After quite literally years of podcasting, and uncountable hours of work going into it – the Failed Critics Film Podcast has reached its 250th episode! We know it’s just three or four blokes who have gotten to know each other quite well over the past five years, talking about films, but we’re pretty proud of it and hope that you enjoy listening to our little show as much as we’ve enjoyed reaching this milestone. If you think we show any promise at all, please subscribe and spread the word.
The Failed Critics Podcast – Episode 250: The Human Cinematipede
Yes, for this very special edition, we’ve gone all retro. Hosts Steve Norman and Owen Hughes managed to convince both founding members James Diamond and Gerry McAuley to come out of retirement for old times’ sake.
Our rather serendipitous main release review this week is The Lego Batman Movie; a convenient call back to our review on the 100th episode. In fact, most things here are call-backs to past episodes, as you may notice from the featured image and bumf above, taken from the very first podcast published way back on the 25 April 2012.
However, some things never change. There’s still a quiz to kick us off (with added questions and catch-ups that I’m sure you’re all dying to hear about) and we end with the recommendations. One in particular which will no doubt crush you on this Valentine’s Day. What We’ve Been Watching has as eclectic a mix as ever: Owen watches Hearts of Darkness, the “best film about a film”; James explains why Brent: Life on the Road was such a disappointment; Steve is impressed by yet another Jack O’Connell performance in Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken; and Gerry squanches all over Rick and Morty.
Thanks to everybody who has downloaded this podcast – or any of our podcasts. Your support, feedback and kind comments have been the motivation for us to keep doing this. Who knows what we’ll be doing in another 250 episodes, but we hope you’ll still be listening – and hope you still find us idiots entertaining to listen to.
As Fifty Shades of Grey hit the big screen in February, we invited Matt Lambourne and (for the first time ever) Paul Field onto the podcast to review the not-so-erotic erotic-thriller. It was almost left up to Paul to review the movie on his own as both Steve and I welched and Matt did his best to ruin Valentine’s Day. The podcast also featured reviews of two other new releases, with Will Smith’s con-film Focus and the sci-fi indie movie Predestination.
Quickly becoming one of our favourite guests on the show within just three months, Andrew Brooker was invited back onto the podcast again to discuss Neill Blomkamp’s latest action thriller, Chappie. Also joining us that week was Jack Stewart – then of Not This Again fame, but now one part of the Wikishuffle trio. It’s fair to say that there were some mixed opinions about this new release!
If you’re actually a fan of the Failed Critics Podcast, then April 2015 was quite the month for you as we put out 15 individual episodes, including a five-hour long triple-triple bill podcast with Matt Lambourne, Andrew Brooker and Paul Field, to celebrate reaching a pretty incredible milestone of 150 episodes. It was also the episode where we debuted our new logo and theme tune, which was a remix of the old tune by professional musician James Yuill.
Andrew Brooker was back on the podcast as we reviewed the film that would go on to win first place in our Top 10 of 2015 list at the awards, Mad Max: Fury Road. From the way Brooker and Jackson Tyler reacted to it back then, it’s hardly surprising it had such a lasting impact. This was also the podcast that saw us change our opening quiz format for the first time to some degree of success, as I made up a few Albert Pyun film descriptions.
With the legendary Sir Christopher Lee passing away, it seemed somewhat fitting that we had our resident horror expert on the podcast that week in Mike Shawcross. We paid tribute to the iconic film star, as well as reviewing the biggest film of the year, Jurassic World.
In our first podcast of the second half of 2015, Callum Petch joined us to review one of the highest grossing movies of the year, Minions. We also had some-time guest writer Nick Lay join us for review of yet more low-budget indie movies. We also ranted once again about another Spider-Man reboot news.
After much persuading by Paul Field, the ‘slice’, he convinced us to dedicate and entire episode to the work of British actor Danny Dyer … and it turned out to be our most downloaded podcast of the entire year! A lot of work went into it, with Paul watching every Dyer film in existence. We even got professional stand-up comedian James Mullinger to appear on the show, as well as an interview with film producer Jonathan Sothcott, who co-authored the book The Films of Danny Dyer with Mullinger.
With Steve on a week’s break, Jack Stewart was back on the podcast – but this time in the host’s chair. Phil Sharman (also from Wikishuffle) appeared on this episode, fresh after the pair of them won Best Comedy Podcast at the UK Podcaster Awards. Andrew Brooker also helped join in the collective sigh of disappointment at Legend, starring Tom Hardy and Tom Hardy.
