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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.

Why Are We So Fascinated By Scams?

Dec 17, 2019
Rusty Clark / Flickr Creative Commons

Fyre Festival, Theranos, Anna Delvey, the college admissions scandal... the list goes on. And whether explored on the news or as a book, podcast, documentary or feature film, consumers can't seem to get enough of this 'scamtent.'

 

This hour, we'll talk about scams and scammers, and discuss why we as a culture can't seem to look away.

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.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

Last Thursday, Elon Musk unveiled Tesla's Cybertruck and Sacha Baron Cohen gave the keynote address at an Anti-Defamation League summit. Both performances have drawn mixed reactions.

And: The Mandalorian is the big, new, original, launch title for Disney's new streaming service, Disney+. It's a half(ish)-hour western set in the Star Wars universe, and three episodes have dropped so far.

Netflix, Inc.

The Irishman is Martin Scorsese's first gangster movie in thirteen years. It's his first feature-length film with Robert De Niro in 24 years and his first with Harvey Keitel in 31 years. It's Joe Pesci's first onscreen performance since 2010 and just his third since 1998. It's the first time any combination of Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, and/or Harvey Keitel has ever worked together, and it's the first time Scorsese has ever directed Pacino.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

The news comes fast in the world of the canceled these days. Louis CK is back out on tour. President Obama has a "very boomer view" of the whole thing. The New York Times reports on teens' takes.

Meanwhile, some celebrities, rather than getting themselves canceled, are getting themselves arrested. Jane Fonda, for instance. And Sam Waterston. And Ted Danson.

And: Bong Joon Ho's genre-defying new movie, Parasite, won the Palme d'Or at Cannes, and it's being called "a nearly perfect film" and "the best movie of the year."

Travis Wise / Creative Commons

President Trump changed his primary address from New York to Florida.  He says he'd been treated badly by political leaders.

He was also booed twice last week, first at Game Five of the World Series between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros, this past Saturday at UFC 244 at Madison Square Garden. It does hightlight how infrequently the president ventures beyond the safety of the controlled settings of his rallies. 

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

Watchmen is a limited series of comic books that became a graphic novel in 1987 and a feature film in 2009. And now it's an HBO series from Damon Lindelof that acts as a kind of sequel to the original comics, set 34 years later.

And: Today is John Dankosky's last day at Connecticut Public after 25 years. There is just no denying that WNPR wouldn't be what it is -- and The Colin McEnroe Show wouldn't be at all -- if it weren't for Mr. Dankosky. The Nose tries to begin to come to terms.

A24

Every year around this time, we like to take a look at just what's frightening us in the present moment. This year, we start with our present take on a past horror classic, Ridley Scott's Alien, which has its 40th anniversary this year.

Plus: Ari Aster's Hereditary follow-up, Midsommar, is set at a pagan retreat in rural Sweden. As such, it's seen as a bit of a reinvigoration of the folk horror genre, which includes classics like The Wicker Man and more contemporary titles like The VVitch.

Jonathan McNicol / Connecticut Public Radio

This week, The Washington Post published "The 20 defining comedy sketches of the past 20 years" covering television sketch comedy of the 2000s. It includes a lot of what you'd expect it to include: SNL's "More Cowbell" and "Black Jeopardy with Tom Hanks," Inside Amy Schumer's "Last F---able Day," Chappelle's Show's "Frontline -- Clayton Bigsby."

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.

Netflix

Martin Scorsese is a grump. He doesn't like Marvel movies. He says they aren't "cinema." He says they aren't even narrative films, and "we shouldn't be invaded by it." The internet, as you can imagine, has takes.

And: The Eddie Murphy comeback is on. He appeared on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee this summer. He's hosting Saturday Night Live in December. He's got multiple standup comedy specials in the works. And right now he's starring in the briefly-in-theaters-but-hitting-Netflix-next-weekend biopic Dolemite Is My Name.

brownpau / Flickr Creative Commons

From the penny press, to yellow journalism, to supermarket tabloids and beyond, sensationalized news has been around for centuries. But while this style of reporting may have its critics, it may also serve as an important reflection of American culture and democracy.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

Joker is director Todd Phillips's modern take on movies like Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy. It stars Joaquin Phoenix in the title role in what happens also to be... a Batman movie. It's been called "a gloriously daring and explosive film" and "a movie that borders on genius" but also "bleak and juvenile" and "a movie of a cynicism so vast and pervasive as to render the viewing experience even emptier than its slapdash aesthetic does."

