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Inside the Actors Studio


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#1

Kilgore Trout

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Posted Jan 1, 2004 @ 4:03 PM

He's Vice President of The Actors Studio Board and Dean of the Master's Degree program between New York City's New School For Social Research and The Studio.

and those that can't teach, I guess.

Wanted to defend Mike Meyers, I loved this one. He's such a strange guy, but I thought he was just hysterical for two hours. And he seemed pretty sweet with his wife also. I know he came prepared, but still! He dusted off all his characters on the spot and tremendously funny.

Lipton is amazingly wierd and annoying. The first time I saw the show, I really thought he was joking with that routine. The format and the questions, seem to push the actors into making some pompous statements. I think Meyers was trying hard not to sound that way, but he didn't quite succeed.

Com'on, he did Lothar of the hill people!
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#2

Dana Girl

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Posted Jan 4, 2004 @ 10:48 PM

Does anyone know when the Hugh Jackman ep is going to air?

Going back to the actors on the B,C,D level discussion we were having earlier, I actually think that Jackman would be a good person to have that conversation with. He did a lot of...paying the bills kind of roles in Australia. Plus there is his wife, who definately falls into that category.
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#3

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Posted Jan 5, 2004 @ 8:39 AM

In Canada, Bravo has a different schedule than in the US - yesterday was a re-run of the episode with Robin Williams. He just ran wild over Lipton - Williams needs a relatively strong host who can rope him in once and a while - Lipton was totally lost - I don't think Robin actually answered one question Lipman put to him. Then the whole bit about the plane wings on his lapel pin - was hilarious but you could see that Lipton wasn't amused.

Edited by Lampton, Jan 5, 2004 @ 8:40 AM.

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#4

Trompe L'Oeil

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Posted Jan 5, 2004 @ 10:01 AM

Can't say that I blame Lipton...Robin Williams is one person whom I can only handle for so long. Once Billy Crystal & Whoopie Goldberg hosted the Oscars, I feared their buddy Robin would eventually get the gig. It'd be a 9 hour spectacle with Williams hosting, he so manic.

Finally got to see Jude Law (re-run) on Friday...very interesting. Law's answer to Lipton's inquiry regarding how Law's handsome looks affect his career was very eloquent.

Loved the episode with Russell Crowe last night. Why someone like him - who's been nominated for 3 straight best actor Oscars in a row, will probably get a 4th next month not to mention he starred in the last two best film Oscar winners - gets one hour and Tom Cruise (next week) gets two just astounds me. L.A. talk radio has been inundated with ads for The Last Samurai all of which mention Cruise's Golden Globe nomination. It seems like he's pleading for some sort of acknowledgement and if I was a voter, it'd work against him. God help us if he's nominated for an Oscar. There are days I think Pat Kingsley sits at the right hand of Lucifer.

Edited by Trompe L'Oeil, Jan 5, 2004 @ 10:37 AM.

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#5

attica finch

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Posted Jan 5, 2004 @ 11:41 AM

I was fascinated with Russell's turn in the Lip-seat. He seldom made eye contact with Lip, but was completely engaged with the discussion and charming with the students. His anecdotes were funny, his imitations of Scott, Hansen and Poulsen were dead-on, and he was serious without being pretentious.

Good on ye, Russ.
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#6

atomic cherub

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Posted Jan 5, 2004 @ 1:36 PM

I loved how Russell made a point of saying that he's never really had formal training, and that often times the best way to learn is just to get out there and do it. He came off as very charming, even when he started to get a bit overly idealistic towards the end. However, when El Lip asked him about the band I had to change the channel in order to keep from cringing.
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#7

hfree520

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Posted Jan 5, 2004 @ 2:06 PM

I don't understand what Tom Cruise would possibly have to talk about for two hours. . .it's going to be even more of a schmooze fest than normal. Lipton is going to have a field day, he gets to kiss the ass of someone who lives for that kind of stuff.

