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Watch With Jen™

Watch With Jen™

Author: Jen Johans

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3-time national award-winning writer & full time walking movie encyclopedia Jen Johans of delivers a steady stream of great movie recommendations, thoughtful career deep dives, & first rate conversations with critics, authors, actors, journalists, filmmakers, and more on Watch With Jen.™️

Originally launched on Patreon (, where new installments premiere first, once each episode is unlocked to the public, you'll be able to find every episode here as well.
203 Episodes
This week, I was so pleased to welcome one of the best film writers currently working today - the wonderful Sheila O'Malley - back to the podcast. A regular film critic for and a member of the prestigious New York Film Critics Circle, Sheila's work has also appeared in Film Comment, The New York Times, The L.A. Times, Criterion Collection, Sight & Sound, and other outlets. Additionally, a scene from her full-length script JULY AND HALF OF AUGUST was turned into a short film, which played at the Albuquerque Film and Music Experience, as well as at EbertFest. She's also written the narration scripts for two tribute reels played at the Lifetime Achievement Oscar ceremony, one for recipient Gena Rowlands (read by Angelina Jolie) and one for recipient Anne V. Coates (read by Diane Lane). Always a must-read, when she isn't doing everything else, Sheila writes about actors, movies, and Elvis at her outstanding personal site, The Sheila Variations. Returning for the first time since last winter when she joined me to discuss BLUE HAWAII on one of our winter physical media episodes, we had so much fun cracking each other up about Elvis movies that we couldn't resist tackling five more together this time. Focusing on a group of films that Sheila considers to be underrated for one reason or another, whether that's because it's a western, features a remarkable performance, or is the epitome of what a '60s Elvis romcom musical could be when it's done well, in this sparkling conversation, we cover KING CREOLE, FLAMING STAR, GIRL HAPPY, LIVE A LITTLE LOVE A LITTLE, & THE TROUBLE WITH GIRLS. Originally Posted on Patreon (9/24/23) here: Theme Music: Solo Acoustic Guitar by Jason Shaw, Free Music Archive Logo:
This week, I'm honored to be joined by not one but two brilliant screenwriters, Larry Karaszewski & Daniel Waters. Larry Karaszewski & his writing/directing/producing partner Scott Alexander are best known for writing unusual true stories such as the films ED WOOD, THE PEOPLE VS. LARRY FLYNT, MAN ON THE MOON, AUTO FOCUS, BIG EYES, DOLEMITE IS MY NAME, & the hit television miniseries THE PEOPLE VS. OJ SIMPSON: AMERICAN CRIME STORY. The team has won Emmys, Golden Globes, Producers, & Writers Guild Awards. Additionally, Larry is also a former Governor & Vice President of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences. Born in Ohio & raised in Indiana, Daniel Waters is the Edgar award-winning screenwriter of the 1988 cult classic HEATHERS starring Winona Ryder & Christian Slater. Additionally, the man who wrote or co-wrote the films BATMAN RETURNS, HUDSON HAWK, THE ADVENTURES OF FORD FAIRLANE, DEMOLITION MAN, & more, he's also the writer-director of HAPPY CAMPERS & SEX & DEATH 101.Dear friends & movie buddies since their teenage years in Indiana, in this witty & well-researched ninety-minute conversation, the two champion the incredible '70s run of filmmaker Michael Ritchie. Focusing on Ritchie's view of America in the films DOWNHILL RACER, PRIME CUT, THE CANDIDATE, SMILE, THE BAD NEWS BEARS, & SEMI-TOUGH, before his wildly uneven '80s era, this episode is a must for '70s film fans. Originally Posted on Patreon (9/18/23) here: Theme Music: Solo Acoustic Guitar by Jason Shaw, Free Music Archive Logo:
