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July 2, 2021 59 mins

Dan Taberski of Missing Richard Simmons joins Chuck to talk about the 80s classic, Working Girl.

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Welcome to Movie Crush, a production of I Heart Radio.

Hey everybody, and welcome to Movie Crush Friday Interview edition.
And I'm sitting on a zoom screen across from Dan
to Berski, uh, writer and filmmaker and podcaster. And I
think maybe the best way to describe you as just storyteller?
Is that fair? Sure you like that? Yeah? That's okay? Documentary?

And how about documentary which is storyteller? Not did n't
it pick? But you know, look, you're really hung up
on the storytell think it's good to meet you. We
just met like thirty seconds ago, so right. I learned
you have small ears and that you hate storytellers totally, totally.
That's all you need to know, Folks. Where are you from? Dan,

New York? Originally born in Queen's Unk Territory and now
you're in Brooklyn? Is that right? Right now? I'm in Brooklyn,
but I live in Manhattan. I'm kind of curious about
your I like to talk to guests about the movies
of their youth and sort of what that what kind
of impact that had on them? Is his future entertainers
or or even if it did, and was that something

that were you sort of a movie obsessed kid or
I was not. Isn't it funny? I was. I It
never occurred to me to do to sort of make
any sort of art. Um until well into adulthood. What
was I started public policy in college? Um? Uh? Yeah,

so I worked in politics for a while. I worked
at the White House for two years right out of college.
Um and then uh, and then went into UM to
journalism from there. So so I started, I started in politics,
which I quickly realized was not for me. What which
White House did you work in? It was a Clinton
White House. I was the assistant to the president's economic advisor.
Really okay, yeah, it was crazy. It was crazy. Yeah,

it was really hard uh and really intense and I
answered a lot of phones. Uh and it was like,
um thrilling, but like incredibly difficult work. Now and I've
spoken to another couple of people, including recently someone who
worked in politics for a while where you're how how
how did you go into that? Was it eyes wide open?

And were they quickly were your I don't mean to
say naive, but did you were you kind of smacked
in the face with the reality of the situation. No,
I you know, I sort of I understood, I think
pretty well the politics of it, and politics and compromise
and all that stuff. What I didn't under stand is

that being political and working in politics required you to
be political on a personal level too. So it required
you to collect people, collect friends, collect uh it required
you to really be outgoing and um um always thinking
about what relationships can do for you and help you

to move things forward. And I don't even begrudge people
who do that. It's just not the way I think.
And so I found that part to be a real
slog like I don't want to I don't want to
be I'm not that I'm not social enough in the
simplest terms, I'm just I just don't want me that
many friends. So uh So, is it a pretty quickly
realized thing that like, I'm not gonna go far in

this world because I can't play that game. It was
I I joined the Clai administration and I stayed through
the election in ninety six understanding that it was a
super literally, like, you know, there aren't many things that
one does that feels like an honor, but it it
really does. It really does feel like that to walk
in the White House every day or at least it
did for me, and so I, you know, the experience

of doing that was great, but I but I sort
of knew that I didn't have I didn't have what
it took to to to sort of be successful. And
that was right out of college, so early twenties. That was. Yeah,
it was my first job out of college besides pizzerie.
You know, I was a waiter Atizzie you know. Yeah,
where did you go from their career wise? Uh? And

then I went h I moved to New York and
I worked at NBC news Um for two and a
half years or three years, and then from there I
went to the Daily Show. So I sort of had
a a brief dalliance with with actual news um and
then uh, my job quickly became making fun of the
news of the Daily Show and and it sort of

stayed in that sort of metau place. Now, was that
with John Stewart was or was that still? Was that? Okay?
It was, yeah, it was John. It was right when
joh started. It wasn't with Craig Kilborn. He had he
had left, and so I pretty much started when John started. Wow,
that's cool, You're I've had a bunch of Daily show
people in the show. Yeah, now that you had Elliott

Kalin right had Elliott on, I've had um Well, John
Hodgeman's a pal of mine, so he's been on a
few times. And I'm trying to think it seems like, uh,
Dan from the Flophouse has been on. Uh what's the Flophouse?
The Flophouse is Elliott's uh movie show? Oh yeah, he

has the movie podcast, a bad movie podcast where they
were in his palace talk about a bad movie. It's
pretty funny Dan Dan McCoy. I don't know why Dan
slipping because dancer friend of mine too, And I don't
know that one of the b I had Wyatt on
Wyatt Sanac he was after my time. Yeah, and I've
been trying to get Chad Carter's an old friend that

I've been trying to get on. And I think Chad
probably came on after you two. If he's an old friend,
why won't he come on your show. I'm just it's
been a minute and the pandemic kind of screwed everything
up for a while. I'm just wondering if you're sort
of judging the friendship. Oh no, it's great. Jed's awesome.
What was the Daily show? Like, was that were you
producing segments? I was a producer. Yeah, so I would

travel around with a correspondence and direct and write the
segments with them. So yeah, super fun and thrilling and
often scary because you know, you're you're very often you're
you're fooling people. Um and and so that and that
was it was. That was early daily show days where
people really didn't for the most part, people didn't really
know what it was and they didn't sort of realize

it until you're in the middle of it. So there's
always like a light switch moment where they're like, oh,
this is a joke. Um. And that could get yeah
every once in a while, yeah, but usually I actually
really uh, it gave me faith in people, Like of
the time, people think it's great and people think it's
funny and they and they totally and they totally. Um.

People have good sense of humor. Uh. And just as
long as you're not taking them down for no reason. Um.
But and you're sort of the joke. The target of
the joke is something else besides them personally, Like, I'm
always surprised at how people sort of are are happy
to be part of a larger joke. Yeah, uh so
inteen you really kind of I think turned the podcast

world on its ear with Missing Richard Simmons seventeen. What
was it seventeen? Would I say fourteen? Yeah too? That
unfourtune was serial? Yeah, yeah, yeah, that that turned the
podcasting world on it's here too, yeah yeah seen. Uh which,
you know, what were your expectations for that show? Did
you think it was gonna blow up like it did? No?

