Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Doug Loves Movies - 5 Reasons Why

As I write this, I am sitting in the crowded waiting room of a Honda dealership, waiting for the front brakes to be replaced on my car. 

I am certain the people around me think I am insane.  It’s my own fault.  I can’t stop laughing because I’m listening to Doug Benson’s podcast ‘Doug Loves Movies’.  Attempts to muffle my laughter just end up with me snarfing into my winter jacket, and that’s just super unattractive.  So now I’m not only crazy, I’m also the gross girl with snarf all over her coat sleeve.  I really shouldn’t listen to these things in public places.

If you’re not familiar with DLM, the structure of an episode is pretty basic.  The first half is essentially a talk show about movies, during which Doug chats with his guests about the most recent films they’ve seen.  Following the chat portion of the show, the guests are challenged to play against one another in a variety of movie trivia games, setting the stakes by selecting an audience member to play for.

I have a 45-minute commute to and from work.  Listening to DLM consistently ensures that the time flies by, making it hands down my favorite podcast of 2013.   Here’s why it should be yours too.

One – As I mentioned above, DLM is frequently laugh-out-loud funny.  Doug usually invites 3 – 4 guests to each episode, and he’s a natural and gregarious host.  If it sounds as if you’re listening in on friends chatting at a dinner party, that’s probably because the guest list is often populated with Doug’s close pals.  It helps that Doug’s friends include famous funny people such as Adam Scott, Sarah Silverman, Amy Schumer, Scott Aukerman, and Jon Hamm.  (Side note – Even stripped of his handsome card due to the audio-only format of DLM, Jon Hamm is consistently one of the funniest, quickest and most engaging guests on the show.  Once, during an impromptu conversation about the Tom Hanks weepie, Hamm once made a joking, off the cuff reference to Philadelphia as ‘the place where AIDS was perfected’, making me think he has a back up career in stand up if this whole gorgeous actor gig doesn’t work out for him.)

Practically Perfect in Every Way.
He's like the male Mary Poppins.  Only hotter.  Much, much hotter.  And funnier too.
Two – The podcast engages your brain.  Yes, you read that right.  As a self-proclaimed movie enthusiast, I consistently delight in the part of the show where the games are played.  Sure, the games aren’t too taxing on the brain, but they are definitely good fun.  The simplest of the bunch is called ‘How Much Did This Shit Make’, in which Doug asks guests to estimate how much a given movie made in total domestic box office sales.  (Side note - My favorite part is that Price is Right regulations are adhered to, so guesses need to be made without going over the actual amount.)

The mother of all games on DLM is the ‘Leonard Maltin Game’, which is played using Maltin’s movie review app.  Maltin sometimes even gets in on the action by stopping by and guesting on the show in person.  Spoiler alert – he pretty much sucks at the game, but it’s fun to listen to him play.  I won’t go into full detail about the game here.  Like most party games, it’s difficult to explain, but easy to learn once you listen in on a few rounds.  Suffice to say, each category tickles your brain to come up with long forgotten facts.  Adding to the fun, if you come up with an answer and the guest just isn’t getting it, you can shout at your radio with undeserved righteous abandon.  “How can you be wrong Ken Jennings?!?!? The answer was SO obvious! OMG AM I SMARTER THAN YOU?!”  By the properties of logic, since I’ve bested Ken Jennings at random movie trivia from the privacy of my Honda Civic, I’d kill it on Jeopardy.  Right?  Don’t answer that.  I’m totally right.

Three – You can experience the podcast live and in person. Although the show is based out of the UCB Theater in LA, Doug frequently travels and stops in all sorts of cities around the country.  Thankfully he makes frequent trips to NYC, because I’ve seen DLM at the Grammercy Theater in NYC multiple times, and each time is more fun than the last.  The Grammercy has a bar at which adult beverages can be purchased, increasing the fun level all the way to ‘11’.  Remember when I said that the guests pick an audience member to play for?  DLM fans are a fun bunch, toting along homemade nametags of all shapes and sizes to the show. Perusing the nametags is often a super entertaining part of the show.  Super extra bonus – if one of your seat neighbors brought something edible that’s not chosen by a guest, guess who gets to help eat it?  That’s right, it’s all you, you lucky devil. 

(Side note - Doug announced last week that he’s bringing DLM’s annual ’12 Guests of Christmas’ episode to NYC in December of 2014.  Who’s coming with me?  I’ll even bring an edible nametag to up the ante.)

Four – Doug and his guests often provide helpful reviews of recent (and past) movie releases. Not too much to elaborate on here, I just appreciate a good and honest conversation about a film.  Even when I disagree with the opinions presented on the podcast, I enjoy having something to ponder while I cruise down the decidedly non-scenic strip of highway that is Route 95 in Southern CT.

(Disclaimer –If you’re looking for the ‘movie’ part of Doug Loves Movies, you generally won’t find it on episodes featuring Jeff Garlin, T.J. Miller or Pete Holmes.  In fact, you probably won’t find too much of ‘Doug’ or ‘Loves’ either. Although these eps are pretty hilarious, they can be frustrating without prior warning.) 

Five – DLM has the catchiest podcast theme song I’ve ever heard.  And I listen to a LOT of podcasts.  I catch myself singing the song at random intervals throughout my day, and once even started mindlessly humming it while trying to pick a ripe avocado in the produce section of my grocery store.

Laughing uncontrollably and singing in public.....it’s a wonder no one’s tried to commit me yet.  DLM clearly makes me a little crazy, but in the best way. 

Which brings me to Five and a Half – It’s FREE on iTunes.  So no excuses.  Let DLM bring a little cheer to your commute in 2014.

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