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Monday Morning Critic Podcast

My name is Darek Thomas and I am the host of Monday Morning Critic Podcast. My podcast is a labor of love created out of my passion for my guests, their work and a variety of shows, movies and people that have changed my life. Welcome to Monday Morning Critic.www.mmcpodcast.com

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(Episode 111) "The A-Team" Actor: Dirk Benedict.

Dirk Benedict was born in Montana on March 1st, 1945. He was raised in the country, far away from anything connected with movies or acting. He gathered his first experiences in acting (on a dare) in a college production of "Showboat" where he got the main part. His father, a lawyer, died when Dirk was 18, which was hard for him to take. While working on Georgia Georgia(1972) in Sweden, he made the first contact with a macrobiotic diet and changed his eating habits drastically. He was 26 at that time. A few years later, doctors found that he had cancer of the prostate. He refused to accept the usual treatment and moved away to a secluded cottage. Dirk managed to cure himself from cancer by following the rules of his macrobiotic diet. When he got his part as "Starbuck" in Battlestar Galactica (1978), the doctors stated that he was in good health. Dirk's main successes were "Battlestar Galactica" and The A-Team  (1983) in which he played "Templeton - The Face - Peck".  Meet: Dirk Benedict.

1hr 40mins

16 Jan 2019

Rank #1

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(Episode 143) "I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth v. Michelle Carter" Journalist: Jesse Barron.

Journalist Jesse Barron shares his insight on this very difficult and complex case.In July 2014, 18-year-old Conrad Roy died by suicide in his car at a parking lot in Fairhaven, Mass. Police soon discovered a series of alarming text messages from his girlfriend, 17-year-old Michelle Carter, that seemed to encourage him to kill himself. This discovery sparked sensational headlines nationwide, leading to a trial that raised difficult questions about technology, social media and mental health, while asking if one person can be held responsible for the suicide of another.In 2012, teens Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy fell in love. They lived hours apart and met in person no more than five times, but exchanged thousands of texts over a two-year period. After Roy was found dead in his car in July 2014, what appeared to be a standard case of suicide by carbon-monoxide intoxication took a shocking turn when investigators discovered alarming text messages on his phone. Carter, 17 at the time, had urged Roy to kill himself, even after he had second thoughts and removed himself from his car. Directed by Erin Lee Carr (HBO’s At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal and Mommy Dead and Dearest) I Love You, Now Die explores the complicated relationship between Carter and Roy, drawing on some of the thousands of texts they exchanged over two years to chronicle their courtship and its tragic consequences. Featuring unprecedented access to the families, friends and communities that were forever changed by this unusual case, the documentary explores the changing nature of the justice system today, following a story that has wider implications for society at large, both online and in real life. The film presents a well-rounded look at a bizarre tale that was a deadly convergence of mental illness, loneliness, pop culture and technology.In July 2017, Michelle Carter was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the suicide of Roy. In August 2017, she was found guilty and began her 15-month prison sentence in February 2019, following a failed appeal.I Love You, Now Die includes footage from Michelle Carter’s trial, where the filmmakers had the only camera allowed in court and supplied the pool camera for this historic case. It also features interviews with key individuals in the story, including: Conrad Roy’s immediate family; Joseph Cataldo, Michelle Carter’s defense attorney; Dr. Peter Breggin, an expert witness for the defense; police detectives; and journalists who covered the case extensively.The documentary premiered at this year’s South by Southwest Film Festival.I Love You, Now Die is directed and produced by Erin Lee Carr; produced by Andrew Rossi; co-producer, Alison Byrne; original music, Ian Hultquist; cinematographer, Bryan Sarkinen; editor, Andrew Coffman; executive producer, Sheila Nevins; senior producer, Sara Bernstein.

1hr 10mins

28 Jul 2019

Rank #2

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(Episode 140) "12 Years a Slave" Actor: Kelsey Scott.

Kelsey Scott is an Emmy Award nominated actor and writer that has appeared in such Television and Films as- True Detective, Fear the Walking Dead and the Academy Award winning 12 Years a Slave.Meet the beautiful and talented: Kelsey Scott.


27 Jun 2019

Rank #3

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(Episode 142) "Days of Thunder" Cinematographer: Ward Russell.

