The podcast that looks back at female-driven films from the not-so-distant past.
1987 - Holly Hunter in Broadcast News - BA057
October 25, 2018 12:25 AM PDT
Period dramas don't always feature big dresses and country mansions - in the case of BROADCAST NEWS ‘period’ means VHS tapes, chunky telephone receivers and something called the "nightly news." In the third installment of our 1987 Best Actress series, we look at Holly Hunter's first big leading role in James L. Brooks' weird and wordy romantic dramedy.
The trifecta of almost likable characters are: Holly's scrappy news producer Jane; Albert Brooks' petulant, nebbishy reporter Aaron; and William Hurt (beloved of Irish Mammies everywhere) as the hunky but lunky Lead Anchor, Tom. Crushes are formed, journalistic ethics are violated and everyone, at some point, is kind of a jerk. BROADCAST NEWS is an 80s time capsule of bad suits and weird hair (especially on Joan Cusack) depicting a media landscape that teeters on the edge of obsolescence, with a terrible beauty about to be born.
We read the news today, oh boy!1987 - Meryl Streep in Ironweed - BA056
October 10, 2018 11:26 PM PDT
You may be tempted to skip this episode… but don’t follow Brian’s bad example. That’s right, for the first time in the history of this podcast (and, in fact, his life) Brian Mullin hasn’t done his homework. And, believe us, Depression-era misery-fest IRONWEED does feel like homework. In the second of our 1987 Best Actress contenders, Meryl and Jack Nicholson are two alcoholic hoboes who are haunted by guilt, ghosts and grime. Pretty it isn’t, but Meryl gets to deliver both a song and a hand job so it’s not entirely without interest.
To be fair, Brian did see it 20 years ago. In fact, he was such a diligent student, HE EVEN READ THE NOVEL!! But in this instance he’s totally got amnesia, meaning that Seán must come to his rescue by jogging memories that are hazier than a drunk’s in the gutter. Is Meryl doing extraordinary acting in mostly solo set-pieces or is this just an egregious example of Prestige Category Fraud? Be our pals and listen along to this free-wheeling, unconventional episode. We promise it’s more fun that watching the movie!!
Clips from the film presented according to fair use policy. Podcast Theme: "Pipeline" by CyberSDF (https://soundcloud.com/cybersdf/tracks).1987 - Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction - BA055
September 27, 2018 12:10 AM PDT
Glenn, Meryl, Holly, Sally, Cher. Name a more iconic quintet...
We begin a mini-series charting the five nominated actresses of the 1987 Oscars, starting with a film that epitomised Reagan-era Fear of Sex, but so indelibly that phrases like “bunny-boiling” still permeate our speech.
Glenn Close plays Alex Forrest, the hyper-sexualised and independent woman whose fling with married man Michael Douglas got hot, then very, very heavy. And more than 30 years later the Broad Appeal boys are split: For Brian, Glenn struggles spectacularly in an exploitative and sexist role. As for Seán, well he agrees with Brian...but in this finely crafted blockbuster thriller, he can't help but be manipulated by the conventions of monster-horror. What follows is a deadly discussion, and one of our most heated episodes to date! This episode is not going to be IGNORED, dear listener.
Clips from the film presented according to fair use policy. Podcast Theme: "Pipeline" by CyberSDF (https://soundcloud.com/cybersdf/tracks).Meryl Streep Baddest - She-Devil (w/ Michael Schulman) - BA054C
September 13, 2018 11:30 PM PDT
I would like to talk about.... Mary. Fisher. In SHE-DEVIL, Streep gets her first attempt to do comedy. And like all first attempts, we have to accept that failing is sometimes inevitable.
As a proto-Madeline Ashton, Streep gets to indulge her worst WASPy tendencies: pretty, privileged, tall and blonde. A formidable contrast to Roseanne Barr's dumpy, put-upon wife, right? Well...
SHE-DEVIL is not so much a comedy as it is the idea of a comedy. Who knew a story of MS stealing Roseanne’s husband could be so flat? Meryl is bad, but it's not her fault. Seán is grinding his teeth from the moment it begins. Surely expert Merylologist Michael Schulman can't like this movie, can he? Can he??!??!!! This truly is Meryl at her BADDEST.
Clips from the film presented according to fair use policy. Podcast Theme: "Pipeline" by CyberSDF (https://soundcloud.com/cybersdf/tracks).Meryl Streep Badder - Doubt (w/ Michael Schulman) - BA054B
September 12, 2018 11:00 PM PDT
21st Century Meryl: lauded, applauded… and impossible to rein in. Gone is the bloom of youth, replaced by overglazed ham. In a wimple. With a Bronx accent.
John Patrick Shanley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama DOUBT set off sparks onstage, as a study in faith and ambiguity. Who should you trust: the progressive priest or the doctrinaire nun who accuses him of child abuse? In this stagey adaptation (filmed by the playwright himself, with plenty of wind and weather thrown in) the only uncertainty is whether the church will have a single pew left once Meryl is done chewing the scenery.
