TRANSCRIPT The Flop House Ep. 309: Book Club

In our first episode recorded after shit got real, we take a change of pace, and discuss your aunt’s favorite movie, Book Club. Can a cast of wonderful old pros elevate the world’s most banal script? Meanwhile, Elliott presents his Golden Girls hypothesis, Dan’s a huge crybaby, and Stu bravely soldiers on, through his COVID-19.

Podcast: The Flop House

Episode number: 309

Transcript

dan

On this episode, we discuss: Book Club!

elliott

The chilling tale of four people getting together in the same space less than six feet apart! OoOoO!

music

Light, up-tempo, electric guitar with synth instruments.

dan

Hey, everyone! And welcome to The Flop House. I’m Dan McCoy.

stuart

I’m Stuart Wellington!

elliott

And I’m Elliott Kalan! And Dan, uh, I hate to be—to fall into my stereotype as the Jewish one, but why is this show different from all other shows?

dan

Well, uh… for one thing, we’re all, uh, more than six feet apart. [Through laughter] Meaning that, uh, we’re all—

crosstalk

Dan: —in our respective apartments. Elliott: Explain—explain further.

dan

Uh, yes. The, uh… COVID-19, uh, colloquially named as, uh, the coronavirus? Has, uh, sent us scattered to the winds. Uh, normally it was just Elliott scattered.

stuart

Yeah.

elliott

Yeah.

stuart

Well. [Long pause; then Dan, Elliott, and Stuart laugh in turn.]

elliott

Now—uh—

dan

I mean, that’s pretty much my reaction to it. Yeah. Well.

elliott

We ought to—we are doing our best to try to keep up with what the governments tell us to do. Uh, we are setting an example for the young people out there by keeping distance from each other. So as to not create—become disease vectors. Dan and Stuart are feeling a little under the weather, and I’m—

stuart

Yeah.

elliott

Y’know, I’m—I’m—I’m just dealing with an overdose of California sunshine! Y’know? There’s just… too much—too much bright sun! That I can only escape by staying in my house 23 hours a day and only occasionally venturing outside to peer into the light like a mole man. Or a vampire that got tricked into escaping his coffin too early. So, uh, this episode might be a little strange, because we’re all in three different locations.

crosstalk

Dan: Yeah. Stuart: Uh-huh. Elliott: I don’t think any podcast—

elliott

—has ever done this before. Right?

crosstalk

Dan: [Laughs.] Uh. No. First one. Stuart: No. I don’t think in the history of podcasting.

stuart

And my—and my levels are all crazy, so this might be the weirdest-sounding Stuart you’ll ever hear.

elliott

Mm-hm.

stuart

Hopefully, uh it’s extra loud.

dan

Um… yeah. I think I have the easiest of all three of us, ‘cause I’m not as sick as Stuart nor do I have two children.

elliott

No, Dan, you have the easiest of most people in the country.

dan

No—I know! We weren’t—I was comparing to you two! I was not—we don’t need to get into how privileged I am. Uh, which is very. But— [Elliott laughs.]

elliott

Alright! Don’t rub it in! Dan—Dan is recognizing his privilege in a very positive way.

dan

Well, I mean… [through laughter] what am I supposed to do about it? [Elliott laughs.] Just count my lucky stars, I guess.

elliott

Yeah. And to your—you—purple moons and green clovers, too.

dan

Yeah. Uh, so this is a weird way to start [through laughter] an episode.

elliott

[Laughs.] So—Dan, what do we do on this podcast? For anyone who’s—who is stuck at home looking for entertainment. And they stumbled on the picture of us and they’re like, well I like chicken legs and beers and remote controls! [Dan laughs.] I’ll check out what these three dudes do! Uh, what do we do on this podcast?

dan

Uh, this is a podcast where we watch a bad movie and we talk about it. Um, now, uh, you were very interested, uh—we—we had a short vogue for theme months and you were gonna do what you called “Mom-uary” where we watched this and Poms. But—

elliott

Let me explain. Mom—Mom-uary was for me. I want to do a theme month of—‘cause let’s face it. We’re dudes. We watch a lot of “dude” movies. We watch a lot of—and not to—not to, uh, gender stereotype there, but we watch a lot of traditionally dude movies—horror movies; action movies; uh, sci-fi-action horror. Horror-sci fi-action. Fantasy-horror. Horror-fantasy. Sci-fi-action and action-horror-sci-fi-fantasy-action. [Dan laughs.] And we don’t—there’s a whole world of movies out there that we don’t really touch upon usually that I would call—generically—movies my mom watches. And so I was—and this—so I wanted to see Book Club and Poms, and it would double as also—“What is going on with Diane Keaton these days?” month. Because Diane Keaton—who is—I don’t think I’m gonna do—have any, uh, opposition on this—a national treasure and one of the most, uh, charismatic actresses in probably the history of motion pictures. Uh—

crosstalk

Stuart: Uh-huh. Dan: Yeah.

dan

Delightful. Instantly likeable. Very funny.

crosstalk

Elliott: Yes. The—uh—there’s— Stuart: Uh-huh. And can wear—

stuart

And can wear the hell out of a high collar and a hat.

elliott

Oh, she—y’know—her—her style—I mean, there’s a reason that the Annie Hall look took off like a—like a wildfire.

crosstalk

Elliott: When, uh, when’s introduced it. Dan: Well Audrey there said there’s a scene—

dan

—late in this movie where, uh, they’re in, uh—spoiler alert—uh, Diane Keaton is on a large inflatable swan in a pool, and Audrey said—why is she wearing a hat? I’m like, because she’s Diane Keaton! [Elliott laughs.]

elliott

Also, it’s nighttime and she’s wearing a huge sunhat. [Laughs.]

dan

Yeah. [Laughs.]

elliott

But there’s a part where, uh, her—her girlfriends are trying to help her dress up for a date and Jane Fonda is like, open up your collar! Show off the girls a little! And—but she’s wearing, like, a turtleneck underneath the shirt [through laughter] that she’s wearing.

crosstalk

Elliott: That they’re unbuttoning. Dan: Yeah. There’s no way the girls—

dan

—are getting anywhere near to being shown off.

crosstalk

Dan: In that—in—yeah. Elliott: No. But she looks great. So—

crosstalk

Dan: No. She looks tremendous! She always does! Elliott: But Diane Keaton is—

elliott

She’s also a working actor. And so for years now she’s been doing movies like this or Something’s Gotta Give where I’m like—like—that’s like Diane Keaton, like, you’re so—like, what happened to the Diane Keaton of Reds, you know? Or, uh, the Diane Keaton of um… y’know… uh—the Woody Allen movies that she made. Like, there’s just—there’s part of me that’s like, Diane Keaton, you’re better than this! This was gonna double as “Diane Keaton, You’re Better Than This” month, but mostly it was—movies that my mom watches. And… unfortunately, I don’t know that we’re gonna get to Poms. Uh, ‘cause there’s so much else going on right now. But—

crosstalk

Elliott: But I really want— Stuart: We’re just gonna skip right to Wild Palms. [All laugh.]

elliott

The—the—the TV show?

dan

[Through laughter] Yeah! Weird! Part of the national conversation, too. Wild Palms.

elliott

[Laughs.] Well, inevitably—inevitably when things start going south socially, people start talking about the Oliver Stone television short-lived series Wild Palms.

dan

I will say, uh, Elliott, uh… my—I know for a fact that my parents saw Book Club. Uh—

elliott

Okay.

dan

And they—their reaction was—y’know. Like, look. We know it’s dumb, but— [Elliott laughs.] —your elderly parents had a good time.

elliott

Yeah. I mean, that’s the thing! Is this is—this is a comfort food movie. And maybe at this time in American history, we all need a little comfort food. But guys, I wanted to talk about where this movie goes wrong. ‘Cause it does so much right. Once—number one—it brings together an amazing cast. This is Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen. They’re all great. Uh, and also you got Don Johnson and Wallace Shawn and Richard Dreyfuss and Ed Begley, Jr. This is an all-star, older-star cast. And Alicia Silverstone in it! Un—as far as I know, unheralded performance! In a supporting role! But. And—it gets—so it obviously gets that right by getting cast together.

stuart

So wait—

elliott

It—it tacks—

stuart

Wait, are you saying—are you saying like a little guy in a little suit didn’t come out and like… tell everybody that Alicia Silverstone was showing up? [Elliott laughs.]

elliott

Like, at the beginning of Frankenstein, when a man comes out and he goes—watch out! This movie may be too horrifying for you! I wish that he had gone out and said, it may shock you to find that Alicia Silverstone is in this film. [Stuart laughs.] In a very small role!

dan

Well, all—also—are you saying that uh Andy Garcia and Craig T. Nelson are chopped liver, my friend? Because you—

elliott

I’m saying that—Dan, I’m saying that there are so many stars in this movie that the heavens were dark and I can’t even remember all of them. So there was a lot of stars in the movie. Two, it taps into the national zeitgeist ‘cause it’s all about the Fifty Shades of Grey craze, which was only… seven years old when this movie came out! [All laugh.] And so—the only way they could’ve fixed that is if the movie—at the beginning there was just a montage of things that happened in the year 2011. That they were just like— [Dan laughs.] [Through laughter] That—just to set the scene. But uh, here’s what this movie, uh, does wrong. Now, uh, just—spoiler alert—I’m gonna do a general thesis statement about the film and then we’ll get into the—the summary of it. This movie is essentially a sitcom episode that has been expanded to the length of a feature film?

crosstalk

Dan: That is true. Elliott: And that sitcom—

elliott

—is called Golden Girls? And this is essentially… a backdoor attempt. And I—I don’t mean ‘backdoor’ in a sexual way, even though this is a heavily Fifty Shades of Grey movie. Because—as we’ll get into—it totally just—it just—eliminates the promise of a—of a sexually-charged elder movie. But uh, it’s like— [Stuart laughs.] —if they made a Golden Girls movie and they forgot a very valuable ingredient. ‘Cause let’s take a look at who the characters are in this one. Okay. This is a story about a book club that’s been meeting… frequently! Meeting regularly since 1974.

crosstalk

Stuart: Uh-huh. And we have the, uh— Elliott: And they’re introduced to—

stuart

We have the receipts to prove it. Right?

elliott

Yes. Because we’re introduced to them with the most incredibly fake photoshopped photo I think I’ve ever seen in the history of film. Featuring young Jane Fonda; young Candice Bergen; young Mary Steenburgen; and young Diane Keaton. And we’ll talk about their characters in a moment. Jane Fonda, she’s a—

dan

I just want to say, there’s a worse photoshop job to come, but I’ll—I’ll—

crosstalk

Dan: —I’ll leave that as a— Elliott: [Through laughter] Later—

elliott

But which one is it? Is it the Ed Begley, Jr. photos?

dan

Ed Begley Jr. Yes. [Laughs.] [Elliott laughs.]

crosstalk

Elliott: Where there seems— Dan: So much so that I thought—

dan

—it was gonna be a plot point that he was faking these vacation photos. [Laughs.] [Elliott laughs.]

elliott

It looks—there’s a part where—later on, Candice Bergen is looking at her ex-husband Ed Begley, Jr.’s vacation photos. And it looks like he and his fiancé went to the mall— [Dan laughs.] —and stood in front of a greenscreen—like, went to a carnival. And had like a fake photo made. Uh, so Jane Fonda. She’s your classic lifelong bachelorette. Refuses to settle down. Loves to have sex. And owns a successful hotel. She’s obviously the Rue McClanahan. In this scenario. She’s—she’s the Blanche. She’s very sexually active. Does not want to be tied down by a man, and also—has kinda similar hair! To Blanche. Then you’ve got… Sharon. That’s Candice Bergen. She’s a federal judge and she is very ultra-proper. And she’s very repressed. She hasn’t even dated a man, let alone have sex, since she divorced her ex-husband Ed Begley, Jr. This is clearly the Dorothy.

stuart

Who she—who she chose to divorce.

elliott

Who she chose to divorce. Yeah. This is clearly the Dorothy. The Bea Arthur. You know. Just kind of like, the one who sneers at everybody else and looks down on them. Here’s where the problem gets in. You’ve got Mary Steenburgen as Carol, who is a chef who’s married to Craig T. Nelson. And is kind of… she’s just a—kind of a lady who is upset that she and her husband aren’t intimate very often. And you’ve got Diane Keaton, who is a woman with two grown daughters who are treating her as if she’s more fragile than she is because of her age. You’ve got two Roses right here.

stuart

Mmm.

elliott

You’ve got two Betty Whites. There is nary a Sophia to be found in the film. They’re missing an Estelle Getty. And this throws off the very perfect and very essential chemistry of the Golden Girls experiment, where you had—one, the sexpot. Two, the goof. Three, the—the uptight one. And four, the sarcastic mom of the uptight one. Guys? This movie needs an older old woman. Even Grumpy Old Men had a grumpy older man, in the form of Burgess Meredith. And yet in this movie, you’ve got two—you’ve got two Roses and no Sophia’s. And of the Roses, Diane Keaton is by far the better Rose!

dan

Well, yeah, uh… they don’t give the Roses as much comedically to do as, uh, the Rose in Golden Girls, either.

elliott

No—well, I mean, Golden Girls is also great. That’s the difference is also that Golden Girls is great and Book Club is kinda like, uh… it’s—it’s kinda got running through the motions. But let’s explain. Okay. So you’ve got the—so you got these four indelible characters—

stuart

I kinda feel like they’re a little bit closer to the, uh… the—the four women in the SexSex in the City? Or Sex and the City series?

crosstalk

Elliott: It’s called Sexy City. Stuart: ‘Cause I don’t remember which it is. [Dan laughs.]

elliott

It’s called Sexy City New York. [Laughs.]

dan

Uh… I believe it’s Sex and the City? Cause there’s an ampersand, isn’t there?

elliott

Yeah, but that ampersand stands for a “y.” Sexy—Sexy: The City!

dan

Maybe it’s Sex in the City! Let’s look it up.

elliott

No, it’s Sex and the City. It’s Sex and the City, guys. It’s not Sex in the City, it’s Sex and the city.

crosstalk

Stuart: So—so it’s like—so it’s like them! Dan: Alright. Elliott: Or is it— Sex in the City?

elliott

Dan—okay. So, uh, how does it map on? Map these characters onto the Sex and the City characters. Let’s see.

stuart

So there’s… Charlotte?

elliott

Okay.

stuart

She’s, like, one of them.

elliott

Okay. She’s like Candice Bergen, because she’s the uptight one and she’s a lawyer and Candice Bergen’s a federal judge.

stuart

There’s, uh… Miranda?

elliott

Okay. [Dan laughs.]

stuart

She’s like one of ‘em. [All laugh.]

elliott

Okay. Is Miranda the Kim Cattrall?

crosstalk

Stuart: Yeah? Dan: Uhh… yeah. Elliott: ‘Cause Jane Fonda’s—

elliott

—very much the Kim Cattrall.

stuart

There’s, uh, Courtney? [Dan laughs.]

elliott

Is there? [Laughs.] [Through laughter] I don’t think there’s a Courtney.

dan

[Through laughter] You’re thinking of the Friends. That’s Courtney Cox.

elliott

Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

stuart

Wait. That was her name?

crosstalk

Dan: [Through laughter] Yeah. Elliott: [Through laughter] Yeah.

elliott

I mean, it is her name.

dan

Well, this movie, Diane Keaton is playing Diane.

crosstalk

Dan: Which is pretty good. Elliott: Yeah.

