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Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Hail, Caesar!' And Backstage Stories


George Clooney as Baird Whitlock in the new film <em>Hail, Caesar! </em>
Universal Pictures
George Clooney as Baird Whitlock in the new film Hail, Caesar!

PCHH regular Stephen Thompson had the week off from the show, so I was joined by Glen Weldon as well as our pals Chris Klimek and Bob Mondello to talk about the Coen Brothers' Hail, Caesar!. Chris engagingly reviewed it for NPR, and Bob has covered the Coens plenty of times, so we've got lots to discuss. Glen has a theory of what it's about, I have your cultural genealogy for the Channing Tatum dance number, and we've all got feelings about Chris' Michael Gambon impression (specifically, mine are that it's amazing).

In our second segment, we turn our attention to the more general category of films to which Hail, Caesar! belongs: entertainment about entertainment. Specifically, it's a movie about movies, but we also talk about television about television, books about writers, and theater about theater people. We try to get to the bottom of what makes these stories fascinating, and I float a theory about why your fictional entertainer should perhaps not be a genius.

As always, we close the show with what's making us happy this week. Chris is happy about a new home video release of another Coen Brothers movie, and about a galley of an upcoming book, and about a lovely bit of synchronicity he'll have to explain himself. Glen is happy about both a super fantastic Twitter account and a new book. Bob is happy about seeing an actress he admires on a show where she gets to shine. I am happy about making things and about the kindness of strangers who help me make things.

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