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S02.E06: Hollywood

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Orson Welles's "Citizen Kane" angers William Randolph Hearst, animator Ub Iwerks helps Walt Disney create Mickey Mouse, and Nancy Reagan convinces her movie-star husband to enter politics.

 

Guest Stars: Jack Black as Orson Welles, John Lithgow as William Randolph Hearst, Michael Angarano as Walt Disney, Tony Hale as Ub Iwerks, Nick Kroll as Ronald Reagan, and Lindsay Sloane as Nancy Davis Reagan.

 

Narrators: Steve Berg, Derek Miller, Drew Droege

 

Preview:

 

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Great casting with Jack Black and John Lithgow. And it was very cool that this part was shot like Citizen Kane.

 

Michael Angarano was also well-cast as Disney. He looked very much like him. Loved when he said, "We gotta be here by then, and productivity and blaahhhhhhh," ruffling all over Ub Iwerks' drawings. I'd never heard of Iwerks (and of course pictured his name as iWorks). I didn't know he had actually drawn Mickey Mouse originally. I love Tony Hale in whatever he does.

 

Nick Kroll was weird casting as Ronald Reagan, which kind of made that work. I thought Lindsay Sloane was particularly good as Nancy, esp when she looked at the camera as she said, "Boom."

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I was kinda hoping they would mention Julia Morgan and her designing Hearst Castle (on the weekends). Morgan had a day job up in SF and on Friday night, she'd hop a train down to San Simeon to work on Heart's house.

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And it was very cool that this part was shot like Citizen Kane.

 

I'd never heard of [ub] Iwerks 

Wasn't that beyond cool that they shot the Welles story like Citizen Kane, @peeayebee ? I can't wait to revisit that segment and spot all the devices they used.

 

As I've read a lot of the histories of DIsney animation, I'd heard of Ub Iwerks -- his name keeps popping up. But I had to guess for myself how to pronounce his name. What a kick to discover that I was right!

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I'd never heard of Iwerks (and of course pictured his name as iWorks).

 

Ha! I looked him up, too, only my search was "eyeworks."

 

Sidebar: Who needs precision these days when Google's search algorithms will find it anyway? I recently had my fingers mispositioned on the keyboard and searched for "cgrus cgrustu". Google gave a weary sigh and brought up "Showing results for chris christie".

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While I was mildly amused, especially by the Reagan story, I felt this was the weakest episode since it's been on CC. I think I finally figured out why--there was really nothing "heroic" in any of the stories. No one triumphed over wrong, which makes the other stories and episodes funnier.

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Agree that it's not the strongest episode, but I loved Nick Kroll as Reagan. The story was just kind of cut off abruptly, though.

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Kroll had that classic look from the time period I think that made it work as Reagan. I thought the story was actually pretty relevant and cynical. Today, it's patently obvious that most politicians are completely disingenuous and back then, Reagan's getting into politics was basically because his wife wanted to be famous, and they weren't really even conservative. 

 

The narrator for Reagan just wasn't good though. 

 

No one triumphed over wrong, which makes the other stories and episodes funnier.

 

There's not really much of that when you're covering Hollywood though. I think the Disney story was good because in the end, Ub got respect from Disney. And Citizen Kane is the greatest movie of all time, so it's kind of triumph over Hearst that he wasn't able to stop people from seeing it. 

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Not to nitpick or anything, but Citizen Kane while nominated for Oscars and such wasn't really seen that much when first released. It only gained traction later when released in France after the war. Then it's reputation grew throughout the 50's.

ETA: I didn't mean to offend anyone with the above remarks. I apologize if I have. I was reading up on the film while posting and didn't want to go into a long explanation about what I'd read. Apparently, I'm not too good at expressing myself. It just didn't seem correct that Welles got over on Hearst's machinations when the opposite appears to have happened. Maybe I misunderstood what I was reading. Again, I apologize.

Edited by HelenBaby

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But it was seen at least -- Hearst didn't succeed in burying it (thus the Oscar nominations). It wasn't the stuff of popular hit status in its time, but that's true of many masterpieces. And going by my own experience its reputation was helped by American writers about film over the years (not that France played no role, but it wasn't the sole contributing force). Pauline Kael's Citizen Kane Book, though questionable in some respects (mostly in her appropriating someone else's research without sufficient credit), has helpful things to say about historical perspective with this film.

Edited by Rinaldo
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All of the stories were pretty anticlimactic considering Hollywood has some pretty cool history. I would have like to see something about Thomas Ince or Jayne Mansfield

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