Episode 1: THE GODFATHER with Samm Levine
Well, hot dog, here it is!
Welcome to the first episode of my very own podcast, SENDING THE WOLFE. For those of you who don't know me, my name is Clarke Wolfe and I am an actress, an entertainment host, and a producer. For those of you who do know me, thank you for being here!
First thing's first: I love movies. I always have. My earliest memories are of discovering some of my favorite films like THE WIZARD OF OZ, JAWS, and BACK TO THE FUTURE. Some of my most vivid memories are of the movies that rocked me in ways that I can never forget -- like watching THE EXORCIST for the first time at a Halloween night sleepover and not being able to sleep for a year, or laughing so hard I almost threw up during the "punch dancing" scene in HOT ROD (yes, I just mentioned HOT ROD in the same sentence as THE EXORCIST). I first got a subscription to Entertainment Weekly for Christmas when I was 12 years old. A few years later when I was in middle school, one of my rants was published in their reader letters section. Some of the closest bonds in my life were formed over watching and talking about movies, from learning about comedy with my dad while watching YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN and THE PRINCESS BRIDE, to solidifying some of my most dear and long lasting friendships quoting SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER, AND UNCUT, or experiencing magic for the first time watching LABYRINTH, THE NEVERENDING STORY, and BEETLEJUICE. Now, here I am, attempting to live out my dreams in Los Angeles, working in entertainment and bumping into some of my most beloved heroes, forming unlikely bonds, and still hoping to play a part in just a small slice of that Hollywood magic.
With all of that being said, I believe that film and pop culture are an important window into people and a beautiful time capsule of humanity at a given time. Some iconic movies stand the test of time, and others, not so much. But by discussing cinema with a good friend, a respected colleague, or even a stranger, perhaps we can see things from a perspective that we didn't entertain before. And, at the end of the day, that is the point of this podcast: to connect to another human being through the powerful and the emotional language of cinema.
Here's how this show works: my guest each week picks a movie off of any of the American Film Institute's 100 YEARS... lists and we talk about it. Then, at the end of the episode, the guest picks a film that is NOT on the list -- which is a surprise to me that is revealed as we record -- and we talk about it. And that's all, folks! The point of using the AFI lists as a starting point was honestly just to set up some simple boundaries as to what material we cover, and to explore, discover, and revisit some of the most acclaimed examples of American cinema. On the other hand, using the list is also to (hopefully) challenge the conventional wisdom of what classic and iconic American cinema can be. That's why I give the guests the chance to add their own pick to the list: because so often when it comes to deciding what is good, or iconic, or foundational, a lot of voices, experiences, and opinions are left out of the mix, and I wanted us to have a chance to weigh in. Which leads me to the final reason I wanted to start this podcast...
For my entire professional career as a writer, a correspondent, an actress, or a host, I've been working for someone else. And that is great! I like having a job, and plan to continue to do that. But this podcast is all mine, which means that I am not limited to anyone's idea of who I am or what I can talk about. A lot of you may know me as a pundit who focuses mostly on horror movies and that is also great! I love and admire horror, science fiction, and fantasy probably more than other genres because I feel that genre storytelling can be, and often is, the most precise window into a culture at any given time. Genre often answers the incredibly difficult question: what are we afraid of right now? Some of those themes are universal and never go away (death, for example) and some of them are specific to the time and place (think popular American horror movies from 2005-2010 and the idea of the "torture porn" subgenre). And as much as I love and admire genre storytelling and will always be fascinated by it, my cinematic interests and influences range from Charlie Chaplin to MARY POPPINS to John Woo's FACE/ OFF to anything with Sandra Bullock in it and a lot of other things in between. I want to engage and examine those things too, and for now, SENDING THE WOLFE is how I'm going to do it.
Now, our premiere episode, featuring the always affable and incredibly intelligent Samm Levine. Samm became my friend through -- you guessed it! -- movie trivia. And even though time-wise, I really haven't known him for that long, I feel like we've been friends forever. Samm and I have spent countless hours over lunches and dinners and other such things discussing and debating movies, telling stories, and usually challenging each other to analysis of our favorite films that we may not have thought of before. And that's why I wanted to have Samm on this show: because he is a wealth of knowledge, a passionate cinephile, and, of course, a total mensch.
I hope you enjoy the premiere episode of SENDING THE WOLFE. If you would like to support the show, please visit the Patreon page where you can find all kinds of original content, including exclusive mini-episodes of STW, video newsletters, movie watch-a-longs, and lots more that are only available to active Patreon patrons.
This show is a work in progress and may very well change and evolve over the course of its run, so if you have feedback, please feel free to head over to the CONTACT page and send me a message. Thank you again for joining me. And now, on with the show!