I thought it was uh no, my gosh, no, I
mean no, it just seemed like the small it was.
It was like a small yeah that like you really
don't have any any reason why people would listen to it, really,
if that makes any sense. And it felt like a well,
it's well, it felt like a gesture that I was

doing about this person that I thought was really important,
special Richard Simmons. But but it it and then and
then once it starts, once we started to put it out,
it sort of attracted people in a way that we
didn't expect. And then you realize you're sort of part
of something that that isn't really yours anymore. Yeah, it
was really something else. I mean, it was, uh, it

blew up in a really big way, and I imagine
gave you sort of all the currency you needed in
this new medium or new wish medium for you. I guess, uh,
just sort of do whatever you wanted as a documentarian
from that point, I mean, short answer, yeah, kind of,
it really felt it did feel that way like it
it felt like it had touched something and it either

may maybe people either loved it or hated it, which
I think is sort of an interesting place to be. UM.
It means you're sort of you're you're tweaking something right,
like you're you're sort of flicking people's ears in a
way that sort of makes people stand up a little bit. Um.
And so yeah, and so it definitely gave me the
opportunity to work with really good people after that and

and and continue to Um. People would take chances on
sort of weird ideas, and it's a great place to be.
I love doing and it's it's it's amazing to have
people take chances on weird ideas. Yeah, and I think
it was, you know, as someone who's been doing this
for in my thirteenth year or so, it's interesting to
see ideas come around that really shift the landscape of

the industry, and I think Missing Richard Simmons is definitely
one of those. And you can always tell when you know,
podcasts are so quick to market and you can that's
one of the cool things about this medium, as you
can get something out the door really fast, you know,
unless it's super sort of long game research heavy, but
then you can still sort of start telling that story
if you want to. And so that's a cool thing.

But the weird part about that is that it lends
itself to a lot of copycat material in content, I
think and Richard and Missing Richard Simmons is one of
those which is a compliment, but like it comes out
and then I feel like a lot of people were like,
oh my god, like, what's our missing Richard Simmons? Like
and and maybe even sometimes as base of an idea

is like who can we go out and try and
find who was seemingly disappeared? Yeah, and then it's just
a scary impulse. Yeah, Like you don't want people doing that.
Like that's not like like we took a big We
were really deliberate and how we went into that project
and I and I and I had enough information and
and enough contact with the people who close to Richard

and and and the people involved in his life that
that I had certain I had certainty about things that
I think, Um, we were just very we want to
do it, very wide open and very considered, and I
think I think it's a it's a and we we
walked a fine line for sure. And but yeah, I
mean now, yeah, very often you hear like what happened
to this guy? I get, I get, I get missing

Britney Spears tweets all the time. People people want to know,
like Dann go find Britney Spears, and I'm like, she's fine.
I don't need that fight like she's isn't she in
Las Vegas or something like. People have a real sense
of like that that this was that it's not something
I don't think it's something I would ever do again.
So it was just that that person in that situation, Um,

it's definitely not a model that I've been asked to
sort of recreate that model, and that was going to
ask that. I'm sure, Yeah, it's not even something I mean,
if it comes up, I guess, but like it's not,
it would never happen again because I was I was
the only reason I did that is because I knew
Richard Simmons, and I was taking his class for a
year and a half, and and it was I was
sort of involved in that world, and so I wasn't.

I was much much, much less of an outsider than
like a normal documentary would be. I don't think I
would ever have the courage or the balls to like
to do something like that if I didn't, if I,
if I didn't know, if I, if I, if I
was this coming in from the outside and parachuting in. Yeah,
Another show that you've done, which I have yet to

listen to, which I'm putting at the top of my
list is Running from Cops, because Cops is this show
that I, um and I never knew when it came
on it was. Cops is one of those shows it
seems like it was always on, but if you were
someone who flipped around a television dial, then you would
run into it. And I felt like I ran into
it a lot enough to watch it a lot without

being someone who was like, Oh, it's whatever night, at
whatever time, I got to check out Cops. And it's
a show that that I feel bad for watching so
much now through today's lens. When I was you know,
younger and in my twenties, and I was never like raw, raw,
this is awesome, man, like you know what they're doing.
It was just there was something about it, the spectacle

of it. I was definitely into. And I would love
to know a little bit more about this project. Yeah,
I mean that was the point of the project. Is
that I you know, I asked it that I've seen
maybe five hundred episodes of Cops and this is before
the show. I mean, I just watched it. I'm somebody
who grew up watching television as background noise, and so
I just I'm used to having something on and um,
and Cops is like perfect, it's on. It's it was

at the time, it was on fifteen, sometimes twenty times
a day. Yeah. Yeah, so you're not hot. Your senses
do not lie. It literally is on all the time.
And there is something as far as reality shows go,
there was the sense that you really, you really are
watching something real. They're like that had the elements of reality,

elements of realness to it that other reality shows don't have.
And and and they also they're training their cameras on
a on a world that you don't see, that you
don't really see another reality shows like these are working class,
poor neighborhoods and and people who aren't usually UM sort
of featured in a way that you could sort of
hear or see about them. But then of course you realize,

like it's it's and still the project was to explore
that show. We watched, ultimately watched and analyzed and catalog
eight forty seven episodes I think it was UM and
just sort of trying to figure out how realist cops,
what is it we were actually seeing UM and uh
and uh, yeah, it's it's it's an incredibly fucked up show,
UM that does incredibly fucked up things to the people

who are on it. UM. I have a complicated relationship
to that show, but UM, but it was it was
an analysis to exactly what you said, like why why
am I watching UM? And how are they doing it?
Like how are they allowed to how is it put together?
And who's actually like sort of consenting to be a
part of it? UM, And the answers to that are

are pretty intense. Man, so good, it's so good. Sorry,
I'm not gonna I mean, I shouldn't say that about
my own word, but I'm so proud of it and
and um, and if you're interested in the show, it's
just like about the history of of policing on television
and reality shows and just and how it intersects with
actual criminal justice and what what you actually think is

true versus not. Um. And it's been on for thirty
years and so so it has the influence it has
not just on on just on reality shows, but on policing.
Like literally, cops become cops because of what they see
on Cops and so the behavior that they're mimicking is
the things that reality shows are telling them to mimic.
It's it's sort of an incredible long term experiment that

has gone horribly wrong. Yeah, I'm gonna be diving into
that soon for sure. UM. I want to talk to
you about the line too. Now this is your this
is Is it currently still in production? Uh? It's There
was six episodes. The last episode aired a couple weeks
ago early May. Um, where did this story come from?

