Coronavirus, Hollywood And The Entertainment Industry The coronavirus pandemic is affecting all parts of the entertainment industry. Sam talks to writer and comedian Jenny Yang and camera operator Jessica Hershatter, whose jobs are on hold due to shutdowns. Also, Sam and LA Times entertainment reporter Meredith Blake discuss television and streaming. And joining Sam for a special edition of Who Said That is Shea Serrano, staff writer for The Ringer and author of the book Movies (and Other Things).
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TV, Movies And Coronavirus

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TV, Movies And Coronavirus

TV, Movies And Coronavirus

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SAM SANDERS, HOST:

Hey y'all. This is Sam on the line with Sam's Aunt Betty.

Hi, Aunt Betty.

AUNT BETTY: Hey, Sam. How are you?

SANDERS: How are you?

AUNT BETTY: I'm really well. Thanks.

SANDERS: Well, I want to talk to you today because we are doing a very special episode all about how coronavirus is changing the entertainment industry and Hollywood. And I said to myself all week putting this show together, Betty loves movies.

AUNT BETTY: Yes, she does.

SANDERS: (Laughter) And I was thinking, this past Christmas what I enjoyed perhaps the most that day - was it on Christmas Day exactly where you and I went to the theater to see "Knives Out"?

AUNT BETTY: Yes, it was. It was - I think it was before or after our Chinese thing, and then we went to the movies. Yeah.

SANDERS: Yeah. Chinese buffet and a movie - it was a wonderful Christmas.

AUNT BETTY: Doesn't get much better, does it?

SANDERS: Yeah. You know, one of the questions we're asking this episode is, when will the current crop of TV shows and movies and content, like, dry up? I mean, as someone who is at home like the rest of us, do you worry about that day?

AUNT BETTY: Never - it has not crossed my mind.

SANDERS: (Laughter) I think about it all the time.

AUNT BETTY: I mean, I'm having a ball with stuff that was on when I was a child.

SANDERS: Like what?

AUNT BETTY: Like "Danny Thomas Show," "Make Room For Daddy." I love those old shows, "ALF." So - I mean, I was an adult when "ALF" came out. But...

SANDERS: I had no idea you were an "ALF" fan.

AUNT BETTY: I love "ALF" (laughter).

SANDERS: We're going to have to talk about that later.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: Well, I tell you what - I look forward to, one day, you and I going back to the movies again. We will find a dollar cinema that's still playing "Black Panther," and we'll just go see it.

AUNT BETTY: (Laughter) That's a date.

SANDERS: OK, OK. All right.

AUNT BETTY: All right. Cool.

SANDERS: Do the thing you do where you start the show.

AUNT BETTY: All right. Let's start the show.

SANDERS: Wakanda forever.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SANDERS: Hey y'all. From NPR, I'm Sam Sanders. IT'S BEEN A MINUTE. This episode we're going to talk about TV and movies and all the stuff we watch. And we're going to talk about how coronavirus is affecting all the people and businesses that make that stuff. If you're like me, one of the constants since this pandemic started has been sitting down on my couch in front of my TV. I can still watch just about everything I want anytime, even if I can't go to a bar or a concert or see family and friends. Most of the stuff we watch right now, it still seems steady and reliable. But coronavirus could change that. All those shows we're binging to pass the time, all those movies - they don't just appear magically in our Netflix queues. Someone's got to make them.

So throughout this episode, we'll hear about what's changed for the people and businesses that make the things that we watch. A camera operator in Atlanta tells us whether you can ever make a movie or TV set safely socially distanced. TV reporter Meredith Blake tells us how Netflix - right now at least - is one of the biggest winners in this whole mess. And author Shea Serrano talks about what we lose when we can't go to movie theaters, even if we can still watch new movies at home.

But to start, let's hear from Jenny Yang. She's a TV writer and comedian based in Los Angeles, and she can recall exactly when coronavirus kind of put her life in the entertainment industry on hold.

JENNY YANG: Listen - you know, I think when you're in entertainment or in a creative profession, you kind of accept a certain level of, like, chaos (laughter). But I mean, this is like next-level chaos. It's, like, game-changing chaos, you know? And so I think for me...

SANDERS: Jenny just finished her second year writing for a sitcom, which is a big deal for her. She's kind of made it in Hollywood. But that's her day job. What Jenny is really passionate about is stand-up comedy. Before coronavirus hit, she'd lined up some gigs. One of them was scheduled for March 11. You remember that day.

