Hollywood stuntman Hal Needham — one of the most famous practitioners of his dangerous craft — died of cancer on Oct. 25 at age 82. We'll listen back to a conversation with Needham from Feb. 7, 2011, when he had just published a memoir, called Stuntman!: My Car-Crashing, Plane-Jumping, Bone-Breaking, Death-Defying Hollywood Life.
Hal Needham spent most of the 1950s and '60s falling off horses, wrecking stagecoach wagons and falling from really, really high places.
Tony Robbins makes it his business to know why we do the things we do. Robbins has shared his views with millions through his seminars and his best-selling books. In this talk, he discusses the "invisible forces" that motivate everyone's actions — and high-fives Al Gore in the front row.
Follow your passion? It won't make you successful, says Mike Rowe. He believes blue collar workers, the people who make life possible for the rest of us, are unjustifiably degraded in society today — and might be the most successful people.
Leaving a high-flying job in consulting, Angela Duckworth took a job teaching math to seventh-graders in a New York public school. She quickly realized that IQ wasn't the only thing separating the successful students from those who struggled. Here, she explains her theory of "grit" as a predictor of success.
"There is real danger of a disconnect between what's on your business card and who you are deep inside, and it's not a disconnect that the world is ready to be patient with." — Alain de Botton
Success has become synonymous with financial wealth, influence and status. But can we define success in another way — one that welcomes a broader range of accomplishment? It may not be as obvious as you think. In this hour, TED speakers share ideas for what makes us successful.
It's been more than two and a half years since we last did a show packed with recommendations of pop culture (and other culture) for kids. We figured it was about time to do it again, for reasons we'll get into in the episode, so here we are.
Friday marks the kick off of the Route 66 Film Festival in Springfield. We bring you a conversation with Hugh Moore & Lana Wildman about that and a look at a couple of the films from Illinois that will be featured there:
CLICK HERE for more information about the fest, which runs Friday, November 1st to Saturday, November 2nd. You can also email Route66FilmFestival@gmail.com to get tickets for both days at a reduced price.
Orson Scott Card's science fiction novel "Ender's Game" has been a touchstone for teenage readers for nearly 30 years. L.A. Times and MORNING EDITION film critic Kenneth Turan says the new movie version shows why the story's hero is so appealing to young people.
When you hear the phrase, "writing guide," unpleasant things may spring to mind: sentence diagrams or even — shudder to think — your high school textbook.
Now, imagine the exact opposite, and you might get Jeff VanderMeer's Wonderbook. It's a writing guide, sure, but it's unlikely you've seen one like this before. Misbegotten fish serve as models for revision. Dragons butt in from the margins to contradict lessons. There's even a talking penguin — but don't get him started on what he thinks of the duck.
Listen to the complete 75th Anniversary re-creation of Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre broadcast of 1938.
H.G. Wells' classic tale of invaders from Mars, originally adapted for radio for Halloween in 1938, as performed at the Hoogland Center for the Arts in Springfield from the original Welles script and featuring live sound effects.
CAST: Gus Gordon, Tony Libri, Don Schneider, Johnny Molson, Bob Murray, Flynn Hanners, Jim Leach, and Bryan Boes.
The Exorcist was the story of one girl's demonic possession and the priest who saved her. It was engaging, terrifying and masterful — and it gave new meaning to the phrase "a real head-turner."
William Peter Blatty wrote the screenplay, adapting his own best-selling book. The film starred Ellen Burstyn and a very young Linda Blair — barely 12 years old when shooting began. William Friedkin, who had recently won an Academy Award for The French Connection, was the director.
Ender (Asa Butterfield) is a prodigy military cadet being trained by a team of adults — including Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley) — to fend off a hostile alien race in a much-discussed adaptation of Ender's Game.
Credit Richard Foreman Jr. / Summit Entertainment
Ender's primary trainer, Col. Graff (Harrison Ford), employs a series of mind games and cruelties in an attempt to toughen the boy and sharpen his instincts.
Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 3:33 pm
"When the war is over, we can debate the morality of what we do."
This sentiment, expressed by Harrison Ford's gruff Col. Hyrum Graff, pretty accurately sums up what director and screenwriter Gavin Hood is trying to do in his adaptation of the widely read 1985 sci-fi novel Ender's Game.
Keanu Reeves' directorial debut, Man of Tai Chi, is basically the anti-Kill Bill. Both movies are quilted together from their auteurs' favorite Asian action flicks, but where Tarantino's was overheated, Reeves' is elegantly iced. It's martial-arts mayhem with a touch of zen.
