'Power of the B-I-T-C-H' w. Danny Pellegrino | Crooked Media
March 16, 2022
Keep It
'Power of the B-I-T-C-H' w. Danny Pellegrino

In This Episode

Join Louis in rewatching the 1962 Emmy Award Ceremony





Louis Virtel: [AD].


Louis Virtel: And we’re back and by we are. I didn’t mean here, it’s just me. Louis. Louis Virtel back to host Keep It. Ira is gone. You have to ask him where he went, and I don’t even know what social media he’s allowed on anymore, so I can’t confirm or deny that he’ll respond. But today we have an amazing guest with us, and he also doubles as my friend, so it should be pretty juicy. He is an acclaimed movie writer for The New York Times, but more importantly, now he’s a New York Times bestselling author of Blood, Sweat and Chrome: The Wild and True Story of Mad Max. So we’re going to get into the insanity of Fury Road with him. It’s Kyle Buchanan. Welcome to Keep It. Welcome back to keep it.


Kyle Buchanan: Thank you for having me, Louis. I was just thinking last night. How long have we known each other now?


Louis Virtel: I met you when I was an intern at The Advocate in 2007. That was this the summer of things like Eve’s Tambourine. It comes back to me really vividly. Kelly Rowland’s Like This was playing a lot. Fergie’s Big Girls Don’t Cry. I’ll stop and


Kyle Buchanan: It has straight up been 15 years then?


Louis Virtel: Yes! No. Very vile. I can’t believe it. And Kyle, importantly, Kyle was the film critic at The Advocate at the time, and he was like, You should come, when you move to L.A. permanently, you should come to this poker night I throw. And I didn’t realize it was a poker night of just gay guys. So you went there and, you know, I was like 22 at the time, and I realized all of the references that dazzled all the straight people in my life were completely commonplace among this group. I needed a new personality immediately.


Kyle Buchanan: I was still very dazzled. I remember when I met you and you were an intern and you could just speak about Valerie Bertinelli or the supporting actress race in 1954, like it was nothing. Not something that I think most 22 year olds are capable of doing. I also remember when I met you, you were a very layered person, and I mean that very literally. I believe our friend Andrew Cullen used to call you scrarffy.


Louis Virtel: Yes.


Kyle Buchanan: Because you would wear dress shirts, sweaters and scarves in Southern California.


Louis Virtel: Yes. And well, I was very confused because I moved there in January, and so I assumed, Oh, it’ll be, you know, chilly. I, as an underweight person at the time, I simply needed them. You know, it’s it’s like, do you remember the Wayside School books, how there was a guy, a guy who turned out to just be a couple of dead rats, and he was wearing a bunch of trench coats over them? That was like me. I was that person. Yes, Kyle has always been not just somebody who appreciates film really well to me, but is just thrilled to talk about it. Thrilled to get into any era. And you are specifically an Oscars junkie. And that’s why today we will be getting into this incredible and by incredible, I mean, extremely long Oscars journey we’ve been on this year. I don’t think there’s ever been a longer Oscars journey, has there?


Kyle Buchanan: There was, and it was last year.


Louis Virtel: OK, true.


Kyle Buchanan: So to have the longest season followed by, you know, just about the second longest Oscar season, it’s taxing. You know, it’s glamorous, but it’s taxing.


Louis Virtel: We will have a conversation also about Mad Max Fury Road, but also just about our favorite stuff in popular culture that was extremely arduous to make to give people just a quick glimpse into the insanity of Mad Max Fury Road. That movie came out in 2015.


Kyle Buchanan: Mm-Hmm.


Louis Virtel: When was the. When was the seed planted for this movie initially?


Kyle Buchanan: I mean, it basically took two decades. This is one of the sort of craziest making of stories ever because, you know, they were supposed to make it a million times and it just kept falling apart. It was supposed to get made in 2003 with Mel Gibson. Fell apart, right as they were about to start shooting it. They had to, you know, meltdown 120 vehicles that they’d built. And it kept kind of getting resurrected and stomped out over the years. And even then, when they did get to make it with Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron, the two of them hated each other. They were filming out in the desert. Nobody knew what they were doing. People were terrified it wasn’t going to work. All this real act of God shit kept happening. But you know, it was essentially telling the director, George Miller, Hey, listen, don’t make this film. The fates are against it. We’ve decided absolutely not. And yet he kept persevering even when the studio shut the film down before they filmed the beginning and ending and somehow made it work until they got to a movie masterpiece. And that was the crazy part for me. Like, you know, I really like this movie, but what I really love are these making of stories. I’ve always been fascinated by like, you know, there’s that book of John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion when they were working on a drama about, you know, tortured newswoman Jessica Savage, and it ends up being the really glossy Michelle Pfeiffer romance up close and personal. And I love those you know those stories about juicy, crazy making of movies. They just usually are about movies that don’t turn out so hot, and I wanted to write a book about, you know, a really tortured, difficult production that somehow produced a masterpiece.


Louis Virtel: I would just say this movie is not just now a modern classic of action movies. It is utterly streamlined, like the editing choices are so specific to this movie, it’s almost its own language in terms of swiftness. And, you know, the the whiplash factor of that movie. And also what a a credit to the Oscars that it is the best picture nominee because even among the past decade, what other movie is even comparable to that? You know, it’s like its own genre of of prestige.


Kyle Buchanan: It’s crazy that that got, I mean, not just ten nominations and six wins, but that was in the mix for Picture probably would have won director if The Revenant weren’t there. And I mean, which movie are you still talking about and thinking about from that year? It’s not The Revenant. It’s Mad Max Fury Road, you know? I mean, yeah, it’s so utterly streamlined. It’s such good action. I just keep talking to other directors, and there’s plenty of them interviewed in the book that don’t understand how he pulled it off. I mean, Steven Soderbergh has a great quote about Fury Road, where he says, I don’t understand how they’re not still shooting that film, and I don’t understand how hundreds of people aren’t dead.


Louis Virtel: Also, I do want to say about The Revenant, though, Tom Hardy in that movie. I do think that’s one of the great villain turns of the past 10 years, though


Kyle Buchanan: He’s really fun, and that movie sometimes takes itself way too seriously. And listen, you’ll learn a lot about Tom Hardy if you read this book, but he never takes himself completely seriously. He will go out there and do like complete Looney Tunes takes. He has this acting method where he wants to fall flat on his face and find out what the scene isn’t until he can get to what it is. And sometimes directors leave in the Looney Tunes takes.


Louis Virtel: Does the memory of Tom Hardy’s MySpace still linger with you at all?


Kyle Buchanan: I mean, yes, I’m a gay man. Of course, I remember Tom Hardy’s MySpace. He really was the blueprint. He set the template. These, I mean, yeah, the thirst trap pictures did not exist before Tom Hardy was shooting them the way he shot them with that like overhead view those pursed lips, the clothing artfully disheveled. And yeah, what? What did you make of those pics?


Louis Virtel: No, I mean, the blueprint is correct because. They were very sexy, of course, but it was it’s the kind of thing where you rarely got a glimpse into a celebrity like that, like where were they really like as slutty and gay as the people I knew? It’s just that I was a very unfamiliar feeling, you know?


Kyle Buchanan: And now with Instagram, we know yes, they are.


Louis Virtel: Right.


Kyle Buchanan: But back then, yeah, and the MySpace era, it was a revelation.


Louis Virtel: We were a good 15 years off from Lil Nas X. That’s that’s where we were in time, unfortunately. Also this episode, I will be here to talk with our friend Danny Pellegrino. You would know him as the maybe foremost Bravo historian and defender of the Rosie O’Donnell Show’s legacy, and you better believe I get into that with him. So we’ll be right back after this.




Louis Virtel: All right, well, I want to be the foremost Oscar authority, but actually it could be Kyle Buchanan at this point. So we’re going to combine forces talk about this labyrinthine and unending Oscar season, and let’s just talk about it in the broad strokes first. What have been your favorite kind of trends to emerge in terms of wins this season and things that you’ve just really enjoyed seeing pop up people you’ve enjoyed seeing pop up on the day as time and again?


Kyle Buchanan: Honestly, love Troy Kotsur and what’s happening with him this season? I remember when I saw Coda, you know, I mostly like Coda, and Coda is one of those films that you can recommend to just about everybody, which you can’t do with all the Oscar movies. Does it have a million endings? Yes. Are they all effective? Yes. Are we going to forget all of the music teacher scenes because they are just from a completely different film that’s not as good as the rest of it? Yes, everyone already has. But Troy Kotsur as the dad is so incredible, and I remember when I watched it, I thought this this stuff that supporting actor Oscars are made of, but they’ll never go for this guy because, you know, he’s not famous. Or maybe the movie’s too little. And then Apple bought the movie for 25 million and they were like, No, we are making him a huge star. And he has become that, you know. He went from being just kind of this, this character actor, you know, who’d never really had a big mainstream movie before because there are just aren’t enough roles for deaf actors to the star of awards season, and he gives the most charming speeches. He’s so funny. He’s so charismatic. He has such a great story. And to see him become the Oscar frontrunner has been a real pleasure.


Louis Virtel: I love when people emerge from nowhere. Not just to be Oscar contenders, but seem primed to give great speeches because, by the way, there are plenty of veterans who get this opportunity who finally have their Oscars moment, and then the speeches don’t deliver. I am still stunned by the stodgy-ness and stagey-ness  of Brad Pitt’s run for the Oscar.


