Episode 155: The All-Movie Episode

The Dinner Party/Annie Rickard Straus

This week, it’s our first ever ALL-MOVIE EPISODE – a blockbuster hour of our favorite film-centric interviews, starring John C. Reilly, Miranda July, Terry Gilliam and more: Val Kilmer plays Mark Twain playing an etiquette expert… Jackie Collins invites us to a Hollywood party… author Jonathan Lethem casts Drew Barrymore in his surreal fiction… One of cinema’s greatest sound designers lists some of cinema’s greatest sounds… and Michel Hazanavicius, Oscar-winning director of “The Artist,” doesn’t enjoy the silence. Plus: David Cronenberg plays around, rockers Howlin’ Rain suggest the most unlikely dinner party soundtrack ever, and Molly Ringwald barks like a dog.

Icebreaker: Leslie Caron

Leslie Caron, grande dame of cinema who starred in “Gigi” and “An American in Paris,” scoffs at the very idea of a joke.

Table Setter: David Cronenberg

Celebrated filmmaker David Cronenberg made his name as the creator of smart yet gory horror films about disturbing bodily transformation – like his hit remake of “The Fly.” Lately he’s explored the shadowy realms of the mind as well as the body: Last November’s “A Dangerous Method” plumbed the professional relationship between psychotherapists Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud. Despite all of that darkness, he says filmmaking is child’s play.

Best Animal Performance: Molly Ringwald

Actress/author Molly Ringwald, Gen X’s best friend/big sister/crush — and co-star of the TV series “The Secret Life Of the American Teenager” — demonstrates her favorite trick.

A History Lesson with Booze: Killer Talkies and “The Corpse Reviver Royale

In October 1927, on the eve of releasing the first “talkie” feature, a tooth infection rendered studio chief Sam Warner forever silent. But don’t let the story get you down: here’s a spin on a classic cocktail that raises the dead:

“The Corpse Reviver Royale,” as exhumed and reanimated by Maxwell Britten, bartender at Freeman’s Restaurant in NYC, where “The Jazz Singer” is set and where the movie debuted:

In a chilled coupe glass, add:

  • 3/4 oz. gin
  • 3/4 oz. Cointreau
  • 3/4 oz. Lillet Blanc
  • 3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • dash absinthe

Stir. Top off with champagne. Silently toast your companions. Drink and suddenly speak stirring words. Call your dentist and schedule a checkup.

Guest List: Gary Rydstrom

Earlier this year, Gary Rydstrom directed the American version of the Japanese anime film “The Secret World Of Arietty.” But much of Gary’s work (and play) has been with sound: He created dinosaur screams for “Jurassic Park,” a historic shipwreck in “Titanic,” and D-Day mayhem in “Saving Private Ryan.” He recently earned his sixteenth Oscar nomination, for his efforts on the Spielberg epic “War Horse.” Gary shared a list of three great cinema sounds… from cartoon falls to Satanic howls.

Michel Hazanavicius

French director Michel Hazanavicius shot to stardom (and won the “Best Director” Oscar) last year after writing and directing the silent comedy “The Artist.” Among the downsides: the limelight exposed his five-syllable name to endless butchering, and he was forced to talk endlessly about going silent.

Wrap Party: Dick Cavett

Talk-show legend and NYTimes columnist Dick Cavett remembers screen legend Groucho Marx – a man without a filter.

Etiquette: Val Kilmer…as Mark Twain

Earlier this year, seminal American wit Mark Twain traversed the space-time continuum — “Connecticut Yankee” style — to declaim on matters of decorum, right here in our studios. It was all thanks to Val Kilmer – the actor best known for his work in “Heat” “The Doors”, and “Batman Forever” – who reincarnated the American icon in a one-man show called “Citizen Twain.” Kilmer-Twain chimes in on cigar-smoking, chicken-raising, and a certain prickly actor. (“Citizen Twain” ran at Hollywood Forever cemetery in LA last spring.)

We’re always looking for new etiquette questions. Would you be so kind as to send them to dinnerparty@americanpublicmedia.org? Thank you very much.

Guest of Honor: Miranda July

Last year, writer, director, actor, performance artist and artist-artist Miranda July released her second movie: The Future. In it she portrays a thirty-something LA-ite paralyzed creatively and emotionally. It’s clearly not autobiographical. July tells Brendan about her swimming pool daydreams, her inner life, and her childhood name.

Guest of Honor: John C Reilly

John C. Reilly is one of America’s best-loved actors; equally at home in Oscar-fodder (“Magnolia,” “Chicago”) and megahit comedies (“Walk Hard,” “Talladega Nights”). John tells Rico about his days of Thunder, why mean people suck, and talks up a bird named Charlie.

B-Roll: Jackie Collins

Jackie Collins has sold over 400 million copies of her novels, making her hands-down one of the most popular authors on the planet. Each of her 28 (count ‘em) books has hit the New York Times bestseller list, including last year’s Goddess of Vengeance. During our etiquette lesson with her last year, Jackie told us about what really goes on at Hollywood parties.

Eavesdropping: Jonathan Lethem

For bestselling author Jonathan Lethem, it all began with a harmless fashion magazine assignment: write a piece for a Drew Barrymore-centric issue. The result is a strange, hilarious, and affectionate piece of meta-fiction, which Jonathan read to us in 2011. It’s part of his collection The Ecstasy of Influence.

Guest of Honor:Terry Gilliam

Director/Writer Terry Gilliam was a founding member of a little sketch comedy troupe called Monty Python’s Flying Circus — perhaps you’ve heard of them. Since then he’s made a name for himself as one of cinema’s great visionaries with movies like “Brazil,” “12 Monkeys” and “The Fisher King.” He chats with Rico about Python reunions, that Devil Hollywood, and the Museum Of Childhood.

Dinner Party (Movie) Soundtrack: Ethan Miller of Howlin’ Rain

Hard-rock band Howlin Rain recently released their album “The Russian Wilds,” produced by Rick Rubin. Earlier this year, frontman Ethan Miller cued up what may be the weirdest tour soundtrack ever.

Other Music In this Week’s Show:

The Sea & Cake – “The Argument”

Aphex Twin – “Boy/Girl Song”

Tipsy – “Liquordelic”

Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra – “I’ll Build a Stairway To Paradise”

Al Jolson – “Toot, Toot ,Tootsie”

The F*ing Champs – “Esprit De Corpse

John Williams – Theme From “The Lost World”

Erlend Oye – “Every Party Has a Winner and a Loser”

The Bad Plus – “Tom Sawyer”

Barry Manilow – “Mandy”

DJ Food – “The Crow”

Bernard Herrman – “Vertigo”

John Coltrane – “In A Sentimental Mood”

Django Reinhardt – “La Mer”

Roy Budd – “Black Is Beautiful”

The Dylan Group – “Running In Pairs”

Geoff & Maria Muldaur – “Brazil”

Wendy Carlos – Henry Purcell: “Music for The Funeral Of Queen Mary – March”