film

Lily Tomlin v. David O. Russell: HOLY SHIT

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David O. Russell is one of my favorite directors... "Three Kings" is one of my favorite films of all time, and I really enjoyed "I Heart Huckabees." I was surprised when I read Sharon Waxman's allusions to the bizarre and intense set tensions on Hucakbee's, which she wrote about in the Times in 2004. She talked about it a bit, iirc, in our interview with her upon the release of her book "Rebels on the Backlot," which profiled Russell. (MP3)

The above though -- holy shit. I mean, I'm a huge fan of Lily Tomlin too. So I'm just reeling.

Here's an excerpt from a Playboy interview with the star of Three Kings, George Clooney:

PLAYBOY: What made you want to do [Three Kings]?
CLOONEY: David Russell wrote as good a script as I've ever read. I fought to get it. He wanted a lot of other actors before me. They went to Mel and to Nic Cage. I wanted to work on this movie. David is in many ways a genius, though I learned that he's not a genius when it comes to people skills.
PLAYBOY: Did you learn about that the hard way?
CLOONEY: I did. He yelled and screamed at people all day, from day one.
PLAYBOY: Did he yell at you?
CLOONEY: At me often — and at someone daily. He'd throw off his headset and scream, 'Today the sound department flicked me!' For me, it came to a head a couple of times. Once, he went after a camera-car driver who I knew from high school. I had nothing to do with his getting his job, but David began yelling and screaming at him and embarrassing him in front of everybody. I told him, 'You can yell and scream and even fire him, but what you can't do is humiliate him in front of people. Not on my set, if I have any say about it.'

Another time he screamed at the script supervisor and made her cry. I wrote him a letter and said, 'Look, I don't know why you do this. You've written a brilliant script, and I think you're a good director. Let's not have a set like this. I don't like it and I don't work well like this.' I'm not one of those actors who likes things in disarray. He read the letter and we started all over again.

But later, we were three weeks behind schedule, which puts some pressure on you, and he was in a bad mood. These army kids, who were working as extras, were supposed to tackle us. David wanted one of the extras to grab me and throw me down. This kid was a little nervous about it, and David walked up to him and grabbed him. He pushed him onto the ground.

He kicked him and screamed, 'Do you want to be in this f**king movie? Then throw him to the f**king ground!' The second assistant director came up and said, 'You don't do that, David. You want them to do something, you tell me.' David grabbed his walkie-talkie and threw it on the ground. He screamed, 'Shut the f**k up! F**k you, and the AD goes, 'F**k you! I quit.' He walked off.

It was a dangerous time. I'd sent him this letter. I was trying to make things work, so I went over and put my arm around him. I said, 'David, it's a big day. But you can't shove, push, or humiliate people who aren't allowed to defend themselves.' He turned on me and said, 'Why don't you just worry about your f**ked-up act? You're being a d**k. You want to hit me? You want to hit me? Come on, pussy, hit me.' I'm looking at him like he's out of his mind. Then he started banging me on the head with his head. He goes, 'Hit me, you pussy. Hit me.' Then he got me by the throat and I went nuts. I had him by the throat. I was going to kill him. Kill him. Finally, he apologized, but I walked away. By then, the Warner Bros. guys were freaking out. David sort of pouted through the rest of the shoot and we finished the movie, but it was truly, without exception, the worst experience of my life."

Well here's some encouraging news.

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Quoth Variety:

"Knocked Up" is uproarious. Line for line, minute to minute, writer-director Judd Apatow's latest effort is more explosively funny, more frequently, than nearly any other major studio release in recent memory. Indeed, even more than the filmmaker's smash-hit sleeper "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," his new pic is bound to generate repeat business among ticketbuyers who'll want to savor certain scenes and situations again and again, if only to memorize punchlines worth sharing with buddies. Currently set for a June 1 release, this hugely commercial comedy likely will remain in megaplexes throughout the summer and, possibly, into the fall.

Full review here.

(thanks Lindsay!)

Tyler Macniven's "I Ran Iran"

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My pal Tyler MacNiven has done some really great stuff since we graduated from school. I've regularly plugged his first feature-length documentary, Kintaro Walks Japan, on this blog. His dad and I even talked with him on his way across that country. It's Tyler that Julie Snyder brought up (to my surprise) in our discussion of This American Life story ideas.

A year or two ago, Tyler and his friend BJ won "The Amazing Race," and with it, a million dollars. Tyler's used his part of the money to finance his interest in film-making, creating a new film called "I Ran Iran."

Tyler and his friend Bobak went to Iran to run its length. They figured that their apolitical trip might foster better relations between the two countries, especially since Bobak's family is Persian.