elliott

Her character’s name is Diane, which I thought was very funny. Uh, and—

dan

But guys, I discovered that it is Sex and the City but there is no ampersand. It’s written out. So I totally misremembered that. I’m sorry. That’s—I want to apologize to everyone for that before I get tweeted at.

elliott

No, I, Dan, I have to assume that you’ve been watching a—some kind of, like, bootleg rip-off called Sex & a City, where- [Dan laughs.] —they’re very generic about what city it is ‘cause they don’t wanna get sued. But it probably is Cincinnati?

stuart

Mm-hm.

dan

It is hot there, I hear.

elliott

Yeah. No, no. It’s Cleveland is where it’s hot, Dan. Hot in Cleveland.

dan

Oh. It’s WKRP in Cincinnati is what it is. [Elliott laughs.]

elliott

Yeah, yeah. It’s very WKRP in Cincinnati. [Dan laughs.] That’s— [Laughs.] Do you think there was somebody at the time who was like—WKRP in Cincinnati? What is this? Science fiction show? [Dan laughs.]

dan

Must be a typo in the old TV guide! [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

I’m gonna assume it’s called Woke Up In Cincinnati, and it’s about somebody who fell asleep on a bus. [Laughs.] And now they gotta get back. But with a typo.

dan

[Sighs.]

elliott

Well, I guess I’ll wa—I don’t need to watch the show ‘cause I’m interested in that premise. And he missed out on— [Stuart laughs.] —one of the classic sitcoms of the 1970s.

dan

Yeah. And he’s never gonna get to see it because of the music rights. At least not in a very cut-up form. So.

elliott

Yeah, yeah. Well now when he finally watches it he’s gonna be like, this is the show? ‘Cause they can’t play those scenes that have the old music in them. Yeah. So guys—so you got these four characters. They’re Sex and the City Golden Girls, and they each have their story that—very much like a sitcom. They each have their story that they’re gonna go through. But! They’re all friends! And they still meet every week for—title card—Book Club! Now, I wanna mention before we get into the plot, that—

dan

Oh, wow.

elliott

The soundtrack to this movie is bonkers. Like, I think Austin Powers had a more subtle soundtrack than this one. Like, you would—if you just listened to the music, you’d be like, what kind of crazy cartoony hijinks are going on in this movie? But—

dan

Oh, so you mean the score.

crosstalk

Elliott: Yeah. The soundtrack. Dan: You’re not talking about—

dan

—how they use “More Than This” by, uh, by Roxie Music.

elliott

No, no. No, I’m not talking about the pop song soundtracks that they—‘cause they also—those are—there’s a part at the end where they play a Meatloaf song and everybody acts as if it’s the craziest thing they’ve ever heard. [Laughs.] Like, okay. So. Uh… these women, when they get together, you better believe they make lots of sex puns. Oh boy! The innuendos are flying wild. Uh, they have just—speaking of!—they have just read the book Wild, and Jane Fonda did not like it. They mention that the theme of this year’s book club is “bestsellers that were made into movies”? Which is… kind of a silly theme for a book club because they probably would’ve read these books already. Uh, but Jane Fonda is like—hey, ladies. Here’s the book we should read: Fifty Shades of Grey! And they’re like, no, come on. Come on. And she goes—hey! We started the—oh, and Candice Bergen says, “We started this to stimulate our minds!” And Jane Fonda goes, “I hear it’s quite stimulating!” That’s the level of dialogue— [Dan whoops ironically.] —that we’re gonna get in the movie. [Laughs.]

stuart

And it’s—and it’s great for me, Stuart the person watching the movie, because… I know those stories! So I know what they’re in for.

elliott

Yeah. That was the funny thing was watching it, having seen the—having seen all three movies for this very podcast, there were times where I’m like—so how are they gonna deal with the part where he—they think he’s died in a helicopter crash? Is that something that they’re gonna bring up? Like, are they gonna bring up the—all the whole subplot with the guy who wants revenge? They don’t.

dan

Can I just—I know that we’ve, uh, paused it a lot before getting into the plot, but can I just, uh, say—

crosstalk

Dan: —my thing about— Elliott: Dan, we get to make the rules!

elliott

Look. It’s coronavirus time. We make the rules. Things are crazy. Just say what you wanna say. Do what you wanna do. K, can you stop a friend? Addams Family.

dan

Well I just wanna— [Laughs.] I wanna talk about how linked this movie is to Fifty Shades of Grey. Because, like… alright. I don’t wanna deny like—at the time, there were all these articles about how, like… y’know, like… uh… older women or women who like may be into like sort of settle into, uh… married life were like rediscovering, like, sex or whatever because of Fifty Shades of Grey or like… whatnot. Although—

elliott

I believe there was a—I believe there was a run at the hardware stores on nylon rope. Because so many women were begging to be tied up.

dan

Well that’s one of the things, though. Like—it—I feel like all of the stories were more about how, like… uh… women who maybe were from an earlier generation where they didn’t like talk so much about their needs, uh, were like connecting with like… they could be honest about if they were kinky or not or like… inject new elements into their sex life. Which is not—

crosstalk

Dan: —what this movie is. This movie— [Laughs.] Yeah. Elliott: Like boron! New elements like boron or magnesium!

dan

This movie is much more, like, it’s just like these women are all like oh yeah! Sex! [Elliott laughs.] When they read Fifty Shades of Grey. [Laughs.]

elliott

Well that’s—that was one of the things—I feel like this movie makes a promise early on that we are gonna see some older women getting invested in BDSM play. And that never happens. I’m like—this movie promised me—implicitly—that I was gonna see Diane Keaton in a leather mask? And that— [Stuart laughs.] —never happened.

crosstalk

Dan: [Clears throat, then laughs] Okay. Well. But also— Elliott: And I was very disappointed. No one ever holds a riding crop.

elliott

It’s just like—what is this movie about? Y’know?

dan

Yeah. But also I think that it’s—I—I personally would’ve preferred that the movie, uh, just make up like an erotic book bestseller? Rather than tying it so specifically to Fifty Shades of Grey because the movie feels like this giant commercial for a lot of things. There are other things it feels like a commercial for. But—

crosstalk

Dan: —specifically for FiftyElliott: Oh, yeah. Motorcycles. Earplugs. [Laughs.]

crosstalk

Dan: Well, Bumble? [Laughs.] Stuart: Yeah, like—do you think— Elliott: Oh, Bumble? Yeah.

stuart

Do you think if this movie had been made like 20 years earlier it would’ve been a movie club and they were watching Basic Instinct or something? [Laughs.]

crosstalk

Elliott: Yes. Exactly. Yes. Dan: Well it’s also like—

dan

They don’t just read the first book. They [through laughter] like throughout the course of the movie they read the entire Fifty Shades trilogy. And like—maybe it’s just ‘cause I’ve, y’know, picked up Fifty Shades of Grey and read some of it? And know how— [through laughter] horribly written it is? But I would prefer they just, like… y’know, like, good! Good on ya. Go read some erotica if you want to. But like, goddamn. There’s—there’s [through laughter] much better erotica to be had.

elliott

They never make any jokes about the writing in the book, which surprised me. That they—and I wonder if it’s because they don’t wanna alienate—or maybe they like those books! I don’t know. They don’t wanna alienate the people who’ve seen this movie who were like, oh, I read those books. Those were good books! I really liked them a lot. It reminds me of, uh, there was a time when… Oprah’s Book Club—they picked One Hundred Years of Solitude? And then… they were picking some other book. And I remember, for some reason, maybe it was on at work. Like, seeing a little bit of the episode and she’s like—okay. Now I know the last book was a little difficult for some people—and women in the audience were nodding. And I was like—One Hundred Years of Solitude is a beautiful book. Like, I love it. I love that book. And it’s—I remember at the time—

crosstalk

Elliott: —being a young callow— Stuart: But now you’re gonna drag it?

elliott

Well, no, no! At the time being a young, callow jerk, and being like—that’s not a difficult book! Like, it’s a beautiful book! And it had to be pointed out to me by someone else, like—not everybody is like a reader. And I don’t mean that in a condescending way, but like, not everybody is just gonna pick up Gabriel Garcia Marquez and be like, oh, yeah, I really get this. So for a lot of people it probably was a much more challenging book than they’re used to. And they might be the kind of people who—when they read Fifty Shades of Grey—they’re not, like… ugh! This is so horribly written. They might be like, eh, this isn’t the best-written book but I’m enjoying it. So like, I wanna see it from the point of view of people who maybe don’t have such snobbish standards as me.

dan

Right.

stuart

Yeah.

dan

And I also wanna say, like— [Laughs.] We are aware that, uh, we are all, uh, middle-aged men. And so—

crosstalk

Dan: Speaking— [Laughs.] Elliott: Mm. I’m approaching middle age?

dan

Speaking as, uh, as such—uh… y’know, we can’t necessarily speak to, uh, older women’s, uh, desires and hearts. [Laughs.] So like—

elliott

No, no! But I think—I think we all come to this from a very—from a place of, like… older women sex positivity?

dan

No, definitely.

elliott

Okay. So getting into the plot. Uh, basically, Diane Keaton, she is—has to go visit her kids. They all live in LA. Uh, her—I think. Her kids live in Arizona. And she’s going to go visit them, and she has a meet-cute on an airplane with Andy Garcia. And they’re flirting, and then she accidentally grabs his dick for a reason I couldn’t quite understand? [Laughs.]

crosstalk

Elliott: And, uh— Stuart: She got scared. Dan: There was a—

stuart

He also—Andy Garcia… from scene one ‘til the end of the movie, seems drunk the whole time. [Elliott laughs.]

dan

Yeah.

elliott

[Laughs.] He does! When he’s doing an accent that I couldn’t quite pinpoint I thought he might’ve been Greek? I’m not sure.

dan

I will say, uh, having watched this movie with Audrey, she was like shouting at the screen. She did not like Andy Garcia. ‘Cause she felt like he was a cocky guy who is constantly, like, uh… sort of… assuming, uh, that… Diane Keaton could drop everything at the—at any moment to, like, come see him in another city. Like, there’s a later point where he sort of ignores her fears? I mean, in the interest of trying to push her past them? But like in a way that Audrey really didn’t respond to? And I get it. Like, I think he’s being presented as like this romantic type that… uh… may have been better in a previous age? Where he’s like—

crosstalk

Dan: —a little pushy? Stuart: Yeah! He’s a pilot.

stuart

He can still drive himself at night. [Elliott laughs.]

elliott

Well he’s the most Christian Grey-like figure in this. In that he is a millionaire. Who has nobody else in his life and can indulge just whatever… uh… desires or fantasies he has. And who also very early on, has a sense of possession and ownership over Diane Keaton? And this is not explored ‘cause he’s just a fantasy figure of a rich handsome man who is available and shows interest in her. Y’know.

dan

Yeah. There’s a certain—he has a certain amount of, uh, charm because he’s Andy Garcia, but like… he also… I—I think he’s being presented as, uh, a figure that will push Diane Keaton past her neuroses? But, uh… just from… Audrey’s perspective watching it, she was like, well, uh, he’s a little too, like, controlling and thinks he knows better.

elliott

I mean, later he hits on her by—she doesn’t know he’s a pilot and she’s flying back home. And a flight attendant calls her up and is like, oh, we need some information from you! What’s your name and your phone number? What’s your address? And what nights are you free? And then the pilot—Andy Garcia—walks out. And he’s like, I’ll take it from here. And the flight attendant has this look on her face like, heh, heh, heh, glad I could be part of this little love prank!

crosstalk

Elliott: And then— Dan: Yeah. Rather than the look—

dan

—that they really would have on their face, which is like—don’t involve me [through laughter] in your dating life. [Elliott laughs.]

elliott

In this—in your stalking. And then an alarm goes off in the cockpit and he refuses to answer it. Until Diane Keaton agrees to go on a date with him. And it’s supposed to be, I think, cute. But it’s like… this is scary! [Laughs.] [Dan laughs.] And if he set off the alarm on purpose to—as, like, a part of the prank! Which I assume he did. It’s like, that’s worse? Like, he’s playing a lot of mind games with her. And in a movie that was more keyed in to Fifty Shades of Grey, that would be, like… acknowledged as creepy? But instead it’s supposed to be just cute here. Y’know.

dan

Yeah. Anyway.

elliott

Anyway. Meanwhile. Uh, Mary Steenburgen—Craig T. Nelson, her husband, has just not been showing interest in the bedroom. And, uh, we see her—she—they go on their anniversary dinner. And Craig T. Nelson gets her a very romantic gift: two sets of earplugs so that she can watch her TV shows while he’s sleeping and her snoring won’t keep her up. And uh, she gets him dance lessons because her annual charity dinner is coming up and it’s gonna be a talent show and she wants to dance. Neither of them are happy with these gifts. She starts reading the book while watering a plant, and we see the moisture meter on the plant go to “high” and it was like—come on, everybody. Like— [All laugh.] Come on! What are we doing here? Like, what kind of Benny Hill-level joke is this? [Dan laughs.]

stuart

I mean, I expected it to cut to a shot of like, the Great British Baking Show and have Mary Berry be like, “That’s a soggy bottom!” [Elliott laughs.]

dan

Oh, my.

elliott

[Through laughter] Yeah. There’s a lot of those types of puns, too. Later on, Craig T. Nelson really gets into his old motorcycle? And there’s so many lines about, like, oh yeah. I gotta lube her up so I can mount her. And I can climb on top of her and ride her all night. And she looks at the camera basically and is like, oh, what about me? Like it’s— [Laughs.]

dan

I gotta say. Like, that—

crosstalk

Dan: I found some of that— Elliott: It’s like this— [through laughter] it’s like sexy Andy Kapp is what it feels like to me.

crosstalk

Dan: I sound—Uh— Stuart: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Craig T. Nelson’s like—

stuart

I wanna get on my motorcycle and squire jizz out of my ball sack— [All laugh.] —all over it.

elliott

He’s like, I can’t—I just can’t wait to insert my dick into this motorcycle and pleasure it all night long.

dan

I found some of that funny, uh, not because the, like, gag itself is funny? But because like… uh… all of the women are in a room and they know the problem that the two of them have been having? And so they’re all kind of like reacting to it and sort of trying to stifle their reactions? And this is gonna be a running theme in the movie. The material is bad, but the actors are all so good that they manage to sell a surprising amount of it.

elliott

I mean, it’s kind of like Sex and the City that way. Sex and the City was so full of dumb puns? But… uh—but like, the performers in it are good performers. You know. There’s a line, uh, that our old boss at The Daily Show—Tim Carvell—used to do, which was his version of a [through laughter] Sex and the City about old women. Where it would be—meanwhile, on the other side of a town, Estelle was having some assisted living of her own! [Dan laughs.] And like that’s kind of what this movie is! [Laughs.] Is that line. That joke. In like—pumped up into a whole movie? Um, all the women, they’re reacting super cartoonishly as they read it. Like, they’re Tex Avery wolves. Their eyes are popping out of their heads. They’re turning into steam whistles. Uh, the—and the soundtrack, like, I said, the score is so cartoony. In my notes, I wrote that it’s like the whole movie is a swing band and a car chase? Like, that’s what it sounds like at times? Um, Jane Fonda’s old beau—Arthur, played by Don Johnson—he shows up. And he just will not leave her alone and takes her out for ice cream. Talks about how his wife left him. And they end up wading in a fountain for a lucky penny because she made a bad wish on it. It’s all so adorable. And a security officer on a Segway comes by and takes a picture of them. And there are a couple of security officer—or cop—moments in this movie, and I just kept imagining the auditions where improv actor after improv actor came in to like audition for this role. And they’d be like, oh, yeah, yeah! While we shoot it, you’ll make it into a bigger role with your improv. And that doesn’t happen.

