Listen to Women: 27 Badass Film Podcasts to Have on Your Radar
(Clockwise, from top left: Julia Marchese and Marion Kerr of HORROR MOVIE SURVIVAL GUIDE; Karina Longworth of YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS; Kim Masters of THE BUSINESS, and Marquette Jones of DIRECTING MAGIC.)
There are so many podcasts out there that it can be really, really hard to decide what to tune into each week. I realized most of my favorite film podcasts are ones created by women, and thought it’d be great to round them up into one convenient list I’ll be adding to as I hear about new ones. Which is not to lump women making podcasts into one group or to suggest that these are only worth listening to because of the gender of their hosts (although now more than ever, I’m convinced that we need to be listening to women and anyone who isn’t a straight white dude)—there are so many different topics being covered here, from Old Hollywood history to feminism to what’s act happening in the business today. (At the end, I’m linking out to related podcasts that are no longer being produced or are on hiatus at present.)
Know of a podcast I haven’t discovered yet? Have questions, comments, photos, or (ugh) concerns? Email me (or slide into my Twitter DMs). And if you’re looking for the newest additions, look at the entries marked in pink.
BAD FEMINIST FILM CLUB is a biweekly podcast from Kelly Kauffman and Sarah Barson that takes a look at some of the biggest films out there and examines whether they’re feminist or not. Now in its second season, the podcast has recently covered everything from Blade Runner 2049 (collective sigh) to The Last Jedi (we love you, Rose!).
Look, Hollywood has produced a lot of truly unforgettable romantic comedies over the years—there’s The Awful Truth if you like a good deep cut, and there’s When Harry Met Sally if you weren’t born near the turn of the last century (I kid; I'm what they call "a millennial, and it's one of my favorites). But that doesn’t mean it isn’t important (and goddamn fun) to watch and pick apart some of the messy ones every now and again. Which is why writers and comedians Bronwyn Isaac and Jourdain Searles created BAD ROMANCE, a podcast that skewers a different (often dismal) romantic comedy every week. Recent episodes center around I Feel Pretty and Billboard Dad.
Are your old favorite films problematic? THE BECHDEL CAST, hosted by L.A.-based comedians Caitlin Durante and Jamie Loftus, takes a look at a different movie each week, examining the way women are portrayed (usually NOT GREAT, BOB!). Most recently, they took aim at Manhattan (aka “the daddy of all problematic movies that men are still recommending to us at crummy parties”—their words, not mine, but agreed). Fantastically funny while digging into important issues of representation.
Britney and Ashley, hosts of BLACK GIRL FILM CLUB, have created a much-needed space for black girls to watch and discuss movies. The pair of film aficionados bring their unique POV on the industry to the films they discuss on their biweekly podcast, and they’ve so far covered everything from House Party to Carrie. I’ve really been enjoying this one and couldn’t be happier to see more women of color getting into the film podcast scene.
KCRW’s THE BUSINESS is hosted by award-winning journalist Kim Masters, editor-at-large for The Hollywood Reporter, and if anyone knows the inner workings of, well, just what the name implies, it’s her (and her coterie of insider guests). One of my favorite episodes from the archives is the one where Masters talks with Ava DuVernay about her excellent documentary, 13th.
Amy Nicholson’s THE CANON has changed formats a bit since its six-month hiatus, but it came out the other side doing just fine (actually, even better; I really dig all the guests she's been getting). Listening to Nicholson—a critic formerly of MTV News and The L.A. Weekly—and her weekly rotation of guests is an excellent way to start off your workweek, and as her picks have been a bit more off-the-beaten path as of late, it’s given me a lot to add to my Letterboxd queue.
Critics Kristen Lopez, Karen Peterson, Lauren Humphries-Brooks, and Kimberly Pierce come together every week to produce CITIZEN DAME POD, a round table–style show that’s fast becoming a go-to for commentary on the latest Hollywood scandals (does the list of garbage people ever end?—all signs point to no), the dumb things James Cameron says, movie reviews, award shows, and film festival dispatches.
Hosted by film editors Ashley McKinney and Justine Gendron, THE CUTAWAYS features a different romantic comedy every week, from Notting Hill to How Stella Got Her Groove Back. Tune in for an aural slumber party as the pair delve into the genre, making their way through all of the movies filed under “romantic comedy” on Netflix.
Director Marquette Jones (Forgiving Chris Brown) started DIRECTING MAGIC last fall as a way to encourage and inspire her fellow filmmakers and spotlight women working in the business. Tune in to hear her conversations with screenwriters, writers, producers, directors, and folks from all sides of the business—previous guests have included Valerie Red-Horse Mohl (director of Mankiller) and Sharri Hefner (producer of After the Jump).
