I know what you’re thinking, “What’s a podcast review doing on a movie review blog?” Well chill out, this podcast is about movies. So there!
Regular readers of LTBM are no doubt familiar with the title ‘More Than One Lesson’. Tyler Smith is a writer and podcaster over at More Than One Lesson (MTOL), as well as a guest writer on a quarterly basis with us here. MTOL is a movie discussion podcast from a Christian perspective. Tyler Smith and co-host Josh Long publish regular episodes about 60 to 90 minutes in length a couple of times a month. They also publish “Minisodes”, which are about half the length. Content is about a ‘PG’ rating depending of course on the movie being discussed, but Tyler and Josh do a wonderful job of “keeping it clean” and bring some great insights into films which you may otherwise disregard as having much to say spiritually.
First some notes from a technical aspect. If you’re a follower of many amateur podcasts I’m sure you’re familiar that sound quality is often something that is left wanting. No worries in that regard with the MTOL podcast. It is very professionally done and sound quality is as good as you could ask for. Reminiscent of the clearest land-line you’ve ever spoken on. Remember those things? There are some tunes at the beginning and end which could be shortened a bit, but they serve well as an easy intro and conclusion to the podcast. Finally, the format and order of the podcast has a nice flow to it. The regular length episodes contain a straight-up discussion of the feature film, then an interesting comparison of a specific element of that film compared to the same element present in another, completely unrelated film. This technique provides for some very interesting comparisons, and often some deep insights which lead to other spiritual conversations.
Take for example a recent episode centered on the Oscar nominated film, “Her”. After an in-depth discussion of the movie, Tyler and Josh move on to the “companion film”, as they call it, which in this case was “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”. They discuss comparative issues in each film regarding trusting and connecting with other people, turning from reality to fiction, and seeking to medicate or replace the need to deal with people at all. This is my favorite part of each episode. They continue to make relevant comparisons between the two films, which is itself quite enlightening, but then move to Bible verses which pertain to the issue at hand. This is very edifying to me personally. They always seem to have a new or interesting light to shine on certain topics as they pertain to scripture and the movie they’re examining. I really appreciate Tyler and Josh’s ability to connect all these items in a succinct fashion and remain encouraging to their audience regardless of the film they’re examining. To get a better idea of what I’m talking about, take a listen to this 8-minute clip (used with permission) of that portion of their recent podcast examining “Her”.
One thing I think you’ll notice right off the bat with this podcast is the depth of content. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill amateur movie watchers who describe every other movie as “cool”. It’s clear from their discussions that Tyler and Josh both know what they’re talking about. Tyler is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Film/Video. Josh is an actor and filmmaker who studied theatre at Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee, and attended the Los Angeles Film Studies Center in 2004. Their depth of knowledge is not just in regards to filmmaking lingo, but in movie history as well. You’ll often hear them playing off the others reference to a film or director from years ago, as well as references to culturally significant details in each film.
To top it off, Tyler and Josh are good friends, and that is clear in these podcasts. They regularly joke with each other and kid around. They often ease the tension of difficult topics with a laugh or a subtle joke. It reminds me of how I regularly engage many of my friends. Lighthearted jokes, poking fun at each other, because you know each other so well you’re both comfortable with it. That comes across clearly with Tyler and Josh and really helps to make the audience relate to each of them and enjoy the discussion all the more.
If you love God and you love movies, I am confident you will love this podcast! It’s available on iTunes to subscribe to, as well as mp3 downloads on their Facebook page and website. Give it a listen and comment below with your take on the More Than One Lesson podcast.