Two local film podcasts celebrate the highs and lows of cinema

click to enlarge The SacCast crew, along with a few Photoshopped friends.
The SacCast crew, along with a few Photoshopped friends.

Everybody has had a lively argument about a movie and thought afterward, "Man, I wish we'd gotten that on tape."

That's sort of how SacCast, a long-running Spokane movie podcast, got its start. It was founded by Isaac Joslin and Clancy Bundy, two filmmakers behind the Transolar Galactica web series, back in 2012, and they recently dropped their 100th episode. The show has evolved into a monthly free-form discussion, typically fueled by beer, about the movies they and their co-hosts — filmmaker Adam Harum and former Spokane International Film Festival director Adam Boyd — have recently seen.

"At some point it became apparent that we had a lot to say about movies," Bundy says. "We didn't have any aspirations or long-term plans for [the podcast]. It was just a chance to vent about movies we were watching.

"We're surprised it's still going."

Part of the appeal is their divergent tastes. Joslin says he tends toward the outre, like Nicolas Winding Refn's arthouse curiosity The Neon Demon, which inspired one of the show's more contentious debates. Bundy, meanwhile, gravitates toward blockbusters and Marvel movies.

"Clancy's the populist," Joslin says with a laugh.

SacCast is driven by a tried-and-true formula, as is CinemAbysmal, a podcast in praise of the best bad movies. It's a show in the vein of the popular podcast How Did This Get Made?, with its three hosts — Nick Spanjer, Holly Hill and Dylan Sorenson — picking apart cinematic failures dictated by specific themes: A recent episode found the hosts each picking a film associated with a particular religion, like the Scientology-inspired flop Battlefield Earth.

Other discussions have involved the hokey made-for-Disney Channel features of the early 2000s, as well as horrible Christmas movies. There's an occasional one-off show about their favorite unsung films.

So what exactly makes a movie so bad that it's kinda good? Spanjer says a lot of it has to do with the filmmakers' misplaced sense of earnestness.

"You realize, holy shit, this person was really trying to make a good movie, but their intentions outweighed their art and what they were capable of," Spanjer says. "A lot of time it's foreign directors coming from countries that have grown up watching American movies, but don't understand the social differences between their country and ours."

Spanjer started CinemAbysmal as a written feature on a now-defunct pop culture site called poweranks.com, and turned it into a podcast a couple years ago. The show is recorded via Skype — Spanjer and Sorensen are in Spokane, Hill lives in Portland — and it comes out monthly.

CinemAbysmal has become something of a podcast network, hosting shows like Just F Already, a humorous celebration of romance novels, and the upcoming Buckle Up, which will feature local folks' stories of drunken shenanigans.

"My biggest surprise is when people you don't know have heard of it," Spanjer says. "It's cool, too, because all my friends now have podcast ideas."

Although CinemAbysmal and SacCast take different approaches, both are driven by the appeal of eavesdropping while a group of friends banter about the things they love.

"It gives us an excuse to all hang out together for an hour and a half once a month," Joslin says. "It's just another podcast about nerds watching movies. What differentiates us from other movie podcasts is the quality and depth of our opinions. I don't hear my opinions parroted much on things I listen to."

"And we have a slogan — 'bereft of gimmicks and bullshit,'" Bundy adds. "It's just four dudes talking about movies. We're brutally honest with each other." ♦

CinemAbysmal is available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts, and SacCast is on iTunes.

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About The Author

Nathan Weinbender is the Inlander's Music & Film editor. He is also a film critic for Spokane Public Radio, where he has co-hosted the weekly film review show Movies 101 since 2011.