Fans of horror will do well to check out THE FACULTY OF HORROR, a podcast produced in Ontario by horror journalists and academics Andrea Subissati and Alexandra West. The research and analysis here is great, and the pair tackle everything from cult favorites (An American Werewolf in London, anyone?) to more obscure selections (planning on watching Calvarie very, very soon). Make sure to check their website for related viewing recommendations and fun blog entries.
Julia Feeser and Hannah Ostic’s FILM ROAST combines two of my favorite things: movies and coffee. The two—who describe themselves as “overcaffeinated and underqualified”—began their podcast as a video series before transitioning their project to podcast form, and they’ve since developed a loyal following on social media. Most episodes are on the more lighthearted side, but the pair have also tackled more serious subjects like sexual harassment in Hollywood.
If it's not-to-be-missed interviews you're after, make sure to bookmark THE FILMSTRUCK PODCAST—the incredibly talented Alicia Malone has gotten a lot of big names on her show since it premiered last November. We're talking Agnès Varda, Sean Baker, Holly Hunter, Alex Garland, Lynne Shelton, and Eva Marie Saint. And because the podcast comes to you from Filmstruck (the online streaming service that features titles from the Criterion Collection and TCM Select), you can count on getting a bunch of great titles to add to your watch list.
Another quality horror podcast I recently discovered is FINAL GIRLS HORRORCAST, a weekly show hosted by friends Aimee and Carly that takes a look at horror, sci-fi, and thriller films currently available on various online streaming platforms. The movies the pair have discussed range from cult classics you’ve probably seen and love to more obscure gems you’ll definitely want to have on your radar, all the way up to recent releases.
Speaking of the genre, you'll also want to catch THE GIRLS IN THE BACK ROW, a Fangoria podcast hosted by Kate and Tab. Each thoroughly researched episode centers around a different film, and I love the detail and care put into each episode. Plus, if you're not a fan of having to fast-forward through a long, banter-y intro to get to the real meat, this one's for you—the pair get right down to business, and their love and knowledge of the genre is apparent.
Milestone alert! Programmer/actress/filmmaker Julia Marchese and actress/writer Marion Kerr's fantastic podcast HORROR MOVIE SURVIVAL GUIDE just reached 50 episodes. It all began when the pair met in college and embarked upon a quest to watch every single horror film available at their local video store (meaning they've got more of a chance than most of us at ending up the Final Girl). Tune in every Monday to listen as they dig into some truly obscure titles and take notes—it may be your only chance at surviving till the credits!
Actress Illeana Douglas shares her extensive knowledge about (and love for) film in I BLAME DENNIS HOPPER. She brings in a different guest every week, and the conversations often include all sorts of great behind-the-scenes stories and wisdom accrued from their time in Hollywood. Some of my favorite conversations include her discussion with her Grace of My Heart director Allison Anders as well as her talk with Better Call Saul actress Rhea Seehorn.
Entertainment reporter and comedian Heather Brooker’s popular podcast MOTHERHOOD IN HOLLYWOOD covers all sorts of industry-related topics from (you guessed it) a mom’s point of view, and Brooker has gotten an impressive lineup of guests over the course of the show’s run. Past episodes have featured screenwriter John August, actresses Susan Sarandon and Cheryl Hines, musician Lisa Loeb, and all sorts of female agents, showrunners, producers, and casting directors.
Julie Walker Harris spent nearly two decades working in the industry in L.A. before she decided to launch THE OTHER 50%, a podcast exploring women’s vast contributions to Hollywood over the decades. Each week, she brings on a different female guest with years of experience working in film and television, and their discussions offer up a wealth of knowledge and advice. The show is nearing 100 episodes, and thus far, Walker Harris has talked to writers like Amy Spies (90210 and Melrose Place), directors like Jen McGowan (Kelly and Cal, Rust Creek), and marketers like Allison Rhone (director of audience and social development at Tribeca).
SASS MOUTH DAMES, an exploration of women’s films circa 1929 to 1959, is hosted by Dublin-based academic and writer Megan McGurk, one half of the now-finished ANY LADLE’S SWEET podcast. Each episode takes a look at the performance of a different actress in a specific movie—for instance, recent installments have covered Ginger Rogers in 1949’s Lady in the Dark, Eartha Kitt in 1958’s Anna Lucasta, and Ida Lupino in 1941’s Ladies in Retirement.
If it’s attention to detail you seek, look no further than THE SHINING 2:37, a truly fantastic podcast in which host Suzen Tekla Kruglnska examines a new two minutes and 37 seconds of the Stanley Kubrick masterpiece each episode with a new guest along for the ride. Recent guests include New Yorker cartoonist Joe Dator and documentary producer Elizabeth Yoffe (whose recent film SK13 examines Kubrick’s filmography). (PS, we all need Shelley Duvall stickers in our lives, no?)
