Brandon’s Top Ten Film Podcasts (Especially for Genre Nerds)

I’ve been putting together a regular film podcast with fellow Swampflix contributors Britnee, James, and CC for nearly four years now, and it still feels like something I’m only getting halfway decent at as time goes on. Our number of regular, subscribed listers is still microscopic and it’s been almost two years since someone reviewed us on Apple Podcasts to boost us in the algorithm, but it’s still a project I try my best to continually improve despite the lack of feedback. The Swampflix Podcast has evolved through practice & increased equipment quality over the years, but it’s also something I’ve worked to improve by borrowing ideas & influences from other shows.

I listen to movie podcasts for an embarrassing number of hours a day, a routine that’s practically replaced listing to music for me as I’ve fully immersed myself in film criticism as a personal interest. I love the self-publishing D.I.Y. format of the medium, as well as the immediacy of its usefulness as a criticism delivery system. A great movie podcast is hard to find, though, especially if you enjoy low-budget, trashy genre films as much as I do. The best podcasts on any subject are the ones that are most consistent in their structure & schedule – reining in the chaos of this conversational medium with a little rigid rigor. Even the genre film podcasts that meet that criteria are often insufferable to me, though, as they too often slip into above-it-all, so-bad-it’s-good mockery of low-budget outsider art instead of a genuine appreciation for the movies they discuss. My favorite movie podcasts are the ones that are rigidly structured, jovially conversational, and willing to discuss trashy genre films with the same appreciative reverence they afford high-brow artsy-fartsy fare. It’s a surprisingly tough combination to come by, but I have found more than a few.

As we are again shifting around the structure of our own show to accommodate making The Swampflix Podcast a weekly occurrence instead of a bimonthly one, I’ve been thinking a lot about which shows I’d most like to emulate. The following list is an alphabetical collection of the movie podcasts I most enjoy as a listener and most admire as an amateur podcaster myself. They’re especially recommended for movie nerds who appreciate a little low-brow genre fare mixed in with their art-snob prestige pictures. Among them are the shows I’ve most often borrowed ideas from for The Swampflix Podcast’s formula and the ones I’ve most often heard my own sensibilities echoed in.

The Faculty of Horror: Two academic women discuss horror films old & new in well-detailed research, often through a feminist lens.

The Important Cinema Club: Critics from the Toronto blog Film Trap discuss classic movies & total trash with the same appreciative tone, making no judgmental distinction between them.

The Next Picture Show: Ex-writers from The Dissolve, the site that turned me onto the art of film criticism in the first place, compare new theatrical releases with a classic movie they share something in common with – covering everything from Orson Welles to the latest superhero blow-em-up.

No Such Thing as a Bad Movie: An Important Cinema Club Podcast spin-off show that specifically discusses “bad movies” only, but in an appreciative tone. Instead of tearing the movies down, the hosts take turns asking each other “What was your favorite part?”

The Rialto Report: In-depth anthropological interviews with players from the classic 1970s-80s New York City porno scene. It has way more insight into cheap indie filmmaking than you might expect, and it’s the only porno podcast that regularly makes me cry.

Shock Waves: A weekly roundtable of Blumhouse employees discussing what’s new in horror. The quality of the featured interviews varies wildly depending on the guest, but each episode opens with a lengthy discussion of what the hosts been watching lately that I never miss.

Switchblade Sisters: Professional genre enthusiast April Wolfe interviews women filmmakers about how their own work compares to their favorite genre films. The conversations are incredibly well researched and are doing great work to restore the reputations of casually dismissed films that deserve more respect.

Trash, Art, and the Movies: Canadian critics compare a trashy genre film to a high-brow art pic on a similar topic, then somewhat jokingly declare a victor in which film did it better.

We Love to Watch: My like-minded internet buddies record this movie-of-the-week show about a wide range of films that are often eerily in-sync with the things Swampflix happens to cover around the same time. I’ve personally been a guest a couple times to discuss The Fly & Xanadu, and I never miss an episode.

Who Shot Ya?: Mostly covers film industry news & new releases, but specifically through a non-Straight White Male perspective, which is a frustratingly rare thing to come by in podcasting. Only two of the shows listed above are entirely hosted by straight men, but the pointed political corrective of this show still feels like an essential part of my weekly feed.

