The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

10 film podcasts to become addicted to

with 33 comments

I’m a podcast addict. But I’ve learned to be discreet about it, at least when I’m speaking to non-film geeks. There is still something odd about podcast listening.

One or two is fine or even somewhat cool; you appear as someone who embraces the new technology. Five will raise some suspicions and you might get a few quizzing looks. But don’t admit that you regularly download and listen to more than ten shows. It will make them freak out. “How is it POSSIBLE?” Where do you find the time?” they ask, and there’s a hint of accusation in their voices, suggesting that your excessive podcast listening makes you neglect your duties towards your job and family.

What they don’t realize is that podcasts don’t take away anything from your other activities. You don’t usually sit down to exclusively listen to the podcasts, the way you do with a TV show. At least I don’t. You listen to podcasts while you’re doing something else – cleaning the house, commuting to your work, emptying the dishwasher. I would even go so far as to say that they can have a positive impact on your life motivating you to volunteer for housework or head out for a jogging tour you otherwise would have found a reason to bail out of.

It get happy getting an opportunity to listen to my favorite shows while my husband gets happy that I’ll do the soul killing weekly shopping tour in the supermarket. It’s a win-win situation.

In this post I’m going to share with you ten podcasts I follow regularly, most of them movie related.  The majority are professional or semi-professional, but there are also fan podcasts, fuelled only by the love of movies. I don’t make a huge difference between them. A good show is a good show, regardless of who has made it.


1. Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review

Regular readers of The Velvet Café already know that I’m a huge fan of the British film critic Mark Kermode. After being in the game for decades, he’s got a huge knowledge about film, but – more importantly – he can convey it in an entertaining way. I have yet to see a critic who can beat Kermode in the art of ranting. If someone made an intervention against me, limiting my podcast consumption to one a week, Kermode would be my obvious choice.

2. The Film Programme
As if Kermode wasn’t enough, the British listeners have another wonderful film show to listen to every week, The Film Programme, which is another BBC production. This show is much shorter, about 30 minutes, but it’s jammed with great content, including interviews with directors and actors. I especially like that they don’t only speak about the latest film releases, but give interesting perspective on classics as well.


3. Filmspotting

The American show Filmspotting follows more or less the same format every week. First there are one or two reviews where the hosts discuss something that is currently on the repertoire. This is occasionally followed by an interview with a director or actor. Then there’s a competition where you’re expected to identify a certain film scene and finally there’s a segment where they make a top five list, , which is great in the way it gives them an excuse to broaden our horizons and talk about movies beyond what’s in the theatres right now. They also run marathons from time to time where they dive into the works of for instance a certain director, in an ambition to bring a bit of education to the listeners.

What I love about Filmspotting is how they embrace different sorts of movies. While being a little more highbrow than most other shows I listen to, they can still unashamedly rave about a recent blockbuster they just loved. More than any other show they also point you to small, indie movies you might not have heard of if it wasn’t for them.

4. The /Filmcast
The /Filmcast presents itself as “a Film/Movie Podcast for the Masses”. If there is a blockbuster incoming you can count on that this will be the main topic for the show. Action movies and superhero movies are always covered, but they also branch out into the more obscure from time to time. What I love about the show is that it’s more relaxed with a nice banter going on. It happens pretty often that I disagree completely with their views, but it’s still fun to listen to them ranting and raving, since they’re obviously passionate about it.

5. The Matineecast
The Matineecast is a one-man project, run by the Canadian Ryan McNeil. In every show he has a new guest, usually a movie blogger or podcaster, which means that it never gets stale, even if the format is pretty much the same – a short interview, followed by a long discussion about the featured film.

Several years in row, The Matineecast has been elected “Best Podcast” by the members of LAMB, the Large Association of Movie Blogs. And for a very good reason. For being an amateur podcaster, Ryan McNeil is skilled in the way he conducts the interviews and leads the discussions.

6. The Treatment
I discovered The Treatment only recently, but I’m already hooked. In every podcast the film critic Elvis Mitchell interviews someone who is prominent in the making of movies and other sorts of entertainment. With a length at about 30 minutes, the interviews go more into the depth than the usual 8 minute interviews that are offered in connection to movie releases. Picking the cherries in the cake, I’ve so far listened to great conversations with Christopher Nolan, Lynn Shelton Wes Anderson and Steven Soderbergh.

