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On this week’s episode, our critics discuss James Ponsoldt’s new high school romance The Spectacular Now. Does the movie manage to capture the adolescent ennui that older films like Say Anything and The Breakfast Club nailed, or is it just another one of those coming-of-age dramas? Next, the gab crew reviews the new FX series The Bridge, a crime show that’s set in an especially charged location—the border between Juárez, Mexico and the Texas city of El Paso. Lastly, the gabfest was inspired by a recent essay on the power of melody written by Jan Swafford in Slate. Our critics discuss Swafford’s piece, share how melodies move them, and cite some of their favorites in the process.
Here are links to some of the things we discussed this week:
- A sampling of high school movies: Say Anything, The Breakfast Club, Dazed and Confused, Clueless, Risky Business, Mean Girls.
- Richard Linklater’s Before Sunset.
- The Descendants, another film starring actress Shailene Woodley.
- FX’s The Bridge.
- June Thomas on The Bridge, for Slate.
- Country singer Terry Allen’s album Juárez.
- Julia Turner on the difficulty of casting anyone—even Diane Kruger—as Helen of Troy.
- Jan Swafford on melody, for Slate.
- Kate and Anna McGarrigle’s “Talk to Me of Mendocino.”
- “Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring” from Cantata “Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben," by J.S. Bach.
- Patsy Cline’s “So Wrong.”
- Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville.
- The Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood.”
- Elvis Costello’s “Allison.”
- Richard Thompson’s “Withered and Died.”
- Chet Baker’s “My Funny Valentine.”
- Frank Sinatra’s “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”
Outro: “Don’t You Forget About Me,” by Simple Minds.
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This podcast was produced by Dan Pashman. Our intern is Sam McDougle.