Our all-time favorite podcast is finally back after a long hiatus. This season, host Karina Longworth fact-check's Kenneth Anger's ferociously gossipy "Hollywood Babylon," a collection of the entertainment industry's most enduring legends.
Mark Ramsey's story of Steven Spielberg's struggles to create "Jaws" -- and the horrifying shark attacks that helped inspire the film -- is a masterful look at creation and destruction. Ramsey told us on "Shoot This Now" that he's already getting interest from Hollywood about turning the show into a TV series.
Summer is a great season for horror, from slumber party massacres to sleepaway camp slashers, which makes Marshall Hicks and Kat Wells' deeply researched, frequently funny dissections of classic (and lost) horror movies feel perfectly on-point. They dive deep into themes like the glory of gory VHS box covers and the best horror films about Los Angeles.
That abbreviation stands for "Get Out the Motherf---ing Vote." I'm friends with one of the Michigan progressives who co-hosts the show, and started listening because of how funny he is. But I've stuck around for the pragmatic, grassroots discussions of politics in a key battleground state and nationwide. This may be a long, hot summer of wondering who will join the Supreme Court, and the fall elections are only a few months away. "GOTMFV" will keep you motivated to GOTMFV. (Tweet @timamolloy if you've figured out how the image on the left is connected to another podcast on this list.)
Do we think "The RFK Tapes" will change everything we think we know about the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy? No, but we're suckers for old audiotapes, and the creators of "Crimetown" have done a tremendous job of tracking down and presenting rare recordings of Sirhan Sirhan after he was arrested for Kennedy's murder. They're a fascinating time capsule of a paranoid age that obviously bears no resemblance to the one we live in now.
Hosts Brittany Luse and Eric Eddings pivot beautifully each episode from comedy to politics to history in their examination of many aspects of African-American life. The "Good for the Blacks" segment will make you laugh even as you rethink essentials like "Coming to America," and episodes like "The Legend of RZA and The Last Airbender" and "Moooo and Oink!" are narrative masterpieces that charm as they inform. It's a perfect summer podcast: warm, breezy, and reflective.
The legal discussions have always been wise and hilarious, and the audio quality and musical drops just keep getting better. The upcoming Supreme Court fight just made this even more essential listening.
Gizmodo's excellent investigative podcast takes one of those YouTube personalities you wonder about -- self-help guru Teal Swan -- and examines whether she's one of countless "influencers" or an extremely dangerous one who may be encouraging some of her followers to consider suicide. It can be a tough listen, but it raises important questions about who, if anyone, should regulate the people who offer advice online. Play it during your next road trip and expect hours of debate after each episode ends.
You need to go on Patreon to pay for new episodes, but it's worth it. The "American Psycho" author will push your buttons, whatever they are. But listening to people you disagree with is healthy. And it's hard to argue with his passionate, eloquent celebration and defense of film -- and especially the kinds of thoughtful films for grown-ups that seem lost between Hollywood blockbusters and TV shows built for binging.