The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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May 20, 2013

Benji Tunnell: Outside of the theater, movies are still entertaining

JOPLIN, Mo. — Every once in a while, I like to take a break from the weekly movie grind and explore some other entertainment avenues. Being a movie geek, I often gravitate toward film-related stuff. Here are a few different options I've discovered recently.

For your listening pleasure

I am an early podcast adopter, having first started listening to various shows in 2005 to fill time while doing certain tasks at work. As such, I've paid close attention to those shows that have gotten attention through various means, be it recommendations related to shows I downloaded, various media outlets, or just general friend comments.

Yet, it was only recently that I discovered "The Flop House," a podcast devoted solely to the evisceration of bad movies.

The hosts consist of three friends, two of whom write for "The Daily Show," and their punishing quest to watch and discuss the worst movies released into theaters.

As a closet movie masochist, I feel as though I've found kindred spirits in men who can take the occasional pleasure in slogging through drek; as a pseudocritic, I appreciate the surprisingly cogent and thorough analysis offered on movies that truly deserve much less.

The format is pretty well set. On episodes where the three are together, Elliot Kalan offers up a breakdown of the plot as Dan McCoy and Stuart Wellington contribute their insights, and the trio tear apart the movie. After in-depth discussion, the three then render their final verdicts on whether there was any enjoyment to be found in the film, then offer recommendations for alternatives to suffering through what they just watched.

Mixed into this are the tangents on which the three will go off, sometimes rambling, sometimes barely even tied to the film, but always funny. I assume it is some kind of verbal symbolism of the walls the brain throws up to protect itself from crap, as I've often found my mind wandering while suffering through the latest Robin Williams offering or anything starring Ashton Kutcher, and their unhinged rants are a pretty close approximation to what the mind will actually do.

And, unlike so many podcasts offered today, there is a professionalism to their recording and presentation. As a fellow podcaster (*cough* "Tales of the Smoking Chihuahua" -- find us on iTunes or Facebook *cough*) I appreciate the work and effort put into making a quality sounding show.

I've heard shows that are offshoots of large magazines and newspapers that sounded as though they were recorded on computer microphones, so it is nice to find something that is both listenable and extremely funny.

This is a much more enjoyable alternative to actually watching films like "Old Dogs," "The Killers" or "Sucker Punch." Believe me.

And in case I haven't sold you enough on the show, "The Flop House" is, I think it's safe to say, the foremost podcast authority on movies in which a ding dong is ripped off.

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