Linnie of The Horror Honeys hosts THE STEAM ROOM, a podcast that dives into the thrilling, sexy world of erotic thrillers. Each episode, she's joined by a different guest to discuss films like Bound, The Devil's Advocate, and A History of Violence. The show's only five episodes in thus far, but I'll keep tuning in for the feminist commentary and unique look at an underdiscussed genre.
SWITCHBLADE SISTERS is a podcast brought to you by former L.A. Weekly film critic (and current defender of the free press as we know it) April Wolfe dedicated to the discussion of action films. Wolfe invites a guest female filmmaker/critic/scholar onto the show every episode to tackle their favorite genre film—on her most recent episode, she had Jessie Nickson-Lopez (a writer on Stranger Things and Narcos) on to talk about Rosemary's Baby.
Film critic Kristen Lopez, one of my favorite writers on all things Old Hollywood (and beyond), is the host of TICKLISH BUSINESS, a podcast that delves deep into some truly iconic films, from House on Haunted Hill to What Ever Happened to Baby Jane. Lopez (who’s also a host on the aforementioned CITIZEN DAME POD) is joined every week by a different guest, from film historians to fellow critics.
WE REALLY LIKE HER—hosted by Toronto-based writers Danita Steinberg and Emily Gagne—is a podcast dedicated to the careers of some women in Hollywood (starting, naturally, with Winona Ryder and her performance in Mermaids.) And I have to say, even though it hasn't been out long (it's only a few episodes in), I really like it. The podcast—which has thus far featured guests Mallory Andrews (of Cleo Journal) and Michelle Da Silva (comedian/journalist/social media manager)—feels like a natural outgrowth of Gagne and Steinberg's previous one, WHAT ABOUT MERYL?
THE WHORER, hosted by Feminist Furry and Meredith Widnoon, offers a much-welcomed "punk-fem-queer" approach to the horror genre, walking the line between an academic POV and a film-fan look at films and television shows like Near Dark, Carrie, and In My Skin. The hosts are meticulous with their episode notes, linking out to related viewing and reading that enhances each discussion.
Produced in Austin, Texas, WOMEN IN CASKETS is part of the Bloody Disgusting network, and as its name implies, it's a horror-centric podcast with a female point of view. Hosts Jen Brown and Dawn Humphrey have conducted some fantastic interviews (most recently with Jon Schnitzer and Shar Mayer, two of the people behind Haunters, a fascinating documentary that goes inside the wild world of haunted houses) over the course of the 50 episodes they've made so far, and they've also taken time to address the Alamo Drafthouse/Tim League controversy (seriously recommended listening).
Last but certainly not least is YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS, a super-in-depth, super-well-researched look at Old Hollywood in all of its scandalous glory. (This is the film podcast that, well, got me into film podcasts, and I'm sure I'm not alone.) Karina Longworth—founder of the late great Cinematical and former film critic at The L.A. Weekly—focuses in on a different theme each mini-season. (Previous minis include “Dead Blondes,” “Six Degrees of Joan Crawford,” and “The Blacklist.”) Get ready; the next (highly anticipated) season begins July 3!
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From the Archives: WOMEN AND HOLLYWOOD (IndieWire’s Melissa Silverstein); 2 BROWN GIRLS (critics Zeba Blay and Fariha Roisin); CINEMA IN NOIR (from critics Candice Frederick, ReBecca Theodore-Vachon, and Kimberly Renee); ANY LADLE’S SWEET (by Megan McGurk and Danielle Smith); BONNIE & MAUDE (from Eleanor Kagan and Kseniya Yarosh); THESE GLAMOUR GIRLS; WOMEN ON SET (from Sara Bulloch and Eden Carter); WHAT ABOUT MERYL? (Danita Steinberg and Emily Gagne); REPRESENT (Aisha Harris).
As its name suggests, Slate’s REPRESENT podcast takes a look at representation in film and television, bringing in guests from every corner of Hollywood (among them, Master of None co-creator Alan Yang and Moonlight director Barry Jenkins) and tackling big issues like Harvey Weinstein and power dynamics within the industry. The conversations are always super interesting: In one early episode, host Aisha Harris had director Paul Haggis on to discuss the super-divisive film Crash and how he views the film today.
Women’s Film Institute founder Scarlett Shepard began hosting THE WOMEN’S FILM INSTITUTE PODCAST earlier this year, and she’s bringing in a fantastic roster of filmmaker guests every episode to discuss their careers and interests. So far, that lineup has included documentarian Abigail Disney, feminist activist Gloria Allred, and longtime TV writer Susan Silver.