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279. The Conversation (#—)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guests Ciara Moloney and Dean Buckley, The 250 is a weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released Saturdays at 6pm GMT.

So this week, Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation.

Harry Caul is one of the best surveillance operators in America. However, when Harry finds himself in possession of a potentially inflammatory recording with very real consequences, he finds hismel at a crossroads. Can the professional eavesdropper remain a passive observer in the drama unfolding around him, or will events force him into a more active role?

At time of recording, it was not ranked on the list of the best movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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X-Over: The X-Files & Steven Moffat’s Doctor Who

It goes without saying that The X-Files was a massively influential television show. As early as its second season, the show had launched all manner of imitations and copycats, both inside and outside the Fox Network. It seems quite likely that Fox invested two-and-a-half million dollars in the failed Doctor Who relaunch of 1996 in the hopes of spinning off another cult/mainstream science-fiction hit like The X-Files. It was launched as a two-hour television movie, failing to earn the rating necessary to spin it off into a weekly series.

However, although the 1996 telemovie provides an obvious point of intersection between The X-Files and Doctor Who, the influence of The X-Files can perhaps be most keenly felt in Steven Moffat’s work on the relaunched television series. Moffat is credited as the producer who helped the show to “break” America during his second year as showrunner, and he did so in a number of ways. Perhaps the most interesting is that he leaned rather heavily on The X-Files as a point of cultural intersection.

Shades of greys...

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The Love of Richard Nixon…

I’m not American, but I feel a strange fascination with Richard Milhouse Nixon. He’s a figure of almost Shakespearean complexity, driven to phenomenal heights and fantastic accomplishments, but never able to do enough to placate the insecurity gnawing at him. I had the pleasure of reading Conrad Black’s rather even-handed summary of his life and career last summer, and he seems as much a mystery as ever. The recent news item about another of his paranoid ramblings has grabbed media attention, but I’m amazed that there doesn’t seem to be much debate over the true impact of Nixon’s Presidency beyond the obvious shadow cast by Watergate. What is the American fascination with painting Nixon as a villain or a fiend? Why can he not embody something just a tad more complex?

Richard Nixon unsuccessfully attempts to distract from the Watergate scandal by declaring "It's behind you!" during a Press Conference...

Richard Nixon unsuccessfully attempts to distract from the Watergate scandal by declaring "It's behind you!" during a Press Conference...

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