Film Club: Summer Movie Season, George Romero, And Iran’s Underground Music Scene
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
On this Film Club of the Air, we'll preview the summer movie season, and our critics will weigh in on an independent film about Iran's underground music scene and George Romero's latest zombie-filled critique of US society.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH (Host): I'm Maureen Cavanaugh, and you're listening to These Days on KPBS. Who needs to wait for the Memorial Day weekend? The summer movie season has begun. On this KPBS Film Club of the Air, we'll discuss the early entries into the summer blockbuster competition and get a preview of summer movies coming up. And then, we'll focus on some of the smaller movies opening in San Diego theaters, including the latest George Romero zombie flick. I’d like to welcome my guests. Beth Accomando is the KPBS film critic, and author of the blog Cinema Junkie. Hi, Beth.
BETH ACCOMANDO (KPBS Film Critic): Hi.
CAVANAUGH: Scott Marks is the author of the film blog Emulsioncompulsion.com. Good morning, Scott.
SCOTT MARKS (Author, emulsioncompulsion.com): Good morning, Maureen.
CAVANAUGH: And Anders Wright is the film critic for San Diego CityBeat. Good to see you, Anders.
ANDERS WRIGHT (Film Critic, San Diego CityBeat): Good to see you, Maureen.
CAVANAUGH: Now our first big summer movie release is “Iron Man 2.” Robert Downey Jr. once again plays industrialist Tony Stark. In his powered suit of armor, he becomes Iron Man and works to save the world. This time, Stark meets a new set of villains, including one with his own high tech super suit. In this scene from “Iron Man 2,” Tony Stark and his girl Friday, Pepper Potts, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, are at a cocktail party and are approached by one of Stark’s annoying rivals played by Sam Rockwell. Here it is.
(audio of clip from the film “Iron Man 2”)
CAVANAUGH: That’s from the movie “Iron Man 2” and it’s – the summer movie, actually, season kicked off with “Iron Man 2” opening two weekends ago, last weekend with Ridley Scott’s “Robin Hood.” Let’s start by looking at the summer movie line-up as a whole. We have “Shrek Forever After,” “Prince of Persia,” “Sex and the City 2,” “The A Team,” “Toy Story 3,” “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.” Well, is it – and so, guys, what do you think? Is it a promising one? Let me go to you first, Beth.
ACCOMANDO: Well, it was funny. There was a headline in Variety that said something along the lines of women will finally show their muscle at the box office this summer and challenge men. The sad part of it is that the films they’re talking about are “Sex and the City” and “Eclipse,” which I find rather embarrassing to be the films that will…
WRIGHT: It must be “Eat, Pray, Love,” too, the Julia Roberts deal, yeah.
ACCOMANDO: It’s a tough summer for me. Anyway, I mean, it seems like this has become what’s a typical summer in the sense of a lot of sequels or remakes, not much fresh ideas. It’s – You know, when the studios are putting a lot of money into their films, they don’t want to be making anything that’s too risky or fresh or original because if it fails, they want to be able to point to some excuse for why it has. So if one of these sequels falls flat on its face, they can at least go, well, but the first one was successful, you can’t blame us for…
ACCOMANDO: …you know, this one going bad. So…
MARKS: That’s actually the excuse they’re using now? It just – it doesn’t…
WRIGHT: It doesn’t feel like a very original line-up here.
CAVANAUGH: Well, Scott, for instance, if someone didn’t like “Sex and the City,” the original movie, is there any reason to believe that they’re going to like “Sex And The City 2?”
MARKS: You’re asking me? I’ve never seen an episode of “Sex And The City” and I’ve never watched the first movie, and I’m not going to see “Prince of Persia,” and I’m not going to see “Shrek.” I’m not going to see half the films you just mentioned.
CAVANAUGH: Well, tell us why. Why not?
MARKS: No, why? Why do I want to go watch television on the big screen?
CAVANAUGH: Isn’t it your job as a film critic to go and see these movies?
MARKS: Oh, I – Oh, you want to start that now? I mean, what? How many movies have you seen this week, Maureen? Oh, you want to…
MARKS: Two. Okay, pick out two. No, it’s not my job to go see television. It’s not my – I can pick and choose. I don’t have a back-up or a second stringer. And so many of these movies hold zero appeal to me. I mean, I wouldn’t go see “Robin Hood.” How many times have they made “Robin Hood” already?
CAVANAUGH: That’s very true.
MARKS: Enough. They made it once with Errol Flynn. That’s fine.
MARKS: That’s good enough for me.
WRIGHT: …and one of the things that’s true is that a lot of these movies, it doesn’t really matter whether the critics do or don’t attend.
CAVANAUGH: Right, right.
WRIGHT: The studios are counting on having these like built-in audiences. And whether or not a critic thinks something is good or bad in terms of like, say, the new “Twilight” movie, it’s not going to make any difference at all. And “Sex And The City 2,” these movies have built-in audiences and whether or not, you know, no one’s waiting around to see what the critics think about them. And that’s just – I mean, that’s what the summer’s all about, is these big tent pole movies that are going to succeed or fail without having any real, you know, push or pull from the press.
CAVANAUGH: Well, one innovation this summer is that there are more 3-D movies being released. I think there are six coming out, twice that of last summer. What impact does that have on the success or failure of this summer season, whether these HD movies go over big? Any takers?
MARKS: It’s all for children. It’s all geared for children. They’re figuring…
CAVANAUGH: All these movies are basically – the 3-D movies coming out this summer are kids’ movies?
MARKS: I can’t think of one for adults. I don’t think the new “Alon…”
ACCOMANDO: Alon (sp) in 3-D may not be aimed exactly at…
MARKS: Okay, all right. And maybe the new Allain Rene (sp) film won’t be – maybe they won’t shoot that one in 3-D. All right, so that’s one. The rest of them…
WRIGHT: Well, I mean, but there’s sort of – I mean, one of the bigger things they’re designed to do is to gear up the box office.
WRIGHT: I mean, they charge more for those.
CAVANAUGH: Right, because they cost more to make, right?
ACCOMANDO: Well, and they’re trying to make the theater – the theater-going experience more attractive to people who are now having big screen TVs and HDTVs and Netflix and On Demand movies. There’s a lot of competition for those entertainment dollars and if they can make the going to the theater seem more special or more…
ACCOMANDO: …of an event for people, they’re happy.
WRIGHT: You don’t have 3-D at home yet.
