Slate Spoils Annihilation

Posted on March 3, 2018 at 10:12 pm

I never miss an episode of Slate’s Spoiler Specials, the discussions of movies for those who have already seen them, so there is no need to avoid spoilers of plot twists or surprise endings. There couldn’t be a better choice of movie for a spoiler-filled discussion than Annihilation or a better trio to discuss it than Dana Stevens, Inkoo Kang, and Marissa Martinelli. They may not answer every question, but they puzzle along with you in an exceptionally thoughtful and enlightening conversation.

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Critics Podcasts Understanding Media and Pop Culture

New Podcasts: Guilty Pleasure Movies, Why a Joke is Funny, and More

Posted on March 6, 2017 at 3:34 pm

I love podcasts so much I sometimes wish I had more places to drive to. Some I am especially enjoying right now:

Jesse David Fox hosts “Good One,” with each episode a discussion of one joke with the comic who wrote it. Guests include Jim Gaffigan, Kristen Schaal, and Neil Brennan.

Homecoming is an immersive audio mystery drama with sound effects, like in the old days of radio, starring Oscar Isaac, Catherine Keener, David Schwimmer, and David Cross.

Defend Your Movie allows its guest to argue in favor of a movie they think is unappreciated. Movies covered so far include “Speed,” “Cocktail,” and “Gotcha!”

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Podcasts Understanding Media and Pop Culture

StoryCorps Asks Families to Record Stories at Thanksgiving

Posted on October 21, 2015 at 3:38 pm

Thanksgiving is about more than food and football. It is about family. As long as you are all together, how about putting down your devices and sharing some family stories? StoryCorps is asking high school teachers to assign their students to record family stories this Thanksgiving. But it is something every family should try, and the app makes it very easy.

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Three Superb “Driveway Moment” Podcasts: The Moment, Mystery Show, and You Must Remember This

Posted on August 15, 2015 at 3:55 pm

While we wait for “Serial” to start up again, here are three podcasts so enthralling you may find yourself taking the long way home so you can keep listening, or just sit in the car on the driveway because you need to know what happens next.

The Moment with Brian Koppelman: Koppelman is a screenwriter, but mostly he is a great conversationalist who is really interested in the key decision points in our lives. His interviews with accomplished people about the highs and lows of their careers are candid, generous, deep, and illuminating. Some of the best include Lewis Black, Debbie Gibson, Tim Ferriss, and Jon Acuff.

Mystery Show Starlee Kine (who was a wonderful guest on The Moment) is like one of those old movie gumshoes who sits in an office waiting for someone to hire them to solve a mystery. These days, pretty much everything can be researched on the internet. But Kine investigates mysteries that go beyond a Google search and, even better, she brings us along as she follows the clues. The mystery of why Britney Spears was photographed holding a book that pretty much nobody bought is of some interest (mostly to the author, who was the “client” for this one), but what makes the episode is a conversation Kine has with the guy on the 800 number for people who bought VIP tickets for a meet and greet with Spears before her performance. My favorite is the one about the belt buckle with a toaster on it — a toaster that has little slices of bread that actually pop up.

You Must Remember This Karina Longworth (founder of, former film critic for LA Weekly) writes, narrates, records and edits these stories about Hollywood history. She calls her work “creative nonfiction,” and each episode is deeply researched and mesmerizingly presented. She has a 12-part series on the Manson family, and episodes about John Wayne, Walt Disney, Van Johnson, and many more.

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Film History Podcasts Understanding Media and Pop Culture
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