Monday, January 24, 2011

Today's Recommendation: Filmspotting

I've been a fan of Filmspotting since its early days. It began humbly...a simple, unassuming podcast recorded weekly by two teenage kids in a little basement, hunched over their mac & cheese. Or is that Wayne's World?

I'm teasing! But I think the Filmspotting boys would get a chuckle out of this joke. You see, they definitely know their films, so I'm sure they've seen Wayne's World. (At  least, I hope so!) And they did start out humbly. They were probably a tad older than their teens when they started, but let's not talk about age. (Because I'm sure I'm older than they are.)

Since 2005, Filmspotting has evolved nicely from a homegrown podcast to a full-blown enterprise (no, that's not a reference to a Star Trek film). Now, you can download the weekly podcast, or check them out on the radio, or visit their detailed, interactive website at Or you can sit in on one of the film classes these boys teach at the University of Chicago. (Am I jealous? No. Okay, yes I am.)

Hosts Adam Kempenaar and Matty "Ballgame" Robinson have backgrounds in film, acting, and communications. They're insightful in their reviews, which run the gamut from blockbusters like Iron Man and Twilight to art films like The King's Speech, and whatever lies in between. They also do occasional marathons, a series of films by a certain director, or starring a certain actor, or fitting into a certain film category like noir. If you like a little analysis with your film viewing, Filmspotting certainly offers that.

But Adam and Matty are also "regular guys" who are able and willing to engage in self-deprecation and fun...probably the driving force behind one of the podcast's fan-favorite features, "Massacre Theater," in which Adam and Matty take a scene from a movie and do their version of it (often horribly funny) and then you get to guess which movie they just massacred. It's great fun to hear them act (sort of), and great fun to hear the fan comments too. I still remember an early Massacre Theater which featured a scene from Ferris Bueller's Day Off, that many listeners mistook for Rain Man. If you can believe that.

Bottom line: If you want a good source for film reviews, from guys who know what they're talking about and are still down to earth about it, then Filmspotting is a good place to go. The podcast is downloadable on iTunes and also streams from their website at, where you can also link to follow them on Facebook and Twitter. I think you'll like what you hear.

Copyright (c) 2011 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.

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