ACCOMANDO: Not good 3-D.
CAVANAUGH: It’s like Cinemascope in the fifties, right? Come – come to the movie theater, don’t stay at home and watch your television. Well, we’ve – You’ve all…
MARKS: It’s like 3-D in the fifties.
CAVANAUGH: That’s very true. I’d forgotten…
ACCOMANDO: The glasses have changed.
CAVANAUGH: I’d forgotten about that.
MARKS: Yeah, because the glasses are a lot more comfortable and you’ve got real color…
MARKS: …so that’s good.
CAVANAUGH: …you’ve all seen “Iron Man 2” and “Robin Hood.” So let’s…
MARKS: Why do I want to go see “Robin Hood?”
CAVANAUGH: Oh, okay.
MARKS: No, I don’t want to see “Robin Hood.” I really don’t.
ACCOMANDO: There isn’t even Alan Rickman in this one.
MARKS: I have no…
CAVANAUGH: Well, okay, show of hands, who’s seen “Robin Hood?”
ACCOMANDO: I’ve seen “Robin Hood.”
WRIGHT: I saw “Robin Hood.”
CAVANAUGH: Okay, let me talk about that for just a minute then. It seems to me that this is a very dark, gray sort of muddy Robin Hood.
ACCOMANDO: You think you can just call it dull?
WRIGHT: Yeah, yeah.
CAVANAUGH: And it’s a prequel, right? In a way?
ACCOMANDO: In a way, yeah.
WRIGHT: It should really be called like Robin Hood: The Early Years.
MARKS: Ohhh, not very political.
ACCOMANDO: Well, the scary thing is it ends with ‘so the legend begins…’ as if there’s…
ACCOMANDO: …going to be a sequel. That’s really scary because this film was so bland.
WRIGHT: Yeah, I mean, you – you would think that Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe could team up and…
WRIGHT: …come up with something interesting but they really don’t. And the film itself feels really derivative of other movies.
ACCOMANDO: Well, the underlying notion there could’ve been good. There’s the sense of let’s go back and investigate what Robin Hood, what the legend might really be about. And let’s try to show a more realistic depiction of what 12th century England might be like. But they blew – I mean, it’s boring. Everything’s gray and bland and it’s not – but they want their cake and eat it, too, because they also want to try and throw in these big action scenes with the invasion from France looking like the invasion at Normandy or something.
WRIGHT: Yeah, absolutely. You do feel like if they were trying to show a more – if they were trying to say that, you know, England of the 12th century was a dull and boring place to be, they absolutely succeeded.
CAVANAUGH: Well, I have not seen…
ACCOMANDO: But they didn’t use the history in any interesting way. I mean, “Robin and Marian” is one of my favorite films and it’s…
ACCOMANDO: …Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn play Robin and Marian in their later years. But Richard Lester, the director, was a history buff and he tried to bring in some historical facts to the proceedings, but the thing is, is he did it in ways that were kind of interesting. Like he had them using the real broadswords, which are these huge, heavy swords that you could basically lift once and swing and that’s basically your sword fight. But it worked well in that film because he’s trying to show Robin later in life and this heavy sword is even more difficult for him to use…
ACCOMANDO: …so it had a purpose.
CAVANAUGH: …speaking of later in life, aren’t these two stars a little old…
CAVANAUGH: …to be doing the – the beginnings?
ACCOMANDO: They’d be about five years away from dead in 12th century England.
WRIGHT: It’s just – it’s not a fun movie. It’s not…
ACCOMANDO: Really. You know, it would have been okay if it wasn’t fun if it created something that was interesting in its place but it’s just – it’s not fun and it’s not…
WRIGHT: Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
ACCOMANDO: …historically accurate or interesting.
CAVANAUGH: Okay, so that’s a sort of thumbs down for “Robin Hood.” Let’s move on to “Iron Man 2.” Seen “Iron Man 2?”
MARKS: Yes, I – yes, I…
MARKS: …saw “Iron Man.” I mean, considering how much I enjoyed the first one, I actually went in there with…
MARKS: …some semi-high expectations. It’s “Alien.” If you like one Iron Man, we’re going to give you 30 Iron Men. And they’re all going to attack at the same time. And there’s going to be all dialogue and very little action sequences.
ACCOMANDO: Oh, the action was much better in this than the first one.
MARKS: There’s one memorable scene. Once they leave Monaco, this whole thing goes right down the toilet.
ACCOMANDO: No, there’s – the action was much better.
MARKS: Don Cheadle, the role he was bored to play. He is so bad in this movie. You talk about an actor just – just waltzing through a role and bringing nothing to it.
CAVANAUGH: So why…
ACCOMANDO: But it has Sam Rockwell and Mickey Rourke.
MARKS: You’re right, and the two seem…
ACCOMANDO: They’re funny.
MARKS: Right, so what? But that’s not enough to make a movie.
ACCOMANDO: Oh, there’s – but there is enough. This was…
MARKS: It goes on and on and on…
CAVANAUGH: What was it about this one that it – that didn’t – it didn’t have that “Iron Man,” the original one, had for you, Scott?
MARKS: It was talky. It had a lot of the James Bond one-liners, which I really don’t like. There wasn’t that much action. And it wasn’t really all that clever or witty. I think the screenplay this time around – neither film was particularly well directed. This – What’s his name?
ACCOMANDO: John Favreau.
MARKS: This is the luckiest guy on earth. I mean, he turns around – I cannot believe that they’re giving – There’s so many great – Albert Brooks can’t get arrested and they’re giving this guy $500 million to make whatever movies he wants. I don’t understand that.
ACCOMANDO: I don’t think Albert Brooks would do well in comic book movies.
CAVANAUGH: Let me – let me ask…
MARKS: How do you know?
CAVANAUGH: Let me ask Anders now. Some of the reviews, because I have seen “Iron Man 2,” some of the movies – reviews have said that there’s a nice sort of screwball comic dialogue going on in this one, even though Scott doesn’t like it. What did you think?
WRIGHT: I think that these two movies both succeed actually because John Favreau knows how to make a funny film and because Robert Downey Jr…
ACCOMANDO: Is great.
