Now, as I approach my 40th Birthday I am not what you would say connected with the world of new media. I am not connected to the world of new anything if I am honest, but recently I discovered Podcasts and the deep, rich world of movie and pop culture based content that exists. There is literally something for everyone.
For the out of touch among you (which I count myself in your number) just what is a podcast? It is a form of digital media that is essentially a series of episodic broadcasts that are normally distributed through web syndication or downloaded to a computer or mobile device. The name comes from an clever(?) linguistic blend of (i)pod and broadcast, isn’t word play fun?
So over the last 6 months or so, I have replaced Radio 2 with a podcast on my journey too and from work and here are a few of my favourites and where to find them.
1. Fatman on Batman (Kevin Smith, SModcast Podcast Network)
Film maker Kevin Smith is very active in the world of Podcasts. He has a whole range of shows that will appeal to anyone who is a fan of his work.
He is a life long comic book fan and his all time favourite hero is Batman. He uses this podcast to explore his love of the character. Each episode features a guest who has had some impact on the Batman universe. From The Animated Series to iconic comic book arcs, he takes his guest back to the beginning to see what in their life brought them to Batman and not only what they brought to the character but how Batman has shaped the rest of their career.
The early episodes focus on the wonderful Batman: The Animated Series as he talks to the creators and voice cast, including a brilliant 2 part episode with Mark Hamill. The episodes vary from interviews with the comic book writers who have impacted the character (Scott Snyder, Jeph Loeb, Grant Morrison, Neil Adams) to Kevin indulging his love for the character by deconstructing films, episodes of the Animated Series or individual comic issues.
I love this as a Kevin Smith fan, he is easy to listen to (if a bit vulgar at times) and his genuine love for this character is infectious. He has real affection for not only the character, but the person who is sitting across the table from him. As a comic book fan, I love it even more. Smith is more than a fan of this character, he has an emotional connection to him and it not embarrassed by it. There are a few times he is reduced to tears taking about the affect that this character has had on him, something that I can relate to. Not that I am embarrassed on ashamed that I still collect and am emotionally affected by comic books, but Smith helps legitimise it..
Favourite Episode: No 32-33 – Jeph Loeb, The Long Interview about The Long Halloween
Not only is The Long Halloween my favourite Batman story, but Jeph Loeb wrote my favourite Superman book too. This is a brilliant interview. Over the 3 hours, Smith takes Loeb through his career. There are some wonderful insights into his early career (He wrote Commando and Teen Wolf you know!), how the comic business has changed, how he met and began working with Tim Sale, and what brought him to Batman. There is also a great bit on Superman for All Seasons too, a wonderful listen for any fan of, not just Batman, but the comic book and film industry.
2. How Did This Get Made? (Scheer, Mantzoukas, Raphael, Earwolf)
This is hosted by Paul Scheer (Andre from The League), he is joined by his wife June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas (Rafi, also from The League). Each episode, the trio are joined by a guest (Adam Scott, Kevin Smith, Amy Schumer and Patton Oswald have all featured) and together they deconstruct a so-called bad film asking the question, How Did This Get Made?
This is a cracking listen, Paul Scheer is a brilliant host and is obviously a massive film fan. The feature some truly awful films like Hudson Hawk, The Love Guru, Gigli, Glitter, Batman and Robin and The Island of Dr. Moreau but also look at things like Fast 5 and Con Air, while not terrible films, the guys talk and deconstruct them in an affectionate way. There are a few too many Nicolas Cage films in there for my liking but I let it go because they are so entertaining.
I think the key to this working so well is that even though they are poking fun at these films they never get too disrespectful. It is great when they feature a film you truly hate, but when they focus on a film you remember loving (Tango and Cash is an example for me) you find yourself agreeing with them and questioning your taste in films, asking yourself, “How did I never notice this was that bad?”
This is highly recommended and great fun.
Favourite Episode – No 42. Batman and Robin
Batman and Robin is one of the worst films ever made, there is no doubting that and yes it almost destroyed Batman as a movie franchise, but I am glad they made so this podcast could talk about it. This was the first of these that I listened to and it remains my favourite. Jason and Paul are huge comic book fans as well as film fans to that makes this work even better.
