Longtime listeners know that Dean Haglund and Phil Leirness are often at their best when things in the world seem their worst. If an hour of insightful, inspiring, heartfelt and humorous conversation is something your soul could use at present, give a listen as your friends in podcasting try to make sense of a world torn apart by pandemic, shaken to the core by violence, and held spellbound by explorers slipping the surly bonds of earth, as for the first time in a decade, America sent astronauts into space. Dean and Phil discuss all of it and share an essay by a good friend of the show about a passage in history more than 50 years old that seems more relevant than ever. They also tackle the important question, “Can a puppet show provide healing?” And that leads to Dean’s detailed analysis of a particular song. In “Celebrity Deaths”, Dean and Phil remember one of Phil’s very favorite character actors, a man who began and concluded his acting career with Best Picture Oscar winners. They also remember a groundbreaking playwright, screenwriter and activist, as well as an Asian-American pioneer for civil rights and social justice. Finally, they commend Netflix for their social stance and for a brand new comedy series.
With how much ground your friends in podcasting cover on this week’s show, you’ll forgive them going almost eight minutes overtime, won’t you? The show starts with a “Live Event of the Week” as Phil regales Dean with tales of his 49th birthday celebrations on a day that involved marionettes, Norse mythology and the oldest restaurant in Hollywood. Then, for the first time in ages, Dean and Phil discuss what they’re reading. After that, it’s onto “Celebrity Deaths” which contains a correction of a correction from last week, as well as remembrances of a former teen idol, a jazz great, a country music great, a gospel great and two award-winning actors. Then, a few more thoughts about the latest news involving toxic masculinity, the United States Senate and “Whataboutism” before Dean and Phil roll up their sleeves to discuss almost a dozen movies, including both the 1974 and 2017 versions of Murder on the Orient Express, Orson Welles’ 1952 Othello, Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women, and this year’s award hopefuls Last Flag Flying, Call Me By Your Name,Lady Bird, Mudbound, Hostiles and The Disaster Artist.