Following up on our great Brian De Palma episode with Megan Abbott & Alison Gaylin that was released last week, we have our second of three installments this month featuring two tremendous guests. Centered on one of our greatest film stars in the form of Robert Mitchum, you'll hear two different conversations with two brilliant women, recorded over the course of the summer to clock in at a combined total of two hours. If anyone deserves that much time & attention, it's Robert Mitchum!First up, we have blogger & historian Raquel Stecher, who joins me to cover some of the actor's most famous performances in the films OUT OF THE PAST, BLOOD ON THE MOON, RIVER OF NO RETURN, THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER, & THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE. After that, actress-turned-producer Amy Robinson returns to share her thoughts on the man whose six-decade-spanning career she did a deep dive into during the pandemic. In addition to a general appreciation of what Robert Mitchum brought to film history, she chose to tackle one of his most unexpected & fascinating collaborations with his good friend Deborah Kerr, with whom he starred in the films HEAVEN KNOWS MR. ALLISON, THE SUNDOWNERS, THE GRASS IS GREENER, & REUNION AT FAIRBOROUGH. A wide-ranging conversation that touches on several other memorable films, stars, & directors, you'll want to be sure to listen to this one with a notebook & pen in order to write down all of the titles we work into these two terrific chats. Originally Posted on Patreon (9/13/23) here: Theme Music: Solo Acoustic Guitar by Jason Shaw, Free Music Archive
This week, I am honored to welcome a dynamic duo of acclaimed bestselling crime writers to the podcast & two women who've both won the Edgar and numerous other awards. Additionally, good friends who've also collaborated on the graphic novel NORMANDY GOLD, it's the wonderful partnership of Megan Abbott & Alison Gaylin. Author of such must-reads as DARE ME, THE TURNOUT, & GIVE ME YOUR HAND, Megan Abbott's latest novel BEWARE THE WOMAN is a modern gothic nightmare that you won't be able to put down. Alison Gaylin is the author of such gripping works as IF I DIE TONIGHT, NEVER LOOK BACK, & THE COLLECTIVE, & her latest title is a brand new Sunny Randall novel, ROBERT B. PARKER'S BAD INFLUENCE. Joining me to discuss the career of Brian De Palma, one of our most singular yet controversial filmmakers, in this breathlessly paced, contemplative & infectiously fun conversation, the two writers share their thoughts on the director's works, legacy, critics, popular sources of debate, & the films SISTERS, BLOW OUT, & BODY DOUBLE. As a fun bonus for listeners, similar to the way that I wove voice-over into an earlier fourth-season episode with Megan Abbott devoted to Paul Schrader, once again, I've recruited the vocal talents of a friend (today, in the form of past guest Peter Avellino) to read excerpts from past De Palma interviews I discovered & enjoyed during my research.Originally Posted on Patreon (9/7/23) here: Logo: KateGabrielle.comTheme Music: Solo Acoustic Guitar by Jason Shaw, Free Music Archive
Welcome to the 200th episode of the podcast Watch With Jen. It's a milestone I never anticipated reaching when I launched the show in early 2020. Back then, I wasn't sure if anyone would be interested in listening to me talk about the movies I love. I am so grateful for your listenership & support & hope you'll stay tuned in the future as I continue to celebrate cinema with my knowledgeable, passionate guests. Returning to the podcast this week, we have the impressive critic, in-demand lecturer, & insightful author Mr. Adam Nayman, who longtime listeners will remember hearing last summer around this time as he joined me to discuss the life & career of actress Gene Tierney. A contributor to The Ringer, Criterion, CinemaScope, The New Yorker, & more, additionally, our Toronto-based guest has written thoughtful books on SHOWGIRLS, Ben Wheatley, the Coen brothers, Paul Thomas Anderson, & David Fincher. Analyzing the life, films, & performances of one of classic cinema's greatest actors & activists, in this roughly 65-minute research-filled conversation, Adam & I share observations about both the most landmark films & overlooked turns in the career of Burt Lancaster, & pay close attention to SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS, THE SWIMMER, ATLANTIC CITY, & other favorites as well. Originally Posted on Patreon (8/27/23) here: Theme Music: Solo Acoustic Guitar by Jason Shaw, Free Music Archive Logo:
