19 February, 1971: Cold Turkey

Anna and Ben cough, gasp, and wheeze their way through the 1971 Norman Lear satire about a whole town that tries to quit smoking, Cold Turkey. Will they come to a consensus about whether the film unfairly judges the characters or successfully establishes stakes, or will Big Tobacco keep their findings from the light of day?

Sources and References:

Demi Adejuyigbe’s Letterboxd review of Cold Turkey, along with some other interesting current responses: The Paris Review, and a photo of the stars returning to the Iowa location for it’s 30th anniversary heading various collected recollections of its filming.

The Des Moines Register account was published on the occasion of Lear returning on his tour for his memoir, Even This I Get To Experience. Lear had just written the memoir when the PBS documentary about his life and his career came out (currently available on Netflix). Many of the talking points from the doc are covered in Lear’s conversation with Katey Sagal on an episode of Ben Blacker’s Writer’s Panel podcast. His conversation with TV-sitcom writer @SquidEatSquid was on the IMDB chatshow Lounging with Legends.

Neil Sheehan, the reporter who first published the Pentagon Papers in the New York Times (and largely left out of focus during The Post), died at the beginning of the year. He left instructions for the full story of how he got the material not to be published until after his death. The fiftieth anniversary of the first publication of the Papers is fast approaching: June 13, 1971. The Watergate break-in that ends The Post happened just over a year later on June 17, 1972. Nixon in Cold Turkey, filmed in 1969, is only fast approaching what some think is the start of his paranoid spiral. But is still an easy target for mockery, and the way he’s primarily shown as just a pair of hands is remarked upon by both Anna and Ben.

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