Podcast Review: The Hollywood Gauntlet

Gauntlet Header 000b

This is one gauntlet I never want to run again!

The Hollywood Gauntlet

The Gist

John Jansen is the host of The Hollywood Gauntlet. Episodes of this podcast are released sporadically, sometimes once a month or sometimes once every few months. The length of a given episode can range from two and a half hours to a shade over six hours. The podcast has been around for a couple of years now and operates under the premise of one focused conversation on a specific film/topic each episode. Due to a number of special episodes The Hollywood Gauntlet has reached the review criteria of releasing ten episodes.

Episodes Listened To

#7: Dazed by Dazed
#8: Godfather vs. Godfather
#ArenA III: Future of the Movies

My Thoughts

I loathed this podcast, and will not shy away from the fact that I have nothing kind to say about The Hollywood Gauntlet. I sometimes say that a podcast wasn’t for me, but I can see how it is for others. That’s not the case with The Hollywood Gauntlet as I don’t see how anyone can like this podcast. It’s hour upon hour of a host, and selected guests, lecturing the viewer. There’s no conversations being had here, rather The Hollywood Gauntlet is a series of instances where the talking heads that make up the podcast talk at the listener instead of engaging the listener.

The thing is, that all the talking and lecturing doesn’t matter when essentially the podcast is afraid of going beneath the surface of a movie. John Jansen and company talk a lot about intent, but they talk very little about what’s beneath the surface of a film and why they like or dislike a film beyond what is easily seen by any viewer. I reached a point about twenty minutes into episode seven when I realized I was listening ot guys prattle on and on with very little to say.

The overproduced nature of the podcast is also very irritating. There’s always some song playing, or when one person finishes their lecture there’s always a bridge clip to what the next person has to say. Some may say this equals production value, I say it equals a podcast where not even the people on the podcast can engage in a conversation. Mr. Jansen and company aren’t truly discussing a film, they are giving their points and then ceding the floor to the next person. That approach is boring, and leads to nothing when it comes to fruitful or interesting discussion.

The length of the episodes is also a major problem with The Hollywood Gauntlet. I understand they don’t expect someone to sit through all six hours of episode eight in one setting. That being said, they still put out a six hour plus long podcast that is a supreme chore to get through, even in chunks. The Hollywood Gauntlet is a draining experience, not one that any cinephile should have to endure. Listening to a podcast shouldn’t feel like a marathon workout session, especially a marathon workout session where in the end the workout does nothing for you.

My vote is easily to unsubscribe from The Hollywood Gauntlet. It is both a bloated podcast and an empty one. There’s absolutely no reason to waste hours of one’s time with a podcast that is an empty series of lectures. Trust me folks, I’m usually not this vitriolic, but The Hollywood Gauntlet is a podcast worthy of oodles of hate. Mostly though, it is a podcast that deserves to be shunned and passed over.

The Bottom Line


Bill Thompson


8 responses to “Podcast Review: The Hollywood Gauntlet

  1. 6 hours? Holy crap! As a side note I’d like to again mention my podcast, Filmwhys as a possibility for review. Over a year in I’d love to hear some constructive criticism.

  2. You’re coming up pretty soon I do believe. I just can’t listen to as many podcasts as I used to, or write at the same pace I used to, so it’s taking me longer to get to reviews these days, sorry. 🙂

  3. No problem, I knew your list was big, but surprised it was that big. I was curious mainly because you’ve had a couple very young podcasts on here in the past few weeks. Always enjoy reading these.

  4. Some of those came up in the list, but a few of them are members of a network where they only have one feed. So as I reviewed other podcasts from the network I stayed subscribed to the network feed and reviewed those podcasts as they met my criteria for review.

  5. Could not disagree more with your review of the Hollywood Gauntlet. Some of your points just seem outlandish given the quality and effort that goes into the HG episodes and Jansens previous cast The Hollywood Saloon. Godfather vs Godfather is a comprehensive review, like many of the casts Jansen has made. It covers all three films plus the re-edited Saga version, the novel and the circumstances behind the scenes. Cut in are great clips from the director and those involved in the film, some famous lines. I mean this is really top notch podcasting and it’s going to be long to match the film content, but Bill acts like someone farted in his face having listened to these. There are plenty of hour long podcasts you can chose from, not many that go into so much detail and insight. If you are a fan of films, production and some behind the scenes stories you should give this a listen. Not all are great, I prefer some of the Hollywood Saloon episodes on Halloween and Bond. GvsG is really good.

  6. All the effort in the world does not guarantee a quality product. Just because something is loaded with content that doesn’t mean it is a high quality product. That’s the case with Hollywood Gauntlet. There’s plenty of content present and it’s clear that lots of effort goes into every episode. But, neither the content or the effort add up to a quality podcast listening experience. It’s fine that you like the podcast, that’s great for you. But, I did not enjoy the podcast; there’s only so much long winded hot air blowing I can stomach.

  7. After reading about the 6 hour running time, I got curious and decided to give the Godfather vs. Godfather show a sample. I must say, it was one of the most informed, researched and in-depth discussions on the adaption of the film I have heard, even better that many professional documentaries on the same subject. One thing I enjoy from podcasts is learning something I didn’t know before and The Hollywood Gauntlet provided several nuggets of information about the making of the films that really surprised me, especially the information on the Chronological Cut and the abandoned Part III scripts.

    The production quality was excellent. Like any good documentary, the addition of music and clips only helped to enhance the presentation.

    The round table of multiple voices provided a variety of opinions and discussions on the subject. Each host was prepared with informed research on the material. Could not disagree more with your opinion here Bill, and while I have enjoyed some of your reviews in the past and have been turned onto some good podcasts, I think your opinion here is clouded. The back and forth between the hosts actually provided quite a bit of in-depth material that was complemented by the clips.

    I have listened to a lot of film podcasts, many recommended from this site, so count me surprised by the negative reaction to The Hollywood Gauntlet.
    The production values, research into subject matter and entertainment value were excellent.

    I next sampled RAIDERS STORY CONFERENCE and liked it as much or even more. The Gauntlet team recorded the actual 1978 transcript from Lucas, Spielberg and Kasdan, scoring with music and sound effects and it was probably one of the best educations in screenwriting and collaboration I have heard. Highly recommended.

  8. Glad you enjoyed the podcast, in the end it was just too draining for me. I like well researched and detail oriented work as well, but the way The Hollywood Gauntlet went about it didn’t appeal to me at all.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s