HarshLight / Dapper Dans

We’re exploring the world of Barbershop Harmony; from its roots in the African American community to its influence in other genres, Barbershop is an important piece of the puzzle in the American music scene.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

The Netflix limited series Unbelievable stars Toni Collette, Merritt Wever, and Kaitlyn Dever. It tells the true story of a serial rapist and the investigation that caught him, and it's based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Marshall Project and ProPublica article "An Unbelievable Story of Rape" and the This American Life episode based on that.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

October is upon us. Pumpkin spice everything is here. Leaf peeping is just around the corner. Your one slightly odd neighbor has put out his 37 hand-carved jack-o'-lanterns.

But more than any of that, what October brings with it is October sports. And this year, in Connecticut, that means two things:

Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

The Nose couldn't decide which of last weekend's two big new movies to go see, so it went to both.

Downton Abbey, the feature film continuation of the incredibly popular PBS series, is the number one movie in the country. Its $31 million opening was the biggest ever for the studio that made it, Focus Features. Not bad for a PG-rated, special effects-free drama made for grownups.

Bob Ross, Inc.

It's been 25 years since Bob Ross's The Joy of Painting went off the air (and 24 years since Ross died). But there are 52 episodes of the show available to stream on Netflix. Bob Ross and Chill is a thing. The 403 full episodes available on YouTube have accumulated something approaching 250 million views. And this summer, The New York Times did a big Bob Ross investigation.

This hour: a look at the undying force for permed hair and puffy little clouds and happy little trees that is Bob Ross.

Plus: Could we do a show about Bob Ross without also talking Thomas Kinkade? No we could not. And so no we do not.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

Merriam-Webster has added 533 new words to its dictionary. Words like "deep state," "pickleball," "escape room," and "Bechdel test." My favorite is probably "fatberg." But there's a particular new dictionary entry that The Nose is specifically interested in: "dad joke."

Joerg Neuner / CreativeCommons.org

Though country music is considered the most popular genre of music in America, its influence is profoundly regional. The style is known for appealing to the white working class, and is largely sequestered in southern and midwestern pockets of the country.

Meanwhile, coastal elites tend to regard the genre with disdain. "I like everything but country" is a popular refrain.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

What if you just don't really enjoy food very much? What if you're totally fine eating the same thing every single day? What if you think food is an inefficient way to get what you need to survive?

What if, rather than eating "food," you just mixed a white powder (that is definitely not made of people because it's made of soy protein isolate instead) with water and drank that in food's place?

This hour: a look at what you might call the non-foodie movement and the "powdered food" meal replacement product that is Soylent.

Columbia Pictures

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

Animal House, The Blues Brothers, Beverly Hills Cop, Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, ¡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

It's hard to believe, but The Matrix is 20 years old this year. And its influence is all over the culture with bullet time and red pills and the "woah" meme and so much more.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

Sticks & Stones is Dave Chappelle's fifth standup comedy special for Netflix in three years. All four previous specials won the Grammy for Best Comedy Album, and one of them won the Emmy for Outstanding Variety Special. The critical response to this latest special, though, has been a bit more muted.

Ryan Lindsay / Connecticut Public Radio

Forty years ago, a film called Hair starring a budding actor from Connecticut debuted at The Cannes Film Festival. It was 1979, the Vietnam War was over as were the days of hippies and The Black Panthers. Yet then and now, the on-screen musical still has a way of reaching audiences from past and present.

Oyvind Holmstad / Wikimedia Commons

As Barbie Millicent Roberts -- yes, that's her name -- turns 60 we, as a plastic loving nation, celebrate! For six decades the impossibly proportioned fashion doll has been delighting children and adults around the world.

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