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CMS: Film Talk
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In this episode:

Gina Barrreca joins film critic David Edelstein to talk about the Oscar nominatons.


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49:30 minutes (23.76 MB)
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We don't have that many rituals that bind us together, but the Academy Awards sort of fill that role for some of us. We use movies to help us dream. And then we find out what the "best dreams" are.

Today, NPR's David Edelstein will lead us through the Academy Awards. And then he and I and Gina Barreca will ... kvetch about certain things.

We're going to discuss romantic comedies, here on Groundhog Day, the jumping off point for a RomCom that threads the tiny needle of honoring both male and female sensibilities. Maybe. Gina may disagree.

It's a male fantasy because Bill Murray gets to do stuff over and over until he gets it right. It's a female fantasy because ... it's a romantic comedy?

See this is where Gina probably starts yelling at me. But where did that kind of movie go? Where are the RomComs that are not strictly chick flicks or bromances?

You can join the conversation. 860-275-7266 or e-mail [email protected].

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Listener E-mail from Andrew

 I enjoyed what I heard of your show this morning, I hadn't heard you before and you did a good job of moderating what appeared to me could have been a hair-pulling, teeth- gnashing fight! I was looking for a blog or somewhere to write David Edelstein but didn't find one so I'm writing through you in the hopes you may forward this to him.

Mr. Edelstein-
I was prompted to write you re your use of the word "Simulacrum" this am ( WIFI Norwich Conn NPR)- but as I attempted to find a site to contact you I got involved in the show and want to salute you as well on your very canny response to Ms. Bareca's 'Fear Of Precious' response. Good work. I haven't yet seen the film but did hear the Director on Terry Gross and was impressed by his story opf starting as a switchboard operator for a private Nursing Service. Not many African American 22 year old men arriving in Hollywood and starting there, get where he is. That made me curious to learn more about how and why he ascended socially as well as its apparently socially and morally conscientious theme making me interested in the film- not enough to get me in the theater though- alas.
Re Bereca:My mother was a Brooklyn girl whose father scrimped during the depression years so she could go to Barnard. She once told me that the first class that she signed up for was Speech "to lose my Brooklyn accent". Anyone who knew her never would have guessed she'd had one- Anyway it's sort of sad that you are more of a feminist than Bereca and that someone who can't lose her
really sort of horrid but lovable in the right context ( Joy Behar) accent would revive the term  "pseudo-intellectual" AND not get that Diane Keaton is very smart.  Recently re-saw her in "The First Wives Club" She's great at madcap!  Your well tempered but deadly attack on this Bereca's 'scarred catholic psyche'- ( is that what you basically said? Being activated by one never knows what? LOL was impressive at least!

I first remember coming across the word "Simulacrum" as a grad student in studio art at Rutgers in the early 70's- maybe it was
later than that when I was teaching in any case my understanding of it in the way it was used in "intellectual" discourse
was I believe from Georges Bataille's writings, and my understanding of the meaning of it in the french philosophical discourse
was not as you used it in discussing Avatar- ( I didn't hear your entire discussion- a shame that even Hollywood can only make
a neutered political statement by way of a total fantasy pic, and than with tiny waists, huge Keene eyes, ubertall and much too tanned, elf eared Los Angeleans , I guess).
Anyway I think Bataille et al who in those heady days spoke of our world /society becoming a simulacrum of itself meant that despite
reality for all intents and purposes appearing exactly as it had, it had in fact been replaced by a "simulacrum" of itself. To visual this
I guess "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" or there were a few films in the 90's I think about perfect American towns which  in one case was a set- they had one word names I think which i forget but I'm sure you don't!
As a native New Yorker and  long time resident- I suppose you are as well- we've sort of seen it happen here- post "Sex And The City".
In any case that idea of the word as everything looking and functioning exactly as before except there now being no "there" there,
seems  important enough to maintain that it would be a shame to lose the word  to being used to accommodate parallel universes or what in the case of Avater I took to be a typically impossibly unimaginative fantasy world- it resembling ours because the makers couldn't imagine anything else!

I salute the way you handled yourself on that show, and look forward to more of your good work.

Listener E-mail on It's Complicated

I saw it on my birthday and it was not a good birthday present. 

E-mail from Joanne

Gina, please be careful when using the word 'hate' - strongly dislike or can't stand usually will do. Hate is such a strong word and you are talking about an actress not a criminal.

E-mail from Lillian

I almost always love your show, and when I don't love it, I like it. However, today's show is the first time I have to say, please do not have these two people on your show again to talk about movies. 
Their not funny sarcasm is very distasteful to me.  It's easy to be sarcastic, but much more intelligent and interesting to be knowledgeable and objective.