Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 254 with Stephen Metcalf, Willa Paskin, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner with the audio player below.
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On this week’s episode, our critics discuss Woody Allen’s new film Blue Jasmine, which stars Cate Blanchett. The film has earned Woody Allen the most successful box office opening weekend of his career. But does it live up to the hype? And is Woody Allen getting graded on a curve? Next, Slate TV critic Willa Paskin joins the crew to discuss overt racism on the popular CBS reality show Big Brother. What’s going on in that big house, and why does it matter? Finally, Stephen King recently gave an interview in the Atlantic and spoke about the importance of novels having magnetic first lines. The gabbers discuss what makes a good first line, their personal favorites, and the general phenomenon of canonizing the opening sentence.
Here are links to some of the things we discussed this week:
- Blue Jasmine’s box office success, via Variety.
- Dana Stevens’ review of the film, for Slate.
- Allen’s Midnight in Paris.
- John Cassavetes’ A Woman Under the Influence.
- Margin Call.
- Willa Paskin on Big Brother and racism, for Slate.
- Big Brother official show page.
- Stephen King’s interview in the Atlantic, by Joe Fassler.
- The Atlantic’s follow-up asking authors for their favorite first lines.
- Mating, by Norman Rush.
- Red Wind, by Raymond Chandler.
- The Go-Between, by L.P. Hartley.
- Train Dreams, by Denis Johnson.
- Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, by Ben Fountain.
Dana: I Remember, by Joe Brainard.
Outro: “Waiting for Superman” by The Flaming Lips.
You can email us at email@example.com.
This podcast was produced by Mike Vuolo. Our intern is Sam McDougle.