Haven't seen Russell yet, but I'm hoping that they re-run it soon. I'm sure it was really good, since he doesn't seem the type to put up with Lipton's fawning.
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#8

attica finch

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Posted Jan 5, 2004 @ 2:39 PM

when El Lip asked him about the band

Hee! I've always assumed that 30 Odd foot of Grunts was a description of Russell's singing!
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#9

Decormaven

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Posted Jan 5, 2004 @ 5:29 PM

Loved the episode with Russell Crowe last night. Why someone like him - who's been nominated for 3 straight best actor Oscars in a row, will probably get a 4th next month not to mention he starred in the last two best film Oscar winners - gets one hour and Tom Cruise (next week) gets two just astounds me. L.A. talk radio has been inundated with ads for The Last Samurai all of which mention Cruise's Golden Globe nomination. It seems like he's pleading for some sort of acknowledgement and if I was a voter, it'd work against him. God help us if he's nominated for an Oscar.

Amen! Saw The Last Samurai on New Years Day, and the Japanese actor, Ken Watanabe, blew Tom Cruise off the screen. I would love a two hour Actor's Studio with Russell Crowe; I thought his answers were spot-on, without a lot of camera mugging. The clips in the promo for Cruise's session already are curling my toes. I definitely agree that Cruise is practically begging for the public to take him as a "serious" actor. Sorry, outside of Born on the Fourth of July, I just can't go there.
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#10

Liquidsunshine

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Posted Jan 5, 2004 @ 6:48 PM

Wanted to defend Mike Meyers, I loved this one.


His was my favorite episode. He was goofy but interesting, and there were some sad and poignant moments, such as when he discussed his late father. This was the only episode I watched in its entirety; with others, I always flip channels because they had boring moments. Not so with Myers.
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#11

Trompe L'Oeil

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Posted Jan 5, 2004 @ 10:51 PM

Haven't seen Russell yet, but I'm hoping that they re-run it soon. I'm sure it was really good, since he doesn't seem the type to put up with Lipton's fawning.

Based on my years of Crowe-watching, I've learned that Russell doesn't suffer fools gladly. I concluded that the only way he could make it through the interview was to focus on the students and not make eye contact with Lipton...just a guess. I have a friend who was in attendance...even managed to spot her in the audience...she said he was actually there for much longer than the hour that aired. Wish Bravo had chosen to show more Crowe and less Cruise.
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#12

Bungalow Joy

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Posted Jan 7, 2004 @ 2:59 PM

Based on my years of Crowe-watching, I've learned that Russell doesn't suffer fools gladly.

I've followed him for a long time, too, and as an actor he does seem to have real integrity. I think he had the pomposity blinders on by not looking at the Lip directly, because this was an audience he cared enough about to speak to plainly and directly. (And, OT, I think he should have won the Oscar that year over Denzel, because he deserved it over Denzel.)
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#13

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Posted Jan 12, 2004 @ 5:19 PM

I'm surprised that I'm the first who has anything to say about the Tom Cruise marathon episode. BTW, hi all. I'm a first-time poster in this thread.

The most amusing part for me was when Tom Cruise made the masturbation innuendo when asked which hand he writes with. Pretty funny from a guy who seems serious and philisophical about 150% of the time.

The most annoying thing was how Lipton kept talking about himself - more than normal, I thought. Maybe it was just 'cause it was an extended episode, but then man kept interjecting comments about his father leaving, etc. Also, the story about how he was asked to do a cameo in Vanilla Sky because it's not a real NYC party unless James Lipton is there? Come on. ANNOYING.

Otherwise, an okay episode.
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#14

Genrewriter

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Posted Jan 12, 2004 @ 6:39 PM

Oh man, I used to watch this show when I was in college. One could make a lethal drinking game out of this show just going on the amount of shameless buttkissing remarks Lipton makes. I like the show but he really grates after five or six minutes.

I think I'm one of the few who enjoyed the Robin Williams episode. Not because I learned anything new about the guy, but because he DID run roughshod over Lipton. On another note, has anybody seen the Donald Sutherland episode? From what I hear, it won't be shown too often because he basically shot Lipton's pompous act down totally. Having seen the episode, I can safely agree that he did.
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#15

Lexus Luthor

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Posted Jan 12, 2004 @ 7:43 PM

That episode was Classic Cruise: Flash the smile, laugh heartily, appear gracious, humble, and earnest...but essesntially say very little of real wit or insight. I don't think you can really deny Cruise's accomplishments as an actor or movie star (he's made any number of great films, and has worked with virtually every major filmmaker of the past quarter-century), and on film he certainly has charisma to spare. But in person, he usually comes off as awkward and overly philosophical, although said philosophies are usually platitudes of the most obvious sort.