Kyle Buchanan: Which was scripted.


Louis Virtel: I’m a stand up now, but bad.


Kyle Buchanan: Yeah, he got all of his friends to write jokes for him, which was a choice. Yeah, I mean, you know, there’s a real science to it. And I do think when people are voting for the Oscars, they’re not just thinking about the performance, they’re not just thinking about where this falls in your career, they’re thinking about what is that moment that’s going to happen when you’re up there giving an acceptance speech and they’re not going to vote for a dry one. They want an emotional one, they want a narrative, and he’s absolutely providing that, you know that he will knock that moment out of the park.


Louis Virtel: You know, another person whose speeches deserve revisiting is Youn Yuh-Jung. From last year and Minari. She approached everything, sort of kind of unimpressed with the grandeur of the situation. Happy to be there and gave great interviews like she was not an aloof person. But then at the mic, she always, like dropped two to three like subtle bombs that you remembered, and then she would just move on. It was really, really great.


Kyle Buchanan: Every single show. That’s who you were talking about. Those are the speeches you were talking about, and that’s how she went from, you know, one of the people who could potentially win supporting actress to like the Mortlock. Yeah, everyone wanted another speech from her.


Louis Virtel: Totally, totally. Now, I think the most or the strangest category this year has become Best Actress, and by the way, this never happens. We never are this unbelievable. I guess deadlocked is not the term now. It feels like it’s down between two or three contenders at this point. But when the five of these women were nominated and I’m talking about Jessica Chastain in the eyes of Tammy Faye, Kristen Stewart and Spencer Nicole Kidman and being the Ricardos Penelope Cruz and Parallel Mothers and Olivia Colman in The Lost Daughter. All five of these people are. I don’t want to call them equally August. But like you, it’s easy for, I think voters to admire all five of these people. It’s, you know, there’s not like a completely out of left field contender like Yalitza Aparicio in Roma, where we’re like, we have to learn who this person is. Basically, as these are five people who have established legacies and the winds have not shaken out the way I expected. I, even when I saw The Eyes of Tammy Faye, which I think Jessica is great in probably in her top two performances for me, I still thought this feels like a fifth place contender in the Oscars race, and I had not seen any of the other four movies yet. How did you feel about that performance?


Kyle Buchanan: I don’t love the movie. You know, the thing about going to all these awards shows is they will always show a clip. And you know, I love an Oscar clip.


Louis Virtel: Yup.


Kyle Buchanan: And she’s got a great one, which is, you know, literally drawn from real life. It is the broadcast of her talking to, you know, an AIDS patient, and it’s incredibly affecting. But that’s, you know, a scene that they can basically transcribe and everything else they made up. It wasn’t working for me. The prosthetics were not working for me. Andrew Garfield looked like he had, you know, cut a potato in two and glued them to the sides of his face. And I found that really hard to get over, I’m sorry. I do think she’s really talented and she’s great in that scene. She also had a take, which I don’t think the director did. It’s a hard thing. I think what you’re getting at here is that, you know, none of these performances come from Best Picture contenders, and sometimes you do get that disconnect with the academy because historically they value, you know, actor driven movies rather than actress driven ones. And certainly, you don’t have to come from the most critically acclaimed film of the year to win an Oscar. You know, people weren’t obsessed with Judy, but Renee Zellweger got that in an easy walk. It just seems crazy to me that it could end up being Jessica, because even when she won at the Screen Actors Guild Award, she was shocked. She’s like, really me? And then the Critics Choice Awards, which are a group of very suggestible dummies who go over the wind, is blowing also went for Jessica Chastain, and I guarantee you that would not have happened if it weren’t for SAG. So I’m curious. I mean, she’s got two televised wins now. That could be enough. At one point, though, I thought maybe this was going to be Nicole’s second Oscar.


Louis Virtel: And it feels like here’s the thing Nicole is getting a second Oscar at some point. So you feel like cosmically you’re trying to predict the moment that will occur in the way that, you know, Meryl will get a fourth because it would be just be uncomfortable for her to pass away. And then there’s like Katharine Hepburn out there who’s achieved more Oscars than Meryl does. But honestly, I like being the Ricardos more than I think most people do. And by the way, I am here not to appreciate Aaron Sorkin to say that I am sitting here. I want like this the same set up he always has of like one character in a scene gets to be brilliant, and three people are quibbling with him and he gets to shoot down each of those characters with some mean bodyguards. I just I find it very repetitive and predictable. But I thought Nicole gave Lucille Ball a kind of frightening gravitas that she would have. Lucille Ball would be that way. I found it justified.


Kyle Buchanan: Do you think it would be just and right for her to win her second Oscar for it?


Louis Virtel: Well, I just heard recently that if she won that, she would be the only woman to win two Oscars for biopic roles. So that, yeah, that would actually kind of thrill me because Virginia Woolf and Lucille Ball have nothing in common. So that alone would tell you the story of Nicole Kidman’s range. I would like it as a win, and not because I’m wrapped up in the that the Lucille Ball part of it, but the snappy, cynical performance that she gave. I find completely out of sync with the rest of Nicole Kidman’s brand, and therefore even more impressive than what you see on screen when you compare it to everything else she’s done. You know, I’ve spent the past 15 years praising things like birth or, you know, her weird 2000s moments when it’s like, this is impressive and in-your-face.


Kyle Buchanan: Yeah, I’m generally pro Nicole, and I do like her in this. The hard part for me is that I know that they went to Cate Blanchett first.


Louis Virtel: Oh, I know. No, which would be great.


Kyle Buchanan: I mean, she literally would have ate. They would not have had to take down the sets afterwards. She would have eaten them whole. She would have unhinged the jaw. And you know, I do think that like Nicole’s comic verve as Lucille Ball is a little more kind of like shy and bashful. And you know that Cate Blanchett would have been, like, totally unabashed. And I’m always obsessed with like, you know, who almost got cast or the sort of what if alternate versions like with Fury Road in the book, you have Eminem in the mix, you have Rihanna in the mix, Jennifer Lawrence in the mix. And you think about those and you’re like, but it wouldn’t have been as good as what we got. And with Kate, I know shades of Nicole, but that’s the version that I would have rather saying.


Louis Virtel: Yeah, I mean, like because we’ll also Kate specializes in that like frosty 50s glamor, you know, not just because of Carol, but because of like even a performance in like Cinderella, where she’s delivering hard. Joan Crawford, for example, you know, she’s just like primed for that era specifically. I guess we should talk about the, I guess most unfortunate award show story of the week, which is Jane Campion’s unbelievable weekend. Let’s see, Sam Elliott we talked about this last week on the show slammed the power of the dog because he, I guess, believes there has never been a gay person in the West. His argument was shallow, and she abruptly shut that down, called it homophobic, called his treatment of her work sexist, call them xenophobic. And then he she spelled out the word bitch, which somehow was at the time staggeringly funny.


Kyle Buchanan: That was that was funny and iconic, and the fact that she spelled it out called him a little bit of the bit h. I mean, part of why that was so funny is because I guess she was probably doing it to be, you know, less vulgar on the red carpet. But it created the very funny implication that Sam Elliott is a child who cannot read that he would not know. What she was saying, which made it even funnier.


Louis Virtel: Yes, and then she gave a speech at the Critics Choice Awards where she, you know, she’s given several speeches, so she was at the Critics Choice Awards and this one was, I think, more off the cuff than the average award show speech. She was sort of just looking around the room talking to people. But a sound bite was picked up from it. That is disastrous, Kyle. I’ll allow you to recount your viewing of it.


Kyle Buchanan: Yeah, OK. Well, first of all, the sound bite is, you know, she got up there, she’s up there on the stage. And here’s the thing, and I also want to say I hesitate to completely overexplain this because also it’s just like, are you fucking dumb? Like, don’t denigrate Serena and Venus, even in the context of a joke. But you know, you get up there, you see, OK, the very first thing you see is a table where Will Smith and Serena and Venus Williams are sitting and you start talking to them. You know, this is what happens at an awards show. Whoever you know with the bright lights are on you. Whoever the first person you see is, and sometimes that’s a very famous person, it’s who you start talking to. If Oprah is in an award show, every single person who goes up and accepts an award is going to start talking to Oprah because they’re all there they can see. So I did wonder if she just sort of saw them and just started talking.


Louis Virtel: *laughs*


Kyle Buchanan: If you watch the if you watch the entire speech, it is a white knuckle ride from start to finish because she is just kind of vamping and going wherever her brain takes her. At one point, she was asking Will Smith for tennis lessons. And I know that that’s, you know, he’s playing, you know, sort of a coach figure in King Richard. But she came off as even in that sort of like, you know, joking New Zealand way. She came off as weirdly demanding of like their attention and labor and and completely uncomprehending of the optics of that situation. So, yeah, to just to say that to Venus and Serena, and she’s since apologized. But wow. Yeah. Live by the social media sword. Die by the social media sword because within 24 hours she went from being, you know, the internet folk hero that everyone was rooting for to, you know, the, the example held up of the shortfalls of white feminism.


