Here is a top five things I've learned about movies and podcasts by listening to Filmspotting (using some quotes from my own pantheon films)....
5. "That's a fountain of conversation there, buddy. That's a geyser. I mean, whoa daddy." (Fargo)
Lesson: Car rides go way faster with some good conversation along the way. Filmspotting consistently offers engaging conversations. I tend to let my Filmspotting episodes pile up for a few weeks until I have to take a monthly, lengthy solo drive. I can't thank them enough for making those hours in the car an actual pleasure.
4. "Absence is a funny thing. I feel like Guy left years ago. I look at this photo, and I forget what he really looks like. When I think of him, it's this photo that I see." (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg)
Lesson: Movies sometimes need revisiting. Filmspotting offers "Sacred Cow" reviews in which they revisit a movie that collective wisdom tells us is a masterpiece. Nostalgia and context can influence our perspective of a movie, and the memory can be blurred by all that has come since the initial viewing. Filmspotting’s sacred cow reviews have encouraged me to revisit and reconsider those movies I've treasured (or sometimes dismissed) with a fresh eye.
3. "All I'm saying is that if I ever start referring to these as the best years of my life -- remind me to kill myself." (Dazed and Confused)
Lesson: If you restrict your cinematic history to the years of your own coming-of-age years, you're missing out on a goldmine. Filmspotting periodically offers year-by-year top fives. I especially loved the 1967 episode, which explored in depth a year before I was born. Because of that episode, I sat down and corrected a ridiculous number of blindspots: Cool Hand Luke, The Young Girls of Rochefort, Belle De Jour, Bonnie & Clyde, Le Samourai, Mouchette, In the Heat of the Night, and Playtime. Honestly. If not for that one episode, I wouldn't have seen those eight movies. For too long, I relied on my own years for my cinematic experiences; Filmspotting has encouraged me to do some deep dives into other years.
2. "Listen to what I'm writing now: new and original plays and poems. When word gets around, the traveling troupes will come in droves. Where else can they get new material? Original plays don't grow on trees." (Pather Panchali)
Lesson: You need to seek out new material in order to find new passions. Filmspotting offers annual Golden Brick Awards. Without them, I would have never seen Krisha, Columbus, Tower, Cameraperson, or Tangerine. I know they're not all winners, but your nominees alone offer a list of new discoveries that I consider among my favorites and encourage others to see.
1. "This ain't about money. I could give about money. You see this place? I built this place with my bare hands. Every light socket, every piece of tile -- me, with these two hands." (Do the Right Thing, edited for content)
Lesson: Pizza tastes better when you take pride in every slice. Thank you, Adam, Josh, Sam, and Joe (and all the other contributors), for putting pride in every episode, and for (every now and then) pulling back the curtains (as you did in this most recent episode) to help us see how the pizza is made. It's clear that they enjoy these conversations, but it's also clear that they all understand the importance of taking them seriously and assembling a reliably interesting, provocative, generous program for listeners. I truly appreciate the show, and It has a tremendous impact it on listeners, a group they truly treat like members of a community.