A podcast with Josh Shelov, the writer/director of The Best and the Brightest

By Adam Lippe

Here’s a podcast with Josh Shelov, the writer/director of The Best and the Brightest. While the film is screening in Philadelphia as you read this (that is, if you’re reading this as soon as I post it, so, that would just be me), it will open in a more traditional fashion in the next few months. The Best and the Brightest is a farce about the very difficult struggles of getting your child into an exclusive pre-K if you live in New York City. The movie, which stars Neil Patrick Harris, John Hodgman, Christopher McDonald, Peter Serafinowicz, Bridget Regan, Amy Sedaris, etc., gets fairly raunchy, so Josh and I discuss how far you push a farce and how believable it has to be. Then we talk about his meeting with famed New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael and why he asked her about Quentin Tarantino. We also get into his career as a studio screenwriter and developing a script with The Hangover director Todd Phillips, and how script development actually works (it does involve coming into an office every day and staring at a computer). The interview, which was conducted face to face, so the sound quality is better than the usual cell phone thing I have to do, runs a little over an hour. Though there’s a logical conclusion, there’s another minute or two which didn’t fit in anywhere, so make sure to keep listening for that.

Download the full interview.
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Roadracers

By Adam Lippe

Whenever there’s a genre parody or ode to a specific era of films, such as Black Dynamite’s mocking of Blaxploitation films or Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, the second half of Grindhouse, the danger is that the film might fall into the trap of either being condescending without any particular insight, or so faithful that it becomes the very flawed thing it is emulating.

Black Dynamite has nothing new to say about Blaxploitation films, it just does a decent job of copying what an inept [...]


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Featured Quote (written by me)

On Cold Fish:

Though the 16 year old me described the 1994 weepie Angie, starring Geena Davis as a Brooklyn mother raising her new baby alone, as “maudlin and melodramatic,” Roger Ebert, during his TV review, referring to the multitude of soap-operaish problems piling up on the titular character, suggested that it was only in Hollywood where Angie would get a happy ending. “If they made this movie in France, Angie would have shot herself.”

Well Cold Fish was made in Japan, where Angie would have shot herself and that would have been the happy ending.