Louis Virtel: Yes, she she addressed them initially by saying, somewhat randomly, I play tennis too. I stopped playing because I got tennis elbow, which, you know, garnered some minor applause. And then in her attempt to Segway to talking about the other nominees in her category, which were all men. This is the best director category. She said. Venus and Serena, you’re such marbles. However, you don’t play against the guys like I have to. The way she said it, it’s like you could. I mean, of course, you just said the words like white feminism, this is a part of it. She couldn’t hear how disastrous that sounded and she could. And because like people, she said it in a sort of lighthearted way. You can even hear people sort of reacting not supportively, but like not recognizing the implications of what she had said. This was not just bad, it was downright shitty. It was her. The joke depended on the reaction to the approving reaction shot of Venus and Serena. So in a way, they were sitting there having to OK this comment so that she could move on with her speech. So that’s doubly uncomfortable. And of course, I don’t mean to laugh. It’s not funny. The idea that Venus and Serena Williams have not dealt with any patriarchal issues in the sports world and also that Jane Campion does, because she’s in an awards show category against other nominees. The one for one parallels obviously don’t work out there. I mean, I it’s the kind of thing where again, because the speech started out light hearted, you almost want to say. I mean, it was just an accident she didn’t know she was saying, but reading it back, it’s like it’s it just gets worse and worse the more you think about it and I go


Kyle Buchanan: back and forth because sometimes I’m like, I think she might have actually. I mean, you know, not known what a controversy would stir. But like, I wonder if she kind of did know what she was saying. I think she thought it was a clever concept, an idea, a line. And actually, the thing with Jane is fur as scattered. Seeming as that speech is, she also knows what she wants to say, and she can make it sound organic and off the cuff. I mean, you know, the b-i-t-c-h line is a great example, because she had said that to someone else on the red carpet before she got to Marc Malkin in the video clip that went viral. She had said it to Scott Feinberg in a podcast, which was published after, you know, all that happened. But like she used the exact same terminology. She called him a little b-i-t-c-h in every single one of those interviews. She just made it sound like she was thinking of it at the time. So I wonder if she thought, Oh, here’s a clever idea like, you know, and I’m going to acknowledge that I compete against men in my category, which, you know, normally I would appreciate a little bit of that, you know, candor when people actually do say no, listen, this is what the situation is. But to do it at the expense of Venus and Serena was so boneheaded, and I’ve had a lot of people ask me, Oh, do you think this is going to affect her, you know, Oscar candidacy? And I doubt it just because like a, Oscar voters are so much less online than you think. They probably have no idea. I mean, these are the people who voted for Green Book, too. You know, so. And B, she’s so far ahead in best director that that’s almost certainly going to go to her. But it absolutely does affect, you know, what should be just this like, unalloyed celebratory moment for her is compromised, and she has no one to blame by herself for that.


Louis Virtel: You know, in terms of the white feminism angle, too, I think something that continues to surprise me about this is you would almost think she would do the patronizing thing of saying, we’re both against the man. We both have had to fight our behind the scenes battles against men. But instead, she literally said, No, you don’t. I do. Like it’s like you’ve even somehow worse than the normal idea of the patronizing comment you would make in that situation.


Kyle Buchanan: I don’t know if she even could have gotten away with being like, What we do is the same.


Louis Virtel: Yeah, right? No, right obviously


Kyle Buchanan: Because they are two goddesses who happen to like, share a planet and in that case, an awards ballroom. And to even, you know, look upon them and be like, where we’re in the same realm or might say it is more difficult is a truly crazy reaction that, you know, having seen them up close. I don’t I can’t imagine a human ever happening. They are. They’re incredible icons. And, you know, I mean, what Jane Campion has done in her whole career should not be diminished, but come on. Come on! Jane, what the fuck?


Louis Virtel: Yeah, right? Oh god. Also, it’s just again like I obviously came into this awards season this week being just so in Jane Campion’s corner. Everybody’s Learning Who Jane Campion is. Oh yeah, people might start watching Portrait of a Lady or whatever. You know that Holy Smoke movie with Kate Winslet or, you know, the fucking piano.


Kyle Buchanan: Yea the one where she pees.


Louis Virtel: Yes, that’s the one. And now I’m like, You know what? Scrap it. I just I just I. It really has knocked the wind out of my sails that apart at a certain juncture in awards season.


Kyle Buchanan: Well, it’s exactly what we’re saying. Listen, the speech is a key part, and if you’re giving speeches all season, which you know she has been and Troy Kotsur has been you had to learn from these things and you can’t drink too much before you get up on stage. Not saying that she was or that anybody was, but like, You’ve got to be focused. You got to know like what? You want to get up there and do you know, hopefully once you’re up there, some sort of emotional, spontaneous moment overtakes you. And it gives that extra x factor to what is and what should be prepared. But don’t let that spontaneous moment steer you in the way that it’s Dear Jane Campion.


Louis Virtel: Speaking of speeches, though, and Oscar worthy moments, what are the moments in Oscars history that keep you sort of loving the ceremony? If you do? I don’t know if you’re if cynicism is creeping in yet, but I have these hallmarks that are like, Well, that’ll always be there, and that’ll always remind me that this has the potential to be rad.


Kyle Buchanan: Cynicism always creeps in. But then also, you know, I mean, I think to love the Oscars is to have the right mixture of reverence and irreverence, you know, and that’s also the key to hosting the Oscars as well, that to some extent you do have to respect the thing and love the thing while also tweaking the thing. It’s always so much fun to go back and rewatch old Oscar speeches, you know, whether it’s something like in a pack when accepting that, you know, to keep the. Champion train rolling, which is so charming and she’s so great, and I’ve always wanted to dress as her for Halloween. Accepting that Oscar with, you know, that purple outfit and what the beret? Yeah, I quote these speeches all the time. Marcia Gay Harden saying, What a thrill. Well, what if you know the incredible of the entire thing about Marion Cotillard says, which I have practically memorized. What are your favorites?


Louis Virtel: Well, I mean, you know what? I think it’s fair to say that Marion Cotillard is the best speech of the past 20 years, just in terms of just in terms of the exhilaration level. And, by the way, not that it was a foregone conclusion that she would win. There are lots of interesting candidates that you’re just up against Elliot Page and Julie Christie, but she had won a number of times. So to get that spontaneous seeming speech, which again, could just be brilliant acting Marion Cotillard is one of these genius actor people. But thank you. Liv, thank you. Love. I mean, does it get more ed base than that? You’re just like talking to forces in the universe as if they’re, you know, producers in the room.


Kyle Buchanan: There are angels in this city.


Louis Virtel: Taking the name of the city, literally.  Brilliant.


Kyle Buchanan: Yea I know. That’s good. That’s good. See, that’s where spontaneity ought to lead you. But Louis, I’m curious because you do love your vintage wins. Oh yeah. Is there an acceptance speech on YouTube from an earlier era that people ought to seek out?


Louis Virtel: Well, the interesting question, because my answer is not a win that I am obsessed with. But in terms of brevity being memorable, delivering an entire personality and a unique Youn Yuh-Jung way. Ruth Gordon in Rosemary’s Baby is your answer. She’s obviously quippy. This is if you don’t know about Ruth Gordon, she you. If you’ve if you’ve seen her in a movie, you’ve probably seen Harold and Maude or Rosemary’s Baby. But she was a screenwriter for years who wrote with her husband, Garson Kanin, for instance, Hepburn and Tracy movies like Adam’s Rib and Pat Make. And then she also had this kind of squirrely presence as an actress, and she was nominated a couple of times in the 60s for a Natalie Wood movie called Inside Daisy Clover, and then she won for Rosemary’s Baby. You’ve got to see this as she ends the speech, and it’s a short speech by saying thank you to the people who voted for me. And if you did, and if and if you didn’t, please excuse me. Really great and just charges off the charges off the stage. She’s excited to win her award. That’s an interesting win, though, because happily, it’s a win for a horror movie, which is you and I know is extremely rare when it comes to the Oscars. But she’s winning for what I would call a sitcom performance. She’s giving the knows she’s doing the nosy neighbor. And then you find out plot wise at the end of the movie, Oh, she’s this sinister, nefarious thing that’s been a guiding force throughout the movie, but that really has nothing to do with her acting, and I feel like they conferred the greatness of her character, turn, which is all written down in the script with what she did on screen. So I don’t know that it’s an extremely dynamic way, but that’s, you know, she’s a very memorable celebrity. And also, of course, I have Sandy Dennis over my shoulder who won for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, my favorite Oscar winning performance of all time. Do you have a favorite number one of all time?


Kyle Buchanan: Oh my god. That’s a good question. Well, I mean, it would have to be an actress, right? Because who cares when the actors win anything?


Louis Virtel: No, I’m shocked that we give actors Oscars. What do they do with them?


Kyle Buchanan: You know I think I think my favorite wins have something to do always with the acceptance speech. I kind of tie them together and and actually, I do love that Ruth Gordon win and you recalling what made that so special. Here’s my last bit of Oscar acceptance speech advice. Have an exit line.


Louis Virtel: Ding.


Kyle Buchanan: Because sometimes people just trail off. If you know that last little couplet that you want to hit. First of all, that like that ends. You want a great note that gets you off the stage. And that’s the thing that takes it from like a good speech to one that everybody rises out of their seat to applaud.


