Things I Like Month: Movie Podcasts Edition

If you know me, you know that I love me some movies. Here’s where I turn for movie coverage I can believe in.

*CUT*

Ok, ok. That was a lousy take. Let me have another run at it.

*ACTION*

To know me is to know of my love of movies. When I can’t talk to anyone about film, these are the podcasts I listen to scratch the itch.

*CUT* *PRINT*

Yeah, that’s the one.

CURRENT FILMS

These podcasts look at what’s happening here, now. They might be all about what just came out (as you’ll see) but it is either their primary mission or what they run above the fold (to use newspaper terminology).

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FILMSPOTTING

Hosted by two Chicago dwelling critics, Adam Kempenaar and Josh Larsen, it is probably a bit much to call this the podcast successor of “At The Movies,” Siskel and Ebert’s movie review TV show, but it is impossible to at least not spend a moment pondering that idea. Adam and Josh’s chemistry isn’t nearly as taciturn as Roger and Gene’s, but they share the easy mocking flow that the earlier duo had at times while clashing over movies they disagreed on.

Filmspotting is structured roughly the same week to week. The show opens with a review of a new release, hence its inclusion in this section. Typically, they cover the biggest movie of the week, but sometimes—like this week’s FRANCES HA review—they gravitate to a smaller picture that they feel is particularly compelling to them. They discuss the film in detail, following their own various whims to logical conclusions or blind alleys and the co-host is usually willing to go along, even if it is while disagreeing the whole time.

Following the New Release review is Massacre Theatre, what I assume is the fan favorite section of the podcast. In it, Adam and Josh re-enact a scene from an unnamed film in some way related to the show’s theme. Neither are, shall we say, trained thespians, hence “Massacre.” Listeners guess at what movie is being acted out for prizes and the next week you can hear the scene as it was intended—the original from the film. Both are delightfully easygoing about their lack of talent in this arena and Josh in particular deploys an incredible variety of terrible, terrible accents to “nail” whatever character he is portraying.

Next up is the Polls/Notes section, in which a question is posed to the audience—usually something like “Quintessential Leonard DiCaprio Role” or “Favorite ‘Geek’ Director”—the previous question percentages are shared, and emails shared.

In the typical final section, the duo discuss their Top Five list of the week based on the show theme. For instance, the FRANCES HA episode’s list was Top Five Contemporary Black and White films, and weeks earlier, in the OBLIVION episode, the list was Top Five Future Jobs.

At times, the show will also contain interviews or genre/director/creative types specific retrospectives—past ones have include Iranian films, Blackploitation, and the movies of the Marx Brothers. Guests occasionally show up too including show favorite and other local critic Michael Phillips.

There are other things to know, like the penalty box, Sacred Cows, and the Pantheon, but these are better discovered along the way and the hosts are good about cluing you into their various traditions.

Released: Weekly (Friday Mornings)

Twitter handles associated with the podcast:

Josh Larsen

The Show/ Adam Kempenaar 

 

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SLATE’S SPOILER SPECIALS

June Thomas and special guest go over the newest releases in a detail level that would be anathema to the current review system. All the twists and turns are disclosed and parsed over. Less a review—although Thomas and her guest do say whether or not like they like the movie—and more an exploration of how the film’s structure and important beats work or don’t, they’re great to listen to after you see a movie, especially one you are still mulling over in your mind. Also great for people who don’t care about “spoilers” and think that movies will work or not depending on their quality and a spoiler or two won’t derail a film’s quality.

Released: Weekly (although there may be multiples in one week depending on the movie releases of that week)

Twitter handles associated with the podcast: June Thomas

 

LOOKING BACK

Entertainment may keep on rolling, but sometimes it is important to look back and remember what was quality about the past. These offerings will help you to do it.

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MEANDAWG TOP 5

Actually a defunct podcast—the last episode is now about two and a half years old—this podcast is still great fun. Since it is oriented towards the past, they aren’t really “out of date;” perhaps not as comprehensive is a better way to put it. Four southern gentleman in their last 20’s through late 30’s talk over alcohol about the movies they like (or don’t) with both casual shallowness and surprising depth at various times. 

None of them work in film or are professional critics but they all love movies and clearly have taken the time to watch a wide variety of pictures to really round out their film knowledge. As such they sound like, for lack of a better way to put it, the kind of movie discussions you’d have at parties who are smart and passionate about film, but also have senses of humors about the medium.