crosstalk

Dan: I will say, regarding— Stuart: Yeah. I felt so bad!

dan

Yeah. Regarding Don Johnson, I know that this is—I mean, maybe it’s like— [Stuart laughs.]

crosstalk

Dan: —you just turn him— [Laughs.] Elliott: Whose name is also—

elliott

—his name is a pun for penis! Like, that’s the other thing. Is like, they—it’s like the movie is so full of puns that even the actor’s name in the credits reads as a pun.

stuart

Yeah. Metaphor bleeds into reality.

dan

Yeah. [Elliott laughs.] I mean, maybe—

elliott

It’s like in the mouth of madness that way. [Laughs.]

dan

Maybe this is just turn-about as fair play? Because, uh, like, women so often get underwritten roles in this, uh, sort of movie? But I could not tell you anything about what the character Don Johnson was supposed to be other than he likes Jane Fonda. His whole personality was he wears a kind of a funny hat.

elliott

He wears a funny hat. He used to be a radio DJ. And he likes Jane Fonda. And that is the—and I don’t know what he does for business now! He had to fly into LA for business for—maybe it was a radio convention. I don’t know. But he also seems to be genuinely rich like everybody in the movie is.

stuart

Now I haven’t watched all the special features on the Blu-ray disc of this— [Multiple people laugh.] But I’m assuming there was a scene that’s on the cutting-room floor where Don Johnson’s character is talking to Jane Fonda’s character and he’s like—oh, you’re in a book club? Uh, what are you reading right now? And she shows him and it like cuts to his eyeballs in like a Giallo movie and his blood runs cold. [Elliott laughs.] ‘Cause it makes him think—that’s his daughter in those movies!

dan

Oh no. [Elliott laughs.]

elliott

[Through laughter] Yeah. Prob—that’s probably exactly what happens! [Laughs.] Uh, what do you think he—at a family event, he was like, [adopts Jersey accent] ah, I’m making a Fifty Shades movie, too! Ah, it’s family stuff! We can bond over this! [Laughs.]

stuart

That’s prob— [Laughs.] Yeah. That’s a really good Don Johnson impression.

crosstalk

Stuart: That’s better than mine. Elliott: [Accent again] Hey! It’s me, Don Johnson! We—me and my daughter, we’re gonna bond over this! Stuart: Hey, it’s—

crosstalk

Elliott: Heya, heya, I’m making one of these, uh— Stuart: That’s, uh, that’s more of like a Donald Johnson. [Laughs.] [All laugh.]

elliott

Yeah. “I’m making one of these, uh, Fifty Shades movies. Just like you were! Like daughter, like, daddy, huh? Yeah! I’m—your daddy’s in a Fifty Shades movie! And she’s like, please stop saying that.” [Laughs.] Um—

stuart

Yo, call me daddy more!

elliott

Meanwhile, uh, Candice Cameron—she is cyberstalking her ex-husband, who has—

crosstalk

Elliott: —a much-younger— Dan: I’m sorry. Candice Cameron? [Laughs.]

elliott

Uh, sorry. Candice Bergen.

crosstalk

Elliott: I apologize. Stuart: Oh man!

stuart

Dan’s been waiting for that fuckup!

elliott

Oh. You got— [Dan laughs.] —you knew it was going to happen and you got me! Uh—

dan

Finally. [Laughs.]

elliott

[Laughs.] Candice Bergen, uh, she is cyberstalking her ex-husband. And she finds these—what we mentioned before were the worst photoshopped pictures maybe in the history of photoshop.

crosstalk

Elliott: They are—I think— Dan: Now, I want to—[sighs.] I wanna—

elliott

In a way I think they’re deliberately bad-looking. ‘Cause they’re so silly! They have to be. Like… it literally was like a photo booth at a wedding. Like, that’s what it looks like.

dan

Now, I wanna object to this. Uh, scene. ‘Cause like, alright. So as a…

elliott

Oh, I’ll say—also, she gets caught by her law clerk. She’s doing this at work. And, uh, anyway. But Dan.

dan

As a previously unattached man? This, uh, originally confused me a lot?

crosstalk

Dan: Because I’m— Elliott: This was before you were—

elliott

This before you were turned into a human centipede? Now that you’re attached?

crosstalk

Stuart: Uh-huh. Dan: Yes.

dan

Yeah. I’m attached. Uh— [Elliott laughs.]

crosstalk

Dan: It’s amazing that I can still talk— Elliott: Now, you the—

dan

—with my [through laughter] mouth sewn to someone’s butt, but. Y’know.

elliott

Well I assumed you were the front! But I didn’t realize—are you the middle or are you the back?

dan

No, I’m talking into the butt— [Elliott laughs.] —and the person in front is saying what I’m saying with my voice, like, a kind of a Ratatouille, like, you know, like, pull the hair and make the guy move sort of situation.

elliott

And—okay. I think that’s the first time someone’s compared Human Centipede and Ratatouille, sure. [Laughs.]

crosstalk

Dan: Uh… I mean, I’ve got one— Elliott: I mean, you didn’t answer my question—

elliott

—are you in the middle or are you in the back?

dan

Uh, what? I—I—I—I’m in the… uh… the second-best position. Which is the middle.

elliott

Now, I wonder if the—

stuart

What?! [Laughs.]

elliott

—not at all! Not at all, sir! Not at all.

dan

You think the back is the—best?

elliott

See, you have a little bit of freedom and then you can just—

crosstalk

Dan: The second-best? Elliott: —poop freely—

elliott

Into the air!

crosstalk

Elliott: Like God intended! Dan: But you’ve got two peoples’ poop!

dan

I mean, I guess like, there’s a lot less poop maybe by the time—no. It—

crosstalk

Dan: There’s still nowhere for the poop to go! Elliott: I gotta say. Dan—

elliott

—once you’re eating one person’s poop? You might as well throw the other person’s poop on the plate. [All laugh.]

dan

[Through laughter] Let’s not—

stuart

I mean, I don’t think we—I don’t think there’s any contest. Y’know. The front is the best, ‘cause you get to eat all the food and you have somebody eating your ass all day long. [All laugh.]

crosstalk

Dan: Let’s, uh— Stuart: The back is second-best— Elliott: Now, what if—

stuart

—because you can poop whenever you want. And you get to eat someone’s ass [through laughter] all day long. [All laugh.]

crosstalk

Elliott: [Through laughter] [Inaudible.] And the second—the middle— Dan: Why is this happening in the Book Club episode?

elliott

So I—the—I—I think—I’m wondering if, what if this movie came out a couple years earlier and was called Movie Club and it’s these four women who watch Human Centipede, and they’re like— [Dan laughs.] —I guess this is what people are doing now! [Laughs.] And they make themselves into human centipede and it reinvigorates their lives.

dan

[Through laughter] Let’s not talk about this anymore. What I wanted to say was, y’know, there was a period when I was uh using dating apps. So this Bumble thing confused me for a long time. Because—alright. First off—

crosstalk

Dan: —it wasn’t clear— Stuart: Uh-huh. Elliott: Okay. So she—

elliott

She goes on Bumble to find this stuff. We should say that.

dan

Well, yeah. It was—it wasn’t clear that this was on it.

elliott

Dan, I mean, you do know that Bumble is a dating app for bees. Right?

dan

Could— [Laughs.] Could we just—

elliott

That’s why you were dating so many bees for a while.

crosstalk

Dan: I’m speaking from experience, so let me— Stuart: Or, like, clumsy people! [Laughs.]

elliott

Or clumsy people. Yeah. Well, that’s Fumble. That’s—Fumble is the dating app for people— [Dan sighs heavily.] —like Steve Carrell in 40-Year-Old Virgin, who just keep having clumsy accidents that get in the way of their love life!

stuart

Mm.

dan

Yeah. Um, so… I—

crosstalk

Dan: It was confusing for— Elliott: Not to be confused with Grumble, the dating app— Dan: Oh, god.

elliott

For people with—for Andy Rooney’s. Now Dan, you were saying? Bumble. [Laughs.]

crosstalk

Dan: Uh—it was confusing for a while— Elliott: Here’s a—here’s a look behind the curtain.

elliott

I like to talk until Dan is so irritated that he just starts [through laughter] checking his phone. When he picks up his phone I know it’s time to let him talk. So Dan?

dan

Uh, yeah. It was confusing to me for a moment, because it looked like she was doing this on her desktop? And I’m like, okay. Well first off, Bumble’s an app. So that’s weird. But then later on it becomes clear that she is using a tablet to do this. But then secondly— [Elliott laughs.]

crosstalk

Elliott: Oh good! I’m glad— Dan: —the re—the— [Laughs.]

elliott

—that plot hole got covered up with cement.

crosstalk

Dan: The reason— Stuart: That’s how—

stuart

That’s how my mom does most of her computing! [Elliott laughs.]

dan

Yeah. So—but secondly, she… learns that her husband is dating this much-younger woman. By… uh… like, the Bumble thing is like—like, oh, matched! And I’m like, what? You can’t see other people’s matches on Bumble! But it turns out that I guess it’s an ad for Bumble that’s like, oh these two people matched! You could, too! But that, like, uh, suggests the question: why is her husband showing up for her in this ad? I mean, she was googling him right before, but like—he’s not gonna be a keyword! [Laughs.] Like, in this advertisement for Bumble!

elliott

Well she has learned that her husband is dating because her son calls her to announce his engagement. And he mentions that. So she goes on Bumble and is confronted with this ad. An di have to assume that—as in the song, there’s always something there to remind her. [Singing] Bum, bum, bum, bummm! And in this case, it’s that ad. She’s just—it’s a Kafka-esque existence where she’s confronted at every moment. With evidence of her ex-husband’s life. I assume that as a judge, she deals with a lot of cases that are tangentially related to her ex-husband, which—again—is a conflict of interest. She should be recusing herself from those cases. But it’s—but I think, uh… it is the kind of movie logic, Dan, where like someone will turn on the radio and there’s a news report about what’s—whatever’s going on that’s important to the plot? [Laughs.] You know? Uh, so—but you’re right. This ad comes up that’s like, “Bumble helped this older man to get with a much younger woman! Is Bumble right for you?” Uh, and so—but she gets caught by her clerk and she doesn’t wanna get involved—she doesn’t wanna dip her toe in the radical revolutionary world of internet dating, which I’ll mention again—is how I met my wife 15 years ago! Uh—

crosstalk

Stuart: I mean—the thing is that— Dan: Yeah. Elliott: Uh, but this is a scary new world for her.

stuart

Is that, uh, Candice Bergen’s character is hungry. She needs a slice of something. [Elliott laughs.] That’s right—I think she needs a slice of Dreyf! Richard Dreyfuss shows up. [Laughs.]

elliott

I haven’t thought about “Slice of Dreyf” in a long time!

stuart

Playing 69-year-old George. [Elliott laughs.]

elliott

[Through laughter] We’ll get to that. We’ll get to that. ‘Cause she hasn’t put herself out there yet, but she has—anyway. Uh—

stuart

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I don’t want to spoil it for everybody! I know everybody’s waiting for George to show up. [All laugh.] It’s gonna be great! I don’t want to bury the lede!

elliott

I mention Richard Dreyfuss in the beginning and people were like, but who does Richard Dreyfuss play?! ‘Cause that—Richard Dreyfuss—I mean, he hasn’t been on movie screens that much for a while. I mean, what was the last time—for a lot of people, he’s still Max Bickford or Kippendorf! And he doesn’t have a new character to—

crosstalk

Elliott: —to replace that! Dan: Krippendorf. Krippendorf. But uh—also— Elliott: Krippendorf! I’m sorry. [Laughs.] [Dan laughs.]

dan

Please. Uh, I actually looked him up—

crosstalk

Elliott: I should—I should remember from my anthropology minor— Dan: He has—

elliott

—at school. That it was Krippendorf who discovered that tribe! Yes, Dan?

dan

He had—it turns out he has been working much more than you would’ve thought? Like, he’s been in movies over the past, uh… few years. But they just haven’t been movies that people have seen.

crosstalk

Elliott: I mean, the last— Stuart: Yeah. He played, uh—

stuart

He played Thanos? Uh, he played—

dan

Oh, wow!

elliott

Nope.

stuart

—Tony Starks.

elliott

Nope. So he was two different characters in Avengers?

dan

Yeah.

stuart

Yeah! They use CGI. [Elliott laughs.]

elliott

Okay.

dan

Okay.

elliott

So it was a Dead Ringers type scenario, I guess. Uh—no. He—the last thing I think I remember seeing him in was… uh… that movie that we watched—was it—what was the—when—with—where he was, uh…

crosstalk

Elliott: Lesser Hemsworth’s dad? Dan: Piranha 3D.

elliott

What?

dan

Piranha 3D. [Laughs.] I said.

elliott

No, no. He’s not in that. Right? Uh—

dan

He is in it! He’s at the beginning. He gets eaten by piranhas! It’s a joke about Jaws.

elliott

Oh right! I forgot about that. But we did a movie for Flop House that he was in years ago. But uh… so… Diane Keaton, uh, is visiting her daughters again. They’re treating her—they’re really babying her. Mary Steenburgen calls to ask—

crosstalk

Elliott: —is sex spanking— Stuart: This specific relationship is—

stuart

—was the one that made my wife the most angry.

crosstalk

Stuart: ‘Cause like— Dan: Which one? Elliott: Yeah. Stuart: The—the daughters— Elliott: Between Diane Keaton and her daughters. Dan: Oh, yeah. Me, too! Stuart: Between Diane Keaton and her daughters.

stuart

Like, they—they—they treat her like such a weird child the whole time? And it’s like—dude! We’re at fucking Buca de Beppo, man. Just let me take this fucking phone call! [Elliott laughs.] Like—she like leaves—she leaves the restaurant to take this fucking phone call and both of them leave the table and it’s like, you can’t leave your fucking idiot husbands at Buca de Beppo! [Elliott laughs.] They’re gonna eat all the shit!

elliott

[Through laughter] Yeah! They’re gonna finish it! There’ll be none left and that’s expensive! [Laughs.]

crosstalk

Dan: Uh, to be fair— Stuart: They’re gonna get it all over your children! [Laughs.] [Elliott laughs.]

dan

To be fair, her children are horrible meddlers, but Diane Keaton also, uh… treats it like—this is the sitcom-iest plot. Because for reasons that… y’know, maybe if I’m—y’know, maybe if I was an older, uh… uh, mother of adult children I would, uh, think differently? But I’m like, why aren’t you just talking to your children about what’s going on in your life? You feel the need for the whole movie to hide your, uh—

crosstalk

Dan: —new relationship. Elliott: Oh, no. No, Dan—

elliott

Dan, as the son of two parents who often don’t tell me things about their personal lives that you’d think would be useful for me to know, I can speak to that.

crosstalk

Elliott: Which is—I believe that part. Dan: Yeah, but—

dan

But she’s not just, like… not thinking about it. Like, she’s actively hiding it away. Like, she makes up a lie to run off with this guy and then doesn’t answer her phone as they get increasingly worried about her!

crosstalk

Elliott: Hey—You’ve got to— Stuart: I mean, that’s—

elliott

—hide your love away, Dan. Sorry. I yelled hey— [Dan laughs.] —for that—just for that joke when it was really rude. [Laughs.]

stuart

And the thing is, like… I dream of a day when like a hunky, drunk Arizonan pilot takes my dad away. [All laugh.]