Louis Virtel: Excellent point. Excellent point. Yeah. Anyway, allegedly, the Oscar season is wrapping up soon. I don’t know if this is true. This is just a rumor we’ve heard, but


Kyle Buchanan: I’ll believe it when I pass out.


Louis Virtel: Right, right. And I look forward to seeing what you write about it. Of course, we will be right back with our good friend Danny Pellegrino.




Ira Madison III: He is your go to source for all things Bravo, rom com, and Rosie O’Donnell related. And he’s coming for your shelves with his first solo memoir, How Do I Unremembered This: Unfortunately, True Stories. Please welcome Danny Pellegrino, who I I have known for too damn long.


Danny Pellegrino: Hello. I know Ira, you were one of my very first friends here in Los Angeles.


Ira Madison III: Same.


Danny Pellegrino: We’ve known each other for years. Ages even. And I’m sure we both have very embarrassing stories of each other, but I’ll try to keep my mouth shut.


Ira Madison III: Yeah, I’ve said this to you before, but it is. It is so weird. Looking back at like 2007, you and I meeting and just like talking about random shit like this in person. And then now seeing that, like we both have our own separate podcast where we just talk about this every week.


Danny Pellegrino: I know because I remember, you know, we would watch Housewives. I remember watching a Real Housewives of Miami, which then took a long hiatus and is now back. But I remember watching that with you. I have very vivid memory of watching Leah Black with you for some reason. But yeah, the world. The world has gone through so many ups and downs since we’ve met. But yeah, I I love you so much. And you know, there was a moment we did watch what happens live together, and it was a weird kind of moment because, like you said, we had watched these things and then here we were on this talk show together. It was. It was bizarre and wild, and I loved it.


Ira Madison III: Well, we’re not going to bully Andy Cohen and to have a voice both on the show at once.


Louis Virtel: Do you ever have moments where you’re like, Oh, I’m actually too close to the thing I used to be obsessed with? Like, you know, like when you get to know Andy Cohen, are you like, Oh no, there’s like no intrigue left in this thing.


Danny Pellegrino: You know, the weird thing is the taking of the notes. Like, when I watch Housewives now I’m I’m writing crazy notes. And so that gets a little weird. And sometimes it can be frustrating, especially when the shows are not great. Like when the seasons are bad or or it’s not super fun to recap. I think that that’s when I’m like, Oh, I got to go take notes and record. And and it used to be if I was watching a bad episode, you’re just done with that and you, you wait till the next week. But now having to like do an hour show about it can be a little frustrating. But usually there’s always some good little hidden gems in the episodes too. So it’s not all for naught. But yeah, that’s what’s frustrating to me.


Ira Madison III: That’s so interesting to me because, you know, I’ve been on your show and, you know, like we’ve been on like bits and I’ve done like, watch what crap ends, you know, like shows that recap like Bravo shows, and I remember writing like recaps of things you know, back and sort of like my like vulture days or like MTV News Days. But it’s there’s something particularly interesting about a podcast that will recap a television show. And I want to know what have you figured out about how your listeners digest recaps? Like, are there certain things that they’re always looking for specifically from you? Like, did you notice like when people would get mad if you’d like, like, leave out certain scenes or if you didn’t like, describe everything perfectly and like, do you find it like most people? Oh yeah, just watch it and then love to recap it, because it’s like listening to a friend describe what they’ve already seen, or do some people like listen and they haven’t even watched it?


Danny Pellegrino: Yeah, I think there’s a couple of different types of listeners. I think there’s the one who they want you to get every fact right. And the truth is, especially for my show, like I’m a solo podcast. So there’s often times or I miss something or I’ll run to the bathroom or the internet, I’ll cut out because I’m watch, I’m streaming it. And so it’ll be I’ll get some factor detail wrong. And so there’s half the audience who will get so mad that I said to her shirt was blue instead of green. And and they want it to be, you know, recap perfectly. And then there’s the other person who they’re just here tuning in to have a good time. And so they, you know, I don’t have to get every detail perfectly. And I think a lot of my listeners, I hope at least they are happy when I go off on little tangents or tell details about my personal life, which is really like kind of where my book started because I would tell these stories about my family or a date I had or whatever it was and I would. I call them these little like detours. And so I think a lot of people started to to tune in, not just for the recaps, but for those stories. And I like that. I can kind of take those tangents. I mean, a couple of weeks ago, I did a whole bit about Beethoven’s second and it’s like, I like that I can just like, talk about something insane and and random for a while. But there are definitely people, though, who get mad, you know? And I’m sure on your show too. You guys get the DMs where they’re like, How? You said you said this round or you got a quote wrong or something and you’re like, We’re doing our best.


Ira Madison III: Most of our DMs just call us racist


Louis Virtel: Yet, not me.


Danny Pellegrino: What’s the craziest complaint or DM that you’ve gotten on Keep It? I mean.


Louis Virtel: Well, it’s interesting. Like, I mean, speaking for myself, I think I’m known as the person who’s like the Wikipedia movie guy. So I don’t know that I get crazy responses. But if I get a fact wrong or something, people might be scandalized that I didn’t get the thing right. They’re like, Aren’t you the “knower” person? So that can get a little spicy. Um. Ira, I think they just straight up say they want to smack you or something.


Ira Madison III: Yeah. I’m trying to think of like some of the wildest DMs you get, I’ve gotten, but it’s like it’s it’s usually someone who just sort of like disagrees with you and you know what we’ve talked about. I think one time we talked about like this racist country star. I forget his name, but we talked about him and I got this DM from this white woman who was like, You know, I can’t believe that you are. You would say these things, et cetera. And like, for the first time, I sort of responded to her and I was like, “Sis, what’s good?” And then we had like a good conversation for like 20 minutes. And she was like, “Oh, thank you. I didn’t see things that way.”


Louis Virtel: Oh wow, this is a very productive like Ricki Lake episode. You took the audience members rancor and calmed her down. Yes


Ira Madison III: That was nice. But I think that the other surprising thing was like, Whatever you do, get a DM from someone, it’s like they didn’t like something in the episode or they want to say something mean to you. It’s always funny to scroll up and see like positive things that they responded to like your other Instagram Stories? It’ll be like, Oh my God, love this movie. Like when you’re watching, like a movie, they love or be like, Oh, look at your outfit looks great or like, Oh, what restaurant is that that you went to? And then next, the thing you said this week was so fucking awful, and I want to stab you


Danny Pellegrino: The meanness message after that. Yeah. With Housewives fans, there’s all these these seasons that are just there. It’s like a fever pitch in certain seasons. I remember the New York when it was like Bethenny versus Carol. The DMs I got during that time were like truly wild and unhinged, and people were so passionate about whether or not they were Team Bethenny or Team Carol. And it was like, I mean, I got just so many slurs in my DMs because I said I was Team Carol and it was just like crazy. I’m like, This is a reality show, and you know, we’re, you know, I’m just giving my opinion on a podcast, but it’s silly, silly stuff like that. Or I remember the The Beverly Hills season where it was like the dog situation with Lisa Vanderpump. Everyone was just it was it was. So people were so passionate about it and the DMs.


Louis Virtel: I want to get into the gay adolescent traumas you describe in this book momentarily. But before we got there, another pop culture angle. I mean, as Ira said at the beginning, you are the the premiere Rosie O’Donnell Show historian, basically. And I, this is a show I am always bringing up because I don’t think we have you and I. This is we need to talk. OK? I know. Yeah, like, we have not since had a talk show host who not only was like a fervent pop culture person, but had specific taste and was not afraid to be like, I didn’t understand Blue Velvet, you know, like snakes. She was like specific in her taste, and the enthusiasm was so electric to me and I wanted you to talk about your connection to her on that show.


Danny Pellegrino: Yeah. Well, I’m just remembering now. I think she spoiled Fight Club. Do you remember that it was like this big


Louis Virtel: *laughing*


Danny Pellegrino: Yeah, she hated Fight Club and she, like, spoiled it. But yeah, I think that as a young kid, I was really attracted to that. She loved what she loved and she wasn’t afraid to embrace the things that she loved, even though it was sometimes off the beaten path and. And I think what I connected even at a young age when she would like something like Mary Tyler Moore or something that as a young pre-teen or however old I was, I didn’t necessarily know Mary Tyler Moore at the time, but it made me want to know Mary Total and Amy Wan to discover Barbra Streisand’s discography. And like, she made me want to become a fan of the things she loved because it was so honest. And Annie and I often talk about how she was sort of like the first influencer because throughout her show, she would talk about something like Tickle Me, Elmo or Listerine, or whatever the the cakes that she used to like. I forget what that they’re called, but she would talk about them and they’d be like a huge thing and she would get press for these things. But she was just very naturally talking about it wasn’t like a forced promo. And I interviewed her on my show, and she would say she only would do the things that felt natural to her. So she went to so many companies would send her stuff, and she wouldn’t just do a promo to do it. She would do it if she liked it, and she would tell people if she loved a movie or a TV show or a singer. And that was how she influenced. It was based on her own taste. And I just always loved that. I loved how much she loved pop culture. I loved how she wasn’t a. Prayed to cry with the guest or or feel the emotion. I think now oftentimes you can almost see a host disconnect when they’re talking to an interview subject or or they feel too much. I think, like with Alan, it’s almost it feels too much like a peer talking. And so it’s like, I don’t think Ellen has an interest in talking to any of these people. And you know, it’s just there’s a disconnect. Whereas Rosie, she would have someone on and she would love them and she would know their history, and she would show them her toys that she had in her collection. And and it just felt more authentic than I think a lot of talk shows do now.


