Judd Apatow: Favorite and Forgotten DVDs Judd Apatow, the man behind The Forty-Year-Old Virgin, shares five of his favorite DVDs and tells why it took so long to get the DVD released for his cult-hit TV show, Freaks and Geeks.
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Judd Apatow: Favorite and Forgotten DVDs

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Judd Apatow: Favorite and Forgotten DVDs

Judd Apatow: Favorite and Forgotten DVDs

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Some Fridays on MORNING EDITION, we give you movie options. If you can't make it to the theater, or if you don't want to pay Seven dollars for a three-gallon cup of Coke, or you just don't know what to rent or buy, we get some DVD picks from special guests.

And this morning, we've brought in Judd Apatow. Most recently, he wrote, directed and produced, “The 40 Year Old Virgin.” He's also responsible for “Freaks and Geeks,” the TV series. Welcome to the program.

Mr. JUDD APATOW (Writer, Director and Producer): It's a pleasure to be here.

INSKEEP: And let's look at your DVD picks here. The first one is actually a television program now on DVD called, “The Dick Cavett Show: Hollywood Greats.”

Mr. APATOW: The thing that I'm realizing right now, is it makes sense that I worked in “Freaks and Geeks” just based on my picks, that I'm pushing hard for people to watch “The Dick Cavett Show.” They're maybe nothing geekier than that.

(Soundbite of laughter)

But it's really interesting to see talk shows back in the day, when they were much more unscripted and it wasn't like it is now, where everything everyone says on these late night talk shows has been figured it out beforehand.

INSKEEP: We should mention for those of us who were under 40, this is a program that was in the slot where you'd see Jay Leno today, or David Letterman today, but the interviews where much, much longer with the guest.

Mr. APATOW: And anything, you know, could happen in those interviews. And Dick Cavett - he went right at them and asked them all the questions you really wanted to ask them. Interviews of people, like Robert Mitchum and Orson Welles. And there's a director's panel with Robert Altman, Mel Brooks, Frank Capra -just some amazing things on it. And there's two, two-full hour interviews of Katharine Hepburn.

(Soundbite of TV show, “The Dick Cavett Show”)

Ms. KATHARINE HEPBURN (Actress): You keep interrupting the long story of my life, if you just shut up, I'd be able to…

Mr. DICK CAVETT (Host, “The Dick Cavett Show”): I won't speak again for the next hour.

Ms. HEPBURN: You never listen. Oh, that would be the day.

(Soundbite of laughter)

That would be the night. But anyway, which story do you want to hear?

Mr. CAVETT: Anything at all.

Mr. APATOW: I find Dick Cavett really funny and fun to watch. And I put it on every night as I'm trying to put my children to bed because I know that they will pass out in 45 seconds.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. APATOW: So I go, hey, kids, you want to watch Robert Mitchum on “The Dick Cavett Show?” And my 4-year-old and 9-year-old will be asleep before he hits the stage.

INSKEEP: Now, the next item on your list is “Terms of Endearment,” a film from 1983. What draws you to that?

Mr. APATOW: You know for me that's one of my favorite films of all time. And James Brooks is a somebody that I look up to.

INSKEEP: He got the Best Director Academy Award for this-is that right?

Mr. APATOW: I think that movie won a lot of Academy Awards. And there's a commentary on it by James Brooks, and for anybody who wants to learn about writing or directing or comedy, most everything you need to know is in this commentary. And there's literally no reason to go to film school. Save your $100,000, and buy “Terms of Endearment.”

INSKEEP: Oh, while we're on the subject to the film industry, this next DVD that you choose is called “Tell Them Who You Are.” Tell us what it is.

Mr. APATOW: I'm a documentary freak, and this is a great documentary about Haskell Wexler and it was made by his son. And Haskell Wexler is one of the great cinematographers. Clearly, they had kind of a difficult relationship. It seems like they were in conflict for a very long time, and if the son decided to make this documentary as a way of connecting with his father. And there's a - two things in it that that are very powerful. One is Haskell Wexler visiting an ex-wife who has Alzheimer's.

It's a moment that's one of the most intimate moments I've ever seen photographed. The second moment is a DVD extra, which is actually I think more powerful than anything in the film, which is where he shows his father the movie. And it's just very powerful to see this man get the approval from his father that he probably has been trying to get his entire life.

(Soundbite of documentary, “Tell Them Who You Are”)

Mr. HASKELL WEXLER (Cinematographer): Just so I get over my very strong emotions, I could just say on the surface, you're hell of a filmmaker.

Mr. MARK WEXLER (Director, “Tell Them Who You Are”): Thanks, dad. Thank you.

Mr. APATOW: I sat in bed, my wife is sleeping, and I'm just bawling like a little girl. You can tell me this man has been waiting his entire life to hear his dad say that sincerely.

INSKEEP: Well, let's go from that serious tone to another very serious film on your list here, “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.”

Mr. APATOW: This film changes lives.

INSKEEP: And by the way, I notice this there's a really hotshot producer on this film - oh, it's you.

Mr. APATOW: You know…

INSKEEP: Judd Apatow. You recommended one of your own films here, didn't you?

Mr. APATOW: You know, I'm not one of those people that is for plugging my own work. I find that distasteful. But like Al Gore, I think I have something important to say.


Mr. APATOW: And I think that it is important that people see this movie and “An Inconvenient Truth.” If you watched those two movies, you could change the world.

INSKEEP: Let's just mention, for those who missed the trailers or missed the movie itself, this is a Will Ferrell film. He plays a NASCAR driver. And the slug that you saw on all the movie posters was - the story of a man who could only count to number one.

Mr. APATOW: It's a remarkable film about the world of NASCAR and the incredible life of Ricky Bobby. I think it's a hilarious movie and we worked so hard on these DVDs - I'm such a DVD nerd that as I, you know, a grown up man making these things, I just think, what would the eleven-year-old nerd, Judd, want to see…


Mr. APATOW: …on this DVD?

INSKEEP: Well, Judd Apatow, it's been fun talking with you.

Mr. APATOW: Thank you very much.

INSKEEP: That's the writer, producer and director Judd Apatow. And you can see all of his DVD picks at npr.org.

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