My Favorite Podcast. ‘Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review.’ (Best of 2012)
I am frequently amazed by how many people, otherwise attuned to the digital age, do not take advantage of the multitude of really great podcasts available to the discerning public. Once you discover the quality and quantity of podcasts that can be effortlessly and automatically downloaded to you computer you will never look back.
This shouldn’t even be necessary to say, but all you need to do is visit the podcast tab in iTunes and explore a little to find something that fits your taste. A couple of clicks later you are a fully fledged member of the ‘podworld’ and have numerous hours of free entertainment available on demand. There is almost no subject matter so specific or obscure that there are not several podcasts dedicated to it.
I am a big fan of movie critics and love to read their reviews and compare my thoughts and impressions on current and classic movies. For me the world has been a far less enjoyable place to live since the late, great Pauline Kael passed on. I loved her scholarly and impassioned review of the movie scene in the pages of the New Yorker magazine.
For the past seven years I have consoled myself to the loss of Ms. Kael by a weekly ‘podcasted’ dose of ‘Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review.’ I should warn you now that this can be a very addictive process. Each Friday, Mark Kermode, the opinionated and obsessive British film critic sits down in a BBC studio with Simon Mayo and spends a couple of hours exploring the current movies. Their interaction is always amusing and often hysterical. A world wide cult audience has sprung up waiting to hear the latest ‘Kermodian Rants’ and raves.
Nobody could say that Kermode is anything less than passionate in his personal likes and dislikes, that’s what makes it all such fun. The duo have dubbed their show ‘Wittertainment’ and certainly the Wit and Entertainment level is duly represented, however so is some great movie reviewing. It is an effortless and expert slice of media entertainment.
Due to this podcast I have discovered many gems of movies that would have slipped silently into the night, but for an enthusiastic heads-up from Mark Kermode. No movie is so big or popular that it isn’t fair game for a devastating and scathing critical lambasting. No movie is too small to be lauded to the sky if Kermode sees fit. It is a truly personal thing—the way reviews should be. Never trust a reviewer who attempts to tell you what the world is thinking, Let him earn your trust by his consistency at articulating what he thinks.
Just to give an personal example of a minor delight I discovered through this podcast, I would site the movie ‘Bug’ by William Friedkin. A late career masterpiece by a movie legend, this movie wasn’t released it escaped. The prospect of my hunting down a movie with a title like ‘Bug’ is in equal proportion to my likelihood of enjoying any film starring Ashley Judd and Harry Connick Jr. However, I am delighted to say that in response to Mr Kermode’s waves of enthusiasm I discovered a mini masterpiece that now resides comfortably in my all time top-ten list.
Those of us hooked on the joys of this podcast are very aware of the constant bees that buzz in the bonnet of Kermode and gleefully await Simon Mayo’s skillful and laconic verbal agitation of them. In England this art is usually referred to as winding someone up. Currently the number one source of irritation to Mr. Kermode is the matter of 3D movies, his single minded obsession with their weaknesses is a source of joy to many of us listening. To cut to the chase with a speed Kermode is genetically incapable of—he hates it!
Kermode can also be impressively graceful in his flexibility of viewpoints. His skewering of ‘Ikea Knightley’ and ‘Mathew Mahogany’ have recently faded into an appreciation of the manner in which the plywood has left their performances. I wouldn’t hold my breath for any Kermodian embrace of 3D though.
On a more serious note, how many dedicated movie goers have wished for a more educated and disciplined approach to attending a movie from their fellow ticket buyers? Like the weather, however, everyone talks about it and nobody does anything about it—until Kermode and Mayo! They have created a brilliant movie goers ‘Code of Conduct,’ with a detailed guide to responsible behavior in the multiplex. Check out a video of it at
The radio show that forms the heart of Kermode and Mayo’s podcast is broken into three basic elements. Ahh, the classic three act play…..
1 A run down of the current top ten box office movies in the UK.
2 An interview with a high profile director or actor.
3 Reviews of the latest movie releases.
The above format is interspersed with listeners emails, tweets and responses and frequent bickering between the two hosts. Sometimes the length of the show and the features involved are begrudgingly cut short by inconsiderate sporting events.
Not one to back down from his cherished beliefs, during a recent interview segment, Kermode gently but firmly corrected Steven Spielberg about the directors belief that his blockbuster movie ‘Jaws’ was about a shark. While I wouldn’t say Spielberg sounded totally convinced that his movie was actually about marital infidelity, he realized that that argument was useless with Kermode and let the matter go. It is just as well they didn’t get to discuss ‘Jaws 3D,’ though chances are they might have been simpatico on their views on the subject matter.
If you love movies and feel passionate about them, you should sample this highly enjoyable detour through the mind of an obsessive/compulsive and his collaborator/tormentor. Give it a couple of episodes to whet your appetite and you may have found a new staple in your entertainment diet.
You can access ‘Kermode and Mayo’s Film Reviews via iTunes or can also watch a live stream of their show or download it, from ‘BBC 5 Live’ at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00lvdrj
When you get hooked on the only double bass playing, skiffle band member, movie critic in the world……..check out his blog Kermode Uncut at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/markkermode/