Louis Virtel: Also, I remember one time specifically, like she was like she turned to his name is John McDaid anyway, and she turned to John McDonald, the band Lancz. She goes, Gwen Burden died, and then she like, goes on a tangent about how great Gwen Burton was, and it’s like, That’s a celebrity death. You could. I mean, like most talk show host would or any show wouldn’t acknowledge, you know, like, that’s an old name, maybe a forgotten name, but she’s like, No, no, no, no, let me stick my neck out and be like, You have to know who this is. Go see the cocoon movies, whatever like that kind of curating and being like, This is a rad thing that will make you happy. You know, like, it was so great


Danny Pellegrino: and so respectful to on her YouTube channel, she’s uploading all these interviews every day. She uploads one from the original show, and it’s so apparent how many celebrities that were older or sort of past their prime at the time she would have on and gives so much reverence to it wasn’t just like a a third segment on the show for three minutes, it was like they would be the main guest, even though it was clear in 96 or 97 they weren’t a huge star anymore. But she paid them respect in a way that now you turn on a talk show and it’s just they don’t have those kind of people on anymore if they’re sort of past their prime.


Ira Madison III: No, I was always really inspired by that aspect, and I think I think, you know, I guess pop culture podcast was like, that’s the thing that we’ve definitely taken in the keep it. You know, like and like, I think you do as well, you know, it’s like you realize people. I think growing up with stuff like Rosie’s show, like Create got this sort of interest in nostalgia, you know, for lack of a better term. You know, when people who are, you know, may consider past their prime, but you know, it’s there can be interest in people like that. And movies like that and pop culture like that, it’s just that, you know, like you’re constantly surrounded by people who want newer, newer things. I would love to talk to Rosie O’Donnell about her love of Tom Cruise, because that is the one thing that she and I have in common. And I wonder if she’s the one who did it to me. I wonder if she’s the one who did it to me.


Danny Pellegrino: She did. Ira, I love what you just said, and I think there’s such a though people who are sort of have been in the industry for a while, they have so much more interesting stories. I had Beverly D’Angelo on my show very early on and it was like her. It was so fascinating how when she was on the set of hair, she had to be weighed every day and she talked about like the pressure of that. And it’s like these stories that have just sort of gotten lost in time that are very fascinating to pop culture junkies like us. And I think that gets lost when you’re just sort of chasing the next TikTok star or whoever it is for an interview. I think those other people have more interesting stories and the Tom Cruise stuff. I love the Tommy. Can you hear me?


Louis Virtel: Oh yeah


Ira Madison III: I wonder what she thinks about him now.


Danny Pellegrino: She likes him.


Ira Madison III: She still does?


Danny Pellegrino: He still sends her, I think, on Christmas or her birthday. I forget which. Like a cake and a card. So she always says I heard in an interview. She said, You know, he’s always been super nice, although she doesn’t agree with the other stuff.


Louis Virtel: You know who I do think is generally good at bringing, like older celebrities and talking about their career comprehensively as Andy Cohen went like when, like Jane Fonda is on his show, like, Oh, we’re going to actually get good questions here, like people who have, like, not just have an interest in her old movies or whatever, but like, you know what the gossip was about them even at the time, and can interact with that. And like, he’s a little bit more salacious than a Rosie O’Donnell would be. But I’m always that’s like the mode of Andy Cohen. I like the most is like that. There’s just an old school fag hanging out in there, you know?


Danny Pellegrino: And I love that. And the research team, I watch what happens live, they always get these like hidden gems that I think we always want to know about. And yeah, I prefer when he has those kind of guests on and gets to dove in. And it’s interesting when you look at the ratings, it’s like when there’s a housewife on. It’s always like their highest rated. But I always love when he has just a random, older celebrity, and I love that they pair weird people.


Louis Virtel: Yeah. Mm hmm. Now we have to get into this book. Namely, I’m always interested in reading about we’re close to the same age gay adolescent trauma because I’m like, Oh, I wonder how relatable I will find this. The answer is extremely there was really no these stories, and it’s like, Well, I was there. But Ryan Phillippe in that movie, I remember that. Look, yup. All these things. What were you particularly excited to represent about that time in your life? Or were you excited?


Danny Pellegrino: You know, I was very excited, I just wanted to be honest and open, and one of the things that was very important to me was like not shying away from like the gay ness of all these conversations and the stories in the book. Because, you know, one of my favorite books as a young teen or when I was starting to come out of the closet when I lived in Chicago after college was like this book called Swish. And it was an author, Joel Dufner, and it was him talking openly about it. He had pop culture references. He talked about gay sex and relationships and all of these things that as a young person reading that it was so influential to me because I thought, Oh, look, my life can be OK, because at that time, there weren’t a whole lot of people in media who were gay. I mean, we had Will and grace, and we had a small handful of people who are representative of the LGBTQ community, but it wasn’t a ton. And so I I what I wanted this book to not only be funny and have all the nostalgia and family stories that are hopefully really funny to anyone. But I wanted the the gay stuck to also be in there so that if there’s some young kid in Ohio or in the Midwest reading it, he can maybe see that you can be all of these things. You can have a good relationship with your family. You can have a career, you can have gay sex, you can have it all. And not maybe that sounded weird. You can have it all, but you guys got it, I guess.


Louis Virtel: Well, gay sex is it all. So there you have it.


Yeah, relax?


I used to think that way about Michael Musto. I remember reading all his columns, his village voice days where I related to not just the fact that he was clearly gay and a pop culture knowledgeable, but like he treated the subjects with equal kind of admiration and suspicion, like he came in there with like a preexisting sarcasm, and that was his and his alone. And then he got to have fun with them and go out with them, too. And it’s like, that’s basically how I live my life. You know, it’s like, I may be rolling my eyes at you from time to time, but I’m going to have a good time with you too.


Danny Pellegrino: Right. There’s this little section where I was going through kind of like the gay awakenings that I had around, like, well, this or whatever. And there were so many, and I kept emailing my editor to add them. It was supposed to be just like this little tiny paragraph where it said, like, you know, Ryan Filippi and cruel intentions. But I just kept thinking of so many, and I wanted to ask, you guys like, what was I? What was your was there one or two that was your gay awakening that you remember seeing in pop culture, whether it be, well, in a movie TV show?


Louis Virtel: I have to say when when you ask a question like this, I’m surprised how I think broadly things like how a ton of people would say the things I’m about to say, like, it’s not like I had like a secret one that’s like unusual or anything, but a main one is Jesse Metcalf on Desperate Housewives. Mm hmm. That was like a particularly kind of Pawnee heart that I wasn’t used to seeing in primetime.


Ira Madison III: Ugh mine specifically is David Silvera from the band Korn in those.


Louis Virtel: Here we go.


Ira Madison III: Calvin Klein jean commercials. Sorry, those Calvin Klein jean ads that were in like magazines like Teen People and shit, which I got because, like, you know, I Sarah Michelle Gallagher was on the cover, but also like, I really liked reading teen people, and I had a subscription to teen people in like middle school. But they were like, these dirty like c k ads. Like he was like sitting on top of a car or like leg. I’m like the desert in them, and they were really hot to me.


Danny Pellegrino: Yeah. You know, just now that you’re saying that, I’m thinking of the candy’s ad with Mark McGrath with, Oh yeah, yeah.


Louis Virtel: Mark McGrath. Very seminal. Yes, definitely.


Ira Madison III: And I mean, speaking of like the teen people, I feel like there’s a specific set of like younger gay men. And we probably all have like podcasts now and right in the media. But who, like as a kid, had subscriptions to magazines like Entertainment Weekly, R.I.P. the print version and like TV Guide and things like that? Was that like a thing that you did or did you like devour like your parents’ versions of them? Because I remember specifically the point where I was like, I need my own subscriptions to these things, and I was allowed to have them as a kid.


Danny Pellegrino: Yeah, I think Entertainment Weekly was so important to me, and I remember asking for that for my birthday. That was like the gift I wanted was a subscription to Entertainment Weekly. Like, I feel devastated that the print issue is gone because I still get the print issue. But that and then I remember there was a certain point where I asked for a details magazine because remember, it was like a little details.


Ira Madison III: The details was a magazine. No. It was a magazine for fagots. Yeah, it was. It’s not. It’s not still around. It is a magazine that I would love to reboot or see like some sort of like. I don’t know, like Netflix series about like the creation of details or something for a younger gay kid, like. Details was sort of the alternative of reading like a GQ or Esquire, because that felt like, Oh, these are like men in suits or whatever, you know? And like details always felt like it was a safe version of, like the advocate.


Louis Virtel: Hmm. Yeah.


Danny Pellegrino: Yeah. I remember getting going to the Borders bookstore, and I would get my like straight ish magazines or my USA today, and I’d put it over like the advocate and some of the gay magazines. And then go read it in the corner of the cafe because yeah, you couldn’t treally get them all.


