Thursday, October 18, 2012
SCENE + SCREEN: The Five Best Film Podcasts
Thursdays at Justin + 6 are SCENE + SCREEN with Hollywood heartthrob, X. Alexander. He has another blog called Hard in the City. You should probably check that one out, too.
Back in the pre-podcast era (circa 2000 or so), I used to claim that I hated talk radio. “I don’t like people yammering on in my ear!” I claimed.
As it turns out, though, I DO like it — as long as they’re yammering about something that I yammer on about myself, when given the chance. Viva podcasts! They’re specific enough that anyone can find something they don’t mind a stranger babbling on about, and they’re fine company for when you’re doing laundry, at the gym, or stuck in traffic.
Now I subscribe to so many podcasts, it’s stressful just to keep up with them, but there’s something oddly comforting about that recurring chatter. It’s hard to get lonely when familiar voices are always at your fingertips.
Naturally, my favorite podcasts tend to be the film-related ones. It took me awhile to stumble upon a few of my favorites, so here I will share a few of mine that any listeners with a casual interest in cinema may enjoy also, so you can find them with more ease. These aren’t all the film-related podcasts I listen to, just the ones I think most of you all might get a kick out of. With podcasts, I usually find that if I listen to two or three, I’m hooked. They’re like crack, I’m telling you!
1. How Did This Get Made?
“Let’s wallow in the mediocrity of subpar art.” So says the theme song to this podcast, hosted by comedians Paul Scheer, Jason Mantzoukas, and June Diane Raphael, along with a special guest on most occasions. My friends and I have been watching bad movies and ripping them apart for ages, but on the occasions when I want to make that experience portable, I have How Did This Get Made?, which eviscerates the most horrendous movies of all time, from The Room to Batman & Robin to Birdemic to Speed 2: Cruise Control and everything in between. These comedians aren’t exactly cinephiles; they’re just people who like the schadenfreude of mocking some of the most ill-advised films of all time. And who doesn’t?
Perfect For: Anyone who’s ever watched a godawful movie and asked, “How did this get made?”
Recommended Episode: Any of them will do, but you can’t go wrong with The Room
2. Filmspotting: SVU
Filmspotting proper is also a podcast I digest regularly. In fact, it was one of my first. But this newer spinoff deals specifically with streaming films (“SVU” = “Streaming Video Unit” = get it?), so if you’ve ever spent an hour just idly browsing what’s on Netflix, hosts Matt Singer and Alison Willmore can fill you in on what’s worth watching.
Perfect For: Anyone who’s big on Netflix Watch Instantly
Recommended Episode: #6, “Unsexy Movies About Sex.” Because this is pretty much my favorite genre.
3. Slate Culture Gabfest
This isn’t specifically a film-related podcast, but of late, they’ve usually discussed a film every week. Hosts Stephen Metcalf, Julia Turner, and Dana Stevens discuss whatever smart New Yorkers are talking about in any given week, which might be a Slate article, a book, a TV show, a meme, or really, anything that pops up on the pop culture radar. Julia and Dana are a delight, while Stephen is like the annoying, opinionated, totally pretentious uncle you love to hate (or hate to love). Plus you can play a drinking game to it — one shot when anyone says the word “delightful,” two shots when Stephen says he’s going discuss something “really quickly,” and chug when Stephen finds abizarrely obnoxious way to say either of his co-hosts names (which he invariably does at least once per episode).
Perfect For: Anyone aspiring to be a little smarter than they are, without the time or initiative to actually seek out the best pop culture events themselves.
Recommended Episode: Whichever is most recent is probably best, and Slate has plenty of other worthy podcasts as well, including the XX and Political Gabfests. Trust me, your topicality will grow twofold.
4. Operation Kino
I’m pretty new to this podcast, so I’ve only heard a handful of episodes, but it quickly stood out from the pack for me mostly because the four hosts’ tastes fell fairly closely in line with my own (several picked Shame as 2011’s best movie, just like I did). They discuss trends in moviemaking, what they’ve been watching, and usually a big release of the week. There’s enough of a contrast of opinions between the four hosts to keep things interesting, and they’re all well-versed in film yet not in a way that will alienate those who aren’t.
Perfect For: People who want to recreate the film school experience of discussing movies new and old with their peers.
Recommended Episode: I enjoyed their discussion of Magic Mike, but as with most podcasts, the more recent the episode, the more relevant it’ll be.
5. Nerdist Writer’s Panel
This is a little “Inside Baseball,” because I’m not sure how interesting screenwriting is to anyone but screenwriters. But Nerdist collects panels of writers from all kinds of entertainment (TV mostly), from Buffy to Breaking Bad to Friends to Game Of Thrones and so on. They all chit-chat about how they got started in the business, how the writers’ rooms of various shows operate, and what went on behind the scenes of shows they’ve worked on that have since been canceled. TV writers tend to be funny people, so there’s plenty of comedy, plus it’s a sharp look at how the industry really works. (Spoiler alert: it’s brutal.)
Perfect For: Nerds, duh. Screenwriters, in particular. Or anyone who wants the juicy insider gossip on their favorite shows.
Recommended Episode: Any of the ones with the Buffy writers. (Not that I’m biased.)
So give them a listen and report back! I’m curious to know which ones everyone else out there listens to (if any).