• filmspotting.net
  • From left: Josh Larsen, Michael Phillips, Dana Stevens, Adam Kempenaar

The popular podcast and WBEZ program Filmspotting, a film discussion show hosted by local critics Adam Kempenaar and Josh Larsen, celebrated its 400th episode this week by recording an episode live at Lincoln Hall. An eager audience filled the room and, with the help Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune and Dana Stevens of Slate, the hosts discussed both Prometheus and Moonrise Kingdom, as well as counted down their top five “lessons the movies taught me.”

I’ve been a listener of Filmspotting for a while now and consider it the best movie-related podcast going. Amid the possibly thousands of other film talk shows on the web, theirs is the only one I listen to on a weekly basis. Attending the event was a great deal of fun, but it also opened my eyes to how rare this sort of thing is: thoughtful conversation about cinema, featuring people who actually know what they’re talking about, and in front of an audience. In the age of the blogosphere, 140 characters tend to replace educated rhetoric. So to see an actual conversation take place was refreshing, and to experience it with an audience was something close to revelatory.