Ira Madison III: Definitely. We definitely all have that. I think universal thing of how do you read the advocate or another gay or like out magazine at the bookstore without anyone knowing that you are reading this magazine? It’s always like collecting it with the others reading it, like in one corner of the cafe.


Louis Virtel: Oh, I remember very distinctly buying my first Madonna CD, the immaculate collection, and sandwiching it between two Weird Al CDs. And did you know that that was not clever because the woman at the counter is scanning that and she goes, Madonna? Like that? I was like, I thought we were in this together, Lady Ally.


Danny Pellegrino: Yeah, I worked at a Borders and I remember a family friend who was married to a woman. He came with a stack and he didn’t know that I worked there and he must not have seen me when he was in line. But he came and he was buying a gay magazine sandwiched in between stuff. And I’m like checking. I’m checking him out and noticing it. I could see the look of terror on his face because he was married and this was back in Ohio, and I don’t even know what happened. He’s still married, but I it’s like, Yeah, I remember which good for him, you know, do whatever you want. But I remember seeing the look in his eyes and he, like, thought he was fooling borders. I was, you know, him checking him out.


Ira Madison III: I mean, that that was always the funny part of, you know, schemes that we all pulled. You know, it’s like, you know, feel like we were like hiding being gay, you know, because like taking the magazines up together, it’s I don’t know what part of my mind thought that like, Oh, he’s just going to swipe past its magazine without knowing that I have out in it. I actually, I think I actually just stole out magazines and advocates.


Danny Pellegrino: You know,] what,  you got to do whay you got to do. That’s why they’re no longer with us, some of the magazines,


Louis Virtel: because you were stealing the Shy Jackson issue.


Ira Madison III: Yeah, I did. And then once I started working at once, I started working at the borders in Chicago. It was easier for me to just sort of like buy them without letting people now.


Danny Pellegrino: I miss the bookstores.


Louis Virtel: Ugh, me too


Ira Madison III: I would say lastly, by other gay awakening was at a borders bookstore. It was literally right before I came out in college, and there was this older gay man who was like one of my managers there. And it was right when emancipation of Mimi came out and he was so into that album, and I was so into that album that he like, I wasn’t out yet. But the way he talked to me and connected with me, it was like my first time, like really having like an older gay adult friend. And I think, you know, Mariah Carey did that for me, and then I came out like a couple of months later because I felt comfortable interacting with him.


Danny Pellegrino: Louis, I need Louis. I’m sorry. I need to ask you because Ira’s been on my show, I always ask my guests their favorite Mariah song. And since she came up, I just need yours.


Louis Virtel: Oh, well, I mean, it does change often, but my answer is the MTV unplugged version of Make It Happen.


Danny Pellegrino: Oh yes.Classic


Louis Virtel: The sauciness of it. Not that she’s not often a saucy performer, but that’s my favorite album of hers. I love a short album and it’s just a complete slay and you believe it. She’s like, I believe in the stakes of that song when she sings it


Danny Pellegrino: well and that whole album, it was such a fuck you to everyone because at that time, everyone was saying, Oh, she’s not touring, it’s all studio magic. She can’t really sing it’s all studio magic because she was recording an album every year so she couldn’t tour. And so she did the unplugged and everyone’s like, Oh shit, she really can sing.


Louis Virtel: Also meanwhile, that’s such a silly thing to think, because obviously that’s the era of like Milli Vanilli and like people yelling at Paula Abdul, wondering if she was singing on the record and stuff. It’s like, Guys, does this sound like Milli Vanilli or Paula Abdul? Come on, do some detective work.


Ira Madison III: I love how it still does. I love how that shit still doesn’t work now. Like everyone like the general public just assumes like people don’t sing anymore. Like it comes every time. Like Gaga, does like a live performance or something, there’s always tweets where people are like, Oh my God, she’s a really good singer. It’s like, What have you been missing?


Louis Virtel: Yeah.


Ira Madison III: That’s that’s the whole point. Like she can sing.


Louis Virtel: Danny, thank you so much for being you, covered everything. So thank you for covering absolutely everything with us.


Danny Pellegrino: Oh my God, my pleasure. I love you both. I love Keep It. I hope I didn’t disappoint listeners because I just love you guys so much and thank you and buy my book.


Louis Virtel: That’s exactly what they should do. And when we’re back art that was hell to make.




So as we said, Kyle has written a beloved New York Times bestselling book, Blood, Sweat and Chrome, which gets into the insane history of Mad Max Fury Road, a movie that I’m going to watch again right after this, by the way, isn’t it like 90 minutes?


Kyle Buchanan: It’s two hours, but it flies by, truly flies by.


Louis Virtel: It’s like the way people listen to a podcast on one point five speed. That’s how this movie feels.


Kyle Buchanan: Very that.


Louis Virtel: And so we’re going get into a conversation now about our favorite stuff that either took forever to make or was hell to make and and ended up being something we loved. So it was ultimately worth it. Kyle, what? What’s the first thing that comes to mind for you?


Kyle Buchanan: Well, maybe it’s because I’ve been recently rewatching it in the wake of And Just Like That , but Sex and the City. I mean, people don’t say it was hard to make, but I am scrutinizing every single Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall scene,.


Louis Virtel: Right.


Kyle Buchanan: Because they didn’t get along, and that’s something that they talked around for a long time, you know? Sarah Jessica Parker always said, No, no, no, we got along. It was fine. You know, just some other stuff that won’t be spelled out, but alluded to. And then as the years went on, it became more evident that there was some sort of feud. Michael Patrick King, you know, who ran the show, said that basically there was Cynthia Nixon, there was Kristin Davis, there was Sarah Jessica Parker. They had their friendship click and Kim never mentally clicked over. And then, of course, you know, everything that was happening when they were going to revive the franchise. And Kim said she wanted no part really went after Sarah Jessica Parker on Instagram. So I’m watching all of these scenes now kind of being like, I wonder what it was like to get those two women, you know, to sort of be able to hit those marks and completely convince us that they were best friends because they’re really great together onscreen and they don’t shy away from having them, you know, share the space. So even if they weren’t getting along, or even if it wasn’t easy, they really did manage to be professionals once that camera turned on, you know, it was not a Good Wife situation where you had to C-G-I-N you know, two women who hated each other. When they were working, when you know, when they had lines and characters to inhabit, they were incredible together.


Louis Virtel: I think the tension could probably help in that case because it gives you something to break when you’re having friendly moments on screen. And obviously, those two characters in particular had such dynamic energy by chance. Have you seen Kim Cattrall’s Criterion Collection Closet video?


Kyle Buchanan: She did a closet video?


Louis Virtel: Oh, she did. Oh okay.


Kyle Buchanan: Does she scat in it?


Louis Virtel: No, she does not. That’s a different video. I’m referencing two things here. First of all, the Criterion Collection does this thing where they invite, you know, Paul Thomas Anderson types usually but occasionally actors into their closet to pick out, you know, prestigious and sometimes obscure films from their catalog in this big closet. And people explain why they like these movies. And anyway, out of nowhere, Kim Cattrall did one and she was giving “I’ve heard of movies.” She was giving. I take this seriously. I’m prestige, and I do have to say there was a bit of obvious pretense there in a way that I don’t associate with Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon or Kristin Davis. And to me, it sort of spelled out the differences between them.


Kyle Buchanan: You know, I had heard for a long time that a little bit of Valerie Cherish in the comeback comes from Kim Cattrall working with her on Sex and the City because they share Michael Patrick King in common. And it does make me wonder what Valerie Cherish would be like if she went to the Criterion Closet and had to


Louis Virtel: *laughs*


Kyle Buchanan: make sense of these movies that she has obviously never heard of.


Louis Virtel: Oh my God. Picnic at Hanging Rock. I love a picnic. Yeah, Sex and the City is a great answer. Also, I just want to talk about the problem I have with Sex and the City. Whereas if I put one episode on, I have suddenly watched seven.


Kyle Buchanan: Oh truly.


Louis Virtel: And not just not just because they’re on E! And you get like these 14 minute versions where, like Samantha doesn’t have a storyline because they can’t say the word sex on E or something. But those episodes just slip by. It is just the most bingeable TV for me. I feel that way about that show the way most people feel about like, I don’t know, I guess, Squid Game or something.


Kyle Buchanan: Or breathing.


Louis Virtel: Yeah, right?


Kyle Buchanan: It happened so simply and you just keep doing it. But yeah, no, it’s fascinating to think about. I mean, like if you really want to get to a piece of art, that’s incredible. That was obviously held to make, you know, because there have been literal rumors about it for so long. The album rumors by, Fleetwood Mac.


Louis Virtel: Oh man, I was going to bring it up.


Kyle Buchanan: Christine McVie had.


Louis Virtel: Yes. We are mighty and incredibly quiet. We are mighty and largely respectable. Yeah, no. I mean, it’s mind blowing that after that album came out in 1977 that we still don’t have the definitive telling of that album and that there’s not a musical or that there isn’t a mini-series or something. And I know I’m I know I’m vexing it now. I know Ryan Murphy’s licking his lips. I know it’s going to occur, but obviously it’s an incredibly strange story. Because first of all, that was a relatively new line up for Fleetwood Mac only a couple of years earlier for their self-titled album. Did Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks join the group? And then there were two women in a group which, aside from the Mamas and the Papas, it simply isn’t done, people. OK? We were still integrating integrating groups of well into the 70s. But you had all these clashing presences, people breaking up, Christine’s hooking up with the lighting director, and that’s what the song You Make Loving Fun is about. My favorite track on the album,.