That's always been my Cruise theory: For two decades, people have speculated as to Cruise's secrecy and privacy and seemingly distant public persona, and whether it's a possible cover for being either gay or a raging Scientologist, but I've always thought Cruise's BIG SECRET that he's worked so hard to shield us from is simply that he's not especially bright. Not that he isn't pleasant, earnest, or enthusiastic, all of which he is in spades. And he certainly knows how to choose a good director or screenplay.

But catch Cruise in an interview, and he's always quick to flash the grin, the cackling laugh, or some Oprah-level feel-good wisdom as soon as he's stumped or uncomfortable. While he'll laugh up a storm, he's not exactly quick on the draw with a witty response or a relevant anecdote. Usually he'll laugh, followed by an awkward silence, then retreat to Oprah/Tony Robbins mode with utmost intensity. Repeat ad nauseum.

That said, he handled himself pretty well opposite Lipton, who could barely conceal his boner at times and was truly in rare form. Anytime Lipton starts throwing out references to himself as a master pilot (as he also did during Travolta's show last year), you know it's time to flip channels for at least five minutes.

As for next week, Charlize Theron. OK, she's great in MONSTER, and she HAS made 174,967 movies since 1996, but like Naomi Watts, I have to wonder if their appearance in front of the Actors Studio isn't a LITTLE premature. Watts, in particular, has appeared in roughly five movies anyone's seen, all from the last year and a half. Not that she and Theron aren't immensely talented -- and popular, hence probably good ratings -- but they hardly have an extensive career to sagely reflect upon, a la a Travolta, Newman, Cruise, Williams, DeNiro, etc.
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#16

hfree520

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Posted Jan 13, 2004 @ 9:25 AM

Am I the only one who would much rather have seen Nicole on that stage than Tom? Or have I been brainwashed too much by the likes of Vanity Fair. . .?

Anyway, totally agree on the Watts/Theron comment. They both have a lot of potential, but I would have waited for them to have gotten a larger resume before coming on. This is particularly true of Theron, for while she has been in a lot of movies and has done well in most of them, few of them have been that good. Sweet November anyone? It's great to have all of these new episodes in a row, but I would rather have to wait for someone really good than get an episode with someone sort of random.

BTW, Barbra Streisand is coming up. Wow, that will be two raging egos on one stage. I don't know if I can handle that.

Wish list anyone? People who I would love to see in the near future:
Ewan McGregor, Ralph Fiennes, Judi Dench, Nicole Kidman

for reference

Edited by hfree520, Jan 13, 2004 @ 9:26 AM.

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#17

bonster

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Posted Jan 13, 2004 @ 9:45 AM

If I may change the subject for a minute...

As other posters have mentioned, Bravo Canada airs different episodes from Bravo USA. In fact, I think we are quite a bit behind, as the last episode we saw was the Will&Grace cast, which I think aired in the US several months ago.

Anyway, I've noticed that Lipton is increasingly making use of the "talking to the characters routine". I hate this, does anyone else hate this? Is there a valid reason why he does it, meaning is it an exercise that helps the students? I just find it annoying, I tune in because I'm interested in what actor or actress has to say, not their characters. If I want to see the characters I'll watch the shows or movies. Just my opinion, he did it so much in that W&G episode that I just had to come on here and vent a little.
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#18

Pooki

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Posted Jan 13, 2004 @ 10:08 AM

I only ever see this show if I'm over at my mother's, since I don't have the channel it's on here in the UK. I'm disappointed I've not seen the Jude Law episode though. I agree with the earlier poster who suggested Ewan McGregor would make an ideal candidate - I've seen him interviewed on other shows and he was utterly charming, professional and funny.

I liked the Ian McKellen episode, but the strangest I've seen had to be the Vanessa Redgrave episode. is it me, or did a lot of the students not seem to have a clue what she was going on about?
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#19

CydW

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Posted Jan 13, 2004 @ 10:51 AM

I don't watch this show with any regularity but caught, by coincidence, the episode with the Simpsons cast. We enjoyed the talk-to-the-characters schtick on that occasion, just because our then-11-year-old (a big Simpsons fan) found it fascinating. I know what you're saying though, bonster.