crosstalk

Stuart: But that’s for different reasons. [Laughs.] Yeah. Elliott: It’ll happen, Stu! It’ll happen. Just—

elliott

Just—ya gotta make sure he gets out there. Also, uh, your parents are still married, I believe?

stuart

Yeah. I mean, my mom could go too. She’s chill. [All laugh.]

elliott

Your mom is very cool. You do have a very cool mom. Uh—so—Mary Steenburgen calls an emergency book club. This—this is the part I didn’t believe. She goes, I have to call an emergency book club so we can figure out if sex spanking is a thing. ‘Cause this book has got me all turned inside out. You have to fly back now. And, uh, she and Craig T. Nelson have a dance lesson from their very stern dance teacher. And he is not enjoying it. Uh, so Candice Bergen, meanwhile, she goes to the vet with her cat. The doctor refers to it as a lethargic pussy. And we’re like, yeah, yeah, we get it. Okay. Uh, she has an elderly cat. And… uh… we already mentioned that Andy Garcia hits on Diane Keaton while playing on her fears of flying and being a creepy stalker dude. Uh, they have another book club scene and, uh, Diane Keaton is like—uh… oh, no, wait. That’s later on. Sorry. I have to go into my notes here that we’re 27 minutes into the movie and this was when Danielle quit watching. When my wife walked away and said—I can’t take any more of this movie. [Laughs.]

crosstalk

Stuart: Yeah. She was hoping for them— Dan: I—I hope—

stuart

—to spend more time talking about the books, right?

crosstalk

Dan: Well— Elliott: Yeah, yeah.

dan

I will say that the movie is, like… one of the times that the movie works better than others? Is… when they’re all together at book club because then you get to see these great actors, like, interacting? Uh, I mean other than like there were some parts where like I was annoyed at the movie’s, like, script because it was just, like—let’s reiterate exactly what’s going [though laughter] on so. [Elliott laughs.] The slowest members of the audience will understand exactly what’s happening. But… but the interplay was good.

stuart

And a lot of the scenes just feel like delivery systems for these women to… uh, walk from one well-appointed snack spread to the next? [Elliott laughs.]

elliott

Yes. It’s—I mean, this is—this is in that very—in that very Nancy Meyer vein of like, uh, it’s a certain sort of pornography about beautiful kitchens and the ease of having everything that you want at your fingertips at all times?

dan

I actually have a voice memo from Audrey about this book club that I feel like this is the time to play. So I’m gonna just, uh… pump up my volume on this and, uh, here—here ya go. Uh… now.

clip

Audrey: Book Club? I think it’s more of a wine club! Am I right?

dan

Alright. So that was the—that was the zinger.

stuart

0:38:20

elliott

That more of a wine club? You said?

dan

More of a wine club.

elliott

I mean, most book clubs it feels like to me are excuses to drink with your friends. But like, in a structured setting? It’s a way—I mean, a book club is just—is just a way to force you to get together with your friends regularly so you don’t lose track of them. Right?

crosstalk

Dan: Like this podcast! Stuart: Yeah. It’s not some little—like, yeah. Elliott: Like a podcast.

stuart

Like this shitty podcast we’ve been doing forever. [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

Uh, anyway. Now we’re gonna enter into what I call the “dating sequence.” Where everyone goes on dates! Diane Keaton goes on a date with her pilot, tells him the story of her first kiss, which also involves a man grabbing—a—when she’s a teenager and a teacher grabbing her head and then planting a kiss on her? Which she calls very romantic, but which felt like—again—like a story where I was like, that’s not an okay story. That’s—that sounds creepy, too.

stuart

And she—she tells that story when they’re out at dinner at a table that is very far away from the edge of this, uh, outdoor seating area. [All laugh.] Like, I’ve been to outdoor restaurants. They kinda pack ‘em in there so they can maximize the space. But no dice at this one! [Laughs.]

elliott

No, no. Well, you know, it’s a movie. They had camera equipment and stuff probably. Uh, the others have goaded Candice Bergen into online dating. She finally joins. She sets up a profile with a picture of her with a face mask on for some reason. Like, one of those nighttime face masks.

dan

Well, not for some reason. She can’t figure out how to operate the app. So she takes an accidental picture of herself.

elliott

Okay. That’s fair. Uh, I’m just gonna—I’m gonna skip ahead a little bit and just say that she goes on this—let’s—well—I’ll—you know what? I’ll just say very briefly: Mary Steenburgen, she tries to seduce Craig T. Nelson with her old waitress uniform. She looks amazing. And he is so much more interested in his motorcycle. [Dan laughs.] He is not interested in it. Uh—they try to buy, uh, Candice Bergen a sexy dress and she seems to be unable to put dresses on? She tries to put it on over her clothes? Which makes no sense to me. Like, or maybe it’s just a very elaborate kind of Spanx undergarment that she’s wearing that looks like a full suit of clothes under her dress? And uh, and this is important for later—Jane Fonda slips Mary Steenburgen—in her hands, not to use—gives her a Viagra pill to slip to her husband later. Because as she says, a lumberjack is happiest when he has wood.

stuart

[Through laughter] Oh my god!

crosstalk

Elliott: [Laughs.] I’ll leave it to you guys to untangle what that means. Stuart: Holy shit! Oh, God! Dan: Now, is that—

dan

Is that true, lumberjacks? If there’s lumberjacks listening, tell us if you’re happiest when you have wood. Because to me it seems like that—y’know, your job. Maybe you like it and maybe you don’t. But uh, y’know. Write in!

elliott

But I mean—I feel like if there’s—I mean, no wood means no work. You know.

crosstalk

Elliott: So that’s—so I assume that’s part of it. Dan: That’s true. But I’m not—

dan

I’m not necessarily at my happiest when I’m at work, Elliott.

elliott

Very good point. Very good point. In fact, I would say you’re at your unhappiest, which would make it difficult if, say, someone was trying to supervise you and get you to do some work! [Dan laughs.]

crosstalk

Elliott: But I wouldn’t know what that’s like! [Laughs.] Dan: I always did my [though laughter] goddamn work.

dan

Don’t fuck with me.

elliott

So—but—let’s skip ahead to where—the date. This is a real slice of Dreyf. She’s got—Stuart, why don’t you set the scene for this one? Since I know you’re raring to talk about Richard Dreyfuss’s indelible, iconic persona. As George.

stuart

Okay. So they’re like in a restaurant? And uh— [Multiple people laugh.] George—George seems like a normal guy. Like, he doesn’t seem like… y’know, he has, uh, he has a Brooks Brothers shirt on. And, uh… yeah! It’s a nice little date, you know? [Laughs.]

elliott

They have a really pleasant first date. But for some reason, it’s written so that Candice Bergen’s character thinks this is a disaster at every moment? It’s like, they’re both nervous. They get over it. They talk with ease and calm. By the end of it, they kiss. She kisses him and then they have sex in the back of her car! And—

crosstalk

Dan: Yeah! Stuart: Uh-huh.

elliott

—the lesson she gets from that is: I do not wanna see this man ever again and I’m just gonna date other people now. Which makes no sense to me.

dan

Yeah. I don’t know what happened there. Like, there—I—I wonder if there was something cut from the movie? I have no idea. The whole movie I’m just like—whenever they went back to Candice Bergen I’m like, why aren’t you dating Richard Dreyfuss? [Through laughter] You had a good date!

elliott

Well I’ll tell you why. ‘Cause she goes back home and she’s got more messages. And the first one we see is from—you guessed it!—Wally Shawn.

crosstalk

Elliott: Oh, yeah! Stuart: Oh man!

stuart

Some—some man candy! One, please!

elliott

Somebody’s not having dinner with Andre tonight because he’s taking Candice Bergen out for a date! [Dan laughs.] And they—it was—the moment I saw Wallace Shawn, I was like—thank you, movie. Yes. This is exactly what I needed right now. Is to know that a little bit of this movie’s budget went to paying Wallace Shawn so that he could write, like, the most scathing, like, unpleasant like wonderful play about how modern society is built on the back of exploited workers and bloodshed? I’m like—it makes me very happy to know that Book Club has—has contributed to that in some way by employing him. Uh, Diane Keaton. She runs off from her family. She makes an excuse and says that her house was robbed and she has to leave. But she doesn’t fly home—she flies to her pilot’s house! And this is when we first realize that he’s probably a millionaire ‘cause he has an enormous house? Um, and he takes her for a ride—

dan

He invented some plane thing, right? That’s his deal?

elliott

He invented some kind of engine that—

stuart

Oh, maybe.

elliott

That has less drag or something? I don’t know.

stuart

He, uh—yeah. It’s like, uh, like a Tuscan villa. [Long pause.]

dan

Yeah.

stuart

Right?

dan

It’s nice. I mean, it’s not in Tuscany, but it’s in the style [though laughter] of such a thing.

elliott

It’s an Arizona villa. And he takes her in a little prop plane and she’s like, no, no, no, I’m scared! But she takes him—he takes her in it. And this is when it’s like the most like a Fifty Shades of Grey movie? Because the whole scene is just—just crane—just helicopter shots of Arizona desert and then shots of them in the cockpit going like, wow! Look at that! Whoa! Like… and the whole point of the movie is—oh, well life is wonderful if you’re rich and have your own plane and can fly around whenever you want. So. Very Fifty Shades of Grey in that particular. Um, and she says—hey, my marriage actually died a long time—oh, I forgot to mention, she’s a widower. Diane Keaton. Her husband died last year.

crosstalk

Elliott: And she says— Dan: She’s a widow.

crosstalk

Elliott: She—oh—oh, sorry. She’s a widow. That’s right. Hey, you know, well maybe she’s— Dan: A widower would be a gentleman. Wow. This is a—

dan

This is a two correction, uh, show for me! This is great.

stuart

Wow!

elliott

Wow. Dan. You’re on top of—the world has been turned topsy-turvy! Uh—actually—what if I—can I defend myself and say that I was saying “She’s a widow…errr!”

dan

Could be! Could be. [Elliott laughs.]

elliott

No. She’s a—

dan

Let’s rewrite history! [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

[Through laughter] Sure. Okay. Uh—uh—Abraham Lincoln lived. Can we rewrite it that? And the dinosaurs are still around.

dan

Yeah. And Trump didn’t win. Alright. Let’s go.

elliott

Now guys, in Duck Tales they never did rewrite history, did they?

dan

No. They solved occasional mysteries.

elliott

Yeah.

dan

Uh—

elliott

And I would say life wasn’t really a “duck blur.”

dan

No. Was it like a hurricane, though? In Duckburg. Specifically.

elliott

Okay. [Laughs.] That—uh—so she says, uh, my— [Stuart laughs.] —my marriage died long before my husband did. Which is a cruel thing to say! Um… uh-oh! Let’s get back to Candice Bergen because while waiting for her date with Wallace Shawn—which I have to assume is, like—how many—that’s everybody’s dream. Right? Is to have a one-on-one time with Wallace Shawn?

stuart

Yeah.

elliott

Or is it just mine?

dan

I mean, he’s a lovable guy! You know? And—it’s—I think this movie missed a beat by not having, uh… Alicia Silverstone interact with him in a Clueless reunion.

elliott

Oh, that would’ve been wonderful! Yeah. That would’ve been great. Um—uh—while she’s waiting for him, she runs into her ex-husband and his much-younger fiancé! Uh, because… they live nearby? I—I—the whole thing, I was so confused by her relationship with her family members? She has a son who she seems to have almost no relationship with? Um—and—

stuart

He certainly doesn’t show up in the movie until the very end!

crosstalk

Dan: Well, and this scene, too, like— Stuart: And when he does show up—

stuart

—he looks like the guy from Love on a Leash when he’s a man. [Elliott laughs.]

dan

Yeah. Well also— [Laughs.]

elliott

Not when he’s a dog. [Laughs.]

dan

Also in this scene, uh—

crosstalk

Dan: —Candice Bergen— Stuart: Had to clarify.

dan

—Candice Bergen seems to be learning for the first time? That her ex and her son are having a joint engagement party? And I’m like, okay. Even if you’re like not talking to your ex, like, you should [though laughter] know this from your son, probably. That he’s having an engagement [though laughter] party.

elliott

I mean, it seems like she has really cut herself off in a big way from her family. Her son calls and says he’s getting engaged, and… she seems to be surprised even that he’s in a relationship. Like, it really feels like she is—I mean—

crosstalk

Elliott: —there’s more— Stuart: Yeah. She’s like—

stuart

But you’re a dog! [All laugh.]

crosstalk

Dan: Only during the day! Elliott: He’s like, you know—

elliott

[Laughs.] Mom, my love is on a leash now!

dan

I wanna say that we thought that the, uh, much-younger girlfriend, uh, was a real scene-stealer. Uh, she had a really funny reaction in a later scene that I—I wanna highlight. But also, the way she’s like just overly friendly to everyone and does like a little bent-over hug, uh, as she’s meeting them, uh, was pretty funny, I thought.

elliott

So you’re saying—this is, uh, I believe this is Mircea Monroe? Is her name?

dan

Yeah.

elliott

And, uh—

dan

She’s been in a lot of stuff, uh, but mostly, y’know, one shots on TV.

elliott

Yeah. Apparently—according to Wikipedia, she was in a movie that was a parody of Judd Apatow movies that I’ve never heard of before. But anyway. Uh—so—the—she—so—the—Wallace Shawn shows up. And Candice Bergen is like, uhh, this is weird! Wallace Shawn, Ed Begley, Jr., and Cheryl, the fiancée, proceed to have a very pleasant, normal conversation! There’s nothing weird about it. No one is awkward. Even when Wallace Shawn mentions that he’s a DJ in addition to being a doctor—he has a great line where he’s like, I’m Doctor Dan. You can just call me Dan. That’s my name. Or something like that. It’s—he has a funny—he introduces himself as a doctor—or Doctor Derek. He’s like, I’m Doctor Derek. But you can just call me Derek. Which is a funny line to me? But—the—everything seems to be going super pleasantly, but what she decides is—too embarrassing. Gotta deactivate my Bumble account—

crosstalk

Elliott: It is time to— Dan: I think the—

elliott

Whatever’s going on downstairs? Gotta shut it down.

dan

I think the implication here is that… y’know, Ed Begley, Jr.—her ex-husband—shows up with this, like, hot young… uh… fiancée. And then—

crosstalk

Elliott: Yeah! And she shows up with Wallace Shawn! The—which is—like—even better! Like, every—everyone’s dream! Dan: —Wallace Shawn shows up! [Laughs.] Well I—you don’t have to tell me! Stuart: Yeah, dude!

dan

You don’t have to tell me. Can’t--tell Candice Bergen. [Laughs.] That she should be lucky. To be with Wallace Shawn.

crosstalk

Elliott: She should be so lucky. One— Dan: The brilliant—brilliant Wallace Shawn.

dan

Hilarious. Y’know. Who’ll—

elliott

One of the pillars of the New York theater community?

crosstalk

Elliott: Yeah. And like—scene-stealer? Stuart: And she was worried she would like lose herself—

stuart

—in the passion, y’know?

elliott

[Through laughter] Yeah. [All laugh.]

elliott

I guess that’s probably what—

crosstalk

Elliott: It was a real— Stuart: Could be like a Wild Orchid

stuart

—or Wild Orchid 2 situation. [Dan laughs.]

elliott

Yeah. Or like a—

crosstalk

Elliott: —9-1/2 Weeks or something. Dan: Two shades of blue!