WRIGHT: …absolutely gets what these things are really about. I feel like this movie is much more sort of smoke and mirrors than the last one but it’s really cool smoke and mirrors. I mean, it’s entertaining but it’s hard to really sort of pinpoint why you’re so entertained. I think the – I actually agree with Beth. I think the action sequences are much better and I think the last one, the ending was terrible. And this one, at least they decided to pull out all the stops and have like a really big, serious fight between all of the bad guys. Does it all make sense? No, but who cares? You’re really sort of waiting to see as much stuff get blown up as possible. And they do that pretty well.
CAVANAUGH: What about…
ACCOMANDO: …Robert Downey Jr. is just so perfect in this role, and he’s fun to watch and he’s got a self-deprecating sense of humor so he doesn’t seem to be taking this too seriously and he’s having a great time and it’s easy to go along with that.
WRIGHT: But I also agree with Scott, too. There are big sequences when people get the DVDs at home, they’re just going to skip right over basically the entire middle section of this movie.
CAVANAUGH: Oh, really?
MARKS: And actors don’t make movies – and Scarlett Johansson, I’m sorry, between this and “The Spirit,” she had talent and now she’s just showing off her body.
CAVANAUGH: What about Mickey Rourke as the villain?
ACCOMANDO: Oh, he was fun.
MARKS: He’s fun but he’s…
MARKS: …he’s not in the movie enough.
WRIGHT: Yeah, it’s absolutely true. His part is too small. But he’s terrific. He’s terrific.
MARKS: And the stuff with Rockwell and Rourke, much better…
MARKS: …than anything with…
ACCOMANDO: Yeah, that’s brilliant.
ACCOMANDO: Oh, he’s still fun.
MARKS: He is. I mean, yeah, he’s a great…
ACCOMANDO: He’s so much fun.
MARKS: He’s a great actor but he makes mistakes. “Sherlock Holmes.” You know, not everything is great.
MARKS: And this is nowhere near as good as the first “Iron Man.” It’s not even in the same league.
WRIGHT: And yet it’s still more entertaining than so many of the bigger summer movies that come out.
CAVANAUGH: Well, that’s my – going to be my question to you. I’m almost afraid to ask at this point but I want to go around the table, find out if there is any summer films that you’re excited about or one—I think I already know from Scott which he’s not excited about—but let me start with you, Scott. Is there anything coming out?
MARKS: How many do you want?
CAVANAUGH: Name me some – I want…
MARKS: Seriously, how many do you want?
CAVANAUGH: I want two.
MARKS: Oh, just two?
MARKS: Oh, Christ…
ACCOMANDO: You were just complaining there was nothing.
MARKS: No. No, not big studio blockbusters.
ACCOMANDO: Oh, okay.
MARKS: There’s a new Alon Rene (sp) film. There’s a new film by Victor Nunez. There’s a documentary about Godard and Truffaut called “Two In The Wave.” There’s a…
WRIGHT: What are the big summer movies you’re interested in?
CAVANAUGH: Thank you, Anders.
MARKS: Big summer movies?
WRIGHT: Yeah, that’s what she’s talking about.
CAVANAUGH: Yes, anything? Anything?
MARKS: I mean, I’ll see a lot of them but…
ACCOMANDO: Well, it’s not a big summer movie but “Splice” is coming out. That’s…
CAVANAUGH: And what is that?
MARKS: That’s a big summer movie? That’s a great movie but…
ACCOMANDO: It’s a summer movie, though.
MARKS: …I don’t consider that a big summer movie.
ACCOMANDO: But it’s a…
WRIGHT: All right, I’ve got one that I’m interested in. There’s a film called…
WRIGHT: …”Inception” coming out that I’m really interested in. It’s directed by Christopher Nolan who made the last two “Batman” movies and it looks sort of like that earlier movie he made, “Memento,” only…
WRIGHT: …with a much bigger budget. So…
CAVANAUGH: Ah, yeah.
WRIGHT: …that one, I – I’m…
ACCOMANDO: Yeah, the sci-fi you kind of…
WRIGHT: Yeah, I’m very eager to see that.
MARKS: All right, you want two, I got two. “The Killer Inside Me,” because it’s based on my – on one of the greatest pieces of suspense fiction ever written.
MARKS: But you have Casey Affleck playing Lou Ford. This guy’s a little runt. I can’t imagine him playing Lou Ford. I just don’t see it.
CAVANAUGH: He’s good, though.
MARKS: And “Predators.”
ACCOMANDO: “Predators” I think will be fun.
MARKS: Because I think the first two are fun and the guy directed “Vacancy,” which is a fine film.
MARKS: So there you go.
CAVANAUGH: There you go, yes.
MARKS: There you go. Are you happy?
ACCOMANDO: Scott, “Pilgrim vs. the World.”
WRIGHT: That, yeah, that’s my other one.
ACCOMANDO: Which is Edgar Wright, the guy who directed “Shaun of the Dead.”
WRIGHT: With Michael Cera as the lead.
ACCOMANDO: That’s not a strong point necessarily but it’s Edgar Wright.
WRIGHT: But it’s well suited for this movie.
MARKS: This is a big summer blockbuster by the guy who did “Shaun of the Dead.”
ACCOMANDO: It’s – I mean, it’s one of the big summer films.
WRIGHT: It’s certainly bigger than “The Killer Inside Me.”
MARKS: Michael Winterbottom?
ACCOMANDO: Michael Winterbottom is not exactly big box office.
MARKS: Jessica Alba…
MARKS: …I think is bigger than anyone in “Shaun of the Dead.”
ACCOMANDO: Not anymore.
WRIGHT: Yeah, but in terms of the release it’s going to get?
CAVANAUGH: I’m satisfied with the wonderful suggestions that you’ve had. We – I tore them out of you. We have to take a short break and when we return, we’re going to be talking about some smaller movies that are around town as we continue with the KPBS Film Club of the Air on These Days.
CAVANAUGH: I'm Maureen Cavanaugh, and you're listening to These Days on KPBS. We are the Film Club of the Air this morning. We’re talking about summer films and the big ones, the small ones. We’re moving to the smaller ones out in San Diego or coming to San Diego soon. My guests are Beth Accomando, Scott Marks and Anders Wright. We’re moving to a film that gives new meaning to the term outlaw cinema. It’s “No One Knows About Persian Cats,” a kind of scripted documentary about making music in Iran. The kind of rock, hip-hop, secular music these musicians want to play is illegal in Iran so they are underground and on the run, just like the director and the camera crew. And the risk is no joke. The co-writer, assistant director, and crew of “Persian Cats” were arrested and spent time in Iranian jails. Let’s hear some music from the film. This is a Persian rapper rapping about Tehran’s class disparity and economic struggles.