YANG: Somehow the NBA decided they were going to cancel, and that's what I felt like was the canary in the coal mine (laughter).

SANDERS: Jenny performed anyway. But after the show, she had to decompress.

YANG: I drank tequila on the rocks with two limes multiple times. And you know, I like that heavy liquor flavor is what I'm saying. And that night, I even smoked my friend's cigarette. I don't smoke, Sam. I was just feeling...

(LAUGHTER)

YANG: I was risking it all. I took a drag on a stranger's vape. This is what was happening that night.

SANDERS: She went home to reckon with her other big project, the one she'd been planning for years - this competitive self-care comedy show called "Everything's Fine With Jenny Yang." Tickets were sold; sets and costumes we're bought; celebrity guest stars were booked. But the next morning, she had to cancel everything.

YANG: And I was devastated. All day, I was crying. I was individually hitting all the buttons necessary to refund everyone's Eventbrite ticket.

SANDERS: Oh, my goodness.

YANG: And it was like an act in torture for me to undo this beautiful vision and dream that I had worked many, many months emotionally preparing for - and then many years, in a way, preparing for because three years before this, I bought the everythingsfine.com URL, being like I'm going to make this into something. And finally, that moment happened. (Laughter).

SANDERS: Yeah. Oh, my goodness. So then now you have that really emotional few days of having to just click the buttons, write the tweets and adjust to this new life.

YANG: Yes.

SANDERS: Now, a few weeks into this, what is your normal day?

YANG: Well, you know, my normal day is not much different from what I was anticipating, which is to have control over my time and to work on my writing, to work on producing shows at this point. Now I am - you know, I think we've all quickly pivoted to being online performers. I was just joking that we're all cam girls now. You know what I mean? Like, this is OnlyFans. You know what I mean? This is...

SANDERS: Check out my OnlyFans.

(LAUGHTER)

YANG: You know? What I'm doing right now is doing what I've been doing, but I don't get to go out and see people to perform stand-up comedy. Stand-up comedy is inherently defined by standing up in front of people.

SANDERS: In front of people. Yeah.

YANG: That's literally - you can't. You're not doing stand-up comedy if you're not standing up performing in front of people. Like, you can't - it's like, you know, you can paint. You don't have to show people your paintings, and you're still painting. But this is not the same.

SANDERS: Yeah.

YANG: It's not the same.

SANDERS: Yeah. So have you been trying stuff on Instagram Live, doing comedy stuff? Like, are you broadcasting yourself on the social platforms from home?

YANG: Yeah, yeah. I think I would say within the first three weeks of everyone staying at home, my impulse was to just try to livestream literally every weeknight. And then eventually it felt like a little too much work, you know, kind of encroaching on my evening sort of self-care energy. I am now producing my "Everything's Fine" show to be a Zoom show - a Zoom meeting. And I'm going to try to do breakout rooms.

SANDERS: OK.

YANG: I'm going to try to recreate, as much as possible, the live experience. So I'm going to tell people, get dressed up; make yourself a cocktail; show up 15 minutes before the show starts and we're going to have people put you into randomly assigned breakout rooms where you can recreate the feeling of going up to the bar to order a drink and then accidentally saying hello to someone new.

SANDERS: Oh. You know, I'm doing this next week. This sounds fun.

YANG: Oh, my gosh - that would be awesome. Yeah.

SANDERS: So you, like just about everyone in the biz, is working really hard to figure out a new path forward.

YANG: Yeah.

SANDERS: I guess my biggest question is, even as creatives find these new paths and these new avenues, will y'all make money? Are you making money right now? Are you worried about money? Like, what's the financial on this?

YANG: Being a comedian and a writer - so when you're a writer-performer in entertainment, I feel like you have more options. Right? Now, as a performer a lot of those options have been limited because we don't have an audience that we could perform live to anymore. Right? So prior to this, I used to run my own shows live. I used to tour colleges and universities. You might get a corporate gig here or there if you're a stand-up comedian, right? But you know, the reality is I cannot rely on that for the foreseeable future.

