Best laid plans … Phil had to hit the road for an emergency trip this week, which inspires him to ask Dean whether “plans” are a thing of the past, a luxury one is foolish to consider in our contemporary world. Of course plans are being made to re-start motion picture and television production, and your friends in podcasting will analyze these plans and how movies and TV shows will be different both on-screen and behind-the-scenes as the industry moves forward. A headline-making shakeup in show business occurred at the vaunted comedy institution Second City in the wake of recent social justice protests. This will get discussed in depth, as will America’s empathy deficit, with some insightful analysis and heartfelt and hilarious stories about empathy, or the lack thereof, from Dean and Phil. So, buckle up, and if this week’s show seems a bit all-over-the-map topically (technically?), well rest assured, that’s because it IS coming at you from … all over the map!
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.
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.
When does one planned show become TWO shows? When Dean and Phil are recording in person in Los Angeles! Dean stopped by the historic building Phil calls home (where Oscar-nominated filmmaker Adam McKay once resided) and on this episode they discuss such wide-ranging topics as the death and life of U.S. President George H.W. Bush, the forthcoming film Vice (from Adam McKay!) about former vice-president Dick Cheney, some good news coming out of the recent California fires, the live variety stage show Phil produced on his 50th birthday, Dean’s efforts to pack up his L.A. abode and his recent Michigan adventures. All that plus a plug for their dark comedy The Lady Killers in the wake of the #MeToo moment for Neil Degrasse Tyson, and an Oscar-winning filmmaker and a legendary magician turned character actor are remembered in “Celebrity Deaths”.
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.
Dean Haglund shares news of his weekly pay-per-laughs improv show where he performs an episode of “The X-Files” live on-stage in Sydney. Phil Leirness reports on his visit to the restored, remodeled and re-opened Los Angeles landmark Clifton’s Cafeteria. Phil then gets on a soapbox about the true purpose of Thanksgiving and the true meaning of gratitude. A legend of Japanese cinema is remembered. A classic of sci-fi cinema is celebrated … And then, your friends in podcasting rush headlong into “the season of self-congratulation”, a time when award-hopeful movies are released en masse and award nominations and film critic top ten lists are announced almost daily. This week, award hopefuls like “Bridge of Spies”, “The Danish Girl” and “The Big Short” and box office blockbusters like “Spectre” are discussed and the Spirit Award nominations (for the best in independent film) are analyzed.
This week’s installment of YOUR Chillpak Hollywood Hour features the return of special (recurring) guest and free-lance journalist Yoshi Kato! He has recently returned from the Tokyo International Music Market and he offers up a full report on a life-time achievement award for cinema icon “Beat” Takeshi Kitano and two hot bands from Japan: VAMPS and Sakanaction.
Yoshi joins your friends in podcasting in a spirited discussion on HBO shows, the faults in The Fault in Our Stars, Foxcatcher, The Imitation Game and a commemorative stamp of … Dean Haglund?!