It's an honor to welcome a good friend & frequent guest back to the podcast. S.A. Cosby (or Shawn as he's known to his pals) is the multi-award-winning NEW YORK TIMES bestselling crime writer of such remarkable novels as BLACKTOP WASTELAND, RAZORBLADE TEARS, & ALL THE SINNERS BLEED. This week, he joins me to celebrate the films of Alan J. Pakula, a great truth teller & director of actors whose career should be discussed far more than it is. In this contemplative, wide-ranging conversation, we take a closer look at the films KLUTE, ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN, & PRESUMED INNOCENT.Originally Posted on Patreon (8/22/23) here: Music: Solo Acoustic Guitar by Jason Shaw, Free Music ArchiveLogo:
I have a pretty busy week lined up so you're getting this new episode early! Returning to the podcast today, we have a fan favorite in the form of Mr. Jordan Harper. One of my dearest friends, this podcast's very first guest, and my Pandemic Movie Club, and Game Night crew buddy, Jordan is the Edgar award-winning author of She Rides Shotgun, Love & Other Wounds, The Last King of California, & Everybody Knows. Additionally, a screenwriter and producer of such shows as The Mentalist, Gotham, and Hightown, Jordan crafted one of the most beautiful pilots for L.A. Confidential, which CBS stupidly did not pick up, but was so acclaimed he screened and did a virtual panel on the show at the ATX TV Festival. A Missouri native - and yes, that will come up in today's conversation - Jordan currently lives in L.A. along with his talented screenwriter girlfriend Megan Mostyn-Brown, and adorable dog Ellroy. When Jordan & I planned this episode, we had no idea that we'd wind up recording on Day 100 of the WGA strike, which also happened to be National Book Lovers Day, or that it'd fall on a day when I could really use the distraction of laughing about movies with a good friend.A very funny, fast-paced, yet intensive blast from the past that celebrates & interrogates our childhood nostalgia, in this 85-minute conversation, we dig through what he's dubbed "a great stack of videos" from 1989. Kicking things off by sharing our thoughts on that bygone video store era (which has been revived in his Eagle Rock neighborhood, thanks to Vidiots), we open with a hilarious foray into two trashtastic films we enjoy throwing on as needed - Road House & Black Rain. Following up our discussion on those with something lighter in the form of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, we conclude the episode with Jordan's thrilling insights into Gleaming the Cube, including a major appreciation of the filmography of actor Max Perlich & the ways in which the brilliant screenwriter Michael Tolkin uses a teen skateboard picture to dig into political issues of the time. Filled with laughter, this one is sure to be a new hit with listeners, & I know it'll brighten your day.Originally Posted on Patreon (8/13/23) here: Theme Music: Solo Acoustic Guitar by Jason Shaw, Free Music Archive Logo:
This week, I'm thrilled to bring back my friend Dr. Sabina Stent. A freelance writer & speaker from Birmingham, UK, who specializes in women artists, surrealism, & visual culture, Sabina's interests include the feminist surrealist avant-garde, artists' lives & legacies, cinematic subversion, historical true crime, & surrealism in Los Angeles. She has lectured online & in person for the Philosophical Research Society, Morbid Anatomy Museum, The Last Tuesday Society, & The London Drawing Group. Her bylines include Magnum Photos, Crime Reads, & AnOtherMagazine. Additionally, Sabina has contributed chapters to academic textbooks, & written liner notes essays for Blu-rary releases from the film distributors Indicator & Vinegar Syndrome. And she is also the author of the substack newsletter Love Letters During a Nightmare. Here Sabina Stent joins me to discuss a knockout quartet of heist movies in Watch With Jen's first episode on the crime subgenre since our very first season when Nikki Dolson & I took it on. In this great conversation, we open by championing our underseen 2018 favorite AMERICAN ANIMALS & then go back in time in time to take a look at the rest of our films in reverse chronological order, including THE BLING RING, OCEAN'S ELEVEN, & RESERVOIR DOGS. From the way that even the most perfect plans seem to go awry when you're dealing with variables you can't control in real life to acknowledging that these films seem to thrive thanks to the magical alchemy of outstanding ensembles, original screenplays, & visionary directors, fans of heist movies will cherish our return to the scenes of their favorite cinematic crimes. Originally Posted on Patreon (8/9/23) here: Theme Music: Solo Acoustic Guitar by Jason Shaw, Free Music Archive Logo:
