Hacking the Afterlife with Jennifer Shaffer, Anthony Bourdain, Robin Williams, Robert Downey Sr.

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Another unusual podcast. As we've noted in the past, it's rare that people show up to insist on being interviewed. In this case, it was someone we'd interviewed in the past, in fact a year ago, July 17th, 2020 Anthony Bourdain and Robin Williams stopped by on a podcast named "Exiting Early." (Anthony and Robin appear in the books "Backstage Pass to the Flipside," both interviewed extensively.)

But in this case, Anthony wanted to weigh in on the film about his life, called "Roadrunner."

He says he was disappointed in it, that the filmmaker "didn't have a clue" as to what happened to him - how he himself didn't have a plan to exit early, and it had nothing whatsoever to do with his relationship with Asia Argento.

He pointed out that he thought the AI of his voice sounded "robotic" (neither I nor Jennifer have seen the film) and the ending, having an artist deface a mural on camera for the film was "shitty." Again - I haven't seen it, but I took the time to ask him about it. He also called the filmmaker "amateur" but gave the film a "five" out of ten because at the very least, it had footage that he'd shot in it.

I'm a filmmaker myself, member of the DGA/WGA. I was so stung by Ebert's "thumbs way down" review of my film "Limit Up" at the time, when Luana Anders was still on the planet (cowriter of the script) when I asked her to read the review, but to edit out the negativity... over the phone she read "Richard Martini... directed Limit Up." Took me a year to read the negative review.

So it gives me no pleasure to tee off on this filmmaker - even though I was a music critic at Variety for years, I always tended to give people the benefit of the musical doubt. If I doubted they're rehearsed, I noted it. In this case, Anthony came forward to tee off on this filmmaker. Wasn't my idea.

I tried to ask him cogent questions - and to fill in the blanks. "Why no note left behind?" He answers that eloquently. He talks about how to meditate to help set aside negativity. He talks about finding beauty in gratitude.

As I note in the podcast, if you're going to make a film about someone, take the time to see if it's possible to communicate with them. Ask their loved ones if they've had dreams, find three different mediums and ask the same questions (as I do in "Talking to Bill Paxton" on Gaia) take the time and effort to allow the possibility that they might have an opinion on their own story.

I can only report. The only editing in this podcast is done for time if there's a long space between me asking a question and Jennifer getting an answer. . Apologies for having to end it early - Charles Grodin, Prince and Robert Downey Sr. ("Greaser's Palace") all make appearances and report things I've never considered or could have heard of.

I asked about Robert senior because Luana knew him, he directed her in the film "Greaser's Palace" which is on cable, and ran this week in Santa Monica.

Robert Sr. says that his son is already "speaking to him" and the father says he's learning from his son, as well as being proud of him. Prince reminds us that strings tuned too tightly tend to break, a metaphor about finding a "middle way" between not listening to loved ones, and finding a way to "tighten up the string" to allow them to communicate to us by tuning into them.

The film cited in this podcast is "Hacking the Afterlife" - it's available on Amazon Prime through Gaia. If you have Amazon Prime it's a small five dollar charge to watch it. It represents ten years of research, and notes the science behind the flipside.

Again - I didn't ask for Anthony to come forward, Jennifer did not either, and he had a mouthful to say about his opinion about this film Roadrunner about his life. I don't think he's saying "don't watch it" but he is saying "don't buy the conclusions about who he was, as this filmmaker didn't have a clue."

Ask Anthony on one's own. If you knew him, you love him, or even liked him - set the stage for a meditation where he sits across from you and answers questions. An obvious first question would be "So Anthony, how accurate was this podcast I just heard?" Enjoy.

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