September 26, 2017
Are acting auditions really as painful as La La Land makes them look? Do you really have to know somebody to get your start in the business? Is the notorious “casting couch” really a thing? These questions and more are answered this week by actress Heather Ankeny (Weeds, Criminal Minds), who helps the guys kick off a journey into France’s Burgundy region by sampling Pinot Noir from the village of Marasannay. Along the way, she talks about leaving a job working for the Denver Nuggets to try her hand in Hollywood, how she got her SAG card as a stand-in for Christine Lahti on Chicago Hope, and her unabashed affinity for a down-and-dirty bottle of Charles Shaw.
September 12, 2017
Was Hollywood’s summer slump a one-off caused by tired sequels and real-life natural disasters, or did it represent something more ominous for the theater-going experience? To discuss Hollywood’s broken system for releasing movies, we sit down with Tom Williams, who was on the team behind one of its most notable recent casualties, Logan Lucky. While Williams talks about working with directors like Steven Soderbergh and Alexander Payne, and how The Notebook became the biggest surprise hit on his resume, we sample three bottles of the unappreciated varietal that is merlot – itself a notable Hollywood casualty.
August 29, 2017
Every week, actress Lauren Ash delivers some of the most aggressive and just-plain-wrong comedic moments on network TV playing megalomaniacal Cloud 9 assistant store manager Dina Fox on NBC’s breakout sitcom Superstore. With the show about to enter its third full season, Lauren takes time out from her shooting schedule to help us drink through – what else? – three Kirkland wines from big-box retailer Costco. As the wines deliver some pleasant surprises for the panel, Lauren delves into the personal quirks of adjusting to the stability of being on a hit show, dropping out of theatre school to train with the famed Second City comedy troupe, and the perverse joy of terrifying hundreds of people on the long-running prank-show gem, Scare Tactics. She also humors Ben through the most awkward, but ultimately glorious moment in Hollywood Uncorked history (begins at minute 50).
August 15, 2017
As a creative director for advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi in New York, Mike Pierantozzi has a front-row seat to the closer-than-ever relationship between Hollywood and advertising. In this episode, we discuss how narrative storytelling is now sometimes indistinguishable between advertising and top-tier Hollywood content, and why top Hollywood talent is flocking to commercials. Along the way, we do a number on three Russian River Chardonnays: a 2015 Hartford, 2014 Gary Farrell, and a 2014 Walter Hansel Cuvee Alyce. We also learn how Ben tangled with fate last week by busting the proprietor of an Italian joint in Queens for serving homemade wine made from grocery store grapes.
August 1, 2017
As perhaps the biggest underdog winner in Survivor history, John Cochran isn’t afraid of making big moves. But he might have saved his biggest play for his post-Survivor life as the Harvard law grad turned his back on a legal career and instead pivoted to being a writer on CBS sitcoms The Millers and Kevin Can Wait. In this episode, Cochran helps the guys find the perfect wines to pair with Thai food while explaining why entering his first writing room was like walking onto the Survivor beach for the first time, which fellow Survivor winner supervised him during a college internship, and the hotel hot tub mishap he suffered after getting flown out to LA for the week-long Survivor casting process.
July 18, 2017
What happened to the romantic comedy? Despite being on constant rotation on cable TV, they’ve largely disappeared from the modern cinemaplex – but can they come back? In this episode, we discuss the downfall and future prospects of the rom-com with screenwriter Marc Klein, noted crafter of beloved versions of the genre such as Serendipity with Kate Beckinsale and A Good Year with Russell Crowe. As Marc helps the guys drink three wines Ben found at the BevMo Five-Cent Sale, he traces the history of the romantic comedy – from When Harry Met Sally to Sleepless in Seattle to Ten Things I Hate About You – and how the genre’s temporary stall might have as much to do with changes in our courtship customs as it does with studio financing. Oh yeah, and we also talk about the three years Marc’s dad spent as a casino executive for Donald Trump. So, you know, there’s that.
July 6, 2017
A third-generation writer, Emma Tolkin’s father scripted movies like Deep Impact and Changing Lanes, and her grandfather Mel served as head writer of Your Show of Shows, where he presided over one of the most legendary writing rooms in Hollywood history with fellow luminaries Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner and Sid Caesar. But when it came time for Emma to pursue her own writing career, she took her talents to the internet, where she’s handled social media duties for the Anna Faris podcast Unqualified and numerous tech startups. She even co-founded the dating app Vibes. In today’s episode, she helps us wrap up our four-episode traipse through the world of GSMs while explaining why the tech world is a highly chaotic but deeply fulfilling alternative for creative types considering a career in entertainment.
June 20, 2017
Given his role directing blockbuster animated sequels like Shrek Forever After and the upcoming Lego Movie Sequel, we thought it only appropriate to give director Mike Mitchell a two-episode arc to discuss his career as an animator and filmmaker in Hollywood. While drinking three hard-to-find bottles of Mourvedre, Mike walks us through how he developed the Trolls movie by going to the very origins of the ‘70s dolls themselves, the “hippie commune” that is Hollywood’s animated community, and the madness of being able to control every single inch of every single frame of your movie.
May 24, 2017
A manager at Magnet Management, Mitch Solomon works across many different disciplines in entertainment – from signing new talent, developing and producing scripts, and helping clients navigate Hollywood’s many pitfalls as they grow their careers. While drinking Grenache as part two of our look at the three wines that comprise GSM blends, Mitch discusses the factors that almost led to Hollywood’s first strike in a decade, the “greedy Communism” of running a management firm with eight other managers, and how he got his first job working for Robert Redford by answering an ad in The Hollywood Reporter. Meanwhile, writer Pete Tibbals from Episode #4 steps in to hold down co-hosting duties for Tom who just couldn’t rally back after hand surgery earlier in the day and the several fistfuls of pain pills he chased it with.