Topics include Top 5 Movies to Watch Drunk, Top 5 Movies from the Year You Graduated, Top 5 Movies with a Criminal Protagonist, and Top 5 Movies You Loved as a Kid but Suck Now. Don’t be surprised if I steal a lot of these prompts and start to use them on the site myself.

Oh, and I suggest listening to the episodes in order so you can really get each co-hosts personality and see the running jokes develop over time.

Released: NEVER AGAIN (I assume)

Twitter handles associated with the podcast: ???

 

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NOW PLAYING

Although often hinged to current films being released, this podcast goes deep, deep, deep. For instance, last year’s AVENGERS released was proceeded by a film series that covered everything from CAPTAIN AMERICA all the way back to the 1977 HULK film, picking off every, near as I can, Marvel property film in-between. And yes, that even includes HOWARD THE DUCK and MAN-THING.

 

While I have enjoyed the various comic adaptation serieses (if you can pluralize series that’s how it would look, thanks), where the show really excels are horror films, which I say, as previously noted elsewhere on this site, as someone who is not a horror film fan. I have a hard time explaining why exactly those podcasts work so well, but they do. I suspect it is because the hosts have a love of the genre but are not afraid to disparage it on its shortcomings either.

Each podcast is focused on a single film and runs somewhere around an hour and a half to two hours. The episodes are worth listening to to the bitter end as each one as a series of after-credit bloopers that let you feel even more comfortable with the co-hosts. I found that the horror episodes where fine to listen to even if I had never seen the movie ever while others are best served if I had seen the movie very recently.

Released: An average of one to two a week

Twitter handles associated with the podcast: The Show

 

SO BAD THEY’RE GOOD

Everybody is drawn to the occasional terrible movie, knowing that the film will be awful but, yet, inexplicably unable to stop yourself from renting/buying/seeing. The podcasts here are filled with hosts that understand.

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HOW DID THIS GET MADE?

I want to call this the pilgrim of “bad movie” podcasts, but I have no idea if that’s accurate. What the hell, I’ll do it anyway: this is the pilgrim of “bad movie” podcasts and it is easy to see why. Co-hosts Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael (pronounced Ray-feel, not like the Ninja Turtle), and Jason Mantzoukas  work consistently well together and the special guest for each episode, with rare exception, tends to nicely fit into that dynamic without derailing it. Additionally, they pull great comedic guests that you’ll recognize by name, probably, and certainly by voice/style if not.

Yes, they use the word “literally” too often, but that can be forgiven. Especially because the way Paul says “garbage” and June asserts something is “disturbing” are always funny, even when they happen multiple times an episode.

They cover a good variety of movies that boggle the mind with obvious ones such as THE ADVENTURES OF PLUTO NASH and STREET FIGHTER existing alongside genuine b-movie triumphs like ROAD HOUSE and CRANK with genuine surprises like JOYFUL NOISE and THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN sprinkled in for good measure.

Released: Full episodes every two week, preview/mailbox episodes (hosted by Scheer alone) on the alternating ones.

Twitter handles associated with the podcast:

Paul Scheer

June Diane Raphael

Jason Mantzoukas does not have Twitter

 

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THE FLOP HOUSE

Not drastically different in concept than HOW DID THIS GET MADE?, I nonetheless recommend this one as well. Dan McCoy, Elliott Kalan, and Stuart Wellington have a similarly excellent, but wholly unique, chemistry that make each episode worth downloading in and of themselves.

The best example of this is The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure installment of the podcast. I listened to this one while driving to the Cape and at one point was laughing so hard that I was crying enough I was worried about my vision. By the end of the episodes, my ribs honestly ached from the amount I had laughed. Not to build things up too much or anything.

Released: Every two weeks

Twitter handles associated with the podcast:

The Show

Dan McCoy

Elliott Kalan

 

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MOVIE FIGHTERS

From the hosts of WARROCKET AJAX (go ahead and see Things I Like Month: Comics Podcast Edition) comes this brand-new podcast. This article is running long, so I’ll just suffice to say that if you like WARROCKET, you’ll like this.

Released: Not sure…looks to be once every two weeks

Twitter handles associated with the podcast:

Chris Sims

Matt D. Wilson

 

Tomorrow: Celebrity/Showbiz Types Podcasts