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The Jerk

“I don’t need anything… except this. This ashtray, and that’s the only thing I need is this. I don’t need this or this. Just this ashtray… and this paddle game.”

Steve Martin was having great success as a comedian, but felt like he was at his peak and wouldn’t last very much longer if he didn’t push into another avenue. That other avenue, as it turned out, was film. Of course, that wasn’t as easy to get into as he had hoped and it took him some time, but eventually, one of the studios latched onto his idea for a script and he was off and away. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off a new series looking at the early films of Steve Martin starting right here with Carl Reiner’s 1979 film The Jerk.

We talk about Martin and how this film worked to give him not just a film career but so much more, and why his brand of comedy helped get him there. We look at why comedy in a film like this may feel dated, particularly for people looking at it for the first time. We chat about several of the comedy moments in the film, both famous and not-so-famous, and look at why some stand out better than others. We discuss Bernadette Peters and why she’s such an amazing performer. We touch on the performance of “Tonight You Belong to Me” and why it works brilliantly but also feels out of place. And we debate why the film’s title is The Jerk.

It’s a dated film that seems to work better for people who connected with it earlier in life, but still has some charm and definite iconic comedy moments. We have a great time talking about it, so check it out then tune in. The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

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When the movie ends, our conversation begins. We love movies. We’ve been talking about them, one movie a week, since 2011. It’s a lot of movies, that’s true, but we’re passionate about origins and performance, directors and actors, themes and genres, and so much more. So join the community and let’s hear about your favorite movies, too.
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