It was interesting that during that segment of the episode, Julie Kavner was suddenly just...gone. As in, no longer on the stage. We wondered if it was because she didn't want to participate in something that would mess with the audience's belief in the "reality" of Marge.
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#20

attica finch

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Posted Jan 13, 2004 @ 11:06 AM

I think that's right, CydW. Kavner has a policy. Bless her heart.

I'm on the bandwagon with putting the kibosh on chatting with the characters. For the most part, the actors have had no input in creating the character in the first place (only inhabiting). The writer has that job, and there are no writers on hand to assist these poor, lamblike creatures with this improv. Ick.

Speaking of writers, and since the AS has a writing program, how about getting William Goldman? That'd be a howl AND a hoot.

And I have finally decided that Cruise's grin is way too akin to a dog baring his fangs for me to find it lovely. He scrunches his forehead, pulls down his nose, and raises the outside of his lips. Bah.
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#21

tigger two

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Posted Jan 13, 2004 @ 11:24 AM

Hey Bonster,

I was watching a bit of the W&G episode and was thinking the exact same thing. When he asked Grace to make the 'face' from the Antique Roadshows episode, I changed the channel. I mean really, who cares? The Simpsons was an exception IMHO, because most of them voice so many different characters and it was really neat to see the actors and hear the characters' voices at the same time. But I hope this isn't a regular thing.

BTW, what the hell you talking about wrt to Julie Kavner? She has a policy? What is the policy - not doing the voices?

I'm in Canada, so who knows when we'll get see to TC.

Edited by tigger two, Jan 13, 2004 @ 11:25 AM.

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#22

CydW

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Posted Jan 13, 2004 @ 11:36 AM

I'm guessing what attica meant is that she won't bust out Marge's voice when the visual is not of Marge. Undermines the illusion.

Edited by CydW, Jan 13, 2004 @ 11:37 AM.

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#23

attica finch

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Posted Jan 13, 2004 @ 11:59 AM

Undermines the illusion, breaks the fourth wall. Plus, it's shrewd. It's one thing to discuss a performance. It's quite another thing to Perform. Especially without preparation, for an asshat, and for free. Go, Julie.
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#24

CydW

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Posted Jan 13, 2004 @ 12:09 PM

She may be trying to avoid total identification with the character, too--to the extent she can.
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#25

kunju

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Posted Jan 13, 2004 @ 12:58 PM

Ick. Tom Cruise.

I'm waiting for them to rerun the Gabriel Byrne one, which featured a classic line from GB in response to JL's description of him as a [paraphrased] "handome, brooding leading man": "I would like to break out of this ‘dark, brooding' image, cause I'm actually not like that at all. In Ireland, brooding is a term we use for hens. A brooding hen is supposed to lay eggs. Everytime somebody says ‘He's dark and brooding,' I think: ‘He's about to lay an egg.'" Way to dump on JL, Gabriel! i knew there was a reason I loved you.
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#26

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Posted Jan 13, 2004 @ 2:00 PM

The Simpsons episode bugged me because it didn't have Matt Groening or any of the writers. While I think that the voice actors are amazing, it's the writers that make that show. Ditto with the Will and Grace ep (although it did have the writers/director). Both of the episodes should have been two hours considering the amount of people who were on the stage. That should be a good rule of thumb for them, increase the time in proportion to the number of guests. Tom Cruise does not need two more hours of screen time.

whoever it was the said Cruise had a smile like a jackal, word. Penolope looks she's going to swallowed whole whenever she is standing next to him.

Edited by hfree520, Jan 13, 2004 @ 2:02 PM.

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#27

bonster

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Posted Jan 13, 2004 @ 6:23 PM

Glad to know I'm not the only one!

I only caught a brief part of the Simpsons episode, but I can agree with the posters who said this was a different situation, especially because I assume they were brought on specifically to discuss their characters on that show as opposed to their careers in general.

