This week’s show begins with “What We’re Reading” and continues by asking such big questions as: Is the John Wick franchise the best action franchise ever? Is “Andor” the best iteration of Star Wars ever? Is “Severance” one of the best television series ever? Was there anything memorable from last week’s Oscar telecast? Are the prosecutors in the Alec Baldwin Rust shooting case arriving to work each day in a clown car? Was comic strip “Dilbert” a victim of cancel culture? Are the edited versions of the James Bond novels coming out an effort to get ahead of cancel culture or a shameless money grab? Both? Is Peacock’s “Poker Face” Rian Johnson’s remake of “Columbo” or “The Fugitive”? Or both? All that gets discussed and three popular actors get remembered in “Celebrity Deaths”.
Dean and Phil commiserate about power outages in Dean’s Michigan neighborhood and about snow in Los Angeles! More important than winter season weather, however, are which way the winds are blowing in Hollywood’s award season and they discuss the latest news and how it affects handicapping this year’s Best Picture Oscar race. Long before it was called “Best Picture”, the top Oscar was called “Best Production” and Phil analyzes one of its earliest recipients – Cimarron, one of the only westerns ever to win the top prize from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Another western also has Phil’s attention: Red Sun starring Charles Bronson, Toshiro Mifune and Alain Delon. Phil follows up on last week’s remembrance of Raquel Welch, by sharing thoughts on and stories about one of her earliest films, Lady in Cement starring Frank Sinatra. Finally, Phil saw a screening of the great Italian classic The Conformist and discussion of this leads to appreciations on the art of editing and some of its greatest practitioners, as well as an appreciation for the great production designer Ferdinando Scarfiotti. Dean also saw a movie this week – the current (modest) box office hit 80 for Brady and Dean actually sings its praises! Dean also has two personal stories about the great stand-up comedian-turned-actor Richard Belzer (with whom he starred in and episode of “The X-Files” exploring the origin of the Lone Gunmen). Other notables remembered in “Celebrity Deaths” include a big screen star of the 60s and 70s, and a 6 time Emmy-nominated television actress of the 80’s and 90s.
Recorded late last week from a certain “historic building in downtown Los Angeles”, this episode begins with Phil doffing his cap about what Dean got right in discussing Sarah Polley’s Women Talking a few weeks back AND wagging his finger at what Dean got wrong while discussing Netflix’s “Wednesday” this past week. Phil then hails Joel de la Fuente (of “Man in the High Castle” and most recently “The Mysterious Benedict Society”) as his favorite actor. At that point, Dean and Phil switch gears for a show ten years in the making, analyzing the just-released, decennial Sight and Sound poll of all-time greatest films! What Dean and Phil were expecting and what surprised them leads to what promises to be an ongoing conversation about re-contextualization and the importance of learning how works of art resonate with different groups and different cultures.
The great film theorist André Bazin described the genre of the movie western as “the American film par excellence.” Your friends in podcasting could not agree more! That’s why on this week’s show (their 2nd of 10 “Top Ten” shows commemorating this, the 10th year of YOUR Chillpak Hollywood Hour), Dean and Phil count down their Top Ten All Time Westerns.
What films will make the list? What films won’t? Will Dean have difficulty numbering 10 to 1?
These questions and many more will be answered during the next 75 minutes. Enjoy!