The Film Talk (Podcast)
By: Brett Spaceman
Podcasts? On a music site? Well, why not? We listen to them after all. Actually as someone who has more than their fair share of music old and new, the discovery of high quality podcasts has been hugely refreshing. Podcasts fulfil different needs. In these times of myriad mobile devices podcasts can be ideally suited to a commuting, jogging, bathtime or lunch in the park. Over time we’ll bring you more in the way of podcasts, but only the very cream. There’s a lot of dross out there, a lot of specialist, fanboy stuff. You wouldn’t really want to go there so [sic] won’t take you.
As its name might suggest, The Film Talk is about film. We’re not a movie site so; again, you might be wondering why we’re including this? In answer I’m willing to bet that a good many people who enjoy music also enjoy movies. Good music brings good people together; likewise great films stimulate great debate. Personally I believe The Film Talk to be an exemplary example of modern day cinema debate. ”It’s one big conversation about the movies in regular instalments” according to co-host, producer and Editor Jett Loe. We’ll come back to that tagline in a moment but first let me add that in each weekly segment Loe is joined by Belfast born Gareth Higgins whereupon the two critics hold an in-depth discussion about a couple of the weeks most noteworthy releases. Intersperse this with a sprinkling of interviews and the occasional trip down memory lane and that’s TFT in a nutshell.
There’s nothing seismically different about the format, so why do I favour TFT so highly? Firstly, I’m not saying that there aren’t other film podcasts or that TFT is the only good one. I’m not even saying TFT is the ‘best’ because that’s for you to decide. (It is the best that I’ve heard btw) To understand why I hold so much appreciation, we have to go back to that tagline: _
”one big conversation about the movies in regular instalments”
That line is perfect because it’s true and the key word is ‘conversation’. Conversation my friends. The dialogue flows two ways at TFT. Of the two hosts, Gareth Higgins appears to be the one most intent on finding spiritual meaning in film. He’s clearly a man of faith, an advocate of peace and he is looking to cinema for signs that humanity has some kind of future. I think it’s also true to say that films help Higgins understand his place in the world. When he shares his thoughts they/he helps us too. Jett Loe appears more analytical. Loe seems so well versed in the technical aspects of film that I’m convinced he could, has or does make films himself. He is more than capable at pulling a movie apart and putting it back together. Virtually every show Loe is able to offer insights on script, screenplay, alternative endings, more often than not for fun, yet a lot of the time these strike my mind as genuine improvements to the real product under discussion. The guy would make a great consultant.
Hollywood take note.
But here’s the thing…. and we’re back to conversation again… it’s the two of them together that make TFT. You can’t have conversation without the converse. Coming to the same film from different viewpoints, yet being so well matched, the two critics can bring out the best (and worst) in each other. Sparks can fly and often do. This is the cauldron from which magic can be conjured. Jett and Gareth challenge each other. Under provocation, each man is forced to dig deeper to help justify his position. There is no comfort zone, no sitting on hands, no smugness.
And no arrogance. These guys regularly change each others minds, not by force of argument, but simply by coming from a different aspect altogether. Listening to TFT was a revelation for me. A personal revelation. Both these guys know so much about film that I was left shocked at how little I really understood. I am learning so much that I now start to see films with different eyes. I am able to revisit previously viewed movies as if for the first time. I feel born again somehow. Yes, a born again film-goer. My appetite for the cinema is resurgent and even if the local fleapit or multiplex is offering only Michael Bay levels of rubbish I still have plenty of oldies to reacquaint myself with thanks to TFT.
The Film Talk podcast is available at iTunes. Serious addicts should consider membership which unlocks a treasure trove of past episodes whilst in turn helping the program to continue. Visit the website for more detail.