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 fun anecdotes, there’s no attempt to explore the broader arc of her career or explain why we’re watching a show about her.

And yet, as we discuss on the latest episode of the Original Content podcast, both Darrell and Anthony enjoyed watching the entire show.

Darrell describes Lebowitz as the consummate party guest, full of provocative and amusing opinions on everything from technology to sports to New York York City subway. There’s also something delightful about watching an accomplished director like Scorsese just relaxing and having a good time.

On the other hand, it would be a little exasperating when we didn’t find Lebowitz’s as remarks quite as hilarious as Scorsese did, and watching one episode after another meant that she eventually wore out her welcome. So it’s probably to enjoy the series one episode at a time, rather than binging.

In addition to reviewing “Pretend It’s A City,” we also discussed Nielsen’s rankings of the most popular streaming services of 2020.

You can listen to our review in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also follow us on Twitter or send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

If you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:00 Intro
0:34 Listener email
5:46 Nielsen streaming data discussion
14:03 “Pretend It’s a City” review

The bittersweet ending of ‘Promising Young Woman’ makes the movie

The bittersweet ending of 'Promising Young Woman' makes the movie

By the time Promising Young Woman reaches its climactic showdown, it’s hard to imagine what a satisfying ending might even look like.

A triumphant ending would seem too easy, for a film that’s otherwise been unafraid to explore messy and painful truths. A defeated one might seem too cruel, reinforcing the very disposability of female victims that the film has been railing against.

So writer-director Emerald Fennell threads the needle by doing both, or neither, depending on how you look at it. Cassie gets to have her say with Al (Chris Lowell), the man who raped her best friend Nina years ago, but is killed by him in the ensuing struggle. But then, it’s revealed that Cassie had laid one final trap, ensuring evidence of Al’s crimes would be sent to the authorities in the event of her disappearance. The film ends with Al being taken away in handcuffs at his own wedding. Read more…

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Learn chess, checkers, and backgammon with this 3-in-1 set

Learn chess, checkers, and backgammon with this 3-in-1 set

TL;DR: Brush up on your chess, checkers, and backgammon skills with this 3-in-1 Folding Wooden Chess Set, on sale for 24% off. As of Jan. 17, get it for only $18.95.

Whether you fell in love with chess after watching The Queen’s Gambit or were inspired to learn after Phish’s “Dinner and a Rematch” New Year’s show, you’ll need a chess set to try your hand at the game.

On one side of this 9.5-inch board, you’ll find the traditional checkered spaces, which can be used for both chess and checkers. On the other, you’ll find triangular points used for backgammon. The set is also packed with 32 chess pieces and 30 round pieces that can be used for both checkers and backgammon. The best part: All the pieces can fit inside when you fold up the board, so you don’t have to worry about losing them. Read more…

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