How is one almost in an arthouse, like a one foot in the door scenario?
Around since October of 2012, Almost Arthouse is hosted by Ty Landis and Tom Stoup. Episodes range from forty five minutes to an hour and a half, and are released on a somewhat monthly basis. Almost Arthouse is a member of the Sound On Sight unofficial network of podcasts. The premise of the podcast is that of a pair of film reviews, usually connected through some sort of theme.
Episodes Listened To
#23: TIFF 2013 recap & Prisoners
#24: Catching Fire & This is Martin Bonner
#25: Out of the Furnace
Like usual when it comes to a Sound On Sight podcast, I write for that website. I don’t know Ty Landis or Tom Stoup, so there’s no bias present in my review, but I am indirectly affiliated with the podcast, or at least the host website for Almost Arthouse, in some manner.
One episode into Almost Arthouse and I was pretty sure I wouldn’t keep listening to the podcast past the three episodes used for this review. I found myself consistently annoyed at the pretentiousness on display during the hosts discussion of the 2013 edition of the Toronto International Film Festival. It wasn’t that their opinions were different than mine, or that one of them hated Gravity while I loved that film. I can deal with different opinions, they are what I feel makes film discourse worthwhile and great. Where episode 23 got on my nerves was in the way the hosts were presenting their opinions. I didn’t feel like I was a part of a conversation, but rather that a group of guys were making sure to let me know how much smarter they were than any other cinephile the world over. I was wrong for liking Gravity, and anyone who liked 12 Years A Slave was wrong as well. That’s the tone that the first episode of Almost Arthouse created.
Luckily the following two episodes were much better. With the various guests removed from the equation the two hosts were able to present their opinions in a much more palatable manner. When they talked about their issues with The Hunger Games it never felt like they were telling anyone who liked those movies that they were wrong. Their discussion of Out Of The Furnace during episode 25 further removed the hosts from the behavior they had displayed during episode 23. They presented their opinions and welcomed that others would feel differently than they do.
On the whole I wasn’t floored by Almost Arthouse, but the podcast finished strong. By the end of episode 25 I was enjoying what I was hearing. I hope for more of that sort of discussion from Almost Arthouse moving forward. I like the variety in the films discussed by the podcast, and I have confidence that the hosts will continue to engage in discussions that are as engaging as they are interesting.
I had similar issues with Mr. Landis’ previous podcast, Reel Time, so I’m leery of whether or not Almost Arthouse will end up being any different. Based on the strength of episodes 24 and 25 I’m willing to give Almost Arthouse the benefit of the doubt. My vote is to subscribe to Almost Arthouse, but this is a podcast I will keep an eye on. If there are more episodes that feature discussions like that found in episode 23 then I’ll probably give up on the podcast. However, I don’t think more of those episodes will be coming and I believe in the ability of Misters Landis and Stoup to provide quality film discussion on an episode by episode basis.
The Bottom Line