(audio of clip from the film “No One Knows About Persian Cats”)
CAVANAUGH: That’s a song from “No One Knows About Persian Cats,” directed by Bahman Ghobadi. And, you know, every film, if you ask a director, is difficult to make but this one, especially so. Anders, since this film was so hard to make why did the director choose to make it?
WRIGHT: Well, I think, you know, it really is a guerilla film. I mean, they shot the entire thing illegally on cameras – basically, every 35mm camera in Iran is owned by the state and so you have to get the state’s permission to use it. The director finally decided that he was just going to get a camera and make this movie but, basically, he’d become interested in underground musicians in Tehran and just basically found out just how passionate they are about their work, and decided it was a story that sort of had to be told. And he took great personal risks, as did everyone else involved in the project. But I thought this was a terrific film and it really showed a side of Iranian culture that I think most Americans are totally unfamiliar with. And the music’s really good. It’s insightful and interesting and you – it’s wonderful that the film itself is just as illegal as the music being played.
CAVANAUGH: I wonder, Scott, first of all, did you enjoy the music performances in this film? And how did you think they were handled cinematically?
MARKS: Do I like the music? Do I listen to the CD to this when I’m alone?
CAVANAUGH: Do you?
MARKS: No. No, I’m sorry. No, no.
MARKS: All Sinatra, only Sinatra. Did I – This, to me, is a musical. I mean, this is – the town in this is a semi-documentary which is like being almost pregnant. You either are or you aren’t. So I don’t know what that means but I think that this is just an old school musical about a guy who just follows – He met them, what is it, Ashkan and Negar?
CAVANAUGH: Negar, yeah.
MARKS: When they got out of prison. They had 18 days to shoot the movie. They lost one day, as you mentioned, because some of the crew had to go to jail. So this was shot on the fly in 17 days. And I talked to the director and I said that, you know, in a lot of ways these musical numbers can stand on their own, they can stand as music videos, they, you know, that they have their own beginning, middle and end. They all tell a story. And in that sense, I think he’s making a musical in the tradition of the great old fifties musicals. Without a budget and without Gene Kelly, you know, anybody recognizable. But this thing is, I think, for 103 minute film, 40 minutes of the film is music.
MARKS: So I would consider this a musical.
ACCOMANDO: Well, and I think it…
ACCOMANDO: …it’s a musical also in the sense of it’s almost like the Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, like, hey, kids, let’s put on a show because, I mean, but it’s in a very realistic political context but these guys basically have to find places to do their music when it’s illegal and sneak into barns or, you know, build a rooftop studio or something. But it’s that same kind of spirit of we want to do this, we want to put this music on, and they’re driven to do it.
WRIGHT: Well, and these are people who just want to rock. I mean, it’s really that simple. I mean, I look at this and almost everybody who’s in this movie would fit right in at like Nunu’s or the Riviera Supper Club. I mean, to me, this is like the movie that people in bands should go see because it’s the same sort of person, they’re just trying to make music. You know, here, you just get a studio or you get together with your friends in a garage and you play some music. There, you know, every time you strap on your guitar, you might go to jail.
CAVANAUGH: Now I wonder, Beth, how much do you think the backstory of this semi-documentary actually enhances it as a film? If it were just sort of done in, let’s say, in Baltimore and their parents didn’t want them to do make a band…
ACCOMANDO: It’d be a John Waters film.
CAVANAUGH: …you know, exactly. Do you think that the idea of Iran being such a high profile political entity is fueling people responding to this film?
ACCOMANDO: Well, I think for American audiences, a lot of times when they are trying to market these films from Iran, being able to say that the film is banned in that country gives it an extra cachet that tends to draw people to it. But I think part of it, too, is that the director himself, in his own work, has had to deal with censors and has had to deal with his films being banned, so I think he feels a real affinity for these musicians and so I think his sympathy and compassion for what they’re going through and his interest in trying to chronicle what it is that they’re fighting against makes this, in a way, a very personal story for him as well, even though the focus is all on these musicians. But I think it’s a fascinating little window into Iranian culture and I think what it does is, it shows how similar we are and at the same time how different because kids today, they don’t have to worry about what music they listen to or if they’re jamming on a – in a band in their garage or anything. But they’re still listening to the same types of music as these characters are and they can still identify with everything that’s going on but there’s a very different political context to it.
MARKS: And also, yeah, we wouldn’t – The kids here wouldn’t go to jail.
MARKS: I mean, if they showed this film in Iran, the filmmaker would go to jail. If he did an interview in Iran…
ACCOMANDO: And if the people saw it…
MARKS: …about the film, the people who interviewed him would go to jail and the people in the audience would go to jail.
CAVANAUGH: Right, right, which…
ACCOMANDO: Because it opens with a studio engineer talking about the fact that there was a concert and 400 people were arrested at the concert for being there.
CAVANAUGH: Right, right.
ACCOMANDO: It wasn’t just the musicians.
CAVANAUGH: I’m wondering, as we follow these two characters, Ashkan and Negar, are these – they’re indie rockers and we follow them on their quest to get out of the country and to play a concert in London. Are they compelling characters? Did you find this couple compelling, Anders?
ACCOMANDO: They’re really – are – Oh, sorry.
WRIGHT: No, go – I mean, I – You know, I – Yeah, absolutely, because, I mean, all they’re really – they’re just sort of like average 20-somethings who just want to play some music. I mean, in some ways, I thought the story – their story to – was less interesting to me, personally, than the sequences of just showing what life in Tehran is like and the filmmaking itself. But I was definitely intrigued by them and I wanted – I mean, you want to see what’s going to happen.
MARKS: Well, the secondary characters are fascinating, too.
ACCOMANDO: Well, they’re guys…
MARKS: The guy who sells the visas.
WRIGHT: Yeah, yeah.
MARKS: This is like a film noir character.
MARKS: I could sit and spend hours watching this guy.
MARKS: And the agent or whatever he is.
ACCOMANDO: Oh, God, yes.
MARKS: The funny comic…
ACCOMANDO: The one with the birds, Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara.
MARKS: Yeah, and Monica Belushi.
ACCOMANDO: Monican Belushi.
MARKS: A mynah bird called Monica Belushi. Where the hell did that come from?
WRIGHT: Right, he’s a film bootlegger, that’s what he does.
CAVANAUGH: And he can sing.
