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Maltin on Movies


Legendary film critic Leonard Maltin and his daughter Jessie are the ultimate movie fans. They love talking about movies, especially with people who share their enthusiasm—from living legends like Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, and Quincy Jones to such contemporary artists as Amy Adams, Viggo Mortensen, Laura Dern, and Bryan Cranston. You’ll meet all kinds of interesting people and hear their recommendations of unsung movies you ought to know...


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Legendary film critic Leonard Maltin and his daughter Jessie are the ultimate movie fans. They love talking about movies, especially with people who share their enthusiasm—from living legends like Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, and Quincy Jones to such contemporary artists as Amy Adams, Viggo Mortensen, Laura Dern, and Bryan Cranston. You’ll meet all kinds of interesting people and hear their recommendations of unsung movies you ought to know...




Frank Marshall

Frank Marshall’s chance meeting with Peter Bogdanovich launched a career that led to him producing Indiana Jones, Star Wars and Jurassic Park movies, among many others, often in partnership with his wife Kathleen Kennedy. Now he’s released a record album that returns him to the world his father Jack Marshall inhabited: a long-forgotten session featuring two gifted jazz trumpeters. Chet Baker and Jack Sheldon In Perfect Harmony: The Lost Album. It’s a treat to hear, on CD or limited-edition vinyl from Jazz Detective. Leonard and Jessie loved mining Frank’s memories of learning the film business from the ground up. Like many people of vast experience, he’s excited about the next project—and the one after that. Yet he can still spin an Orson Welles anecdote with aplomb.


Jacqueline West

Our guest is a five-time Oscar nominee for Best Costumes—most recently for Killers of the Flower Moon, although she is equally lauded for her work on Dune, parts 1 and 2. Her background in the fashion world, and as an art history major, gives her unique credentials for someone who provides costumes for movies. She also has world-class stories to share about her collaborations with such major directors as Philip Kaufman, Terence Malick, and David Fincher. Leonard and Jessie had a blast mining that treasure chest of memories and observations. The making of The Revenant could fill a one-hour podcast all by itself!


Isabella Rossellini

Internationally renowned actress, model, and individualist Isabella Rossellini is charm personified. She has a supporting role in Alice Rohrwacher’s new import La Chimera,which opens in theaters March 29, and recently completed two seasons of Julia, playing Julia Child’s longtime friend and cooking colleague. She also carries with her the torch lit by her famous parents, Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellini and does so with grace and ease. Leonard and Jessie only had a half-hour with her but were happy to have had the opportunity.


Frank Oz at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas

His alter egos are world-renowned, but Leonard and Jessie didn’t focus on Miss Piggy or Yoda in this conversation, recorded in front of a live audience at Esther’s Follies in Austin. The main topic was directing movies, which Oz has done so well for so many years: The Muppets Take Manhattan, Little Shop of Horrors, In & Out, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Bowfinger, and What About Bob? are just a few of his credits. What is the through-line, if any, from puppetry to filmmaking? Listen and hear what the amazing Oz has to say.


Revisiting Keith Carradine

In honor of the Academy Awards, we’re revisiting our 2017 interview with Keith Carradine, who won his Oscar for writing and performing the song “I’m Easy” in Robert Altman’s masterpiece Nashville (1975). Since we spoke, the actor has remained a familiar face on television as he and his siblings carry on the acting tradition that began with his prolific papa John Carradine. Like his dad, he eased into the niche of a “working actor,” starring on Broadway, logging 105 episodes of Madam Secretary—as the President of the United States—and even turning up in Jane Campion’s Oscar-winning The Power of the Dog. He’s a laid-back charmer who makes what he does look easy.


Revisiting James L. Brooks

Originally published Jun 10, 2021 From The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Taxi to such movies as Terms of Endearment, Broadcast News and As Good as It Gets, writer-director-producer James L. Brooks has created quality entertainment for decades and has no intention of slowing down. He has served as mentor to the likes of Cameron Crowe and Wes Anderson and continues to work with young talents behind the camera. Oh yes—he’s also produced The Simpsons for the past 30 years. Leonard and Jessie were honored to talk to this multi-award-winning talent about his remarkable career.


Cord Jefferson

Cord Jefferson is riding high as the Oscar-nominated writer and director of American Fiction, which has widely and properly been acclaimed as one of the best films of the past year. Even more exciting is the fact that Jefferson has never made a movie before. Leonard and Jessie enjoyed exploring the building blocks of his career that led to this achievement. He was on the writing staff of Larry Wilmore’s Late Night comedy show and Aziz Ansari’s Master of None, among others, when a series of events pointed him toward filmmaking. Step One was finding a property he cared enough about to adapt and then direct. Unlike other neophytes who get their first break right out of film school, Cord had traveled the world and worked as a journalist before he ever stepped foot on a movie set. We are eager to see what comes next.


Nick de Semlyen

As editor of Empire, Nick de Semlyen presides over the best film and television magazine in the English language: Empire. Every issue is jam-packed with deep-dive articles, interviews, set visits, and fun facts for both the fan and the aficionado. Nick has also written two excellent books examining American films of the 1980s: Wild and Crazy Guys and The Last Action Heroes. Leonard and Jessie got to meet him on their last trip to London which cemented a friendship that grew out of their admiration for his work. This episode affirms the belief that the only thing better than watching movies is talking about them with a fellow enthusiast.


Justin Chang

The senior film critic for the Los Angeles Times, Justin Chang is also a graduate of USC and took Leonard’s class—three times. Leonard takes no credit for Justin’s brilliance as an essayist or as a world-class punster. Jessie has known him her whole life and is also an unabashed fan. Just back from the Sundance Film Festival, Justin made time for us to talk about his career and some of the nuts and bolts of being a daily newspaper’s leading critic.


Danielle Brooks

Our guest this week is now appearing on movie theater screens in The Color Purple, recreating the role of Sofia that she originated in the Broadway revival. But as you’ll hear, that is just her latest achievement in an ever-growing body of work on stage, screen and television. Fans of Orange is the New Black knew her as Taystee, and followers of the recent series Peacemaker could see yet another facet of her boundless talent. A graduate of Juilliard, she is riding high during this awards season but Leonard and Jessie agree that we’ll be watching her in every medium imaginable for years to come.


Sam Wasson

Sam Wasson has become one of the finest Hollywood historians of our time, and also one of the most productive. His newest book, The Path to Paradise: A Francis Ford Coppola Story is not a conventional biography but an insightful analysis of the formidable filmmaker. It joins Sam’s earlier books on Blake Edwards, Paul Mazursky, and the making of Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Chinatown as essential reading. He also coauthored with Jeanine Basinger a hefty new volume called Hollywood: the Oral History. He and Leonard maintain a mutual admiration society and Jessie is its newest recruit.


Patricia Clarkson

Any film that includes Patricia Clarkson in its cast has the cinematic equivalent of the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. She is that good, that committed, that versatile. Her credits run the gamut from well-loved indies like Lars and the Real Girl, The Station Agent and Dogville to mainstream hits like The Untouchables and TV series, including Six Feet Under, which earned her two Emmy Awards. Her latest release is Monica, about a transgender woman coming to terms with her dying mother. Leonard and Jessie had a ball talking with an actress who loves what she does and has an unquenchable zest for life.


Geena Davis

Oscar-winning actress, mother, championship archer, film festival director, memoirist, founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media…Geena Davis has many hats but wears them lightly. The star of such enduring films as Beetlejuice, A League of their Own, and Thelma & Louise is a cut-up at heart, as Leonard and Jessie quickly learned. It’s easy to see how she has accomplished so much, especially in the area of female representation in media. She’s smart and talented but also endearing…and happy to talk about the people she’s worked with (from Penny Marshall to Tim Burton) as well as her history as a creator of whimsical inventions.


David Keith

David Keith has been out of the spotlight in recent years but when he hit it big in An Officer and a Gentleman he became a hot property. Many movies followed, including The Lords of Discipline, Firestarter, Heartbreak Hotel (in which he played Elvis Presley), and The Indian in the Cupboard, to name just a few. He’s kept busy doing episodic television and directing a handful of genre films. Now he’s working as a creative executive producer, and in his new horror-thriller Walden (available on VOD beginning December 12) he’s given himself a good part as a judge. He sat on his front porch in Knoxville, Tennessee and reminisced with Leonard and Jessie for a cozy, comfortable conversation.


Paul Raci

A lifetime of acting, mostly on stage, finally paid off for Paul Raci when he earned an Oscar nomination for a part he was born to play in Sound of Metal. It has changed the trajectory of his career, and he is happy to talk about working with Nicolas Cage, Jennifer Lopez, and Colman Domingo on recent projects. But what Leonard and Jessie took away from our conversation is Paul’s admirable work ethic and total dedication to his craft.


Melvin Gregg

If you weren’t among the seven million people watching Melvin Gregg’s 7-second Vine videos online you may know him from such films and TV shows as Nine Perfect Strangers and the brand-new feature Share alongside Bradley Whitford and Alice Braga, now available on VOD. His acting ambitions brought him to Hollywood but unlike other young, struggling thespians, he devised a game plan to get him in the door with A-list filmmakers. Leonard and Jessie advise you to keep an eye on Melvin: he’s going places.


Tony Anselmo

Tony Anselmo’s face may not be familiar, but the whole world knows his voice—that is, when he speaks as his alter ego, Donald Duck! Tony inherited this unique job from its creator, Clarence Nash, and he feels very protective of the famously furious mallard. He is also a graduate of Cal Arts and has been an animator at the Walt Disney studio since 1980. Leonard and Jessie are longtime fans and friends, as they share a love of all things Disney.


Elizabeth Daley

Elizabeth Daley has served as the Dean of the USC School for Cinematic Arts for 30 years, which means she’s been Leonard’s boss for 25 of those years. Leonard and Jessie realized that they’d never sat and just talked to her for an hour—until now. Elizabeth studied theater and migrated to television early in her career, then answered the call from academia for what she thought would be a temporary assignment. Now she consults worldwide based on her vast experience dealing with students, teachers, and such alumni as George Lucas, who laid the foundation (literally) to rebuild the school in downtown Los Angeles. You’ll hear other names appropriately dropped, from Hitchcock to Zemeckis in the course of this wide-ranging conversation.


John Landis

Just in time for Halloween, we reconnected with director and film aficionado John Landis for a wide-ranging, clearly spontaneous conversation about horror films past and present. John’s Halloween bona fides: he directed An American Werewolf in London, the underappreciated Innocent Blood, and Michael Jackson’s Thriller, about which Jessie was particularly curious. Leonard is always impressed with John’s vast knowledge of film history, especially in the horror/sci-fi/fantasy genres. Jessie’s nearly two-year-old daughter Daisy make a cameo appearance near the end of this episode.


Revisiting Bruce Campbell

The actor you know and love from the Evil Dead movies was an animated guest when Leonard and Jessie spoke to him in front of a lively audience at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas back in 2016.