By Laura Latzko, July 2018 Issue.
Thelma and Louise, Bonnie and Clyde, vodka and soda, Jay and Silent Bob, Batman and Robin, peanut butter and jelly, Hall and Oats.
The greatest duos of all time can exist independently of each other, but totally shouldn’t. According to ranker.com, these are combinations and famous duos whose whole value is greater than the sum of their parts.
To that list, Echo Magazine is proud to add “Whiskey and Popcorn,” a podcast dedicated to all things film, and co-hosted by another dynamic duo: Tuesday Mahrle and Kaely Monahan, who we like to think of as our very own Siskel and Ebert.
Since April 2017, the Phoenix Film Festival to be exact, Mahrle and Monahan have been reviewing the latest films coming to theaters, discussing movie trends, sharing their experiences at festivals and screening events – occasionally have a drink while doing so (for more on the podcast’s name, visit echomag.com/wiskey-and-popcorn).
So, when an opportunity to bring them onboard as Echo’s newest contributing film correspondents, we didn’t have to think twice.
In the world of film critics, Mahrle and Monahan stand out as two opinionated female voices in a male-dominated industry.
“I feel that does a disservice to people who enjoy critical reviews because if you’re only hearing from straight white men, that can be a problem,” Monahan explained. “They may rip something apart that we like, and that has happened … I think it’s important to have our voices heard. I like the podcast format, too. You’re hearing the passion, the disgust, the uncertainty in our voices.”
Monahan brings her experience as a straight cisgender movie buff and Mahrle brings her LGBTQ savvy from her pansexual point of view to the show as the duo delve into issues of race, sexuality, class and gender. Most importantly, both critics agree, is their ability to remain aware and upfront about where they stand within the larger discussion.
“I have to be aware of my biases. I have to be aware of the way I look at that film, and I try to bring that to the review,” Monahan said. “We also recognize the importance of these films and that they need to be talked about.”
Mahrle only discusses being pansexual on occasion, usually when reviewing LGBTQ films. She said thus far, LGBTQ audiences have responded positively to the diversity of the films discussed.
“I’ve had people within the [LGBTQ] umbrella say it’s nice to see the variation and for the most part, it doesn’t come up, unless we are at Desperado [Film Festival],” Mahrle said.
Additionally, the two podcasters often go into greater details about the story, acting, shooting techniques, music, special effects and larger societal issues brought up by the film.
“We really try to look at films from the full perspective. ‘Was I entertained?’ Short and sweet. It could have been a dumb story and maybe the acting wasn’t great, but was I entertained, yes or no? And then we can delve into it a little bit more, depending on what the film merits,” Monahan said.
Casting the Co-Stars
Before starting the podcast (which originally launched in 2014 as “Popcorn Fan Film Reviews”), Monahan, a radio journalist, already had experience doing film reviews and she currently serves as the vice president of the Phoenix Critics Circle.
Although Mahrle’s attended the Sundance Film Festival for the past eight years, and brings a print journalism background to the podcast, actually being on-air was a new experience for her.
“How people listen to music all day and they’re obsessed with music, that’s how I am with movies,” Mahrle said. “I was always opinionated about [movies] but really putting that into a podcast is such a different beast completely.”
From casually watching and discussing films together and talking about them to attending their first Sundance Film Festival together, the partnership between Mahrle and Monahan has evolved naturally. And, over time, the two have developed an on-air rapport with each other.
“It’s a lot of fun to go back and forth and to hear [Mahrle] do her voice. Her NPR voice,” Monahan said.
The co-hosts invite listeners to interact with them on social media and to bring their opinions to the conversation.
“I can handle some, ‘No, you guys are completely wrong.’ Now, tell me why,” Mahrle said, opening the door for a broader discussion on any of their shows.
Ultimately, however, the duo is looking forward to bringing their voices and perspectives to the pages of Echo.
“My ultimate goal is to continue to write and hone my skill since I truly enjoy writing …. [and film] is my happiness,” Mahrle said. “I want to bring different viewpoints and insights into the publication [and] try to write for those of marginalized audiences.”
For more from Mahrle and Monahan, read this month’s “At The Box Office” HERE, as this duo promises deliver a “heads-up on upcoming movies, especially if someone in our LGBTQ family is featured, directs, or produces the film” each issue.
To learn more about the podcast, and listen to past installments, visit soundcloud.com/whiskeyandpopcorn.
Connect with “Whiskey and Popcorn”