What they didn't expect was what really happened: a political and beaurocratic nightmare that began with the pair being celebrated as Iranian national heroes, and ended with them being expelled from the country.

Our friend Hadley Robinson put together a nice piece on the film for the excellent Gelf Magazine. Expect the finished version in June... in the meantime, click here to watch Kintaro for free.

(Note to Amazing Race fans: Tyler is not a hippie, but he is completely, almost alarmingly genuine.)

The Old Negro Space Program

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Thanks to the CC Insider for reminding me of this old chestnut: The Old Negro Space Program. And hey, director Andy Bobrow, who once let us use this film in a fundraising show in Santa Cruz, has a blog, which features great stuff like this post: "What would Jack Bauer do?"

Wayne's World

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I watched Wayne's World recently. Man, that's a fucking hilarious movie.

Above: the sorry fate of Mr. Doughnut-Head Man.

The Secret Life of Brian

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This 48-minute documentary covers the exciting story behind Monty Python's Life of Brian. (Original title: "Jesus Christ: Lust for Glory.")

Cleese on the film's many detractors:
"These people are operating at a very very low level of mental health."

Thanks to the CC Insider for dredging it up -- they've been doing great work lately, and get my award for "most improved blog - comedy division."

Podcast: The Original Holiday Special

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Show: 
Bullseye

This week, it's a classic Sound of Young America -- our original Holiday Special.

Hear John Waters, Christopher Moore, Davy Rothbart of Found Magazine and more on this show.

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Podcast: Holiday Special 2006

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It's the holidays, and that can mean only one thing: HOLIDAY SPECIAL!

On this year's holiday special, we talk with Paul Feig. He's not just the creator of Freaks & Geeks and author of two hilarious books, he's also the director of the new film "Unaccompanied Minors."

We also feature segments with Mike Birbiglia and Kasper Hauser. Also, comedy & music from H. Jon Benjamin, The Martian Children's Choir, Tom Lehrer, The Polyphonic Spree, Jonathan Coulton and more.

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Podcast: Live in New York City 1

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Show: 
Bullseye

Last month, The Sound of Young America recorded two broadcasts live at the PIT in New York City. This is the first of those programs.

Heather Lawless kicked things off with some of her unique and hilarious standup. She talked about what she does and doesn't like about herself and others and related issues. How exciting to see someone who's really doing something new, and is so f'ing great at it.

Then Mike Daisey blew everyone away with his sometimes terrifying, sometimes hilarious monologue about what children do in winter when they live in the snow-bound state of Maine.

Then I talked with David Wain, who complained bitterly about the lights in his eyes (they were a bit bright). Later, we chatted about making his new movie The Ten, which premiers at Sundance January 19th and features Movie Stars like Jessica Alba and Winona Ryder, as well as Comedy Stars like every single member of The State.

The hip-hop group Tanya Morgan (Donwill, left and Von Pea, right) rocked the public-radio-comedy-nerd crowd to an astonishing extent. Admittedly, though, when they were having people make fists, I was the only one doing it at first.

Tanya Morgan graciously allowed us to offer their two songs as free downloads:
Tanya Morgan - Stay Tuned
Tanya Morgan - We Be

Please share your thoughts on the show in the comments section!

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All photos by Anya Garrett of SketchArtists.net

Special thanks to The Onion for promotional support

Podcast: World of Wonder with Terry Gilliam and Chris Elliott

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Show: 
Bullseye

This week on The Sound of Young America, two men who hold the keys to WORLDS OF WONDER.

Chris Elliott came to prominence in the early 1980s as the buffoonish foil on "Late Night with David Letterman." His career has also included the cult sitcom "Get A Life" and film "Cabin Boy," as well as several seasons on the hit sitcom "Everybody Love Raymond." Most recently, he's become an author, and his absurd 19th century mystery, "The Shroud of the Thwacker," has just been released in paperback. Be sure to take a listen to our special bonus questions for Chris for comedy nerd insider info on his specials, "Action Family" and "FDR: The One Man Show," among other stuff.

Then we speak with Terry Gilliam. Since his days as a member of Monty Python's Flying Circus, he's directed many acclaimed films, including "Brazil," "Time Bandits," "The Fisher King," and "Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas." His most recent film, "Tideland," a dark and disturbing fairy tale, is in theaters now.

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Bonus: Extra Questions for Chris Elliott


Incidental Music by DJW

Previously on The Sound of Young America:
Holiday Party with Chris Elliott (MP3)
Joke Warfare with Monty Python's Terry Jones

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