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Episode #143: Defending Your Life

Listen to Episode 143 of the Podcast here while you enjoy the show notes.

SUMMARY - Defending Your Life follows Daniel Miller (played by Albert Brooks) during his last day on Earth. Shortly after celebrating his birthday by buying a new car, he accidentally crashes into an oncoming bus and dies. He finds himself in Judgment City where a council will review key moments from his life to determine if he’s sent back to try again or move on.

Screenplay by Albert Brooks; Directed by Albert Brooks; and released in limited cities on March 22,1991.


The movie doesn't waste a whole lot of time getting to the afterlife

and it immediately paints a different, fresh image of what a "purgatory" like place could be

There is some world building but it's mostly verbal. It would have been interesting to see a tiny bit more

The concept of going on trial and seeing your past memories is captivating

The main point is the love story and there is a great chemistry between Brooks and Streep

Most of the humor is situational or observational, but there are a couple of fun jokes

The Past Lives pavilion features a cameo from Shirley MacLaine and we talk about how that came to be.

Unlimited food? 9 pies? Are we sure this isn't heaven already?

Awards Talk: At the American Comedy Awards, Albert Brooks was nominated for the Funniest Actor. At the Saturn Sci-Fi & Fantasy Awards, it was nominated for Best Writing, Best Actress, and Best Fantasy Film. It is also part of the Criterion Collection


This week we don't have any true crime to talk about so we jump right into TV.

Anyone remember the show Totally Pauly? -

It celebrated the One Year Anniversary in 1991

And here's a Best of

We also talked about the new documentary about Albert Brooks' career: Defending My Life -


Nikki 1-5 star scale - 4 out of 5

Jon 0-4 star scale - 3 1/2 out of 4

Would you watch it again? - Jon has a lot of nostalgic admiration for this movie and would watch it anytime, any day. Nikki would want to wait a bit and see other Albert Brooks movies first as they feel like important blind spots to fill now.

If you want to watch Defending Your Life, as of this recording in December 2023, it’s available on Max, Digital Rental, VHS, DVD. Check your local listings.


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Join us next time for Do or Die available on Tubi, Full Moon, VHS, DVD


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