Oct 27, 2010

A Look at: The SModcast Network

Ok, so maybe this was done out of sheer boredom. It might not even be because I am a fan of Kevin Smith.

However, over the past week, I have been looking for ways to drag myself away from the computer. I have found one of the most effective ways is to put music on my iPod, a device that I am taking forever to finally accept (yes, ten years on and I just got a 16 gig). However, since I still cannot accept putting music on an iPod, I went to the next logical step.
I am a little new to that phenomenon, too. I've read Kevin Smith's "Shooting the Shit" long before I even touched SModcast. I just didn't get into the appeal of listening to him tell stories. To be honest, I've always been more interested in the film production side of his tales (which is why I didn't like Evening 3 as much as the first two).
But, it seemed logical to do it. Not just because iPod and podcasts share a root word, but because when I've listened (I also enjoy the /Filmcast, but when you're two hours, I cannot dedicate that much time), I've felt strapped to the computer, or within hearing range so that I can understand what they are saying.
I figured by putting it on an iPod, I could be more productive. Truth be told, it's increased productivity, but most of the time, I'm just sitting in another room.

So, I decided to check out most of the SModcast network (exception: Puck Nuts... I'm not wild about sports).

What is the appeal with podcasts? I don't know exactly. It's just free form stuff that I listen to. However, once I began getting involved with the radio, I began to appreciate this form of communication. It takes stamina and prep (I probably am knighted king overkill sometimes).
I doubt I am the most interesting person, but I realize now just how key chemistry is... for Nerd's Eye View, I've gotten lucky. However, with A Day at the Office with Marc and Thom, I've realized what lack of interest does... trust me, it's a boring hour that I'm working on.

So, without further interruptions, here is my look at the SModcast Network, which I mostly have decided to give a try because Kevin Smith is a hero, having made Chasing Amy. You'll find that I don't like him entirely in free form, but when he's on, he's on... where?
I'll show you:

There's the mack daddy of SModcasts, appropriately titled SModcast. It was my introduction to his podcasts via my main man Alex. He eats these up like crazy. Of course, I've only heard about 12 of the 140+ episodes, but to be honest, this is the best. Smith and his producer Scott Mosier are in deed some of the funner conversations on the network and while I don't care for the episodes away from the Smodcastle (there's something about their desire to be less organized in rambling that bothers me) , the ones there are usually interesting and often times inspired. If I had to choose one, this would be it.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Hollywood Babble-On is one of the newer ones that is not even ten episodes old. I will admit that in the beginning, it was boring and the format wasn't so strong. However, my desire to believe it could be good (being a fellow pop culture analysis show) kept me coming back. Sure enough, it paid off.
What is more hard to swallow is that I knew about Ralph Garman long before I knew about Smith. As most Los Angelinos, I grew up with the radio station KROQ (also being home to my first concert). I listened to Kevin and Bean quite a bit (I also listened to Mighty Morning Show with Dicky Barret on Indie 103.1, until it was tragically canceled), and Garman did stuff on there.
I will be honest, the Kevin and Bean stuff was rather dull because when it came to celebrity news, they had lame gimmicks that were annoying and ate up air time from actual entertaining attributes. I knew Garman from there, however I also pretty much gave up on the show when the rambling overpowered the content.
But for Hollywood Babble-On, I feel the chemistry between Garman and Smith is tighter and it makes it easier to swallow. It's also more entertaining and the segments are very well plotted. However, I don't know that the Emma Stone obsession needs to be on every episode (says an Ellen Page enthusiast...)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

I've only heard one episode of Blow Hard, and it was the one with guest star Marja Lewis Ryan. Not making homosexual lifestyles an interest in my life, I figured I would be bored (also, it was one of my first non-Smith programs). What's weird is that there was plenty of interesting stories that didn't necessarily address being gay, but just about living. However, as interesting as it is, host Malcolm Ingram doesn't seem to have as much energy as Smith does. I'm thinking it was just first episode impression, so I am giving it one more.

Rating: 2 out of 5Well, Jay and Silent Bob Get Old is clearly the second in favorites. Why? It's Jason Mewes and Smith just blabbering about life. The early episodes dealt a lot with Mewes being on drugs during production, and a lot of it was very interesting. Even with the bogus intervention around episode 6, the show remains an interesting one. Of course, I could probably just listen to them ramble on about shooting movies for a day.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Tell 'Em Steve-Dave caught me off guard. Where Smith's other programming was crass and full of expletives, this seemed more politically correct. While it's nowhere near enlightening, it's a great show about life and current events. However, this feels like it's more from an older, parental view point, so the content feels more mature (this coming from 2 episodes). However, it never gets dull.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Then there's Highlands. Remember when I said I wasn't wild about Smith's life story? Case in point. I heard the episode with his brother Don Smith and I was bored beyond belief. It's not to say that it's interesting, but it doesn't make a good podcast. It's just fun nostalgia that I am sure the Smith family will like, but I just don't.

Rating: 1 out of 5
The Mo and Glo Show is pretty interesting, if just because of the different perspectives. What's weird is that I don't really care for Malcolm, so I figured his private life wouldn't be interesting. However, the tales between him and his mother are rather entertaining, notably because they remind me of talking to my mother... except they went to the Toronto Film Festival. I like that it's more about opinions of different generations than like Highlands where it's boring stories about growing up.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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