Because I was on a TV show, fortunately - and thank you to the Writers Guild of America and the power of a writers union - I have savings from that. So I was already anticipating, prior to coronavirus hitting, you know, living off of my savings if I needed to, you know? And then on the writers side, if you're in entertainment, that whole machine is still going because writers notoriously can be very solo and we can work from home. And I've been doing meetings with production companies and network folks and executives. You can do that, you know, FaceTime, you know? And I'm putting together pitches to sell for TV shows that hopefully someday we can make.

SANDERS: Thanks again to writer and comedian Jenny Yang for talking with us. You can find her on Twitter and on Instagram - @JennyYangTV - one word.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SANDERS: You're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR. I'm Sam Sanders. This episode, how coronavirus is reshaping Hollywood. The thing about the entertainment industry - what we think of as Hollywood - is that it's not just in California anymore. One of the biggest places to film TV and movies right now is Atlanta, and pretty much all filming down there has shut down. That means all those behind-the-scenes folks - the set designers, the makeup artists, the sound engineers - they are out of work. Jessica Hershatter operates cameras on film and TV sets in Atlanta. You may have seen her work on a little show called "Stranger Things."

JESSICA HERSHATTER: So I'm a first AC, which it means focus puller. I essentially control the focus of the camera - so changing lenses and batteries and building for new setups...

SANDERS: Jessica says she's anxious to get back to a production set very soon. Thing is, though, no one really knows yet what a safe set - a socially distanced set - should look like. Jessica recently read an article all about that in The Hollywood Reporter, and some of the options are really blowing her mind.

HERSHATTER: I was very interested to read all of their ideas, some of which are good ideas and some of which I think would be impossible.

SANDERS: Like what? Tell me one of the impossibles.

HERSHATTER: So it hadn't mentioned - obviously, crew members wearing gloves and masks. They had talked about actors who are in intimate scenes who obviously can't wear any protective gear because they're on camera - shooting their coverage at different times from each other and then, in post-production, putting that together - which, you know, we have the technology to do but is kind of a crazy way of having to act. They talked about, you know, hand sanitizer and wash stations and temperature checks when you walk in. I think the things that would be challenging are they had the idea of separating departments and limiting who is on set.

SANDERS: But don't y'all all work together?

HERSHATTER: Exactly. Everybody needs to be on set, and everybody needs to be near the actors or the camera or the equipment to do our jobs and light properly and set up the shots. And until we have an actual vaccine - which I hope happens - it's going to be really hard to prevent the spread of this, especially on a set.

SANDERS: Yeah. It seems like the real big question is either fewer people on a set or just bigger sets so everyone can space out 6 feet and stay apart. Which do you think seems most likely?

HERSHATTER: You know, that was actually mentioned in the article, too. They had said a couple of things - one, that shows probably won't all come back at once. It'll be kind of a trickle effect and most likely the smaller shows will come back first because when you're talking about an Avengers movie, there's hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people working on that set. On the little MTV movie I was on, it was more like 50.

And then the other big question like that was, is it safer to be on a soundstage as opposed to shooting in a location? Because locations are harder to control. Soundstages, you can do things like space people out or, you know, build some walls that - to keep people separate from each other. So I think that might eliminate some of the lower-budget shows that are not able to afford the builds on stage.

SANDERS: So as all of these negotiations are happening about what production looks like in a coronavirus reality, I'm wondering if people like you have enough say in those conversations. I assume that studio heads and directors and powerful actors can be in the room for these types of meetings, but I assume that below-the-line workers like yourself aren't there.

HERSHATTER: You know, honestly, that's the way it is for everything in the film industry, so I've kind of gotten used to the hierarchy of whose opinion matters. But I do have to say that, in general, actors are more paranoid than the rest of us. So if anybody...

SANDERS: (Laughter).

HERSHATTER: ...Is concerned about health, it's the actors. So you know?

I had a very strange incident on our very last day of shooting, which was I had had a cold the week before and I had a little remnant of a cough. I was very close to the actors and I coughed twice and I guess one of the actors was uncomfortable and told a producer. And I had three producers come up to me...

SANDERS: Stop.

HERSHATTER: ...And tell me I wasn't allowed to cough.

SANDERS: I'm not going to ask you to name this actor. But if you wanted to...

HERSHATTER: But that was at the very beginning of all of this, and the witch hunt aspect scares me 'cause I imagine, if we all come back and someone so much as coughs or sneezes, it's going to be a big deal.

SANDERS: So then, I mean, like, what I hear you saying is that, like, it's actually not about whether it's safe or not - it's about whether or not people feel safe.

