I need a new podcast like the proverbial fish needs its proverbial bicycle. I just counted: I listen regularly to 42 podcasts. This number doesn't include the podcasts that I only occasionally check in on, or the ones I download only to listen to the one episode I'm interested in because someone told me about it ("someone" most likely being the host of another podcast). But you can't deny an addiction. You can only admit you have a problem and try to control it. Hello, my name is Jamey, and I'm a podcast addict.
Thanks in part to a (work-mandated) trip to a podcast conference a couple weeks ago, I've recently discovered several new dealers who truck in my drug of choice. Some of these podcasts have been around a good while; I'm just late to the game. Others are still in their infancy. But here are a few of the new-ish podcasts that I've recently become obsessed with.
The Canon The premise is simple: Hosts Amy Nicholson (of the LA Weekly) and Devin Faraci (of Birth.Movies.Death) debate which films should be entered in the "canon" of great movies. The conversation can get pretty heated, especially when Amy and Devin strongly disagree about a particular film, but both hosts bring a wealth of film knowledge, critical insight, and (in Amy's case, at least) a ream of research about every movie they discuss. The episode that got me hooked was the one that pondered whether It's a Wonderful Life should be entered into the canon; a recent favorite is the episode on The Sound of Music. (They also discuss more recent films. I'm just an old-movie nerd, I guess.)
Another Round with Heben & Tracy Some podcasts are powered by a gimmick or a theme; others are just two people talking. Another Round, a podcast from BuzzFeed, falls into the latter category, but there are few duos I'd rather listen to than Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton. They have a casual rapport that nevertheless sounds polished, they're hilarious, and they talk about topics that are often ignored by media elsewhere (race, gender, casual discrimination). I am in love with Tracy's corny joke segment and "What Had Happened Was." Best episode so far: Episode 19, in which NPR's Audie Cornish turns out to share my pre-interview anxieties and I learn that the best name ever for a goldfish is "Cornbread."
Faculty of Horror Another podcast hosted by two women! Bonus: This is a horror movie podcast hosted by two women. Did someone sneak a peek at my Christmas wish list? Delightful Canadians Alex West and Andrea Subissati take an in-depth look horror movies each episode, sometimes tackling one film at a time or occasionally choosing a theme (monster brides; witches in film) to unite a discussion. What I love about this podcast is it isn't just two hosts talking about what they like or dislike about a film; the approach Andrea and Alex take to each movie favors analysis over critique, and as a result, their explorations have an academic flavor (as the podcast title suggests) that draws me in. But here "academic" isn't a synonym for dry. Conversation between the hosts is always lively, and their occasional forays into radio sketch improv make me giggle. My favorite episode so far has been the one on Rosemary's Baby.
I Was There, Too Often, it's the host who decides for me whether or not I'll stick with a podcast. While I Was There, Too has an interesting enough premise to keep me listening, host Matt Gourley's offbeat presence and oddball segments are the big draw for me. Each episode, Matt interviews an actor who was a small part of a big film, giving you the inside dirt on, say, what it's like to shoot the same scene with Bill Murray in every kind of weather possible, or what the heck Arcturian poontang is. You also get "bonus" segments like "I Was There, Tune" which gives you insight into movie music, and "I Was There, Mew," an interview between Matt and his cat, Margeaux the Fat Guy. (You read that right.)
Lore Lore would be the perfect podcast to play as you sit around a fire in the dark of night, sharing scary stories. Writer and host Aaron Mahnke offers a new, true scary tale every episode and always manages to creep me out with his careful research, well crafted storytelling, and excellent narration. Episode 8, "The Castle," is truly creeptastic, while Episode 2, "The Bloody Pit," is a sad and horrifying look at a historical disaster.
You Must Remember This If you love old Hollywood, then I don't know how you aren't already listening to Karina Longworth's You Must Remember This, a show that explores "the secret and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood's first century," as Karina reminds listeners each episode. Whether speculating if Errol Flynn was a Nazi spy, relating the story behind Hollywood's night club for servicemen, or freaking you the fuck out with Charles Manson's on-again, off-again flirtation with Hollywood fame, Karina's research is methodical and her storytelling is incredibly absorbing. While earlier seasons comprised one-off episodes about different subjects, the most recent season was dedicated completely to the story of Charles Manson's Hollywood, and the result was an historical serialized story that, for me, rivaled Serial itself.