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.