I was laid off from The Dissolve, at a time when I desperately needed both income and exposure.

Sub-Cult gave me both and a lot of freedom to write about what I felt passionately about and not just what would attract page-views. I wrote about a lot of great stuff for the column. We began on an audacious if inauspicious note with a tribute to the homey charms of the Allen Covert vehicle Grandma’s Boy and over the course of three years tackled everything from Falling Down to Rat Race to Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping to Snakes On a Plane to What We Do in the Shadows to Scott Pilgrim Versus the World to The Burbs.


Alas, all good things must come to an end, particularly in the world of pop culture media, where it’s increasingly beginning to look like all things, good OR bad, must come to an end, and sooner rather than later. Yet as Semisonic so hauntingly sang, every new beginning comes with some other beginning’s end. 

I was disappointed to learn that the column was being cancelled but not surprised. It felt like the column had an appreciative readership and I’ve always enjoyed writing it but it’s tough to build an audience online these days with a column devoted to semi-obscure pop culture and Rotten Tomatoes certainly gave the column a fair shake. I hope to continue writing my column The Zeroes for Rotten Tomatoes and would like to freelance for them in other capacities in the future as well. 

Man cannot live on Patreon money alone, however, so if you're editor looking for writers, please do contact me at as I'm overflowing with ideas and would love to line up another column or just get more freelance work to support my growing family. 

So Sub-Cult will now be a column here at the Happy Place. We’re starting off today with Greg Araki’s delightfully daffy tribute to the wacky tobaccy, Smiley Face and then most likely Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, the first movie in an ongoing tribute to Nicolas Cage leading up to the release of Mandy on September 14th. I’m also planning to write a mini-series in September where I write about all of the Dirty Harry movies and The Coup albums in chronological order. Don't worry. They’ll be separate columns. Even I’m not that self-indulgent or gimmicky. 


The idea of Sub-Cult, initially, was to write about quirky films that were on the verge of becoming cult movies, that were attracting devoted, loyal followings but hadn’t quite broken through. So something like The Big Lebowski obviously wouldn’t be right for the column, but something like Burn After Reading or A Serious Man might. Note to self: write about both Burn After Reading and A Serious Man for Sub-Cult 2.0. 

So please do let me know what movies you’d like me to cover in the column, although with the Control Nathan Rabin 4.0 option that “suggestion” becomes an angry order, and for only a one time, one hundred dollar pledge. 

I’m bummed to be losing another outside outlet but I’m excited to re-launch the column here at Nathan Rabin’s Happy Place. I’m going to try to write it regularly, something that has not always been the case with other columns that have migrated here. I haven’t written a new Simpsons Decade since that made the big transition, and even My World of Flops, which I absolutely adore, I don't write as frequently as I should. 


I hope to change that in the future. I’d like to have more of a balance and Happy Place is so exhausting and overwhelming that I generally have to focus on stuff I need to cover for the podcast or for the Control Nathan Rabin 4.0 patrons. Everything else comes after that, unfortunately. 


But I really do love Sub-Cult and think there’s still a lot of life left in it, so join me in welcoming one of my all-time favorite columns to my all time favorite website, although I’m a little biased, being both the website’s proprietor as well as a raging egomaniac. 

I make my living primarily through Patreon so if you would be kind enough to consider donating as little as a dollar over at it’d be