In Dallas Buyers Club, Jared Leto plays Rayon, a transgender woman who is HIV-positive and struggling with a drug habit. "I always saw Rayon as someone who wanted to live ... life as a woman, not just someone who enjoyed putting on women's clothing," Leto says.
Dallas Buyers Club is based on the story of Ron Woodroof, a rodeo cowboy and electrician, who was diagnosed as HIV-positive in 1985. With the latest drugs still in the trial phase, he was told he didn't have long to live. Without access to possibly life-prolonging drugs, he sought out alternative treatments in Mexico and smuggled those drugs into the U.S., forming a buyers club for fellow HIV patients.
Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 5:16 pm
In a certain region of the Missouri Ozarks called Devil's Promenade, there are tales of a "spook light." According to local accounts, it's a mysterious orb-like light that appears in the woods — but only on chance nights. And, as many local legends are, this one is shrouded in mystery: Is the spook light real? What is it? Is it evil? Is it good?
Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 2:39 pm
"Dickensian" is one of those literary modifiers that's overused. But before I officially retire this ruined adjective (or exile it to Australia, as Dickens himself would have done), I want to give it one final outing, because no other word will do. Here goes: Donna Tartt's grand new novel, The Goldfinch, is Dickensian both in the ambition of its jumbo, coincidence-laced plot, as well as in its symphonic range of emotions.
Welcome, all you ghosts and goblins! Welcome, all you cats and princesses! Welcome, Iron Man Under That Down Jacket! Welcome, Werewolf Whose Mom Is On The Phone!
I am pleased to see you at my door. I welcome always the young people in whose vicinity I reside, provided they are not so old that they pause before picking up their candy to put down a lit cigarette, which really happened to my parents once. (I will be using that anecdote in my upcoming book, Signs That You Have Outgrown Trick-Or-Treating.)
It's Halloween again, and now that we know there will be no Game 7 of the World Series, that leaves you an open evening to enjoy running back and forth to the door to drop tiny Snickers bars into plastic bags carried by children dressed as superheroes.
But this strange ritual is not the evening's only appropriate entertainment. Perhaps you just want to scare the pants off yourself. Perhaps you just want a Scary Movie Night. Fortunately, with the proliferation of distribution methods for films both scary and less so, you've got plenty of options.
Shake things up in our nation's capital with one of D.C.'s music legends. In this hour, recorded at the NPR Headquarters in Washington, our Very Important Puzzler is the prolific and outspoken Ian MacKaye. The front man of the D.C. punk bands Fugazi and Minor Threat shares tales from the road, and muses about what "punk" means today. Plus, try out your best Nicolas Cage impression, play a game that asks you to create new company names after imagined big-time mergers and search for National treasures.
Thirty years after launching his music career, what does it mean for Ian MacKaye to be a punk rocker? In the 1980s, MacKaye rebelled against popular culture as the front man of the influential D.C. punk bands Minor Threat and Fugazi, and founded his own label, Dischord Records. These days, he maintains the label and plays in a more stripped-down outfit, The Evens, with his wife, Amy Farina.
In this final round, led by puzzle guru Art Chung, contestants are given the names of two actors who have played the same role in different movies, and they must name the character. For example, Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro both played Vito Corleone from The Godfather trilogy. Who was a more convincing mob boss? We'll let you figure that out on your own.
Throughout his career as a musician, Ian MacKaye has played, listened to and analyzed countless hours of music. But how will he fare in our version of "Name That Tune"? In this Ask Me Another Challenge, MacKaye teams up with Stephen Thompson, NPR Music Editor and co-host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, to identify punk songs performed acoustically by house musician Jonathan Coulton.
In this game led by host Ophira Eisenberg, you get to become a corporate executive. Trust us, it's way more fun than board meetings and conference calls. We merge two well-known businesses, and it's up to you to create the new company's name. For example, if the company that prepares one in every six U.S. tax returns merged with a struggling video rental company, they would form H&R Blockbuster, which is a combination of H&R Block and Blockbuster
We hope you've been practicing your Nicolas Cage impression, or have seen his 2004 action thriller National Treasure. In this game, you must name famous items found in the Smithsonian Museum's collection, as described by house musician Jonathan Coulton. We encourage you to answer in the style of Cage's immortal line, "I'm going to steal the Declaration of Independence."
If you are prone to motion sickness on roller coasters, have no fear — the only twists and turns in this game led by host Ophira Eisenberg are in the clues. All of the answers are words that contain double "ee"s, just like the word you would say when you're on a ride: "whee!" For example, the Fox television series that features students competing in a cappella choir competitions is "Gleeeeee!"