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.

This week’s show runs the gamut culturally, from a production of “Uncle Vanya” in “Live Event of the Week” and a discussion about whether the play is a comedy, to stories of jury duty prompted by a “Lawsuit of the Week”, from an excellent documentary recommendation by a loyal listener like you (yes, YOU!) to a deep dive analysis of the U.S. box office (including a quiz!). The success of Where the Crawdads Sing gets paid particular attention, as does the “Mission: Impossible” franchise. The once-every-ten years Sight and Sound poll of the greatest films ever made leads to a discussion of the Daniels, Edgar Wright and Roy Andersson. Finally, great stories about the making of David Lynch’s Dune, Blue Velvet and The Straight Story get shared.

12 years ago this week, your friends in podcasting were recording their first show in stereo (rather than the two channel mono that was absolutely bonkers) and were discussing Gary Oldman’s sex appeal and The Last Mimzy. A clip from that discussion opens week’s show before Phil provides an update on his recovery from AND preparation for eye surgery, and Dean provides an update on some very interesting live comedy shows he is doing. One is his improv episode of “The X-Files” and you can see it this month in Detroit! Then, the gents move this week’s episode into the Chillpak morgue, where a maverick U.S. Presidential candidate, an all-star pitcher who became a controversial author and a successful actor, one of the greatest character actors of all time, a legend of Italian cinema, and a star of the original “Willy Wonka” all get remembered in “Celebrity Deaths”. A couple more thoughts related to last week’s discussion of what approach will most likely lead to creating great television get shared. Then, Dean and Phil discuss the controversy surrounding the American Cinematheque and the landmark Egyptian Theatre. Finally, they compare notes on Alfred Hitchcock’s fascinating Rope and the recent releases Us from Jordan Poole and Under the Silver Lake from David Robert Mitchell.  

Following up on one of their best episodes ever, your friends in podcasting return with the latest installment of Dean’s Down Under Bucket List (before he moves to Detroit)! Then, after a discussion of the visual symbolism of watching Aretha Franklin and John McCain memorialized in back-to-back days, Dean and Phil tackle the current season of “Better Call Saul”, the upcoming season of “Man in the High Castle”, the new movie from Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman) and the Spike Lee joint Do The Right Thing (at almost 30!). Then, an actress with a once-promising, high-profile career who was shot and killed by police and the writer with the most ever combined Tony and Oscar nominations are remembered in “Celebrity Deaths”.