celebrities | Connecticut Public Radio
WNPR

celebrities

Universal Pictures

The raft of renaming going on right now obviously hasn't spared popular culture. The Dixie Chicks and Lady Antebellum are now The Chicks and Lady A, respectively. Björk's record label changed its name. Democrats want to rename John Wayne Airport. FedEx has formally asked the Washington Redskins to change their name, and Guilford's board of education voted to drop the town's "Indians" nickname. And, while Splash Mountain is going to keep being called Splash Mountain, it won't be based on Song of the South anymore.

And: The King of Staten Island is the sixth feature film directed by Judd Apatow. It stars Pete Davidson (who also co-wrote the movie with Apatow and Dave Sirus) as a 24-year-old high school dropout who lives with his mother on Staten Island. It's available for rental on digital platforms.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Bill Murray, Eddie Murphy, Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, John Belushi, John Candy, Rick Moranis.

Animal House, The Blues Brothers, Beverly Hills Cop, Caddyshack, The Jerk, Ghost Busters, ¡Three Amigos!, Funny Farm, Spaceballs, Stripes.

We maybe didn't properly appreciate it at the time, but the 1980s were one of the most fertile periods ever for screen comedies and screen comedians.

This hour, a look at the mavericks who shaped a whole comedy aesthetic and at some of the most popular movie comedies ever made.

Warner Bros.

The movie musical died a long, slow death a long time ago. Right?

Well, except that there's La La Land. And Moana. And The Greatest Showman and A Star Is Born and Mary Poppins Returns. Oh, and Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman. And Frozen II and The Lion King and Aladdin.

Those are just from the last five years. And I could keep going, but then I might forget to mention that Steven Spielberg's version of West Side Story is scheduled to come out this year or that the Hamilton movie comes out next week.

This hour, a long look at the long-dead movie musical. Long live the movie musical.

Hernán Piñera / flickr creative commons

We've done this show every year since 2013. We almost certainly didn't do it 2012. But we did in 2011. And there's good circumstantial evidence that we did it in 2010 too, but no actual record of that possibly inaugural episode survives.

Point is: Our song of the summer show is a bit of a tradition. It's a tradition that... makes some people angry, we realize. It's a tradition that we're not sure has ever made anyone happy.

And that all has to do with how we define the term. We use the Amanda Dobbins definition:

Miramax, LLC

No Country for Old Men. Fargo. The Big Lebowski. Raising Arizona. Barton Fink. Miller's Crossing. Blood Simple. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.

Over the past 36 years, Joel and Ethan Coen have reliably been among the most recognizable voices in moviemaking.

This hour: a Noseish look at the work of the Coen brothers.

Jonathan McNicol / Connecticut Public Radio

The leagues are working in earnest toward starting back up. The NBA has a plan. Major League Baseball can't seem to work one out. Major League Soccer might beat them both back onto the field.

How is this all going to work? What are sports going to look like when they start playing games again? Should they start playing games again?

Amazon.com, Inc.

We've all seen any number of emails and Tweets and Facebook posts this week from companies supporting protests and the like. Entertainment industry firms have jumped on that bandwagon too, but The Washington Post's Alyssa Rosenberg has a different idea about how those particular players might be able to help: by shutting down all the police movies and TV shows.

And: Comedian Sarah Cooper has found an elegant, perhaps surprisingly effective way to lampoon the president. She just lip syncs to his own words.

And finally: The Vast of Night is the feature film debut of writer and director Andrew Patterson. He financed its $700,000 budget himself, and after its premiere at last year's Slamdance Film Festival, Amazon acquired it. The Twilight Zone-style sci-fi mystery debuted on Amazon Prime last weekend.

Netflix, Inc.

Hannah Gadsby has been a prominent comedian in Australia for going on 15 years. In America, though, she arrived seemingly from nowhere in 2018 with a Netflix special called Nanette, which won a Peabody and an Emmy. Douglas is Gadsby's follow-up Netflix special. It's, as she calls it, her "difficult second album that is also [her] tenth and some people's first."

And: I Know This Much Is True is a six-part HBO miniseries set in Connecticut and based on the Wally Lamb novel of the same name. Mark Ruffalo plays two twin brothers, one who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and one who doesn't. Three episodes have aired so far.

Chion Wolf (file photo) / Connecticut Public Radio

It's Friday, but our pop culture roundtable is off this week.

Today, in lieu of The Nose, an hour with America's Greatest Living Film Critic, David Edelstein.

Netflix, Inc.

Twitter announced on Tuesday that its employees who can work from home can continue to work from home -- for forever, if they want. One wonders how many companies will follow suit -- and how employees will feel about such an arrangement.

