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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Michael Rapaport, Werner Herzog, AV Club Recommendations, Kasper Hauser News

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Michael Rapaport
Guests: 
Werner Herzog
Guests: 
Keith Phipps
Guests: 
Nathan Rabin
Guests: 
Kasper Hauser

Culture Picks: The AV Club

Keith Phipps and Nathan Rabin of The AV Club bring us their recommendations - John Mulaney’s stand up special New In Town, and the movie reboot of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes. (Embed or Share the AV Club's Picks)

Director Michael Rapaport

The hugely innovative and influential hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest began as many groups do -- as a band of friends, passing out demo tapes, dreaming of hearing their songs on the radio. But after releasing five gold and platinum selling albums in the late 1980s and early 90s, the group combusted and left fans like Michael Rapaport in the lurch.

Rapaport was an actor known for his roles in several Woody Allen films, Boston Public, Friends and Prison Break. He set out on his directorial debut to capture the past, present and future of A Tribe Called Quest, hoping to better understand what made them tick. The resulting documentary, Beats, Rhymes & Life creates a compelling oral history of the group from interviews with members Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Mohammed and Jarobi White, along with hip-hop producers, radio personalities and other rappers. We spoke to Rapaport last year, and the film is now out on DVD. (Embed or Share Michael Rapaport on Bullseye)

The News with Kasper Hauser

The latest scientific findings, human interest stories, and much more, all brought to you by the top fake news anchors -- San Francisco based sketch comedy group Kasper Hauser. (Embed or Share Kasper Hauser on Bullseye)

Director Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog is an acclaimed (and prolific) film writer and director, known for narrative films like Aguirre, the Wrath of God as well as documentaries like Grizzly Man. His filmmaking distinctively pushes boundaries and explores humanity's extremes. His documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams is a 3D look into the Chauvet Cave, home of the earliest known cave paintings in the world. With a tiny crew and jury-rigged 3D cameras, Herzog looked at some of the first images ever created. Herzog takes the opportunity not just to present to us the beauty of the caves, but to consider what it means to create and how we define our own humanity. We spoke to him about the film last year. It’s now available on DVD, Blu-Ray and Netflix Instant. (Embed or Share Werner Herzog on Bullseye)

The Outshot: "If You Want Me To Stay"

Jesse suggests that one of the best ways to experience Sly Stone is through his beautiful, heartbreaking hit "If You Want Me to Stay." (Embed or Share The Outshot)

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: The AV Club, Dan Deacon, Downton Abbey and Chris Lilley

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Hugh Bonneville
Guests: 
Dan Stevens
Guests: 
Joanne Froggatt
Guests: 
Chris Lilley
Guests: 
Dan Deacon
Guests: 
Tasha Robinson
Guests: 
Josh Modell

This week! The AV Club: Tasha Robinson and Josh Modell of The AV Club join us to recommend the thriller Contagion, out on DVD, and Daniel Handler's new novel Why We Broke Up. (Embed or share)

Dan Deacon with "The Song That Changed My Life": Baltimore-based musician Dan Deacon talks about why a player piano composition by Conlon Nancarrow changed his life and the way he made music. (Embed or share)

Downton Abbey: Hugh Bonneville, Dan Stevens and Joanne Froggatt from the totally unstuffy costume drama Downton Abbey talk about the peerage system, upstairs and downstairs love affairs that make us swoon, and the show's bridge between the old customs and modernity. The second season of the show begins airing January 8th on PBS's Masterpiece. (Embed or share)

Chris Lilley, Creator of Angry Boys: Chris Lilley, the very funny Australian comedian and showrunner, talks about his new series Angry Boys. The show pushes boundaries with his faux-documentary of characters in different stages of life and scenes of adolescent torment. Lilley plays six characters, both male and female and occasionally side by side, in sort of a natural continuation of his work in the acclaimed show Summer Heights High. You can catch Angry Boys on HBO on Sunday nights. (Embed or share)

The Outshot: And we close with The Outshot -- Jesse's pick for this week, the anthem "F--- 'Em" from Bay Area rapper E-40. (Embed or share)

You can subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or the RSS feed -- stay tuned for next week's Bullseye!

On the History and Origin of Dracula's Use of the Bizarre Expletive "Bleh!"