elliott

Yeah. [Laughs.] It was a—she was ready to be a real Shades of Grey thing and she’d suddenly be—just be a creature of pure—pure lust. Okay. Um… Jane Fonda, she has a date with Arthur—Don Johnson—uh, she manages to take a moment to debunk a popular reading of a Robert Frost poem. And then they fall asleep together. With her tickling her arm and then listening to a full album all the way through. The fantasies that they shared with each other—

crosstalk

Elliott: —on the tape. Dan: That Robert Frost thing—

dan

—reminded me. Early on there’s a, like, joke about how, uh… y’know, someone’s… uh, vagina is not getting attention? And they say—they reference a cave of forgotten dreams? The Herzog documentary? [Elliott laughs.] And I was like—what a weird line to be [though laughter] in this movie! [Elliott laughs.]

elliott

It’s a fairly obscure—it’s not—I mean. Werner Herzog is—is—I guess—much better known now than he once was. But that’s not one of his better-known movies! Right? I mean, it’s a recent movie of his. But.

dan

And this is the most, like, widely-pitched—as you say—sitcom-y, uh, comedy. [Through laughter] So to have that in there, like—

elliott

Dan: Okay. How’d that make it through all the drafts? Stuart: So—so they shoulda—they shoulda—

stuart

They shoulda—the reference shoulda been Grizzly Man, then is what you’re saying.

dan

Yeah. [Laughs.] [All laugh.]

elliott

[Through laughter] So—yeah. I mean—

crosstalk

Elliott: —the only way— [Laughs.] Dan: My genitals are a real Grizzly Man. [Laughs.]

elliott

I wish—and that would lead to a hilarious waxing scene. Sure. I wish they’d gone further with that then? Now all I can think of is a scene where they’re—they’ve picked, like, a Calvino book for the book club? And they’re like, I’ll tell you, my life has a nonexistent night! Ugh! Tell me about it! People act like my vagina’s invisible city! Y’know.

dan

I thought you were gonna— [Laughs.]

crosstalk

Dan: [Through laughter] I thought you were gonna go, like— Elliott: If on a winter’s night a traveler showed up at my house—

dan

I thought you were gonna go with more Herzog. I thought you ere gonna be, like—little Dieter needs some sex, if you know what I mean! [Laughs.] [Elliott laughs.]

elliott

[Through laughter] Or like—[inaudible]—it’s, I could use a wrath of God down here! [Dan laughs.] Where’s my gyre? [Laughs.]

dan

Uh. Yeah.

crosstalk

Elliott: Uh. Hilarious. Yes. Dan: Encounters at the end of the world!

dan

Um—okay. [Elliott laughs.] Let’s move on, I guess.

elliott

Encounters at my end… of the world!

dan

[Laughs.] Yeah.

elliott

Uh, now I’m trying to think of what—no. And now I’m trying to think of other Werner Herzog. Even— [Dan laughs.] I’ll tell ya! Even dwarves start out small. I’d take that right now. But— [Dan laughs.] Okay. So, uh… they—she—she leaves it. And, uh… Diane Keaton’s kids call the police to track her down. They track her phone to the pilot’s house, where she falls off the aforementioned inflatable swan into the pool. It’s… it’s all so charming. Uh, as—as—uh—I think has been mentioned on it—for the previous episode of the podcast, Andy Garcia falls in the pool and my first thought is—oh no! His phone! [All laugh.] Um… Mary Steenburgen finally puts that Viagra in Craig T. Nelson’s beer and he is not happy about it—as I wouldn’t be! Also! If my wife did that to me.

crosstalk

Stuart: Oh, you don’t like being assaulted? Dan: [Inaudible.]

crosstalk

Elliott: No. [Laughs.] I don’t like being drugged. Dan: That’s what I’d do.

elliott

Uh—they get pulled over on the way home and the lady cop makes him stand up. And then she lets him go so that they can go have sex. But they do not have sex!

crosstalk

Elliott: Instead they argue in the house— Dan: Well, she gives a funny—

dan

A funny little wink where she’s like, y’all have a good night! And she goes into, uh, Mary Steenburgen and she’s like, and you have a good night! And winks at ‘em. And I—y’know. It’s a good performance.

elliott

I guess so. And—but—they have an argument where—which was kind of a—strangely real argument to me?

dan

Yeah!

elliott

It felt—where Craig T. Nelson’s like, ever since I’ve retired, I kinda don’t know who I am. And I need to figure out who I am and my relationship to my life and my own body. And this is—and you putting this pressure on me is not helping. And… then he walks away and bumps his dick into the wall and goes, ow! [All laugh.]

dan

Well, yeah, they’re having this serious argument and throughout the entire argument you can see this huge tent in his pants. [Elliott laughs.] Uh—which I—I’m ashamed at— [though laughter] like, the amount that I did find that funny. The contrast between the two. I—I wanna say, like… maybe we can rate the movie’s, uh… storylines at the end? But this was my personal favorite of the storyline? That Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson, won, uh, because it felt like it had a certain amount of actual emotional honesty. Like, I had an idea of who both of the characters, uh, involved were supposed to be? And what their, like, feelings were? Uh… y’know, I mean, I like Mary Steenburgen a lot anyway.

stuart

And you get a sense of what he was packing downstairs, you know? [Elliott laughs.]

dan

Yeah! A lot, apparently!

crosstalk

Elliott: I mean, that’s—there’s a reason he’s the coach! Dan: That was a huge boner through a—through some khakis!

elliott

Mm-hm. I mean, they’re—it’s—uh—not to—not to Poltergeist too much, but it’s heeere! [Laughs.] [All laugh.] Uh, what’s some other Craig T. Nelson stuff?

dan

Uh, The Incredibles—talk about Mr. Incredible! [Elliott laughs.]

elliott

[Through laughter] There ya go. Okay. Great. Uh, and that’s the Craig T. Nelson bit. That “T” stands for “tent!” In his pants! [All laugh.]

stuart

I—I’d Turner that Hooch! [All laugh.]

crosstalk

Elliott: [Through laughter] No, he’s not in that! Dan: [Through laughter] Is that—

stuart

I thought he was the bad guy in Turner and Hooch!

crosstalk

Elliott: Oh, is he? Maybe. I don’t remember. Dan: Was he?

elliott

Is he Action Jackson? [Stuart laughs.] I mean, he is now! But uh—okay.

dan

Wasn’t—Whoopi Goldberg Action Jackson? No, that’s Jumpin’ Jack Flash. [Elliott laughs.]

elliott

Although, again this Jack Flash is jumping. [Dan laughs.] Okay. Stuart and Dan both looking up Craig T. Nelson’s credits on their phone—

crosstalk

Dan: Uh. Yeah. Craig Nelson was— Stuart: Oh, yeah!

dan

—in Action Jackson. Uh, but Jackson was Carl Weathers.

elliott

Oh, oh.

crosstalk

Elliott: So was Craig T. Nelson the bad guy in that, too? Stuart: Yeah, no shit.

dan

[Through laughter] I’m sorry, Stuart. That I didn’t know about Action Jackson.

elliott

Oh, although Craig T. Nelson, he did do the voice of a monster with a huge boner in Flesh Gordon. [Long pause.]

dan

What?

stuart

Wow.

elliott

Yeah! So he’s coming back to—he’s coming back to his roots!

crosstalk

Elliott: That was early on in his career! Dan: Full circle!

elliott

Hold on. Let me double check that. To make sure I’m not misremembering it. [Long pause.] Uh, just google Craig T. Nelson Flesh—uh, yeah! Flesh Gordon, Craig T. Nelson as the monster. [Stuart laughs.] There’s this kind of like stop-motion animation monster. With a big—with a big penis and he does the voice of it. So you know what? HE—so when they said, he, are you ashamed about doing this role? He was like, I’m going back to my roots. And they said, please, no more penis puns. Uh—So anyway. Uh… but the—so they’re upset. And she says, okay, fine. You don’t have to dance with me at the charity dinner. And Diane Keaton says to Andy Garcia, I have too many responsibilities with my kids. I can’t be in a relationship with you. And Jane Fonda is like, I—this is too much pressure, me and Arthur. I can’t believe I fell asleep next to a man! I’ve had sex with lots of men but I’ve never slept next to one. I can’t handle this. And as mentioned, Candice Bergen is like—Wallace Shawn? Too overpowering. I’m a—I’m a beast when I’m around him! I just can’t control myself. I become an animal. So I gotta stop doing this. So the book club—everyone’s at their act two nadir? And Diane Keaton says, y’know what? I’m moving to Arizona. Not for the pilot, but to be babied by my kids. This is gonna be my last book club. And it’s like, oh no! You can’t break up the book club! You’ve been meeting for forty-some-odd years! Ever since you first read Fear of Flying!

dan

Yeah.

elliott

Uh, which is ironic because she does have a fear of flying, but that’s not really what the book Fear of Flying’s about.

dan

[Through laughter] No. I did think, like, did she pick it up thinking like it was a self-help thing? Or… [Elliott laughs.] What?

elliott

Um, they sit around and drink together and they kinda snipe at each other? About their life problems? And then they’re, y’know what? They say, we have to read book three. That’s the only way we can get out of this! And they cry together. And my note here says—they all go forward with their lonely lives. Um, Arthur, he confronts Jane Fonda and he says hey, I love you. And she just kinda brushes him off. Gives him the cold shoulder. And uh, Candice Bergen, she goes to her son-slash-husband’s—it’s two different people—they’re not the same person—this is, uh, not that kind of movie. Her, uh, her son—

crosstalk

Elliott: —and husband’s— Stuart: Oh, yeah. The engagement party.

elliott

Their engagement pool party. And—

stuart

At one point, she gives a speech and you’re like, are we about to hear her give a speech about a character we don’t know at all? Uh, and she gives a speech while standing next to a surfboard that has “This is Art” written on it? [Elliott laughs.] Which was very confusing.

crosstalk

Dan: I—I kinda— [Laughs.] Elliott: [Through laughter] That was—I think—

elliott

I think that was meant to be an example of the kind of crazy things that this young woman is bringing into her ex-husband’s life.

dan

Yeah. I kinda like the speech she gives, ‘cause I think it—it has, like… y’know, like—[Sighs.] Uh, for a movie that is as sitcom-y, it has, like, some general—genuine, uh, wisdom and heartfelt content and most speeches like this in movies end up being more about the person who’s giving them than the people she’s supposed to be giving the speech about? But in like a really obvious way? And this played the thing—I think—it went down the line kinda nicely. Where it is, like… clearly this is influenced by like the lessons she has learned over the movie? But she is still making it about them rather than herself.

elliott

Now what’s the—give me the gist of the speech. I know she talks about how love is a thing you have to create or something? What was it? Something about love.

dan

Uh, something that, y’know, uh… is given meaning only by the people who are meaning it and like, it takes bravery. I don’t know. I just remember… I don’t remember it [though laughter] Elliott.

crosstalk

Dan: I just remember my emotional response to it. Stuart: Yeah. He’s sticking a tattoo on himself or something! Elliott: I mean—that’s true—yeah. [Laughs.]

elliott

Okay. I thought maybe he Memento’d it. I don’t know. Now, the uh—I was—when I first saw her dinging her glass to make a speech? I was like, uh-oh. I know what happens when someone in my family gets up to make an unannounced speech. This is gonna be bad. It is time for the—for the grievances to be aired. But no! It was a nice speech. All about love. Um… the next afternoon, Jane Fonda is depressed. She couldn’t even get up and get dressed, and the other book clubbers I guess they couldn’t get her on her phone, so they—their book club sense was tingling and they knew that their friend was in trouble. They just show up and she’s like, ohhh, I said no to Arthur and now I’m—feel terrible! And they’re like, you have to go after him. Run to the airport! They go, his flight is leaving in an hour. Go get him! And it’s like, she’s never gonna make it to the airport in an hour. That’s crazy!

crosstalk

Elliott: He’s already past the security gate! Stuart: And you know—

stuart

And the, like, rush to the airport thing doesn’t have the same weight it kinda used to? Because like… you can like text ‘em on the fucking phone now. [Dan laughs.]

elliott

[Elliott laughs.] That’s true.

stuart

Like, while he’s like, on the plane you can FaceTime with this ass. [Laughs.] [Elliott laughs.]

dan

And you can only make it as far as security. But like—I—I—

crosstalk

Elliott: Yeah. I mean, I will say that— Dan: There are a couple of things I do want—

elliott

This did—this didn’t have the—this didn’t have the tense stakes that the run-to-the-airport scene in Little Italy had. Which is saying quite a lot.

crosstalk

Elliott: But Dan, you were gonna say— Stuart: Well, but she like— Dan: Yeah. I do—I do—

stuart

She like owns a hotel! She can just fly to fucking New York and see him there!

crosstalk

Dan: There’s a couple things— Stuart: [Inaudible] pizza!

dan

—I wanna say about this scene. Number one, I feel like it illuminates one of the big problems with the movie, which is, like, it comes to life more when they’re all together? And they’re together… very rarely? And this is one of the few times they’re together not just for book club? They’re like, doing a thing? Which is supporting Jane Fonda? Uh, number two—

crosstalk

Dan: —I liked this— Elliott: They say—they’re like—they’re like—

elliott

Help her get dressed! Dress her up in something sexy! Everything she owns is sexy! And then they put her in… kinda like the kind of standard blue dress that I would imagine a waitress in the ‘70s wearing? In like, uh, like a Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore or something like that? I’m like, this is not the—the most provocative thing that they—you could’ve thrown on her. Again. I want this to be about the erotic awakening of these— [Dan laughs.] —four women. And it’s disappointing me that it’s not. But Dan. You were saying.

dan

Uh… I also think that, like… so—throughout the movie, I feel like Jane Fonda’s storyline gets sort of short-changed the most? I kind of—like—

elliott

Yes.

dan

Uh, and I’m also sort of—throughout the movie—baffled by, okay. Like, what is her deal? Like, she keeps—they—everyone keeps talking about how she’s, like… afraid of commitment but there’s, like, it’s just sort of spoken about. And this is the first time I sort of get what’s going on. Like, she is pushing Don Johnson away because she is afraid… she’s too afraid of losing him again to even give it a chance. Uh, particularly as an older woman who is scared that like, he will lose interest and just run off with someone younger. And Jane Fonda’s, y’know, a great actor and she like really sells this. And I have to admit, guys—like, I started crying at this point. And I think it’s because— [Laughs.] I think it’s because, like… one thing that connects with me—I don’t know why!—is someone later in life sort of making an emotional [though laughter] breakthrough. And, uh, she’s opening herself up. To… uh, something scary! And I was like— [though laughter] I was genuinely crying watching this.

stuart

Is that—is that kind of what you’re doing right now by revealing this emotional honesty to us?

crosstalk

Dan: Well, I’m tearing up a little bit. Stuart: You’re opening yourself up?

dan

I—there’s a—there’s another part that, uh, also made me cry? I think it was primed to cry because I was already crying from this scene. But uh, I’ll tell you when we get to it.

elliott

Okay. Wow. Dan! I didn’t—I had no idea it had such an emotional impact on you and I’m really happy that, uh, that you managed to get around to watching the movie! This morning! [Stuart and Elliott laugh.]

dan

What—are you talking about? When have I never—I mean, like, I’ve fallen asleep during movies before. [Elliott laughs.] But I always watch them! [Laughs.]

elliott

Um, so— [Laughs.] The, uh—so I wanna hear about the other scene that’s gonna make you cry. Anyway. They, uh—she—uh, she goes after him and she rushes to catch Arthur at the airport. But she fails to catch him there. Meanwhile, at—it’s the talent show at the charity dinner. And Mary Steenburgen is like, I’m just gonna dance without my husband. I’m gonna do my old little kid tap-dance routine to “Red, Red Robin.” But the wrong song starts playing! It’s Meatloaf’s—which Meatloaf song is it? Is it “I Will Do Anything For Love”?

