Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Photo: Kevork Djansezian (Getty Images)
PodmassPodmassIn Podmass, The A.V. Club sifts through the ever-expanding world of podcasts and recommends the previous week’s best episodes. Have your own favorite? Let us know in the comments or at podmass@avclub.com.

My Spectacular Life!
Foreword/Chapter 1: A Star Is Birthed!

Illustration for article titled Roger and James Deakins get into the cinematographic weeds on iTeam Deakins/i
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You might not be familiar with the name Thomas Rose, but by the end of his new six-part audio memoir you won’t be able to forget it. Written and performed by comedian Tommy McNamara (Stand By Your Band), My Spectacular Life! A Memoir In The Key Of Storytelling chronicles the rise and fall of Rose, a legendary and technically illiterate singer-songwriter who seems to believe success and fame should be his by right. Rose’s continuous self-aggrandizement and delusional interpretation of every life event are running themes throughout the series, as are his constant gripes that recording the memoir itself is “a real pain.” The fact that he keeps screwing up details, mispronouncing words, and punctuating edit points with the occasional scream certainly doesn’t make the process any smoother. But Rose eventually manages to get to the gritty details of his life story, which features every showbiz memoir cliché in the books, from the hardscrabble beginnings in Small Town, USA to the nonstop partying that comes hand-in-hand with success. Thomas Rose lived quite a life, and he’d be the first one to tell you so. [Dan Neilan]


Team Deakins
Composition

Illustration for article titled Roger and James Deakins get into the cinematographic weeds on iTeam Deakins/i

For years, legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins (1917) and his wife, script supervisor James Ellis Deakins (The Shawshank Redemption), have been fielding questions from up-and-coming filmmakers via their website. It was these interactions that inspired them to create Team Deakins, a podcast about their experiences in the film industry. Each episode takes the form of a loosely structured conversation between the two about a certain aspect of moviemaking, and this week focuses on shot composition. The main point that Roger gets across is that there are, for him, no hard and fast rules. His key considerations for composing a shot are storytelling and, more crucially, personal artistic satisfaction. He also stresses the importance of not planning things out too much and being open to discovery. For example, on the set of Sicario, he’d unwittingly framed a wide shot that turned out to be so perfect that director Denis Villeneuve refused to shoot closeups for fear he might actually use them. Team Deakins works not only as an artist reflecting on their career, but as a thoughtful exploration of the practicalities, frustrations, and joys of filmmaking. [Anthony D Herrera]


This Is Uncomfortable
Confessions Of A Shopaholic

Illustration for article titled Roger and James Deakins get into the cinematographic weeds on iTeam Deakins/i

Jigsaw puzzle purchases are up 300%. Oat milk sales have surged 500%. Even liquor is enjoying a 75% uptick versus this time last year. Small companies that sell heirloom seeds and heritage beans have shut down their websites in the face of overwhelming demand. All this despite the unprecedented strain on the economy—and culture-of-money podcast This Is Uncomfortable explores why. Reporter Kyle Chayka says that while many of these purchases are the result of less choice—there’s not much outside entertainment spending happening these days—the surge in nonessentials reflects a deeper need to fight for a sense of control and empowerment. These are feelings and behaviors that Beth, the episode’s titular shopaholic, knows well. Growing up on food stamps, she turned to credit in adulthood as a way to assuage her social insecurities and build a life without material scarcity. As a result, she came into the pandemic with $60,000 in debt spread across 16 credit cards and a car loan. “Confessions Of A Shopaholic” details the effect that the “great pause” has had on Beth, and how she’s attempting to use consumer relief efforts like the $1,200 stimulus check to tackle her mounting debts. [Zach Brooke]

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