The State

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: David Wain and Belle and Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
David Wain
Guests: 
Stuart Murdoch

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Photo: Jesse Thorn

David Wain on his new Netflix film "A Futile and Stupid Gesture"

David Wain got his first big break very early on in his life as a co-founder of the MTV sketch comedy show "The State." He then went on to direct "Role Models" and the cult classic "Wet Hot American Summer," but the transition from hit network television show to popular movie director was neither clear nor direct. For a long time after "The State," Wain was down on his luck - he didn't have another job and was not being asked to work on anything else. Wain tells Jesse about his time in therapy and how that helped him plan his next move toward filmmaking, which ultimately, led him to where he is today.

His latest Netflix movie "A Futile and Stupid Gesture," is about the successful, yet tragic life of Wain's own comedic hero Doug Kenney. Kenney founded The National Lampoon magazine and made the movies "Animal House" and "Caddyshack" - two movies that had huge impacts on fans of comedy everywhere, including Wain.

Photo: Kmeron via Flickr Creative Commons

Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian on his latest EPs "How to Solve Our Human Problems"

The last installment of indie pop band Belle and Sebastian's EP trilogy "How to Solve Our Human Problems" is out this week. Stuart Murdoch is the band's founder and lead vocalist. Belle and Sebastian's records are on hundreds of top 10 lists and their second album "If You're Feeling Sinister" is considered by many critics to be one of the best albums of the '90's.

Murdoch admits that when he was young becoming a musician was never part of his life plan. His path to founding Belle and Sebastian actually began with an illness. In the 1980's, Murdoch first discovered his continued struggle with chronic fatigue syndrome. He dropped out of college, spent a lot of time in the hospital, and moved back in with his parents. It was there in the quiet moments that he began to write tunes on his piano. On the suggestion of his doctor, he joined a class for unemployed musicians where he met Stuart David, Belle and Sebastian's co-founder.

Murdoch also talks with Jesse about his passion for baseball, why many of the songs in the latest EPs are ones your uncle would want to dance to at a wedding, and how his interest in Buddhism and meditation play a part in the overall concept of "How to Solve Our Human Problems."

Bob Levey / Stringer / Getty Images

The Outshot: Scarface

And finally, on the Outshot, Houston rapper Scarface has shaped his career by directly facing the trauma and consequences of gang violence, not just the desire for power and fear that fuel it.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Brad Bird & Ernie Isley

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Brad Bird
Guests: 
Ernie Isley

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Brad Bird on Creating an Atypical Animated Hit in 'The Iron Giant', Following Filmmaking Instincts, and Shaping 'The Simpsons'

Brad Bird started out in animation early, being recognized and mentored early on by Milt Kahl, one of Disney's legendary animators. His career includes eight seasons of The Simpsons, the animated films The Incredibles and Ratatouille, the big budget action film Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, and his animated feature debut, 1999's The Iron Giant.

The Iron Giant has just been remastered and re-released with several new scenes as a Signature Edition. It's available now on your favorite online video service, and will be out on DVD and Blu-Ray next year.

Bird talks to us about creating an atypical animated feature film in The Iron Giant, the reward of following your instincts when it comes to making movies, and how he helped create the look and feel of The Simpsons as an executive consultant on the show for eight seasons.

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Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Ernie Isley on The Isley Brothers' Evolution Through the Decades, Joining the Band as a Kid Brother and Jimi Hendrix

The Isley Brothers' first hit on their debut album was 'Shout', that classic call-and-response rock song. It was 1959 and Ernie Isley was seven years old. In the 1960s, they had 'Twist and Shout' and a run with Motown. Jimi Hendrix made his first recordings with the band and lived in a spare room at their mom's house. In 1969, they reintroduced themselves to the world, with little brother Ernie on bass. The song was 'It's Your Thing'.

The band continued to reinvent their sound and create hits through the 70s and into the 80s, songs like 'Who's That Lady' with Ernie's now-classic guitar riffs, 'Fight the Power', and 'Between the Sheets'.

A new 23-disc box set of the band's work is called The Isley Brothers: The RCA Victor and T-Neck Album Masters (1959-1983). It's available now.

Isley joins us to talk about playing his first gig alongside his brothers (filling in on drums for Martha and the Vandellas), being one of the only bands to actually play live on Soul Train, the band's evolution through the years, and his memories of the group's friend and sometime housemate Jimi Hendrix.

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The Outshot: The Pope Comes to Visit

What is Jesse reminded of when the Pope comes to visit? Why, this sketch, of course.

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Jordan, Jesse, Go! Episode 243: Now That's Jungian with Kevin Allison

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Guests: 
Kevin Allison

Kevin Allison from The State joins Jordan and Jesse for a discussion of Las Vegas, Robert Krulwich, bicycle safety, and Kevin's storytelling podcast and newest member of the Maximum Fun podcast family, RISK!.

MAXFUN DAY is coming! http://maximumfun.org/maxfunday

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: The AV Club, Director David Wain, Jordan Ranks America

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
David Wain
Guests: 
Keith Phipps
Guests: 
Nathan Rabin
Guests: 
Jordan Morris


The AV Club Recommendations

Keith Phipps and Nathan Rabin of The AV Club recommend their all time favorite classics - Rodney Dangerfield’s 1981 comedy special No Respect and ‘50s Japanese film The Burmese Harp directed by Kon Ichikawa.
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Director David Wain

Writer, director, comedian, and actor David Wain has worked on many projects, from cult classics to commercial successes. From his early days on MTV’s sketch comedy show The State he moved on to write and direct the cultishly popular film Wet Hot American Summer. David returns to our show to trace his career path, discuss what made The State such a special comedy troupe, and of course talk about his new Judd Apatow-produced comedy, Wanderlust. The film opens in theaters nationwide on February 24th. It stars Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston.
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Jordan Ranks America

Jordan Morris gives the good old U.S. of A. a run down of the top 5 most important things happening within its borders this month. Old friends, Blu-ray movies, how will he break it all down?
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The Outshot: DJ Quik, Pitch In OnA Party

If you bring the potato salad, we’ll bring the chili as Jesse pines after potlucks with this week’s Outshot, DJ Quik’s Pitch In OnA Party.
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