Resident Alien, Switchblade Sisters, Deluxe Positions, and Foundation

Switchblade Sisters

Nick: Although it is sadly ending this month, there’s never a bad time to start listening to the Switchblade Sisters podcast. Hosted by film critic and screenwriter April Wolfe, the show brings on a female filmmaker each week to talk about one of their favorite genre films. The guest is usually a director or actress, although there are occasionally other jobs represented and plenty of crossover between jobs. The guests talk about their most recent projects, which usually become a secondary focus of the interview. While the guests are all women, the movies that serve as the topic of each episode aren’t restricted to female directors. I remember the first episode I listened to was about Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys. It was about two years ago, and I had just watched the movie for the first time and was looking for more information about it. I don’t think I was even looking for a new podcast to listen to at the time (I listen to an unhealthy amount of podcasts), but the depth of knowledge, insightful and enlightening discussion and discussion of the craft of filmmaking hooked me in.

Holding everything together is April’s passion and enthusiasm for film. Along with being an astute and engaging interviewer, April brings the same amount of preparation and respect for her guest to each show, whether she is interviewing Babadook director Jennifer Kent or a first-time filmmaker.

It is truly remarkable how deep the show can get even when the film is not one you would think would warrant deep discussion. One example is a fairly recent episode (#162 from December 10, 2020) when both April and guest Kirsten Johnson got genuinely emotional while talking about Jackass: The Movie in connection with the fear and nature of dying. The discussion wasn’t hamfisted and didn’t feel out of place: it was the natural extension of the research that April had done into the filmmakers and how those themes may have presented themselves in Jackass. The discussion beautifully tied into the themes of the movie that Johnson was there to promote as well. This is what Switchblade Sisters does at its best: it is an informative celebration of films that are often pushed to the margins by critics.

It is almost exclusively the case that I have come away from the episode wanting to watch at least one, and more often both, of the films that were highlighted in an episode. I’ve even written about movies that I’ve found through the show. Thankfully, Switchblade Sisters is “evergreen,” so even if you’re only just now coming to the podcast in its final days (or find it after it ended), there are still over 170 episodes that are a treasure trove of film and filmmaking knowledge that are just as informative as they were when they first came out. To paraphrase the motto April begins every episode with, “it’s not when it happened but how it happened that makes the podcast worth listening to.”

Switchblade Sisters

Written by TV Obsessive

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