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On this week’s episode of Judge John Hodgman, His Honor set a task for devoted listeners. As your Halloween homework, he asked you to research the origin of Dracula’s use of the term “Bleh!”

Since you are a wonderful, loyal and intellectually curious audience, many listeners wrote in promoting a variety of interesting theories. The first, and likely the most commonly held, suggests that the "word" slowly seeped into our lexicon whilst we absorbed countless indistinguishable impressions of legendary Dracula performer Bela Lugosi. Nathaniel Reha promoted this theory, lifting a quote from the Straight Dope boards: “Actually, thinking about it a sec, I’m hearing a hundred-odd bad impersonations of Bela Lugosi in my head, doing the “I vant to suck your blood!” line. Blood, in the bad accent, becomes ‘bluh’ (with a shortened, almost silent, d or t sound at the end of the word), which just becomes the one readily identifiable word when you think of someone’s bad Hungarian/Transylvanian vampire-speak.” Though listener John McGlothlin notes “[I]f your letter-writer-inner was convinced that ‘bluh’ did not originate in strict canon, that would rule out it stemming directly from Lugosi’s accent in the 1930’s Dracula film.”

Which leads to our second theory. Several listeners suggested that the phrase first appeared in a 1952 Bela Lugosi film called "My Son the Vampire". Jamie McCormick wrote: “The earliest occurrence I can find of a Dracula character making the sound is from 'My Son, The Vampire', a 1953 musical satire starring Lugosi in essence mocking the franchise he himself created. Nosferatu, in company with the other early silent Dracula films, makes no reference to the sound, nor does Lugosi make the sound in his early and serious-minded Dracula films. Note especially the last line of the film's title track – “He wants Bluuuuuuuuuuud!”

Jamie also provided links to the film for those who want to verify this theory. You can find the full film on You Tube or on Netflix; but Jamie also astutely notes that only the Netflix version has the song "My Son, the Vampire" rolling over the credits. Why?

I did some further research. Actually, that title song provides a rather interesting clue. As listener John McGlothlin noted, “[A]round . . . 1964, Allan Sherman put out a comedy song titled “My Son, the Vampire” which opens with “blood!” being screamed in a strange way that sounds rather ‘bluh’ like.” This Allan Sherman tune is the title song of the movie in some (but not all) versions of the film. According to IMDB , the film's original title was “Vampire Over London”, (this is the version available on You Tube), but it was apparently retitled "My Son, the Vampire" for its 1963 American re-release (six years after Bela Lugosi's death) to cash in on the success of Allan Sherman's album, "My Son, the Folksinger". Indeed, there is an American trailer for the film that prominently features Mr. Sherman:

I also discovered that Rhino released an EP of Sherman’s work in 2005 that includes “My Son, The Vampire”. So for 99 cents you can nab the song from itunes and consider the audio evidence yourself. (Although, truthfully, you hear him utter the critical word during the few seconds of the song's free preview).

A third theory, promoted by multiple listeners, claims that the sound was first uttered by comedian Gabe Dell. Kevin Harris first advanced this theory without any video or audio evidence; but listener Cayman Unterborn did all of the heavy lifting for him by providing an extensive defense of Dell as the source of the original parody. First, he provided this explanation from Svenghoolie (who he identifies as a venerable Chicago Horror Icon): “. . . Bela, as Dracula, never said ‘Bleh!’ It was indeed an imitator – back in the days of the old Steve Allen TV show; one of his stock players, Gabriel Dell (who had, at one time, been a ‘Dead End Kid’ in movies – and may have even worked with Bela in a cut-rate Monogram movie) was playing Dracula – and did the ‘bleh!’ thing (or, do you spell it ‘blah!’) From there on, it was history. So many Drac and/or Bela impersonators have done that now that most people assume that Bela actually did that . . .” Unterborn also found a CD that appears to feature a 1963 recording of Gabriel Dell doing his Dracula character (not on the Steve Allen show) and he also points out that you can download audio of the relevant Steve Allen Show episodes where Dell performs as Dracula, but it's going to cost. In terms of putting these performances on the correct spot in our "bleh!" timeline, I discovered that, according to IMDB, Dell performed this character on Steve Allen's Plymouth Show in 1957 (episode 2.35) and again in 1959 (episode 5.3). So that puts it after the original release of "Vampire Over London", but before the re-release of that film with the Allan Sherman title song.

