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Travis Bickle On The Riviera

Hi there! I'm Tucker Stone, one of the three guys who hosts a podcast called Travis Bickle on the Rivieria. I've written for places like Flavorwire, The Comics Journal, Comixology and The Factual Opinion, and am currently punching the clock at Nobrow, a publisher of comics, graphic novels and children's books. Back in 2012, my friend Sean Witzke, a movie critic whose most recent work can be read at Grantland, started this podcast as a way to continue the conversations (and arguments) we had been having about movies amongst our mutual blogs.

Although neither one of us had listened to a lot of podcasts, we felt that our cantankerous, expletive laden diatribes might be of interest to others, and in the years since, we have been extremely lucky to be proven right: people, for whatever reason, like to listen to a couple of miserable depressives wax nostalgic over action movies from the 80's. (It probably didn't hurt that the hugely talented Michel Fiffe drew our logo image!)

When I became a father in 2013, longtime friend of the show and frequent guest host Morgan Jeske came on board to keep Sean from going stir crazy with backed-up opinions. Jeske--the talented cartoonist behind books for Image Comics like Change and Zero--rapidly made himself indispensable, and after my return to the show, it only made sense to welcome him on as an official host, turning this gruesome twosome into the trio it had always been destined to be. As the episodes have piled up (you can check out our episode guide, with every movie, director and special episode listed here), the show was continually graced with a murderers row of guests from the world of comics and film--you can see all of those amazing people at that link as well.

All of that brings us right up to right now, a cold day in October: the day where we ask for help. Simply put, the increased interest in the show has meant that we've had to put a bit more into the nuts and bolts of paying for it than we used to, and we thought 133 episodes (at most recent count) was enough to try passing the hat to help meet the costs. The show isn't in danger of going anyway anytime soon--Sean, Morgan and I like hurting each others feelings just a little too much for that to be a real concern--but we would appreciate the breathing room that financial support will allow.  Below you'll see the various levels of pledge options and the rewards they provide--we're pretty excited about them, especially the one where we send you surprises you can't return--but even if you come away thinking that we don't deserve one thin dime, it still means a lot that you stopped by in the first place. Thank you for reading, but most of all thank you for listening!

Jan 26, 2015

  • Here's a story about a time when the world's most prominent filmmaker fails for the first time, goes to war with the DGA, forces the hand of the MPAA, builds a franchise, makes the biggest film ever made, reinvents the action movie, and quits writing for decades. The most interesting 5 years in Stephen Spielberg's life. 

    Featuring Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Tobe Hooper, with cameo appearances from John Milius, Richard Matheson, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, Lawrence Kasdan, Robert Zemeckis, Joe Dante, John Carpenter, David Cronenberg, David Lynch, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Brian De Palma, John Landis, Michael Cimino, and Samuel Goddamn Fuller. 

  • I cut sections on Spielberg hiring Joe Dante in order to stop the production of Jaws 3, People 0 and Satyajit Ray claiming E.T. was stolen from a spec script that was circling around Hollywood while Spielberg was at Universal television, becuause neither of them seemed to flow nicely with the rest of the story. Also I never figured out how to fit in all the crazy stuff -- the way that Milius introduced Kathleen Kennedy to Spielberg. And Kennedy being one of the dancers at the start of Temple of Doom. The way that Milius, Spielberg, and Lucas all traded points on Star Wars, Close Encounters, and Big Wednesday. How Spielberg took a day off on E.T. to watch De Palma shoot the final gunfight for Scarface. How De Palma shot Casualties of War on all the same locations as Temple of Doom... I really love the stories of this group of people who were playing at this high level and still managed to be artists, for a while anyway. I don't know, I tried to not make it a "Jaws is awesome podcast". Jaws is the truth. 

    I really think this is a story of an artist finding the edge of his abilities, and an industry pushing back when he slips... but it may have descended into fanboy connections, even with cutting all the stuff listed above. I think that the reason De Palma stayed as fierce a filmmaker as he is, and Scorsese too, is that they met with a lot more consisten ups and downs than Spielberg/Lucas/Coppola, and their abilities to buy studios. They had more to lose, and kept losing every few films. Boiling it down to just those five directors leaves out how important Milius and Dante and Marcia Lucas and Amy Robinson and Paul Schrader and all the others were to the story too. Any version of "this is a cool thing that happened" leaves out the context of a dozen major and minor players left out. 