And maybe that's the reason they had the Will and Grace group as well, but since they are all actors who have done other things, I would have been more interested in hearing about some of those things. But I've seen him do the character thing with other actors as well, who were alone on the stage. Mike Myers is the only one I can think of now, and that was a 2-hour show so he did it a lot! It was so annoying. I know there were others but they are not coming to mind right now.
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#28

BoxofRain

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Posted Jan 14, 2004 @ 12:33 AM

That episode was Classic Cruise: Flash the smile, laugh heartily, appear gracious, humble, and earnest...but essesntially say very little of real wit or insight. I don't think you can really deny Cruise's accomplishments as an actor or movie star (he's made any number of great films, and has worked with virtually every major filmmaker of the past quarter-century), and on film he certainly has charisma to spare. But in person, he usually comes off as awkward and overly philosophical, although said philosophies are usually platitudes of the most obvious sort.

That's always been my Cruise theory: For two decades, people have speculated as to Cruise's secrecy and privacy and seemingly distant public persona, and whether it's a possible cover for being either gay or a raging Scientologist, but I've always thought Cruise's BIG SECRET that he's worked so hard to shield us from is simply that he's not especially bright. Not that he isn't pleasant, earnest, or enthusiastic, all of which he is in spades. And he certainly knows how to choose a good director or screenplay.

But catch Cruise in an interview, and he's always quick to flash the grin, the cackling laugh, or some Oprah-level feel-good wisdom as soon as he's stumped or uncomfortable. While he'll laugh up a storm, he's not exactly quick on the draw with a witty response or a relevant anecdote. Usually he'll laugh, followed by an awkward silence, then retreat to Oprah/Tony Robbins mode with utmost intensity. Repeat ad nauseum.

That said, he handled himself pretty well opposite Lipton, who could barely conceal his boner at times and was truly in rare form. Anytime Lipton starts throwing out references to himself as a master pilot (as he also did during Travolta's show last year), you know it's time to flip channels for at least five minutes.


wow, that is a spot-on assessment of tom cruise. i was *cringing* for him when he was struggling to articulate his approach to his craft (what with all the blathering about finding his character in the moment, and going with "feeling nothing.")

all of that doesn't prevent me from liking his movies, however. very strange. i guess i'm in the minority; i love vanilla sky and EWS.
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#29

Trompe L'Oeil

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Posted Jan 14, 2004 @ 12:48 AM

Am I the only one who would much rather have seen Nicole on that stage than Tom?

No! Her performances are far more interesting than his.

How many times can Cruise play the same asshole? Think about it, whether he's driving stock cars, mixing drinks, piloting fighter jets, driving his addled brother cross country, practicing law, spying, speaking motivationally before a paying crowd, shooting pool, playing high school football...(what activity have I missed?)...he's the same trouble maker who bucks the system, pisses off his superiors, thinks he knows better and ultimately gets the girl....only the props have been changed.

The only Cruise films that I've seen I really liked were The Firm (because of the cast, ok except for Jeanne Tripplehorn & I liked the Grisham novel) and Rainman (because of Hoffman). I've never seen Born on the Fourth of July which is probably Cruise's most challenging performance because Oliver Stone's paranoia just pisses me off.

As far as Naomi Watts is concerned, you'd be surprised to see everything she's been in. Mulholland Drive just made the American movie going public just sit up and take notice.

With Crowe, Cruise, Watts, Law, Zellweger & Theron recently appearing or about to appear on the show, it looks like Lipton is trying to become a bit more contemporary and feature the impending Oscar nominees. I think Sean Penn was even a recent guest.
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#30

Decormaven

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Posted Jan 14, 2004 @ 8:07 AM

That episode was Classic Cruise: Flash the smile, laugh heartily, appear gracious, humble, and earnest...but essentially say very little of real wit or insight.

Yes, that's the ticket. Ditto, too, on the observation on JL's fawning pilot compadre comments. When he starts pointing to his AOPA lapel pin, I know it's time to flip to another channel.
I'm sorry, but IMHO, there's no way Top Gun classifies as an outstanding moment in cinema. It's a GREAT popcorn flick, but that's it. And big boffo box office doesn't mean squat to me. Has Steve Buscemi ever been a guest on this show? Now, that's somebody I'd like to hear from.
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