WRIGHT: Yeah, yeah.
ACCOMANDO: But in some ways those characters function more as our guides through this underground music and they take us through a variety of different styles. I mean, Anders mentioned that this music really rocks but it’s also – we get some traditional music…
ACCOMANDO: …we get some folk music. I mean, they’re basically taking us through kind of the entire spectrum of what’s going on in a very casual sort of manner. And, to me, they’re interesting characters but in a certain sense the film’s not so much about them as about what they’re showing us in Iran.
WRIGHT: There’s one other thing that I really like about this. You never actually see the faces of authority. In one shape, way or form, they’re always sort of blocked out or blotted out or they’re on the other side of a closed door or the other side of a window or the other side of the shot. You only see the protagonists or the characters that the film is about and the authority, whether it’s the police or the clerics, are these nameless, faceless entities that you never actually get to take a look at.
CAVANAUGH: You know, I’m no critic, don’t you love…
MARKS: You got the biggest laugh of the show so far.
CAVANAUGH: …but for a music documentary, didn’t you find the music, most of it in this, sort of weak?
ACCOMANDO: No, I really enjoyed it.
WRIGHT: Yeah, I dug it.
MARKS: No, no, I’m with you.
CAVANAUGH: Yeah, yeah.
ACCOMANDO: Oh, I really enjoyed it. It reminded me of this underground Chinese film called “Beijing Bastards,” which was about the underground music scene in China. And those film – I mean, it’s a very similar kind of situation in the sense that those filmmakers are making their films illegally and distributing them illegally and they’re focusing on music which is not, while it’s not outlawed in the same way that it is in Iran, it’s still something that’s not necessarily looked favorably upon. But that was – I thought that was a really enjoyable film, too, and I enjoyed the music in that which is similar to some of the music we hear…
CAVANAUGH: Because I heard the rap clip that we played and I also heard…
ACCOMANDO: The heavy metal?
CAVANAUGH: The – no.
ACCOMANDO: With the cows?
CAVANAUGH: No, not the heavy metal with the cows. This wonderful singer who sings this song about her lover being drunk. It’s a really sort of wild, crazy kind of…
MARKS: Oh, you can’t even show her in the movie.
CAVANAUGH: Yeah, exactly.
MARKS: Yeah, they block her out in the movie.
CAVANAUGH: She had a beautiful voice. I mean, that – they were really powerhouse performances but those were just about the only two.
WRIGHT: But I think the idea, too, is that you’re seeing people playing all kinds of different music…
WRIGHT: …all over the city, that it’s not just traditional music, it’s not just, you know, Iranian hip-hop, it’s not just indie rock, it’s not just heavy metal, that there are so many people there who have this huge passion for what they’re doing and I actually – It’s interesting because we call this, you know, the underground music scene but it appears as though it’s a huge scene, that there’s a lot of people there who really want to listen to music or make music.
ACCOMANDO: And it’s pretty amazing that if the music’s banned that there is the broad diversity of it, too. It’s pretty impressive to see that much different kind of music there.
CAVANAUGH: Do we know what this title means? “No One Knows About Persian Cats?”
MARKS: Yeah, yeah.
CAVANAUGH: Tell us, Scott.
MARKS: Persian cats are very valuable in Iran and you’re not allowed to walk them outside. And it’s a metaphor for these independent musicians who the director obviously values very much and they have to be kept under wraps and he basically wanted to show them off to the world. So that’s where I think the metaphor works perfectly. And, again, I had to be told that, you know, that this is not something that they really spell out comfortably for you in the movie, which is good, which I like. I mean, I like having to go and do some research and find things out about a movie.
WRIGHT: But don’t you think that the title is actually going to sort of like keep away the demographic that would really, really like this film?
MARKS: Oh, I think the mere fact that it’s from Iran and subtitled is going to keep people away.
MARKS: I mean, why see that when you can go see “Iron Man?” Seriously, and I’m not joking, which is a sin, which is too bad. More people should see this movie or, you know, see them both. Just go see them both.
MARKS: I mean, this is a tough film because this film was not originally going to play town. It was scheduled to play at Landmark. They cancelled at the last minute and Reading, the Reading Gaslamp, decided, you know, what the heck? This thing has already been shown, let’s bring it out. So I think you have another week to go see this, and this is – if you liked “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” I think this would make a great companion piece to that.
CAVANAUGH: Well, once again, “No One Knows About Persian Cats” is playing right now at the Reading Gaslamp Cinemas downtown. Our next movie is “Harry Brown.” It stars Michael Caine as a pensioner who has finally had enough of the violence and mayhem disrupting his grim looking London housing project. After witnessing a series of drug-fueled beatings and deaths, Harry Brown gets a gun and starts to exact some rough justice with the emphasis on rough. In this scene from the film, Harry Brown has just shot a strung out drug dealer in the stomach and proceeds to tell him a story. Let’s listen.
(audio of clip from the film “Harry Brown”)
CAVANAUGH: Right through your liver. You gotta love that. This sounds like Michael Caine’s “Gran Torino” or “Death Wish.” What would you say, Beth? Is it in that sort of genre?
ACCOMANDO: Sort of. A friend of mine and I were watching it and he called it Death Wish’s smarter brother. I mean, it feels less about that kind of vigilante justice that “Death Wish” was really about that really fueled that. It is a revenge story because he basically gets set on this path after his friend gets murdered by these hooligans, whatever the term. But it feels less in that category and it does feel a little smarter. It feels like it’s more about his transformation, about what drives him to this, and the context in which he’s driven to that. So I find it more interesting because there’s the fact that he was a Marine in Northern Ireland and kind of background, his kind of military training and background that kicks in once he decides to take this path of revenge. And it’s really, to me, it seems like it’s more about the cycle of violence whereas “Death Wish” and “Gran Torino” really aren’t, considering what those acts of violence are about. It’s just you want to see these characters go out and get revenge, and this seems to be considering, on a certain level, what’s the good of all this. If you go out and you get revenge, you kill this guy then somebody comes and kills you and then somebody’ll…
WRIGHT: Yeah, he’s contributing to the violence, yeah.
ACCOMANDO: Yeah, and where is it all getting us?
ACCOMANDO: So I think it’s a little different from those films in that respect.
CAVANAUGH: Did you like this film, Anders?
WRIGHT: You know, it’s not – You really like Michael Caine in this film but the movie itself is very grim and the violence is really brutal. And you sort of feel like…
ACCOMANDO: That’s a good thing.
