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Podthoughts: How Did This Get Made?

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Format: discussion of the various unbelievabilities of non-respected movies with comedians — and sometimes the filmmakers themselves
Episode duration: 35m-1h30m
Frequency: biweekly (with previews on the weeks between)

When I grew old enough to watch, I began watching films. When I grew old enough to read, I began reading film criticism. I’ve never slowed in either pursuit, but only lately have I realized that I don’t care if a movie is “good” or “bad.” By that I mean not only that it doesn’t matter to me if a critic, even one I read religiously, thinks a movie is good or bad — I figured that out first — but that it doesn’t matter to me if I think a movie is good or bad. We build no more rickety structures than opinions, instinctively slapping them together in the heat of the moment on foundations of shifting sand. Thumbing a picture up or down may make for a satisfying declaration of self — “I feel this way about this movie, and moreover, I exist!” — but I need to hear more. I long to discuss film as an experience, not as a mere object of acceptance or rejection — and I suspect, on some level, that you do too.

How Did This Get Made? [RSS] [iTunes] keys into that desire, though it doesn’t announce its mission in quite those words. “Have you ever watched a movie so terrible, so unwatchable, that it actually is amazing?” its iTunes description asks. Admittedly, that question alone hardly gets my blood flowing; I felt forced long ago to, in the manner of Dave Erdman, abandon enthusiasm for the intellectual and aesthetic dead end of the so-bad-it’s-good. But I didn’t replace it with undivided pursuit of “the good,” since, when I try to get my mind around it to define it, the concept disperses like smoke. I began to conceive of all cinema as a circle, with the movies people call “good” and the movies people call “bad” meeting at one particularly fascinating point. I downloaded a slew of this podcast’s episodes when I heard Patton Oswalt, in a guest appearance on How Was Your Week?, tell Julie Klausner that its crew doesn’t just bitch and moan about movies they don’t like; they treat their widely reviled subjects as sources of interestingness equal to their most respected brethren.

This crew, by the way, comprises comedians Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael, and Jason Mantzoukas (who, we are often told, is not on Twitter). They watch recent and recent-ish releases like Sucker Punch, Gigli, and Battlefield Earth, movies whose box-office performances vary but around all of whom the stink of failure hangs heavily. They sometimes discuss them with comedy-type guests like Matt Walsh [MP3], Paul Rust [MP3], and Maximum Fun’s own Jordan Morris [MP3]. In a series of clever coups for a show not about to dole out praise, they occasionally bring in guests involved in the production of the fortnight’s film, like Greg Sestero, co-star and jack-of-all-trades on Tommy Wiseau’s immortal The Room [MP3] or — wait for it — the star of Cool as Ice, the one and only Vanilla Ice [MP3]. (For the last fifteen minutes of the episode, anyway.)

Read the whole thing at

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