Listen to Episode 442 – “Geek Challenge: Sunset Blvd. vs. My Favorite Year”

Top: William Holden and Norma Desmond in Billy Wilder’s ‘Sunset Blvd.’ (1950) / Bottom: Peter O’Toole and Mark Linn-Baker in Richard Benjamin’s ‘Final Year’ (1982)

Gobbledygeek episode 442, “Geek Challenge: Sunset Blvd. vs. My Favorite Year,” is available for listening or download right here, on Spotify, and on Apple Podcasts.

For Norma Desmond, the pictures got small when words stole her mystique; for Alan Swann, it was when his drunken antics got him downgraded to the boob tube. They’re both stand-ins for larger-than-life stars past their prime, Norma in Billy Wilder’s scathing Sunset Blvd. (1950) and Alan in Richard Benjamin’s cozy My Favorite Year (1982). In our latest Geek Challenge, Paul and Arlo discuss these fallen idols and how their respective movies take much different approaches to a mentor/mentee relationship. The boys break down the ways in which both films echo real-life Hollywood legends; praise Gloria Swanson’s arch turn as Norma and Peter O’Toole’s thinly veiled take on Errol Flynn; pine for dead monkey funerals; and wonder what things would be like if Jessica Harper ruled the mob.

NEXT: on this month’s Four-Color Flashback, we conclude the post-apocalyptic adventures of Gus and Jeppard in Deluxe Editions 2 and 3 of Jeff Lemire’s Sweet Tooth.


  • 00:00:40  –  Intro / Guest
  • 00:06:28  –  Sunset Blvd.
  • 00:52:15  –  My Favorite Year
  • 01:28:56  –  Outro / Next



  • “Mama Said Knock You Out” by LL Cool J, Mama Said Knock You Out (1990)
  • “Celluloid Heroes” by The Kinks, Everybody’s in Show-Biz (1972)


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