And where do your stories come from? Generally? Is it
just literally whatever piques your interest? Running from Cops was
my idea, Mr Richard Simmons, is my idea. And then
I sort of found partners and collaborators to sort of
make it with UM. The line was actually the first
one that wasn't my. It was brought to me by
Apple and Alex Gibney, the director, and they asked me
if I would be interested in sort of tackling this UM,

and I just kind of spent a month, uh looking
back at the Eddie Gallagher trial. It's about the Navy
seal Eddie Gallagher and the war crimes trial that he
was involved in. And and but it also just becomes
much larger about forever wars and what it is that
we're asking people to do when they go out and
fight covertly, UM, especially in the way the wars have

been fought in the past twenty years since nine eleven. UH.
And so it just becomes a much larger look at UM.
You know, what's what is the line between combat and
war crimes? Right? And what is our complicity in that?
UM So fascinating, UM intense UM. We talked to her

fifty special operators, the Navy Seals who are in it's
just an incredible, incredibly UM, incredibly unusual people UM, and
anybody who people who people who can do what they
do and people who have experienced the things they experience, um,
regardless of any of the politics around it. It is
just fascinating. That's a fascinating so of dive into that world. Yeah,

it's interesting and that you like, uh, with stuff you
should know. I feel like we covered this these short
broad overviews of topics, and we've done a couple of
thousand of them at this point, so it's a lot
of stuff. But it's you know, we're always treading in
sort of the shallowest waters because of the nature of
the show. You know, it's we've got to spit something

out in forty five minutes, which is a good overview,
and you get to really dig in there. And uh,
I'm jealous in a lot of ways that of that
kind of deep dive journalism. It's something that really has
always interested me and I found myself and I love
what I do with stuff you should know. But you know,
I feel like, you know, the grass is always greener,
I think in this day. But I could also see,

you know, when you're living and breathing this stuff that
must get tough sometimes. Yeah, it was. It was a
dark year because I had started doing this project and
then the pandemic came into then I ended up doing
it all from my you know, my attic soundproofd room.
Uh and and um, and it's it's pretty heavy. It's

it's it's very very very heavy, and you're talking to
people who have You're not just hearing about intense things.
You're talking to the um to the people who experienced them,
and they're they're telling you where their heads are at
now and and they're and they're allowing you in in
that sense. Uh and and so yeah, it was it's

it's it's incredibly heavy. But but also like then that's
that then you're sort of then you just have you
spend all this time talking to these people, and then
you you really do have tools to look at a
story in a situation and the world and that that
that specific world in a really complete way and have

confidence to sort of make a estimates and actually here,
here's what I think is going on. And so it
really is a process of like just trying to understand
um and uh, yeah, it's great, But I agree with
grass is always greener. I would love every once in
a while, I'm just thinking, boy, I would love to
I would love to just talk about something different area, right,
and just you know, uh, but that's that's that is

not that is not where I ended up. When do
you know? I feel like we have some listeners who
probably um either have interest in making documentaries or have
done so themselves, and it's something that might interest me,
you know, on down the line in the future. And
I think you tell stories so well. And I've always
wondered when you know that you're done, does that make sense?

Like when do you know that you have told the
story in is complete a way as you desire? Well,
there's all I mean, uh, in no small part is
because of the deadlines that are that you set and
that other people set for you, and and that that
it is important um uh to sort of put a
put a cap on it, because you could really spend forever. Um.

For me, it's it's this is gonna sound really dippy,
and I don't usually sort of like express this verbally,
but who cares. Uh, it's sort of like, um, instead
of it's you think about it like you're investigating a
feeling like the Eddie Gallagher story and the story of
Eddie Gallagher and the story of the seals and the

story of war. It gave me. It made me feel
a certain way I really couldn't decide how I felt
about it. And I thought I felt like I was
seeing something that other people weren't expressing, and that and that,
and then once you can get that feeling out of
your head and into sort of like five hours of audio,
um and and that it sort of reflects what was

in your head, then that to me is done. I'm
not even really thinking about the listener as I make
and I'm more thinking, is this what I'm thinking? And
and and there's something, there's something that feels complete about
just like, Okay, I can put it away now because
here's how I feel about it. Even if you don't
come up with answers, and I rarely do, they're rarely answers, um.

But just the exploration of it, to have that feeling
with the music and the people you talk to and
the and the writing you do around it and all
that stuff. If it feels altogether in a composite like
that feeling that's in your head, then you're done. That's
not differ I think that's a great answer. All right, good, Thanks,
What's what's next? Can you talk about it? Or do
you got some ideas that you're have tucked away? I

I am working on. I'm working on something right now
that will come out in a couple of months that
I can't I guess I can't really talk about it now, um,
but but I think it's gonna be good, great I'm
knocking on with if you can hear that, Yeah, I
hope fantastic, great partners. Yeah, so it's it's it's gone good.
That's awesome. I bet that's fun too to um to

work with different people on different projects. And you know,
I used to work in the film industry, so I
sort of missed the days of putting together a crew
of people and doing a thing that lasts a certain
amount of time, and then graduating from that and moving
on and uh working with new great people. Yeah, and
then having them like the whole. I mean, it's so

interesting to talk about my work in these situations, but
then to be working with people who are who are
just it really is a collaborative process and in a
really great way like that you can just let go
of parts of it and let other people let let
their opinions and sort of informed the project. And I
really like that part. Um. If if you have the
right partners, it's it's really satisfying, amazing. All right. So

when I sent you the email O, our buddy Mangesh
got us together, which is very great. Man Guesh is
such a good person and good connector of people. Yeah.
You sent me a few movies, including one that I
did not get to watch that I can't wait to
see though, the documentary about the unearthed film Oh, Dawson City,