Ward Russell, award winning Cinematographer/Photographer, adapts his Hollywood art to the world of fine art photography. Transitioning from the moving image to the still frame, he masters the same depth of meaning and emotion. Just as he added mood and drama in movies, he now creates that complexity in his stills. Ward converts the cinematic close up into the revealing portrait. He adapts the story telling of movies to that momentary truth of people in time and space of the still photo. Ward’s motion picture, “Days of Thunder” established his reputation for bringing stylish and breathtaking photography to action pictures. His contemporary film noir, “The Last Boy Scout”, has become a cult film, studied in film schools. “X-Files, the Movie” expanded the acclaimed TV series onto the big screen. Meet the very talented and kind: Ward Russell.


23 Jul 2019

Rank #4

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(Episode 131) "Pulp Fiction" Actor: Paul Calderon.

Paul Calderon was born on a remote farm with no electricity or runningwater high in the beautiful, ruggedmountains of Puerto Rico.  He movedas a kid from that wild freedom to theshock of NYC where he honed his senseof drama in the tenements and toughstreets of the Lower East Side andSpanish Harlem.  After a stint playingsemi-pro baseball, his dream of going pro was shattered by a shoulder injury. Later he joined the Army, serving inGermany for several years while hestruggled to find a new dream.Back in the States he went to acting schoolunder the GI Bill, studying with Sonia Moore,Kim Stanley, Bobby Lewis, Irene Moore andWynn Handman.  As a writer he publishedseveral short stories, optioned screenplays,and was a co-writer of Abel Ferrara's cultclassic "Bad Lieutenant", in which heco-starred opposite Harvey Keitel.He was made a member of the Actors Studioin 1984, and eight years later was one of the founding members of LAByrinth Theater Co.,where as writer/director he helped mentorsuch talent as Philip Seymour Hoffman,Stephen Adly Guirgis, Sam Rockwell,David Zayas, Lauren Velez & Manny Perez.As an actor he has had the honor andgreat fortune of working with some of the greatest talent of our time - Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Robert Redford, Sidney Lumet,Spike Lee, Nick Nolte, Gerard Depardeiu,Christopher Walken, Steven Soderbergh, Steve Buscemi,  Martin Scorcese, Edy FalcoTim Roth, Ellen Burstyn, Quentin TarantinoSydney Pollack, Melissa Leo, Woody Allen,Alejandro Inaurritu and George C. Wolfe. He's won numerous awards for his theater,film and television work, including an Obiefor his performance in "Blade to the Heat" at the Public Theater, and a SAG Awardnomination for his part in the ensemblecast of Boardwalk Empire's final season.For many years he's been on the faculty of NYU Tisch Graduate Film School,The Lee Strasberg Institute, andThe School of Visual Arts.


22 May 2019

Rank #5

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(Episode 181) "ZeroZeroZero" Actor: Harold Torres.

In 1958, 34-year-old Marlon Brando got great notices for his complex and layered performance as Nazi officer Lt. Christian Diestl in Edward Dymtryk’s Oscar-nominated World War II drama, “The Young Lions.” Like Brando in “Lions,” 36-year-old Mexican actor Harold Torres’ turn as dirty soldier Sgt. Manuel Contreras in Amazon’s limited narcoworld series “ZeroZeroZero” has sent writers and critics scrambling to describe his impact. The dynamic actor has been racking up honors and significant credits in the world of Mexican film and television. In the past 10 years, Torres has been nominated for the lead actor Ariel award (the Mexican Film Academy’s Oscar equivalent) three times and won the actor prize at the Morelia Film Festival in 2013.-Variety. Meet the Awesome, Harold Torres.


13 Apr 2020

Rank #6

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(Episdoe 86) “Fargo” Actor: Peter Stormare.

With a cool stoic gaze suggesting unmentionable thoughts lurking somewhere deep behind those deep, blank eyes, popular character actor Peter Stormare offered American audiences slightly discomforting comic relief in Joel and Ethan Coen's popular dark comedy Fargo (1996), though his versatility and adaptability have since led him to major Hollywood blockbusters.One of the best actors of our generation, known for one legendary role after another...Meet: Peter Stormare.


11 Aug 2018

Rank #7

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(Episode 134) "Game of Thrones" Actor: Tim Plester.

Tim Plester is an actor, playWrite and documentarian.His filmography includes Game of Thrones, After Life and Bohemian Rhapsody. Meet the very kind and talented: Tim Plester.

1hr 26mins

31 May 2019

Rank #8

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(Episode 74) “The Mist” Actor: Robert C. Treveiler

Robert C. Treveiler is an extremely talented actor who has been in some of the best movies in history. These include The Mist, The Accountant, Prisoners and Sully. Robert's TV resume is quite length and includes amazing series like Banshee and Ozark.Meet: Robert C. Treveiler. 