-Brandon Ledet

Howard Kremer’s #JawsReelTime Project

Stand-up comedian Howard Kremer has a recurring bit on his weekly pop culture podcast Who Charted? (co-hosted by fellow comedy mainstay and Bajillion Dollar Propertie$ showrunner Kulap Vilaysack) called “Jaws is Better” that’s consistently hilarious, although spontaneously employed. Basically, if a guest on the show happens to mention the title of their favorite movie, Kremer’s “Jaws is Better” theme music plays and the comedian immediately launches into a tirade that “proves” that his own favorite film, the classic Steven Spielberg creature feature Jaws (1975), is objectively “better.” I don’t personally have much of a connection with Jaws. I’ve only seen the movie once, in my 20s, screened at the Prytania as part of a Shark Week-themed midnight movie series. I also fall firmly on the wrong side of Kremer’s Oceans Vs. Space dichotomy, which suggests that movies set in Earth’s waters are automatically better than sci-fi “make-em-ups” set outside Earth’s atmosphere. Still, the consistency & conviction of the bit always tickles me and I’m excited that Kremer lately seems to be determined to take it to another level in a project he’s calling #JawsReelTime.

The events depicted in the film Jaws occur over an eleven day span from June 28 to July 8 on the calendar. Kremer’s proposition is for Jaws fans (or just any dedicated “Chartists”) to watch the movie in sectioned-off parts on the corresponding calendar day those (fictional) events took place, effectively watching it “in real time.” From what I can tell, the rigidity of this eleven day timeline is much clearer in the novel Jaws is based on than it is in the movie version. It’s still an easily achievable goal, though, one that offers a new way to look at a modern classic that’s already been meticulously dissected by those who’ve seen it many more times than I have (i.e. most people). The project starts off easily enough, with landmarks like Fourth of July celebrations to guide the way. Where #JawsReelTime gets very tricky is in the film’s climactic shark hunt, a three day journey without clear makers differentiating between its individual calendar dates. Kremer has suggested “winging it” without timestamps to help determine where to stop & start watching on each day, rightly explaining that it’ll help participants keep a fresh perspective. However, for a Jaws novice such as myself, a guided, timestamped timeline might be necessary to keep the project in order. Otherwise, I’d likely get lost at sea, like so many Richard Dreyfusses past.

I encourage you to join us for the #JawsReelTime project! At the very least, give a listen to Kremer explaining the project in recent episodes of Who Charted? (episodes 340 & 341 have the most detailed discussions of it so far). If you, like me, need a timestamped timeline of the events in Jaws to help guide your way, I did my best to create one below by cross-referencing its plot points as detailed on themovietimeline.com with the clearest corresponding scene breaks I could find in the film. Again, the divisions between these events become a little muddled in the third act, but I did my best to create an accurate game plan here. I’m not sure what, if anything, watching what Kremer would call the perfect “Summah” movie this way will add to its overall experience, but I’m excited to find out and will be discussing the results with Britnee on our own podcast soon after the #JawsReelTime project concludes. If you’re joining us for the journey, be sure to hashtag your progress #JawsReelTime on Twitter so Kremer knows he’s not alone on the waters, hunting down a monstrously huge shark all by his lonesome.

June 28 (0:00-5:05): Chrissie Watkins is killed by a shark while skinny-dipping.

June 29 (5:05-18:39): Alex M. Kintner is killed by a shark.

June 30 (18-39-23:01): A $3000 bounty is placed on the shark.

July 1 (23:01-27:53): Michael Brody’s birthday.

July 2 (27:53-50:09): A caught tiger shark is shown to the public but does not contain human remains.

July 3 (50:09-53:27): Mayor Vaughn refuses to close the beach.

July 4 (53:27-1:07:02): The 50th Annual Regatta is interrupted by a shark.

July 5 (1:07:02-1:20:39): Martin Brody and Matt Hooper sail with Quint in search of the shark.

July 6 (1:20:39-1:36:23): The search for the shark continues.

July 7 (1:36:23-1:50:01): The shark damages the boat’s hull.

