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VHS Will Not Die

Aug 20, 2019
Carlos Mejia / Connecticut Public Radio

Tracking, rewinding, ejecting, collecting - VHS broke ground in home entertainment like never before. The culture of VHS and its enormous best friend, the VCR, were kings of consumer media for decades. Despite the last VCR and VHS being manufactured just three years ago, videotapes are still consumed, collected, and in some cases, sold(!) across the country. But why?

Amazon Studios

Everything's canceled, more or less. The movie The Hunt was canceled before anybody got to see it. People talked about canceling the movie Adam before anybody got to see it. Sarah Silverman was canceled, from a movie anyway, for something she did -- on television -- 12 years ago. The OA was canceled, but people maybe don't believe that it was canceled? And we're apparently on a path toward canceling... the Dewey decimal system?

And: Amazon Prime's new superhero series, The Boys, imagines a world where something like the Marvel Cinematic Universe is real... and something like the Marvel corporation exists too.

dom fellowes / flickr creative commons

Shakespeare in the Park starts tonight in New Haven. Shakespeare & Company in the Berkshires has a new workshop production of Coriolanus opening next week. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens didn't think Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare's works. The BBC has a multi-camera, filmed-in-front-of-a-live-studio-audience Shakespeare sitcom.

This hour: lots of little looks at this summer's best Shakespeare stuff.

Bleecker Street Media

Last weekend, Marvel unveiled its plans for Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (along with a few hints and winks and nods about Phase Five -- which is mostly notable 'cause it means they're planning a Phase Five).

And we're currently in the middle of a year when, when it's all said and done, the top eight highest-grossing movies may well have all come from Disney or Marvel or both. The top eight. That's not a typo. Here, look:

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

There's kind of a lot going on this week: There's rumored to be a new 007. The Emmy nominations are out. There's a new dating trend called 'Caspering.' Farhad Manjoo thinks we should all use the singular 'they.' 1.7 million people want to raid Area 51. Anthony Fantano (or an animated version of Anthony Fantano, really) is in the new "Old Town Road" video. During the New York City blackout, Star Wars fans helped direct traffic... with their lightsabers. And: The Cats trailer is out, and it's maybe kind of, uh, horrifying?

Marco Verch / flickr creative commons

We live in an Everything Should Take Twenty Minutes world. Movies are too long. SundanceTV has a show that airs in ten-minute episodes. Tierra Whack has a fifteen-minute album made of fifteen sixty-second songs. Todd Rundgren's memoir has 183 one-page, three-paragraph chapters.

So today, we turn our hour over to five short, little shows about short, little things.

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 we'll look at some of the most popular movie comedies ever made.

Rip Torn, the eccentric and temperamental Texan actor who won an Emmy Award for his influential role in the 1990s sitcom The Larry Sanders Show, died Tuesday at the age of 88.

In a statement to NPR, Torn's publicist did not release a cause of death, but said he was at his home surrounded by family in Lakeville, Conn.

HBO

No one is surprised to hear that Disney is planning a live-action remake of The Little Mermaid. Some people were surprised, though, at the announcement that Halle Bailey, who is African American, has been cast as the titular Ariel. And probably the least surprising part of the whole thing is that part of the internet (the racist part) is mad about it.

And: Rapper Lil Nas X came out on the last day of Pride month. Is this news?

JessicaHarper.com

Jessica Harper has starred in movies like Suspiria, Brian De Palma's Phantom of the Paradise, Woody Allen's Stardust Memories, and Steven Spielberg's Minority Report. And now she's publishing a memoir as a podcast.

Winnetka tells the story of growing up in a big family -- six kids, including two sets of twins -- in the 1950s and '60s in the midwest -- in Winnetka, Ill., you see -- and later in Connecticut.

Plus: An update on the podcast industry more generally. The "Netflix of podcasts" is here. A big new study on podcasting has just come out. And... is "podcaster burnout" becoming a thing?