Frozen in Times. Yeah, I can't wait to see this. Oh,
it's so incredible. It's basically a documentary about about a
town in the Yukon uh and and and and that
sort of They found a trove of old movies that
almost all of them are are gone, except for those
prints that they had buried in the ground and that

had preserved because it was so cold up there. Uh.
And it's just um, it's it's a look at at
the growth of this town, um, Dawson City. And and
at the same time using those old film clips to
sort of illustrate that history. There's no words, it's only
text on screen. But it's just one of those films
that gets it feels like it can see the whole

world like you just you just you feel like you
can see everything for a second, in and it's just, uh,
I love it. I love it. I like practically stock
that guy like I. I talk about that movie way
more than is appropriate. Well, I can't wait to see it.
I think I feel bad that I chickened out a
little bit because it was a movie without dialogue, and

I have a feeling once i'll see it, i'll probably
email you again and you want to come back on
and we'll talk about it. Yeah. Yeah, it's really it's
a it's a it's really moving and stuck with me
still to this day. But what I did jump on
was the Mike Nichols film Working Girl, because it's a
movie that I somehow never saw. It's it's one of

those movies that I felt like I saw because it's
I knew the plot and it was such a big hit.
Um And the only thing I can figure out is
that I was seventeen and it it's not a real
seventeen year old kind of movie. It's a movie for adults.
And they used to make those at one point. Yeah,
it's not funny, you can't. It doesn't fit anywhere right now.
I know. I talked about that a lot, like adult

films and how they just used to make more mature content,
uh movies for like you know, people that are thirty
and up. But um, I watched it today for the
first time, and I loved it. It was so great.
Isn't it great? It really is. I I just I
just couldn't love it more. What's what's your experience? When

did you see it first? Just what's your back? You know?
I actually I was thinking about that today. I actually
saw it in the theater, which is strange because I
I think I was like sixteen. If it was eighty eight,
I was fifteen, which is why is the fifteen year
old seen this movie? Um? But I remember that I
thought I saw it in the quad on Northern Boulevard
and Queens. I remember. I remember seeing it. Um, I remember.
And the reason I remember is because we were such

a little ship. I remember back then we would we
would like sit in the back of the theater and
like try to smoke cigarette, like as if as if
nobody's gonna know, or like cigarette from yeah, I bother
everybody like and that you wouldn't care. Um, and so
I do. Were watching it then, But that wasn't where

my love for it. My love for it sort of
came later as one of those films that just appeared
on television a lot. Yeah. Um, and so again, like
as somebody who likes tell I like to I I
this has changed. But I used to be. I'm not
a big necklace person, not a big I changed person.
I like television and I went, it's on, I want
to catch it, and I want I'll watch it from
the middle. I just I want to I want to

watch some one that I feel like other people are watching.
There's something about that interesting. Yeah, isn't that weird? I
like the commercials not, I just like the I like that. Um,
and Working Girl is sort of a usual suspect for that.
And it's just such a great movie. It's just it's
so well done. Yeah. I mean I feel like I
almost had to avoid seeing this movie because it is
one of those sort of HBO specials that ran forever

on HBO. Yeah, it was fun today to see a
little bit of a blast from the past, just as
far as the you know, the styles and the hair
and it was I mean, that was my high school
that I was looking at. You know, every girl I know,
their senior picture was was Joan Cusack's hair with the
big hair it was amazing and it's so funny. If
you look back at that movie now, it reads like

a parody, like because the secretary is it reads like
that they're doing their hair is super big, because they're
trying to be funny and like as if they were
doing like a movie making fun of twenty years before,
and it's not. They're making fun of that time. That
is what people look like. Yeah, that's exactly the style. Yeah,
it was fantastic. It was fantastic. Yeah. I had friends
like that too. Oh the hair, Yeah, it's pretty great. Yeah.

Mike Nichols to me is uh. I hesitated to call
him underrated because he's gotten like Lifetime Achievement awards. He's
certainly not undervalued or underrated, but I do feel like
his name should come up more when you're talking about
best directors of all time when you look through his filmography,
and I think one reason is because he's sort of

disappears into his work in the best way that a
not a director should. Because I also love at tours
who are like, hey, this is a Paul Thomas Anderson
movie and you know it from the second you sit down.
But I do love that Mike Nichols is not showy
and that he's not interested in making it about himself. Yeah, yeah,

for sure. I mean it doesn't um, it doesn't feel. Yeah,
you can't see him at all, especially in this movie
because the characters are um like Sigourney we were, Mellian
Griffith and Harrison Ford, like just all three of them
are just like they're almost like cotton candy, Like they're
just like they're just they just look they just like

it is. It is just so about them, uh, in
a great in a great way. Uh. And so yeah,
he seems like he puts all of his focus on
highlighting them. He does, and I think his stories that
he tells are so human like. That always seems to
be the common common element to me for Mike Nichols.
Film is there about people? And what other films are

you thinking of? Well, I mean certainly the Graduate, Um,
I think I love Biloxi Blue is. Of course that's
a Neil Simon jam so that's got its own sort
of specific tone to it. Um, what other movie I
was looking there here? I'm typing real quickly. You don't
usually do this. Who did an ishtar It was not
like Nichols because I want to talk to that guy.

I've never actually seen Istar. I think I haven't either,
and I have I do have a friend and kind
of repeat guests who wants to talk about in Star.
So I'm gonna take him up on that at some point.
Apparently apparently it's not as bad as everybody says. That's
what I've heard he did. Silk Wood. Silk Wood is
so good, great movie. Can't you know? You can't see
that movie now? Oh? Is it not available? You can't

see it on Amazon? You can't. I've tried many times.
You got to go to the videos. So I always
want to see Shared playing in Wesbian. I love that
whole thing and the scrubbing scene, and like again, I
like to just watch movies that I've seen before, and
they just and you can't get it anywhere. It's really
frustrating for me, you know, I think, I mean, you've
about to be able to rent it, right if you
can find yours? You cannot. Oh, it's not even if

you define soul. Yeah, okay, you can't rent it. You
can't rent to the Amazon iTunes, it's not on Netflix.
You can't get no, but physically no, can you go
to a video store, like there's still video stories. We
got a great one in Atlanta. Well, dude, if that's
if that counts is like yeah, like I can take
out my projector Okay, alright, I'm talking about reasonable reasonable ability. Yeah, alright,

good point. Um. He did Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf
in the sixties. Yeah, And he doesn't have a feeling
as a director though. I think he's not one of
those people that that has like a a genre that
he sticks to. He's done kind of some crazy things
over the years that that he just sort of disappears into. Yeah,

and I think he's an egot winner. What did he win?
Was it for the graduate? Did he win his his? Oh?
I think he won the oh uh And I'm not
sure about the E G and the T either, but
he isn't he isn't believe it. Yeah. Yeah, the great
Mike Nichols um great cast in this movie. It's it's

just sort of stacked, and it was It's kind of
fun to go back and see young Oliver Platt and
uh and and Kevin Spacey just way over acting in
his one scene sort of put to an obnoxious point. Well,
he's playing it on an axious person. He did it, well, Yeah,
kudos to you. Yeah, like yeah, shorting cocaine and drinking champagne.

