As often as not, these days, when someone stops me it’s to say how much they love playing “The Leonard Maltin Game” on Doug Benson’s popular podcast Doug Loves Movies. Doug was playing this challenging trivia game with a variety of fellow standup comics and movie-buff actor friends for several years before I caught onto it. I made my first appearance on the show and had such a good time I’ve been back twice. My most recent episode has just been launched online, and it’s free to download at iTunes or at www.douglovesmovies.com.
I should warn the uninitiated that this is a highly irreverent, sometimes R-rated program that’s half movie talk and half—
—game-show; it’s also very funny. My fellow guests were talented actor/comedian Samm Levine, who appears with Kevin Pollak on his weekly Kevin Pollak Chat Show, and the quick-witted Jimmy Pardo, who has his own podcast called Never Not Funny. It will come as no surprise to Doug’s regular listeners that I am terrible at the game that bears my name, while Samm is a wonder at it.
Here’s how it’s played: Doug presents several imaginative categories of movies (one this past week was “Killem Dafoe,” which means films in which Willem Dafoe was murdered), and offers each player a chance to name a film based on its year of release and a couple of clues from the review in my Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide. Then the contestants bid on how many names it will take for them to identify the film—except the names are revealed in the reverse order of their billing. (Some movies are almost impossible to figure out until you hear the names of the top one or two stars.) There is a certain degree of strategy that comes into play to beat your fellow panelists, but there’s no getting around the fact that if you don’t instantly recognize films by their release dates, you’re lost.
In any case, it’s fun to play, and enjoyable to listen to. Doug is always funny, and really knows his movies; he even crashed Arthur Knight’s class at USC, which I have since inherited, years ago. His guests have included John Lithgow (in a classic episode devoted to his movies), Jon Hamm, Sarah Silverman, Adam Carolla, Patton Oswalt, Edgar Wright, Zach Galifianakis, and many other smart, funny people, most of whom play the game better than I do.
You can download the podcast from the iTunes store or go to douglovesmovies for past shows, bonus episodes and more. Enjoy.