10 film podcasts to become addicted to
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.
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.
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!