Is there anything better than sitting in a cinema, waiting for the lights to dim, with the delicious smell of popcorn permeating the air? As a self-professed film fanatic (and I KNOW I’m not the only one!), going to the cinema or curling up on a couch with a cozy blanket and a gigantic bowl of salted popcorn (none of those other spices for me, thanks) getting ready to watch a new release or rewatch an old-time favorite will always be a treat. And while we can still enjoy our firm favorites from the comfort of our homes, the future of cinemas, particularly our beloved independent movie houses, may hang in the balance. With production companies having to pivot during this pandemic, big changes look to rock the foundations of this long-standing industry. Take, for instance, the news last week that the much-anticipated live-action version of Mulan will skip cinemas in certain countries altogether and be streamed directly to Disney+…at an additional cost, of course. This move has not been favorably received (check out this post for more on the topic), with many fearing that this could change the film industry forever. Not to mention the far-reaching effects the pandemic has had on production schedules for up and coming films. So while the future of cinema and the movie business as a whole could be wrought with some major shakeups, we do still have one pillar of stability amongst the chaos…podcasts.
There are loads of film-focused podcasts hosted by film fanatics just like us to help see us through the rough patches. From rewatching and analyzing the classics to in-depth discussions on the best (and worst!) cinematic offerings, these podcasts give us the whole nine yards! There are guest features from some of the biggest stars, there’s great “on-pod” chemistry, and buckets of hilarious banter to help keep the magic of the movies alive and kicking. So pop up a big ol’ bowl of popcorn, and prepare to be entertained!
1. Truth vs Hollywood
Our first pick for film fan podcasts is Truth vs Hollywood. If biopics or “based on real events” films are your top choices, then this podcast might just be your next favorite. Usually spanning two episodes per film, this show is all about taking a critical look at the real story behind popular “Based on a True Story” films. Hosted by film fans, David Chen and Joanna Robinson, you’ll get to uncover the truth about what really happened versus the story that made it to the big screen. This podcast is informative yet entertaining, and together with interviews with writers, journalists, and the people who were really there, you’ll get a clearer image of “the truth, “ vs what you think you know. A relatively new show, so far they have covered everything from Goodfellas to Zodiac. The episodes covering Argo were particularly fascinating as you got to hear from some of the key players in the unbelievably true rescue mission. Check it out and see if you can handle the truth!
2. Show Me The Meaning!
A nod to the famous line from Jerry Maguire, Show Me The Meaning! is brought to us from the Wisecrack crew. In each episode, they dive into the deeper meaning and cultural significance of the most, and least, iconic movies of our age. The conversations are funny, philosophical, in-depth, and engaging, and give really interesting perspectives. Whether you agree or disagree with the evaluations, the discussions are carried out with respect for the craft, making for open and candid dialogue and opinions, and an overall fun listen. There’s a great mix of the newest blockbusters as well as some older fare, catering for diverse and varied cinematic tastes. Between the great banter, the thorough dissecting and discussions on all that make up a film, from the symbolism, deeper meanings, and interesting sidenotes, this podcast has it all and then some!
3. The /Filmcast (AKA The Slashfilmcast)
On the podcast Slashfilmcast, hardcore geeks David Chen (who also co-hosts the Truth vs Hollywood podcast), Devindra Hardawar, and Jeff Cannata debate, pontificate, and delve into the latest films, TV shows, and other entertainment-related items from the past week. The episodes feature all sorts of guests including everyday bloggers, webmaster luminaries, film directors, and movie stars from all walks of life. The conversations and discussions are focused, balanced, and offer a variety of perspectives and points of view. There’s no condescending comments or “film critic” snides. All the participants offer thoughtful insights, whether it’s a highbrow art flick or a cheesy RomCom, and you’ll quickly learn to trust and appreciate the opinions shared on this show.
4. Someone Else’s Movie
A fun take of the “movie review podcast” is Someone Else’s Movie. In each episode, a movie is analyzed by someone NOT in the movie. Host Norm Wilner is joined by actors, directors, screenwriters, critics, and industry observers as they discuss a film that he or she admires, but had no hand in making. The concept and the wonderfully crafted episodes make for really interesting listens! The deep dives are thorough but well-paced, in-depth but really enjoyable. It’s a podcast for film lovers, carefully created by those who love the craft and get as much enjoyment from being in and working on movies as much as they enjoy watching them. Part of the appeal of this podcast, besides hearing interesting insights from highly-respected members of the industry, is that the same care and attention are given to the big blockbusters as to the indie or art nouveau offerings. The passion and love for movies shine through each and every conversation, making this podcast perfect for film critics and fans alike.
5. Filmspotting: Reviews & Top 5s
No film-focused podcast list would be complete without Filmspotting. This podcast was first published 15 years ago, way back in 2005, and has accumulated over 300 episodes of film reviews and ratings. Currently hosted by Josh Larsen and Adam Kempenaar, Filmspotting brings us deep dives into the ins and outs of new streaming content, the lowdown on classic movies, as well as the always entertaining, Top 5 segment. Whether it’s the newest blockbusters up for discussion, or old favorites going under the microscope, you’re guaranteed thoughtful analyses, unique points of view, and a whole lot of movie love. Josh and Adam have a way of making their listeners feel like they are a part of the conversation, which is a large part of this podcast’s charm.