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

Graduation season is upon us. Your niece is finishing high school. Your neighbor's son is graduating from Tulane. Your boss just got her second Master's. How did it get to be that the obvious gift for all of these people is... a Dr. Seuss book?

And then: Vulture, this week, published a click-bait listicle ranking all the HBO shows ever. The Nose took the bait and clicked. And... Six Feet Under didn't make the top ten? Girls isn't in the top 25? John from Cincinnati made the top 30? Did anybody even understand that show?

And speaking of shows, George Clooney and Grant Heslov's new Hulu miniseries is a four-and-a-half-hour, six-episode adaption of Joseph Heller's Catch-22. Is that what the world needed right now?

Netflix

No Country for Old Men. Fargo. The Big Lebowski. Raising Arizona. O Brother, Where Art Thou? Miller's Crossing.

Over the past 35 years, Joel and Ethan Coen have reliably been among the most recognizable voices in moviemaking.

Their latest, the anthology western The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, hit Netflix last fall.

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

Marco Verch / flickr creative commons

Seriously: a show about towels.

There's the history of towels, towels in Christianity, Terrible Towels, Towel Day.

Oh, and there are actual towels too.

HBO

It's been a rough week for the famous. Last Saturday, Peggy Lipton died at age 72. On Monday, Doris Day died at 97. Then on Tuesday, it was Tim Conway at 85. And yesterday, I. M. Pei died aged 102.

And the week's gone kind of the same way for TV shows too. On Sunday, Veep finished its seven-year run on HBO. Last night, The Big Bang Theory aired its 279th and final episode. And Game of Thrones's series finale is set to air this coming Sunday.

VHS Will Not Die

May 16, 2019
Carlos Mejia / Connecticut Public

Tracking, rewinding, ejecting, collecting - VHS broke ground in home entertainment like never before. The culture of VHS and its enormous best friend, the VCR, were kings of consumer media for decades. Despite the last VCR and VHS being manufactured just three years ago, videotapes are still consumed, collected, and in some cases, sold(!) across the country. But why?

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Avengers: Endgame is the 22nd feature film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is the fourth Avengers movie and the fourth MCU entry directed by Anthony and Joe Russo. It is the 10th film in the MCU's Phase Three and the last part of its Infinity Saga. I didn't understand very much of that stuff I just wrote, but I totally get this last bit: Avengers: Endgame may well be on its way to becoming the highest-grossing movie ever made.

And then: Taylor Swift's new single/video, "Me," is setting records of its own. Never mind that the duet with Panic! at the Disco's Brendon Urie is maybe kinda... terrible?

ilkan şahin / Flickr

To say Beyoncé's performance at Coachella was historic feels like an understatement. In about the span of a week, Queen Bey released a two hour Netflix exclusive film (part one of her deal with the streamer) of the entire concert, a 40-track live album from the same show, which was released unexpectedly, and just for fun, she released her 2016 pop culture smash album "Lemonade" on all streaming platforms, which was originally exclusive to just Tidal.

Kit Harington / HBO

This week, the long awaited final season of Game of Thrones launched on HBO.

As more than 17 million viewers dig in for one last round, some of the Nose's most dedicated fans gather to discuss what's made this series such a hit, and what they're thinking about as the show marches toward its end.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

What is country music? If you ask Billboard, it's definitely not Lil Nas X's viral sensation, and the number one song in America, "Old Town Road." The song, which was also remixed with country star Billy Ray Cyrus, has country themes, vibes, and sounds country, but Billboard booted it off their country charts.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The sophomore film from any new director is oftentimes held to a harsher critique than their debut movie. It’s unfair. But Jordan Peele’s directorial debut was such a profound moment in 2017 culture, that anything he created after couldn’t live to the success of Get Out.

And then there was Us.

This week, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp suffered major worldwide outages, and Twitter previewed some possible new changes. And people took to (what else?) social media to (what else?) complain.

