Some time ago on JJGO!, Jordan explained the distinction between "movie guys" and other enthusiastic filmgoers with a representative quote: "Films? I don't know about films. I like movies. And I love 'em!" The line perfectly encapsulates the mindset of the movie guy; none has ever or will ever render it more keenly or concisely. With his podcast I Love Movies [iTunes link], Doug Benson hybridizes two personas: he's first and foremost a comedian, but he's also a movie guy.
As the Hard 'N Phirm-performed opening theme states, Doug hates candy wrappers, screaming babies, sticky seats with fifty ads and popcorn kernels in his teeth, but there's still not one that he won't see. Why? Because Doug loves movies. A pleasing coincidence; your Podthinker, who has many times before made his film geek credentials clear and present, also loves movies. Unfortunately, I Love Movies' subject matter is not primarily to do with the legitimate cinema — this ain't no Battleship Pretension, in other words. As the guest list including the likes of Jimmy Pardo [MP3], Paul F. Tompkins [MP3], Patton Oswalt [MP3] and David Cross [MP3] should reveal, it's pretty much a pure comedy show. (The fact that it's recorded live at the UCB Theatre before the legendary Comedy Death-Ray is also something of a tip-off.)
While your Podthinker stumbled into the world of podcasting with the film geek thing already going, he has also, as would anyone who spends more than a few minutes in this neck of woods, accrued a considerable amount of comedy geekery purely by osmosis, and so finds plenty of recognizable personalities in I Love Movies' lineup of usual suspects. For anyone firmly entrenched in the realm of podcast comedy, the program is like a perpetual family reunion. Hey, it's Graham Ellwood! [MP3] Oh boy, Matt Besser! [MP3] Why, it's Jimmy Dore and Todd Glass of Comedy and Everything Else! [MP3]
And since the subject has been raised, there's no point in shying away from a confrontation with, after comedy and film, I Love Movies' third — or maybe first, but at least second — prong: weed. This is no surprise for anyone even casually acquainted with Benson's material or his documentary Super High Me. This is relevant to Dore and Glass' appearance on the show because it utterly decimates it. (At least one hopes they were high out of their minds at the time; that would be the charitable explanation. Then again, perhaps an altered consciousness prevented Dore from launching into a rant about how the mainstream media silences Noam Chomsky's voice, as he did on a recent episode of the aforementioned Battleship; for that I'm grateful.)
So the show's priorities are, roughly, as follows: (1) comedy, (2) Mary Jane and (3) movies. Brittle, whiny film weenies such as your Podthinker will have to get over the fact that The Dark Knight represents the pinnacle of filmic art on this podcast, but once that's gotten past, there are a number of kernels of rich, sweet hilarity to be found, and not the kind of kernels you've got to be past baked to enjoy, either. Listening to David Cross' riffs while bench pressing, for instance was almost certainly a bad idea. And even that Dore/Glass debacle contains a geniunely gut-busting joke from Benson about, yes, a talking dog. And even if one dislikes the comedy, the killer bud and the flicks, there's still the rousing rounds of "Leonard Maltin" Benson plays with his guests: someone whips out a Leonard Maltin Movie Guide, picks and entry and rattles off the names of cast members from bottom billing to top. Whoever guesses the title first wins. A stoner's game, to be sure, but one everybody can enjoy.
Format: live movie-flavored comedy
Running since: unclear
Frequency: was monthly, now twice monthly
Archive available on iTunes: most
[Podthinker Colin Marshall loves movies, but mostly Ozu movies. Get him at colinjmarshall at gmail, suggest podcasts for Podthoughts here or submit your own podcast for the next by-Max-Funsters column here.]