It was, it was. It was pretty bad. Totally. Apparently
Milan Griffith was doing cocaine all through that movie. Did
you read about that? I just I was like, I
just did a quick, a little little wickie whatever. Yeah. Apparently,
like there was there was a whole fit, like she was.
She's talked about it that like she she basically had
a cocaine problem at the time, and and there was

a point where she came in. This is a story
that that that I I'm assuming that this is a
quote from her, so I'm assuming it's true, um, that
she came in high on coke and they shut down
the set for they said, and and this was like
she was a young actress, like this is not They
shut it down because of her, and Mike Nichols took
her to breakfast the next morning and said, here's the deal,
We're not going to tell anybody about this. You're paying

for the cost of what we had to shut down.
And she did it apparently, Yeah, and she said it
was a real lesson for her. Um. And apparently but
apparently after that Mike Nichols was on coke the whole
time too. No, no, I think that wasn't his new
book that that Mark harristers for it. Oh boy, he

just does not seem like the type. Well it was
eight Well nobody everybody was the type. Yeah, totally. Oh wow,
that's crazy. Um. It's a movie that sort of mirrored
Melanie Griffith in some ways, Like I don't think she
was taken very seriously as an actor at the time,
she was overly sexualized, she really needed this job, and
so many of those things sort of aligned with the

character of Tests. Uh that it sort of makes sense
and was perfectly cast. And I don't think I don't
think she's known as like one of our great actors,
but she was really great in this movie. Lovely um
and a sort of guileless. Is that that what that
word means? So yes, she she's wonderful. And it's interesting

about I was seeing about the the sex in the
movie that like how sexualized she was. And another thing
that makes this movie unusual is is that it's not
clear who the audience is. If the audience is supposed
to be men or women, Like there there are scenes
where she's sexualized, but it's always sort of jokey, like
he buys her like the silly underwear to put on,
and she puts it on, and so it's not like

a bombshell, it's sort of like she looks like a
dipshit a little bit and like and then there are
scenes where Harrison Ford he's taking off a shure and
you can tell that they just want that that that
they wanted the audience to eat it up. So it's
like they there's a sort of parody to the to
the to the way they sexualized people in this movie,
which I which I really admire, and especially considering this
eight when women were I mean you really had to

put yourself off out there is just a sex a
piece of sexual meat to be looked at as an
actress in a lot of these movies. Um and and
the fact that that didn't quite happen for her is
I think it is says good things about my Nichols. Yeah,
it is an interesting movie in that way because it's
sort of it's making a statement about that sexualization. But
like you said, I mean there I can't think of

many movies that have more lingerie in them than this.
It's she's got in a couple of scenes, Courney Weavers
wearing lingerie in a couple of scenes, and Melanie Griffiths
vacuuming in her underwear and no shirt in one scene.
She says that was her idea. I think I read
that she said that was her idea. Yeah, and she said,

you know this is she said it was because it
was real, because like, I wouldn't be doing that in
my office suit, Like if no one's around, I would
just take my clothes off and do it because that
would make more sense. Yeah, because she wouldn't get dirty.
I just don't understand how you wear that sort of
underwear because it was sort of like the thing with
the clips and stuff. Don't even know like that just
oh really it was I don't even know what they

call it, like Eri, no, no, what you mean, like
garter belt and stuff. Yeah, yes, garter belts. It's like clips,
like the clips. Doesn't make sense. But this sort of
is evidence in this one critic at the time, I
read this article from I think it was The Guardian,
a working Girl at thirty from a few years ago,
and it talks a bit about this sexualization and sort

of the time and in a male movie critic wrote
with her flouzy face, her CuPy doll voice, her made
for bed bod, and a general demeanor suggesting she was
born already knowing the comma Suture by heart. It always
comes as a surprise to audiences to find Melanie Griffith
can actually act too, Like that's a mainstream movie critic.

It's so gross, so gross, it is so gross, But
it also disappoints me because I felt, to me, it
feels like the movie gets past that. I feel like
it does do and that's sort of I felt like,
that's like, like, you gotta you've got to be looking
at things that are pretty flat way to to to
have that be your takeaway about money Griffith in that movie, Um,
I think, I think. No, I totally agree. It also

kind of flips the script a little bit, and that
Harrison Ford's role is typically you would think of as
like the woman's part in he's sort of the cheerleader
to her, and he's the one that sexualized throughout the
movie and every scene it feels like every woman in
that movie has never seen a man before Harrison Ford
walks into the room to the point where you know

it's it's clearly the point because it's so overblown. Uh.
And there's that one funny scene where he's changing his
shirt in the office and all the women are watching
through the blinds in the office and he turns around
and sort of acknowledges them that that little sort of
rye almost bow, which was pretty funny. Yeah, incredible, incredible, Uh,

such good good done done with such good humor. There's
something about sexuality when when when sexuality is presented in
a way that's not just trying to give you a boner.
I'm sorry if this is like, am I not supposed
to curse? No, you can say fucking boner and whatever
you like. Very often you feel like you're watching a
movie and they're trying to make you They're trying to
get you, like to feel sexed up the try and like,

that's not the way that sexuality was sort of presented
in this movie. It's sort of presented in the different
forms and how people are reacting to it. And that's
what it feels like to me. It feels more um considered, Yeah,
I think so. And it was at a time, um,
sort of in that eighties turning point where and the
Guardian article kind of talked about this. When I think

from the time Milanie Griffith was born, it was like
eight percent of mother's work and by the time she
made this movie, it was like fifty something percent. And
so it was a time when you know, women were
we're in the workforce more than ever before, and and
you know, trying to get these jobs and like the
Sigourney Weaver had, but she's also and I think they

were right in doing this, played as having to sort
of play the game as well, even in her position. Yeah,
I mean that was also sort of like and yes,
I mean Sigourney Weaver as a successful businesswoman, but she's beautiful, um,
and she speaks yeah, and she uses her you could tell.

