Episode #15: Ishtar (with Frank Falisi)

This month, we’re traveling back to 1987 to wax ecstatic about Elaine May’s much (unfairly) maligned box office failure, Ishtar. We match May’s compassion for the brashly stupid Chuck and Lyle (Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty, respectively) as Chad explains his personal connection to the movie, Veronica wonders how (and if) the movie successfully balances its many threads, and guest Frank Falisi lays out his theory that this is a high musical à la Vincente Minnelli.

Some further reading that we reference on the show: Peter Biskind’s account of the film–excerpted from Star, his Beatty biography–for Vanity Fair, enthusiast Richard Brody speaking with Elaine May for the New Yorker, and Chad’s own Ishtar essay, “But We Can Sing Our Hearts Out,” featured in our 2019 issue dedicated to May’s movies & legacy.


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Ishtar official trailer: