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Act One: Weeds of Discontent

A recording of a very unusual conversation that came about in an unusual way. Filmmaker named Eugene Jarecki made a documentary about the drug war, prisons and the criminal justice system called The House I Live In.He’s been taking it around the country and showing it in prisons, and producer Brian Reed went to one of these screenings where an inmate and a corrections staff member ended up talking face-to-face.

Act Three: Mister Baby Monitor

Ira Glass speaks with a woman named Angie, who never understood why her dad got so excited about thermoses and phone books... until she happened to see this one movie.  Then Jonathan Goldstein tells a story about his friend Josh Karpati, who has two-year-old twins, and who never leaves the house. Jonathan hosts Wiretap on CBC Radio.

Prologue

Ira Glass plays clips from a documentary film called Please Vote for Me, by Weijun Chen. It follows a third grade class in central China in the very first election they've ever had or witnessed.

Act Four: Hollywood-induced Nightmare

This American Life production manager Seth Lind explains how he ended up watching Stanley Kubrick's The Shining when he was six years old, and how it led to two years where every night he had trouble falling asleep and nightmares. Seth is a member of the improv comedy group Thank You, Robot and hosts a live storytelling show in New York called Told.

Prologue

Marti Noxon used to work for a company that did "product placement" for the movie industry. When auditors came to check that clients were being correctly billed, the company's bosses took unusual steps.

Prologue

Fans of movie musicals might know about something called the "I Wish" number. In many movies and Broadway shows, it's the main character's first song, in which they express the hope that will set the story in motion.

Prologue

David Rakoff tells a story from when he was a kid, about the day he realized the he would inevitably be viewed a certain way by his classmates, no matter what he did or said.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks with filmmaker Alan Berliner, who for six years collected old home movies he found at thrift stores and garage sales. He says that almost all of them document either rites of passage, like birthdays and weddings, or moments of leisure—the beach is especially big.
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