There's even a couple of scenes where she sort of
intimates that, like she definitely flirts with the other male executive,
but then they walk away and she says, what an
asshole that type stuff like, um, but it is um.
It presents it all as it presents it all as
a as a as a system that women now have
to figure out how to navigate, as opposed to like

maybe presented as a system that is not the way
it should be. So it presents it as like, well,
women are trying to do this, so how are they
gonna they gonna figure this one out? And and they
do and and and a sort of in a way
that's true to the time. Um, but it doesn't. It's
not really sort of questioning the system on a larger
level as sort of archly as we might do it. Now. Yeah,

that's a really good point. Does that sound right? Yeah,
it sounds totally right. And I think it's like it's
shocking to see how how little progress was made until
and then how much has been made since then, because
it seems I mean, it's like stuff straight out of
the like nineteen fifties almost with the Alec Baldwin uh character?

Who this is? I love this era of Alec Baldwin,
Like young Alc Balm was so great. But when he
basically says at the end straight up like you know,
why is it always about what you want? He's like,
who who? Who died? Made you Princess Grace or whatever?
Grace Kelly, And it's like, dude, are you kidding me?
It's like she walked in on you, like banging her friend,

and he's like, why is it always about what you
want and it's like this, really, but that's what she was.
But it's also truthful, like we don't we don't don't
hear that as he's right. We hear that as like
this is what she's this is what she's dealing with,
and he's not wrong, but she's more right right, Like
he's not wrong for the time, he's a broken man

in many ways. But but but the fact that that's
that's what somebody like her would have to be dealing with,
um is Uh. The hoops that she has to jump
through is incredible. Yeah, and also just you know, it
wasn't like this was everybody. I mean, this was a
working class guy from Staten Island, where that sort of

attitude was probably way more prevalent than the Manhattan Night's
um or maybe it was just disguise more as casual sexism.
But like Harrison Ford is a pretty good guy. He
doesn't take advantage of her. Um. I think that role
needed to be, Like it was crucial for this movie
to have one one good dude in it. Yeah, you know, yeah,

for sure. I'm a big fan of movies where characters,
where there are characters who are not to be underestimated.
Um it's kind of a trophy character, but I always
fall for it. It's just their their stories I love,
and this is definitely one of them. And I think

this movie if it were made today, it would be
so much sillier than it is because it is sort
of one of those, you know, sort of Three's Company
esque things with mistaken identities, and especially at the end
when Harrison Ford comes in the apartment, she's hiding in
the other room and people are overhearing the wrong conversations,

and but it never it always rises above that stuff. Yeah,
I don't know why that is. I actually put a
lot of that on Melanie Griffith, And there's something about her,
there's something about um she then they're right about her voice,
like she sort of puts on the silly so I

don't even know what to put on. Like, sure, her
voice is a voice that one might not take seriously,
but there's something about there is something. Uh, there's a
non seriousness to her voice, but there's not a silliness
to her voice, like she's not her she's not wacky
like she's her. She she sort of owns the space
that that that she occupies in a way that you

do take her seriously. Yeah, this this movie would be
way over the top with silliness and wackiness, I think
if it were made today. Yeah, yeah for sure. Well
just yeah, it's Sigourney Weaver. My god, just all those people. Yeah,
she that character. I think they they played it perfect
because she was so hard to sort of read like
she was being her mentor. But you don't know for

a little while if she is an ally or not.
And uh, she's not played as a straight up villain.
That kind of comes later, So she's sort of the
mentor a bit a little bit condescending. And then of
course you learned throughout the movie that she has taken
her idea and but it's still not in a Disney
villain way. It also feels very real still, I think, yeah,

for sure, Um for sure. It's as far as storytelling goes,
if you're if you're someone who has ever written screenplays
or tried to, this is a movie that I think
could very easily be taught in classes as far as
just kind of perfect structure, perfect it runs like a
Swiss watch, uh, and but just very subtly um hitting

those plat points like exactly where they should be And
I know Nichols didn't write the script I was. I
looked at it was. I can't find his name now,
but um, just a really great lesson in structure, I
think for story. Yeah, I mean it, Yeah, it moves.
And also just like the it it feels like, um,
it feels complete, even in the way. And I'm sure

this is I don't know that this was in the
writing that maybe I'm sure this was in the directing. Actually,
like it starts the way it ends like it starts.
It starts with that helicopter shot going across the New
York Harbor and into the you know, into the streets,
into the oh no, it goes onto the stat Island
Ferry right as they're going into as they're going into
the city to sort of pursue capitalism, and it ends, uh,

you know, as they're pursuing capitalism in a building, you know,
in this helicopter shot that's pulling out to see how
many people are doing what Melanie Griffiths is trying to
do and how sort of feudal it is, and that
you are just like a cogging machine. Ultimately, like so
it does have that like it is complete. Um, yeah,
it is complete. Yeah, it is complete. Um, Harrison Ford

should have done more comedies. I realized that when I
was watching this today. He's very funny when he wants
to be sure. And this isn't a comedy that I mean,
this is sort of a dramaty in some ways. It's
not it's not one that's plays for gags or for
sort of easy jokes. But there's a lot of humor
in it, and a lot of it comes from him
and just how subtle he is in this movie and

his face acting is just I just love that guy
so much. He's so lovable and yeah, well there's there's
also something about um. And I don't know how fair
this is, but but I do think it's true. There's
something about um, beautiful people being funny. It's almost like fine,
It's almost like when when when when when when you

see somebody really beautiful and then they start talking, You're like, oh,
you're a genius as well. It's almost like it's almost
like it's fun to watch these three characters because they're
all so beautiful. Um, and they don't and all the
characters sort of have a certain nobody's sort of the
necessarily the huge star and so they're they're also beautiful,
they're all good actress, but then you realize they're all

funny in their own way. Um, and it's sort of like,
I don't know. That kind of thing makes me happy
for the people in it. Like you, you like the people,
you like the bad guys, you like the good guys
like you, just like that everybody is given enough to
play with, as opposed to like a lot of movies
where it's like you hire one star, you give them
all the good lines, and everybody else found something off them.
This just feels like, look at look at all these

these guys. Everybody having such fun playing with these characters. Um,
That's how it feels to me. Yeah, I agree, And
there's just so much subtlety. Um again, it would just
be so different if this film were made today or
maybe even back then in a different director's hands. Um. Yeah.
One of the moments, one of the great little small moments,
is when he's in the bar with her, when he
first meets her and she doesn't know who he is.

