April 17, 2013

Podcast Spotlight: Mamo!


One of the more recent additions to my regular listens is Mamo, a Toronto film podcast presented through Row Three. Hosts Matthew Price and Matthew Brown discuss the latest news and releases in a laid-back setting. They typically record at a local establishment, and the ambient sounds of forks clanking and servers asking for orders creates a different feeling. This atmosphere creates the sense that you’re just hanging out with friends after seeing a great movie. This approach could lead to a disorganized mess, but Brown and Price keep the pace flowing smoothly. It’s clear that they’re friends away from the podcast, which removes the awkwardness that could happen in this type of intimate arrangement. The sound quality is still good, so it isn't distracting to venture outside of the studio.

Mamo’s episodes are brief by podcast standards and run about 35-40 minutes. That’s a perfect length because it keeps them focused on the topic without unnecessary chatter. The conversations are sharp and avoid the filler you might hear on longer review-focused shows. Price and Brown typically look at a certain subject but don’t mind when the discussion veers away from the main topic. They also rarely get stuck too much with a single viewpoint. A good example is a recent show about trailers, where they covered frustrations with studios revealing too much in their promotional materials. It was more than just another rant about bad marketing because they recognized the role trailers play for the average moviegoer. It seems pointless to fans like us who know about the films in advance, but that isn’t the target of these ads. This nuanced approach helps the hosts to avoid the black-and-white debates that cloud too many podcasts. They have a specific opinion but aren’t afraid to admit that the situation has complexities beyond this view.

Price and Brown are serious movie fans who can have intellectual discussions about important films. Their two-part series about Steven Soderbergh provided some great insights into his diverse career. However, they’re the same guys who can record a goofy live Oscar show where they’re messing around and having a great time. They’re also involved with the Very Important Podcast, a new show that covers important figures from movie history. Smart experts from Toronto and beyond join to give their thoughts on Steven Spielberg, David O. Russell, and others. They’ve had four episodes so far, and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes. I’m glad to have discovered Mamo, which is one of my first listens when each new episode drops. Even when they’re covering similar material to other podcasts, it never feels derivative. Brown and Price know a lot about movies yet don’t take themselves too seriously, which is a key factor. They’ll spend time on schlock like G.I. Joe along with the prestige pictures, and that diversity makes it an excellent show.

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