Ep-77 Jesus' Son (1999 film)

Named one of the year’s best films by The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Roger Ebert, Jesus’ Son by Alison Maclean tackles the surreal, disjointed narrative first created by author Denis Johnson. F**khead, played admirably by Billy Crudup, meets a woman named Michelle (play by Samantha Morton) and their romance is as kinetic and exciting as it is destructive. An impressive cast provides memorable performances, include standout moments by Jack Black, Denis Leary, Will Patton, Michael Shannon, Holly Hunter, and Dennis Hopper. 

Topics: The look & tone of the film, the overt symbolism, the pros & cons of using verbatim dialogue from the source material, Denis Johnson’s cameo, the meaning of a cartoon octopus, the over-the-top drug sequence, and the potential message about the author that movie may be trying to convey.

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Music: "2 Legit" By Jay Man

Ep-76 Jesus' Son (1992 short story collection)

Full Transcript

Denis Johnson’s landmark short story collection Jesus’ Son tells the story of a drug-addict searching for meaning and purpose in life. The book’s erratic, surreal style lends itself to a truly memorable read as the narrator (F**khead) recounts the story of his life filled with robbery, sex, murder, and more. He struggles throughout, hitting rock bottom over and over again before landing on a path of possible recovery.

Stories Covered: Car Crash While Hitchhiking, Two Men, Out on Bail, Dundun, Work, Emergency, Dirty Wedding, The Other Man, Happy Hour, Steady Hands at Seattle General, Beverly Home.

Topics: how autobiographical is the book, the search for meaning, potential meanings behind the title of the book, Luke talks about his own car accident, Georgie’s desire to be heroic, Luke & James’s trip to Seattle, FH wanting to be saved by the women in his life, and the disconnect between the broken and the well-adjusted of this world.

Join us next week for Jesus’ Son the film directed by Alison Maclean and starring Billy Crudup, Samantha Horton, Jack Black, Michael Shannon, Denis Leary, Holly Hunter, and Dennis Hopper!

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Music: "2 Legit" By Jay Man

Buy:Jesus’ Son

Denis Johnson Interview #1(Yale)
Denis Johnson Interview #2(Longreads)