Jonathan Goldstein made every girl he ever dated watch the home movie of his family's Rosh Hashanah dinner he made when he was 17. He hoped that seeing his family life on film might make the women more sympathetic to his shortcomings.
From the time he was a little kid until the time he graduated high school, Darren Stein made movies with his father's video camera. The cast was composed of friends from his street, a suburban cul-de-sac in Encino, California.
Home movies usually don't have much of a plot—one of the many ways they differ from Hollywood movies. But reporter Susan Burton has a lifetime of home movies, which together describe a very Hollywood plot, about how she remade herself from a friendless nerd into a popular girl.
David Sedaris tells a story about his mother who hated home movies, and how his brothers and sisters came to appreciate them. David's the author of several books, including When You Are Engulfed in Flames.
A story from David Sedaris about how the movie The End of the Affair almost ended his relationship. He argues that being in love sometimes means not saying what's going through your head.
Ali Davis literally hands people their fantasies, in her job at a Chicago video store with a huge porn section. She tells true stories about what the job is like.
Host Ira Glass talks with Sarah Koenig, about the first and only time a movie star came over to her family's house when she was a kid, and how it didn't go too well, for the celebrity or for her. The movie star, Robert Redford, ended up stealing all her parents' attention, attention they usually lavished on Sarah, the youngest.
Ira interviews three of the people involved in making the documentary How's Your News?, about a team of developmentally disabled people who travel across the country doing man-on-the-street interviews. He talks to two of the developmentally disabled reporters, Susan Harrington and Joe Simon, and to the film's non-disabled director, Arthur Bradford.
Writer John Hodgman in New York tells the story of how he dreamt of getting to know the B-movie star Bruce Campbell, and how his unlikely dream accidentally came true, partly to his delight, partly to his horror.
The story of Tyler Cassity and how he's trying to remake one of our oldest rituals of commemoration.Tyler is one of the owners of a cemetery called Hollywood Forever, and he's been introducing 20th-Century technology to American funerals, which haven't changed much since the Civil War. At Hollywood Forever, the cost of a burial includes a video of your life: to be shown at your funeral, to be viewable at kiosks on the cemetery grounds, and to be posted—for eternity—on the Internet.
Producer Alex Blumberg tells the story of an ex-con-turned-actor named Richie Castellano. After a bit role in the movie Analyze This, he moved to a small town and got dozens of people to invest money and time in a movie that never premiered.
Julia Pimsleur travels to Alaska to spend some time with her brother, hoping he might change a little—just as he hopes that she'll change a little.
What does it mean to talk like a real Southerner—and why a multimillion industry can't seem to figure it out. Southern expatriate Mark Schone dissects Southern accents as they're portrayed in movies and TV shows.
A story that takes place at the crossroads where art meets commerce—a place where we can ask the question: Is the art of commerce better than the art of art? Writer (and occasional screenwriter) Sandra Tsing Loh accompanies a Hollywood screenwriter as he tries to sell a movie idea—a comedy in the style of Liar Liar. (19 minutes)
When the end of time comes, what videos will we watch? Under fundamentalist Christian doctrine, the first thing that will happen during the End Time is that all the good Christians will be whisked suddenly to heaven. We hear clips from Left Behind—a video designed to be played after all the Christians have vanished, by all the people left behind.
This is a story of a father and son—told by the son, Juan Zaldivar, who was born in Cuba. Juan has spent the past four years shooting a movie about his father, to try to reassure him that he did the right thing to leave Cuba with his family in the 1980s and come to America.
An act about which the less said, the better.
A high school student named Rebecca tells the story of a friend of hers who changed over the course of four years from a preppy alternative kid to a member of the Latina clique to a ghetto girl to a Clueless girl (a girl who models herself after the girls in the film and TV show Clueless). It's hard to imagine many boys changing style this quickly, this willfully, this many times.
Ira and the movie Fast, Cheap & Out of Control. Advertised as wacky, it is anything but.
Howard Rabinowitz and The Truth About Cats and Dogs. (4 minutes)
Danny Toro, a member of a Chicago street gang for ten years, explains what gangster movies he liked most in his gang years and why. Scarface, with Al Pacino, was a good movie to get him pumped up to go out with his boys. A Lucky Luciano film taught him a lesson in how to be more compassionate with members of his own gang.
Writer Sarah Vowell explains why she watched The Godfather every day while she was in college. The film, she says, depicted a world with an understandable moral system to it.
Mark O'Brien is a writer in California, who lives most of each day in an iron lung, thanks to a childhood case of polio. It's an excerpt from Jessica Yu's Oscar-winning documentary.
A contest held every year by a Nissan dealership in Longview, Texas in which twenty-four people stand around a $15,000 hard body pickup truck. When the starting whistle blows, each person puts one hand on the truck.