Top 10 Podcasts from 2017

It almost feels like every day someone tells me that they want to start listening to podcasts, and since it’s become a regular medium, you can find podcasts about literally anything.  I’ve listened to podcasts about everything from tech to crying.  There really is a podcast for everyone, whether you need information, a laugh, or an emotional reaction.  Here are some of the best new podcasts and veterans that have kept up the good work:

 

  1. Swipe Out

Alix McAlpine’s podcast is simple enough on the surface, and it’s certainly not the first dating podcast.  The premise is Alix goes on first dates, then discusses them with her friend, while creating a list of qualities she’d like her ideal partner to have.  Occasionally, it’s funny, but McAlpine is doing more than just gossiping about her dates.  She’s really exploring what it’s like navigating the dating world, as a millennial, with dating apps, and as a young adult.  It’s a mostly transparent look into the dating world, and it provides so much insight to those single among us.

Standout episode: Connor/Slim Thicc Continue reading

Happy Death Day (Dir. Christopher B. Landon)

I can’t say Happy Death Day is particularly frightening, nor is it particularly funny. The plot twist is pretty contrived, it gets frustratingly repetitive and there are moments that just don’t make sense even within its own fantasy universe. So why did I enjoy this so much? This is a case in which so many of the moving parts are messy and dysfunctional but they inexplicably come together as a cohesive whole. It’s like being on one of those giant carnival slides over and over again, or watching a fidget spinner. Continue reading

Marc Maron-Too Real

            Only Marc Maron could get away with telling the same joke twice in a row.  It’s easy to be sick of Maron’s rote display of emotional honesty, because he’s been in comedy for decades, and he brings one of the best podcasts to listeners twice a week.  He’s been bringing listeners a manic energy regularly for years now, and Too Real is a perfect culmination of all the best aspects of Maron. Continue reading

IT (Dir. Andrés Muschietti)

I can’t support the notion that the supernatural entity known as It takes on the form of a clown because clowns are enticing to children. No child has unironically enjoyed the presence of a clown since the vaudevillian days of the 1930s. People have been afraid of clowns for years, even before Tim Curry decided to put on a red nose. If you were one of those people who saw Stephen King’s It (1990) as a kid and cite it as the source of your childhood nightmares, I highly recommend watching it again, now, as an adult. Upon second viewing, you might come to realize that not only is it not very frightening, but it’s also rather dated and not particularly good. In this era of remake after remake after remake, this is a rare example of an early 90s relic that was due for an upgrade. And that’s because the story and the concept is actually compelling- the 1990 version just didn’t do much apart from traumatize some now-twenty somethings and give Tim Curry ample scenery to chew on. And this project has been in the works since 2009- Cary Fukunaga, the original director, dropped out due to “creative differences”, the script was rewritten, most of the actors were re-cast a week before filming…after all of that chaos it’s hard to believe they were able to pull the project together without making it too much of a messy combination of Fukunaga’s vision and Muschietti’s. But they did it, and they did it well. And maybe the delay in production was a blessing in disguise because it has been exactly 27 years since the release of the original miniseries- accurately matching the timeline of It’s resurgence from the depths of the sewers to consume the flesh of the innocent. So that’s nice. Continue reading

The Glass Castle: A Review and Reflection

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Before the film adaptation’s release, here’s some insight into Jeannette Walls’ modern classic The Glass Castle.

Spending another week on The New York Times’ Bestseller List and on it’s way to theatres, The Glass Castle continues to be a memoir that holds the public’s attention.  If for some reason you managed to escape the media storm surrounding the movie, Glass Castle is the memoir of Jeannette Walls, currently a successful writer and journalist in New York, but once a girl living a rootless lifestyle with two erratic parents.  Glass Castle has been out since 2005, but I find when a book holds the public’s attention for this long without fanfare and merchandise of midnight releases and chest tattoos, it’s important to ask why. Continue reading

The Little Hours (dir. Jeff Baena)

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A loose parody of 14th century novel The Decameron, The Little Hours (dir. Jeff
Baena) features Dave Franco as a runaway who, pretending to be a deaf-mute, starts
hooking up with nuns at a convent. The concept, on paper, could be a dramatic
period piece, but it’s a lighthearted 90-minute comedy. Basically the entire cast is a
comedy powerhouse- Nick Offerman, Molly Shannon, Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, Fred
Armisen, and John C. Reilly. Clearly, some effort was made to cast people with excellent
comic timing. Continue reading

Brigsby Bear, and Why it’s “Dope as Shit”

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As evidenced by his work with SNL and sketch group Good Neighbor, Kyle Mooney has been building a career out of playing a similar type of character over and over again, but I think he does it with enough genuine empathy and admiration that I can’t complain. Mooney excels at cringe comedy, and he does this especially well in Brigsby Bear (dir. Dave McCary), in which he portrays a young man who essentially has never seen or heard of anything. Continue reading