He orders the tequila and he goes power, power to
the people, and she almost under her breast says the
little people and he doesn't even notice she said it.
It's like it's aligned for the audience and uh, just
little things like that I think separate this movie from
sort of what was going on at the time. Yeah,

do you feel like it's a capitalist movie or an
anti capitalist movie? I was. I actually feel like, well,
I'm sorry, what do you think? Well, I don't know,
because it's uh. I mean, in the end, she got
that job in mergers and acquisitions, Like that's the happy
that's her Cinderella ending is she got that job, not

that she realized that that life wasn't for her. I
think that would have been anti capitalism. But then it's
the but then that, to me, the pull out shot
at the end is what makes it all. Is what
makes it is, what turns it for him? Oh she
got her office, but you do guys realize she's one
of a million? Yeah, just true matter. Um, that's what
I That's what I get from that. Yeah, yeah, I

never really thought about that. It's I also think in
a way gives Um. What I do like about it
is that it very much could have made a lot
of It's like Staten Islands, poor Manhattan's rich like the
like it's sort of two worlds and you don't finish
the movie thinking I want to be one part of

one and not the other. Um, they both seem attractive
to me at the end. Um the Staten Island life
seems attractive. The wedding, whether they're all having fun or
like the the engagement party, they're at the bar, mixed
of this. Behind the bar, she gives him a bree
case and everybody's having finds her drunk, and and you
don't get the sense that they're the ones who got
it wrong and the Manhattan got it right. And then

yeah and so and then the flip side. Like you
you see the scenes in the in Manhattan, like the
big fancy wedding and like that all just seems kind
of stupid, but you don't and it seems critical of it,
but not in a way. They're just people in a
big system too. So I like movies like that that,
like it really sort of it doesn't decide for you. Um,

it kind of makes both seem attractive and unattractive at
the same time. I think that's a neat trick. It
is a neat trick, and there is some ambiguity there,
And aside from the main characters, I think the more
likable group is Joan Cusack and Alec Baldwin and then
the saton Islanders. Yeah, and the second Yeah, then they're
they're they're you know, they're about friendship. And they like

when Chess gets fired, like they did a little collection
and they handed an avelo fullimony so she can get
drunk one like they've got their eye they've got their
eye on what on what is important? Um, but I
and then I will say, even if and I'm not
sure how this serves my argument or or sort of
uh interrupts it, but like even like the big CEO

type people like Mr Trask that everybody's trying to they
don't make them seem evil either. They make them see
it's almost like it's almost like um paternal I guess
in a in a way, but it's it's not I
guess it's I guess maybe that that means it's not
really going after any of them. It's about people navigating

themselves in that system. It's it's less about a critique
of the system itself, if that makes any sense. Yeah,
I think it does subvert a lot of cliches. Uh.
And for nineteen I don't feel like I feel like,
I mean, their movies are all about tropes and cliches still,
but I feel like back then this was a much smarter,

more considered take on this stuff than what was normally
going on, which is probably why it stood out and
was such a you know, I mean it was nominated
for a bunch of Oscar Awards, and it wasn't you know,
it could have very easily been sort of a smaltsey,
little you know, rom com uh. And he subverts that
so many times, Like there their first kiss. You know,
there's no music swelling. It's not it was some great background.

It's just after that meeting. He he's going down the
stairs and he has he urged to kiss her. It
just felt so real. And the same goes for when
he tells her he loves her. It's not some big
Hollywood moment with this backdrop of the Manhattan skyline. It's
just sort of there, and it's I feel like it's
just much more real. Yeah yeah um. And also just

like pairing those up, pairing all those moments up with
these big sort of corporate moments, like of tension, like
he says, I love you're like right before the big meeting,
right and like it's it's it is an interesting pairing. Yeah, um,
I did not see the twist coming, believe it or not.
It's it's pretty telegraphed, but I did not realize for

seeing it for the first time today at fifty years old,
I did not see that Harrison Ford would have been
dating Catherine this whole time. You know, maybe I'm a dummy.
I didn't. It's so it's it's I've seen it so
many times that I don't know that I remember what
my initial reactions were. But you actually didn't see it coming,
so you were shocked. I was. I saw the fact

that he had someone else in his life coming, but
I was. I was definitely surprised that it was Sigourney
Weaver because I guess I thought he had been in
her office, so he would have known, but you know,
maybe it was a different office or something. They never
really explained that she had just started a Penny marsh Okay, yeah,
all right, So I just want to make sure that
you don't make people think that there's holes in this plot,

because no, yeah, I mean, I didn't see it coming,
and I thought it was a good twist and little
that Little Three's Company scene in there where they're in
different rooms. You know. I like that scene because it's
she gets a little bit of validation she needs when
she overhears him clearly not really into her. And I
think a lot of movies would have kept her in

that uh feeling of being unsure about herself. Yeah, and
I like that she had that little moment. Yeah, that's true.
I love this stuff. Gorilla amazing because that wasn't played up.
It was just a funny, little weird choice. Again, if
that were made today, that would have been so slapstick
and weird totally, all these weird choices, like in the

cocktail party where she's serving Chinese dumplings in a in
a steam car and the steams like blowing in her face.
It's just like there's no reason for it, but it's
just a great like indignity. Yeah, m that then that
was her idea, the Chinese dumplings, like and and and
and her idea, Like she didn't really think it through,
but yeah, and so they're they're great sort of physical

