Still Walking, Still Listening …

We’re back with more long walks and more podcast listening, mainly (once again) about movies. Click here to read our first installment in this semi-regular series.

You always remember your first and mine was Karina Longworth’s excellent You Must Remember This, the podcast that got me listening to podcasts. She’s back for a second 10-episode season this year in collaboration with Vanessa Hope and Vanity Fair to tell the sordid Hollywood true story of producer Walter Wanger and his wife, the actress Joan Bennett. Wanger shot Bennett’s paramour, agent Jennings Lang, in the … well, let’s say groin-adjacent area in 1951, thus creating the Hollywood myth that he shot off Lang’s balls (not true). This is a fascinating deep dive into a little remembered major filmland scandal. Aiding and abetting Longworth in the telling of this story is Wanger and Bennett’s granddaughter, Vanessa Hope and just to give the whole thing a nice, glossy Hollywood sheen, Jon Hamm playing Wanger and Zooey Deschanel as Bennett. New episodes every Tuesday, the traditional YMRT day, wherever you get your podcasts, this is another absolutely fascinating look at the forgotten history of Hollywood.

This one started last fall when it looked like Bond 25, No Time to Die, was finally going to be released onto a 007-hungry world. But alas, it was not to be … but now it’s back, making it, I guess the Right Time to Die. Hosted by James King, this podcast delves into various aspects of both the new movie and previous ones with interviews with producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, NTTD director Cary Joji Fukunaga, stars Daniel Craig, Rami Malek, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Wright, Lea Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Rory Kinnear, and Lashanna Lynch; writers Neil Purvis, Robert Wade, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge; composers Hans Zimmer, David Arnold, and NTTD theme song writer/performer Billie Eilish, and much more. Each episode delves into a different area of Bond knowledge, including Bond in Context, Allies and Enemies of Bond, Bond Around the World, The Music of Bond, Cars, Gadgets and Costumes: The Craft of Bond. This one is, sadly, only six parts, and five have already dropped, but it’s the perfect, spoiler-free lead-in to No Time to Die, premiering here in the states on Oct. 8th.

“He’s here, he’s there, he’s every-fucking-where! Roy Kent, Roy Kent!” Yes, Roy Fucking Kent has a podcast, or at least actor/writer/producer/comedian/newly-minted Best Supporting Actor Emmy Award-winner Brett Goldstein does. It’s called “Films to be Buried With” and I’ve listened to a few, including the ones with his Ted Lasso co-stars Hannah Waddingham and Brendan Hunt, and Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams (I have a two-parter on deck with British film director Edgar Wright, plus episodes with TL co-star Nick Mohammed and actors Gillian Jacobs and Rob Delaney). The premise is simple: You’ve died and gone to heaven (or wherever) … what film do you take with you for movie night (because every night is movie night in heaven). Goldstein lets his guests pick how they died and also quizzes them on other questions such as first film you remember seeing, funniest film, “objectively speaking” best film ever, sexiest film, and the always controversial film you found to be sexy even though you know you shouldn’t. He’s a great interviewer and seems to have real chemistry with everyone he talks to, especially his Ted Lasso mates. This is a very enjoyable hour or so of movie-talk, and Goldstein has seemingly seen every film ever made. He’s VERY prolific … he’s up to 170 episodes, so this started long before his Ted Lasso “overnight” success. Yes, he swears like Roy Fucking Kent, but he doesn’t quite sound like him … much more soft-spoken with less of a growl.

While Saturday Night Live is as up and down, funny-wise, as an EKG in an emergency ward, you have to give them props for having, once again, a great line-up of female actors in their regular cast. Heidi Gardner is one of them and she’s teamed up with her brother, Justin, for this sweet, funny podcast, Where We Were When. Heidi and her big brother (and occasional guests, including Heidi’s husband, comics writer Zeb Wells) talk about movies they saw as kids, but it’s not a review podcast. Far from it! They talk about where they were when they saw specific movies (hence the title), along with what they thought about them, and any events that occurred at the time … plus, snacks! Each episode starts off with Heidi gifting Justin appropriate snack material—candy and drinks—and offers life-changing hacks, like using your Twizzlers as a straw to drink your Sprite! Justin is no byproduct of nepotism, either, as he definitely holds his own and is as good as Heidi. My favorite episodes so far are the first one (Back to the Future III), where Heidi tells the hilarious story of Skittle-bombing the screen as a 6-year-old moviegoer, and the fourth one with the pair’s Blockbuster memories, an integral part of their growing up as children of divorce in the 1980s & ‘90s. I’ve been in a very nostalgic mood since I retired earlier this year, and for me, at least, this is the feel-good podcast of 2021. (It’s also available on YouTube with pictures and video and stuff … search “Where We Were When.”)

I know what you’re thinking: Gar, old pal, you’re a comics guy, what comics podcasts do you listen to? Well, sad to say, I’m having a hard time finding a comics-oriented podcast that is worth my time. I do like Cartoonist Kayfabe on YouTube, but that’s a sit down and watch the TV one for me. Starring indie comics darlings Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg, they occasionally push the right buttons for me to want to watch—topics like Kirby, Ditko, Miller, etc.—are great, but they lose me when they do 90 minutes on Wizard #93 or some such issue, which I know is important to them since it’s the comics they loved when they were growing up, but means absolutely nothing to me.

A couple of weeks ago I listened to a comics podcast which is always devoted to a particular classic comics artist and featured a guest artist who I’ve actually worked with and gotten to know a bit. The guest artist was invited onto the podcast to talk about his love of the classic comic artist that the podcast was devoted to. It took this team of podcasters about 50 minutes (out of 97 or so) to actually let the artist talk about his own work and to just STFU about their own lives and current comics they were reading. And that’s an important lesson for any podcaster … don’t be so in love with the sound of your own voice that you don’t let your guests speak. These guys—who occasionally sounded like they were doing a table read for a couple of minor roles in an episode of The Sopranos—talked about everything BUT their central topic (one of the most famous comic book artists ever), while ignoring their guest, whose work is very reminiscent of that classic artist. It was painful and embarrassing to listen to, and this was definitely a one-and-done podcast for me.

Another very popular comics podcast that has been around for a while has a knowledgeable host who is well-liked but unfortunately sounds like someone doing a bad impression of Ed McMahon (his version of “You are correct, sir!” Is “I’m with you,” which I must have heard 20 times during an interview with a comics writer whose work I admire). There was also another podcast who talked about Silver Age comics who had hosts who just wanted to rant and rave about what bugs them about current comics. Sadly, so far, with just these few examples, I’m finding the world of comic podcasting very underwhelming.

That’s what I’m listening to—or NOT listening to—these days. How about you?

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