I tend to have about 60-70 podcasts on my iPod these days waiting for me to listen to them. One of the happy accidents of this is that I often hear interviews about movies after I’ve actually seen a film (instead of during the promotional run up to the film). So this morning, as I was doing my morning run, I got to hear two interviews related to the new movie Up In The Air..
The first interview is with the author of the novel on which it’s based, Walter Kirn. Recorded in 2001, Kirn talks about the genesis of the novel and what he thinks about “air world”, the setting for the book. The second interview was with the director, Jason Reitman, who also directed Juno in 2007. He talks about his own experiences with air travel, getting George Clooney to do the film and the interviews with real people who have lost their jobs which frame and punctuate the movie.
By far, my favorite podcast is This American Life. If I were stranded on a desert island and could only receive one piece of media regularly, it would be TAL. If by chance you aren’t familiar with this show, it’s a weekly radio show by Chicago Public Radio. It’s kind of a documentary magazine format with different stories all revolving around a theme. The stories tend to be personal stories, sometimes told by the participants, sometimes a reporter will edit together different materials, mostly interviews. At times the stories are funny, at other times the stories can be deeply moving. They are almost always interesting.
Every week, the latest episode is available for download free of charge. Also, if you are online, you can listen to their entire back catalog of shows, going back years. Older shows can also be downloaded for 99 cents from itunes.
One of my favorite episodes of recent memory is episode 355, The Giant Pool of Money which was a great dissection of the sub prime mortgage mess, told through individual stories from every link in the chain from home buyers all the way up to Alan Greenspan. This show, made in conjunction with NPR News, spawned another one of my favorite podcasts called Planet Money.