Three Shows You Don’t Need to Fear Missing Out On
Guys, I’ve got some serious FOMO.
Because I live in a world without an unlimited budget or unlimited PTO—a world I’m very open to leaving if you can provide directions—I am not at Podcast Movement in Philadelphia this week. (Insert all the melodramatic crying emojis here.)
I’ve always called myself a writer, but as a part-time podcaster falling more in love with the medium every time I record, I’m realizing how much the spoken word can accomplish. Hearing a filmmaker’s voice as they tell us about their project holds a different power than a transcript of their interview. Understanding music and sound editing isn’t achieved with just sheet music or the list of tracks in an edit. Unscripted debate provides more counterpoints than an essay from one author.
In an attempt to lessen my FO all that MO, I’ve queued up some extra episodes to listen to this week, and I invite you to join me. As a reminder, here are this feature’s go-to film podcast categories:
- Behind the Scenes: Film history and interviews
- Arts & Criticism: The craft of filmmaking and storytelling
- Just for Fun: Anything else you’ll love, maybe focused on a niche topic or full of jokes for movie buffs
Behind the Scenes: The Close-Up
What happens when a bunch of film nerds gather in a single room to watch a movie with the person who made it? If there could only be one answer to that question, I think The Close-Up would be the definitive one. (For the record, I mean “nerds” in the most loving way—I’m dying to be in that room.)
A spiritual cousin to The Director’s Cut, a podcast I plugged in April, The Close-Up turns the conversation outward. Instead of listening in on a pair of directors, we’re listening to directors, actors, musicians, and more speak with a film enthusiast and/or critic from the Film Society of Lincoln Center. After sharing stories and inspiration behind their work (usually their newest film), they take questions from the audience. Because the audience has just watched the film, usually for the first time, you can feel the enthusiasm in the room, none more so than when kids were invited to a screening of A Wrinkle in Time and could ask director Ava DuVernay herself about the movie! Discussions aren’t limited to tentpole movies, either—the slate regularly switches it up with indie, arthouse, and foreign films.
The tagline for the Film Society is, “Film lives here.” Considering practically every living filmmaker seems to have made a stop at the Lincoln Center, it’s hard to argue with them.
Episodes to Start With:
- Episode 139: Sofia Coppola (June 2017)
- Episode 142: Christopher Nolan (July 2017)
- Episode 171: Ava DuVernay (March 2018)
Arts & Criticism: The Soundtrack Show
You may look at the title of this podcast and say, “Taylor, I like when movies have music instead of silence—and you know, who doesn’t like John Williams?—but I’ll bet The Soundtrack Show is just for people who are really good musicians like you.”
If you said that, dear reader, you would be wrong. I quit piano lessons in the 9th grade and never looked back. (I can only play “Jingle Bells” despite all the lessons my mother paid for.) Even so, I hit play on The Soundtrack Show as soon as it shows up in my podcast feed.
Host David W. Collins (a musician and veteran of the entertainment industry) has introduced me to a new language, one made of “dies irae,” melodic storytelling, and Foley editing. He combines history, commentary, and film criticism with music theory to reveal how much of a film’s story we can’t see. For lack of a better metaphor, it’s like I’ve only been reading the front side of the Declaration of Independence my whole life and Nicolas Cage has revealed a map to a treasure I didn’t know existed. (Note to self: Insert better metaphor from a more prestigious film here.) Even if you are one of those people who didn’t disappoint your mother and stuck with your piano lessons, these episodes will improve your fluency in a language you already love.
Episodes to Start With:
- Doom and Gloom: Music has a word for “Death” (March 2018)
- What’s in the Mix: Painting with Sound (March 2018)
- Star Wars: The Music (May 2018 – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)
- From Frozen to Coco: An interview with Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez (June 2018 – Part 1, Part 2)
- Max Steiner: From King Kong to Casablanca (July 2018)
Just for Fun: Pet Cinematary
If you’ve ever been sad that you can’t bring your cat to the movies, Pet Cinematary is the next best thing. Cuddle up with your kitten and listen to an analysis of Holly Golightly’s no-name cat in Breakfast at Tiffany’s!
Cats not your style? Try a creepy goat in The Witch or the many show dogs in Best in Show. In each episode, host Wendy Mays invites a guest to pick an animal in cinema they love, and the series has already covered canines, felines, primates, rodents, and whatever else you can find in The Lobster in fewer than 30 episodes. Sometimes funny, sometimes deep, the discussions always end with a plug for an animal charity that will make your furry friend meow with gratitude.
- Episode 12: Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Sept. 2016)
- Episode 22: The Witch (Jan. 2018)
- Episode 23: Best in Show (Feb. 2018)
Full disclosure: I’ve collaborated with Wendy on my own podcast, but I was a listener and fan beforehand. I would be recommending the show in any case!
What else should we be listening to?
If you go to Podcast Movement this week and find shows you think other film aficionados will want to binge, tell us! And of course, you are also welcome to share if you found an awesome show elsewhere. Leave us a comment below, post in our Facebook group, or send us a tweet with your recommendation.
Also, don’t forget to check out our personal, totally unbiased favorite, ZekeTalk!