TV on the Radio & the Penny Poet of Portsmouth

Apr 22, 2016

Big-budget movies aim to break box office records, not win over critics.  Today, a reporter comes up with a formula to rank the worst-rated, highest grossing movies of all time...and there are a lot of them.

Then, the creators of Naked and Afraid bank on nudity hooking viewers in, but know they can't show the naughty bits during prime time. That's where "the blur man group" comes in.

Plus, we'll speak to a woman who counsels reality TV stars -  a population excessively prone to addiction, depression and suicide - to cope with sudden and fleeting fame.

Listen to the full show. 

Blockbusters Are Getting Worse

The reviews were in before opening day - and they weren't good: too serious, too convoluted, and too much destruction.  But the warnings did not keep Batman V. Superman from beating up box office records.Even though ticket sales fell precipitously after opening weekend, director Zach Snyder's superhero slugfest is a textbook blockbuster - so far, bringing in more than 800 million dollars worldwide. 

Zachary Crockett is a writer for Vox. He wanted to know how Batman V Superman stacked up next to other high-grossing, poorly reviewed films, and discovered an interesting trend: Big-Budget Films Are Getting Worse.”

Oddball Film and Video

Not every movie is a blockbuster...some are so bizarre that they never make it to the big or even small screen. Many end up at "Oddball Film and Video" a stock footage company with an archive that includes everything from vintage erotica to quirky after school specials. Producer Jenny Butler takes us inside. 

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org

The Art of the Blur

It may sound like a spoof, but Naked and Afraid is a big hit for the Discovery Channel...we'll let them explain the premise: 

Like survivor, but buck naked....which is tricky on network TV. John Koblin wrote for the New York Times about the team it takes to sufficiently blur out the naughty bits for Naked and Afraid

  

Teaching Wellness to Reality TV Stars

In a recent article for Broadly, writer Mitchell Sunderland writes that 21 reality TV stars have committed suicide over the past 10 years. That's compared to an average of 12.93 suicides for every one hundred thousand Americans in the general population in 2014. As reality television continues to grow as a genre, gobbling up more and more network hours - the extraordinarily high rate indicates a growing mental health problem within the reality TV community.

Sunderland's article profiled wellness coach Allison Barnardwhose work on the Luminary Program is now focused on this very visible, though clearly vulnerable, population. She joined us to tell us more about her work.   

    

Related: The Woman Teaching Reality TV Stars How Not To Go Crazy

The Penny Poet of Portsmouth

Robert Dunn was Portsmouth's Poet Laureate from 1999 to 2001. He was both a fixture and an enigma, often seen walking the streets of the rough-edged town....long before Starbucks and the gift shops took up residence, or the New York Times praised its "absurd selection of restaurants [and] cafes".

The writer Katherine Towler moved to Portsmouth at the onset of that boom and was intrigued by Dunn, then living in a single room without an electrical outlet and selling his hand-bound poetry collections for a penny. Her new book The Penny Poet of Portsmouth recounts their unfolding friendship as her life, and the seaside town transformed.

A Large, Well Rounded Head

What goes on inside the mind of a poet? For the poet Walt Whitman, trying to discover more about what was going on his own mind was a passion. Producer Michelle Legro brings us the story of the strange journey of Walt Whitman's brain, both inside his head and out.

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org.