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.

BREAKDOWN

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

LINKS

MUSIC

  • “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)

GOBBLEDYCARES

Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture #30-21

On last night’s show, Paul and I continued our countdown of the Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture with #s 30-21. Be sure to listen to the show for our full run-downs, but here are some choice excerpts:

#30

PAUL: Scott Pilgrim (Scott Pilgrim series)

The series is about Scott growing up, about his evolution, and if you as a reader are patient and invested, it absolutely pays off by the end.

AJ: Norma Desmond (Sunset Blvd.)

Norma is a bizarre, grotesque caricature, wanting to hold a funeral for her pet monkey at the film’s beginning and given to lots of other disturbingly narcissistic actions.

Continue reading

Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture: #80-71

Well, better late than never, right? On last Friday’s show, Paul and I continued our countdown of the Top 100 Characters in Modern Pop Culture. We’ve each got our own lists, and on Friday, we revealed our respective #s 80-71. Be sure to listen to the show for our full run-down, but here are our picks with excerpts of what we said:

#80

PAUL: Chief Martin Brody (Jaws)

Falls into one of my favorite categories: the reluctant hero.

AJ: C.C. Baxter (The Apartment)

So many of Billy Wilder’s movies are so cynical, but The Apartment is one of the few where hope is allowed to shine through.

Continue reading