Since the dawn of the medium, people have been using podcasts to talk about movies. Movie buffs make some of the nerdiest and most interesting podcasts out there.
“Blank Check” is a podcast about filmographies. Actor Griffin Newman and film critic David Sims examine the films of directors who found success early on in their careers, as well as the films they made after those successes. Griffin and David both have firsthand knowledge of the film industry and they invite you in to learn all about the insider drama behind Hollywood’s biggest successes and bombs. “Blank Check” is effortlessly funny, with ongoing gags like producer Ben Hosley’s growing list of nicknames (Producer Ben, Produer Ben, the Benducer, Our Finest Film Critic and Birthday Benny, to name a few), the quest to spot famous people eating burgers and Griffin’s photographic memory of box office scores. “Blank Check” is almost like a book club for movies, as it encourages listeners to watch the full filmographies of the directors they choose to cover. Recent series on directors like Bob Fosse or Sam Raimi are like little film classes.
This show from NPR is a podcast staple, and it should be in everyone’s subscription list. “Pop Culture Happy Hour,” hosted by arts journalists Linda Holmes, Glen Weldon, Stephen Thompson and Aisha Harris, is a roundtable discussion of the latest in film, television and beyond. They are also occasionally joined by other insiders, NPR personalities and pop culture critics. This friendly chat session feels more like a club than a podcast, and their film and television recommendations have never steered me wrong.
On “Black Men Can’t Jump (In Hollywood),” hosts Jonathan Braylock, Jerah Milligan and James III exclusively watch movies with Black protagonists and other leading characters of color. As the hosts crack jokes about the movies, they also explore Hollywood’s evolving relationship with race and how people of color are portrayed on screen. They track the careers of Black actors, the kinds of stories that Black characters get to tell and the success (or failure) of the resulting films.
One of the best film podcasts that deals with bad movies is “How Did This Get Made?” Actors and comedians Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas do a deep dive on the worst movies they can possibly find, asking the same question every time: How did this get made? This celebration of film failures will have you doubled-over with laughter. Stick around for Paul Scheer’s reading of “second opinions” – five-star reviews of the film-of-the-week on Amazon.
On “The Bechdel Cast,” hosts Caitlin Durante and Jamie Loftus watch movies through a feminist and comedic lens. The title is based on the Bechdel test (sometimes known as the Bechdel-Wallace test) which asks viewers to see if a film has two female characters, if those female characters have names and if they have a conversation about something other than a man. It sounds like a low bar, but you’d be surprised at how many films fail to clear it. While Durante and Loftus are truly interested in female representation in movies, they’re not afraid to have fun with their premise.
“Slate’s Spoiler Specials” is a podcast about films that have just been released in theaters. Unlike other podcasts about new movies, however, “Slate’s Spoiler Specials” does not shy away from spoilers. In fact, it’s all about the spoilers. Slate critics host a discussion about all of the juiciest parts of the newest movie, from unsuspected twists to after-credits surprises. It’s a great way to spend more time with a movie you loved.
What do you think are the best film podcasts? Let us know in the comments below!