Staff Picks: ‘Baby Boom,’ ‘Pod Save the World,’ Nora Durst


Need a great book to read, album to listen to, or TV show to get hooked on? The Flavorwire team is here to help: in this weekly feature, our editorial staffers recommend the cultural object or experience they’ve enjoyed most in the past seven days. Scroll through for our picks below.

Baby Boom on Blu-ray

Always fun to out myself an an Old, but here we go: this 1987 sleeper hit was a VHS fave in our household, a warm and likable yuppie comedy featuring Diane Keaton. And I hadn’t seen it nearly three decades, so I was happy to give Twilight Time’s new Blu-ray edition a spin… and discovered that it’s held up pretty well. Sure, it’s got the pokey pace and rich-people insularity that would come to define co-writer Nancy Meyers’s directorial efforts, and a little of the second hour’s folksiness goes a long way. But Keaton is at her whip-smart funniest, Sam Shepard makes an ideal counterpart, and it’s got a healthy dose of vintage Smarmy Asshole James Spader. And hey, at least we’re not still asking the central “Can women have a career and a family” question anymore, amIright? — Jason Bailey, Film Editor

Pod Save America/ Pod Save the World

Former Obama Administration staffers Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Dan Pfeiffer and Tommy Vietor launched this pair of political podcasts (say that ten times fast) just in time for Trump’s inauguration, and I’ve found them simultaneously helpful, cathartic, and frustrating. Helpful because the four hosts and their guests — who range from journalists to former ambassadors to current members of congress — know what they’re talking about; cathartic because they provide bi-weekly confirmation that this administration really is as incoherent and ill-intentioned as you might suspect; and frustrating because sometimes they’re kind of annoying.

Occasionally gassy banter aside, Pod Save America (a twice-weekly breakdown of the latest news from Washington) and Pod Save the World (a slightly more serious weekly deep-dive into a specific geopolitical topic) are accessible, entertaining, and informative. If you’re overwhelmed by the news and looking for some clarification, they’re a good place to start. — Lara Zarum, TV Editor

Carrie Coon’s Leftovers Character, Nora Durst

Nora Durst has come a long way from being the mysterious woman with the gun in her purse who hires people to shoot her in her home while she wears a bulletproof vest. (If that sentence seemed weird, you probably haven’t watched The Leftovers.) With the Leftovers starting up again this Sunday, it feels like a good time to pay homage to the best character on the series. (Followed closely by Regina King’s Erika Murphy, with whom Carrie Coon shared the most intense scene — much of which was just a tremendously fraught stare-down — in the second season, and Christopher Eccleston’s ever-desperate preacher, Matt Jamison.)

Nora Durst has suffered more unimaginable grief than most characters on The Leftovers — which is hard to imagine, given the premise of the show, as well as its too-somber first season, in which everyone just seemed like a walking teardrop. But her grief has never stopped her from being a vivid character; instead of miring her in a perpetual moping routine, Coon displays Nora as becoming a master compartmentalizer, someone who can be the most magnetic, kind person in the room — and then have separate outbursts in which she’s not only miserable, but can even strive to make others miserable as well. Coon’s fantastic at switching between displays of empathy and slips into grief driven callousness.

Left with the notion — given the rarity of the amount of people she loved who departed — that she may be cursed, the most atheistic character on the show also often has to grapple with the tensions of her uncanny situation and her rigid attempts at pragmatism. Those, of course, often go off the rails when sublimated superstitions manifest themselves in the odd ways they always do on The Leftovers. — Moze Halperin, Senior Editor