Oscar season is in full swing, so Leonard and Jessie weigh in on this year’s nominees. They also discuss (and recommend) a number of films and performances that were overlooked. We think you’ll come away with at least a few movie tips you’ll want to check out.
Stephen Tobolowsky is one of the most recognizable men on earth, now appearing in two first-rate TV shows, Silicon Valley and One Day at a Time...but he's also an author, podcaster, and consummate storyteller. He even made a successful concert movie using Kickstarter funds this year. Leonard and Jessie talk with him about his indelible role in Ground Hog Day, his unusual connection with David Byrne and the Talking Heads, the perils of actors' auditions, and much, much more.
John Landis is never dull, as anyone who has heard him speak can verify. Leonard and Jessie enjoy a wide-ranging conversation with the versatile filmmaker behind National Lampoon's Animal House, Trading Places, Thriller, and An American Werewolf in London, to name just a few. Subjects range from the current Oscar fare to working with music legends like Cab Calloway (in The Blues Brothers). Fasten your seat belt for a jam-packed episode.
Allan Arkush directed the enduring cult favorite "Rock 'n' Roll High School," but that's just the tip of the iceberg. He studied with Martin Scorsese at NYU, earned his professional stripes working for Roger Corman, and directed great TV series like "St. Elsewhere" and "Moonlighting" long before cable came along. He's still going strong and has wonderful stories to share with Leonard and Jessie.
When Michael Feinstein moved from the Midwest to Los Angeles he landed a job with the legendary Ira Gershwin. Nice work if you can get it! Since then he’s become an ambassador of American popular song—as a singer, pianist, conductor, archivist, and mentor to young talent. He discusses his exceptional career and pinpoints some favorite movie musicals in this week’s conversation.
With five Oscar nominations under her belt and two terrific new movies (Arrival and Nocturnal Animals) Amy Adams could be forgiven for having an outsized ego…but that’s not the case. She’s charming and down-to-earth, as you’ll hear when Leonard and Jessie discuss her exceptional career. Want to hear about working opposite Meryl Streep—or playing a slut in her debut movie Drop Dead Gorgeous? Tune in to this lively conversation.
Meet Drew Friedman: cartoonist, caricaturist, illustrator and pop culture connoisseur. Jessie tries to referee as Drew and Leonard trade stories about oddball movies and actors they admire (from the cast of Ed Wood movies to George Jessel) in this lively conversation. If you’re already a Friedman fan you may want to contribute to a Kickstarter campaign to fund a documentary about him at www.vermeeroftheborschtbelt.com
He’ll always be Aragorn to some loyalists, but Viggo Mortensen is a versatile actor who won well-deserved praise for this year’s sleeper Captain Fantastic. He’s also an artist, musician, publisher and moviegoer, as Jessie and Leonard learn in a wide-ranging and amusing conversation.
Joel Edgerton is one of the most versatile actors of his generation. Currently costarring in Loving, he’s amassed a formidable list of credits in a short span of time, from The Great Gatsby to Exodus: Gods and Kings. He’s also proven himself as a writer and director. Leonard and Jessie discuss his wide-ranging career, the actors he admires most, and exchange movie recommendations.
Laura Dern grew up in show business, the daughter of Diane Ladd and Bruce Dern. She has long since carved a niche all her own, with two Oscar nominations under her belt and a lifetime of colorful experiences. From indie films to Jurassic Park, she has great stories to tell and shares them with Leonard and Jessie.
Can it be sixty years since little Patty McCormack starred in The Bad Seed and earned an Oscar nomination? You won’t believe it, either, when you listen to Leonard and Jessie chat with this delightful woman who has spent her life in show business. She even starred in an indie movie called Mommy as a psychopath whose daughter discovers she is a “bad seed” grown up!
Odds are you’ve been singing and humming Richard Sherman’s songs for most of your life. He and his brother won two Academy Awards for Mary Poppins and spent ten years writing songs for a variety of Walt Disney endeavors—including “It’s a Small World.” But Richard doesn’t live in the past: he’s as busy as ever, as you’ll hear in this lively conversation with Leonard and Jessie. He also discusses his famous father and what it was like growing up in Hollywood.
