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Soundtracking: Hustlers

"YES, this soundtrack was soooo good!!! The Fiona Apple 'Criminal' dance, instantly iconic." - JWB

"Does anyone remember Demi Moore in STRIPTEASE? They had her dancing to sad Annie Lennox songs. smh." - David

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Directors of For Sama

Lulu Wang (The Farewell)
Ritesh Batra (Photograph)
Schmidt & Abrantes (Diamantino)
Wanuri Kahiu (Rafiki)
Jia Zhang-ke (Ash is Purest White)

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Difficult People S3 E9-10: LA, Ayahuasca, and Aimee Mann

Chris and Spencer wrap up their chat on this season of Difficult People!

In "Sweet Tea" we finally get the much teased Big Lebowski sequence and some major shakeups...

S: “Sweet Tea” is the episode of some big changes! We have Julie giving up acting to start a career in crafting, Billy being sick of New York, and Arthur quitting his job at PBS… although Arthur decides to return back to PBS.

C: This season’s been kind of fitful in trying to create long-game plot points, but this felt like it was actually developing something that could have lasting implications.

S: Julie referring to Etsy as a cult is one of the most relatable lines from Difficult People I have ever heard. But then she turns around and uses weed baggies as her own new product, the “dream baggie.” I’ll take 20.

C: An Etsy side hustle is kind of genius for her, especially for the potential craft gags.

S: Julie also starred in a student film in 2012 and we are just NOW hearing about it? This is an attack. Too bad Julie and the movie were equal in their awfulness.

C: I imagine she’d have been more like Carolyn Minnott in The Room - the gem among the garbage.

S: Arthur relives a Big Lebowski hallucination, Marliyn goes on a date with herself as she struggles to write her book a la Being John Malkovitch, Matthew experiences his own Nocturnal Animals opening credit sequence, Billy has an Odd Couple nightmare where his roommate is New York City, and Julie has her own music video (and it is so catchy).

C: And it’s an original song written by Aimee Mann! So maybe her trip is a wee bit Magnolia.

S: The group accidentally drinking Lola’s ayahuasca was actually more tense than funny. But it was great to see Lola have more material to work with.

C: And that she has to take care of all of them mid-trip is perfect considering her dismissive haughtiness elsewhere.

S: We may have seen Julie at her most vulnerable in this episode, and it was pretty refreshing. “ I am happy to be unhappy.” That was a good line.

C: The show does have sincerity under its constant barrage of bitter jokes, but saving the sweetness for impact makes for lovely moments that don’t go to overkill.

"The Silkwood" wraps up the season with a trip to Los Angeles...

S: Right off the bat, we are getting a flashback to when Billy and Julie first became friends. Arguably a staple for so many sitcoms, but a moment that is equally hilarious and touching — a testament to their 16 year long friendship.

C: If I had a nickel for every time I similarly made a lifelong friend at a Sondheim dance class and then trashed Dr. Doolittle 2.

S: And this flashback correlates with Billy’s farewell tour of New York City. This is heartbreaking.

C: Another trope of New York-based sitcoms, leaving.

S: Meanwhile, we see some major changes for everyone else. Arthur’s PBS headquarters falls into a sinkhole, Julie’s TV show recap website went under, and the cafe was bought out by Sephora.

C: And Marilyn nearly loses her book deal until Julie ghost writes the entire thing. This was maybe one of the most satisfying arcs of the season, and they actually solved a problem together in a tangible way.

S: So wait… Billy doesn’t tell Todd that he’s moving to LA until he invites him to his going-away party? That is totally a Billy move.

C: But they work it out, so hurray for more John Cho next season hopefully!

S: In typical Julie fashion, she decides to go out to LA with Billy. Never did I expect to see them anywhere that’s not New York City — it is all so jarring.

C: Especially since it looks like New Jersey.

S: But perhaps not as jarring as Julie getting a massive sunburn in the LA sun.

C: That suntan gag was one of the best bits of physical comedy for Julie in a season of great moments.


S: Also great to see Amy Poehler playing Flute, the doula and Jill Stein supporter. Where naturally, her business card is just a leaf.

C: Where are my apology fries for that Jill Stein shirt?!

S: We cut to six months later, and everything is back as it once was, but with a twist. Billy is home, he was cast in Blue Bloods and it films in the city, Lola now owns the cafe, Matthew has escaped Scientology, and Julie recaps PBS for PBS.

C: I wonder if this means next season will give them more success...

S: This season of Difficult People was so fascinating. Whereas most sitcoms remain complacent, this season pushed Billy and Julie into some unexpected territories. This entire episode felt slightly melancholic, but always at the center is that phenomenal and surprising real relationship between the two leads.

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