bits or like the cast is an amazing there's no
reason for her to having like that big old cast
on Sigourney Weaver and he comes in any knocks on
it like she's a twelve year old like this, uh,
and then it makes her so hilarious that she's trying
to walk with dignity with this cast. Like man, it's
just like it's one of those things that you you
you feel sometimes you can sometimes you can watch it

and just and just be excited for the screenwriter that
they that they like figured out this plot device and
you could see how it played like maybe she couesn't
twist king accident, no, but then she's got the cast on, No,
that will be really funny in this scene. It's just
like it's just one of those things that that that
keeps keeps on giving. It's not it's not just like
a one time bit. Yeah, that the the giant uh

tiki drinks at the wedding that Harrison Ford sucks down.
It's like there's there's just enough of those sort of
standard comedy moments without without it veering too much into
that territory, I think. And again he plays it so
funny in that bathroom scene when the bride walks in
and he comes out, it's just this sort of classic
Hollywood comedy stuff, you know, like there's a there's a

guy in the ladies bathroom, but it doesn't ever feel
silly to me. Yeah, what is that? I think it's
probably Mike Nichols. Yeah, and you know the acting, everyone
pulled it together, but I don't think he would. He
allowed it to to veer into that territory such a
deft hand. Uh. And then you know, then that ending

with them in the apartment and he's bought it this
lunch box, and it's like you're dead inside if you're
not just like dying at that moment when he packs
her little lunch. Just just it's so perfect and he's
such a good dude, and like you don't have a
heart if that doesn't, you know, at least make you
like well up a little bit. Yeah, it was wonderful. Yeah. Yeah,

the combination of the two worlds, it's like it's like
the sort of Manhattan world combined with the sort of
like human connection to the Staten Island world like that.
I think that's like that's what it's presenting as the Yeah,
this is what matters, because she would be certainly packing
Alec Baldwin's lunch. Yeah, her life had gone that way,
and he's rooting. Yeah, he that he's he's rooting for her. Yeah,

that which is, which is he's he's supporting her in
this incredibly which Now all you want to do is
say in this incredibly fucked up system where she's got
to like go be a asked like like, but but
if somehow I don't get hung up on that. Still,
I don't get hung up on that. Sometimes when you
see movies thirty years later, you're like, oh, that was
a blind spot, uh, and for there's something about it

that seems good, good natured enough that you don't you
don't sort of judge it for the things that misses
because times have changed, if that makes any sense, Like
zero black people in the movie, Like, it's just not
like that. It doesn't. It doesn't address any of those
any of those sorts of issues. Um. But and perhaps

a personal color is watching this movie might might say
it differently, But I don't know. I think it it
deals enough with class that that it and that it
makes you root for for people of different classes enough
that I don't know, there's something out it that's still
that holds up even despite it's it's sort of it's
blind spots. Yeah, I guess if you know the true,

like anti capitalist message would be if she realized that
world wasn't for her and she started up her own
small boutique firm that did things differently and uh, she
wasn't part of the machine or something like that. But
you know this felt true to be sure, but also
just like incredibly like when she realizes at the end
that she's got her own office and like this is

her secretary and then she says, here's what maybe maybe
that was a good time to talk about what you expected? Yeah, yeah,
and she just says like, well, first of all, you
call me tests. You don't have to get me coffee
unless you're getting something for yourself, and the rest will
just figure out if we go along like it should.
Like this is how this is how gender, which is
a very actually modern message, right, Like this is how

this is how women in the workplace or women in
in in the upper positions would actually change how it
is for everybody. It's not just sort of like a
filling up filling a slot with a woman. It's like
you will change the way that we were. Yeah, And
I think it was a message of hope for night
for women. I think this is a movie that in

women probably really really loved um. Like you were talking
about who's who is the audience. I don't necessarily think
it was just for women, but I think it is
a is a movie that women probably could rally around
a little bit um, like they could rally around Thelma
and Louise or something like that. And you've got the
Carly Simon song, you know, which is it's such a

great song. It was such a big hit. Big drums, yeah,
those big drums at big eighties production. And it also
did this thing that I feel like movies really used
to do a lot, which I love, which is you
have a a theme song that is also sort of
the score of the entire movie too. I loved it
when movies did that, and they just don't. I don't
feel like they do that any Like the die Hard thing.

Isn't that that didn't die Hard to that? No, I
don't think die Hard was all beaton was ninth right? Yeah? Yeah,
But I mean like a theme song that a pop
star sings and then then it's rearranged as the or
throughout the movie too, like let the River Run is
in this entire movie kind of from front to back
and then she you know it opens the movie. It
closes the movie, and then it's the score. It's like

the underscore. Right, you're actually right. It's great that she's
all right. Sometimes Carle time it's just start of humming
in the back. Yeah, yeah, you're right, you're right, You're right.
I really loved it, though. I appreciate um sometimes like
I appreciate a pick from a guest for some weird reason,
if that makes sense, Like I love that this is
your movie pick Working Girl from it was a big

movie that people love, but I don't know, it just
it seemed like an unlikely choice, and I'm I'm but
what is that? What else is everyone's everybody else pick?
I mean it kind of it kind of varies from
like stuff that people like their favorite movies when they
were kids, the first big movies, to stuff that's a
little more heavy that they, you know, as adults I
think really got into. But I don't know. I feel
like this is a pick from the heart and I

appreciate that. Oh it really is. I really love it
and I love talking about it. Man. Thanks for having me,
of course, Thanks for being here. Working people find you.
You're on Twitter and stuff for yea Dee to Bersky
on Twitter and uh you know iTunes, uh podcasts, Apple podcasts,
all those places Spotify, I just search my name. Yeah,
go go listen to all the shows. I'm gonna check

out the Cops show starting this week. Uh and I'll
probably email you that will be my new obsession for
the next week. Good. If you ever want to talk
about copsling that our Richard Simmons that will talk about both,
I probably will. All right, all right, thanks Dan. Movie
Crash is produced and written by Charles Bryant and Meel Brown,
edited and engineered by Seth Nicholas Johnson, and scored by
Noel Brown here in our home studio at Pontsty Market, Atlanta, Georgia.

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