Sunday 23 July 2017

PODCAST REVIEW: Comedy, film, and pillow mints at the Bates Motel

This article previously appeared in The Tribune Weekend section of July 21.

Some weeks, I pick a theme for the podcast column and find shows that suit – but this week's came together thanks to a shout out on Twitter, and still a theme came together. Comedy and film are at the heart of this week's listening. 

Everyone I Know

A fairly new podcast on the block, this sees two brothers and a guest shoot the breeze on various topics. It's a welcome newcomer to the podcast scene too as these guys are good company. As with many a comedy podcast – in fact all the shows here today – you can expect some swearing amid the chat, so not for younger ears, but that's to be expected. 
The format here is to take three topics and discuss them, and the crew in the most recent episode focused on, well, social acceptability. For example, is it acceptable to start checking your phone while talking to people or to put your headphones in when going around a store? And just what is the right thing to do at a concert to avoid annoying the people next to you?
It's a light, breezy listen, doesn't overstay its time, and I give it a thumbs up. It's only four episodes old, so I look forward to coming back to it in future to see how it builds. 

The ever-mischievous Alfred Hitchcock takes the chair of Mrs Bates during Psycho shooting.


Sift is a show that combines a bit of comedy, a bit of philosophy and a bit of... baking?
The show I listened to focused on the movie director Alfred Hitchcock – and I have to say there's something of a contrast between the two hosts. One took on the role of researcher and dug up all kinds of information about Hitchcock, his tempestuous relationships with his leading ladies, his role in creating propaganda films during the war, the highs and lows of his career... and the other said “Wow” and “I didn't know that” a lot. 
I also got a little irritated by the number of times one or the other host said they hadn't seen certain Hitchcock movies that they are talking about on the show – such as Rebecca, Rear Window or Psycho. It seems a bit strange to want to tell your audience about movies that they may well have seen but that you haven't. And no, the remake of Psycho doesn't count for purposes of talking about Hitchcock. 
That said, the detail that joint host Liz Wilshin gets into is interesting, and she carries the show, drawing you in and talking about all kinds of things she's found in her research. She's also the baker, and her recipe for Bates Motel Pillow Mints is a clever thought. 
One other thing the show could do with is better production – the sound quality isn't great, and a sequence playing the famous “Who's On First?” skit from Abbott and Costello is barely able to be made out. 
It's still fairly early days for the podcast – which is 12 episodes old – but improving that sound quality for starters ought to be high on the hosts' to-do list. 

Arnold Schwarzenegger in his not-so-subtle outfit in The Running Man.

More Gooder Than

The best show of the bunch this week also happens to be the oldest, having recently passed its first anniversary. 
More Gooder Than focuses on chat about movies – with hosts Chris Braaten, Donnie Carr and Cory Saceaux taking apart pop culture and challenging one another over movies, characters, directors and so on to decide who is the... most goodest. And yes, I cringe typing that phrase, but that's the point, I'm sure!
The episode I listened to I'll freely accept might not travel the best, but it looked at movies that featured the Bakersfield area in California. So the three movies looked at are the Robin Williams movie The Best of Times, Arnold Schwarzenegger action flick The Running Man and Tom Hanks' Castaway. 
You might not remember The Best of Times, a sentimental movie about a man wanting to relive his high school football days as a way of putting some spice back into his life, and it'll be no surprise that this is the movie that ends up being... less goodest. 
These guys clearly know their stuff – and there's an easy banter between the crew. Apparently, the show came about from one of them saying during regular gaming sessions that they wished they recorded some of their chats, and you can tell this is a bunch of friends talking about things they love. 
It's a fun show to listen to – and insightful too as they pick up on all kinds of little details about the movies they're talking about. So much so that they make me want to go back and rewatch The Running Man... and I hated that movie!

Got a show you'd love to see featured in the column? Drop me a line in the comments below or over on Twitter, @AlteredInstinct

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