This week, I'm so pleased to welcome back to the podcast a talented, supportive, and funny friend. Currently based in Newark, Delaware, Mitchell Beaupre is not only the Senior Editor at one of my favorite services (via Letterboxd), but they're also the co-host of the Weekend Watchlist and Four Favorites podcasts, which you can find in the stream for The Letterboxd Show. Additionally, a prolific freelance film journalist and stellar interviewer for prestigious outlets such as "The Film Stage," "Paste Magazine," "The Playlist," and "Little White Lies," you can keep up with all of their impressive work on Twitter @ItIsMitchell. Over the past few years, I've enjoyed following Mitchell's film journeys on social media, including their discovery of a trio of outstanding Meryl Streep romance movies that I love, including FALLING IN LOVE, DEFENDING YOUR LIFE, and most recently, THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, which became one of their new favorites. Messaging them instantly to join me in discussing the topic of Meryl Streep in Love, we chose these three films which showcase a lighter, more accessible, and less "actorly" side of the Oscar-winning legend, yet one that might boast her best performance committed to film. And as we delve deeply into what Streep and her great co-stars and craftsmen are doing in these movies and the ways they touch us, we wind up doing a lot of storytelling along the way, culminating in a long, personal, and philosophical conversation about friendship, love, and some of our own experiences that I know listeners will appreciate. Originally Posted on Patreon (7/27/23) here: Theme Music: Solo Acoustic Guitar by Jason Shaw, Free Music Archive Logo:
A film critic for publications such as LA Weekly, New York Magazine, Vulture, The New York Times, and formerly, The Village Voice, the brilliant Bilge Ebiri is one of my favorite journalists working today. Although we've discussed some of his favorite directors like Terrence Malick & Neil Jordan tangentially in the past, I was thrilled to bring him back to the podcast this time to focus on the filmmaker who helmed his favorite movie of all time Barry Lyndon. An engaging and insightful journey into Ebiri's own life & career exploring the work of Stanley Kubrick, which is one of his particular areas of expertise, over the course of two jam-packed hours of conversation, we explore the films Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, & The Shining. Unable to stop asking him questions about the rest of Kubrick's filmography, the result is a highly entertaining, story-filled exchange that's sure to be a new favorite among cinephiles. Moreover, following the podcast's three most recent installments covering French Crime Movies, the oeuvre of actor-producers Amy Robinson & Griffin Dunne, & the Ranown Westerns of Budd Boetticher, this episode is the perfect way to close out what has unofficially become Watch With Jen's Criterion Collection-centric July. Originally Posted on Patreon (7/22/23) here: Theme Music: Solo Acoustic Guitar by Jason Shaw, Free Music Archive Logo:
The director behind the hilarious LEGO BATMAN MOVIE, the popular series ROBOT CHICKEN, as well as the films THE TOMORROW WAR starring Chris Pratt for Prime, & the brand new RENFIELD with Nicholas Hoult & Nicolas Cage, this week, I was so pleased to welcome filmmaker Chris McKay to the podcast.A huge film buff who fell in love with the films of Alfred Hitchcock early, thanks to his cinephile mom, Chris McKay is such an enormous fan of B-movie director Budd Boetticher that his Twitter handle is even @BuddBoetticher in his honor. And with The Criterion Collection releasing a captivating new Ranown Westerns box set featuring jaw-dropping 4K restorations of a handful of the best films that Boetticher made with his most important collaborator & star Randolph Scott, it was the perfect time to team up with McKay to discuss a quartet of his favorites.Zeroing in on the outstanding