Mr. Turner

Pop Rocket Ep. 204 From Dafoe’s Van Gogh to Hayek’s Frida: A Look at Hollywood’s Attempt to Make Art about Artists

Carolina Miranda, Margaret Wappler, David Earle Sarah Kessler
Pop Rocket
Carolina Miranda
Sarah Kessler
David Earle

How right, but mostly how wrong, does Hollywood get it when it comes to capturing artists in film? Margaret Wappler asks these very questions of her esteemed panel. And this, the panel is comprised of LA Times staff writer Carolina Miranda, who covers visual arts, culture and architecture, media scholar and TV critic Sarah Kessler--filling in for her under-the-weather wife Karen Tongson--and Cal Arts professor and visual artist David P Earle, who is better known to Pop Rocket listeners as father to Silas and husband to our very own Margaret Wappler.

From Mike Leigh's Mr. Turner to Antonio Banderas's Golden Globe-nominated performance in Genius: Picasso, the crew highlights all the tired tropes Hollywood can’t resist when depicting artists. They’ll tell you about the films that get it right, and the films that get it deliciously wrong. Plus, why are all the portrayals of Andy Warhol on the big screen so...different? Was the real Andy Warhol more like Crispin Glover in The Doors or David Bowie in Julian Schnabel's Basquiat? Does Salma Hayek really do Frida justice? And which actress nails the stereotype of the insufferable, pretentious artist on the head? Join us as we try to suss out: is art about art art, or t-shirt at the giftshop bullshit?

All Abouts

Sarah is all about Valerie Solanas's SCUM Manifesto with forward by Michelle Tea.

Carolina is all about narco-novelas, in particular Netflix's Narcos: Mexico starring Diego Luna.

David is all about his algorithmically generated list of top songs of 2018 from Spotify.

Margaret is all about the 18th century period piece The Favourite, a feminist reimagining of Queen Anne's court starring Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone, and Olivia Colman.

That's My Jam

Sarah - Laura Branigan - Gloria

David - Saba - LOGOUT

Carolina - The Bucketheads - The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall into My Mind)

Margaret- Katzù Oso - Crazy4luvinU

With Margaret Wappler, David Earle, Carolina Miranda, and Sarah Rebecca Kessler.

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Produced by Laura Swisher for Edited by Shana Daloria.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Robert Smigel and Gillian Jacobs

Robert Smigel
Gillian Jacobs

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Photo credit: Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

Robert Smigel on his film 'The Week Of'

Robert Smigel is probably best known as the voice of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. The creation of Triumph was conceived while Smigel was a head writer at "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" in the late 90's.

Triumph's debut was in a recurring comedy skit about unusually talented dogs at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Triumph performed alongside dog sock puppets who played banjos, some performed magic tricks, and there was even plate spinners. With a cigar in his mouth Triumph closed out the sketch with his now iconic brand of comedy. Over the years, the character has returned to make fun of Star Wars nerds, start feuds with rappers like Eminem at the VMAs, and more recently heckling politicians for a hilarious election special.

Smigel spent decades on Saturday Night Live as a writer, producer, and sometimes even had recurring roles -- he played Carl in the Bill Swerski's Superfans sketches. That's the one where the Chicago sports fans talk about their love of "DA Bears." Robert also the creator of an SNL staple – "Saturday TV Funhouse" – the recurring skit on SNL which features cartoons. Including: The Ambiguously Gay Duo, X-Presidents, and The All-New Adventures of Mr. T.

Now, Robert Smigel's a writer and director. Together with Adam Sandler and Chris Rock he made a new movie called "The Week Of." In it, Sandler plays Kenny, a working class guy from Long Island who can't really afford the wedding he'd like to give his daughter. Chris Rock plays Kirby, a heart surgeon from LA and the father of the groom. Kirby has the money to help out with everything, but Sandler's character has hard a time accepting it.

Robert talks to Jesse about what it's like to be a father, and why he isn't sure his kids will find pleasure in the comedy he does as Triumph much longer. Plus, he breaks down what really happened when he was showrunning "The Dana Carvey" show.

Click here to listen to this interview on YouTube!

Photo: Jesse Thorn

Gillian Jacobs on her new film 'Ibiza'

If you're a fan of Gillian Jacobs, it's probably because of her work in television. For six seasons, Gillian Jacobs played Britta Perry on the hit comedy show "Community." On the surface it was a show about a study group at a community college who are unlikely friends. But in a way "Community" was a television show about television and film conventions. It's full of meta-humor, parodies and messed around with typical television tropes. She also played Mimi-Rose on HBO's Girls. And on Netflix's Love, which just wrapped up its third and final season, she starred as Mickey.

In her latest film "Ibiza," Gillian plays Harper. She's a quiet New Yorker in her early 30s who works at a PR firm. Her life changes when she gets sent on an important work trip to Barcelona, Spain. Harper brings along her two party animal friends - Nikki, played by Vanessa Bayer and Leah, played by Phoebe Robinson. The three friends take a trip to Ibiza, hundreds of miles away from where she's supposed to be. What could go wrong? Well, the film turns into a wild ride.

Gillian tells us why Harper is the first character she's played that is most like her. Plus, she tell us how she found herself in high school theater.

Click here to listen to this interview on YouTube!

The Outshot: Mr. Turner

It's hard to make an interesting biopic about anything. Now, imagine having to make a film based around the last twenty-five years of the life and career of painter J. M. W. Turner. It has to be tough, right? Making brushstrokes and landscape paintings interesting … well, director Mike Leigh nails it with the help of Timothy Spall's portrayal of Turner.

Click here to listen to this segment on YouTube!

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