Brian and Seán are both good Catholic boys and special guest Michael Schulman studied at Sacred Streep Academy. It’s not hard to find a few cardinal virtues in the film’s dialogue or dramaturgy, as well as in the other actors’ performances. But when it comes to Holy Mother Meryl…. they have SUCH DOUBTS!!!!
September 11, 2018 11:32 PM PDT
While there may be no such thing as the Greatest Living Actress, there is such thing as the Greatest Living Meryl Streep Aficionado, and that is Michael Schulman.
Michael is not only the author of HER AGAIN: BECOMING MERYL STREEP and a writer at the New Yorker, he's also a big Broad Appeal Fan. He likes us, he really likes us.
But does he like SOPHIE'S CHOICE? The revered Holocaust drama which won Streep her first Best Actress Oscar is mythologised and revered, but how many people do you know who’ve seen it... or enjoyed it? Brian's first viewing was influenced by the Pauline “Streep-Hater” Kael, and Seán is going in cold. Well, except for the "choice" part. Everyone knows about that.
Join us for our most controversial series yet, Meryl Streep: The Bad, the Badder, and the Baddest!!
September 10, 2018 12:38 AM PDT
Can we just say, there’s no such thing as the ‘best podcast’? There’s no such thing as the ‘greatest LIVING podcast’….?
Oh, we can be such a tease! Summer is dwindling, and we’re back from vacation… almost. This is Seán & Brian saying hello again for the first time in months - with a couple of tiny hints about the next set of NEW episodes coming your way. xoxoRE-ISSUE: The Bridges of Madison County - BA040
August 30, 2018 11:58 PM PDT
[Again, it's time to say goodbye to the summer holidays. But, unlike Robert Kincaid, we won't leave you with just some old issues of National Geographic... Instead we'll be back with NEW CONTENT very very soon. In the meantime, our last vintage episode in which a sensual summer romance brings out the very best in marvelous Meryl Streep.]
The time has come: 12 books. 12 films. All of them read (by Brian). We conclude our magnum opus with THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, the insufferable little book by Robert James Waller that became the sensitive work of bleeding-heart conservative Clint Eastwood.
Meryl Streep is Francesca Johnson: The Italian war-bride who traded Bari for Iowa, and fiery Italian passion for steadfast, cornfed, mundanity. Then enter photographer Robert Kincaid (Eastwood) and four days that change her life forever.
Like all true fans, here at Broad Appeal we have equal parts ire and admiration for the most overrated actress in the world. But there is just something about Meryl in THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY that even Pauline Kael would have praised her for. Could this be the film where Brian learned what love was, all those years ago in Quincy, Mass? Is it as he remembers? And will Seán be sucker-punched by the inescapability of melodramatic love? In a word, yes.
To all our listeners: thanks for coming on this journey with us! We'll be back in the autumn for a new series with absolutely no required reading. Peace + Love, Brian & Seán.
August 16, 2018 05:27 AM PDT
[All too soon we'll be debating the merits of Tarantino's ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD, so why don't we return to our discussion of a movie that we can all agree is actually his best?]
An air hostess, a gun runner, a bail bondsman, a sun kissed dope-bunny and his boyfriend Brian... but enough about our holiday! Elmore Leonard's RUM PUNCH was adapted by Quentin Tarantino into JACKIE BROWN: a grown-up, low down, sly and slick piece of filmmaking.
Tarantino, auteur and fanboy supreme, made the canny alteration of turning a sultry, middle-aged, blonde white lady into Pam Grier, icon of blaxploitation and commanding leading lady. Tarantino's film is an exemplar of adaptation, both pulpy and slow-burning, tense and quotable. You might have guessed we both enjoyed it.
How did Seán feel about the new concept of reading on the beach? What is Brian's dramaturgical analysis? Needless to say it all breaks down into the most Broad Appeal conversation ever: A debate over Jodie Foster's Oscar dress.
Please return your tray tables to their upright positions: here comes Jackie Brown.
August 01, 2018 08:46 PM PDT
[On our summer break we happened to be in Lucca, Italy - and we also happened to stumble across one of the actual palazzos that Nicole Kidman walks through in Jane Campion's film!! That seredipitous event indicated it was time to share this vintage episode from our literary adpatation series....]
n which Brian & Seán read extended passages from Henry James and marvel at Barbara Hershey's collagen-injected lips.
For the first in our series of female-driven literary adaptations, we tag along with Isabel Archer (Nicole Kidman) as she fends off the advances of several suitors, only to get caught in a web of European marital treachery.
We spent a year reveling in the excruciatingly exquisite prose (and campy dialogue) of THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY. Now we see what happens when visionary director Jane Campion puts this literary classic through her feminist Cuisinart. Masturbatory fantasies, talking vaginal beans and bucketloads of bibelots await!
Broad Appeal is Seán McGovern and Brian Mullin, two obsessive gay boys with an all-encompassing love of actresses. Listen every 2 weeks for some irreverent, incisive and engaged entertainment. Our current season: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE CRAZY looks at career spanning moments of some of our favourite actresses.
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