6. The Rewatchables
At number 6 we have The Rewatchables, a film podcast from the Ringer Podcast Network. Hosted by The Ringer’s Bill Simmons, as well as a roundtable of people from The Ringer universe, they get down to business discussing the greatest “rewatchables” – those movies we can’t seem to stop watching. Together with his guests, they analyze and scrutinize why these films, which are not classics on paper, become those movies we don’t mind seeing over and over again. It’s a charming, engaging, and downright entertaining listen, and as a film fan, you’ll seriously enjoy the breakdowns of what makes us rewatch the movies featured on the episodes. This is a clever, interesting podcast, and all the nostalgia is bound to have you rewatching your favorite movies…again.
7. How Did This Get Made?
Have you ever seen a movie so bad that it’s amazing? Well, Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael, and Jason Mantzoukas host the podcast How Did This Get Made? and they want to hear about those movies that are so terrible…and yet sometimes, we just can’t help but love them! Paul, June, and Jason, along with their guests, watch these candidates and share their observations and insights with their listeners. The premise alone promises hours of solid entertainment and the actual offerings certainly do not disappoint! With a great level of skill, they are able to pull apart terrible films and acknowledge the bad bits but still find reasons to love them. Get ready for some laugh out loud humor, terrible plotlines, and general absurdity as this podcast asks with all sincerity, “How did this get made?”
Turns out, I had a lot in common with this next podcast! I view myself as somewhat of a film buff, but truth be told, there are A LOT of iconic movies I’ve shamefully never seen. Enter Unspooled. Paul Scheer (who you might recognize from the previously-mentioned podcast) is also a lifelong movie buff, but he, too, has never seen many of the all-time greats. On Unspooled, he teams up with film critic Amy Nicholson, and he’s making his way through the American Film Institute’s top 100 movies of all time, to find out what makes the classics, well, classics. In each episode, Paul and Amy dissect the film’s most iconic scenes, talk to artists and industry experts, and discover just how these films got made, making this a definite listen for the rest of us that haven’t quite seen all the legendary films we want to see.
Hollywood Unscripted is a fantastic podcast for film lovers by film lovers. Hosted by Scott Tallal (co-founder and executive director of the Malibu Film Society), Hollywood Unscripted features unscripted, illuminating, and unique conversations with top professionals in the entertainment industry. From remarkable stories and lessons from behind the scenes of the biggest blockbusters and most-admired features in film history to candid conversations with Hollywood legends and other industry insiders, this podcast helps take listeners inside the creative process. The Stuck At Home series means we’re still able to get inside the minds of some of the best in the business, with the hallmark always being an understanding of what draws these creators and artists to the work that they do. You definitely get more than your average Hollywood interview when you subscribe to this podcast, as Scott has skillfully created the space for open and candid conversations, and you’ll really get to explore and learn from all the guests’ creative process and love of film.
10. Blank Check
Griffin Newman and David Sims describe Blank Check as “not just another bad movie podcast.” Rather, from episode to episode, Blank Check reviews directors’ complete filmographies, but specifically those special few who have had the rare ‘blank check’ presented to them from Hollywood and given the “go ahead” to produce their passion projects. The podcast is broken up into miniseries, and Griffin and David proceed to delve into the works of the industry’s most outsized personalities in painstakingly, and usually hilarious, detail. Not only are they both incredibly knowledgeable and well-versed in all things “film”, but they’ve created a thoroughly engaging and enjoyable format where they cover films and directors first and foremost, but there’s some great psychological insight into the making of movies as well as tons of humor to boot!
And because this is a film-focused list, we’re taking it to eleven…
11. Happy Sad Confused
That This Is Spinal Tap reference brings us to our last offering for our Top Podcasts for Film Fanatics, Happy Sad Confused, hosted by Josh Horowitz, best known for his role as MTV correspondent. On Happy Sad Confused, Josh gets nerdy and intimate with the biggest movie stars and filmmakers on the planet. In each episode, you’ll hear in-depth, career-spanning conversations with some of the industry’s biggest stars. Josh’s disarming and quirky interview style means that you’ll get to hear Hollywood legends as you’ve never heard them before, as they discuss their latest work, or just have casual conversations ranging from intimate insights to hilarious revelations. The most recent interview series, #MyComfortMovie, features engaging and enlightening conversations between Josh and some of the most beloved screen staples as they dissect what defines these comfort movies. Josh is a truly great host. He is knowledgable and humble, and a clear film fanatic who is able to bring out the best in each and every guest, making for a wonderful listen for fellow film fans.
While the future of films as we know it may look a little Rocky at present, we can always rely on podcasts to get us by. Whether it’s finding kindred spirits who share the love for your favorite films or you’re looking to hear insight from some of the industry’s biggest and brightest stars, these podcasts have it all. So while we may not be in Kansas anymore, and we may not know when we “will be back!” warming cinema seats safely once again, we will always have podcasts. So check out these shows, may the Force be with you, and happy listening!
Related read: The Top “Rewatch” Podcasts