7 Jun 2018

Rank #9

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(Episode 165) "Miracle" Patrick O'Brien Demsey.

Patrick's iconic role as Mike Eruzione of the epic 1980 United States Olympic Hockey Team in "Miracle"... the greatest sports story in the history of modern day sports-continues to impact thousands of athletes and dreamers from professional athletes to those children just starting to realize what "dreaming" is.Welcome the awesome, talented and very cool...Paddy Demsey. 

1hr 5mins

29 Dec 2019

Rank #10

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(Episode 84) NFL Analyst: Chris Raybon.

Back for Round 2, one of the most popular MMC guests, NFL Analyst, Chris Raybon! Meet: Chris Raybon.

1hr 15mins

2 Aug 2018

Rank #11

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(Episode 107) "Braveheart" Actor: Angus Macfadyen

Angus Macfadyen is a phenomenal actor who has shined in such movies as Braveheart, The Lost City of Z and We Bought a Zoo and in theater and TV (see below).Meet the incredible: Angus Macfadyen. Educated in France, fluent in French.International Baccalaureate, Copenhagen.MA (Hons) in French and English, University of Edinburgh.Trained at CENTRAL SCHOOL OF SPEECH AND DRAMA, London.STAGE:Edinburgh Fringe Festival:Faculty Of RatsThe TempestHessThe Beautiful And DamnedCloud NineThe ImmortalsHas written various plays, including 1905, which was winner of the 1991 Questors Theatre Student Playwriting Award.FILM:Pleasure Drivers (Dir: Andrzej Sekula)The Virgin Of Juarez (Dir: Kevin James Dobson)Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood (Dir: Callie Khouri)Equilibrium (Dir: Kurt Wimmer)A Woman’s A Helluva Thing (Dir: Karen Leigh Hopkins)Titus (Dir: Julie Taymor)Cradle Will Rock (Dir: Tim Robbins)Lanai-Loa (Dir: Sherwood Hu)Snide And Prejudice (Dir: Philippe Mora)Nevada (Dir: Gary Tische)Styx (Dir: Alex Wright)Second Skin (Dir: Darrell James Roodt)Façade (Dir: Carl-Jan Colpaert)Still Breathing (Dir: J.F. Robinson)Joseph's Gift (Dir: Philippe Mora)Warriors Of Virtue (Dir: Ronnie Yu)The Brylcreem Boys (Dir: Terrence Ryan)Braveheart (Dir: Mel Gibson)TELEVISION5ive Days To Midnight (Sci-Fi Channel)Spartacus (USA)Miracles (ABC)Jason And The Argonauts (NBC)The Rat Pack (HBO)Liz: The Elizabeth Taylor Story (NBC)15: The Life And Death Of Philip Knight (YTV)Two Golden Balls (Bard Entertainment)Takin’ Over The Asylum (BBC Scotland)The Lost Language Of Cranes (BBC)Soldier Soldier (Central)God Of Happiness (Channel Four)Care (YTV)


19 Dec 2018

Rank #12

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(Episode 166) "The Crown" Actor: Jason Watkins.

Jason Watkins is an English stage, film and television actor. He played the lead role in the two-part drama The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, for which he won the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actor. His most recent performance as Prime Minister Harold Wilson in "The Crown" is absolutely phenomenal, and personally speaking my favorite performance of the year.Jason is very kind, immensely talented, has a wonderful sense of humor and I consider myself extremely fortunate in having the opportunity to converse with him.Meet Jason Watkins.


2 Jan 2020

Rank #13

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(Episode 81) Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame Pitcher: Gregg Olson.

"Gregg Olson came in like wildfire as a reliever in the late 1980s, mowing down everything in his path with a blazing fastball and devastating curve."  Baseball Historian Sheldon Stewart in the Baseball Library (The Idea Logical Company, 2006, Gregg Olson)  Meet: Gregg Olson.


23 Jul 2018

Rank #14

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(Episode 106) "Green Book" Nick Vallelonga.