7. The Q & A with Jeff Goldsmith
I’ve always thought it’s a bit unfair how we distribute the attention to the people who make movies. You sometimes hear that film is a “director’s medium”, but as far as I can see, it’s the result of a team work. Perhaps it’s because of my own background in writing, but I think one of the most interesting parts in the making of a film is the screenwriting. However, with a handful of exceptions, such as Sorkin, Whedon and Kaufman, it’s rare that they’re mentioned at all. And that’s where Q & A comes in, with its long – sometimes more than an hour – interviews with screenwriters. We get a lot of little nuggets about the making of the films, which gives an extra dimension. However it’s a good idea to not watch it until after you’ve seen the film, since they sometimes venture into spoiler territory.

8. Slate Culture Gabfest and NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour
Those two shows are pretty similar in style and concept; as a matter of fact I tend to mix them up, forgetting if I’ve heard about a thing in one show or the other. Both contain a nice blend of commentary on current events in media and (pop) culture. Neither is purely about films, but it’s a topic that comes up in more or less every show. The most recent episode of Slate Culture Gabfest for instance had a conversation about the new indie film Sleepwalk With Me, while NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour had a lovely part about pop culture dogs (including movie dogs), followed by a bunch of recommendations about some lesser-known classic movies.

Listening to Slate and NPR somehow makes me feel a little bit smarter and updated with the latest media trends than I actually am. Not a bad thing at all.


9. WTF with Marc Maron

Marc Maron is as far as I understand it an institution in American podcasting, since several years making astonishingly personal interviews with celebrities from his own garage. He’s coming out with new shows too often for me to listen to all, and most of the people he has on the show are stand-up comedians from US which I’ve never heard, which usually makes me skip them. But every now and then he brings in one of my favorite actors, and those interviews are not-to-be-missed. I don’t know how he does it, but they always go to places where you usually don’t go with anyone, particularly not on public radio.


10. The Moth
OK, I admit that it would be to stretch it to claim that this podcast has anything to do with movies. The common denominator would be that it’s about storytelling. The moth consists of people – known and unknown, writers and actors alongside with ordinary people, who tell real stories from their own lives in front of a live audience. Each episode consists of one, occasionally two, stories, lasting about 13 minutes, which is about how long it takes for me to ride my bike to the job in the morning. After listening to an episode of The Moth I always feel an urge to go on a scavenge hunt in my own life and found stories that are worth sharing with an audience. It’s a wonderful source of inspiration to any movie blogger.

Swedish podcasts
There are ever so many podcasts out there and I can’t mention them all.  There are a quite a few podcasts that I listen to from time to time, whenever they’ve announced they’ll be talking about a movie or a topic that I’m interested in.  I also listen to a couple of Swedish film podcasts.  One is  Kino , originally a radio show, that now is published as a podcast. Sometimes they make exclusive material just for the podcast. I particularly loved their daily reports earlier this year from the Cannes festival. They were every som simple, just two reporters rambling about their impressions, but they made you feel as if you were there.

I also want to give a shout-out to Har du inte sett den? What the guys who run it may lack in professionalism they compensate in charm and enthusiasm. Listening to it is almost as fun as talking to them over a pint of beer, which I do regularly at the pub meetings for Swedish film bloggers.

But I’m sure there are many other podcasts that you think should have been on this list. So if you feel upset on behalf of your favorites, please go ahead and give them the nod they deserve in a comment!

Written by Jessica

September 2, 2012 at 11:59 pm

33 Responses

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  1. I do not really listen to any podcasts myself, but I have never understood why it might be considered strange. I mean, there is really no difference between listening to a podcast and listening to a radio programme. I haven’t regularly listened to the radio for about ten years, but there was a time when I used to regular listen to various programmes on BBC Radio 4. Really, listening to a podcast is no different, and on the whole a great deal more convenient since you choose the times.

    Actually if one wishes to look a little further back there is no particular difference between listening to a podcast while doing one’s shopping today, and listening to Herodotus declaim his Histories in the Athenian marketplace.

    The old is new again.

    stnylan

    September 3, 2012 at 12:56 am

    • I guess what is a little provocative when you listen to podcasts in your earphones as compared to listening to a declaim in the marketplace is the secrecy. No one else can hear what you’re listening to. You’re walking in your own little bubble and if you’re really focused on the podcast, you might even miss out when someone says something to you. Which is very provocative.

