Tim Roth: Man or a Muppet? The Films of Mike Leigh.

Once again, Bill Muir rises from Queens’s streets to lend Jimmy a hand in his hour of need. Continuing their discussion from the last episode, Billy and Jimmy dive into the cinematic world of British class-struggle with the films of director Mike Leigh. Playing this month on the Criterion Channel (and leaving at the end of August–so hurry up and watch these!) are an excellent assortment of Mike Leigh films that will educate any film lover in Leigh’s work.

But first, Jimmy and Billy pay tribute to some legends of cinema who passed away in recent weeks. John Saxon (1936-2020) was a film and television character actor with nearly 300 credits. Many will remember him from Enter the Dragon, or Nightmare on Elm Street. Jim remembers him from his six appearances on Fantasy Island.

John Saxon, co-star of 'Enter the Dragon', dies at 83 - Far East Films
Saxon signals, “I’m A okay.”
Michelle Phillips and John Saxon in Fantasy Island (1977)
Saxon and sea friend in Fantasy Island.

Another big name in the cinema passed away. Alan Parker (1944-2020), the two-time Oscar nominee for Best Director (Midnight Express and Mississippi Burning), made a slew of big-name films, including Fame, Shoot the Moon, Birdy, Angel Heart, and The Commitments.) In the spirit of getting out while the getting is good, Parker retired from directing movies in 1993, after the box office dud, The Life of David Gale, but he left us with some great films.

And Jim and Bill would be remiss if they didn’t mention one of the greatest film composers of all time, Oscar-winning Ennio Morricone (1928-2020.) From The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly and Once Upon a Time in the West, to The Untouchables and Cinema Paradiso, this guy composed over 400 scores for film and television during his legendary career.

Don’t think for a second Jimmy and Billy would to let the moment go by without paying a small tribute to the ageless shape-shifter himself, Wilford Brimley (1934-2020.) Best known for Quaker Oats, The Natural, a bizarre appreciation for Cockfighting, and his iconic performance in Cocoon, if you’ve reached 18,530 days old, you have a hit the Brimley Cocoon line, and we have this man to thank for it. Will we all start dawning Florida attire at 50 years, nine months, and six days? Only time will tell.

There is a lot to savor in this episode; tributes, laughs, debates, and a healthy dose of razzing. Strap on that headset, or get that car Bluetooth ready, because here come 70 minutes of podcast entertainment that is second to none.

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