WRIGHT: Yeah, but at the same time it’s hard – it’s not necessarily a film that you like. There are parts of it that I appreciated but it does – you do sort of come away feeling in some ways, well, what was that about, exactly? I mean, it’s – As you said, there is a – I mean, there’s so much violence and there don’t seem to be any real solutions. Him taking the law into his own hands, it takes care of – What does it take care of? I mean, he kills some bad guys and that seems to be it. But the sort of status quo hasn’t really changed at the end.
CAVANAUGH: Scott, let me get your take on this.
MARKS: It’s Death Wish 6. I mean, comparisons to “Gran Torino,” I think, are insane. “Gran Torino” was about racism. There’s nothing, none of that, in this film. This is a public service announcement, you know, and I disagree. I think Michael Caine is walking through this. I don’t see this as a great performance, and Michael Caine can be a world class whore. He can be as lazy as Lee Marvin and Robert Mitchum on their laziest days.
WRIGHT: Well, I don’t think anybody’s saying it’s a great performance but I think that – I mean, he’s always interesting. He’s always interesting to watch. I think he does a really good job here.
MARKS: “Jaws 3?”
WRIGHT: Look, that’s always…
MARKS: That’s not a – Yeah, but there’s a lot of films that he made where I think he walks through it and…
ACCOMANDO: Oh, yeah, but I don’t think…
MARKS: …I think this is one of them.
ACCOMANDO: Oh, no, I don’t think so.
WRIGHT: Yeah, I – I disagree.
ACCOMANDO: I don’t think so.
CAVANAUGH: Well, what is it about his performance that you think is a walk-through?
MARKS: He just goes through the numbers. I mean, all you have to do is watch the “Death Wish” films and you know exactly where this thing is going. It’s death by association if he had a girlfriend. I mean, the “Death Wish” films, you realize anybody who goes out with Charles Bronson will be dead. Anybody who says anything good to Charles – You walk by Charles Bronson on the street and say hi, you’re going to be dead in the next reel. It’s not quite as exploitative as the “Death Wish” films, it’s not – And I hate the first “Death Wish.” I mean, the first “Death Wish” is a film that basically sits there and asks you to salivate over a rape. They show it in salacious, just these God-awful terms. Once you get to “Death Wish 3,” well, Charles Bronson is so lazy he can’t even cross his legs let alone beat anybody up. This stuff is funny. “Death Wish 3” is one of the great bad films of all time and, honestly, I get more entertainment watching that than anything. And this is just a rehash and I don’t see why, other than a paycheck, Michael Caine decided to dignify this movie.
CAVANAUGH: Well, we meet at least one truly, deeply evil, creepy character in this movie and we’re going to talk more about that but we have to take a short break. When we return, we’ll talk more about “Harry Brown.” You’re listening to the KPBS Film Club of the Air on These Days on KPBS.
CAVANAUGH: Welcome back. The KPBS Film Club of the Air continues on These Days. I’m Maureen Cavanaugh joined by Anders Wright, Scott Marks and Beth Accomando. And we were just talking about a movie, new movie, staring Michael Caine, called “Harry Brown.” It’s sort of a revenge thriller. Beth and Anders like it, Scott does not. But one more question. There’s a scene starring actor Sean Harris, who plays a drug addicted dealer, an arms seller, his name’s Stretch. I’ve read, you know, this is a really, really, really creepy guy in a creepy place. And I don’t know, it seems to me that that particular scene sort of stands out from the rest of the movie. Would you agree with me, Scott?
MARKS: I’m curious as to why you’re saying it stands out from the rest of the movie.
CAVANAUGH: Well, because you go to a place that seems deeper and darker than in the rest of the movie.
MARKS: Well, you almost have to. You have to have something to break it up a little bit and you have to show some reason why this man is, you know, going through the motions that he’s going through. The one nice thing that Beth brought up that I agree with is the fact that you go back and you look at his military training and how the government basically trained him for this day. They didn’t know it but they trained him to become this street vigilante. But they don’t really do much more with it in the film.
ACCOMANDO: But I liked the fact that they don’t really hit you over the head with that. I mean, it’s the fact that it’s this cycle of violence. It’s that notion going back to Shakespeare with blood will have blood. And the blood starts back in – not on the streets like this or not in a sense of that kind of revenge but in, you know, with the fighting that was going on in Northern Ireland. And at one point Michael Caine’s character comments, he says, you know, these kids that are out there committing these acts of violence and videotaping them on their cell phones, he says, you know, at least when we were in Ireland people were fighting for some kind of cause and, he says, these kids, it’s like it’s about entertainment.
WRIGHT: I feel like that sequence you’re talking about does stand out but I feel like that if I had a – The problem with the movie is that there are several sequences that really jump out as being particularly well made and put together. But the whole film, as a whole, doesn’t have that punch. It feels like it’s a bunch of short pieces that are really, really well done. The cell phone piece that you’re talking about and there’s a riot at the end that I thought was particularly well put together but it’s hard for me to see how they’re all strung together in a way that adds up.
ACCOMANDO: Well, I think part of the problem is that the ending is bad. It doesn’t have the guts to go through with what I think the ending needs to be. And right after this, I went and watched “Get Carter”…
ACCOMANDO: …an earlier Michael Caine film and that was a film that not necessarily same in tone. Both are about revenge on a certain level but “Get Carter” was a film that had the guts to follow that story through to its logical and correct conclusion, and this one fell short at the end.
CAVANAUGH: We have to end “Harry Brown,” and tell everyone that it opens on Friday, May 21st, at Landmark’s Hillcrest Cinema. And move quickly to George Romero’s newest zombie movie.
ACCOMANDO: Zombies don’t move quickly.
CAVANAUGH: It’s called – well, we have to, though.
MARKS: Neither does this movie.
CAVANAUGH: “Survival of the Dead,” a group of national guardsmen seek refuge from the latest zombie uprising on an island off the coast of Delaware. But instead of peace, they find themselves in the middle of a feud. Two Irish refugee clans are at war on the island, battling over two different approaches to dealing with zombies. One wants to cure them, the other to kill them. Beth, what the heck is going on in “Survival of the Dead?”
