Film

As part of a series called My Big Break, All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

A couple of years ago, I was asked if I could do a "tape-sync" in Paris for Scott Simon, the host of NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday. A tape-sync is nothing glamorous; you just hold the microphone in front of the guest while the interviewer asks questions over the telephone. I was to send the good quality recorded sound to Washington, so the conversation wouldn't sound like a "phoner," as we call it.

Usually, with my own busy schedule, I don't have time to do tape-syncs. But I made time for this one because Scott Simon's interview was with Omar Sharif!

For anyone more interested in Amy Winehouse's music than in her martyrdom, the most shocking images in Asif Kapadia's new documentary Amy may not be the ones showing her strung out and terrifyingly thin at the end of her short life, nor those capturing her turn into serious addiction in filthy, paraphernalia-strewn rooms she shared with her enabler and eventual husband, Blake Fielder-Civil.

Tim Burton's shadowy tales have taken audiences from a pastel suburban paradise in Edward Scissorhands to the dark streets of Gotham City in Batman.

Accompanying Burton's strange worlds are the mysterious and unforgettable scores by composer Danny Elfman. Over the last 30 years, the two have forged an iconic partnership.

Observing the consequences of the Mexican drug trade on both sides of the U.S. border, Cartel Land toggles between Arizona and the state of Michoacan, about 1,000 miles to the south. Only the latter of the twinned storylines really pays off, but that one is riveting.

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