I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Now it's time for our weekly visit to the Barbershop, where the guys talk about what's in the news and what's on their minds. Sitting in the chairs for a shape-up this week are writer and culture critic Jimi Izrael, with us in Washington, D.C.
Popular soft drinks, sports cars and other brands appear surreptitiously placed in the worlds of our favorite TV shows and films all the time. Soon enough, we may see them name-dropped in our books, too.
To help imagine some egregious-yet-hilarious examples of this, we invited a prolific writer to Ask Me Another: award-winning young adult author Lois Lowry. Lowry joins forces with a fellow book-loving contestant to play "Product Placement," a game in which they must combine the titles of famous literary works with the names of household products and companies.
New movies — especially sequels — hit theaters so quickly these days, it can be hard to tell what's worth checking out. So we thought it would be fitting to call upon the Boston-based, Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Wesley Morris for some clarity.
Morris chats with host Ophira Eisenberg about whether it was hometown bias that led him to predict that Argo would take home the Oscar for Best Picture, and exemplifies how difficult it can be for a lifelong film scholar to narrow down an answer to the question, "What is your favorite movie?"
[I really hope it goes without saying that this piece about the film adaptation of a decades-old novel gives away the plot of a decades-old novel. But: Be aware.]
The sheer zazz that Baz Luhrmann introduces into The Great Gatsby is so imposing in quantity that it's surprising that it can get out of the way enough not to be the biggest problem in the movie. Luhrmann, after all, loves his swooping cameras and party scenes, and Gatsby gives him the best excuse for excess that there is: a story about excess.