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.
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.
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.
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?
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."
Ay-yi-yi, what is it with these Dominican men? Their hands — and eyes — never stop roving, even as they're slipping engagement rings on their true loves' fingers.
If that sounds like negative stereotyping, don't complain to me: I'm just passing along the collective cultural verdict of the women and men, most of them themselves Dominican, who hustle through Junot Diaz's latest short story collection, This Is How You Lose Her. A good man is hard to find in these stories, and when you do find him, he's always in bed with someone else.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Film goers will remember Oscar-nominated director Lee Daniels for his provocative 2009 drama "Precious," which was based on the novel "Push" by Sapphire. It was an often grim, but also inspiring, story of an obese, illiterate, abused black teenaged mother who eventually finds a way to overcome her many challenges.
Every high-school show deals with the same problem — even if with Beverly Hills, 90210-like leisure — if it lasts long enough: What now?
Most often, as on 90210, everyone mysteriously goes off to the same college that doesn't exist. Sometimes, as on Friday Night Lights, the show follows some of the kids further but also toughens up and freshens the cast.
Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 6:48 am
It's been a big year — well, a big few years — for young adult fiction, which I'm not going to complain about in the slightest; nothing beats a good YA novel for pure storytelling punch. But I might complain, just a little, about the overwhelming sameness of some of the plots. Dystopian futures, quiet-yet-spunky teenage girls, doomed love triangles — sound familiar? Suzanne Collins has a lot to answer for. Luckily, you can crack open The Last Dragonslayer and spend time with a protagonist who has a refreshingly different set of priorities.
For one day, anyone who showed up to this alley in the U Street neighborhood of Washington, D.C., could take a free turn at playing Indiana Jones — donning a fedora and whip and fleeing from a gigantic, rolling boulder.
James Bond — the film franchise, that is — is turning 50. But if 007 is getting up there in years, his gadgets will never get old.
Throughout the series, the creators have always come up with wild gear for Bond to bring along on his missions — while often taking a lot more creative license than they might have needed. They've come up with pieces that were inventive and prescient at best, impossible in the real world at worst, as astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson tells NPR's David Greene.
If buying a local wine just isn't local enough for you, then you might consider joining the growing ranks of people making homemade wine this fall.
Some home winemakers make wine with friends for fun, some make wine with family for tradition; some make it "old school," adding nothing, and drink it by Christmas; others do it "new school," adding preservatives, and wait a year or more to bottle.