      You’re right about podcasts vs radio shows. What is the difference, really? You can’t make the divide between amateur vs professional, since pros do podcasts too these days. I suppose it’s mostly about means of distribution and technology? But some shows are broadcasted on radio as well as posted on itunes as podcasts. Same show. Just yet another channel.

      Jessica

      September 3, 2012 at 7:31 am

  2. I LOVE Pop Culture Happy Hour. Gotta check out the Slate one now. And check out the Reel Insight podcast if you get a chance. 87 episodes available.

    Jess

    September 3, 2012 at 2:57 am

    • Reel Insight is a podcast I’ve meant to check out but never gotten around to. Thanks for the reminder!

      Jessica

      September 3, 2012 at 7:26 am

  3. Finally! 😉 Here’s my list of the podcasts I listen to.

    http://jojjenito.wordpress.com/2012/08/31/podcasting-their-spell-over-me/

    I’ll get back with some more comments later.

    Jojjenito

    September 3, 2012 at 7:12 am

    • I’m glad we had slightly different choices, not having a complete overlapping. This means more love for more podcasts, which is a good thing.

      And, referring to your tweet, I DO listen to The Lambcast, though not every single show. It’s one of those that depends on the topic/movie.

      Jessica

      September 3, 2012 at 7:25 am

  4. Great list with quite a lot I hadn’t heard of yet. Will check those out. Did you ever check out Filmjunk? I think they are quite entertaining…one I listen to weekly (as with Filmcast and Hollywood Babble On)

    Nostra

    September 3, 2012 at 9:31 am

    • No, that’s one that I have yet to check out. It’s nice that we can have this exchange of tips about good podcasts. There are just too many for one person to keept rack of.

      Jessica

      September 3, 2012 at 9:34 am

  5. See I do not do podcasts. I never have the time and cant seem to get around to it. Apart from The Ones Who Knock, a Breaking Bad podcast that is really good.

    • I’d love to listen to a Breaking Bad podcast but I can’t since I’ve only watched the two first seasons and I don’t want to subject myself to spoilers. The rest aren’t available with Swedish subtitles yet and I’d prefer that considering the amount of drug related slang that might be hard to follow.
      I’m running out of patience though. Might start watching it without translation.

      Jessica

      September 3, 2012 at 10:06 am

  6. I’ve been so addicted to Marc Maron’s podcast for quite some time. Those are some of the most intimate interviews I’ve ever heard.

    Dave Enkosky

    September 3, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    • He’s excellent. Sometimes I listen to interviews with people I’ve never heard of and many times they’re still great to listen to since they get so close. You get to meet them, not as much as celebrities, but as human beings.

      Jessica

      September 3, 2012 at 3:13 pm

  7. Great list, Jessica. My iTunes currently has like 30+ podcast subscriptions, so it’s tough to keep up. Filmspotting, The Pop Culture Happy Hour, the Culture Gabfest, and The Matinee are all weekly listens for me. I have been subscribed to The Treatment and Q&A in the past, and both are good interview shows. I’ve heard a lot of raves about most of the others. The only reason I haven’t checked them out is because there are so many other great shows that I listen to, particularly from friends and fellow bloggers. I like to have a mix of “professional” podcasts with shows like The LAMBcast and a lot of the excellent LAMB member shows.

    I’m still amazed at how many people at my work give me a blank stare when I mention that I’m listening to a podcast. It’s easy to forget that it’s still such a niche activity.

    Dan

    September 3, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    • You sure beat me when it comes to the amount of podcasts! And I agree it’s no easy task to make a choice. My top 10 list consists mostly of pro or semi-pro podcasts, but this doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the fan/amateur podcasts as well. I listen to a whole bunch of them, on and off depending on who the guest is and what they’re going to talk about.

      Jessica

      September 3, 2012 at 3:36 pm

  8. This is amazing company to be mentioned in. I look down that list and can’t help thinking to myself that “one of these things is not like the others”…but I’m grateful for the compliment and the listenership nontheless. I’m touched you like what I do, and will have to look at getting you back on the show in the new year.

    Ryan McNeil

    September 3, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    • Cheers Ryan! Don’t start worrying. It’s well deserved. I would have liked to include a few more pure fan podcasts but there were just so many that felt “essential” to me that I had to limit myself.

