Housesitting is a delicate chore. It involves inhabiting someone else's home — their personal space, watching over their stuff — and sticking to the Boy Scouts' creed to leave no trace. That's pretty much the opposite of what happens in Will Wiles' debut novel, Care of Wooden Floors. It's the story of an already strained friendship pushed to the breaking point by a housesitting favor gone terribly, terribly wrong.
If you're a country music fan, the name Rayna Jaymes may not ring a bell. That's because Rayna Jaymes is a fictionalcharacter played by actress Connie Britton. Britton stars in the new TV series Nashville, which premieres this Wednesday on ABC.
TV fans will know Britton for her Emmy-nominated roles in American Horror Story and Friday Nights Lights, in which she played Tami Taylor, the wife of ahigh school football coach in a small Texas town.
On-air challenge: You'll be given a category, and you name something in the category starting with each of the letters in the word "Croat." For example, if the category were "boy's names," you might say Chris, Roger, Otto, Adam and Terry.
Last week's challenge: Think of a word in which the second letter is R. Change the R to an M, and rearrange the result. You'll get the opposite of the original word. What is it? (Hint: The two words start with the same letter.)
Carol Burnett shares a laugh with Tim Conway during taping of her final show , March 19, 1978 after 11 years of music and comedy on CBS. "I think it's classier to leave before you're asked to leave, " Miss Burnett said during a break in Friday's taping. "I'm proud of our show. I'm no dummy. It's time to put it to bed. "
Round 9 of Three Minute Fiction is currently underway. Readers from more than a dozen graduate programs are plowing through the nearly 4,000 entries received. Host Guy Raz shares one of the favorite picks so far, The Generous Application of Grease by Stephen Fratus of Walnut Creek, Calif. You can read the full story below along with other stories at www.npr.org/threeminutefiction.
Ben Affleck's new film, Argo, jolts us back to 1979.
Iran is in revolution and protesters storm the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. The American hostage crisis begins as all the U.S. diplomats inside the embassy are captured and blindfolded — except for six, who escape to the Canadian ambassador's residence and hide there.
When we get an early glimpse of Harry Copeland, he's falling in love in an instant, with a girl he sees on the Staten Island Ferry. Her hair "trapped the sun and seemed to radiate light," he writes, "and with New York in 1947, when it brimmed with color, light, drama and a babble of voices that reminded him of the world he fought to save as a paratrooper in World War II."
Twenty-five years ago, The Princess Bride performed only so-so at the box office. But as you know if you have ever had it quoted to you — and who hasn't? — it's come to be one of the most beloved films of the 1980s. On Friday's All Things Considered, Mandy Patinkin, now starring in Showtime's Homeland but back then the Spanish swordsman Inigo Montoya, talks to Melissa Block about the film and what it's like to be part of such a beloved piece of popular culture.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we will hear from musician, activist and now author Wyclef Jean. He's out with a new memoir and we'll hear from him about his career and very interesting life story, and yes, he answers questions that people have about relationships in his life. That's coming up later in the program.
Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 1:59 pm
Taking her tone from the sensuality of nature and the rawness of the Yorkshire moors, British director Andrea Arnold charges straight for the cruel heart of Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte's sole novel. Peeling away much more than the story's annoying framing device — there is no musical score, and definitely no Kate Bush — Arnold, a director of uncommon originality, attacks our very notion of what a costume drama should look like.
Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 3:23 pm
DAVE DAVIES, HOST:
Actress Anna Kendrick was nominated for an Academy Award for her supporting role in "Up in the Air." Now she stars in the film musical, "Pitch Perfect," in which she plays a college freshman who reluctantly joins the school's illustrious all-female a cappella group. Director Jason Moore is best known for his work on the satirical Broadway musical, "Avenue Q." Film critic David Edelstein has this review of "Pitch Perfect."
We all took ourselves to see Looper last weekend, and we've all got opinions. Was it confusing? Full of holes? Exciting? Moving? Too bloody? Not bloody enough? And what about Joseph Gordon-Levitt's prosthetic makeup and that thing that happened to Paul Dano?
Emma Miller is a digital arts intern at NPR.org and was also an intern in the summer of 2012 in the digital department of PBS'POV series, where she became familiar with two documentaries whose directors recently received "genius grants" from the MacArthur Foundation. She has these thoughts.