3. I Was There Too (Matt Gourley, Earwolf)
This is another great listen and a must for all film fans. Host Matt Gourley interviews actors who appeared in key scenes in famous movies. They give key insights into the production, how the scene and the movie was to work on and what some of Hollywood’s biggest actors are like to work for. For example, did you know Eddie Murphy doesn’t do his own coverage? Jack Nicolson does and gives 100% in every take, whether he is on camera or not? Or that Sigourney Weaver stepped in on a crew pay dispute on Aliens? Neither did I until I listen to this. It is chock full of wonderful little gems of information and gives the listener a real feel for, not only what the shoot was like, but the life of an actor that isn’t necessarily a-list.
If I have a problem with this is that the interviews just are not long enough, you are just getting into the swing of things when he calls it a day. Each interview lasts about 30-40 minutes, with the rest of the running time give up to additional information about the film.
Matt Gourley is a good host when it comes to interviewing the guest, but his monologues and his reading of the adverts (a necessary evil to keep podcasts free) are a bit waffly. This doesn’t take away from the brilliant podcast.
Favourite Episode – I Wasn’t There Too – Paul Scheer, Meet Dave
Here Gourley talks to Paul Scheer about his role in Meet Dave. He was cast in the movie, then re-cast and eventually edited out of this Eddie Murphy, erm, classic.
Scheer is a joy to listen too and recalls his experience in a very light-hearted way. His career worked out, but it does make you think just how many jobbing actors are treated the way he was on this film. This, more so than most of the episodes gives the listener a real sense of what it is like on a movie set and what it is like to be a struggling actor.
4. What Say You? (Sal Vulcano and Brian Quinn)
This is a lot of fun. Sal and Q from the amazing Impractical Jokers sit around and talk about stuff. Now, I realise that is essentially what every podcast is, but these guys start with a very basic premise, they pick a topic and ask the other “What say you?”, they then just go with it and cover a very eclectic range of topics. For example they could start on racism and end up talking about the Saw movies via a story about Q betting Sal he can watch all 264 episodes of Murder, She Wrote in a calendar year. It is digressions like this that make this show so listenable.
Like any unscripted content there is moments of filler and waffle, so it helps to be a fan of The Jokers in the first place as you would be more likely to indulge their waffle, but there are some real great moments in there. I mentioned before the bet about Murder, She Wrote, there are so many great little moments like that. They have been friends for years and it shows, they are so comfortable talking to each other that sometimes they forget that the mic is on. The chemistry they have from the show continues on to this podcast.
Favourite Episode – Episode 1 – The Pilot
This was hard to choose as they are all good, I almost went with their commentary tracks on the Fast and Furious films, but in the end I went for the very first episode. Mainly because they really had no idea what they wanted to do other than a podcast with each other and a title. It was great to see the show grow and develop on the spot.
5. The Sylvester Stallone Podcast (Paul Scheer, Earwolf)
Paul Scheer again, this time he sits with one of his heroes and discusses his career and beyond. Sylvester Stallone agrees to sit with superfan Scheer and answer a bunch of questions collected from fans around the world. Nothing is off limits.
This is a collection of short and sweet podcasts that Scheer did to launch the Earwolf network. As mentioned in previous podcasts, Scheer is a massive film fan so is genuinely excited about the prospect of meeting and interacting with Stallone.
Like most of his work this is a fun and easy listen. A must for all Stallone, Podcast and comedy fans.
Favourite Episode – Too hard to choose.
Without going into too much details and spoiling the impact of the podcast, I can not choose a favourite here. Check it out and listen for yourself.
So, there are my top 5 podcasts, you can check any of them out by simple clicking on the title. As I am new to this particular form of media, I would welcome any suggestions of what to listen to and finally….
THE SNOOTY USHERS PODCAST……coming soon
Thanks for reading. Hope you folks enjoyed yourselves, catch ya later on down the trail.