SEVEN MEN FROM NOW (which is not included in the Criterion box), THE TALL T, COMANCHE STATION, & RIDE LONESOME, in this spirited, fast-moving episode, we set out for the wide open spaces of Boetticher's westerns with Scott. Along the way, we pay particular attention to not only the great supporting players who stole scenes from the leading man as antagonists but also the screenplays from Burt Kennedy for films that all seem to be in conversation with one another. Whether you're new to Boetticher's filmography, Westerns in general, or are a devotee of the genre, you're sure to find this installment a delight.Originally Posted on Patreon (7/17/23) here: Music: Solo Acoustic Guitar by Jason Shaw, Free MusicLogo:
In Season 3 of the podcast, my good friend Kate Hagen - a talented writer & Senior Vice President at The Black List - joined me to kick off a fascinating new series of conversations with the people behind the movies we love. We launched it with what is still one of my all-time favorite episodes: a long, career-spanning discussion with the great filmmaker Allison Anders & then a few months later, we reunited to chat with Allison's daughter, the hard-working & acclaimed music supervisor Tiffany Anders. And recently, Kate returned to help me welcome two extraordinary guests, actors & producers Griffin Dunne & Amy Robison, who, along with their company Double Play Productions, were behind some of the best movies when we were growing up, including director Joan Micklin Silver's CHILLY SCENES OF WINTER, director John Sayles' BABY IT'S YOU, Martin Scorsese's AFTER HOURS (which also starred Dunne), Sidney Lumet's RUNNING ON EMPTY, & more. An actor I think most people in my generation first remember as the teacher upon whom Anna Chlumsky's character had an impossible crush in MY GIRL, Griffin Dunne has had an impressive career on both sides of the camera, acting in films as diverse as AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON & QUIZ SHOW, & directing films such as PRACTICAL MAGIC & the wonderful Joan Didion documentary THE CENTER WILL NOT HOLD. Amy Robinson made a stunning debut as an actress in director Martin Scorsese's MEAN STREETS, in which she played Teresa. And in addition to the films she's produced with Dunne, Robinson has also produced director Joan Chen's AUTUMN IN NEW YORK, the Hughes brothers' FROM HELL, Michael Cuesta's 12 & HOLDING, Nora Ephron's JULIE & JULIA among others. In this feature-length episode, the warm & thoughtful duo behind Double Play Productions take us on a tour of their memories making some of the most acclaimed films from the late '70s through the early '90s & beyond. Timed to release this week as AFTER HOURS debuts on disc from The Criterion Collection (a few months after CHILLY SCENES OF WINTER did as well), film buffs, & especially those interested in the business of making movies are sure to enjoy this endearing conversation. Note: SAG strike rules prevent actors from discussing or promoting any projects they made under past contracts. This conversation was recorded prior to the strike in May of 2023. Originally Posted on Patreon (7/14/23) here: Theme Music: Solo Acoustic Guitar by Jason Shaw, Free Music Archive Logo:
Returning to Watch With Jen this week, we have my very talented friend and an official (and very popular) friend of the show. William Boyle is the acclaimed novelist behind such titles as Gravesend, The Lonely Witness, A Friend is a Gift You Give Yourself, City of Margins, and Shoot the Moonlight Out. In addition to crafting these wonderfully humanistic Lumet-like character-driven ensemble crime epics, Bill is quite the pop culture buff and one hell of a good movie trivia game player too. Although he's a distinctly American writer-, given that he sets his sometimes interconnected tales in Brooklyn neighborhoods, Bill has quite a following for his work in France where he routinely visits for appearances and book events. Knowledgeable in his love of film, and continuing to foster his keen interest in the country, its people, as well as its cinema, this episode seemed like the perfect starting point for a new series that Bill & I will be revisiting in the future that's devoted to our love of French Crime Movies. To kick us off, Bill bypassed some of the most obvious iconic titles like ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS, RIFIFI, PURPLE NOON, and LE CERCLE ROUGE, and selected slightly deeper cuts from the '50s, '60s, and '70s respectively. In this fascinating 86-minute installment that we're calling Part 1, we explore the films TOUCHEZ PAS AU GRISBI, SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER, and MAX & THE JUNKMEN, while also championing other titles you'll want to be sure to jot down. Vive La France!Vive La France!Originally Posted on Patreon (7/5/23) here: Logo: Theme Music: Solo Acoustic Guitar by Jason Shaw, Free Music Archive
