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Episodes

Episode 136: American Graffiti (1973)

americangraffitiThis episode begins our "Films that made directors famous" pairing, and we start in 1973. Fresh off his critical success with "THX 1138," George Lucas decided to create an homage to the last year Americans lived in blissful ignorance of the turmoil to come, when boys and girls, rock and roll, and hot rods were everything, and life was just a little easier. "American Graffiti" was Lucas' first huge box-office hit, and it started the careers of so many actors who would go on to become household names! Directed by and co-written by Lucas, along with Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck, the film features Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Paul Le Mat, Charles Martin Smith, Cindy Williams, Candy Clark, Mackenzie Phillips, and the one and only Wolfman Jack, in a tribute to the 50s lifestyle, which had carried over into 1962. And while the film doesn't exactly follow a traditional three-act structure, the individual stories are held together by the incredible 50s rock soundtrack!



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Episode 135: Trouble Man (1972)

troublemanThe second film in our 1972 Blaxploitation pairing arrived in November of 1972. Directed by Ivan Dixon, and written by John D.F. Black (who the classic Star Trek series episode "The Naked Time" in 1966), the film follows "T", sometimes called "Mr. T" by those who respect him, as he works to protect the people in his neighborhood, help them through their hardships, and see that their life is generally just a little better. But when he gets framed for the murder of a crime boss, he has to go to great lengths to find the solution to his own trouble! Starring Robert Hooks, Paul Winfield, Ralph Waite, Paula Kelly, and Gordon Jump, this is one of the best of the genre, made even more great by the only film score ever written by Marvin Gaye! And find out what films the trio will be reviewing next that catapulted George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg into the Hollywood spotlight (and it may not be the movies you think)!



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Episode 134: Super Fly (1972)

superflyIt's back to the 70s, and back to Blaxploitation films for the next pairing! First up, it's August of 1972 and a new phrase becomes part of the vernacular: Super fly. But why? Well, because a movie with a message, a philosophy, and an amazing soundtrack introduced it to everyone! Priest and his partner, Eddie, want to get out of the cocaine-dealing business, so they plan one last major score to set them up for their retirement! Directed by the legendary Gordon Parks Jr., and starring Ron O'Neal, Carl Lee, Sheila Frazier, this movie features a soundtrack/ score written by musician extraordinaire Curtis Mayfield! A classic early example of the genre, and such a good film considering the tiny budget it was made from!



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Episode 133: Renaissance Man (1994)

renaissancemanThe second film in our tribute to Penny Marshall is one of her lesser-known films, not as successful as "Big," but no less deserving attention. "Renaissance Man" from 1994 was directed by Marshall, and stars Danny DeVito, Gregory Hines, James Remar, Ed Begley Jr., Lillo Brancato, Stacey Dash, Kadeem Hardison, Richard T. Jones, Khalil Kain, Peter Simmons, Gregory Sporleder, Mark Wahlberg, and Cliff Robertson. It's the story of Bill Rago, an unemployed advertising executive who gets assigned to teach comprehension on an Army base. Stuck trying to figure out how to teach the course, he inadvertently interests his students in Shakespeare's "Hamlet" and transforms his students while transforming his own life as well! If you're a teacher, or know a teacher, or have ever had a good teacher, you'll appreciate this film! Next up, the aforementioned second look at Blaxpoitation films!



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Episode 132: Big (1988)

bigActor and director Penny Marshall passed away on December 17th, 2018 at the age of 75. Because her impact on film was so entertaining and so profound, Buddy, Chad, and Jeff decided to push back their second look at Blaxploitation films. Instead, this episode looks at Penny Marshall's first "big" hit, with 1988's "Big!" Directed by Marshall and starring Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins, Robert Loggia, John Heard, Jared Rushton, Jon Lovitz, and Mercedes Ruehl, this film follows 13-year-old Josh who makes a wish on a strange arcade fortune teller, and gets it when he wakes up the next day big... in an adult's body. This film features some stellar performances, none the least of which are the child actors! Truly a classic in the history of film, and deservedly netted Tom Hanks an Oscar nomination for Best Actor!



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