crosstalk

Elliott: Or is a different one? Dan: “I Would Do Anything For Love.”

dan

And the guy backstage, when she’s like, this is the wrong song! Is the most comical, like, [goofy voice] “I don’t know! I don’t know how to work this—"

crosstalk

Dan: “—CD player!” Elliott: And everybody is like—

elliott

Everyone’s like, she’s dancing to Meatloaf?! And she’s making it work! And it’s like, as if this is crazy. As if what she’s doing is insane. And yet somehow she’s managed to do it. And then—who shows up? Craig T. Nelson. And I’m not sure… if it was like that he put the wrong song on, on purpose for this? Or he just managed to show up? But I think he—does he ride his motorcycle into the room?

dan

Uh— [Laughs.]

crosstalk

Elliott: Or does he just run in? Okay. Stuart: I think that’s—I think you were imagining that. Dan: Uh— [Laughs.] I think you just imagined it that way—

dan

—because he runs in with his motorcycle helmet on and a leather jacket—

crosstalk

Elliott: That must be it. I was like— Dan: —and he, like— Stuart: Yeah.

elliott

‘Cause it coulda been a—

crosstalk

Elliott: It could been a—a— Stuart: It’s—it’s—

stuart

It’s like improv shorthand for— [Laughs.]

crosstalk

Dan and Elliott: Yes.

elliott

It coulda been a tip of the hat to the scene in Rocky Horror, where Meatloaf rides his motorcycle into the room! But they didn’t do that, I guess.

dan

And this was the other time I cried. Not because, like, it wasn’t, like—I mean, like this is utterly predictable that he would show up for her big moment. But they had done the work. Again, like I feel like this is the most emotionally grounded one? That I’m like, aww! Like… they’re reconnecting! That’s nice!

stuart

Yeah.

elliott

I mean, but this is the kind of story that would usually take up about… nine to ten minutes of a twenty-two minute sitcom.

dan

Yeah. Sure.

elliott

Rather than a feature film.

stuart

I get it. It was—it was pretty emotional for me because, y’know… that was a great song playing and it just made me think about how Meatloaf is a climate change denier, and, uh— [Elliott laughs.] —it’s hard to appreciate his—enjoy his music anymore. [Laughs.]

dan

Yeah. Well. [Elliott laughs.] I mean, you also have to ignore Craig T. Nelson’s [though laughter] political views, too.

stuart

[Through laughter] Oh, yeah.

elliott

Yeah. I remember we used to play that clip on The Daily Show a lot when he was on Fox and he said—I was on welfare! I was on food stamps! Nobody had—offered me a handout! [Laughs.] It was like— [though laughter] hold on a second! [Laughs.] [Dan laughs.] Like, but uh—the… uh… and—and they are so turned on that they rush home to have sex on his motorcycle. I mean, they’re rushing home on his motorcycle? I don’t know where they had sex?

crosstalk

Elliott: Maybe it was just on the motorcycle? Dan: They probably had sex…

dan

—on the motorcycle. ‘Cause for Craig T. Nelson, that would be a threesome at that point. He loves that motorcycle. [Elliott laughs.]

elliott

I guess so. Do you think he—she got irri—we don’t see the scene. But do you think maybe she got irritated that he was lavishing so much attention on the motorcycle and not at her?

dan

[Through laughter] What do you mean we didn’t’ see that scene? That was the whole fucking—

crosstalk

Elliott: We didn’t see them having sex, Dan! Dan: Oh, not the—we didn’t see the threesome.

dan

No. We didn’t see— [Elliott laughs.] Craig T. Nelson, uh—

crosstalk

Elliott: Oh, Dan, what—did you see the—did you see the—unrated cut— Dan: [Through laughter] —speaking of—speaking of [inaudible] tail pipe—

elliott

—of Book Club that I wasn’t aware of? [Laughs.] [Dan laughs.]

dan

Yeah. [Laughs.] I—I felt—I fell asleep watching this and, uh, Crash came on the TV afterwards? [Elliott laughs.] And like I just merged them in my mind.

elliott

Oh. Fair. Fair. What—and what channel was this that was playing both of these movies? [All laugh.]

stuart

Yeah. Dan—Dan was reading, uh—

dan

The cognitive dissonance channel! [Elliott laughs.]

stuart

Dan was reading a Penthouse Magazine and fell asleep on a Sorayama painting. [Dan laughs. Elliott joins in.]

dan

Yeah.

elliott

Dan was watching the Cognitive Dissonance channel, or—CDC. Dan, that’s not the CDC you’re—

crosstalk

Elliott: —supposed to be getting your virus information from! [Laughs.] Um— Dan: Oh no! [Laughs, then sighs.] Okay.

elliott

Jane Fonda, she goes back to her hotel. Hey, guess who’s there waiting for her? It’s Arthur! He didn’t get on the plane. He needed her! They kiss. Uh, and Diane Keaton, she’s with her daughters eating pizza in Arizona, and this is one—I was like, it’s just the three of them eating pizza at a table. And I couldn’t help but think, like, where is the rest of their families? Like, their grandma just showed up. Why are their kids and husbands not there for dinner?

crosstalk

Elliott: It was very strange to me. Stuart: The husbands—

stuart

The husbands are, like, I’m assuming out in the yard drinking from a bowl and eating slop. [Elliott laughs.] Uh— [Dan laughs.]

elliott

Is that your—is that what married life [though laughter] is like for you, Stu?

stuart

What I like about this scene is when one of the daughters goes, does anyone want a piece of pizza? And my wife audibly groaned at the term “piece of pizza.” [Elliott laughs.] And then Alicia Silverstone lifted up the slice of pizza in her hand and goes—I already got one! [All laugh.]

dan

Uh, that’s a—that’s a little story in miniature, y’know? There’s [though laughter] a setup and a resolution.

elliott

[Laughs.] Act one? There’s pizza. Act two? The—the question goes out—is there pizza? Act three. I don’t need pizza, thank you.

crosstalk

Stuart: But that’s the thing— Dan: I already have it.

stuart

That’s—that is—that is the—her daughters proving that they don’t need, uh, they don’t need their mom in their lives anymore. [Elliott laughs.] Because they can provide their own pieces of pizza. [Dan laughs.]

elliott

I mean, that wasn’t—that wasn’t really the—I think the lesson was more that she doesn’t nee them to take care of her, but.

crosstalk

Elliott: I guess you’re right. Stuart: She doesn’t need—

stuart

—to provide pieces of pizza for their hungry mouths. [All laugh.]

elliott

Now— [Laughs.] Now— [Laughs.]

crosstalk

Elliott: Now how would this map onto the— Dan: She doesn’t need to chew them up like a bird. [Laughs.] Regurgitate. [Laughs.] Elliott: Now how is this map onto—

elliott

—a Dan Harmon story circle? [All laugh.] Okay. They’re in a zone of comfort. They have their mother with them. Then there’s a problem—pizza! Uh, eventually they—they meet the goddess, who I assume in this case is Diane Keaton, and by the end they are back where they started—that zone of comfort—but they’ve learned a lesson, which is that Diane Keaton needs to go live her own life. She—for some—I don’t remember what it is that causes the—her to finally snap? Maybe it’s the—

crosstalk

Elliott: Maybe it’s them saying “piece.” [Laughs.] Them saying “piece of pizza?” Stuart: It’s the fucking “piece of pizza” shit! [Laughs.] Dan: Well—

elliott

And she goes, hey. Stop taking care of me. I have my own life to live and I’m not done living yet.

crosstalk

Elliott: And she drives to U-Haul— Dan: They’re telling her that she shouldn’t have—

dan

—driven all the way down herself.

crosstalk

Dan: She coulda killed someone. Elliott: Oh, right. Right.

elliott

Yeah. ‘Cause—‘cause she’s such a—‘cause she’s such an old person driver. And she drives her U-Haul over to the pilot’s house, and he’s like, what’s this? And she’s like, my overnight bag. And it’s like, jk! I’m—I’m moving in. I live here now. I’m a squatter. [Laughs.] [All laugh.] This is just like—this is just like The Servant. I now live here. This is my house. I take—I control it. And, uh… Candice Bergen? Guess what? She reactivates her online dating account and reconnects with George. Richard Dreyfuss.

dan

Which I—like, she swipes on him? And they match? And I’m like, wait. They matched before. [Through laughter] What the fuck is going on? Why?

elliott

Well we thought he might—he might’ve changed enough since that date that they—that they don’t match anymore?

crosstalk

Dan: Well, no! They would—I mean, I guess sometimes Bumble connections, uh, like— Elliott: I mean, you have to assume also that she has—

dan

Uh, run out over time? But I don’t think it’s been long enough time in the world of Book Club for that to have happened.

elliott

I mean, at this point also you could assume that she could just call him.

crosstalk

Elliott: They probably exchanged phone numbers. Dan: Yeah, exactly!

elliott

Yeah. Uh, but guys? Uh… the next thing is, uh—

elliott

They exchange more than that, you know what I mean? [Elliott laughs.]

dan

No, I don’t. Explain it, Stuart.

elliott

[Through laughter] Can you—can you explain that in clearer terms?

stuart

Okay. So imagine— [Multiple people laugh.] —life is like a piece of pizza.

crosstalk

Dan and Elliott: [Through laughter] Okay. [Laughs.]

elliott

Yep.

stuart

And life begins… when one piece of pizza and a pepperoni… are you following me?

elliott

Okay. Kind of.

dan

I mean, my mom always said life is like a box of chocolates. So this is very confusing to me.

elliott

Yeah. So, wait—are you talking about a piece—a piece of pepperoni is what you’re talking about. Right? [Multiple people laugh.] A piece of pepperoni?

dan

A single piece.

stuart

Yeah! [All laugh.] A pizza pepperoni! [Dan laughs.]

elliott

A single piece of pepperoni and a single piece of pizza. Yeah?

dan

Hmm.

stuart

Uh, what’s the next step of this podcast?

elliott

Okay. Then a piece of sauce— [Stuart laughs.] —is probably involved. Right?

dan

No, the credits is the next step.

elliott

Then there’s—then—and then during the credits, there’s this little scene where we see the ladies recreating their old fake photo. Uh, of how they were posed in a bar together. And, uh, that’s it! They’re—they’re in the book club still, I guess.

dan

I thought that for sure there were gonna be some bloops, but there were no bloops.

elliott

There were no bloops! You know why? ‘Cause they’re such flawless professionals that they got every line right on the first take! And so there ya have it! Four ladies. They read Fifty Shades of Grey. They realize what’s wrong with their lives and they take minimal steps to do the obvious. To, uh, achieve success and satisfaction. Book Club, won’t you?

stuart

Yeah.

dan

Uh… yeah. Okay. Well—

stuart

It seemed like they had it all! And now they do. [Elliott laughs. Dan joins in.]

dan

The end.

elliott

[Through laughter] They—that’s the slogan on the posters! “They thought they had it all… and now they do!” [Laughs.]

dan

Mm-hm.

elliott

Book Club!”

stuart

Yeah. I mean, do you think the tagline of this movie should’ve been, like… “Join the Book Club!” or— [Laughs.]

elliott

Well, the—the tagline was, “The next chapter is always the best.”

dan

Oh!

elliott

So it’s the next chapter in their lives!

stuart

Oh, that’s cool.

crosstalk

Dan: I mean, that is categorically— Stuart: [Inaudible] Don’t work—

dan

—untrue. Like, it’s not always the next chapter that is the best, but sure. Why not.

crosstalk

Stuart: I mean, it’s optimism. Elliott: Uh, wow.

elliott

Dan, with the nihilistic view of reading!

crosstalk

Elliott: Hey! Stop that book right now! Dan: No, I’m not—

elliott

This chapter is probably the best and the next chapter probably sucks!

dan

Look, the next chapter could be the best. But let’s not—make any assurances. Let’s not write any checks our butt can’t cash here. [Laughs.]

elliott

Uh, Dan, why is your butt cashing your checks? [All laugh.] Dan, when I said—I said you needed to get someone to have power of attorney, not power of buttorney! I think you misunderstood. [Laughs.] [Dan laughs.]

dan

Ugh. Doesn’t even sound alike. Anyway. [Elliott laughs.] [Through laughter] Let’s go onto final judgments! Is this a good-bad movie, a bad-bad movie, a movie you kinda liked? Uh… I gotta admit, I [though laughter] kinda liked this movie. Like—

stuart

Wowww!

dan

—it is not—

elliott

I mean, it made you cry twice, Dan. I think you liked this movie.

dan

Yeah. The movie… here’s my take on the movie. This movie works in spite of the script and direction? [Laughs.]

elliott

What? This—that pull quote on the poster is now “This movie works! -Dan McCoy, The Flop House.” [Dan laughs.]

dan

Like, it works entirely on the fact that… this is—these are old pros. They’re great. Like, you love seeing them interact. You love seeing them in a movie. And it just proves that, like… there should be more movies, uh, featuring…

elliott

“There should be more movies!” says Dan McCoy.

dan

Oh God! [Elliott laughs.] It proves that there should be more movies featuring… older characters. Featuring older actors. Uh, specifically older women. Because, like… if this movie… can… squeak by and… work on me, uh, in—with bad material, imagine the same cast with good material! [Laughs.]

stuart

Yeah.

dan

That’s my take.

stuart

Imagine if it was the Best, uh, Exotic Marigold Hotel. You know?

dan

[Through laughter] Yeah. [Elliott laughs.] Instead of the Mediocre Exotic Marigold Hotel!

elliott

Uh, Dan, I’m gonna—I’m not gonna go so far as to say it’s a movie I kinda liked, ‘cause I didn’t like it. But I will call it a good-bad movie, in that—throughout the movie, I just kept being like—alright, movie. Like—like, I couldn’t—the movie was so, like… exactly what I thought it would be? In a way that I found, uh, comforting I guess? But it also just—every time I was watching I was like, there’s a whole world of cinema out there—and I’ll call it cinema!—that I don’t see normally and that most of America sees. And like… it’s good for me to recognize that! But also, like—this is a pretty dumb movie. I— [Laughs.] I can see watching it and just groaning with people.

crosstalk

Elliott: It’s not the kind of movie— Dan: Okay. You—

elliott

—where you’re gonna like be making snide comments. But you’re gonna groan at it.

dan

Could you say that in a more coastal elite way, Elliott? [Laughs.]

elliott

I can’t! I’m a coastal elite! I watched it. I watched it in a condescending way. I mean, I don’t know if I’d say coastal elite ‘cause my mom, who also lives on a coast, I think would love this movie.

dan

Yeah.

elliott

But I guess it’s more of a generational condescension. I will say this, Dan. Just looking at it right now—looking at the ages of these women in the movie—Mary Steenburgen you can tell is the youngest of them. Jane Fonda, I didn’t realize—according to Wikipedia—is 82 years old! And she looks amazing in the movie.

crosstalk

Dan and Stuart: Yeah.

crosstalk

Elliott: Everyone’s talking about Jennifer— Stuart: Jane—Jane Fonda’s amazing.

elliott

Everyone was talking about J. Lo at 50—Jane Fonda at 82 is, uh, much more impressive. And she’s, like—the—you’d never for a moment do I not buy that she is a—an incredibly, like, sexually active and attractive woman! And I think that’s fantastic!

crosstalk

Dan: I both— Stuart: And she’s also been, like—

stuart

She’s also been, like, putting up with bullshit for so long. [Laughs.]

elliott

Yes.

