Episode #157

I'll Do Anything is an episode focusing on the movie of the same name, as part of the Podcast News miniseries covering the films of James L. Brooks. Posted 8 April 2018.

Summary

Esther Zuckerman returns to the podcast to discuss how her friendship with David started on rocky ground, and their eventual bond over lunches. Oh, and also this disaster of a film by James L. Brooks, his 3rd feature film I'll Do Anything.

His first two features were huge hits, of course. As was his custom, ol' Canyon Jim took several years between Broadcast News and this movie, but he wasn't sitting around idle; he'd used the time to usher "The Simpsons" onto television. So he's certainly riding high going into his new movie project - and boy did he push his blank check to the limit, by deciding to make 1) an old-fashioned-style big movie musical, 2) a musical parody of inside-baseball behind-the-scenes Hollywood development processes, and 3) a musical that starred Albert Brooks, Julie Kavner, and Nick Nolte: three famously gravel-voiced actors.

Try to contain your shock that this thing bounced HARD.

In fact the complete musical was finished, but the screenings went so badly (soul-crushingly) that L. Brooks couldn't even put the musical out there, opting instead to do some reshoots and try to cut it into a normal non-musical version for theatrical release. (There is a bootleg of the musical version that #TheTwoFriends got ahold of after this episode was recorded, and they managed to book Esther again to do a special episode on that - see below). But in the meantime they proceeded during this episode as if they had to connoisseur all of that context in this session, so they talk about how Sinéad O'Connor, Carole King, and Prince all wrote musical numbers for this movie. They discuss how the Hans Zimmer score still has prominent swells in it that are almost definitely intended to lead to a musical number. And they uncover info about the axed Prince song, which was titled "Wow!", was reprised six times during the musical, and one reprise was during a childbirth scene where "Wow!" changed to "Ow!" OMG this can't get any crazier.

Or can it? Julie Kavner's character develops some kind of goofy Liar Liar disease. And oh no, this ending, where out of nowhere racial politics comes into it? What? David thinks L. Brooks is trying for satire without knowing what satire is.

Is this the movie that destroyed James L. Brooks' movie-making aesthetic, which seemed so preternaturally accomplished in his first two films? Is the child actor playing a terrible character or is the performance terrible? Tracey Ullman sued "The Simpsons" for a cut of their profits while she was filming this with L. Brooks - did that cause her awful performance in this movie? Is the sex scene a precursor to the infamous sex scene in Spanglish?

Emergency message at the end - tune in next time for an emergency episode to discuss I'll Do Anything: The Musical Cut with Esther Zuckerman once again!

Milestones and Ephemera

  • David's exceptional Owen Wilson impression debuts here. Wow. Mater.
  • So many Joelies... Joely Fisher, Joely Richardson, and Jo...ulie Kavner?
  • Weird how many movies Griffin can name that feature characters who are some kind of analog for Joel Silver.
  • Ben's Fashion Take: this is the ugliest representation of 90's mens' and womens' fashion he's ever seen. Also, poor Ben got no sleep because he stayed up to watch this movie.
  • Don't be alarmed during the Beach Body On Demand segment - Ben is just a loud sneezer.
  • "NewsRadio" alert: Vicki Lewis is in this movie.
  • Hey, It's 1994: James Spader is seen as too normal and boring, and the idea of a Mr. Deeds remake was seen as ridiculous
  • A super-quotable movie?: Mrs. Doubtfire

Sponsors

  • Sam Elliott walks in upon hearing a mention of the movie Hulk, which he appeared in. He is famous for his big bushy mustache, but he's gotta keep it natty for some films and needs some way to accomplish that. Enter Dollar Shave Club. David is a fan of their Executive Razor, plus their special Doctor Carver Shave Butter. Sam says he has a problem with hygiene in the backside area ("I got a real stinky butt") and so Dollar Shave Club's "One Wipe Charlies" should be of great help to him too. Griffin notes that he's used the shave club's start kit too, but the real news here is, whoa, Griffin talked to the visitor for a change! dollarshaveclub.com/check for a $5 trial.
  • Griffin's streaming video service take: the best service out there is Beach Body On Demand. He just likes to watch it as television! David and Ben actually use it to keep in shape though. Ben is trying yoga! And it's got nutritional information too. Free trial membership gets you complete access to everything! Just text CHECK to 303030.
  • Cut this out: Griffin's dad is having financial problems after investing in popsicle stick futures. David says maybe he could look into Lightstream, a division of SunTrust Bank. They work with you to refinance credit card debts and reduce your loan rates. lightstream.com/blank to get an extra 0.10% discounted interest rate and to check out the terms.


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