Finally, two listeners suggested a connection to comedian Lenny Bruce. John McGlothin (who, along with Adam Pracht, tried to maximize his chances of winning by providing support for three of these theories) notes that “[I]n the 1960s, Lenny Bruce did a parody of Dracula as a Yiddish man, and the Eastern European accent may have made blood sound a bit like “bluh.” But McGlothin did not provide links to any video or audio which verifies Bruce’s performance or its place in this timeline. This theory does, however, have the backing of reference librarian Emily Menchal who states that there is support for the Lenny Bruce theory in David Skal’s book The Monster Show: A Cultural History of Horror.

That concludes my dutiful summary of the wonderful answers you uncovered.

So who's right? Only one man can judge the true winner of this contest! And we await his verdict.

Interview: Corey Stoll

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Corey Stoll is one of those actors that you’ve seen but might not recognize. He’s been in a handful of cop shows, most recently he played Detective Thomas "TJ" Jaruszalski on Law and Order: Los Angeles until that show was cancelled. He was in an episode of The Unusuals, which was a great show in my opinion, but it too was eventually pulled. Lately, he’s gained accolades for his turn as Ernest Hemingway in Woody Allen’s fantasy Midnight in Paris starring Owen Wilson. It’s a truly fantastic tale where larger-than-life characters from the Lost Generation of Paris in the 1920s (Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Picasso, Gertrude Stein) are visited by Wilson’s character who gets lost one night while walking through Paris…you guessed it, at midnight.

Chris Bowman: What were your thoughts on Ernest Hemingway as a person before playing him in the film?

Top Ten Fake Movie Trailers

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We were all there: yawning a little from already having watched "Planet Terror", but soon to be awakened by the intermission entertainment during Quentin Tarantino's "Grindhouse". There we were again: popcorn on shirt, dying of laughter during the first twenty minutes of Ben Stiller's "Tropic Thunder". Fake movie trailers. We couldn't get home fast enough to watch a slew of them on YouTube. Now they're coming to you.

Red Hour Digital, a recent branch of Stiller's own Red Hour Productions, has recently let the world know of The Fake Trailer Project, a twelve-part web series to be launched later this fall that will consist entirely of fake movie trailers. Its success seems nearly assured by Stiller's decision to recruit some top comedy talent for the project including Thomas Lennon and Ben Garant of "Reno 911!" and Amy Heckerling, director of "Clueless", "European Vacation", and "Fast Times at Ridgemont High".

There are two schools of thought in the fake-movie-trailer universe. In the first, you've got your re-cut trailers that mix clips from the actual production with new voice-overs and music to present the film as an upcoming release in an entirely different genre. Prime example below: "The Shining" re-packaged as a romantic comedy. In the second camp are fabricated story lines for non-existent films such as those in "Grindhouse" and "Tropic Thunder". No matter which you prefer, however, these pretend previews have made a name for themselves.

Click here to watch ten of the best so far.

Shut Up Little Man!

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SHUT UP LITTLE MAN! AN AUDIO MISADVENTURE - OFFICIAL TRAILER from Closer Productions on Vimeo.

You've heard the catchphrase, now see the film!

How could clandestine recordings of two old men fighting turn into a pop culture phenom? This movie explains it all for you.

It will be showing at cinemas around the country this fall.

Move These to the Top of Your Queue: "Bananas" and "Casino Royale"

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Not sure how we overlooked these earlier in the week, but there are two more comedy classics that will soon be expiring from Netflix Instant.

1. Title: Bananas (1971)

Where to find it: Netflix Instant through September 1st

If you've never seen Woody Allen's earliest (and silliest) films, you're truly missing out. In Bananas, Allen's character, Feilding Mellish, goes to a fictional Latin American country and joins its rebel movement - eventually rising to the office of President - all in order to impress his desired love object (Louise Lasser) with his "leadership qualities."



2. Title: Casino Royale (1967)

Where to find it: Netflix Instant through August 31st

A classic goofball farce, this star-studded spy spoof is the only movie that sports David Niven (and many others!) in the role of James Bond. It also features the talents of Peter Sellers, Orson Welles, Woody Allen, Deborah Kerr and William Holden. Kinda makes you look at "Austin Powers" in a whole new light, eh?



