Albert Brooks

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Elizabeth Gilbert, Gillian Jacobs, Fred Armisen

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Elizabeth Gilbert
Guests: 
Gillian Jacobs
Guests: 
Fred Armisen
Guests: 
Keith Phipps
Guests: 
Nathan Rabin

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Elizabeth Gilbert on Curiosity, Writing "The Signature of All Things" & Life After "Eat, Pray, Love"

If you know of the writer Elizabeth Gilbert, it's probably from her 2006 memoir, Eat Pray Love. Gilbert's book -- about travel and love and re-gaining confidence and a sense of self -- spent years atop the bestseller list, inspired a movie starring Julia Roberts, and saddled Gilbert with a certain kind of fame.

Gilbert was already an accomplished novelist, biographer and journalist when that happened. But the massive success of Eat, Pray, Love necessarily transformed Gilbert's creative life.

Gilbert has returned to fiction with her first novel in thirteen years, entitled The Signature of All Things: A Novel. She spent several years researching for the book, which adventures of Alma Whittaker, a 19th century botanist who studies moss. The book shines with Alma's curiosity for life and science and the struggle of self-discovery.

Join us for an extended conversation with Gilbert, including talk of "dirty words" from the 19th century which didn't make the radio edit.

She'll talk about why she chose to write a "great moss novel", how she chose to write her heroine Alma (homely, brilliant, and moneyed), and how she dealt with the fame that her memoir bestowed on her.

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The Dissolve Talks about All-Time Favorite Movies: "Real Life" and "To Be or Not to Be"

This week, a look back at some favorite films. Staff writer Nathan Rabin and Editorial Director Keith Phipps of film site The Dissolve join us to talk about some of their all-time favorite films.

Nathan recommends Albert Brooks' 1979 satire Real Life, a prescient look at documenting "real life" in pre-reality television times.

Keith recommends the 1942 Ernst Lubitch classic To Be or Not to Be (Criterion Collection), starring Jack Benny and Carole Lombard.

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"I Wish I'd Made That": Talking about Kraftwerk's "Computer World" with Fred Armisen

We often talk to artists about their influences -- the movies, music, and art that inspired them creatively. Some of that stuff is so good and so perfect that they sometimes wish they’d made it themselves.

So we're introducing a new segment that's just about those things. We're calling it "I Wish I'd Made That."

This week, we're talking to eleven-season cast member of Saturday Night Live and the co-creator of Portlandia, Fred Armisen.

We caught up with him just a few weeks ago at Tenacious D's Festival Supreme. He had just performed as his British punk alter-ego Ian Rubbish (alongside Bow Wow Wow's Leigh Gorman on bass, Blondie's Clem Burke on drums and Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols on guitar).

Armisen talked to us about Computer World, the 1981 release from the German electronic pioneers Kraftwerk.

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Gillian Jacobs on Surviving Juilliard and the Unique Challenges and Joys of Working on NBC's "Community"

Gillian Jacobs may never know what it’s like to play the ingenue. As an actress, she has an energy that’s hard to pin down, but it’s anything but naive. After a tough stint at Juilliard's acting school, Jacobs pursued a career in film and television, often being cast in dark, gritty roles. However, in 2009 her career took a sudden lurch in the opposite direction when she was cast in a very different role.

You probably know her as Britta Perry, the confident and outspoken student opposite Joel McHale’s self-involved lawyer-turned-study group leader Jeff Winger on Community. Britta is exceptionally eager, mostly to the vexation of her peers who often voice their displeasure at her stances on social issues. Her friends often describe her as "the worst", but she's ever-confident in her own identity.

When Jacobs signed up for the role in Community, all she knew was that Joel McHale had been cast in it, but she soon realized that it would be a very unique and ambitious show.

In this extended conversation with Jacobs, we'll talk about why she didn't fit in at Juilliard, her big break on Community, and get a peek behind the scenes on a beloved but aggrieved network show.

Jacobs co-stars with Ken Marino in the new movie Bad Milo!, available now on VOD, and plays Britta on NBC’s Community. The show's fifth season premieres in January.

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The Outshot: Grand Theft Auto V

Jesse tells us why a perfect balance between the real and unreal makes Grand Theft Auto V so enticing.

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Drive & "A Real Hero" by College

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I'm prepping to interview Nicolas Winding Refn, the director of "Drive," a really remarkable film that Julia and I saw a couple weeks ago. It's a crime thriller starring Ryan Gosling (along with a bunch of other brilliant folks - Albert Brooks, Carey Mulligan, Christina Hendricks, Bryan Cranston, Ron Perlman), but it's disconcertingly quiet. Punctuated, every so often, by shocking violence.

This trailer is really just an early scene from the film in its entirety.

The song "A Real Hero" serves as a sort of theme for the movie, and for Gosling's character. It reminded me of an early 80s score by Tangerine Dream. It's both inspiration and reserved, almost melancholically so. Like the movie, though, it really gets under your skin.

Move This to the Top of Your Queue: Five Must-See-Now Comedy Classics

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It's so frustrating. All week long you've been looking forward to Friday night so you could relax and watch that special comedy film that's been sitting in your queue for months - the one that your friends constantly quote and praise. But just as you settle in and bust out the popcorn, you notice that the movie has disappeared from your queue. The streaming service of your choice no longer has the rights to show it.

Okay. Now you're feeling disappointed. Somewhat like Otto (Kevin Kline) in this scene from "A Fish Called Wanda."

Thankfully, there is a solution. Multiple services have been granted access to the Netflix API and publish information from the company's database about which movies and shows will soon be added to or depart from the streaming lineup. (And they seem to be publishing this information with the company's tacit approval). So now you can discover in advance when the streaming rights to your film will expire.

But what's that you say? You don't have time to scan all of those services each week? That's why you have friends like us!

A team of intrepid MaxFunsters has joined together to sort through those listings, identify the gems that you shouldn't miss and - most importantly - tell you when you need to watch them in order to avoid DISAPPOINTMENT.

Click here to see our list of five great must-see-now comedy classics, along with clips, the reasons why they are unmissable and the date when each will disappear from your queue. Happy streaming!

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