When You've Been Sick for So Long...

...that you just sing this song over and over again in your head between loud, dry coughs. Thanks, Midwestern winter!

*air five transitions into slow motion rocking back and forth*


When Your Horse Doesn't Like You

Optional Pre-Reads
For anyone confused by the whimsy and glitter and puppetry of it all.

Part 1

What I Learned Growing Up with a Mom Who Did Singing Telegrams

Part 3

When Your Horse Doesn’t Like You

To my imaginative, creative mother, horses meant prosperity and dignity. She sketched them in whimsical shades of pink and blue with curly manes and purple stripes. Sometimes they had wings. Usually glitter.

In an effort to share the inspiration, my parents once scavenged a carousel horse for me. Mom painted it white with rainbow zebra stripes. Dad hung it on a trellis in the back yard. I must’ve been four or five.

I'd happily swing back and forth until I got too high. The chains would catch. I'd fly through the air, land in the grass, cry for a few minutes, go inside, have a popsicle, then come back out and repeat the whole routine. Knowing the horse could throw me, at any moment, offered a strange bonus thrill. An adrenaline rush.

History, it turns out, would repeat itself. And you know what they say about history, those who don't learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them. In fact, history has a lot of helpful advice for avoiding calamity. But hindsight is always twenty-twenty...there's a lesson in here somewhere amidst this Mike Brady paroxysm.

I promise I'll get to it at the end.

This Crimes of Grindelwald Promotional Video from Marie Claire You Need To See

Forget the fact that Dan Fogler is a charming, hilarious gem. Forget the fact we're all discovering Ezra Miller's edginess. Just. Please, please watch this video from 3:03 to 4:45 for a good laugh.

Ooh, ooh...how about a show called Dan Fogler Reacts? Where we just show Dan Fogler weird stuff and he, you know, reacts. I'd watch. 

For the record, I love it when actors get fatigued during press junkets. I know it's schadenfreude, but it's funny schadenfreude, which is the best kind. Also, it happens a lot, mostly because actors get locked in rooms for hours on end where they're forced to answer the same three or four questions ad nauseum. It's enough to make anyone slap happy. But this is a new level. A whole. 'Nother. Level.

Conan O'Brien Has a New Podcast

Get thee hence, comedy nerds!

Bonus Conan Content:

1. Here's my all-time favorite Conan remote.
2. Here's a thing I wrote about Conan that went moderately viral back in the day.


All the References in Hail, Caesar!

I haven't watched The Ballad of Buster Skruggs yet. When I do, I know I'll get that type-A itch to catalog all the references. I have a listing problem when it comes to classic film. But we all have problems.

Below you'll find my guide* to all the classic film references in the highly underrated Hail, Caesar! Plus, here's another time I wrote about The Coen Brothers and their predilection for western structure.

Now, onto the show...

The Coens have written yet another incredible detective story. This one is filled with fictionalized versions of real Hollywood figures. Their dreamlike universe is a nice place to visit if you already know the referential sites. If you're new to Old Hollywood, it might've been a little confusing.

It would be easy for me to wax not-so-poetic about how much I loved Hail, Caesar! A more helpful contribution might be a primer to the film's many references.

If you're a Lebowski fan, but couldn't find your way into Hail Caesar!, read this list, then try again.

Question 1: What was up with Channing Tatum's character?

Answer: He was an homage to Gene Kelly.  His introductory dance number in Hail, Caesar! is a specific reference to Anchors Aweigh and On The Town. 


If I get one shot at introducing you to Gene Kelly, I want you to start with Cover Girl. Once you fall in love with him (and you will) you can proceed to Singin' In The Rain and THEN to Anchors Aweigh.

In Hail Caesar!, the Coen brothers pose a hypothetical question. What would the world have been like if McCarthy's communism fears were founded?

Gene Kelly WAS the red-blooded American man in film at the time, so the juxtaposition of him being a Russian spy is too clever for any more of my dumb words.

The real takeaway here is that a great reaction to all unreasonable political movements is to have the Coen Brothers make spoof movies about them as though they were true.

Here's Gene:

These Gene Kelly movies will also show you how much you should appreciate some of the dead ringers they cast for Rita Hayworth, Phil Silvers, gossip journalist Hedda Hopper, and all the other iconic personalities of that era.

Question 2: Who was this lady supposed to be?

Answer: She was an homage to Carmen Miranda, an actress who makes me feel too much appreciation to write anything that's not super saccharine. (I once wrote a script for her. Even though she's dead.)

Just watch her shiny light shine ridiculously bright in the clip below.

Here's Beautiful, Shiny, Graceful Carmen:

Question 3: Who was Josh Brolin?