And: Ryan Murphy is the showrunner behind things like Nip/Tuck, Glee, American Horror Story, 9-1-1, and The Politician. In 2018, Murphy signed the largest development deal in the history of television with Netflix. His new miniseries, Hollywood, is the second project to come out of that deal.

Netflix, Inc.

23 Hours To Kill is Jerry Seinfeld's fourth-ever standup comedy special and his second for Netflix. It hit the streaming service on Tuesday, and The Nose thinks it's great. And also that it sucks.

And then: Waco is a six-part miniseries that tells exactly the story you'd guess it tells. Taylor Kitsch plays David Koresh. Waco was the big, original launch title for the Paramount Network when it rebranded from SpikeTV in January, 2018. So why is it relevant now? One wonders, but it was recently added to Netflix, and it's been trending there for weeks.

Focus Features

There are plenty of questions about what the future of live performance looks like right now, and, in certain ways, no form seems more displaced by social distancing and everything else than does standup comedy. As such, people are just going to have to try new things, right? New York club comedian Ted Alexandro's YouTube comedy special is one of the first such experiments.

Matthew Glover / flickr creative commons

Fiona Apple's new album, Fetch the Bolt Cutters, is currently the best-reviewed album, um, ever, according to Metacritic. Bon Iver has a new benefit single out that seems to have been written specifically for the present moment. Norah Jones has a new tune. Bob Dylan has kind of randomly put out two new songs, one of which charted in the U.K. despite being very nearly 17 minutes long.

And then, here's a trivia question: There are five artists who have charted singles in the Top 40 in each of the last four decades, Michael Jackson, Madonna, U2, Kenny G... and who's the fifth? Would you believe it's this guy?

Netflix

That headline is just a direct quote from James Poniewozik's Audience of One: Donald Trump, Television, and the Fracturing of America. I was torn between that line from the book and this one:

Donald Trump is not a person.

Poniewozik's take is that "Donald Trump" is really a character that Donald Trump has been playing on television since at least the early 1980s.

National Theatre

Last weekend, Saturday Night Live aired a prerecorded special, "Saturday Night Live at Home." Tom Hanks hosted from his kitchen. Michael Che and Colin Jost did Weekend Update from their living rooms and by Zoom or something similar. Chris Martin covered a Bob Dylan song in front of handwritten "ENTRANCE TO TRAIN" signs.

All of the late night shows are operating in some similar way right now. Jimmy Kimmel hosts from his living room and has people like Jason Bateman on by Skype or whatever. John Oliver sits at his desk in front of a mysterious white wall. Samantha Bee hosts from the woods.

FX Productions, LLC

The novel coronavirus has started to take its toll on figures from our popular culture. Adam Schlesinger, who founded Fountains of Wayne and wrote songs for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend among other things, died on Wednesday. The great playwright Terrence McNally died last week. The list goes on: songwriter Alan Merrill, country music star Joe Diffie, fashion designer Jenny Polanco, college basketball star Dave Edwards, actor Mark Blum, soccer star Lorenzo Sanz. And it seems like the jazz community has been especially vulnerable: guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, pianists Ellis Marsalis and Mike Longo, and trumpeter Wallace Roney have all died.

And then: Dave is an FXX comedy series that tells a fictionalized version of the rise of rapper Lil Dicky, and John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch is a Netflix children's special that Mulaney made "on purpose."

Hulu, LLC

As with all things, The Nose has never been a Nose quite like this week's Nose. First off, for almost every Nose ever, we've put four (sometimes more) people in a radio studio for an hour. This Nose is four people talking to each other from very separate places, and none of them is a radio studio.

Meanwhile, we've said goodbye to movie theaters. Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson and Idris Elba have all tested positive. People have been using Tinder as a news service. I mean, it's hard to imagine that we'll ever go back to normal.

And so, we might as well watch some TV then, right? The Nose has tried out Hulu's new adaptation of High Fidelity with Zoë Kravitz in the lead role.

Netflix, Inc.

Katy Perry dropped a new single and video (which we apparently call a "visual" now) on Wednesday night. The video ends with what's being called "a stunning reveal."

And: A pair of new comedy specials caught the Nose's eye. Pete Davidson's Alive in New York on Netflix and Whitmer Thomas's The Golden One on HBO are both kind of... sad-funny? Funny-sad? And maybe in a particularly millennial way.

Warner Bros.

The movie musical died a long, slow death a long time ago. Right?

Well, except that there's La La Land. And Moana. And The Greatest Showman and A Star Is Born and Mary Poppins Returns. Oh, and Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman. And Frozen II and The Lion King and Aladdin.

Those are just from the last five years. And I could keep going, but then I might forget to mention that Steven Spielberg's version of West Side Story comes out this year or that the Hamilton movie comes out next year.

