401. Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

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30 Responses to “401. Close Encounters of the Third Kind”

  1. Thank you for the 401 episodes! I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the weekly podcasts. Definitely my favorite podcast of the week. A hidden gem. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and obsession.

    • Hello Nathan,
      Thank you very much for the generous words. I’m pleased to learn that you enjoyed them. Doing the podcast was never anything less than fun; and of course a wonderful excuse to watch many, many brilliant films.

  2. John says:


    Thanks for all of your podcasts over the last few years.

    I have really enjoyed them and they have led me to discover some really great films. Your fascinating insights have also given me more insight into my favourite films.

    I’m sorry we won’t be hearing any more but I wish you all the very best for the future.


    • Hello John,
      It is very satisfying knowing that people regularly clicked on to listen to the podcasts. To be honest it was only in the last number of months that I thought about giving it a rest. Realising that I was coming up to 400 gave me a good enough target, so I made sure to cover Truffaut’s debut with the 400th and then, me being me I wanted to do one more so 401 was where I thought it best to sign off there.
      Best wishes,

  3. Sanjay Vijayanathan says:

    Dear Steven
    Thank you for the journey you took me on, you’re one of the few artists who podcast I would have supported on patreon. Erudite and insightful, I discovered much I did not know and saw what I did in a new light.

    My family live in Donegal, if I’m passing through Dublin, I’ll inquire if you fancy fine dining

    Thanks again.


    • Hello Vj,
      “Journey”. Now that is a wonderful compliment! Thank you very much. And I think it is a quite appropriate word considering the last podcast was on Close Encounters and a trip to the stars.
      Thank you also for the very generous invitation. I might trouble you in the not too distant future!

  4. Sasha says:

    Thank you for everything that you have uploaded. Through your podcasts and video essays, you have really informed my taste in cinema and what I appreciate about the medium. I’m likely a much greater film fan than I ever would have been, had I not come across your work.
    All the best for the future.

    • Hello Sasha,
      Thank you very much for having taken the time to click on for the podcasts. I really appreciate your generous compliments. I started doing the podcasts years ago on a radio show here in Ireland but when the show was cancelled, the producer encouraged me to continuing on my own. Which actually worked out better because I was no longer doing them within a time limit. So gradually over the years, they got a little bit longer… to the point that I was concerned that they might outstay their welcome!
      Best wishes,

  5. RW says:

    For what it’s worth, Reddit just discovered Steven Benedict: https://old.reddit.com/r/TrueFilm/comments/f64fp5/possibly_the_greatest_film_podcast_has_ended_this/

    I have a feeling somebody soon will start a GoFundMe to try to remunerate you for your thousands of hours of unpaid service and teaching. You’re the greatest film teacher I ever had.

    • Hello RW,
      I didn’t realise that I had made it to Reddit. So I indulged myself and went off to read the thread.
      Thank you for the link and also your extremely kind tribute.
      Best wishes,

  6. Jeff says:


    A huge thank you for your podcast. I have enjoyed listening to you each week making amazing connections between films that I had never considered. You have also caused my “To Watch” list to grow to an unwatchable size with your discussion on such a wide spectrum of films. I know how much work, time and dedication goes into making a quality podcast each week, and I will definitely be going back to the beginning of your episode list and listen to them all again. All the best to you in whatever your next project is.

    • Hello Jeff,
      Thank you for taking the time to get in touch. And thank you also for your dedication in sticking with my podcasts! I think that if you do decide to go back to the early episodes you will find a marked difference between how they started and where they finished. They were originally for a radio show here in Ireland but when the show was cancelled, the producer advised I should continue on my own. So from then, they started to get progressively longer.
      Best wishes,

  7. Jim Mcgowan says:

    Steven I’ll miss your podcasts. They were thoughtful,. Thought-provoking and your love of cinema was always evident. I look forward to supporting whatever your next venture is.
    PS don’t give up podcasting,. You are very talented at it

    • Hello Jim,
      Thank you for getting in touch. It brings no small degree of satisfaction to learn the number of people who actually listened in (a link above to Reddit suggested I had far more listeners than I assumed). I am sure there will be new films (Parasite for example!), that I would be very tempted to cover but for now, I’m happy just to switch off the mic!
      Best wishes,

  8. John Hannon says:

    Hello Steven,

    I am writing this with great sadness that you have decided to not continue any further with your excellent extensive catalogue of podcasts that you have created over the years subsequently I do understand the work and time you put into each podcast as the effort is clearly visible in the perfectly sheened and polished outcome , you’re podcasts have opened my eyes to cinema in a light of which I did not see before and my views on cinematography have exponentially grown with this experience although I am only an avid lover of film and not in the profession your guidance and expertise has guided me to see things in a different view from behind the lens to what is being projected onto the screen. I sincerely thank you for all of the body of work you have provided over the years and wish you well in reconnecting with your own deserved new time to concentrate on other aspects you wish to pursue.
    Eternally grateful for sharing you cinematic views and opinions on cinema in a great new light with us all .

    Thanking you ,


  9. Sean Ryan says:

    Dear Steven,

    I do not know where to start. Your reviews are one of the highlights of my time that I spend travelling, and the ironing in the house would never get done, if it were not for your podcast. I love movies, but your reviews are the one thing that I look forward to even more than watching movies. When my Dad yes in his twenties (1950’s Dublin), he had pneumonia and could not work for two years. Every week he would go to the cinema and in those days there were the A & B movie, and they would be changed on a Thursday. So you can imagine how many movies that he has seen. He brought that love of movies to me, quite often when I was really young, he would wake me up and say “you have got to come downstairs and watch this move”. They were often inappropriate for a young boy! He would have me watching Sam Pepinpah, and the likes when I was 10. Every Saturday in the summer we would watch the Horror double bill on BBC 2 – Zoltan the Hound of Satan, The creature with five fingers and all of the Hammer House movies. We always went to the movies, Star Wars, James Bond, The Killing Fields, to name but a few. Our local cinema in Farview would show a Midnight movie on a Saturday night and my friends and I where regular attendees, coming home at 2 am.