HERSHATTER: Absolutely.

SANDERS: Thanks again to Jessica Hershatter in Atlanta. All right. Time for a break. When we come back, how this pandemic is changing the ways we all watch TV - and the highs and lows of TV made via Zoom conference call. BRB.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SANDERS: We are back. You're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR. I'm Sam Sanders. This episode, we are looking at how coronavirus has affected the entertainment industry, from writers and performers to behind-the-scenes workers to just how we're consuming media while we're stuck in our homes. To see how our viewing habits are changing, I called up an old friend of the show.

Meredith, hey. How are you?

MEREDITH BLAKE: I'm OK. How about you?

SANDERS: I'm good. I'm making it. It's funny. I was thinking, before this interview, the last time we talked the world was completely different. We were talking about "Friends," the NBC sitcom. And back then when we talked, that show was still on Netflix. That is no longer the case. And the entire world hadn't changed because of a little thing called coronavirus.

BLAKE: Yeah.

SANDERS: Does it feel like forever ago?

BLAKE: It does. Those two world-changing events happened since we last talked - "Friends" left Netflix, and then we...

(LAUGHTER)

BLAKE: A pandemic erupted.

SANDERS: That is Meredith Blake. She's an entertainment reporter for the LA Times.

So Meredith, you cover TV. My first question for you - how much have viewing habits changed? How different is TV-watching right now?

BLAKE: It's definitely up. As of, like, I think mid-March, streaming was up something like 36%. So it's - undoubtedly, it is up. You know, the broadcast networks have - in some ways, are being hit the hardest by this. They've seen their numbers go up a lot because people are at home. So we're seeing ratings that we haven't seen on the regular in a while. There was that Disney singalong the other night they got pretty big numbers. There was the Lady Gaga concert that was - got, I think, like, 20 million viewers or something - you know, big numbers.

SANDERS: Wow.

BLAKE: So they're watching...

SANDERS: Yeah.

BLAKE: ...All kinds of TV.

SANDERS: There you go. If I'm looking at what coronavirus is doing to the entertainment industry as, like, a business story, as an economic story, what has been the single-biggest economics shift in this whole entertainment landscape since coronavirus happened? I mean, for me, what stands out the most is Netflix announcing recently that, since the 'rona (ph) hit, they have gained 16 million new subscribers.

BLAKE: Yeah. I mean, it's really accelerating. You know, it's funny 'cause the last time that we talked, it was about the streaming wars and, you know, the possible threat that these new services were going to pose to Netflix. And while services like Disney+ have certainly seen the benefit, if we can call it that, of coronavirus, in some ways, it's also just consolidated Netflix's kind of hold on the industry. And they're, you know, leading the charge. You know, 15 million subscribers - that's the biggest quarter in the entire history of the company. And that's largely due to people being locked up (laughter) - locked down at home and wanting stuff to watch, which I guess - you know, that's the one kind of asterisk in all of this, which is that - is this sustainable? - because if you're not going to subscribe to Netflix now, when are you going to subscribe?

SANDERS: (Laughter).

BLAKE: So all the subscribers they're getting now - it's like, who's going to be signing up in November, somebody who's just in a cave for five years? I don't know.

SANDERS: (Laughter) Yeah, this might be the peak.

BLAKE: Yes (laughter).

SANDERS: Yeah. We are both people who have to watch a lot of TV for work.

BLAKE: Yes.

SANDERS: And a thing that I'm trying to have a conclusive thought on is, of the shows that are trying to make new content in the midst of coronavirus, do we have a verdict on it yet? I'm watching cable news do all of their interviews with folks from their homes. I'm watching shows like "SNL" look like a Zoom meeting.

BLAKE: Right.

SANDERS: Those kind of shows are still figuring things out. But like, is it good (laughter)? I don't know. It doesn't feel good yet.

BLAKE: It's a weird combination. I personally enjoy some aspects of it. I like the voyeuristic aspect of it where I get to look at celebrities' living rooms and, like, see what books they have on their bookshelves...

SANDERS: Yeah, yeah (laughter).

BLAKE: ...That part of it I really like. You know, like, I - you get to see what Cate Blanchett has on her bookshelf. And I know - you know, my daughter had "Sesame Street" on the other day. And "Sesame Street's" wonderful, and we love it. But there was an episode where they do it as, like, a Zoom playdate with Elmo. And it was just like - ugh. It was just, like, kind of triggering.

SANDERS: (Laughter).

BLAKE: Like, I think we're not going to want to look at that ever again.

SANDERS: Yeah. A thing I can't figure out is, when all the shows and movies for platforms like Netflix or Hulu or the networks have aired, how long before there's no new content - right? So like, besides the weekly or daily shows like cable news or "SNL," all of the scripted stuff that's still being cranked out because it was done before coronavirus, do we know yet when that stuff starts to run out?

BLAKE: I mean, it depends on all of the - they all sort of have a different schedule of producing shows. Streamers like Netflix - because all of their stuff drops at once so it has to be ready all at once so it's produced well in advance of its release - they're better equipped to kind of deal with a production stoppage that we've seen. The production halt is really hurting the traditional broadcast networks, which, at this time of the year, basically would be filming all of their pilots, and basically, none of those pilots have been produced. So they have an issue. They also have less, you know, live sports to put on the air, so it's a real challenge for them.

BLAKE: When I hear you say that, I just - I'm hearing it being like, that's billions of dollars at stake. These big TV networks still have millions of viewers all the time, lots of ad dollars wrapped in it. Like, are these networks going to just, whatever happens, have lost billions in the process of dealing with this?

SANDERS: I think there's no way around a lot of loss. And it may be that even if they had new shows to put on the air, they would see advertising loss anyway just because of the way the economy is going. You know, a lot of advertisers are being more skittish and withholding, you know, their ad buys across the board. So yeah, I think it's undoubtable that we're going to see that these big companies are seeing losses. And we're already seeing it, you know? So it's real. And it's a real dramatically urgent situation that we're in.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SANDERS: Thanks again to Meredith Blake. She covers TV for the LA Times.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SANDERS: All right. Time for a break. When we come back, we'll play my favorite game - Who Said That? - this weekend, a very special disaster movie edition. BRB.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SANDERS: We're back. You're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR. I'm Sam Sanders.

New movies are still being released. They're going straight to on demand, but that just doesn't feel right to me. I wanted to talk about what we'd all lose if that remains the case, so I called up a fellow film lover.

Shea Serrano, hello. How are you?

SHEA SERRANO: What up, sir?

SANDERS: You know, doing good - surviving the best I can.

Shea Serrano covers sports and pop culture for The Ringer. He also wrote a whole book about movies. It's called "Movies And Other Things." Shea and I talked about movies and the culture, and we also played a very special edition of Who Said That?

So we're doing this episode, Shea, all about how coronavirus has just totally upended the entire entertainment industry.

SERRANO: Mm hmm.

SANDERS: And I've talked to a bunch of folks who work in streaming and in TV, but I really want to talk about movies with you because, I mean, the economic story of the movie industry right now is pretty straightforward. You can't go to the theaters. These movies aren't making box office. They might make some money on demand, but they're just kind of frozen for now. But I want to talk with you about, like, what we lose from the culture when we don't get to go see movies in theaters with the popcorn and in a room full of strangers in the dark. It feels like we're missing something right now. I don't know. Am I reaching too far with this? Am I being too mushy about it?

SERRANO: No, you're absolutely correct. It's so much different watching a movie on your laptop or on your TV at home than standing in line, getting your snacks - like, there's very much a communal experience with that. A very easy example is I went to a movie theater out in LA - you know the one right off of Hollywood?

SANDERS: Oh, yeah - ArcLight Hollywood, yeah. Oh, yeah. It's beautiful.

SERRANO: So I saw - I was out in LA when the when the movie "Joker" came out. And I was like, oh, you know what? I've got a night to myself; I'm going to just go. And then as I'm walking out, this guy walks up to me, and we knew each other from the Internet. And he was like, oh, hey, what's up man? And we're - we were - we're now doing the thing that you do with friends when you're walking out of the movie theater and you're having the - did-you-like-it? conversation...

SANDERS: The conversation.

SERRANO: ...What-did-you-think? conversation.

SANDERS: The debrief.

SERRANO: Yeah.

SANDERS: Yeah.

SERRANO: That's part of the process. Same as when you go with somebody and you're, like, waiting in line to get snacks, you're having these conversations. Like, it's all baked in together.

SANDERS: Oh, yeah. I kind of compare it to like - you can pray at home by yourself, or you can go to church. Both are good, but one is much more fun. Like, one is much more fun.