And: The Ringer asks the age-old question, if a TV show falls in the woods, and no one talks about it, can it be certified fresh? Or something like that.

And finally: Captain Marvel is the 21st feature film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is the ninth movie in the MCU's Phase Three. It is, chronologically, a sequel to 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger and a prequel to 2008's Iron Man. I didn't follow much of that, but I get this part: After 11 years and all those previous movies, it's the first one with a female lead.

jessicaharper.com

Jessica Harper has starred in movies like Suspiria, Brian De Palma's Phantom of the Paradise, Woody Allen's Stardust Memories, and Steven Spielberg's Minority Report. And now she's publishing a memoir as a podcast.

Winnetka tells the story of growing up in a big family -- six kids, including two sets of twins -- in the 1950s and '60s in the midwest -- in Winnetka, Ill., you see -- and later in Connecticut.

Plus: An update on the podcast industry more generally. The "Netflix of podcasts" is here. A big new study on podcasting has just come out. And... is "podcaster burnout" becoming a thing?

Surprise Truck / Creative Commons

Are you one of the millions inspired by Marie Kondo and her KonMari Method to get rid of your clutter? Kondo's books, such as The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, have sparked an intense and prolonged fervor where other self-help gurus have failed. 

AMC

You know all the reasons Trump won, right?

Economic anxiety. Racial anxiety. The forgotten working class. The forgotten rustbelt...

But what if the real cause were something much simpler and much more pervasive: our popular culture.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

It's been rough going here for the famous for a little while. This week, Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek announced his stage four cancer diagnosis. Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver retired from public life because of his dementia diagnosis. And then there are the deaths: Actor Luke Perry at 52. The Prodigy frontman Keith Flint at 49. Actress Katherine Helmond at 89.

Also this hour: a look at Netflix's new not-exactly-the-X-Men, but-still-adapted-from-a-comic-book series, The Umbrella Academy.

EwS / flickr creative commons

For the past few months, Nose regular Jacques Lamarre has been posting debate-starting, head-to-head style Facebook posts.

Taylor Swift vs. Katy Perry. Ketchup vs. mustard vs. mayonnaise. When Harry Met Sally vs. Sleepless in Seattle. That kind of thing.

And so now, we've decided to try to turn the concept into a radio show. This hour, YOU MUST CHOOSE.

Chion Wolf

Today, we remember Peter Tork of The Monkees. This show originally aired April 25, 2013.

John Lennon said they were the greatest comedy team since the Marx Brothers.

Gene Roddenberry based the look of the character Chekov on them. The Jimi Hendrix Experience got its first U.S. concert work as their opening act.  Their TV show generated the money that launched the movie career of Jack Nicholson.

John Eckman / flickr creative commons

It's been a year of aborted missteps for the Academy Awards. There was going to be a new Best Popular Picture category. But now there won't be. Kevin Hart was going to host. But now there's nobody. They were going to present four awards -- including Film Editing and Cinematography -- during the commercial breaks. But now they aren't.

Oh and there're the actual movies. Roma and The Favourite lead the field with 10 nominations each. A Star Is Born was once the favorite (no "u") to win in a bunch of categories. But now bettors' odds seem to favor Roma. Or maybe Green Book? And A Star Is Born? Its Best Picture hopes have fallen all the way to 40-1 against.

Loren Javier / flickr creative commons

Without even really realizing it, The Nose has been covering the 91st Oscars field since early last year, and we still don't know that much of what to expect.

We do know that, for the first time since 1989, the Oscar ceremony won't have a host. And we also know that, for literally the 91st consecutive time, there won't be a Best Popular Picture award awarded.

But of the actual awards that will actually be awarded, who'll win what? That's much harder to tell even though The Nose, and its cousin that we clumsily call "Not Necessarily the Nose," has covered 14 nominated films encompassing 64 Oscar nominations.

These're them and those conversations neatly embedded in fancy Soundcloud format or hyperlinked for your browsing convenience.

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