It's official: Sean Connery IS James Bond, according to NPR readers who weighed the question this week. The final results show that Connery set the gold standard as 007, the spy known for his playfulness, his ruthlessness — and his ability to look good in a suit. Today marks the Bond film franchise's 50th anniversary.
Iowans Laura (Jennifer Garner, front right) and Bob Pickler (Ty Burrell) fight to remain the first couple of state-fair butter sculpting.
A butter sculpting prodigy (Yara Shahidi, second from left) has a chance to end the Picklers' reign with the help of her friend (Brett Hill) and her foster parents (Rob Corddry and Alicia Silverstone).
Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 4:20 pm
Unless you've attended a Midwestern state fair — or perhaps a Renaissance-era banquet — you might be unfamiliar with the ephemeral but much beloved art of butter sculpture.
Yes, the creamy dairy spread, when chilled to between 32 and 60 degrees, achieves a consistency ripe for carving, and artisans working with hundreds of pounds of the stuff can fashion almost anything: cows, the Liberty Bell, cows being milked, Mount Rushmore, cows jumping over moons, Yoda, Newt Gingrich on a horse.
Every filmmaker has the right, of course, to remake his own film. And what filmmaker wouldn't relish the chance to redo something he felt he didn't get quite right the first time around, either for lack of funds or for lack of support from a studio?
The words "florid" and "inert" are not quite antonyms, but it would nonetheless seem impossible for those two adjectives to apply to the same thing. And yet here comes The Paperboy, a swamp noir so spectacularly incompetent that even the ripest pulp attractions are left to rot in the sun, flies buzzing lazily around them.
Even though he has the face and build of a leonine Celtic warrior, there's also something gentle and mouselike about Liam Neeson. That's what makes him such an unlikely and invigorating action hero, and it's part of what made the 2008 thriller Taken so disreputably pleasurable: Somehow, watching this sad, sweet galoot zap Albanian bad apples with a jillion volts of electricity just felt so right.
Drug abuse is primarily a medical problem, not a crime against society. American anti-drug policy is a means of social control that's rooted in racial and ethnic prejudice. The country's incarceration industry has become a self-sustaining force, predicated on economics rather than justice.
The Swiss canton of Vallais isn't exactly South Central, but it does have a crime problem: His name is Simon, and he seems to have found the perfect racket. Sister's 12-year-old protagonist (Kacey Mottet Klein) steals skis, gear and clothing at an upscale mountain resort that's just a short tram ride above his bleak flatland apartment.
Not only is the ski lodge convenient, but it's frequented by people who are too rich to sweat the loss of their stuff. ("They'll just buy a new one," Simon explains to one of the townies who buy his purloined goods.)
Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 4:22 pm
Dang if Home for the Holidays season hasn't rolled around again — that jolly time of year when screenwriters dust off childhood memories of mildly distressed families and distress them further for our sentimental education. Yet if it seems a little early-autumn yet for that sort of thing, please welcome a surprisingly superior specimen of the genre, courtesy of the best indie ensemble money can buy.
Stephen Colbert has no idea how other news pundits find time to write books. But he felt certain that his character on his Comedy Central show, The Colbert Report, needed to have another one.
"My character is based on news punditry, the masters of opinion in cable news, and they all have books," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "We don't have time to write a book and feed and wash ourselves, so something has to go out the window. And [for me] it was family, friends and hygiene for the past year."
Ben Blier (left) and his friend Jesse Bleckner hang out in their Yoda T-shirts. On his first day of kindergarten, Ben wore a Yoda T-shirt with "Go to Kindergarten I Must" printed on the front and "Learn Things I Will" on the back.
Credit Courtesy of Nancy Edson
On his first day of kindergarten, 5-year-old Ben Blier sported a Yoda T-shirt declaring "Go to Kindergarten I Must" on the front and "Learn Things I Will" on the back.
Credit Courtesy of Nancy Edson
Ben Blier, 5, of Washington, D.C., is obsessed with Star Wars, especially the books and Legos, according to his mom, Nancy.
Credit Courtesy of Chronicle Books
"I don't know why I didn't expect this, but kids really like the book, maybe even more than the adult audience," says Jeffrey Brown, author of Darth Vader and Son, a best-selling panel book about Vader's frustrations raising a 4-year-old Luke Skywalker. "A lot of people have said their kids want it as their bedtime book just again and again and again."