Whether you're embarking on an exotic vacation or staying close to home, we're back from our month-long hiatus a few days early to give you something you can escape into your headphones & enjoy over the long holiday weekend. Delivering a month of hotly anticipated episodes featuring a killer lineup of guests & themes, we begin with the return of the brilliantly insightful Roxana Hadadi on HBO's remarkable "Succession," which is one of the most popular watercooler shows of the twenty-first century. A TV critic with Vulture, who also writes about film & pop culture, previously Roxana was the film editor & a critic with Pajiba, & her reviews, essays, recaps, and other writing have also been published by The AV Club, Polygon,, The L.A. Times, Crooked Marquee, The Playlist, Fox Digital, GQ, & Inverse. Back together for the first time since last summer's great installment devoted to "The Americans," here we cover the entire 4-season run of "Succession." An in-depth conversation that's filled with spoilers, it doesn't take long for Roxana & I to throw ourselves into the emotional highs & lows of Jesse Armstrong's incredibly well-written, brilliantly acted, masterful series in this feature-length episode that fans of the show will love. From "Columbo" to "Mr. Inbetween," we've only covered television a handful of times on this podcast because it's time intensive & best dissected once a series has ended, but we hope to keep bringing you these occasional celebratory explorations of shows we can't stop thinking about in the future so if you enjoy them, please share, subscribe, review, & let us know. Originally Posted on Patreon 6/29/23 here: Theme Music: Solo Acoustic Guitar by Jason Shaw, Free Music Archive Logo:
Returning to the podcast this week for the first time since I chatted with him and other wonderful writer-editors of the online film journal BW/DR (Bright Wall/Dark Room) about their favorite comfort movies a few seasons back, we have Ethan Warren.A member of the Boston Society of Film Critics who holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of North Carolina - Wilmington, plus the writer-director of the film WEST OF HER, Ethan stopped by to give us the inside scoop on his rich, fascinating new cinema studies book for Columbia University Press. Part of the publisher's Directors Cuts series which focuses on the work of the most significant contemporary international filmmakers, Ethan Warren's outstanding work entitled "The Cinema of Paul Thomas Anderson: American Apocrypha" is now available and I highly recommend you check it out.Having just recorded my own contributions on Paul Thomas Anderson's SYDNEY aka HARD EIGHT for the tie-in Pod Thomas Anderson podcast that Ethan collaborated on with One Heat Minute Productions and Blake Howard, I opted to have Ethan join me to chat about Anderson's two collaborations with the great actor Daniel Day-Lewis. Opening the episode with an appreciation of Anderson's work, including stories of seeing his films in the theater and our evolving relationship with them, plus more information about the author's book and writing process, the second half of this roughly hour-long conversation zeroes in on THERE WILL BE BLOOD and PHANTOM THREAD.Note: This will be the last new installment of the podcast for roughly a month, as I'm giving myself a little time to recharge ahead of our upcoming 200th episode. Rest assured, I'll be sharing recommendations and other surprises on our Patreon next month and will also continue working on shows behind the scenes but am giving myself a little break to heal from an injury and creating a cushion of episodes in case I travel, anything unforeseen arrives, or life gets busier. Thank you for your listenership and support!Originally Posted on Patreon (5/27/23) here: Logo: KateGabrielle.comTheme Music: Solo Acoustic Guitar by Jason Shaw, Free Music Archive
