Binge Bytes: ‘This Movie Changed Me’

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Binge Bytes: ‘This Movie Changed Me’

Ashlyn Cary

Ashlyn Cary

Ashlyn Cary

By Abigail Bowé

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It is not uncommon to learn to enjoy something which one previously found boring. After all, many five-year-olds subsist on strict preferences of macaroni, chicken nuggets and mashed potatoes until their parents force them to try broccoli. Bands we find uninspiring worm their way into our playlists after releasing a song which does interest us, and some authors we may never choose to read without a professor asking us to become favorites.

I remember strongly disliking the 2016 movie “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” after I’d first seen it at a theater — I felt that the drama was overdone, most of the action scenes were pointless and the monster Lex Luthor unleashes at the climax of the film was hokey-looking. It wasn’t until I spontaneously wound up discussing it with the associate professor of one of my writing courses that I realized the good points of the film had gone over my head. He explained to me that he believed that the film was about the heroes’ relationships with women and that their love for the women in their own lives is what unites them by the end of the movie. While I didn’t come to like the film by the end of the conversation — nor did I find it to be as “feminist” as my instructor claimed — I did learn to appreciate its ideas. Besides, the exchange forced me to realize that those who love decent films that I personally felt indifferent to saw something in those stories that I either took for granted or didn’t understand.

If you’re interested to hear how a variety of films have impacted the lives of others too — to discover new perspectives on movies you’ve never given a second thought to before — the podcast “This Movie Changed Me” is for you.

To Binge or Not to Binge?

For those who consider themselves devout cinephiles, “This Movie Changed Me” is perfect for binging. To others who like film well enough but aren’t obsessed with the medium, look for an episode about one of your own favorite movies to listen to. At most it’ll hook you onto this podcast, and at least, you’ll discover some new ideas to chew on.

Produced by On Being, a nonprofit well-being and podcast group, the series operates under a simple yet effective premise — every episode, a guest to the show describes how their favorite movie affected their life, opinions on the world and mental or spiritual health. Films discussed range from kid-friendly features like “Toy Story” to pulpier hits such as “Kill Bill: Volume 2” and from popular hits like “Wonder Woman” to art-house works such as “Wings of Desire.” “This Movie Changed Me” offers listeners an immense scope of viewpoints.

The series is hosted by Lily Percy, one of the founding members of On Being and ex-producer for NPR’s “All Things Considered” where she created the series “Movies I’ve Seen a Million Times.” Her love for film is especially apparent in her approach to interviewing her guests, and she always asks thoughtful and even unique questions in interviews. One fascinating approach she takes in many of the episodes is to tell her guests about the legendary Fred Roger’s acceptance of his Lifetime Achievement Award at the Emmys. During his speech, he asked his audience to close their eyes for 10 seconds to imagine the people who made them who they are. Then, she asks interviewees to do the same thing but for their favorite movie. The exercise is simple but gripping, and it leads to fascinating answers every time.

Season 2 of “This Movie Changed Me” will air on Tuesdays this September and will cover, according to the podcast’s newly released trailer, films including “Groundhog Day,” “Black Panther,” “The Exorcist” and “Coco.”

Best Episode

From a biased stance, my favorite is episode two, ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas,” as I’ve been a fan of Tim Burton’s filmography since childhood. Guest speaker Ashley C. Ford, a Brooklyn-based news and arts radio host, describes why the movie is meaningful in ways that I’d previously never been able to fully articulate.

In terms of an interesting interview for a movie that I didn’t particularly like until discovering this podcast, however, “You’ve Got Mail” (episode 3) covers a brilliant discussion about love, shortcomings and communication as depicted in the rom-com played by Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Thanks to “This Movie Changed Me,” I love that film now.

Similar Shows

Other interesting podcasts about movies include “I Was There Too,” “The Qwipster Film Review Podcast,” “The Collider Podcast,” “The Binge Movie Podcast,” “How Did This Get Made?” and “Scriptnotes.”

Trigger Warnings

There is little sensitive content contained in “This Movie Changed Me” outside of the direct discussion of films which are rated R for material such as violence, drug use, sex, abuse and swearing — overall, it’s no more triggering than most NPR entertainment interviews. With that, every movie discussed is examined through a mature, notably adult lens.

5 out of 5 stars
‘This Movie Changed Me’
Available to stream through On Being’s website and via RadioPublic, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and other platforms.
1 season, 21 episodes, 25 minutes average length.

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@NoWayBowe