Bryan Cranston stops by for an engaging and enlightening conversation about his latest movies, the unexpected momentum of his career in recent years, and his modus operandi for keeping his feet on the ground. Leonard found him funny, thoughtful, and candid—and so will you.
It’s been years since Bruce Campbell made his reputation in Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead movies, but now he’a back in Ash vs Evil Dead and having a blast! Leonard and Jessie caught up with him at Fantastic Fest in Austin, TX before an enthusiastic audience!
The one and only Tim Burton joins Leonard and Jessie in a live conversation from Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, following the premiere of his new movie Miss Peregrine’s School for Peculiar Children. Tim remembers the pride of seeing his prize-winning monster-movie posters on the garbage trucks of Burbank, California, shares some parenting experiences, and discusses some of his more memorable movie moments.
Ed Begley, Jr. is one of the most familiar faces in television and movies—and has great stories to match his incredible career, from Best in Show to Ghostbusters and beyond. He tells Leonard and Jessie how he came to be directed by Jack Nicholson, and reveals how Christopher Guest steers his actors through their improvised comedy scenes.
This week, Leonard and Jessie meet another comedy legend: Carl Reiner, creator of The Dick Van Dyke Show, partner of Mel Brooks’s 2,000 Year Old Man, director of such hit movies as The Jerk, and a true television pioneer alongside the great Sid Caesar. Carl is still active (and funny) at age 94 as an author and performer. He even graces us with some of his hilarious Shakespearean giberish!
Hard to believe, but after 100 years there are still discoveries to be made involving two of movie’s most towering figures. Leonard and Jessie exchange observations about Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, with suggestions of where you can go to find rare footage and valuable information.
Currently starring with Robert De Niro in Hands of Stone, Edgar Ramirez is steadily building an international reputation as an actor of great strength and versatility. It turns out he is as charming and articulate as he is talented. Leonard and Jessie fall under his spell and talk about his many roles, ranging from Jennifer Lawrence's husband to the notorious Carlos the Jackal.
John Huston launched his film career; Quentin Tarantino rescued it with Jackie Brown, which earned him an Oscar nomination. Robert Forster has spent years in front of the camera working alongside Marlon Brando and other greats. What’s even more impressive is his work ethic, which he explains in eloquent terms. Leonard and Jessie also get his reaction to some of their favorite “unsung” Forster films.
Leonard and Jessie spend quality time with the one and only Mel Brooks, who’s as spry as ever and bursting with great stories. He reveals the name of the funniest comedy he ever saw, talks about Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, and The Producers, and explains how he and his pal Carl Reiner screen movies together almost every night. You don’t want to miss this one.
As cofounder of Firesign Theater, Phil Proctor influenced several generations of comedy fans. (One of them was Steve Jobs.) Younger people may know him better as the voice of Howard Seville on The Rugrats. He’s still going strong, providing voices for video games, animated movies like Toy Story and Monsters Inc., and costarring in the YouTube comedy series, “Boomers on a Bench.” There’s nothing Phil hasn’t done in show business; he and the Firesign gang even wrote the first psychedelic rock Western, Zachariah, back in 1971. There’s no shortage of great stories when Phil starts talking to Leonard.
Our guest is Charles Phoenix, the Ambassador of Americana: part stand-up comic, part pop culture curator, and full-time purveyor of fun. His lectures, videos, and weekly e-mail blasts celebrate the joys of life in the 50s and 60s, including moviegoing (with drive-ins a specialty). Jessie and I are great fans and had a great time talking to this effervescent fellow. Check out his site at http://www.charlesphoenix.com/
Leonard and Jessie welcome Doug Benson in a live-audience podcast from the San Diego Comic-Con. Doug and Leonard share notes on some of their favorite films from the current crop, with some timely suggestions on what to see. Then Jessie serves as quizmaster when the two big-league film nerds play Doug’s own creation, The Leonard Maltin Game.
This week Leonard and Jessie welcome fan favorite Clare Kramer, best known for her roles in Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Bring It On. She's used that notoriety to become an entrepreneur as the cofounder of Geek Nation. She shares stories about her career and recommends some films you may have missed.