On the 8th of May 2007, good friends and collaborators Dean Haglund and Phil Leirness started to “change the way people listen to the internet” with a free weekly podcast called “From the Heart of Hollywood”. Eventually, of course, the show became known as YOUR Chillpak Hollywood Hour and today the show turns 16 years of age, old enough to drive itself! Your friends in podcasting (and broadcasting) commemorate the occasion with very special episode where they discuss the ways the world has changed since they started the show 16 years ago, and how they predict the world will be different 16 years from now!
This week’s show begins with a round of Dean and Phil’s vintage movie ad game before becoming a preview of April events to which Dean and Phil are looking forward. From there, the show seques into a discussion of the latest news surrounding the Rust on-set shooting trial as well as the latest news involving the ever-expanding on-screen universes of John Wick and Blade Runner, during which Phil questions whether the USA can ever rid itself of gun violence when we so profoundly enjoy fictional depictions of such violence. Two cinematic classics by the great French director René Clément get discussed (one a 1960 adaptation of The Talented Mr. Ripley and the other a 1970 Lewis Carroll and Alfred Hitchcock-inspired film that turned Charles Bronson into the biggest global box office draw), and a circus film from Carol Reed gets celebrated, along with the body of work by its star, Burt Lancaster. In “Celebrity Deaths”, the original Wednesday Addams, the co-creator of “Sesame Street”, and the star of “James at 15” and “Salem’s Lot” all get remembered. Finally, your friends in podcasting and broadcasting commemorate the 12th anniversary of THE “comedy soundcast soundcast” Succotash!
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.
Dean is on a crazy road trip from Detroit, one that has led him to Des Moines and Denver. What city beginning with “De” will be his next stop? You will find out! The show opens with a tale of bad behavior by one of the biggest stars currently living in the Hollywood Hills. The latest on the Rust on-set shooting tragedy, and ensuing legal chaos, gets covered. A holocaust survivor-turned-sitcom star, the composer of one of the most iconic themes in cinema history, and an Oscar-nominated filmmaker all get remembered in “Celebrity Deaths”. A whole mess of 2022 movies get reviewed, including leading “Best Picture” hopeful Women Talking, as well as The Woman King, Where the Crawdads Sing, and The Outfit. An overlooked noir-ish classic from Carol Reed gets reappraised, as does a Nazi gold caper film from the 1970s, and a truly bizarre satire about presidential assassination from the author of “The Manchurian Candidate” and “Prizzi’s Honor”.
After a brief cold open about Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, Dean and Phil switch gears from the Holiday Season to “Awards Season” as they tackle a handful of this year’s award hopefuls, including Tár, Don’t Worry Darling, The Menu, Cate Blanchett and Ralph Fiennes. There is a brand new “Lawsuit of the Week” AGAIN involving the tragic Alec Baldwin-starring western Rust. An email from a loyal listener like you (yes, YOU!) about a celebrity death will be followed by … “Celebrity Deaths”! A versatile actor, a comedy impresario, and a legendary prop comic have their lives and legacies celebrated. All that, PLUS Phil shares a hilarious account of a recent 50th high school reunion.
Dean is getting into the spirit of Halloween, Phil is dressing up in steam punk to judge a fashion show, and they are both curious about Jim Thorpe PA, and they talk about all of this! The death of Nikki Finke inspires a celebration and analysis of the Deadline Hollywood website that was her creation and a discussion of a recent headline on the site about ageism in Hollywood. In “Celebrity Deaths”, Phil rants about people claiming anyone is “best known for” a particular work before he and Dean celebrate the lives and legacies of actress Angela Lansbury, actor Robbie Coltrane, author Peter Straub, groundbreaking disc jockey Art Laboe, and significant Hollywood matriarch Eileen Ryan. There is much discussion of the greatest film directors of all time (according to a 2002 Sight and Sound poll) before Dean and wrap things up where they began with Halloween-themed movie viewing.
A cold open about a … melon festival (?!) … inspires a story about racial hostility in Turlock in the early 20th century. From there, Phil is inspired to pick up on a brilliant observation Dean made last week about Mike Nichols’ Working Girl and apply that observation as a potential thru-line for this celebrated director’s career. Alec Baldwin gets into hot water for tweeting support for Anne Heche and Salman Rushdie gets stabbed on-stage right before hailing the USA as the last bastion of freedom of speech. Dean and Phil try to make sense of both of these events. The return of “What We’re Reading” sees Dean learning how to sketch people’s hands and Phil learning what the next World War will be like! In “Celebrity Deaths”, a good friend and frequent collaborator of Stanley Kubrick, a popular and inspiring painter, a legendary French movie star, and the composer of one of the most indelible theme songs of all time all get remembered. Finally, Dean and Phil discuss the finely-tuned instincts Marlon Brando possessed as a great entertainer, and Phil hails the allegorical storytelling on display in Jordan Peele’s Nope.
Dean is back from the UK and reports on his travels. Phil has been availing himself of classic movies and has thoughts on an indie gem from the 1980s, a mind-bending oddity from Joseph Losey, and a 1960 epic about the founding of Israel. The episodic series “Space Force”, “Barry” season 3, “Our Flag Means Death”, “Hacks” season 2, “The Book of Boba Fett”, “Obi-Wan Kenobi” and season 2 of “The Mandalorian” get discussed. Four giants of the music industry and 3 beloved character actors get remembered in “Celebrity Deaths”. Finally, Dean and Phil explain why Tom Cruise was probably the perfect person to produce and star in a brilliant sequel 36 years after the original, and Phil shares some inspiring words relating to Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
This weekend, Dean and Phil got together in-person on the “American Riviera” for a fascinating discussion inspired by a loyal listener like you (yes, YOU!). The conversation involves the importance of awards not only recognizing and rewarding great work, but also rewarding the great stories surrounding the making of that work! Somehow that inspires Phil to reappraise the entire filmography of James Mason. That great Belgian sleuth, Hercule Poirot, gets more time in the spotlight, as Dean and Phil take a little more time giving both a doff of the cap and a wag of the finger to Kenneth Branagh’s Death on the Nile and Phil, who took the time during the week to unearth the final Peter Ustinov performance as Agatha Christie’s protagonist, has some thoughts about Appointment with Death from the infamous Cannon Film Group. Finally, in a riff on their usual “Celebrity Deaths” section, Dean and Phil discuss three non-celebrity friends who died recently.