The film Green Book (2018) is the true story of Nick Vallelonga's father Tony Lip, who went on a tour of the segregated south in the early 1960s with pianist Dr. Shirley Green Book is written and produced by Nick Vallelonga, Peter Farrelly, Brian Hayes Currie. It is directed by Peter Farrelly. It stars Viggo Mortensen as Tony Lip, Mahershala Ali as Donald Shirley and Linda Cardellini as Nick's mother, Dolores. Director Peter Farrelly cast real family members to play roles in the film. Nick's brother, Frank Vallelonga, plays Rudy, Tony Lip's brother. The real Rudy Vallelonga, plays his and Tony's father, Nicola, and Lou Venere plays his and Dolores' father, Anthony. Nick Vallelonga also plays the role of Mob Boss Augie. Tony Lip went on to become an actor, appearing in many films and TV shows including The Godfather, The Pope of Greenwich Village, and Goodfellas. Lip is best known for his role as New York Crime Boss Carmine Lupartazzi in the HBO series "The Sopranos". "Green Book is released by Universal, Dreamworks and Participant Media. Meet: Nick Vallelonga


12 Dec 2018

Rank #15

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(Episode 77) "Hell on Wheels" Actor: Phil Burke.

Phil Burke attended the American Academy Of Dramatic Arts in New York, on a Board of Trustees Scholarship. He graduated with an Associates Degree in Fine Arts in 2003. Burke continued his acting training at various performing workshops and studios throughout New York. On stage, Phil Burke holds a noticeable list of leading-roles to his credit while holding mixed work in leading and supporting roles on the screen. Burke's screen debut was in 2005 and since that year, he has performed in various films and on numerous television series. Notable television series of the latter 2000s include The Good Wife (2009) and Hell on Wheels (2011) on which he held a recurring role.Meet the very funny. Very cool: Phil Burke.

1hr 12mins

7 Jul 2018

Rank #16

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(Episode 76) Cindy Healy.

"While working on the Mars Pathfinder mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, I came to a fork in the road. It was a moment when I had to decide whether to move out of my comfort zone and take a risk.NASA was putting together a 25-person launch team that would temporarily move from California to Florida near the Kennedy Space Center. All of my best buddies were going to be on this team. I knew it was going to be a “work hard, play hard” scenario, and I really wanted to go.Up until that point I had been working as the lead for the simulation software that was used to prepare for the mission. At one point, a colleague and I were tasked with fixing the flight simulation code, including the star scanner—the eyeball of the spacecraft. The flight simulation code fakes out the spacecraft so it thinks it’s flying to Mars when it’s really sitting in the lab in Pasadena. The work had fallen nine months behind schedule, and my teammate Miguel and I had been given eight weeks to complete the code. Neither of us had ever written this kind of code before, but failure was not an option.In one way, the entire Pathfinder mission was a risk—it was an attempt to reinvent space travel, an experiment to see just how cheap and how fast we could put a spacecraft on another planet. And we didn’t want to disappoint America.Working night and day, we got the code written and meeting performance targets, and then it was time for some folks to head to Florida to prep for the launch. I really wanted to go. But, I wasn’t on the list because my role was not critical to the Florida operations.My coworker was the UNIX system administrator, and he was on the list. But, he and his wife were having a baby, and he didn’t want to go.In one moment, I had to make a critical decision: would I take a risk? I had no idea how to do the job. But I love a challenge, and I really wanted to go to Florida.I raised my hand and said, “I’ll do it, just teach me how to be the UNIX system administrator.” As if it’s so easy.So my coworker trained me, and I was just writing everything in a notebook, scribbling down as much as I could. Those notes were all I would have to help me do the job." Meet: Cindy Healy.

1hr 18mins

29 Jun 2018

Rank #17

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(Episode 78) "Stranger Things: Actor: Randy Havens.

Randy Havens is an actor and a life long resident of Georgia. His portrayal of Scott Clarke remains one of the most beloved on television in recent memory. Randy's other credits include Halt and Catch Fire and Archer. Randy has some amazing projects on the Horizon which include Godzilla King of The Monsters, Boy Erased, The Front Runner and Instant Family.  Meet the affable: Randy Havens

1hr 15mins

12 Jul 2018

Rank #18

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(Episode 85) "Pets for Vets" Army Veteran: Sean Quigley

Chapter Director Sean C. QuigleyAs a former Army Medic, DAV, American Legion member and dog lover, Sean believes the organization is the perfect way to combine two things he is very passionate about: Veterans and dogs. He looks forward to improving the quality of life for local Veterans and providing loving homes for dogs in need. Meet: Sean Quigley.


7 Aug 2018

Rank #19

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(Episode 79) “Cast Away” Actor: Nick Searcy.

Born in North Carolina Nick Searcy is one of the best actors working in Film and TV. His filmography is extensive. As of 2018, he has been in 5 films that were Oscar nominated for Best Picture: The Prince of Tides (1991), The Fugitive (1993), Moneyball (2011), The Shape of Water (2017), and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017). The Shape of Water is a Best Picture winner. Meet Nick Searcy.


19 Jul 2018

Rank #20