Because Phil is still traveling in Europe, this week’s episode is a very special show. Several weeks back, Slate published a “hit piece” on the comedic actor Martin Short, questioning his talent, his career, and accusing him of being nothing but annoying (while also acknowledging that he might just be the most genuinely decent and kind person in show business). Many people have weighed in and come to Martin Short’s defense since that article. This week, Dean and Phil take their turn, as they count down their all-time Top Ten “Martin Shorts”. Grammatically incorrect? Sure. Fascinating and hilarious? You bet!
A question from a loyal listener like you (yes, YOU!) leads to a passionate and thoughtful discussion about what television and movies you should be watching while no new television and movies are being made due to the writers’ and actors’ strikes. Moreover, Dean and Phil will discuss the ways all of us can greatly improve the chances of an equitable outcome to the contractual impasses. In honor of the actors, four frequently overlooked films boasting excellent performances by major stars will get remembered. And two of the greatest films of all time will get analyzed. Plus, this week’s show includes more on Raging Bull, further insights into “wabi-sabi”, and the return of “The Live Event of the Week”.
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.
This week’s show begins with a cold open wherein Dean and Phil discuss Phil’s 4th wedding anniversary, 100 years of Disney, and 16 years of Chillpak, while also celebrating the life and cultural legacy of Burt Bacharach. Dean then reveals his plans to see 80 for Brady (!) before he and Phil compare notes on Pearl, the sequel to X. Phil then sings the praises of a little-known noir-ish detective story starring Lucille Ball and directed by Douglas Sirk, and the jazzy 1966 exercise in style, Tokyo Drifter. After that, it’s time to open the Chillpak morgue for a handful of truly fascinating “Celebrity Deaths” as screen icon Raquel Welch, Award-winning director Hugh Hudson, former child star Austin Majors, and one of the greatest production designers of all time, Eugene Lee, get remembered.
Their cross-country holiday travels behind them, Dean is back in Michigan, Phil is back in Los Angeles, and they will regale you with stories of Hollywood parties, catch you up on awards season news, analyze the merits of two award hopefuls (the disastrous Babylon and the controversial The Whale) and one indie horror film franchise. They will also remember an award-winning cinematographer, an iconic journalist, a revolutionary fashion designer, and one of the most famous athletes of all time in “Celebrity Deaths”.
Dean is back in the environs of the Motor City, Phil is back in Los Angeles, and they have a lot to discuss on this week’s show … Phil asks Dean about his SoCal travel adventures and about Dean’s grandfather, a truly remarkable man. Dean and Phil preview new seasons from two utterly terrific television series and also discuss a current show you might just want to check out. The box office is, at long last, seemingly revived and there are a lot of movies out! Dean and Phil discuss some of them, but pay particular attention to the return of Ke Huy Quan, a new Chris Pine spy vehicle, a classic 1960s musical from France, an unusually personal 1981 detective film from Peter Bogdanovich, and the movie that features James Stewart’s all-time favorite performance he ever gave. In the return of “Celebrity Deaths”, several sitcom character actors, a beloved stand-up comic and voice actor, and a groundbreaking dancer, all get remembered.
Phil Leirness is joined by music journalist (and friend of the show) Yoshi Kato, who briefly fills in for a tardy Dean Haglund, to discuss the lives and legacies of six notables from the world of music in “Celebrity Deaths”, as well as to set the table concerning a later discussion of Asian Pacific American Heritage month and the 1961 film Flower Drum Song. Dean then arrives just in time to remember a prolific character actor, the decorated police officer who played Eddie Haskell on TV’s “Leave it to Beaver”, and the great Fred Willard. Dean and Phil then answer an email from a loyal listener about an upcoming Michael Bay film set in the world of Covid-19. This leads to a fascinating discussion and argument before attention is turned to the ramping up of film and TV production and the announcement that the Venice Film Festival will go ahead as planned this September. Dean then sings the praises of two different television series, Phil sings the praises of two classic movies about gambling. Then the conversation turns to the careers of Sessue Hayakawa, one of the first heartthrobs of the silver screen, the hilarious and brilliant Jack Soo, and the tragically overlooked Reiko Sato.
After several weeks of special shows, your friends in podcasting are back to doing what they do best, providing irreverent, insightful and occasionally inspiring conversation on a wide array of entertainment topics … In “What We’re Reading”, Dean and Phil discuss Tintoretto and Hillbilly Elegy. In “Live Event of the Week” they discuss The Grammy Museum and a stirring concert featuring Bebe Rexha. In “Celebrity Deaths”, they pay tribute to five musical greats, a character actor, an Oscar-nominated writer, director and actor, the creator of “Ugly Betty”, a groundbreaking member of “Monty Python”, a TV star of the 50’s and 60’s, and an NYPD police detective. All that, plus they begin what will be an ongoing discussion about great monologues in movies delivered by women, AND they tackle the recent SAG Awards.
As loyal listeners know, Phil darn near went blind. As a result, he and Dean have not discussed books in a long time! Well, Phil’s eyesight is back, thank you very much, and so is “What We’re Reading” on this week’s show! In fact, Phil’s selection ties in very much to TWO conversations Dean and Phil will have this week. One about Buster Keaton’s “The General” (which will re-visit last week’s theme of “failure”). The other about what television your friends in podcasting are watching right now. Comedy, drama, mystery and the paranormal are all on the small screen menu! And before your friends in podcasting depart from the small screen, they discuss the current SNL controversy surrounding the firing of a recently-hired performer.
Robbie Consing is one of the top storyboard artists in the film biz. Since starting in 1991, Robbie has lent his illustrating talents to the pre-visualization of more than forty feature films. He has worked on such blockbusters as Batman Forever, The Rock, Face/Off, Armageddon, Inspector Gadget, The Haunting, Mission: Impossible 2, Pearl Harbor, Minority Report, X2, Terminator 3, National Treasure, Mr. & Mrs. Smith and Transformers. He has collaborated with such acclaimed directors as David Fincher, Oliver Stone, John Woo, Bryan Singer, Steven Spielberg, Doug Liman and JJ Abrams. Currently, he is hard at work on the new Spider-Man reboot. Most important of all, he’s a loyal listener of YOUR Chillpak Hollywood Hour! And now he’s our guest!