Culture Gabfest

The Culture Gabfest “Wingless Thrush” Edition

Slate’s Culture Gabfest on The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, My Brilliant Friend, and the art of adapting a novel.

Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 531 with Dana Stevens, Julia Turner, and Stephen Metcalf with the audio player below.

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This week, Steve, Dana, and Julia unpack The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, debating its place in the Coens’ filmography and how it subverts—and reinforces—traditional Western tropes. Next, they take on My Brilliant Friend with the help of Slate TV critic Willa Paskin. Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan quartet was an international phenomenon, but can the HBO series stand on its own? Finally, the critics discuss the art of adapting a novel for film or TV more broadly. Is it better to replicate to the letter or bring something new to the interpretation?

Links to some of the things we discussed this week:

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

• “The Coen Brothers’ New Netflix Movie Is a Western Out to Break All the Rules” by Dana Stevens in Slate

• “The Culture Gabfest ‘Beyoncé Wins the Super Bowl’ Edition” by Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner in Slate

• “The Culture Gabfest ‘All That Chintz’ Edition” by Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner

• “I Watched Every Coen Brothers Movie” by David Haglund in Slate

• The Coen brothers’ Miller’s Crossing

My Brilliant Friend

• Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend: Neapolitan Novels, Book One

• “My Brilliant Friend on HBO, reviewed” by Willa Paskin in Slate

• “Elena Ferrante Stays Out of the Picture” by Merve Emre in the New York Times

• “Finding the Ferrante Four” by Phoebe Reilly in Vulture

• “From ‘Annihilation’ to ‘My Brilliant Friend’: How to (or How Not to) Adapt a Novel in 2018” by Alison Herman in the Ringer

• Nicholas Ray’s In a Lonely Place

• Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather

• Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities


Dana: Ricky Jay’s introduction to Magic: 1400s–1950s and Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now

Julia: The third season of Serial

Steve: Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Conformist, Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now, and “Secrets of the Magus” by Mark Singer in the New Yorker

Outro: “From Indigo” by Justnormal

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This podcast was produced by Benjamin Frisch. Our production assistant is Alex Barasch.

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