ACCOMANDO: Well, you just told us. Well, it’s a Romero zombie film which makes it special. There’ve been a lot of zombie films where you’ve got more infected people or you have fast-moving zombies. Romero kind of wrote the book on zombies with his “Night of the Living Dead” back in the 1960s. And this is his sixth zombie outing. It’s definitely not his strongest but I have to say I will always have a place in my heart for a Romero zombie film.
CAVANAUGH: Scott, some people have suggested that George Romero’s basically gone to the zombie well once too often…
CAVANAUGH: …with this movie.
MARKS: Yeah, and this thing feels like – Like I said earlier, this thing moves like a zombie. It’s slow. It doesn’t have the level of wit. I went back and I watched “Land of the Dead” again, and the thing with the sky flowers, the – when they would shoot fireworks off.
MARKS: Because human beings are…
ACCOMANDO: Ooh… Ahh…
MARKS: …just used to looking at fireworks. They will stop no matter what. There was none of that in this film. You have two feuding Irishmen on an island off Delaware. Get it? Ha, ha. Isn’t that funny? This thing goes so slowly that – the CGI effects, he never should’ve stooped to do effects this bad. The effects in this – the zombie effects in this film are just terrible. The lead actor, Alan Van Sprang, who was in the previous two dead films.
WRIGHT: Briefly, yeah. Yeah, the…
MARKS: Yeah, He stinks. He’s a George Clooney lookalike. That’s the only reason they gave him this…
ACCOMANDO: Yeah, but his actors have always stunk for the most part, except for…
MARKS: Oh, no.
ACCOMANDO: …the “Land of the – Yeah.
MARKS: The guy – the cast did – Mr. Cooper in “Night of the Living Dead,” that guy is phenomenal. Are you kidding me?
ACCOMANDO: But they’re always a bit awkward and amateurish.
MARKS: Not like this guy. Not like this guy doing an imitation Nick Fury.
WRIGHT: You just…
MARKS: This guy is like doing Sergeant Fury.
WRIGHT: I mean, the thing is that Romero’s zombie movies, and we’re all big Romero fans, if it has to be said, but his movies are never actually about zombies. They’re always about something else. That is the template that he uses…
MARKS: Good point.
WRIGHT: …to, you know…
MARKS: And this is about zombies.
WRIGHT: But it’s not.
ACCOMANDO: No, it’s not.
WRIGHT: It’s not at all.
MARKS: But where – what are the metaphors?
WRIGHT: The meta…
MARKS: When you had Dennis Hopper playing Dick Cheney in…
MARKS: …”Land of the Dead,” where is that in this film?
WRIGHT: The meta – I mean, the metaphor’s exactly that. It’s two feuding people who cannot see that what’s – you know, what the solution is right in front of them.
ACCOMANDO: And that goes beyond the grave.
WRIGHT: Now that – Yeah, that represents to them – I mean, in this movie, that represents, I mean, whether or not that’s Democrats and Republicans or, say, Muslims and the western world, or…
WRIGHT: …me and the neighbors I don’t like, I mean, that’s what it’s about. It’s about the conflict between people. But that doesn’t mean – I mean, it’s an interesting message, it’s an interesting metaphor. It doesn’t mean it’s well told.
CAVANAUGH: Last zombie question to Anders. Did you like the movie?
WRIGHT: No, and I wish I had.
CAVANAUGH: Okay. George Romero’s “Survival of the Dead” opens at the Ken Cinema on May 28th and will run for one week only. So, Beth, what are you going to – We have our recommendations, our roundtable recommendations. So I wonder what you’re going to be recommending for us to go see, do, something having to do with…
CAVANAUGH: …movies. No.
ACCOMANDO: Yes. Yes. I am going up for the Creation Entertainment’s Weekend of Horror this weekend up at the – it’s at the LAX Marriott. But Dario Argento is going to be there. They’re having a reunion of the “Re-Animator” cast, which “Re-Animator” is one of my all-time favorite horror films. And I will be so happy at a convention for horror.
CAVANAUGH: Let – Well, tell us…
ACCOMANDO: Nobody’ll say I’m weird.
CAVANAUGH: Tell us who Dario Argento is.
ACCOMANDO: Dario Argento is an Italian filmmaker. In some ways, he’s a bit like George Romero in the sense that I think his best work came earlier in his career. And he’s – maybe has been going a few too many times back to similar ideas. But his early films like “Suspiria” and “Creepers,” which is also known as “Phenomena,” are just brilliant. And his stuff is way over the top. And “Suspiria,” I just remember seeing that when I was a teenager and there’s a murder scene in the beginning and it’s wildly cut and the colors are bright and vibrant, and it’s, you know, there’s people falling through glass ceilings. And people literally walked out after that opening scene, that they just couldn’t take it. And those are the kind of horror films that I really enjoy. And he also uses some great Italian kind of pop rock music in his films. He gave – Jennifer Connelly, I think, made her first film with him, “Creepers,” where she talks mentally…
MARKS: No, that wasn’t her first film.
ACCOMANDO: …telepathy – Yeah, she was 15. I think that was her first…
MARKS: No, I think she made a couple before that.
ACCOMANDO: Okay. Possibly.
MARKS: But it’s definitely early. Yeah.
ACCOMANDO: But – so he’s just somebody that I really enjoy and this’ll be my first opportunity to actually see him in person.
MARKS: Good looking guy, too. You look at this guy and you want to run the other way. If you saw this guy walking in the alley, you would wet your pants and you would run the other way.
ACCOMANDO: And his daughter…
MARKS: He does one thing better than anybody else. He kills women with style. That’s what he does repeatedly. That is in every one of his films.
MARKS: Slowly, methodically, and stylishly, he kills women.
ACCOMANDO: And with a lot of blood.
MARKS: That’s – that’s what he does.
CAVANAUGH: Dario Argento, run the other way, at Horror Con in LA.
ACCOMANDO: No, no, no, run towards him.
MARKS: Oh, God no. He look – he looks like a Romero living dead without the makeup. He does. With those sunken eyes, he is one frightening looking dude.
ACCOMANDO: Oh, he doesn’t scare me.
MARKS: And he has a gorgeous daughter. I mean…
ACCOMANDO: Asia. Asia Argento.
MARKS: Asia Argento was in “Land of the Dead,” is just stunning.
CAVANAUGH: What is your…
ACCOMANDO: But she’s a little twisted, too.
CAVANAUGH: Scott, what’s…
MARKS: A little twisted?
CAVANAUGH: …your recommendation?