      I don’t know what it is that makes me click so well with your podcast. Perhaps there’s something about Swedes and Canadians being similar in some way. At least that’s how I imagine it. Sparsly populated country, pretty harsh winters (at least in some areas), a lot of elks, forests and a certain geekiness. Stricter weapon laws. Obviously I don’t know what I’m talking about, since I’ve never been in Canada. But that’s how I imagine it.

      Jessica

      September 3, 2012 at 4:14 pm

  9. I’ve only listened to three! Filmspotting and PCHH are my two favorite podcasts, and I do quite like the /Filmcast. I’ll look up the other seven!

    George Watches Things

    September 3, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    • I’m pretty sure you’ll find a few more podcasts to enjoy then. The only problem is that eventually it tends to get out of hands and you find yourself in a situation where you have to choose one or the other. But you propably should have room for a few more.

      Jessica

      September 3, 2012 at 8:20 pm

  10. I’m also a podcast junkie. I have about ten I listen to religiously (so to speak) and about ten others I listen to occasionally. You’re the one who got me hooked on Kermode, for which I am deeply grateful. I listen to about four film podcasts, The Moth, and a few philosophy or theology podcasts. It keeps my mind going when I would otherwise have nothing going on up there.

    Steve Kimes

    September 3, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    • I’m so glad that I got you hooked on Kermode!

      “It keeps my mind going when I would otherwise have nothing going on up there”. Actually in my case I sometimes fear the opposite – which is the backside of listening to too many podcasts. I’m afraid that I sometimes use the podcasts as a lazy escape and excuse not to spend time just hinking about stuff, escaping from myself. But at least I’m aware of it. That’s a start.

      Jessica

      September 3, 2012 at 11:22 pm

  11. Nice to see Kermode top the list! I’m also a big fan of him. A very good critic who – while I don’t always agree with, is always interesting to listen to. I love the fact that he isn’t as fancy shmansy like many other critics are, and always says what he thinks instead of just agreeing on what other critics think. He is one of the few critics who actually knows a lot about the horror genre and doesn’t just dismiss it as pointless films for dumb people. When Sight & Sound released their list over critics top 10 lists, Kermode was the first one I wanted to check out!

    svartnoir

    September 4, 2012 at 2:27 am

    • Oh, the critic lists are public as well? I’ve only seen the choices of the directors floating around on the webs. I’ll definitely check out his list. If you’re a fan I can also recommend you his two books, “The Good, The Bad and the Multiplex” and “It’s Only a Movie”.

      Jessica

      September 4, 2012 at 7:27 am

  12. Excellent Jessica. I’ll be checking some of these out. I don’t always find the time to squeeze podcasts in but I’m definitely into Kernode’s stuff. Thanks for the heads-up. 🙂

    Mark Walker

    September 4, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    • Thanks Mark! Again: make a habit of listening to podcasts when you’re performing otherwise boring tasks. You’ll be surprised at how many you can squeeze in.

      Jessica

      September 4, 2012 at 11:26 pm

      • I certainly aim to my dear. If truth be told I wasn’t entirely aware of Kermode’s podcast. I am now though. Thanks J. 🙂

        Mark Walker

        September 4, 2012 at 11:42 pm

  13. Awesome list here. My god, Mark Kermode’s reviews are just hysterical. I love that dude to death.

    I need to check some more of these podcasts out!

    Alex Withrow

    September 4, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    • He is the one and only. There are some other really great podcasts on the list though that I recommend listening to. Once you’ve finished your Kermode qouta of the week.

      Jessica

      September 4, 2012 at 11:27 pm

  14. Kermode = God.

    Tyler

    September 5, 2012 at 6:56 am

  15. I’m not big into podcasts but I recently started listening to Filmspotting based on a coworker’s recommendation (they are also stationed in Chicago, which helps) but I’m curious in branching out. I’ll have to check some of these out, thanks!

    AndyWatchesMovies

    September 5, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    • Glad to be of service! If you’re into Filmspotting I definitely think you might like a few of those.

      Jessica

      September 5, 2012 at 10:57 pm

  16. I’ll get back with some more comments on Saturday, off the keyboard, ok? 😉

    Jojjenito

    September 5, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    • Yeah, let’s talk it over over a pint and see if we can come to an agreement!

      Jessica

      September 5, 2012 at 10:58 pm


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