dan

I both—I both agree with you, Elliott, and am glad for her and [though laughter] think that we probably shouldn’t spend much time, uh, talking about these women’s, uh, looks.

elliott

Dan, I’m—I want to celebrate the beauty of these women! I’m just saying that beauty is ageless!

dan

Okay. Uh, Stuart, what do you have to say?

stuart

So I’m gonna say this is, y’know, uh… there’s stuff going on in the world right now and the idea of watching a movie that has, like… basically no, uh, tension or… drama or thrills? It’s kinda comforting right now? [Elliott laughs.] So—

elliott

It was—it was good to watch a movie where—if everything went wrong for these characters—they would be fine.

stuart

Yeah. It’s not like the—the other movie I was watching, uh… that I’ve been watching, uh, spread out over the last couple days. Uh, I saw The Devil, which is horrible and violent.

elliott

Oh, yeah! That’s a—that’s a rough movie!

stuart

Yeah. Uh—but it’s—y’know, it’s still great. But um—

elliott

It’s really good! But it’s—yeah. That’s—that’s a—that’s a—

stuart

That’s the—let’s say polar opposite of the movie we’re talking about. [Elliott laughs.] Um—

dan

Yeah.

stuart

Uh, so I—

elliott

I think that’s fair. Yeah.

stuart

I’ll go as far as to say, like, it’s kinda—it doesn’t necessarily fall under the like good-bad criteria? Uh, but… it isn’t necessarily—like, I’m not mad at it. So it’s kinda in-between good-bad and movie I’m fine with. [Laughs.]

dan

Uh… okay! [Elliott laughs.]

elliott

[Through laughter] “Move I’m fine with.” I’ll allow it, says Judge Wellington.

music

Light, up-tempo, electric guitar with synth instruments.

promo

[Ocean sounds in the background.] Speaker 1: [Piratey voice] Ahh. There’s nothing quite like sailing in the calm, international waters on my ship, the S.S. Biopic (bi-AH-pic). [Ship’s horn toots.] Speaker 2: [Piratey voice] Avast! It’s actually pronounced… “BI-oh-pic.” Speaker 1: No, ya dingus! It’s “Bi-AH-pic!” Speaker 2: Who the hell says that? It’s “BI-oh-pic!” It comes from the words “biology”— Speaker 1: It’s the words for “biography” and “picture!” [Boat horn honks.] Speaker 2: If you— Dave Holmes: Alright, that is enough! Ahoy! I’m Dave Holmes; I’m the host of the newly-rebooted podcast formerly known as International Waters! Designed to resolve petty—but persistent—arguments like this! How? By pitting two teams of opinionated comedians against each other with trivia and improv games, of course! Winner takes home the right to be right. Speaker 1: What podcast be this? Dave: It’s called Troubled Waters! [Boat engine revving, driving off.] Where we disagree to disagreeee! [Voice trails off into the distance.]

promo

[Cheering crowd.] Danielle Radford: Mmmacho man, to the top rope! [Thump!] Danielle: The flying elbow! The cover! [Crowd cheering swells.] Speaker 2: [Distant; impact on each word] One! Two! Three! [Ding ding ding!] Danielle:: We've got a new champion! Music: Excited, sweeping music. Lindsey Kelk: We're here with Macho Man Randy Savage after his big win to become the new world champion! What are you gonna do now, Mach?! Hal Lublin: [Randy Savage impression] I'm gonna go listen to the newest episode of the Tights and Fights podcast, oh yeah! Lindsey: Tell us more about this podcast! Hal: [Continuing impression] It's the podcast of power, too sweet to be sour! Funky like a monkey! Woke discussions, man! And jokes about wrestlers' fashion choices, myself excluded! Yeahh! Lindsey: I can't wait to listen! Hal: [Continuing impression] Neither can I! You can find it Saturdays on Maximum Fun! Oh yeahhh! Dig it! [Music fades out.]

dan

Letters is our next thing. Normally we would have some, uh, sponsors here. Originally this was gonna be in sort of the MaxFun Drive zone? So there’s nothing scheduled. Uh, but, uh, and I wanna—but I do wanna take this moment—

elliott

I could talk for a while again about how attractive I found all of the women in the movie.

crosstalk

Dan: Uh— Stuart: Yeah! I mean—

stuart

That’s been kind of working so far, right? [Elliott laughs.]

dan

Uh, let’s—no. I—I do wanna, uh, take this moment, uh… to say… um… I—I think it will surprise no one to know that the Toronto show has been cancelled, as has that entire film festival. Um…

elliott

Mm-hm.

dan

But we hope to be past this pandemic—as everyone does—uh, soon and we hope to be back out on the road, uh… entertaining folk.

crosstalk

Dan: And entertaining ourselves. [Laughs.] Elliott: Obviously, the—

elliott

The—the big worry about, uh, the—this pandemic is not when is The Flop House gonna get back on the road? But, uh… it is something that we will do when the time is ready.

dan

Yeah. Uh, but let’s move on to letters! Uh, this first one is from Eli! Who writes—uh, “Howdy, Floppers!” Um, I’m gonna skip over this part where he tells us that we’re great. And go on to… the question, which is—

stuart

He probably doesn’t feel that way any more after listening to this episode anyway. [Elliott laughs.]

elliott

He thinks I’m a creep. He thinks Dan is rude to people who write in letters. And he still likes to!

dan

Yeah. But Eli writes—I mean, that’s the usual way it goes. Eli writes, uh, “With the success of The Purge TV show, what movie have you watched for the podcast that you would turn into a TV show? Hopefully it doesn’t take two years for this email to be read. ROCK in the USA. Eli—” y’know, he got his—he got his jabs in at the end even though he was nice to us before!

elliott

He gotcha—well, I don’t know he was nice to us. You—you described it, but I didn’t get to hear it.

crosstalk

Elliott: ‘Cause you deemed it—you deemed it not worthy! Dan: Y’know, it was about helping him through a rough time or some—some nonsense. [Laughs.]

stuart

Yeah. I feel like I’ve been watch—I’ve watched a couple of, uh, series that are based on movies. I just watched, uh, the High Fidelity series on Hulu. Which is basically just like a slight palette swap— [Elliott laughs.] —and I don’t—I don’t—I don’t quite buy some of the choices, like, I don’t really buy… Zoe Kravitz as this like unlucky-in-love jerk. Uh, because, y’know, she’s, y’know [though laughter] one of the most beautiful women in the world. So that’s weird. Um—but the, uh—and then I also watched The Outsider on HBO. And in both cases it—uh—which I guess isn’t based on a movie, but it feels like a horror movie just strung out into ten episodes. And I feel like in both cases they just took material that would normally make one movie and they’re like, how can we turn this into… a ten-episode series? Uh, for good and bad. Like, I mean… uh… y’know, like, stretching things out let you add a little more depth. Uh, and so what I’m going to—the way I’m going to answer this question is—uh, looking back at our recent movies, I think they should make a TV show out of Pottersville. Uh, turn it into a 30-minute, uh, long sitcom. [Elliott laughs.] Thank you!

elliott

And what—now, tell us a little bit about how they would do that. Is it—is it a long-running—is it, like, a—a long-running thing about Bigfoot or is there a new adventure every week?

stuart

Uh… I would say… it’s a 30-minute long sitcom. It is—the Bigfoot thing stays there. That is a consistent running thing in the show.

elliott

Mm-hm.

stuart

Uh, there’s no arc. Each episode can be taken entirely separate from the other episodes. [Dan laughs. Elliott joins in.] Yeah, like—like you’re trapped in this, uh… like, this endless cycle of Pottersville Christmas, uh—

crosstalk

Stuart: —Bigfoot hysteria. Elliott: So it’s always Christmas in every episode.

stuart

Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. [Elliott laughs.]

dan

Okay. Alright. Yeah, alright.

crosstalk

Dan: So it’s kinda like— Elliott: And so, like, when it—and it’s about—

dan

A series of, uh, 30-minute Hallmark movies.

stuart

Yeah. Kinda.

crosstalk

Stuart: Yeah. But it’s—it’s— Elliott: Yeah, but there’s kinda like a little bit of Twin Peaks about it.

stuart

Yeah. There’s certainly a little bit of Twin Peaks about it.

dan

Siri, uh, for some reason picked up, uh… “A series of 30-minute Hallmark movies” and thought that was a thing that I wanted information about? I guess? It just turned on. Yeah. Uh—I was gonna say—

crosstalk

Dan: I know this is a—I know this is— Elliott: And so—so—what—so is it—

elliott

Is it—so every—wait. I just wanna—about Pottersville. So it’s—it takes place at the store, I assume?

crosstalk

Elliott: Like, Michael Shannon’s store is like the central set? Stuart: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s—that’s the—

stuart

Yeah. Of course. That’s the main set.

elliott

And now is he—is it—continuing on from the movies, was he now in a relationship with Judy Greer? Or is he still married to Christina Hendricks?

stuart

It’s—I mean, it’s gonna start all the way at the beginning. Right?

elliott

Oh, okay. So it’s—

stuart

So he’s—he’s gonna begin married—in some episodes he’ll be married to Christina Hendricks. In other episodes he’s— [Elliott laughs.] —going to be dating Judy Greer and you don’t know how he got from point A to point B. [Multiple people laugh.]

elliott

[Through laughter] Okay. That’s—that’s fair.

stuart

You can’t tell if you’re like somebody just took the episodes and like shuffled ‘em like a deck of cards? [Elliott laughs.]

dan

[Through laughter] Yeah. Now—Stuart—why are you—

crosstalk

Dan: —doing this— Stuart: There’s no—like, there’s no— Elliott: So—no—

stuart

There’s no path. Like— [Elliott laughs.]

crosstalk

Stuart: —and there is some—some places where there’s like— Elliott: So—so every—every—

stuart

There’s a character with a broken arm in one episode and then in a completely different episode he breaks his arm, but it doesn’t track with the marriage and the other plot lines.

crosstalk

Stuart: So you’re like, what is happening? [Laughs.] Elliott: So—so you—

elliott

So this is no traditional sitcom. If I can—if I can interject. A traditional sitcom, there’s an assumption that the episodes take place in some sequence. One after the other. Even the—something like The Simpsons, there’s either slow development over time or it’s just, well, this was another day. What you’re suggesting is a radical new invention of the sitcom, where each episode takes place in an alternate reality from a previous episode. Where it’s the same characters and situation but they’re in a slightly different place. And because they’re existing in a parallel dimension, there is no sequencing.

crosstalk

Elliott: There’s no—continuity. Dan: Wait. I thought—I thought— Stuart: Well it’s almost like—

stuart

It’s almost like each element in the—in the… the story—whether it’s physical, like, set decoration items? Or people’s lives? Those are in completely different trajectories at any given time. [Elliott laughs.] So you don’t know what point in Pottersville you’re at.

crosstalk

Elliott: So—so the first—the first ten minutes of each episode- Dan: Yeah. It’s less of a—it—

elliott

—is more just getting your bearings of like what’s going on in Pottersville in this episode.

stuart

Yeah. The first 25 minutes, you’re like— [Dan laughs.] What is happening?

elliott

Well, the first 25 of the 30-minute show.

stuart

You’re trying—you’re trying not to vomit because your mind is just— [Elliott laughs.] You’re trying to—

crosstalk

Stuart: —the pattern recognition of it is just so hard. Elliott: You’re just reeling!

dan

So you’re saying it’s less about… like, alternate realities. More like Pottersville has come unstuck in time. But individual elements of it may be like differently unstuck in time.

stuart

Exactly.

crosstalk

Elliott: You’re—you’re suggesting you’re— Stuart: Dan—Dan—Dan gets it perfectly. Elliott! Dan: Yeah.

stuart

I don’t know what your problem is! [Laughs.] [Dan laughs.]

elliott

So—no—I—you’re—I just—

crosstalk

Elliott: I’m impressed with— Dan: I mean, I get it; I don’t quite understand the creative choice you’re making. [Laughs.]

crosstalk

Elliott: No, no, he’s—he has picked the— Dan: [Through laughter] Like, why. But.

elliott

He has—if this is a radical reinvention, the normal purpose of a sitcom is reassurance? It’s slight education, which is then led to a catharsis of return to the norm? But what he’s suggesting is instead a sitcom that aims for the opposite objective, where it unsettles the viewer and in fact leaves them teetering on the brink of madness—

crosstalk

Elliott: —as they try to make sense of how this experience— Dan: And there is no norm!

elliott

—squares with the past experiences!

dan

Yeah.

stuart

Yeah. I mean, luckily, uh, this pitch worked pretty well when I yelled it at Michael Shannon when we were crossing each other on the street— [Dan laughs.] —in my neighborhood the other day! [Laughs.]

crosstalk

Elliott: At least six feet apart. Dan: Seems like a complex idea—

dan

—to get across just yelling to Michael Shannon as you’re crossing past each other.

crosstalk

Elliott: I mean, I—it’s— Stuart: Yeah. I was like, [shouting] Hey! Hey! Pottersville, but crazy! [Elliott laughs.] Dan: [Through laughter] Oh, okay. [Laughs.] Stuart: And he just nodded and he’s like—yup.

stuart

Gave me a thumbs up.

elliott

I mean, Pottersville the movie is already a little crazy. So he probably thought you said Pottersville was crazy. [Dan laughs.] And not— [Laughs.]

stuart

Yeah.

dan

I don’t—I don’t think that’s him greenlighting the series, though. [Through laughter] Necessarily. Stuart. I think he might just be, uh, indulging, uh, what he assumes is a fan.

stuart

I don’t know. It seemed like the behavior of an executive producer credit.

dan

Okay. Uh… I don’t know if—

elliott

I mean, the—the president of HBO Max was walking with Michael Shannon at the time and also gave you a nod, right?

dan

Yeah.

stuart

Yeah! Yeah, yeah. [Laughs.] HBO Max. Is that the HBO that’s like… like a little bit too hot for comic book stans? [Elliott laughs.]

dan

Yeah.

crosstalk

Dan: It’s Maximum. Elliott: No. It—

elliott

It’s what?

dan

It’s maximum!

elliott

Yeah, yeah. It’s the maximum HBO. It’s—it’s—but, uh—I think this is a great idea. Uh, Dan, what were you gonna do? What show were you gonna make out of a movie?

dan

Uh, well I won’t talk at length ‘cause nothing can top that. I was just gonna—like, this is a bit of a cheat, because this is a movie like that we—

crosstalk

Dan: —enjoy— Elliott: Based on a TV show?

dan

No, this is a movie that we enjoy and, uh… we did as a special episode. But, y’know, a Tango & Cash TV show? I would love to get the original stars back as, uh, an ageing Tango and Cash. Y’know. Just, adventures every week!

elliott

Not to—not to reveal too much—this is something that, uh, a former, uh, podcast guest—Brendan Hay—and I have talked about before. And, uh, and looked into. And the rights to that movie are so mixed up. That, uh—

dan

Oh, wow.

elliott

That we—it was—but it was something that we were genuinely thinking about developing and pitching [though laughter] was the Tango & Cash TV show! [Dan laughs.]

dan

Oh, wow!

elliott

Uh, and I’ll just say—I would make a TV show out of Book Club—they already did it! It’s called Golden Girls. Boom. We’re there.

dan

Alright. Well, there’s one more, uh, letter. I think—

elliott

Oh, oh wait! I would also say—I was considering maybe a TV show of Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets? But that would kinda just turn into Babylon 5, right?

dan

Yeah. [Long pause.]

crosstalk

Dan and Stuart: Uhhh—

stuart

Yeah. Probably.