Move This to the Top of Your Queue: Five Must-See-Now Comedy Classics

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It's so frustrating. All week long you've been looking forward to Friday night so you could relax and watch that special comedy film that's been sitting in your queue for months - the one that your friends constantly quote and praise. But just as you settle in and bust out the popcorn, you notice that the movie has disappeared from your queue. The streaming service of your choice no longer has the rights to show it.

Okay. Now you're feeling disappointed. Somewhat like Otto (Kevin Kline) in this scene from "A Fish Called Wanda."

Thankfully, there is a solution. Multiple services have been granted access to the Netflix API and publish information from the company's database about which movies and shows will soon be added to or depart from the streaming lineup. (And they seem to be publishing this information with the company's tacit approval). So now you can discover in advance when the streaming rights to your film will expire.

But what's that you say? You don't have time to scan all of those services each week? That's why you have friends like us!

A team of intrepid MaxFunsters has joined together to sort through those listings, identify the gems that you shouldn't miss and - most importantly - tell you when you need to watch them in order to avoid DISAPPOINTMENT.

Click here to see our list of five great must-see-now comedy classics, along with clips, the reasons why they are unmissable and the date when each will disappear from your queue. Happy streaming!

Errol Morris, Director of "Tabloid": Interview on The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Errol Morris

Errol Morris is a celebrated director who has documented a wide range of subjects, from warfare in his Academy Award-winning film The Fog of War to your everyday eccentrics in Vernon, Florida.

In his newest film, Tabloid, he chases the truth in the tabloid story of Joyce McKinney. A former beauty queen follows her object of affection, a Mormon missionary, overseas and shakes things up with his alleged kidnapping and sexual assault. Joyce spins her version of the events of several decades and continents in the film, which is woven with interviews with tabloid reporters of the day, her alleged accomplices and contemporaries.

Errol talks to us bringing his subjects eye to eye with his audience using his patented Interrotron, seeking and preserving the truth of the first person narrative, and the work he feels he'll be remembered for (it's not what you think).

Tabloid is theaters now with limited release, and will roll out to more cities nationwide this summer.

Click here for a full transcript of this interview.
OR
Stream or download this interview now.

JESSE THORN: It's The Sound of Young America, I'm Jesse Thorn. My guest on the program is Errol Morris, who might just be America's most gifted and acclaimed documentarian. His movies include The Fog of War, which won him an Oscar, The Thin Blue Line, which may have saved a man's life, and Gates of Heaven, which, according to the terms of a bet, forced Werner Herzog to eat a shoe live on stage.

Morris's new film is called Tabloid. In part, it's an investigation of narrative; in part, it's an investigation of a curious character. That, of course, has been a theme of Morris's films going all the way back to his first two, Gates of Heaven and Vernon, Florida.

The movie is the story of a former beauty queen named Joyce McKinney who fell in love with a Mormon missionary and followed him on his mission to England, bringing along a pilot, a muscle-building body guard, and a man who can only reasonably be described as a best friend/bondage slave. When she found the object of her affection, she either convinced him to come with her, or kidnapped him, then, either convinced him to sleep with her, or raped him.

The case was a sensation beyond words in the English tabloid culture of the late 1970s. Here's a tabloid reporter named Peter Tory who covered the story at the time for the tabloids in the late 1970s. In this clip from the movie, he explains how Joyce McKinney's misadventures captured the English public's attention.

Errol Morris, welcome to The Sound of Young America.

ERROL MORRIS: Thanks for having me on.

Culture: AV Club Picks for July 2011 on The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Kyle Ryan
Guests: 
Tasha Robinson

The Onion's AV Club editors Kyle Ryan and Tasha Robinson stop by to give us their top picks for July's movies, music and books.

  • A surprisingly practical guide to screenwriting from past TSOYA guests Tom Lennon and Ben Garant, Writing Movies for Fun and Profit: How We Made a Billion Dollars at the Box Office and You Can, Too!
  • They Might Be Giants' new album out next week, a return to "adult rock" called Join Us
  • A new autobiography from Bob Mould, co-founder of Hüsker Dü, called See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody
  • The smaller science fiction film Another Earth, in theaters next week
  • Syndicate content