SERRANO: Yeah.

SANDERS: You know, it's funny I am thinking about what I'm going to do this summer without movie theaters 'cause I go to the movies a lot.

SERRANO: Mm hmm.

SANDERS: And one the things that I love most, besides the communal experience, is the popcorn. Like, I'm that dude who's, like, give me the largest popcorn, give me that fake butter sauce, layer it all throughout, like, grease it up. And you know what I can't do, Shea?

SERRANO: What's that?

SANDERS: I don't know how to recreate that butter sauce at home because it's not really butter.

SERRANO: There's no way to do it, yeah.

SANDERS: Like, what is it?

SERRANO: It's like some synthetic butter with some sort of MSG in there that gets you super - like, you can only get that at the movie theaters. You can't get it anywhere else. It's unbelievable.

SANDERS: Yeah, it's unbelievable. And listen - any movie theater executives listening to this podcast episode right now, I got an idea for you. If you all did take-away at-home movie theater butter popcorn kits, I'd buy them all. In the same way that, like, bars are doing take-home cocktail kits right now, theaters should do take-home movie theater popcorn kits.

SERRANO: Yeah.

SANDERS: I want it.

SERRANO: You should have a bundle. The nachos taste different there. The pretzels taste different. The hotdogs taste different. Like, let me get my pack for my home movie viewing. That's a good idea. I don't know why they haven't thought of that yet.

SANDERS: Right? We did it here first. I'm going to start the Kickstarter as soon as we're done talking.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: All right, Shea, last thing I'm going to ask of you - every week, we play a game. It's called Who Said That?

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA")

KANDI BURRUSS: Who had been saying that?

PORSHA WILLIAMS: Who said that?

KENYA MOORE: Who said that?

SANDERS: And basically, when I have panelists on to talk about the week of news, I have a little quiz for them about various funny news stories from the week. And I'll read them a quote from the week that someone famous or important said, and they have to guess who said it.

SERRANO: OK.

SANDERS: But I was wondering, because you are a movie buff, would you play a special disaster movie edition of Who Said That? with me now?

SERRANO: Oh, wow. OK. Let's give it a try.

SANDERS: You can do it. So I will give you a quote from a movie, and you just say what movie it is. First quote - "this place is like Dr. Seuss' worst nightmare."

SERRANO: Oh, geez. I have no idea what that is.

SANDERS: OK. Steve Buscemi said it. It's in a 1998 blockbuster that had a No. 1 hit from the soundtrack from Aerosmith.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "ARMAGEDDON")

STEVE BUSCEMI: (As Rockhound) This place is like Dr. Seuss' worst nightmare.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character) Let's get the remote...

SANDERS: Oh, "Armageddon."

(SOUNDBITE OF VICTORY TUNE)

SANDERS: Yeah. Yeah. So that movie - it's funny, like, I hate that movie, but I love that movie. Like...

SERRANO: You hate that movie? Are you crazy?

SANDERS: It's so cheese, man. It's so cheesy.

SERRANO: You're crazy. That's a beautiful movie.

SANDERS: I know.

SERRANO: That's such a touching ending.

SANDERS: OK.

SERRANO: Are you trying to tell me that, when you watched it the first time - or even recently - and Ben Affleck is back up in the airlock going up into the ship, screaming and crying his heart out, that didn't do something in you?

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "ARMAGEDDON")

BRUCE WILLIS: (As Harry S. Stamper) You're going to take care of my little girl now. That's your job.

SANDERS: You know, it did not. I'm sorry. I have no soul. I know. I know. OK. Anyways, listeners, if you hear this, go back and check out "Armageddon." The whole thing is about an asteroid the size of Texas heading towards Earth. And Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck save the world. You got that one.

Next quote - "I promised a friend I would say hello to you today."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "I AM LEGEND")

WILL SMITH: (As Robert Neville) Hello. Hello.

SANDERS: Hello?

SERRANO: (Laughter).

SANDERS: Please say hello to me.

SERRANO: Oh, God. That one hurt. That's "I Am Legend." That's Will Smith in the video store in "I Am Legend." Oh, God. That one's - that's tough. You're giving me all the sad movies today.

SANDERS: (Laughter) So that movie - the plot is, like, so depressing. Will Smith is this doctor, and he has to end up saving the world after a virus meant to cure cancer wipes out most of the world's population and turns everyone else into, like, these zombies called Dark Seekers. And because Will Smith is one of the only humans left, he recreates public spaces with mannequins. And so he'll go to these stores and talk to the mannequins. It is so sad.

