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40 Years of Winning and Grinning – The Tom Cruise Episode! – Episode 150

In this 150th episode, Dara decides not to lean into what makes the show what it is, but rather opts for the easy entertainment of the career of Tom Cruise. A recent rewatch of Top Gun Maverick prompted the question – what is it about Tom Cruise that audiences continue to buy? What is it about that smile, and that ever-young body?

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Riding the Gere-Stick to the Worst Poem in History! – Episode 112

In this episode, Dara wrestles with the conundrum that is Richard Gere. Self-satisfied narcissus or instinctive, id-driven sex animal? Is he a good actor? Is he just a fantasy figure beloved of Generation X moviegoers? Is he forever the man who rescued Julia Roberts from the streets? Dara examines Gere’s legacy through some of his most memorable performances and discusses in detail Breathless, the bizarre 1983 Hollywood remake of Godard’s A Bout de Souffle with an uncontainable turn from Gere at his most overtly sexual.

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The Cost of the Great Internet Giveaway and Why We All Need a Little Ronald Reagan in Our Lives – Episode 95

This episode looks at the problem of having access to too much information, material and opinion in the online space. So much content, and so much for free, and such ease of access, creates an imbalanced relationship that offers dubious benefits. Dara looks at his own internet consumption habits and questions the merits of unearned offerings.

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Going Down in Flames – The Fall and Fall of Marilyn Monroe – Episode 73

In this episode Dara assesses the recently-released Marilyn Monroe biopic, ‘Blonde’. Written and directed by Andew Dominik, and based on the 2000 Joyce Carol Oates book of the same name, the film has been widely panned by critics and Marilyn fans, but Dara found a lot to recommend in the performance as Marilyn of Ana de Armas. He argues that de Armas imbues her characterisation with such sympathy and emotional honesty that she effectively insulates herself from many of the less subtle aspects of the film’s storytelling.

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The Slap That Wasn’t Mine, or The Puppetry of Persona – Episode 45

In this episode, Dara lets the topic be led by the Will Smith slapping incident at last Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony. He unpacks some of the possible lines of analysis in the current climate of identity politics and culture wars. He also looks at his own history of being slapped and breaks down the gendered implications of the open-hand slap, particularly when it is called a ‘bi**h-slap’, looking at how it can be used as a tool of emasculation.

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