Kyle Buchanan: Your favorite song.


Louis Virtel: I just had to name drop that song. But I think the weird thing about that album is speaking of the Criterion Closet. It’s what it really is is like a Rashomon, right? It’s like all these perspectives on a similar conflict kind of happening in the group. So you get Lindsey Buckingham freaking out on second hand news. You get Stevie Nicks talking about whatever gold dust is on gold, dust women. You get gold dust woman. You get Christine McVie sort of vying for optimism on Don’t Stop. And I just want to say something that is so hard for me is that Don’t Stop is probably her definitive Fleetwood Mac song, and it is easily not in my favorite 30 Fleetwood Mac songs or Christine McVie songs, so I always have to do a little bit of defense on her part.


Kyle Buchanan: You know, it is crazy to me, like you said, that we haven’t gotten any sort of movie or retelling of it. We’re getting them about every musician or band that ever lived. And somehow there’s not a jukebox musical about them creating rumors, especially given like all the crazy conflict, and it’s a juicy conflict of breakups and hooking up and having affairs. But my question to you is, if we did get a movie, who would you cast?


Louis Virtel: Well, of course you remember 10 years ago or so there were there was supposed to be a Dennis Wilson biopic with Aaron Eckhart as Dennis Wilson and Christine McVie, his lover, was supposed to be played by Vera Farmiga. Which I mean, I think like that time has passed that it simply wouldn’t work


Kyle Buchanan: still incredible


Louis Virtel: right now. I mean, my hands were in the air. It’s like I was on a roller coaster reading that variety blurb or whatever. But now who would I pick? God. Who has that kind of like? First of all, the voice has to be there for me, so it has to have like a


Kyle Buchanan: I love that you’re going straight to casting Christine McVie. Not Stevie Nicks.


Louis Virtel: Oh no. Right.


Kyle Buchanan: The most important person in Fleetwood Mac to Louis Virtel is Christine McVie.


Louis Virtel: Right. No, I’m sad that we even had to bring up Stevie. No. If you will. This may seem crazy. I feel like Stevie is easier to act like.


Kyle Buchanan: In a way.


Louis Virtel: You know? Well, of course. Lucy Lawless and Stevie Nicks Fajita round up from Saturday Night Live, one of the greatest and also shortest sketches of all time. Must you must go and find this because it is a brilliant comic portrayal of Stevie Nicks, but started with Christine McVie. Hmm. Who’s like the thirty something to polish bluesy, sophisticated person who could play that role? God, I mean, we were just talking about Florence Pugh. She’s not 30 in the context of Madonna, who would it be? Do you have an answer? It’s not coming to mind for me.


Kyle Buchanan: I was going to say Florence Pugh for Stevie,


Louis Virtel: that could work. That definitely could work because she’s Florence just anyway has like that similar like whatever vibe. Like, if she were giving an interview and suddenly a tambourine appeared in her hand, I wouldn’t be surprised, you know?


Kyle Buchanan: And there’s this sort of like throaty worldliness to her voice that I think she could do really effectively with Stevie.


Louis Virtel: Yeah, right?


Kyle Buchanan: We could mocap. It could be Andy Circus.


Louis Virtel: Oh my God.


Kyle Buchanan: Actually, we could mo cap and it could be Louis Virtel.


Louis Virtel: That’s true.


Kyle Buchanan: Anything is possible these days.


Louis Virtel: You know what? You know what I’ll say, and this seems so basic I’m still coming off the fumes of how good Emma Stone was in Battle of the Sexes. I thought that was a very underrated performance, and I think she could do Christine. I think she could.


Kyle Buchanan: That would be interesting to see. Yes. Well, I mean, definitely if Christine end up being the star of the film as she would be if you were making it. That’s correct. Emma would have a juicy part to play.


Louis Virtel: Do you have are you a fan of Rumors Yourself? Are you a big fan of that album?


Kyle Buchanan: Am I a fan of Rumors? Yes, I’m a fan of rumors. I’m a fan of Fleetwood Mac just entirely. I mean, I love Tusk. Any time I go on a road trip by myself, Tusk is the very first thing that I play. For whatever reason, yeah, I love it. I love Fleetwood Mac.


Louis Virtel: Wouldn’t you think Tusk was the album that the tumult that produced rumors actually produced because Tusk is full of like weird half ideas? It’s full of Coke-y Energy. It’s full of like, you know, the consternation feeling that was obviously in the band at the time. I do. Tusk has never been my favorite album. I like the song Tusk. I like Think About Me. Oh, Diane. But I much prefer actually the self-titled Fleetwood Mac app, which has the great Christine McVie song Say You Love Me and also Warm Ways. Oh, I love watery music.


Kyle Buchanan: Tusk is kind of like a Jane Campion speech. Not as problematic, but you’re really like, Where’s this going to go? You’re white knuckling it the whole time. There are surprises.


Louis Virtel: Do they mean this? Yeah, right? Do you know what? Another movie that took forever to make that I think is a complete triumph is the original Toy Story took five years to make. I was actually shocked to learn that the original Sleeping Beauty was originally proposed in 1951 and then didn’t get into theaters until 1959. I know animation is always a struggle, but my God, like is anybody that passionate about Sleeping Beauty? Like, we simply have to get this wonderful story to the screen.


Kyle Buchanan: Yeah, I remember reading that the big challenge with Toy Story wasn’t just even like, you know, the computer generated graphics. It was making Woody less of a dick. And the very funny thing in retrospect is that the man they hired to do a rewrite to make Woody less of a dick was Joss Whedon. .


Louis Virtel: Oh God. Well, that’s too bad.


Kyle Buchanan: And Woody is still a dick in Toy Story one.


Louis Virtel: I thought I thought you meant they had a digital ad about Tim Allen’s problematic asides that he got making into the microphone or something.


Kyle Buchanan: Do you think Annie Potts as Bo Peep and Toy Story is sort of the Christine McVie of Toy Story?


Louis Virtel: Woof! Now you’ve really said something.


Kyle Buchanan: Yeah. Word salad.


Louis Virtel: Bo Peep though, hard to stan. Like, what was she really giving ultimately? And also, why would he have Bo Peep?


Kyle Buchanan: Yeah, I don’t get that either. Some reason my ex boyfriend, Sebastian, was super into Bo peep in that movie was like extremely upset that that character got folded out of the franchise for a little while. I’m like, you you and only you have that opinion. Even Annie Potts does not care.


Louis Virtel: No, right? I will say I liked that her kind of face had that very old classic Barbie look like 1960. Barbara Millicent Rogers Look. But otherwise, no, I know Annie Potts. I’m still mostly stan-ing her from Any Day Now and Designing Women.


Kyle Buchanan: Exactly.


Louis Virtel: Well, those are some of our favorite problematic things that occur. Also, you know what? I watched Apocalypse Now recently. I actually really did like it


Kyle Buchanan: Was that the first time you’d ever seen it?


Louis Virtel: No, I saw it. I think in a cinema studies class when I was 14. But can I just say, that is the problem with being a movie fan? You can’t just watch it once and then you’ve collected that thing forever. Eventually, you realize, Oh, I need to rewatch this thing that I only have a vague memory of because I saw it, you know, whatever, in a college lecture hall when I was 19, you’ve got to refresh. But anyway, do I sound like someone who would recommend Apocalypse Now? No. Go ahead and watch that.


Kyle Buchanan: Yeah. Not a lot of actressing in Apocalypse Now.


Louis Virtel: There sure is not. We will be right back.


Louis Virtel: And we’re back with the spiciest part of the episode. Arguably the rudest,


Kyle Buchanan: This will be very rude. Yes.


Louis Virtel: Oh, I’m excited. Great. I’m ready to put on my Stephanie Tanner “how rude” boys for you. It’s Keep It. And Kyle Buchanan, I think you you are familiar with the attitude that one should imbue a Keep It with, and I’m excited to hear what you have to offer here.


Kyle Buchanan: I must issue my Keep It to everyone saying that the Batman is the sexiest Batman movie ever. A lot of people I love and respect are saying this, and they are simply wrong. Zoe Kravitz? Hot. As a person. Robert Pattinson? Hot. Magazine shoots that they’re doing? Also hot. But those things do not make for the sexiest Batman movie. This is a Bruce Wayne who has probably never had sex in his life.


Louis Virtel: Mmmhmm.


Kyle Buchanan: There is no sexual energy to the film beyond just appreciating how beautiful actors are and when people say this is the sexiest Batman movie ever. It’s giving real “I’ve only seen one Batman” energy. Like, Nicole Kidman as Dr. Chase Meridian did not throw herself a Batman and use the bat signal like a “you up?” text to be paid dust like this. She wanted to fuck Batman so bad. That was like the lustiest performance, just shy of The Paper Boy, that Nicole Kidman has ever given. That is like the performance that you gave when you’ve been married to Tom Cruise for 11 years. Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman Come on like incredible sexual energy. Chris O’Donnell and Val Kilmer? Hot. Joel Schumacher, who directed those movies, had sex with what? Up to twenty thousand people? It shows. Those movies are so sexual to the point where, like, they had to start walking it back. Like the Chris Nolan movies. Yes, I will concede, not sexy at all. Because they push things too far. And I do kind of want you to push things a little too far when it comes to sexy Batman.