dan

So there’s, uh, one more letter. It has no question but it’s a delightful anecdote. It’s from David, last name withheld. And David writes—

elliott

So not my—wait. So is it—well, let’s just hear it. We’ll—we’ll see.

crosstalk

Elliott: It’s not the David I’m thinking of. Is— Dan: It’s not—it’s not your brother.

elliott

It’s not my brother. Okay.

dan

Okay.

stuart

Is it David Duchovny?

dan

It is David Duchovny. [Elliott laughs.] You guessed it.

stuart

Okay.

crosstalk

Dan: Uh—David Duchovny— Stuart: He’s the [inaudible] debts.

crosstalk

Dan: Writes— “While Mr. Payback has come up—” Elliott: It’s ironic because—

elliott

—on Red Shoe Diaries, people were writing to David Duchovny. But now he’s writing to us!

dan

Mm-hm. [Clears throat.]

dan

Yeah. Wait— [though laughter] right now, I’m starting with the letter to. Uh— “While Mr. Payback has come up several times before on your show, I didn’t realize until the discussion on your Verotika episode that none of you had actually seen it. I’ve not only seen Mr. Payback in theaters—"

crosstalk

Elliott: Whoa! [Laughs.] Stuart: I am Mr. Payback! [Laughs.] Dan: I’ve seen—-

dan

[Through laughter] I’ve—

elliott

Please. Mr. Payback is my father! Call me John Payback. [Dan laughs.]

dan

Uh… “I have not only seen it in theaters; I’ve seen every branch of the interactive movie in the theater—”

elliott

Wow.

dan

“And I did it by ruining the film for everybody.” Uh, he explains, “I was working at a place where one of the theaters had to be converted to an all-Mr. Payback cinema.” [Elliott laughs.] “The large—” [Dan laughs.] “The large controller armrest and the new-for-the-time digital projector meant that the theater could not be used for anything else.”

elliott

Oh wow.

dan

“And we had to keep screening the half-hour-longer film for six weeks even though—” [Elliott laughs.]

crosstalk

Dan: “—there was hardly anyone ever in it.” Elliott: [Through laughter] Six weeks!

crosstalk

Dan: Uh… “We had an employee—” Yeah. Elliott: Anyone in the theater. Not hardly anyone in the movie.

elliott

‘Cause the movie—it’s—it featured Christopher Lloyd. Eddie Deezen. Lots of people were in the movie! And of course, Billy Warlock as Mr. Payback.

dan

Yeah. Uh, “We had an employee screening before it opened. We all knew it was doomed right from the start—but the bad movie fan in me got the idea of trying to watch all the paths! So for the first week, I would slip into the theater with the five or so patrons watching it and just go along with them. Then I made a discovery—the voting mechanism did not work properly. Rather than letting—” [Elliott laughs.] “—each seat vote once, Mr. Payback counted each time the button was pressed as a vote. Once I discovered this, I began stuffing the ballot box in all of the Mr. Payback screenings so I could see the bits of the movie I hadn’t watched yet. People would be sitting alone in that theater and I’d come in the back and vote a dozen times on the part I wanted to see. I wonder how many of those people left thinking that the Mr. Payback voting was as rigged as Mr. Sardonicus. 25 years later, the only thing I remember about Mr. Payback as a movie was that the biggest celebrity they could get for it was Frank Gorshin. Keep on flopping! David, Last Name Withheld.”

elliott

I mean, Frank Gorshin’s a pretty big star. Right?

dan

Uh… [Laughs.] For us, maybe. [Through laughter] I don’t know. Uh, that—that’s a charming tale! Of, uh, cruelty towards others. [Laughs.]

elliott

I just really love that… the theater had to make such an investment in Mr. Payback.

stuart

Yeah.

elliott

Like, that was an all-in risk. And if it had paid off? They’d be—look like geniuses!

dan

They would’ve been paid back! It’s, uh… it was gonna be the future of cinema [though laughter] Elliott!

elliott

It was. Gonna be the future of cinema. I—so—have you guys ever seen an interactive movie that you really liked. Like, that worked for you. ‘Cause I feel like every now and then they try it. Like, they had that Black Mirror episode. And I feel like when I see a movie I don’t wanna have to make choices? I wanna be, like, in the world the filmmaker’s creating and I wanna see where they take me? But maybe—do you guys feel differently? Do you like having a sense of control over the narrative?

dan

I mean, has—I—I feel like videogames have taken over that space. Right? And I’m not—

elliott

Ahhh!

crosstalk

Dan: —really much of a— Elliott: That’s a fair point.

dan

A game-player. So I—I wouldn’t know. But.

stuart

You wouldn’t describe yourself as a game boy? [Dan laughs.]

dan

[Through laughter] I would not.

stuart

Okay.

elliott

But Dan, you were so into Gamergate at the time! You said that ethics in game journalism was really important, right?

dan

[Sighs.] God. Why do you slander me every episode? [Laughs.] [Elliott laughs.]

elliott

Dan. I’ve been such a creep in this episode. I just gotta make someone else the bad guy.

crosstalk

Dan: Gotta lean into it. Okay. Elliott: For once.

elliott

Yeah.

dan

Um… guys—

elliott

That was a great story. Thank you, David, for writing it.

dan

Let us, uh, move along to the last segment, where we recommend movies that we, uh… watched recently or not-so-recently that you should, uh… y’know! Why not check ‘em out. Maybe—maybe you’re—y’know, self-isolating! Uh, and you gotta fill the hours! Who knows? Um… I’ll go first. So… I will admit. That this may be, uh, a very specific reason I liked this movie. I, uh…

crosstalk

Elliott: Are you gonna recommend Book Club? Dan: —had take—

dan

Yeah. No. I had taken part of an edible to deal with the anxiety of our current world? And… it kicked in—

crosstalk

Dan: —right when I— Elliott: You—you mean—

elliott

You—it—wait. Dan. You mean a piece of an edible. [Stuart laughs.]

dan

Uh… I don’t get—oh, yeah. Um—

elliott

It’s a callback!

dan

Yeah.

elliott

Remember?

dan

Uh— [Laughs.]

crosstalk

Elliott: Earlier? Dan: Go on.

elliott

The piece thing?

crosstalk

Dan: Yeah. I remember. Elliott: Hey, Dan.

elliott

Dan. Give piece a chance—a piece of pizza, that is!

dan

[Through laughter] Okay. [Elliott laughs.] Um—

stuart

Don’t fucking steal my bit! [Elliott laughs.]

elliott

It’s stolen; it’s mine now.

crosstalk

Elliott: I’m the Milton Berle of this bit! Dan: So the— [Laughs.]

dan

So the edible kicked in right when I, uh, happened across the very beginning of Tommy on television and I had never watched Tommy. And, uh, oh boy! Y’know. If you [though laughter] happen to be in that situation, where, uh, you are both mildly stoned and just want something that will wash over you and you don’t have to think about that much, uh, Tommy will fit the bill because it is a crazy, uh, rock opera by The Who about a… uh… kid with psychosomatic, uh, deaf-dumb-blindness who becomes a pinball wizard, as we all know—

stuart

Wait.

dan

—and then becomes kind of a messianic figure? Uh—

stuart

Is this the—is this the movie with Chris Farley and David Spade?

crosstalk

Elliott: Yes. Exactly. Yes. Dan: No, that’s Tommy Boy.

crosstalk

Elliott and Stuart: Ohhhh.

dan

This is the one with Oliver Reed [though laughter] who cannot sing, and Ann-Margret, who can. And, uh… it is directed by Ken Russell, the master of crazy, excess, and bad taste. And it just explodes all over the screen and, uh… I will say, I don’t know whether the, uh… it was just like a weird… erring on the channel I was watching? The vocals were mixed so low in the explosive Who, uh, soundtrack that I, y’know, they might as well not have been singing? So I turned on the, uh, closed captions? That may be something you need to do. But, uh… it’s just a sensory overload. So if you’re in the mood for that, it’s crazy and, uh, weird and fun and… uh… yeah. Tommy.

stuart

Cool.

elliott

Tommy Boy.

crosstalk

Stuart: Mm-hm. Dan: Yeah.

dan

That’s gonna leave a mark. Anyway.

stuart

Uh… [Elliott laughs.] I’m gonna recommend, uh… a movie starring—one—Elijah Wood! Called Come to Daddy. It’s a movie about a young DJ who—

dan

No.

crosstalk

Stuart: —it—is attempting to— Dan: Well, yeah. He is a DJ.

dan

Sorry. I thought you were—

crosstalk

Dan: —making up some crazy— Elliott: Dan—Dan, why are you—

elliott

Dan, why are you real-time fact-correcting Stuart’s recommendation?

dan

[Through laughter] I’m sorry! Sorry. Go on. Sorry. I apologize. [Elliott laughs.]

stuart

So he’s a— [Dan laughs.] —young DJ and he wants to reconnect with his, uh, biological father who he has never had a relationship with.

crosstalk

Elliott: Wait, wait, wait. Stuart: And does not know.

elliott

Dan, can you—can you verify that for me?

dan

Yes. Sorry. I can verify this. Yeah.

elliott

Okay, thank you.

stuart

Um—and of course, this reunion does not go… uh… exactly as he had hoped. And… it’s a weird thriller that starts strange and then spirals into… weirder and darker places than you would expect. And it turns into a real showcase for a lot of fun character actors. Uh, it’s a fun and gross and, uh… yeah! Funny! Check it out! Come to Daddy.

dan

Yeah. It—it ha—it was kind of—it like I feel like it has like the vibe—it’s a Canadian-New Zealand, uh, coproduction? And it has—

crosstalk

Dan: —some of that— Stuart: Yeah. It’s got that vibe.

dan

It’s got that crazy vibe—sorry. I shouldn’t say “crazy” so much.

crosstalk

Dan: It’s got that— Elliott: Oh, it’s the—the guy who—

elliott

—did The Greasy Strangler made it. Oh, okay.

dan

Yeah. It’s—it’s got that weird vibe, uh… it’s like a much… stranger… uh… goofy version of like a Jeremy Songne, uh, thriller. I feel like.

stuart

Yeah. I can see that.

dan

Uh… sorry. Elliott. What were you gonna say?

elliott

Oh, nothing. I have my recommendation if you guys are ready. If you—

dan

Yeah, please!

elliott

If you’re done—if you’re done providing the Pinocchios for Stuart’s—for Stuart’s recommendation. [Dan laughs.]

dan

Oh, god. The frustration is coming out right at the end of the episode! [Elliott laughs.]

elliott

Uh, I’m gonna recommend two movies. One of them might be a little on the nose. And the other one is more of a comfort food movie. So a movie that I saw recently that, uh, I liked more than I thought I would. But which may not be the right one for a movie right—for people right now—is, uh, a movie called The World, The Flesh, and The Devil. This is a movie from 1959 starring Harry Belafonte and Anger Stevens and Mel Ferrer about a kind—a, uh—it’s an end-of-the-world movie where Harry Belafonte, for a while, thinks he is the last person left on earth. There is, uh, there’s been use of some kind of atomic poison? That’s wiped out most of humanity. And the strange thing about this movie is we never see any bodies? They seem to have all disappeared and a lot of it is Harry Belafonte trying to… make his way thinking he’s the only person there and then finding a woman alive in New York and trying to figure out how to kind of like shake off the… like… limits he feels from where his place was in the previous society. And the thing that I found really interesting in this movie that they don’t play with as much as they—I would’ve liked? Is the idea that… he doesn’t necessarily want to return to the way life was before. Because for a black man in America in the 1950s, it might be better for him to now be on his own and self-sufficient and in control of his surroundings rather than part of this institutional culture in which he can never have everything he wants and is always gonna be kind of a second-class citizen. So they do a little bit with that in it that I found really fascinating. And eventually turns into kind of like a weird, uh, love triangle that is not super successful. But. If you don’t wanna watch a movie about most of the people in the world dying—which I understand is not the thing you might wanna watch right now—I would also recommend one of my favorites: The Music Man! Uh, we recently got a record player and hooked it up in our house and we got my wife’s parents’ old record collection and my son has been crazy about the soundtrack to The Music Man and we’ve been listening to it a lot lately. And it just reminds me what a, like, for me feel-good movie that movie is? I love the songs in it. It’s really bright and colorful. The dancing’s great. The performers are really great. And… I just really love it! So if you want something that’s just gonna make you feel good, I’ll recommend The Music Man! If you want something that, uh, is gonna tap into your anxieties, then perhaps The World, The Flesh, & The Devil.

dan

There’s some line—line readings that Robert Preston gives in that that I find so funny. Like… he—he—he just knows what he’s doing.

elliott

I—the only thing I will say about The Music Man is there’s one song in it—you can probably guess which song it is—that I do not like. It’s “Shipoopi.” The, uh—the song that is basically about, like, if a girl’s not interested in you just keep pressing your case and eventually you’ll win her over? And I don’t like that song. I both don’t like it as a song and I think it’s gross. But otherwise? I like the rest of the movie a lot!

dan

Yeah. Well, guys… I think this was fun! [Through laughter] It’s nice to see—

crosstalk

Dan: —other human—other human faces! [Laughs.] Elliott: Well, think about it, Dan, and see how you feel later!

dan

It’s nice to see, uh, [though laughter] people out in the world.

stuart

Yeah. I mean, y’know, I’ve been sick for a couple of days and… I just thought, like… if I’m gonna go, y’know… I want to be telling dumbass jokes about Book Club with you guys.

dan

Yeah. Yeah.

elliott

Yeah. Yeah. I think, uh… it’s nice that we can still, uh, use modern technology to interact with each other? And, uh, I had a lot of fun talking with you guys about Book Club and I apologize again for my comments about the incredibly attractive stars of Book Club. [Multiple people laugh.]

dan

Alright. Uh, y’know. Do the usual stuff. Go to MaximumFun.org. Find other podcasts you might like. Uh… Look, they’re pretty busy right now, I assume. So you don’t have to like—

crosstalk

Dan: —review or tweet about us, but. Elliott: I—I would say—normal—

elliott

Norm—yeah. Normally we’d say, like, write us a review or tweet about us? I would say, like, right now? Take that energy. Use it to take care of yourselves. To take care of your families. And like do what you can to help other people. If you see someone who needs help, help ‘em as best you can. Don’t worry about us. We’ll be okay for a little bit. But—but keep—but also, if you get the—if people are like, hey, what podcasts should I listen to? Like, mention The Flop House. But otherwise, like… focus on helping other people and taking care of yourselves. And not on pumping us up.

dan

Yeah. Be safe.

stuart

And if you’re, uh, a MaxFun, uh, member? We just put up some new bonus content! So. You can check that out!

dan

Well. I guess that’s it! [Laughs.] [Elliott laughs.]

crosstalk

Dan: Thank you for, uh— Elliott: [Through laughter] Another classic Flop House ending! [Laughs.]

dan

[Through laughter] Yeah. Thank you for being with me, guys. And thank you for being with us, listeners. Uh, until next time—I’ve been Dan McCoy.

stuart

I’m Stuart Wellington!

elliott

And I’m Elliott Kalan.

dan

Byeee!

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MaximumFun.org.

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—Audience supported.

About the show

The Flop House is a bimonthly audio podcast devoted to the worst in recent film. Your hosts (Elliott Kalan, Dan McCoy, and Stuart Wellington) watch a questionable film just before each episode, and then engage in an unscripted, slightly inebriated discussion, focusing on the movie’s shortcomings and occasional delights.

Follow @flophousepod on Twitter and @theflophousepodcast on Instagram. Email them at theflophousepodcast@gmail.com.

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