SERRANO: That single scene right there is a good example of why Will Smith is one of the best actors we've ever had. Like, it doesn't make any sense that that scene would be that good.

SANDERS: And he just has a range. I love that man.

OK. You got two so far. This is the last quote in our special disaster film edition of Who Said That? Here we go. "We can't be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interest. Perhaps it's fate that today is the 4th of July and you will once again be fighting for our freedom."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "INDEPENDENCE DAY")

BILL PULLMAN: (As Thomas J. Whitmore) Not from tyranny, oppression or persecution - but from annihilation.

SERRANO: Yeah, I know this one. That's my guy Bill in "Independence Day."

(SOUNDBITE OF VICTORY TUNE)

SANDERS: Oh, yeah.

SERRANO: And also, by the way, Will Smith is in that movie as well. This...

SANDERS: Exactly.

SERRANO: ...Quiz was 66% percent Will Smith.

SANDERS: So now we have to have you back for just a special extended Will Smith edition of this game 'cause you would ace it.

SERRANO: I would ace it.

SANDERS: I love it.

SERRANO: "Seven Pounds" - I've seen every Will Smith movie.

SANDERS: You saw "Seven Pounds"? Oh, my goodness. You are - deep cuts.

SERRANO: I saw "Seven Pounds" in a movie theater.

SANDERS: Whoa.

SERRANO: I was like, my guy Will is in this? I'm in. Sign me up. Opening week. And then I'm watching it, like, oh, maybe - you know, maybe not, Will. Maybe not this one. But next one. We'll get them next time.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: On that note, you won this special disaster film edition of Who Said That? Shea Serrano, thank you so much. All right.

SERRANO: All right. Thanks, man. Take it easy.

SANDERS: All right. Thanks again to Shea Serrano and everyone in this episode who talked with me about what's going to happen to all the TV and movies I love in the midst of this pandemic. All right. Now we're going to hear from y'all talking about things y'all love. It is time for our listeners to share with us the best things that have happened to them all week.

SERENA: Hey, Sam. This is Serena (ph) from San Diego. My 13-year-old son and I made a Swiss roll cake inspired by that junk food delight the Ho Ho. It turned out really good and was a totally fun bonding experience with my teenager.

CHRIS: The best part of my week was when I was having a video chat with my son and his 20-month-old daughter and she called me Pop-Pop for the first time. It really made my day.

CHRISSY: The best thing that happened to me this week is I got engaged. I guess my boyfriend had the ring for about a month and was trying to figure out the most romantic room in our house to propose in because we don't leave our house anymore. I, of course, said yes, gave him a big hug and then said, oh, I'm wearing sweatpants for this.

STEW: Hey, Sam. This is Stew (ph) in Tucson, Ariz. The best thing about my week happened yesterday. And I'm going to try to get through this without crying, but it's really hard not to. Anyway, I had a radical prostatectomy. I had my prostate taken out. And I'm really happy that my cancer is out of my body. I really wasn't going to get all choked up about this, but I'm really happy that the cancer is out of my body. And I love your show. And keep up the good work. Thank you, Sam.

CHRIS: Take care. Be safe.

CHRISSY: Take care, Sam. Thanks.

SERENA: Thanks for always being a bright spot on my podcast feed.

SANDERS: Thanks to those listeners - Stew, Chrissy (ph), Chris (ph) and Serena. All of you could be a part of this segment. Just record yourself sharing the best part of your week and send that file to me at samsanders@npr.org - samsanders@npr.org. This week, IT'S BEEN A MINUTE was produced by Jinae West, Anjuli Sastry, Andrea Gutierrez and Hafsa Fathima. Special birthday shout-out to Jinae West. She is quiet but mighty and has the world's cutest dog. And a very special happy birthday to my Aunt Donna (ph) in San Diego. She turns one year older, one year wiser and one year more amazing this weekend. Donna, I love you. Our fearless editor is Jordana Hochman. Our director of programming is Steve Nelson. Our big boss is NPR's senior VP of programming, Anya Grundmann.

OK, listeners, till next time - thank you for listening. Make some time to rewatch your favorite movie this weekend. It'll feel good. All right. I'm Sam Sanders. Talk soon.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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