Answer: Eddie Mannix, who was a real person. The idea that the Coen Bros. turned him into the earnest hero of the film is another intricate puzzle piece of what makes Hail, Caesar! such a treat for history buffs.

You can learn all you need to know about the real Eddie from this episode of the podcast You Must Remember This. Then, enjoy the shame and ridicule of your friends and family as you abandon your entire life for about a month to listen to every episode of this engrossing show.

Don't worry, it'll be worth it. (Someone sent me the podcast after I started drafting this and I had to go back and add a link. I'm freshly obsessed.)

Question 4: Is the movie within the movie Hail, Caesar! a reference?

Answer: Yep! to Ben Hur, a movie I genuinely love. You should too. It says so much about the world at the time the movie was made (1959) and movies at the time that movie was made and the way we reflect on it now says so much about our cynical culture and if you'll excuse me, I'm sinking into a pit of pretentious quicksand...

Anyway, here's Ben Hur:

Question 5: Who was Scarlett Johansson?

Answer: Esther Williams. People have forgotten that water ballet was, at one time, intensely popular. Most people think it's a Miss Piggy joke. Maybe they kind of know about synchronized swimming from the Olympics...or from the classic Martin Short/Harry Shearer SNL skit.

What's that, you say? People don't know that either? I'm getting older and therefore my references are more obscure?

For some reason, Esther Williams has not stuck to the collective pop culture consciousness like she should've. But her career was storied. Between her live shows and films, she was an absolute force with no current equivalent.

And I adored Scarlett Johansson's performance. Let's hear it for the juxtapositional comedy of an elegant swimmer being a sassy troubled dame!

Here's Esther in one of my favorites:

P.S. Laurence Laurentz was Howard Hawks, right? If so, I'm sneaking in one more. My favorite Howard Hawkes movie, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

I think that's just about as much classic film geekdom as the internet can handle today. Bye, for now.

*This article was originally posted at AudreyBrown.net on 2.6.16

3 Good Geek Things To Get You Through the Holidays

And now, 3 Good Geek Things To Get You Through the Holidays. These selections are ushering me through a weird season of life. If you're enduring the start of a hectic time too and you need a brief, mental respite, use these. They help.

1. The Gryffindor Common Room

I go to sleep every night in the Gryffindor Common room. The original Pottermore sorting quiz placed me in Slytherin. The recently updated quiz sorted me into Ravenclaw. So I don't know why I'm hanging around with the goody-goodies in Gryffindor. But I am.

The sound of the crackling fire comforts me. The look of the room itself takes me back to my days at Universal Orlando, when I'd get out of dance rehearsal and ride Forbidden Journey four times in a row. Every day. Very happy times, indeed.

2. I Was There Too

Specifically, this episode featuring my favorite, your favorite, EVERYONE'S FAVORITE, Vasquez from Aliens, Jenette Goldstein. True story, the day after I started drafting this, I was flipping channels and found Star Trek: Generations. I paused to watch for a few minutes and guess who was on the bridge? Jenette Goldstein.

If you like smart podcasts, I highly recommend this and this. True story, I accidentally typed Malcom McDowell instead of Malcolm Galdwell while searching for a link (because Star Trek) and guess what? Malcolm McDowell has his own podcast.

3. Film Score, Film Score, and more Film Score (with a side of They Might Be Giants)

Film score is restful for the ears and the mind. These are my personal favorite playlists on Spotify. 

WRITE by Yours Truly
ON STRENGTH also by me

I think Ludwig Goransson's Black Panther will likely be my favorite score of 2018. And TMBG is going to take song of the year with this one.

I've been making a playlist every year of my life since 2013. I officially close them out on Dec. 31st and they can never be altered after that day. Embarrassing or otherwise. 

I can read these playlists the way mystics in movies decipher tea leaves or thrown bones. 2013 was a rager filled with nostalgia. It was walks around Lost Lake in Florida and new tattoos. 2014 was driving back and forth from TeachLive. It was hopeful and happy and filled with connective tissue. 2015 and 2016 were long walks in San Francisco. Work stress, plane flights, and political upheaval. 2017 was almost a lost year, aside from some great work in Washington D.C. I spent the rest of it locked away in an office writing one-off screenplays that I never revised. 

This year? This year has been a grab bag. Chicago, New York, Indy, Orlando...as Johnny Cash would say, I've been everywhere, man. I'm almost certain I finally found my landing spot. Almost. I can't tell if I'm hiding or making a good move for the long term. Either way, 2018's playlist is long walks in Florida, thoughts of returning to dancing, trips to the hospital, and autumn in Indiana. 

Not that anyone needs an intimate peek into my psyche, but just in case...

What will be your mental retreat in November and December? What strikes your fancy right now as relaxing, intelligent, or inspirational?