This week, it was so great to welcome Peter Avellino back to the podcast. A talented and thoughtful writer (& Film Twitter royalty), Peter Avellino's long-form essays on the movies that fascinate & frustrate him in equal measure have long made his blog Mr. Peel's Sardine Liqueur a must-read for cinephiles. Just in time for the Memorial Day kickoff of Summer Movie Season in 2023, Peter & I go back in time thirty years in order to highlight three intelligent thrillers for grown-ups released in the summer of '93: GUILTY AS SIN, THE FIRM, & THE FUGITIVE. Celebratory & nostalgic, yet clear-eyed, while all Watch With Jen listeners are bound to enjoy this conversation, those with a special place in their heart for moviegoing in the early '90s are sure to find this episode particularly entertaining. Originally Posted on Patreon (5/22/23) here: Theme Music: Solo Acoustic Guitar by Jason Shaw, Free Music Archive Logo:
Welcome to Dennis Hopper in the 1990s aka Watch With Jen's third & final installment in our first spotlight series devoted to the careers of iconic character actors that we love to see onscreen. Timed to be running the same week as his birthday, we kick off our Hopper finale with an extended appreciation of his return to the director's chair for the 1990 film THE HOT SPOT c/o its biggest fan, my Pandemic Movie Club buddy & fellow erotic thriller devotee Travis Woods. Then we take you on a tour of Hopper's prolific & diverse '90s period of memorable performances in films such as THE INDIAN RUNNER, BOILING POINT, RED ROCK WEST, TRUE ROMANCE, SPEED, & WATERWORLD, & wrap everything up with some bonus recommendations by my brilliant guests. Included in this episode, you will hear from Jed Ayres, Duncan Birmingham, William Boyle, Elizabeth Cantwell, S.A. Cosby, Jordan Harper, & Travis Woods. The feedback on this series has been extraordinarily gratifying & I want to thank you so much for your listenership & support. While I will be taking a very short hiatus at the start of summer after we release S4: E20 to rest & recharge due to a recent injury, Watch With Jen has much more in store for you very soon, including two tie-in episodes that are focused on highly anticipated July Criterion releases with VIP guests, as well as our 200th episode. One of these conversations was recorded yesterday & it was staggeringly great so I can't wait to share it with you.Note: Due to language & subject matter, once again, this episode is for mature audiences only.Originally Posted on Patreon (5/18/23) here: Music: Solo Acoustic Guitar by Jason Shaw, Free Music ArchiveLogo:
Between the fact that I'm a bit overscheduled next week & I've loved hearing from listeners who enjoyed the first installment in this series, I decided to take advantage of a free morning to edit & upload this episode early! Releasing just in time for Dennis Hopper's birthday on the 17th (& mine a couple of days later), welcome to the second installment of our three-part series devoted to the actor. Filled with analysis & appreciation of some of his most popular films & performances from a panel of seven outstanding guests, plus excerpts from a lifetime of interviews with Hopper voiced by yours truly, this episode covers the decade that made him an icon all over again with the film BLUE VELVET. I guess technically you could call this Dennis Hopper's Blue Period! Centered on the 1980s, we open with the controversial OUT OF THE BLUE & then talk about his great comeback year of 1986, & the films BLUE VELVET, RIVER'S EDGE, & HOOSIERS. Featuring great stories about seeing these films with audiences &/or way too young, plus insights from Hopper on directing actors & learning about women, along with Lynch's chronicle of casting him to play Frank Booth, this has been our most hotly anticipated release since I mentioned this project, so I hope you dig it. Originally Posted on Patreon (5/14/23) here: Music: Solo Acoustic Guitar by Jason Shaw, Free Music Archive Logo:
