It’s been a year since I’ve brought up the subject, so let’s dive back in and see if we’ve picked up anything new.
You Must Remember This – I’ve been checking in with this one more frequently – just in time for it to go on an indefinite hiatus, sadly – and it’s been well worth it. I’m a fan of well-done curation of information and the research and presentation in YMRT is aces. I’m also a fan of podcasts that bridge levels of experience and types of engagement with film and that’s where host/producer Karina Longworth’s selection of topics comes to the fore. It touches on the most-known figures of classic movies but goes deeper than the casual fan’s familiarity while fighting the good fight against the rampant revisionism that Hollywood lathers on before history’s corpse has cooled.
Highlights: The show’s run on the Manson Family murders of the 1960s is possibly the best-known era of the show, but its latest (and, at the moment, last) season focused on fact-checking Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon and maybe most encapsulates where the show grew in terms of breadth and depth.
The Next Picture Show: “Everybody’s familiar with Orson Welles’s masterpiece…”
The Film Comment Podcast: (audible eye roll) “Everybody’s familiar with Orson Welles’s ‘masterpiece’…”
Unspooled: “So there’s this movie called Citizen Kane…”
Remember how I said I like podcasts that bridge levels of film knowledge? It is possible for the gap to be too wide. In Unspooled, Paul Scheer (How Did This Get Made?) and critic Amy Nicholson go through the AFI Top 100 American Films list one by one. I’m a sucker for this list whenever it gets updated because it encompasses a wide range of tastes. The sometimes lopsided amount of experience with widely-known films makes the conversation a bit Film Studies 101 but fortunately their taste in guests makes for interesting segments, like Jackass director Jeff Tremaine commenting on The General or Andrew Ti and Tawny Newsome of the podcast Yo Is This Racist? weighing in on the blackface scene from Swing Time.
Highlights: There’s something for everyone on the AFI Top 100, so pick a favorite and go from there (outside the rather dire first episode on Kane).
I Was There Too – I don’t know how I left this one off last year’s list as I’ve been a listener from early-on, but I can point to it in all its glory now because, like You Must Remember This, this show is also on an indefinite hiatus. But also like YMRT, the episodes are evergreen. Affable host and producer Matt Gourley interviews performers with small roles in big movies. It’s a great concept that gives a behind-the-scenes look from a vantage point often ignored. For every A-list guest making the rounds on the talk show couches there’s a dozen working day players. Gourley gives them the chance to shine for once and the result is a fresh perspective on the movies.
Highlights: A lot of these have sadly moved behind a paywall, but for those with Stitcher access or other means, an early episode with the passengers on the bus from Speed is a good one. For the final episode (available for free), Gourley completes a series-long goal and talks with Brooke Smith who played the woman in the hole in Silence of the Lambs.
There’s only so many hours in the day, of course, and I try to keep up on numerous non-movie podcasts (like RadioLab, Reply All, Love + Radio) in addition to the ones ongoing in last year’s article. But as you can see, podcasts do (sometimes) come to an end. Recommendations are always useful lest on our long car rides we’re forced to resort to (shudder) terrestrial radio! Anybody listening to a new podcast? Is there a different direction in an old favorite?