Ten TV and film podcasts to listen to instead of political commentary

These podcasts are ideal for the listener in need of respite from life’s stressors

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Whether you are a film enthusiast or a commuter who has had to swear off news and political podcasts for the good of your mental health, entertainment podcasts are a way to consume engaging content while learning about a wild industry. The best part about entertainment podcasts is that you can easily curate what you listen to based on the type of media that most interests you. Here are some options that range from educational to humorous commentary.

“The Director’s Cut - A DGA Podcast”

Created and developed by the Director’s Guild of America, “The Director’s Cut” features interviews with directors on the process of making films and what went on behind-the-scenes while filming. Averaging about two episodes per week, this podcast is ideal for finding out more about recent releases. Furthermore, as Oscar season commences, it serves as a great way to hear from nominated directors as they describe what it took to make the films that you enjoy.

“The Rewatchables”

Each episode of “The Rewatchables” — a part of The Ringer Podcast Network — focuses on one film that the hosts that week feel particularly strongly about. The hosts vary each week, but consistently include the founder of pop culture news network The Ringer, Bill Simmons and Editorial Director Chris Ryan. The films discussed aren’t necessarily masterpieces, but are highly rewatchable — the “Speed” and “True Romance” episodes are golden. If you’ve ever felt strongly that a movie you love and have seen a thousand times doesn’t receive credit where it’s due, then it’s probably been featured in an episode of “The Rewatchables.” With the roundtable of hosts frequently switching out, the podcast remains fresh and gives the listener a chance to hear from a variety of voices.

“The Big Picture” and “The Watch”

Although it may appear rather pandering to recommend two other podcasts from The Ringer Podcast Network, the enthusiasm of the hosts and quality content make the twice-weekly “The Big Picture” and “The Watch” worth recommending. “The Big Picture” — hosted by Chief Content Officer Sean Fennessey — is a film podcast that includes discussions centered around industry trends, film reviews, award show predictions and interviews with film directors. It’s television counterpart is “The Watch” — hosted by Chris Ryan and contributor Andy Greenwald. Listening to these podcasts in tandem is genuinely all you need to become an expert in current media. 

“Unspooled”

This podcast is a journey through the AFI’s top 100 greatest American films with hosts actor and director Paul Scheer and film critic Amy Nicholson. Each episode, Paul and Amy watch one film and discuss how it got made, famous scenes and whether it actually deserves to be on the list. Although the average person has likely not seen the majority of the films on the list, the titles are typically well known and in a lot of people’s “should watch, but will never actually get around to it” list. Listening to Paul and Amy is a great way to determine whether a “great” film is worth checking out or maybe putting off until an undetermined date.  

“Black Men Can’t Jump [In Hollywood]”

Focusing on films with leading actors of color, this podcast reviews and analyzes films in the larger context of race and the historical lack of diversity in Hollywood. The hosts — Jonathan Braylock, Jerah Milligan and James III — are what makes this podcast a standout. As members of the sketch comedy group “Astronomy Club” and writers for the same-titled Netflix series, they are not only hysterical, but also able to have intelligent conversations to engage their audience with larger issues at hand.

“The Mixed Reviews”

This podcast puts out episodes on a biweekly basis with each one covering the work of a specific actor — or occasionally a genre topic. After spending two weeks watching as many films as possible, the hosts — Assistant Editor at Adult Swim Gavin Mevius and journalist Louie Rendon — come together to discuss the early life and career of an actor and then give their one star and five star film picks. Their deep-dives into the lives of actors are highly fascinating, so you can go through and cherry-pick episodes based on actors you admire. However, it is worth exploring people you might not be familiar with — the Vincent Price episode is particularly engrossing.

“Denzel Washington Is The Greatest Actor Of All Time Period”

As the title suggests, this podcast is Denzel-centric. The hosts — sociopolitical comedian and television host W. Kamau Bell and stand-up comic and writer Kevin Avery — spend each episode talking about Denzel with guests and reviewing his films. While the topic of this podcast seems very specific, the range of guests — the Issa Rae episode is seriously worth listening to — makes for funny and intriguing commentary on Denzel, the legacy of his characters and the film industry.

“You Must Remember This”

Written, edited and hosted by former LA Weekly film critic and author Karina Longworth, this podcast is a nonfiction masterpiece that explores unknown or forgotten histories of 20th century Hollywood. Beautifully edited, the narratives — featuring famous and forgotten names — told in each episode tend to be shocking, heartbreaking, disturbing and often down-right bizarre. Listeners interested in true crime, old Hollywood or documentaries will particularly enjoy this podcast.

“The No Film School Podcast”

Developed by the staff of nofilmschool.com, this podcast is for true film geeks who aspire to break into the film industry. The episodes analyze films considered filmmaking achievements and feature interviews with filmmakers and industry authorities who give pragmatic and technical advice for people with all types of filmmaking interests — from camerawork to scoring. While this is not necessarily a podcast for casual film and television enthusiasts, it earned a spot on this list for being a uniquely valuable educational tool.


Graphic by Angela Chen


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