Louis Virtel: I would say the new Batman movie is as sexy as the song, Something In The Way off Never Mind. Which I believe plays nine times during the course of the film. It is the dreariest song. It is the dreariest movie. For a movie with that runtime, I did find it bearable to watch. Sometimes sometimes a snooze, mostly bearable. But you’re right like that. The quote unquote tension between those two characters when they started kissing it was like two like gothic portraits were being pressed together or something. It was not. It was not giving, “oh, it’s time to fuck.”


Kyle Buchanan: When they start kissing, it is the moment in the movie where you can tell. Both characters acknowledge “well we’re in a movie and we should kiss”, and I do feel like there’s a kinship that they have, but it’s not sexy. Go ahead and have sex. What’s stopping you? It’s three hours long. Have a sex scene in there. Like, I don’t know when people say this is the sexiest Batman movie. Every director has kind of come at the sexiness of Batman in a different way. Tim Burton was like perverted and weird and making you wonder if you find a comedian hot. Michael Keaton. Not the sexiest person, but, you know, opposite the women he was cast as made him kind of sexy just by soaking that in. Even someone like Zack Snyder. Like, one thing Zack Snyder will do is show you a hot man. Like, and he will give that man a shirtless scene. He is so heterosexual that it becomes like homosexual adjacent. Like he’s the guy in the frat house who like, touches your bicep and is like, you’ve been left and bro? Like, he appreciates that, you know? And so when people say this is the sexiest Batman ever, I wish I could go on that journey with you. I will look at their magazine photo shoots and pretend that was the film that I saw.


Louis Virtel: Wow, Lady Freeze really pulled your plug this week. My God.


Kyle Buchanan: Yeah. They will not be sending me to the cooler.


Louis Virtel: I want to shout out on SNL this week, when Zoe Kravitz hosted. Kate McKinnon donned the Michelle Pfeiffer Batman Returns apparel and made a joke because I’m a cat who has a whip. Like, how? Why did we put a whip with the cat? It’s so shocking, but


Kyle Buchanan: I guess a cat tail is kind of like a whip. I mean, literally a cat of nine tails, right? That’s true. Also, the outfit, I mean, like, again, Zoe, hot. She looks good in it, but it’s like, embrace it. If you are going to embrace the fact that your main character is literally dressed in like a $100000 bat suit stomping around like these like normal ass crime scenes. Then you can let Catwoman look like a cat. Not just have like a hat that might have this slight suggestion of cat ears. It’s like, Come on, go for it, embrace it, go wild. And that’s what I wanted. I want a little bit more wildness. I think Batman is sexier when it feels wilder.


Louis Virtel: Did you know that one time I met Julie Newmar and I asked her who her favorite Catwoman was, and she said, Michelle, so, taste.


Kyle Buchanan: Hey, there you fucking go. Yes, I mean, yeah, anyone with any taste thinks Michelle is the not just the hottest Catwoman woman ever. Not just the best Catwoman ever, but to me the best performance we’ve gotten in any comic book movie. And listen, sometimes they get it right, and sometimes Hollywood is interested in those movies, but that is a performance that deserves an.


Louis Virtel: Michelle Pfeiffer is also one of those people where it like the x axis of talent and the y axis of hotness are like unbelievably high together. We rarely get that. That’s what I call the Marlon Brando quotient, you know, incredible.


Kyle Buchanan: And not just someone who happens to be talented, but someone who’s like, deeply talented and can give interestingly talented performances. Yes, definitely.


Louis Virtel: My Keep It this week ran amok on Twitter. It is baffling and built for snark. The Bite My Thumb Community Group of Britain, a theater group, issued a statement following a performance of rent, which you might know is a rock musical that was actually a movie this awards season. Kyle called Tick, Tick Boom about the life of  Jonathan Larson, who in fact ended up writing Rent. You’re going to like it anyway. Somebody stormed out of this production after the song Today for You, which Angel, the drag queen of the show, sings in a, you know, fruity fashion. Somebody stormed out after screaming, I didn’t realize this show was about gays. What did you think it was about? Did you? In order to get the tickets, didn’t you have to type rent into the computer? Don’t like the doesn’t the drag queen appear initially? I mean, like the clothing choices alone, a lot of it’s in a city. The word rent implies there’s going to be a gay person somewhere just by sheer virtue of the fact that people are paying to live in a city. It’s just one of these painful, I know, like homophobia is real and horrifying, and people just scream things at random and people are victimized by sheer virtue of being next to someone they don’t even know. Come on you. It is on you to know that a show might have a gay person and it’s a theater. My God, the usher is probably gay. Jesus Christ.


Kyle Buchanan: I don’t want to say that this person is a crisis actor, but if I were in that performance and somebody stood up and shouted that it would be the most incredible performance of rent, I think I probably would have ever seen like it would have been turbo charged with camp. It would have. It’s if anything like made the whole thing gay-er just because you would be talking about it and excited about it for, you know, at least two weeks.


Louis Virtel: I mean, la vie boheme right there. You know what I’m saying? Live in it. Who is your favorite cast member from the original Rent, Kyle?


Kyle Buchanan: Well, the thing is, the only time I ever saw rent on stage, you know, we’re not talking about the movie version. I saw it in a touring production. Amy Nicholson brought me to it because she was reviewing it for the L.A. Weekly, and the star was Constantine Maroulis.


Louis Virtel: Fuck Yeah! Oh my god, do I miss the era of Idol, like runners up, maybe getting Tony nominated? I loved that.


Kyle Buchanan: And you know what, Louis? It was terrible. It was so bad. I was like, Wait, is this supposed to be good? Is this just a bad touring production? What’s going on? I really wish someone had stood up and decried how gay it was. I wish it had been gay enough to prompt that sort of reaction. I wish I had stood up and done that and stormed out.


Louis Virtel: You know, it’s something we get in L.A. that people should be jealous about is at the Hollywood Bowl every year they stage a musical and it’s only it’s very short lived, but they will stunt cast it and it’s always so surprising who gets into these roles. I believe I brought her up once this episode already, I saw Chicago, not just with Ashlee Simpson as Roxie Hart and not just Drew Carey as Billy Bigelow, but Lucy Lawless as Mama, which was not intuitive casting. But my God was I eating that up.


Kyle Buchanan: Perfect perfect to me, actually.


Louis Virtel: So I think the best version we got of that was Nicole Scherzinger in oh, in in Rent, I believe. That’s right.


Kyle Buchanan: Yeah. Didn’t she do it at the bowl?


Louis Virtel: Correct? Nicole Scherzinger, my favorite person, we just who has like who is like an a on so many metrics of talent, and yet we are absolutely puzzled what she should be doing in this lifetime.


Kyle Buchanan: Christine McVie as Mimi, could you see it?


Louis Virtel: I mean, you’re you’re doing this to see my reaction.


Kyle Buchanan: Yes, I am.


Louis Virtel: This is this is like Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe?


Kyle Buchanan: Because pocasting is a visual medium.


Louis Virtel: You’re getting the guests right now. Yeah. No. I can’t see that. I don’t see Christine. She’s not, shall we say, overly expressive.


Kyle Buchanan: She she would bring untapped and untappable reserves to the role.


Louis Virtel: Right, right. Arguably only reserved to the role. Kyle, thank you so much for being here. My God. I mean, you’re in addition to being a great friend and a legend of Los Angeles. You are a wonderful talker and wonderful lover of movies. So thank you for bringing all of that to this.


Kyle Buchanan: Anytime LV.


Louis Virtel: Also, for L.A. resident people, I want to say that I will be at the Hammer Museum this Saturday introducing the weirdest fucking thing. We’re screening, the 1962 Emmy Awards because it’s been 60 years since 1962, which sounds unbelievable, but it’s true. And I’ll be talking about how marvelous this telecast is. Come and join us. I think we should all be watching archived award shows in theaters, and I’m hoping this kick starts a trend.


Kyle Buchanan: Please tell me, how did this come about? Because this is such a fever dream of you-ness? Like, did they ask you to do this? Did this just come out from you?


Louis Virtel: Yeah, no. They sent me an email. They’re like, Well, you seem like, you know, the kind of weirdo who’s into this sort of thing. And I said, I literally said, This is so strange. I have to do it. I have to do it. You know,


Kyle Buchanan: it’s so you that must have been the fastest. Yes, you’ve ever given.


Louis Virtel: Yes. No, no. When they when I got asked by the Oscars to do the red carpet, I’m like, Oh, good, so someone can hear me right? Like, I belong somewhere. OK, great. Great. Anyway, thank you for joining us. Also, Blood, Sweat and Chrome by Kyle Buchanan is in bookstores now. We’ll see you next week. Keep It as a Crooked Media production. Our senior producer is Kendra James. Our producer is Caroline Reston and our associate producer is Brian Semel. Our executive producer is Ira Madison III. But I, Louis Virtel, do a good job too. Our audio engineers are Charlotte Landes and Kyle Seglin, and the show is mixed and edited by Charlotte Landes. Thank you to our digital team Matt DeGroot, Nar Melkonian and Milo Kim for production support every week.