It's a bird! It's a plane! It's the sound of boots walking through a kiddie pool filled with glue! We tested Missi Pyle and Brett Gelman's knowledge of the magic of cinema with an audio quiz about the strange practices of foley artists, the audio technicians who create sound effects for film.
Missi Pyle On Succumbing To Peer Pressure From Sigourney Weaver
She just was like, 'You should take your [Galaxy Quest] costume. On the last day just take it.' And so I did.
Missi Pyle On Being In A Cult Classic
I thought Galaxy Quest had like a ten-year shelf life but here we are, almost twenty years later. People are still into it.
Brett Gelman On His Inspiration For The Movie Lemon
I want people to feel less lonely in their own mediocrity. And not feel so ashamed of life feeling like a plateau of failure at times.
JONATHAN COULTON: This is NPR's ASK ME ANOTHER, coming to you from Los Angeles, Calif. I'm Jonathan Coulton, here with puzzle guru Art Chung. Now here's your host, Ophira Eisenberg.
OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:
Thank you, Jonathan. Today, famous people are playing our nerdy games. Are celebri-testants, Missi Pyle and Brett Gelman, are about to play a game about the movie makers who are heard but never seen. But first, let's check in with Missi and Brett and see how they're doing.
Missi, you were invited to Sigourney Weaver's house for a dinner party. I imagine this was after working with her on "Galaxy Quest." What was that like?
MISSI PYLE: Well, I was like 21 or 2 or 6. I think I was 26.
PYLE: And I remember just being really excited to be invited along. And she split everybody up, you know?
BRETT GELMAN: Oh.
PYLE: So, like, I sat next to her husband. And she sat next to my date. And it was sort of, like, just very sexy in Hollywood. And then she told me to steal my costume.
EISENBERG: Oh, from - did you steal your costume?
PYLE: I did.
GELMAN: Did she steal hers?
PYLE: I guess. Let's call her.
GELMAN: Why not?
EISENBERG: Is that a thing that happens often - that people...
PYLE: That does with Sigourney Weaver.
EISENBERG: Oh, yeah, right.
PYLE: Well, I don't know. She just was like, you should take your costume. On the last day, just take it. And so I did. And then I gave it to my - I auctioned it off at my drama - like my high school. And I was like, I'm so angry. I thought "Galaxy Quest" had, like, a 10-year shelf life, but here we are almost 20 years later.
EISENBERG: I know.
PYLE: People are still into it.
EISENBERG: Still talking about it.
GELMAN: It's fantastic.
EISENBERG: Brett, you co-wrote your new movie, "Lemon," with Janicza Bravo...
EISENBERG: ...Who you're married to. And you said the movie was inspired in part by your own anxieties about everyone living their best life. What do you want people to take away from this movie?
GELMAN: I want people to feel less lonely in their own - of their own mediocrity and not feel so ashamed of life feeling like a plateau of failure at times and your own anxiety that you won't achieve what you want to achieve in your life.
EISENBERG: I'm going to watch it on a loop.
GELMAN: ...I think the film - I think the film, it's a dark comedy. You watch my character fail like for 90 minutes. And it's uncomfortable. But Janicza and I want people to laugh at the dragon, and the dragon in this case is failure.
EISENBERG: Failure. Let's go to your second game. We've got an audio quiz for you called Holy Foley. Foley artists, of course, are people responsible for creating many of the sound effects you hear in movies. So in this game, we're going to play an iconic movie sound effect. And you just have to tell us how it was made. But don't worry. We're going to give you multiple choices. So buzz in to answer. Here we go.
All right, so this is the liquid metal Terminator morphing in "Terminator 2: Judgment Day."
(SOUNDBITE OF MORPHING SOUND EFFECT)
EISENBERG: OK, how was that made? Was it made, A, by hip boots walking through a kiddie pool filled with glue; B, a condom-covered microphone dipped in a mixture of flour, water and compressed air or C, by melting plastic action figures?
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
EISENBERG: Hip boots walking through a kiddie pool filled with glue? I'm sorry. That is incorrect. Brett, can you steal?
EISENBERG: B, a condom-covered microphone...
EISENBERG: ...Dipped in flour, water and compressed air.
EISENBERG: That is how it was done.
EISENBERG: Yeah. Yeah. That's how it was done.
PYLE: You know so much.
GELMAN: My sexual frustration paid off finally - once.
EISENBERG: Foley artists practice safe effects.
PYLE: They really do. Wow.
EISENBERG: This is a T-Rex roaring in "Jurassic Park."
(SOUNDBITE OF T-REX ROAR SOUND EFFECT)
EISENBERG: Is that a combination of slowed down animal sounds, including tigers and elephants; B, nails scraping on a chalkboard run through an audio filter or C, a Los Angeles metro train arriving at the station?
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
PYLE: (Laughter) I just know I'm going to get it wrong, but I'm going to guess anyway. A.
EISENBERG: Correct. Yeah.
PYLE: I got one.
GELMAN: That's what my answer would've been, too.
EISENBERG: Yeah, it's the sum of all animals. Here's a screeching Ringwraith in "The Lord Of The Rings."
(SOUNDBITE OF RINGWRAITH SCREECH SOUND EFFECT)
EISENBERG: Delightful. How was that sound made? Was it made a by putting Brillo Pads in a blender; B, a poorly oiled automatic door at a grocery store or C, director Peter Jackson's wife screaming?
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
PYLE: A. Why not?
EISENBERG: Sorry. That is incorrect. Good guess. Brett, can you steal?
EISENBERG: Peter Jackson's wife screaming?
EISENBERG: Yeah. Her name is Fran Walsh.
PYLE: I should've known with the specifics.
EISENBERG: This is your last clue. All right. This is the giant boulder from the best action movie of all time, "Raiders Of The Lost Ark."
(SOUNDBITE OF BOULDER SOUND EFFECT)
EISENBERG: OK. What is this boulder, really? Is it A, a bowling ball; B, an elevator or C, a Honda Civic?
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
PYLE: Bowling ball.
EISENBERG: I'm sorry. That is incorrect.
EISENBERG: Brett, can you steal?
GELMAN: Oh, man. Honda Civic - used to have one.
GELMAN: It's a good car.
EISENBERG: Yeah, it's a reliable boulder...
GELMAN: It's very well-made.
EISENBERG: ...As it turns out.
EISENBERG: That is correct. Yeah.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
EISENBERG: Puzzle guru Art Chung, how did our contestants do?
ART CHUNG: After two games, Brett is still in the lead.
(APPLAUSE) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.