MARKS: The Gaslamp. The Gaslamp Theater. I don’t think enough people in town are taking advantage of it. It’s…
CAVANAUGH: We talked about the Reading Gaslamp…
CAVANAUGH: …just a minute ago.
MARKS: Yeah, and that – that’s part of my vocabulary now. I love going there mainly because, I hate to say it, whenever I go there, you go there on a Friday night for an eight o’clock show first week, it’s dead.
MARKS: Because people think that parking is impossible down there.
MARKS: You park at Horton Plaza for three hours for free, you walk two blocks, big deal. You look at what’s playing there now. Not only do they have all the standard Hollywood fodder, you can get your “Robin Hood,” you can get “Backup Plan,” I mean, you can get all those. It’s the only theater, I think, that’s still showing “Shutter Island,” God bless ‘em. But they also have “Persian Cats.” They have “Greenberg,” which is a bit of an art, independent film. They have “Shinjuku Incident,” the new Jackie Chan film. So what I just want people to do is consider the Gaslamp as an alternative, people who would be inclined to go to Hillcrest, look at the Gaslamp as an alternative. The number one theater, when you walk in, the first theater on the main floor on the left, ‘the’ best theater in all of San Diego. With all due respect to the Ken, I love the Ken, but this is my kind of theater.
WRIGHT: Well, and what they’re doing with bringing in independent and foreign films that, you know, that basically won’t make the Landmark stuff is terrific.
MARKS: And a lot of people say, well, if it’s not going to make Landmark, it’s got to be bad, so that they’re picking up the dregs.
ACCOMANDO: Yeah, not true.
MARKS: This is not true because “Persian Cats” is going to be there.
ACCOMANDO: There’s a lot of films that it would be nice to get here that we don’t, so it’s nice that they’re picking up on those.
WRIGHT: They’re taking chances on things.
CAVANAUGH: And you say don’t worry about the parking, just go.
MARKS: No, just park at Horton Plaza.
ACCOMANDO: But Fridays and Saturdays are a little tougher sometimes.
MARKS: I go there almost every Friday night. I got…
ACCOMANDO: And you park at Horton?
MARKS: It’s dead. You go there for an eight – Yeah, you go for an eight o’clock show, you walk right in there. It’s…
ACCOMANDO: No, no, no, the parking. Horton is hard to park in on a Friday night. You don’t have a car, right?
MARKS: Yes, I – What do you think, I hitch?
CAVANAUGH: We gotta get Anders’ recommendation…
CAVANAUGH: …in. Anders, what’s your recommendation?
WRIGHT: Okay, it’s a little movie called “Mystery Team” that never quite made it here. It’s sort of an arrested development comedy that was – it’s the feature film that came out of a YouTube sketch comedy troupe called Derrick Comedy. It stars a guy called Donald Glover, who’s also now on “Community”…
WRIGHT: …on NBC. But it’s about these three guys who are 18, they’re about to graduate from high school and all through growing up, they were like Encyclopedia Brown, solving all of the town’s mysteries. But now they’re like 18 and they’re still these like odd little, goody-two-shoes weirdos. And they’re very sort of endearing and enchanting in their way but then they find themselves coming head to head with real life all the time and those are the moments that are funny and raunchy and weird. And, yeah, it came out last year, it never made it to San Diego. It comes out on DVD, I believe, next week.
CAVANAUGH: So it didn’t go straight to DVD.
WRIGHT: No, it had a very limited run. They actually had a big showing at Comic-Con last year. It was really popular. But it never really hit the theatrical scene.
MARKS: What’s it rated?
WRIGHT: I – It’s got to be rated R, yeah.
CAVANAUGH: That’s one of the problems that you talk about all the time, Scott, is that we don’t get a lot of first run films here in San Diego.
MARKS: We do but sometimes you have to turn over the right rocks to find them. They – they’re – You know, you have to go to a film festival or you have to go to the Gaslamp. No, you know. And what’s amazing is that Mission Valley is one of the most profitable multi-plexes – It used to be in the top ten—it could very well still be—in the country. I mean, you can’t get near Mission Valley on a Friday or Saturday night. You can’t say that about the Gaslamp…
MARKS: …you know, and so we do get a lot of – We get a lot more films than I thought we would. I mean, hell, they’re going to be showing on the weekends, “Red Shoes” at the Ken, a 35mm print.
MARKS: Just matinees though.
MARKS: Just on like one weekend. You can’t show this at night because it’s about ballet and it’s old and who wants to see it?
CAVANAUGH: But the colors are really bright.
MARKS: The “Red Shoes,” yeah, if you can make a film about…
ACCOMANDO: And the gray police is coming.
MARKS: And if you can make a film about ballet that holds my interest, you’re a genius. You’re a genius.
CAVANAUGH: Let me tell people, I actually have a recommendation this time but…
CAVANAUGH: …it’s just the Turner Classic Movies website. It’s a really great online resource for classic movie lovers. You can read about the films, you can learn things you never knew about directors and actors. You can check out the monthly schedule. You can learn about the Star of the Month cult movies. You can see what kind of movies they’re offering exclusively on DVD. It’s the kind of website – They actually even have a fan club. You can join the, I think it’s called the Fan Union, Fan Club Union or something like that. You can spent a lot of time enjoying this website and you can also learn a great deal if you’re a classic movie lover. I think they really do a good job with it. And I also want to recommend a suggestion by our producer Angela Carrone. She wants to recommend the KCRW show “The Business,” which she podcasts each week. “The Business” is hosted by Kim Masters and Angela says she’s learned so much about how the business of Hollywood works. Past guests have been the guy who produced the Academy Awards show. Fox TV chief Kevin Reilly walks listeners through the television pilot season, and there’s a whole show on the Hollywood work environment. So Angela says it’s a great window into the studios and the business side of entertainment. So there you have it, stuff to do, places to go, things to see, stuff to do. I want to thank you all so much for talking about the Film Club of the Air. We’ll see what movies are up next time. Thank you so much, Anders Wright.
WRIGHT: Thank you, Maureen.
CAVANAUGH: Scott Marks.
MARKS: Thank you, Maureen.
CAVANAUGH: And Beth Accomando.
CAVANAUGH: You’re all so well behaved it’s making me nervous.
MARKS: Wait’ll the microphone goes off.
CAVANAUGH: If you’d like to comment on anything you’ve heard on this segment, you can go online, KPBS.org/thesedays. You’ve been listening to These Days right here on KPBS.