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Driving Miss Daisy

"Did you have the air conditioning checked? I told you to have the air conditioning checked." "Yes'm, I got the air conditioning checked. I don't know what fer, you don't ever allow me to turn it on."

Driving Miss Daisy was a perfect story choice for Richard D. Zanuck to produce. Sure, it was difficult to get made but for a film that only cost $7.5 million dollars to produce, it raked in over $100 million at the domestic box office, putting it in the top 10 of the year with the likes of Batman and Lethal Weapon 2. Topping that off, it led Zanuck, along with his wife, Lili Fini Zanuck, to win the Best Picture award at the Oscars.

But this 1989 film, which deals with prejudice and friendship in the relationship between an old Jewish woman in the south and her African American driver, stands out for many people as a perfect example of what’s wrong with the Oscars because it came out the same year as Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, a film that deals with race relations in a much more intense and direct way, and what many feel should have won the Best Picture award.

Regardless of your position on which is the better film or which should have won, Bruce Beresford’s film Driving Miss Daisy, written by Alfred Uhry based on his Pulitzer prize-winning play, is a beautiful, simple, and sweet story of two people who are the most unlikely to develop a friendship, yet they do just that. And it’s heartwarming.

Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — on this week’s episode as we discuss the amazing performances — Morgan Freeman, Jessica Tandy, and Dan Aykroyd are all fantastic. We chat about what the film is saying about race and look at in context of the 25 years over which the story takes place. We look at the films it was up against at the Oscars that year (as well as those that weren’t nominated). And we discuss the amazing or horrible Hans Zimmer music, depending on your taste for his 80s synthesized scores. It’s a discussion that ranges all over the map as we talk about this wonderful film, the fourth in our Richard D. Zanuck series. We have a great time talking about it, and hope you have a great time listening to it. Listen in!

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