  • 1941 (1979), directed by Steve Spielberg, based on a story by John Milius, written by Robert Zemeckis & Bob Gale, starring... well, everyone I listed at the start of the podcast. 
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), directed by Steven Spielberg; written by Lawrence Kasdan; story by George Lucas and Phillip Kaufman (who I didn't mention on the show but I think probably has a lot more to do with how rich the script is character-wise); starring Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Denholm Elliot, Paul Freeman, John Rhys-Davies, and Alfred Molina. 
  • E.T. the Extraterrestrial (1982), directed by Steven Spielberg; written by Melissa Mathison; starring Dee Wallace, Peter Coyote, Henry Thomas, Robert McNaughton, and Drew Barrymore. 
  • Poltergeist (1982), directed by Tobe Hooper; written by Steven Spielberg, Michael Grais, and Mark Victor; starring Craig T. Nelson, Jobeth Williams, Zelda Rubenstein, Beatrice Straight, and Heather O'Rourke. 
  • Return of the Jedi (1983), directed by Richard Marquand, written by Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas, starring Harrson Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Warwick Davis, Frank Oz, and Sebastian Shaw. 
  • Twilight Zone The Movie (1983), directed by John Landis, Steven Spielberg, Joe Dante, and George Miller; written by Richard Matheson, Melissa Mathison, John Landis, George Clayton Johnson, and Jerome Bixby; starring Vic Morrow, Burgess Meredith, John Lithgow, Dan Aykroyd, Albert Brooks, Scatman Crothers, Kathleen Quinlan, Kevin McCarthy, Nancy Cartwright, and Dick Miller. 
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), directed by Steven Spielberg, written by Willard Huyk & Gloria Katz, story by George Lucas, starring Harrison Ford, Kate Capshaw, Amrish Puri, and Jonathan Ke Quan. 
  • Movies that are also discussed: Duel, Jaws, Sugarland Express, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, THX-1138, Gremlins, Always, The Color Purple, Empire of the Sun, That Man From Rio, The Man Who Knew Too Much (the Doris Day version), Goldfinger, You Only Live Twice, Apocalypse Now, The Blues Brothers, Stark Trek, Heaven's Gate, Dr. Strangelove, Shampoo, Used Cars, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, Continental Divide, Pierrot Le Fou, The Social Network, Taxi Driver, Alien, American Graffiti, Howard the Duck, The Treasure of Sierra Madre, Triumph of the Will, The Incredible Hulk, Columbo, Night Gallery, The Thing, Blade Runner, A.I., The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Eye of the Needle, Dune, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Inglourious Basterds, The Funhouse, Salem's Lot, Ace Eli & Roger of the Skies, The Goonies, Amblin, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Fog, The Howling, and The Terminal
  • Music / clips:

    • John Williams - “Navy Planes” from the Close Encounters of the Third Kind soundtrack
    • John Williams - “The Acrophobe and the Idiot” from the 1941 soundtrack 
    • Audio from the 1941 trailer directed by John Milius
    • Goblin - “Jennifer’s Friends” from the Phenomena soundtrack 
    • Interview from the 2008 dvd of Raiders of the Lost Ark
    • John Barry - “Teasing the Korean” from the Goldfinger soundtrack (even the titles are offensive)
    • Lalo Schifrin - “First Chase/Foot Chase/St. Matthew’s Passion” from the THX-1138 soundtrack
    • John Williams - “The Map Room - Dawn” from the Raiders of the Lost Ark soundtrack
    • Cliff Martinez - “Bat & Pig” from the Contagion soundtrack
    • John Williams - “Toys” from the E. T. soundtrack
    • Brian Eno - “Aragon” from Music For Films 1
    • Music from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre by Tobe Hooper & Wayne Bell
    • Jerry Goldsmith - “Calling/The Neighborhood” from the Poltergeist soundtrack
    • Jerry Goldsmith - “The Star Spangled Banner” from the Poltergeist soundtrack
    • Peter Gabriel - “In Doubt” from Passion, his score to The Last Temptation of Christ
    • Aphex Twin - “Domino” from Selected Ambient Works vol. 2
    • Shane Carruth - “Leaves Expanded May Be Prevailing Blue Mixed with Yellow of the Sand” from the Upstream Color soundtrack
    • David Axelrod - “A Little Girl Lost” from Songs of Experience
    • Interview from Frank Marshall’s Temple of Doom behind the scenes documentary
    • Tangerine Dream - “Charly the Kid” from the Firestarter soundtrack
    • Interview from the Gremlins behind the scenes featurette
    • Jerry Goldsmith - “The Shop/Little One” from the Gremlins soundtrack
    • John Carpenter - “Seagrass Attack” from The Fog soundtrack
    • David Bowie - “A New Career In A New Town” from Low

    This episode is Sean trying to ape the style of these podcasts: Karina Longworth's You Must Remember This, the non-interview segments on The Dana Gould Hour, and The Dollop. Listen to those shows for the non-shitty version of a storytelling podcast. Next week we will be back to the tried and true 2 people talking about movies format and Sean promises to never do this much talking ever again.