The Full Cast and Crew Podcast loves searching for that perfect, telling anecdote or soundbite from a writer, director, actor, or crew member as we revisit the ...
5 of 173
167. Albert Brooks & Julie Hagerty in 'Lost In America' (1985)
'Lost In America' was Albert Brooks' 3rd film as a writer/director/star and remains probably the most broadly-appealing of his films. It's one of two of his films to have been given the Criterion stamp of cineaste approval, the other being the often-underrated 'Defending Your Life', and now, and perhaps even more important, it's the first of his films to be given the Full Cast and Crew treatment. Links: Albert Brooks: Famous School For Comedians Hilarious clips from Lost In America Criterion essay by Scott Tobias on Lost In America
166. 'Across 110th Street' (1972), the Film and Song
'Across 110th Street' is a 1972 Harlem crime film that contains many of the tropes of the exploitation films of the era...but it also contains incredible performances from black actors whose skills rise far above the material at hand, people like Paul Benjamin, Yaphet Kotto, Richard Ward, and Marlene Warfield. And Bobby Womack's title song was used to great effect in 'Jackie Brown', as discussed in my last two episodes. In this week's episode I use the verses and choruses to explore Bobby Womack's amazing, tragic, and incredible life story, his relationship with Sam Cooke, his struggles and his surprisingly central role in the American popular musical landscape for almost 60 years.
165. The Michael Keaton Ray Nicolette Cinematic Universe
Elmore Leonard's cocky, energetic ATF Agent Ray Nicolet is a key protagonist in his book 'Rum Punch'. For Quentin Tarantino's film adaptation of 'Rum Punch', 'Jackie Brown', the character, now named "Ray Nicolette" was embodied by the brilliant Michael Keaton with a perfectly cocky, energetic physicality. While cinematic universes are commonplace nowadays, in 1997 it was a surprise to see the character appear, uncredited, in Steven Soderbergh's adaptation of Leonard's novel of the same name, and even more rewarding to get a couple of additional character dynamics revealed by Keaton's similarly smart and self-aware performance. In this episode, much as I did in Episode 157 with Paul Newman's scenes from 'The Verdict' and in Episode 152 with Sean Penn's Jeff Spicoli scenes from 'Fast Times'...I go through all of Keaton's scenes from 'Jackie Brown' and 'Out of Sight' and offer up full appreciation. Also: a quick look back at Keaton's first real starring performance in 'Night Shift' with Henry Winkler and Shelly Long.
164. 'Jackie Brown' (1997)
Quentin Tarantino surprised fans with the release of his third film, 'Jackie Brown' coming as it did on the heels of the global phenomenon that was 'Pulp Fiction' in all its unprecedented Tarantino-ness. Devoid of gory violence, 'Jackie Brown' is a thoughtful, hilarious, insightful and moving crime story that manages to be incredibly faithful to the ethos of the Elmore Leonard novel 'Rum Punch' (on which the film is based) while also mining Tarantino's own deeply personal connection to the blaxploitation films that made Pam Grier a genre star in the 70's and to the more working-class parts of Los Angeles, towns featured in the film like Carson and Hawthorne, CA and iconic now-gone locations like the Cockatoo Inn. "I treat movie stars like actors and actors like movie stars" said Tarantino, and that approach is well-represented here, with Michael Keaton and Robert DeNiro turning in perfectly-pitch supporting turns and industry vets like Forster and Grier getting plenty of runway to inhabit roles they weren't usually given during their heyday. This episode covers those locations, the incredible soul and r&b tracks that populate the soundtrack, and the brilliant acting from everyone in the cast, as well as the sure-handed filmmaking from Tarantino's growing collection of go-to crew and production staffers. One of my very favorite films, it's a pleasure to share my 'Jackie Brown' episode with you all!
163. 'To Live and Die in LA' (1985)
Billy Friedkin, maybe the weirdest (in a good way) major American director of his generation, almost doesn't make sense on paper; wait...the same guy directed 'The French Connection' and 'The Excorcist'? But the ups and downs of Friedkin's storied and somewhat haphazard career are what makes him one of the most interesting directors to consider. And 'To Live and Die in LA' is some kind of crazy masterpiece, punching WELL above its weight as a non-studio, non-union middling-budget (6 million dollars) independent LA neo-noir. Filled with superlative near-first-timers like John Turturro, William Petersen, John Pankow, Willem Dafoe and stellar supporting work from the likes of Steve James, Robert Downey, Sr, Darlanne Fluegel, Dean Stockwell, Jack Hoar, and Debra Feuer, TLADILA is easily consumed as genre fare...or more diligently dissected as the incredible example of top-tier filmmaking and production design and location and stunt work that it also is. Needless to say that's where I'm taking my cues! Available now on a newly restored 4K UHD and blu-ray disc, TLADILA has frustratingly not been available to stream but my plea here is that you avail yourself of the physical media and set aside an evening to appreciate this great work of FUN and ART. Buy the new release here. Listen to Wang Chung's excellent TLADILA soundtrack here.
The Full Cast and Crew Podcast loves searching for that perfect, telling anecdote or soundbite from a writer, director, actor, or crew member as we revisit the films of our shared 70s and 80's childhoods with an appreciation for the cinematic arts and without pretension or annoying fan-boy antics. Proudly independent and advertising-free.