Inadvertently spawning a new catchphrase, my review of a Columbo TV movie (that Steve forced me to watch) led to ‘it’s Columbo’ causing a few chuckles amongst our guests. Both Tony Black (of Pick A Flick and The X-Cast fame) and Brian Plank helped us to review the latest James Bond film and somewhat underwhelming SPECTRE.
In a re-hash of an idea we tried out in 2014, we invited listeners to send questions in to us and our guests for the episode (and world cinema aficionados) Liam and Andrew Alcock. We also discussed the new Cristiano Ronaldo documentary that had just been released, as well as lesser known international movies Nocturna, Green Butchers and Train of Life (yeah, I hadn’t heard of them either!)
Every October, we have a Halloween special podcast. In April, we celebrate the “birthday” for Failed Critics. In December, of course we always have a Christmas special episode. It was the last of the year that both Steve and I were on (as he missed the end of year awards and I was booted off the Star Wars: The Force Awakens episode) so why not listen to both of us (plus Andrew Brooker and Brian Plank) spread some Christmas cheer!
Some others not mentioned above:
Field & Mullinger’s Underground Nights: Fred’s Pocket – Although I didn’t appear on this podcast, I am its Producer and Editor! Paul Field and James Mullinger started off their new podcast series with a look at their favourite Canadian films and interview WolfCop director Lowell Dean.
TV Specials: 2.5, (S3, Ep1) and (S3, Ep2) – In 2016 we’ll be hosting our first Netflix Original podcast, but earlier this year we hosted three TV specials, including episode 2.5 with Paul Field and Andrew Brooker, which reviewed Entourage: The Movie, and then again with episode 3 split into two parts. James Diamond (founder of Failed Critics) and Matt Latham (creator of The Bottle Episode) joined us in part 1 for a chat about the Emmy’s and in part 2 to talk more generally about our favourite TV shows.
The Blair Witch Project (Commentary) – Less of an actual film commentary and more like a watch-along (as I tried to explain on my blog), Steve, Matt, Brooker and I all watched cult 90’s found-footage phenomenon The Blair Witch Project and released our running dialogue as an episode people could either listen to whilst watching the film themselves, or just as a stand alone podcast. We’ll be trying it again at some point in the new year. If there’s any suggestions as to what we should watch next, leave a comment in the box below!
2016 is already shaping up to be another successful year for us. The first three months of podcasts have been scheduled and we’ve got two Corridor of Praise episodes lined up, our usual Oscars special, a world cinema triple bill, episode number 200 (!!) and of course all of the big releases including Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, The Hateful Eight, Creed and loads of others too.
In the run up to the latest hotly anticipated Marvel blockbuster Avengers: Age of Ultron, Steve and Owen have been busy putting together a series of short 20-25 minute long minisode podcasts. With clips from the films, trailers, retro reviews taken from our archived podcasts as well as brand new retrospective reviews featuring a varied mix of different guests for each episode, we’ll be running through all of the MCU movies thus far in chronological order.
Therefore, in this episode we go right back to the start, where it all began, with John Favreau’s 2008 breakout hit, Iron Man. It stars Robert Downey Jr in the lead role as billionaire weapons manufacturer Tony Stark, as he battles to keep the arc reactor that is saving his life from falling into the wrong hands. Chiefly those of his shady business partner at Stark Industries, Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges) and those of a terrorist faction led by Raza (Faran Tahir).
As well as featuring Robert Downey Jr as the flashy, impulsive, genius superhero, rebuilding his life after an existential (and very real) crisis in the guise of a sophisticated flying suit of armour, we were also introduced to recurring characters such as: Gwyneth Paltrow as Tony’s assistant Pepper Potts; Clark Gregg as the SHIELD operative Agent Coulson; Paul Bettany as the voice of Stark’s in-flight suit of armour Jarvis; and of course Jon Favreau himself as Tony’s security, Hogan.
The film proved to be both a financial and critical success, laying the foundations for what would eventually become what we now know as the expanded Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was the first self-financed Marvel movie after they sold the film rights to their more popular characters such as Spider-Man, the X-Men, The Punisher and so on. A lot was riding on how well this movie would do – and we’re pretty damn glad it was as successful as it was.
Here you’ll find our retro review with James Diamond, which raises the point about how much of a gamble the casting of the film’s leading actor was and what impact he’s had on the character’s rise in popularity since. A topic of conversation carried into our retrospective review, where we’re joined by special guest Gerry McAuley.
In our next minisode, we’ll be moving onto the second movie of Marvel’s Phase 1 with the much maligned The Incredible Hulk.