Around the time that the very first episode of Season 4 was uploaded, I embarked on a months-long journey to prepare & record the podcast's first entry in a new spotlight series devoted to some of the greatest character actors in screen history. Reaching out to good friends & past guests who I knew had a special interest in the life, films, characters, & performances of our first subject, Dennis Hopper, over the course of two months, I interviewed every participant one by one. Kicking off each conversation by inquiring what it was about Hopper that they found most compelling as a viewer (as well as their earliest memories of the actor), I challenged them even further, asking each guest to choose one or more of their favorite roles to dissect with me in a limited amount of time. While most people immediately gravitated to BLUE VELVET, I was thrilled by their willingness to touch on a number of his lesser-known or celebrated works, including some of the films that Dennis Hopper made as a director, & soon wound up with over 3.5 hours of stellar audio, primarily focused on the 1970s-1990s. Knowing that my overly ambitious idea for one episode was best reconfigured as a 3-part miniseries, I cut highlights from these conversations together & incorporated excerpts from interviews with Dennis Hopper I'd discovered in my research & then read them aloud as Hopper to add some variety to our stellar yet mostly masculine* lineup. Today, we're kicking things off a week ahead of Dennis Hopper's birthday with a look at the first part of his career. Although it's primarily set in the 1970s, we take a few forays into his earlier years as an actor & his iconic feature filmmaking debut EASY RIDER, plus flirt briefly with the '80s in order to cover his reunion with APOCALYPSE NOW director Francis Ford Coppola in RUMBLE FISH as well. Along with those titles, you'll also hear us discuss THE LAST MOVIE, THE AMERICAN FRIEND, KID BLUE, & others in Dennis Hopper - Part 1. Boasting a wonderfully insightful roster of contributors, this episode features the following guests in alphabetical order: Mitchell Beaupre, Duncan Birmingham, William Boyle, Elizabeth Cantwell, S.A. Cosby, Jordan Harper, Blake Howard, Mike Miley, & Travis Woods. Following this installment, next week's Part 2 is a must for fans of Dennis Hopper's '80s Renaissance era, including his iconic turn as Frank Booth in BLUE VELVET, & Part 3 will take us to the '90s. I hope you enjoy this long-in-the-works series & if you'd like to encourage the show's efforts to try new things like this in the future, please consider joining our Patreon (HTTPs:// to support our research for as little as $1 per month, if you haven't joined us already, & be sure to recommend Watch With Jen to others to help spread the word. Thank you so much! *Note: our next subject is the remarkable Julianne Moore so I'm hoping that will help balance things out a little! Originally Posted on Patreon: Theme Music: Solo Acoustic Guitar by Jason Shaw, Free Music Archive Logo:
You've heard Chris and Elizabeth Cantwell on past episodes solo but recently, I was thrilled to be joined by this dynamic duo together for a hilarious & thoughtful conversation about one of their favorite movie stars. The co-creator and showrunner of one of my favorite television series Halt and Catch Fire (which he joined me to discuss in season 2), Chris Cantwell is an incredibly talented & prolific writer working on the TV projects Devil in Silver & Max Headroom, & also writing such comics as Star Trek: Defiant, Hellcat, Briar, Namor, Obi-Wan, Iron Man, Dr. Doom, & Regarding the Matter of Oswald's Body. His brilliant wife Elizabeth Cantwell is a poet, teacher, & writer-editor at Bright Wall/Dark Room whose essays on movies & men are always must-reads. Everyone says that their spouse is their best friend but for these two, it's legit! In this wildly funny, rapid-fire banter & tangent-filled celebration of Kurt Russell, we investigate the many eras & sides of the actor in the films SILKWOOD, OVERBOARD, THE COMPUTER WORE TENNIS SHOES, & TOMBSTONE. The perfect listen for a relaxing summer afternoon & our most hilarious installment since our Adrian McKinty conversation on EXCALIBUR & LORD OF THE RINGS released earlier this season, this episode is sure to make you laugh. Originally Posted on Patreon (5/6/23) here: Logo: Theme Music: Solo Acoustic Guitar by Jason Shaw, Free Music Archive
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