This hour, a long look at the long-dead movie musical. Long live the movie musical.

Lionsgate

Quarantine culture is coming. Maybe. So we start with a look at the coronavirus in comedy, COVID in culture, etc.

And then: Knives Out is Rian Johnson's fifth feature film as writer and director. It's mostly a howcatchem in the vein of Columbo and an all-star ensemble cast murder mystery in the tradition of Agatha Christie adaptations like Murder on the Orient Express. It was nominated for three Golden Globes, including Best Picture (Musical or Comedy), and Johnson's screenplay was nominated for an Oscar. It's out on DVD/Blu-ray/4K and for rental on iTunes/Amazon/etc. this week.

Home Box Office, Inc.

The Outsider is a planned 10-episode HBO miniseries based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. It airs on Sundays nights, and we're six episodes in so far. The premise is actually pretty simple: What if a guy actually were in two places at once? Then what? The ramifications of that, though, are about as complicated as you'd expect from Stephen King.

And: a look at the Gayle King/Snoop Dogg controversy, our latest edition of Carolyn Paine Explains a New Dating Term, and Netflix finally changes that one thing you've always hated... unless you didn't hate it.

LOREN JAVIER / flickr creative commons

Every year, The Nose almost accidentally ends up covering a broad swath of the movies that wind up being nominated for Oscars.

I was a little worried this year, though, that some nonsense that's going on with the government (and its attendant preemptions) might prevent us from seeing and talking about as many of the awards season movies as we'd like to.

It turns out that, one way or another, we somehow got to 15 Oscar-nominated films accounting for fully 71 Academy Award nominations. Phew.

John Eckman / flickr creative commons

We've done this show every year around this time for some number of years now. Unless we missed a year or two in there somewhere. But we've probably tried to do this show for every year that The Nose has existed. Of course, we aren't really sure how many years The Nose has existed.

But the point is: The 92nd Academy Awards are this Sunday, and so this hour, it's the 2020 edition of The Noscars, which will cover movies from 2019 just like the 2020 edition of the Oscars covers movies from 2019. Or something.

The Senate has voted, 51 to 49, not to subpoena witnesses or documents in its impeachment trial of President Trump. Closing arguments are expected on Monday, and a verdict could come next Wednesday afternoon.

This week, Colin and The Gist's Mike Pesca puzzle over the Republican strategy and Alan Dershowitz. He's the Trump attorney who argued that the president could engage in a quid pro quo that benefited him personally as long as he believes his reelection is in the public interest. Dershowitz believes the media misunderstood his argument. These are his words.

And New York Times TV critic James Poniewozik gets into the impeachment as television. He's not entirely sure democracy will be renewed for another season.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

Sam Mendes's World War I drama, 1917, is currently the #1 movie in America. It won Golden Globe Awards for Best Director and Best Picture -- Drama, and it's nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, and Cinematography. The cinematography nomination is probably the least surprising one, as the entire movie is shot to look as though it was one long, unbroken take.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

The Rise of Skywalker is the third and final movie in the third (and final?) trilogy -- the sequel trilogy in the trilogy of trilogies -- in the main, so-called "Skywalker Saga" of the Star Wars narrative. It's the eleventh Star Wars movie overall, the fifth since Disney bought Lucasfilm and took over the franchise, and the second directed by JJ Abrams (after The Force Awakens, the first of the Disney Star Wars films and the highest-grossing movie in the history of the United States). It is... somewhat divisive. The Nose weighs in.

And: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have announced that they're backing away from their role as royals.

Plus: Winter. You either hate it, or you love it.

Universal Pictures

Cats -- the new feature film based on the musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and starring James Cordon, Judi Dench, Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, and others -- opened last weekend and grossed $6.6 million in the U.S. It is the 19th-worst opening for any movie in very wide release in history. The 18 movies that opened to less money on a similar number of screens are mostly a bunch of stuff that you don't remember ever existed: Hoot, The Seeker: Dark Rising, Fun Size, Hardcore Henry, Keeping Up with the Joneses, The Wild Thornberrys Movie, etc.

Oh, and I forgot to say: In addition to being a financial disaster, Cats is also... terrible. It earned a C+ CinemaScore from audiences (which is really bad). And it's at 18% on the Tomatometer (which is really rotten). It's so bad that Universal released an updated version to theaters early this week that has hopefully slightly less bad special effects.

Sony Pictures

The Nose is off this week (because, on any given day, it's entirely possible that our whole show will be off with all this impeachment nonsense going on), so David Edelstein joins Colin for the hour to talk about some of the best (and some of the worst) movies of the year.

Pages