This week, Alex and Wesley talk about Jurassic World. They know: It’s not great, it could have been more, just watch Jurassic Park instead. And yet it’s fun. But what makes Steven Spielberg’s original so much better as entertainment and as a filmmaking achievement? And can Chris Pratt do anything else? Is that even a fair question?
Then it’s on to Armando Iannucci’s Veep, which just ended a great, somewhat grim fourth season on HBO. Alex and Wesley try to unpack the genius of whatever it is Sam Richardson is doing as Jonah’s brilliantly dim assistant and why the show was particularly smart and funny this season.
Finally — finally! — it’s on to this month’s book club selection: Paul Beatty’s satirical novel The Sellout, about a black South Los Angeles farmer who winds up before the Supreme Court for trying to put his neighborhood back on the map by reinstituting Jim Crow–style segregation. (He also owns a slave.) Alex found it strange to read this book in the wake of the police overreaction at a Texas pool party and the scandal over Rachel Dolezal, a white woman who for years has been living as a black woman. It all could have come from Beatty’s book!
Oh, and there’s just enough to do a quick tribute to Ornette Coleman, who died last week.
Listen to the podcast here.
Here are links to topics discussed in this week’s show:
“Park Effects: The Dark Impact of the $500 Million ‘Jurassic World’ Weekend,” Grantland, June 16, 2015
“Life Finds a Way: ‘Jurassic World’ and the Beautiful Decay of Abandoned Theme Parks,” Grantland, June 16, 2015
“‘That Thing’s Part Raptor!’: Why ‘Jurassic World’ Worked,” Grantland, June 15, 2015
“Weekend Box Office Winners & Losers: The ‘Jurassic World’ Dinosaurs Eat the Record Books,” Grantland, June 15, 2015
“Rex ’n’ FX: The Charming ‘Jurassic World,’” Grantland, June 12, 2015
“His Jurassic World: Author Michael Crichton’s Entertainment Odyssey and Lasting Cultural Impact,” Grantland, June 11, 2015
“Mr. DNA: How Hollywood Tinkers With Evolution to Grow New Spielbergs in a Lab,” Grantland, June 10, 2015
“In the Loop: A Presidential Adviser Explains Why ‘Veep’ Is Our Greatest Political Show,” Grantland, June 12, 2015
“A Heartbeat Away,” New York, April 15, 2015
“Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tony Hale’s Demented Double Act on ‘Veep,’” The New York Times Magazine, April 9, 2015
“Power Steering: HBO’s Satiric Double Shot of ‘Veep’ and ‘Silicon Valley,’” Grantland, April 16, 2015
“Novelist Paul Beatty pokes fun at how we talk about race in America,” PBS NewsHour, May 8, 2015
“Paul Beatty’s ‘The Sellout,’” The New York Times Book Review, April 9, 2015
“Go Back to Los Angeles,” Paul Beatty, the 1990s
“Texas Officer Was Under Stress When He Arrived at Pool Party, Lawyer Says,” New York Times, June 19, 2015
“Rachel Dolezal: I cried reading Caitlyn Jenner’s story — it ‘resonated,’” Today, June 15, 2015
“Ornette Coleman, Saxophonist Who Rewrote the Language of Jazz, Dies at 85,” New York Times, June 11, 2015
Jam of the Week
“Lonely Woman,” Ornette Coleman, 1959