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Original Content podcast: Apple’s ‘Ted Lasso’ is all about relentless optimism

Your enjoyment of “Ted Lasso” — a sports comedy that debuted on Apple TV+ last year — will probably depend on how you respond to the titular football coach played by Jason Sudeikis.
As we discuss on the latest episode of the Original Content podcast, the show’s setup is deliberately over-the-top and ridiculous with Rebecca Walton (Hannah Waddingham) taking ownership of the AFC Richmond football (a.k.a. soccer) team after an acrimonious divorce, then recruiting American football coach Ted Lasso as its new manager, despite his complete ignorance of the game.
Anthony and Jordan found Ted to be charming, and …

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Original Content podcast: Netflix’s ‘Lupin’ is a twisty delight

The new Netflix series “Lupin” is a loose adaptation of the Arséne Lupin stories by Maurice Leblanc, but it’s set in the present day, with a hero who’s inspired by the exploits of Leblanc’s fictional “gentleman thief.”
Through flashbacks, we meet Assane Diop (played by Omar Sy) as a young Senegalese immigrant who has recently arrived in Paris with his father. As an adult, he’s transformed himself into an impossible-to-catch thief and master of disguise.
While some of Assane’s schemes have a satisfying clockwork intricacy, others rely more on his willingness to walk into any …

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Original Content podcast: Pixar’s ‘Soul’ offers a lively visit to pre-pandemic New York

For the latest episode of the Original Content podcast, we looked back at “Soul,” which was released on Disney+ at the end of last year.
The new Pixar film tells the story of Joe Gardner, a high school music teacher and jazz musician voiced by Jamie Foxx. Joe seems to be on the verge of his big break when he accidentally falls down an open manhole, sending him to a distinctly Pixar-ish twist on the afterlife, and eventually on a metaphysical quest to return to his body before an important concert..
Anthony has been wanting to talk about “Soul” for …

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Original Content podcast: Netflix’s ‘White Tiger’ tells a bloody capitalist fable

The new Netflix film “The White Tiger” tells the story of Balram, who is born to a poor family in the Indian village of Laxmangarh and escapes by using his intelligence and determination, ultimately becoming a successful entrepreneur in Bangalore.
Viewers knows this from the start, as Balram (played by Adarsh Gourav) narrates his life story in an email, apparently written to explain his success to China’s visiting head of state. That narration is one of the best things about the movie, providing plenty of black comedy while also allowing Balram to justify his choices in what — by his …

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Original Content podcast: ‘Bridgerton’ is an addictive reimagining of Jane Austen-style romance

“Bridgerton,” the Shondaland drama that launched last month on Netflix, offers a few key updates to the standard formula of Regency-era  romance.
For one thing, there’s a racially diverse cast, with Black actors taking on the role of early 19th-century English nobility and royalty. (At one point, one of the characters offers an unconvincing explanation for why this is the case, but we — and the show — mostly ignored it.) For another, there’s a healthy dose of sex; “Bridgerton” emphatically does not shy away from showing viewers what its unbelievably attractive cast gets up to in the bedroom.
On …

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Original Content podcast: Martin Scorsese and Fran Lebowitz have a good time in ‘Pretend It’s A City’

The concept behind the new Netflix documentary series “Pretend It’s A City” is pretty straightforward: Author Fran Lebowitz talks, while Martin Scorsese (who’s both director and an on-camera presence) listens and laughs.
Lebowitz’s musings across seven episodes are organized by loose themes, such as “Metropolitan Transit” and “Library Services,” with the more recent footage interspersed with clips from older interviews. That’s pretty much it as far as structure goes; while Lebowitz shares a number of amusing anecdotes, there’s no attempt to explore the broader arc of her career or explain why we’re watching a …

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Original Content podcast: ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ might be a beautiful mess, or maybe just a mess

“Wonder Woman 1984” was released on HBO Max on Christmas Day, where it quickly divided the hosts of the Original Content podcast.
Perhaps it was predictable that Anthony — a fan of clunky-but-ambitious superhero sequels like “The Dark Knight Rises” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron” — enjoyed the film. Darrell, meanwhile, took the side of most critics, who found the movie exasperating and even, at times, mystifyingly bad.
The biggest surprise was Jordan, who disliked the first “Wonder Woman” and actually preferred the sequel, thanks in large part to Kristen Wiig’s portrayal of the villainous Cheetah.
Everyone agreed that there were plenty …

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Original Content podcast: ‘The Mandalorian’ season two goes deep into Star Wars mythology

“The Mandalorian” just wrapped up its second season on Disney+, with an action-packed and surprise-filled finale.
In many ways, it feels like a seamless continuation of the first season’s storylines, with the titular bounty hunter searching for a Jedi who can take responsibility for the alien moppet known to the internet as Baby Yoda, while the pair is pursued by the sinister Moff Gideon.
But as we explain on the latest episode of the Original Content podcast, where the first season of “The Mandalorian” felt accessible to anyone, regardless of their level of Star Wars fandom, season two deepens …

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Original Content podcast: The pandemic thriller ‘Songbird’ could have been a lot worse

Let’s be clear: “Songbird” is not a good movie.
It’s hard to see how it could have been any good, since “Songbird” was written shortly after the pandemic began and filmed a few months later — so the filmmakers had to write a screenplay, shoot it in the midst of a pandemic and edit it, all in under a year.
So it feels remarkable that they managed to succeed in at least making an entertaining — if very silly — B-movie. The story is set in the near future, when the lockdown has extended for years and the virus has mutated …

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Original Content podcast: David Fincher presents a compelling character study in ‘Mank’

“Mank” is a change of pace for director David Fincher — instead of exploring the world of startup backstabbing (“The Social Network”), political backstabbing (“House of Cards”) or actual stabbings (“Seven,” “Zodiac,” “Gone Girl,” “Mindhunter” etc.), Fincher takes us back to ’30s and ’40s Hollywood.
Working from a script by Fincher’s late father Jack, the movie is shot and edited to pay homage to the classic studio films of that era — especially “Citizen Kane,” whose co-writer Herman Mankiewicz (played by Gary Oldman) is the “Mank” of the film’s title.
The story jumps back-and-forth in time, showing how Mank became …

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