July 8 (1:50:51-2:03:55): Quint dies and the shark is blown up.

Have fun! And remember, “Don’t go in the water.”

-Brandon Ledet

Episode #27 of The Swampflix Podcast: Beyond Society – Brian Yuzna’s Collabs With Screaming Mad George & Blood Diner (1987)

Welcome to Episode #27 of The Swampflix Podcast! For our twenty-seventh episode, Brandon makes James watch the blood-soaked horror comedy Blood Diner (1987) for the first time. Also, James & Brandon discuss all ten collaborations between director Brian Yuzna & “surrealistic” special effects master Screaming Mad George, the monstrous creative team behind the horror classic Society (1992). Enjoy!

-Brandon Ledet & James Cohn

Cross-Promotion: The 2016 Phantom Awards on The Bangers n’ Mash Show

inaworld

I was recently invited to contribute to The Bangers n’ Mash Show’s annual Phantom Awards episode to once again highlight the Best Films of 2016. According to the episode description, “Mr. Bangers and Mr. Mash welcome the new year with [their] annual tradition: The Phantom Awards! As [they] do every January, [they] gather to give awards out to the best sci-fi, horror, and fantasy films of the previous year.” I submitted a few audio clips to the episode along with several other contributors (including Crushed Celluloid’s Marcus Jones) to throw some much deserved praise towards the Kevin Spacey talking cat comedy Nine Lives, the under-seen home invasion thriller Emelie, and my beloved The Neon Demon.

Give a listen to the 2016 Phantom Awards below! And if you like what you hear, give a listen to more episodes of The Bangers ‘n Mash Show on their YouTube playlist.

-Brandon Ledet

Episode #23 of The Swampflix Podcast: Stand-up Crimedy & Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999)

inaworld

Welcome to Episode #23 of The Swampflix Podcast! For our twenty-third episode, James & Brandon discuss three films in which stand-up comedians find themselves in over their heads in crime thriller plots: Mickey One (1965), Magic (1978), and The King of Comedy (1982). Also, Brandon makes James watch the satirical mockumentary Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999) for the first time. Enjoy!

-Brandon Ledet & James Cohn

Episode #22 of The Swampflix Podcast: 2016’s Honorable Mentions & Videodrome (1983)

inaworld

Welcome to Episode #22 of The Swampflix Podcast! For our twenty-second episode, we’re doing a little tidying up. Brandon, CC, and James continue their discussion of the Top Films of 2016 with some Honorable Mentions. Also, Brandon makes CC watch David Cronenberg’s cult classic Videodrome (1983) for the first time, a viewing experience that’s been in the works for years. Enjoy!

-Brandon Ledet, CC Chapman, and James Cohn

Episode #21 of The Swampflix Podcast: The Top Films of 2016

inaworld

Welcome to Episode #21 of The Swampflix Podcast! For our twenty-first episode, the first of the year & by far our longest to date, Brandon & CC welcome back former co-host James Cohn to count down their favorite movies of 2016. We don’t want to spoil what everyone’s individual Top Ten choices were in this description, but here’s a glimpse of what the official Swampflix’s Top Films of 2016 list would’ve looked like with the podcast crew’s input:

1. The Witch
2. 10 Cloverfield Lane
3. Moonlight
4. Arrival
5. Kubo and the Two Strings
6. Midnight Special
7. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
8. The Handmaiden
9. The Nice Guys
10. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

Brandon’s Top Films of 2016 list is already available for anyone who wants to read it, but to hear what CC & James loved from last year (and to hear Brandon defend outlier choices like Nerve & Tale of Tales) give the episode a listen below. Enjoy!

-Brandon Ledet, CC Chapman, and James Cohn

Episode #20 of The Swampflix Podcast: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005) & The Battle of 1998’s Celestial Apocalypses

inaworld

Welcome to Episode #20 of The Swampflix Podcast! For our twentieth episode, the last of 2016, Brandon & CC discuss two films from 1998 about Americans blowing up a celestial body before it blows them up first: Armageddon & Deep Impact. Also, CC makes Brandon watch the irreverent sci-fi comedy The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005) for the first time. Enjoy!

-CC Chapman & Brandon Ledet