    Your reviews, mean as much to me as my memories of growing up. The reviews are so well researched, you talk around the subject so well and your art of story crafting, just brings the subject to life. Often, I have sat my children down at the table and made them listen to your podcast and then I would put the book into their hands and say read this one and think about what Steven said.

    My personal favorites are ; Jaws , The Man in the High Castle; Wall e; The Conversation; Arrival; 2001 (if someone asks what is 2001 about, its about 4hrs… Classic), Walkabout, Lawrence, 3 days of the Condor, True Detective

    Thank you so much for your work, your podcasts should be saved in the national archive, they are too precious to loose. Thank You, your work is important and it will continue to be important to me.

    • Dear Sean,
      Thank you very much for taking the time to get in touch to express such extremely kind words.
      It is always great to hear of someone’s first engagement with cinema; you from your father and now you handing it on to your children.
      Midnight movies seem to be something that is dying out, but my favourite experience of them was heading in to see Stop Making Sense… and like you not getting home until the wee small hours.
      The podcasts began a long time ago as small pieces on Newstalk Radio but once the show got cancelled I was encouraged by the producer to keep doing them on my own. So thanks to her (and iTunes) the podcasts will be out there for a good time to come.
      Best wishes,

  10. Patrick says:

    Quite simply, this has been my favourite podcast for many years. It was always the one I kept for a special treat to myself during the week. It will be missed.

    Thanks for all the time and passion that went into each and every one of them.

    You made the sun come out and sing to us ?.

    Enjoy and thanks again

  11. Andrew McKimm says:

    Hi Steven,
    Firstly, I’m a huge fan. I’ve been plugging you to anybody who’d listen for years now as “the Irish Barry Norman, just more substantial”.
    Like many of the respondents above, I’ve always looked forward to your podcasts – a great companion for a walk on the pier or whilst stuck in a traffic jam on the way to work.
    I’ve marvelled at the breadth and depth of your research and have learned a huge amount about cinema from you. Thank you.
    I’ll miss your podcasts and insights very, very much and am so grateful for all the hours you obviously, and now evidently, have put into preparing them.
    You managed to cover many of my favourite films: Groundhog Day, 2001, Roman Holiday, The Innocents, Kind Hearts and Coronets, to name a few. Not sure what you think of La La Land but maybe some day we’ll find out.
    Delighted you’re getting a chance to bring balance to your own personal Force,

    • Andrew,
      Having decided to hang up my mic, I think I’m going to have to put a block on my email account so I don’t get any more of these tributes. It’s very hard to read them and suddenly realise how much people enjoyed them. I am very grateful that you took the time to contact me about your favourite episodes.
      Especially Groundhog Day.
      That is a movie I watch over and over and over… because it always changes!
      Best wishes,

      • Andrew McKimm says:

        You’re welcome. I completely understand how overwhelming the response might be…
        Do what you must but it’s no less than you deserve.
        I’m glad I’m one of the lucky ones who got a chance to thank you.

  12. Andrew McKimm says:

    You’re welcome. I completely understand how overwhelming the response might be…
    Do what you must but it’s no less than you deserve.
    I’m glad I’m one of the lucky ones who got a chance to thank you.

  13. Will Eddowes says:

    Steven! Thank you!

    Your brilliant podcast has got me through many a boring commute or even the odd mindless desk job. I love to check out what you have to say after seeing a film for the first time, and often revisit many of your pieces for a second or third time!

    Many of your episodes are, to me, some of the best film criticism and film analysis that I’ve come across. The way that you intertwine what is on the screen with relevant film history and the bodies of work of the filmmakers is truly masterful. As a budding cinephile with a vastly incomplete knowledge of cinema, these podcasts are both a great joy and an important education for me.

    Thank you again and good luck with all of your pursuits in the future!

    Will from New Zealand

    • Hello Will,
      It’s funny you should mention listening to my podcasts while commuting. When the radio show was cancelled, and having decided to continue them on my own, I had to figure out how long the podcasts should be. A colleague suggested the duration of a short bus journey. Which I did… initially. But then gradually they got longer (probably to reflect the traffic congestion).
      But isn’t that what we all try to do: make our journeys that bit easier.
      Many thanks for tuning.
      Best wishes,

  14. Yasmin says:

    I’ve been cooped up in my house due to the pandemic, and I’m glad I stumbled upon your podcast through Reddit a while ago since it’s kept me occupied and sane these past few days. While I’m fortunate to have discovered this hidden gem of a show, it’s a bit bittersweet for me knowing there won’t be any new ones coming out any time soon. I’d been looking for a podcast about films for a while now, and this one’s the best out there. Your insight is truly fascinating and it makes me want to watch more films and revisit those I’ve seen before. Thanks for reigniting my passion for the craft behind and within a film. Cheers!

    • Hello Yasmin,
      Thank you for your generous message (I’ve been receiving a surprising number of similar ones since signing off).
      But in your situation, it is particularly poignant to learn that the podcasts might have taken on a new function; filling the time while self-isolating.
      Hopefully the 401 might help select some titles to watch while cooped up at home.
      Thank you once again. I hope you stay safe and long continue to enjoy your movies!
      Best wishes,

  15. Jeremy says:

    Thank you so much for 401 wonderful episodes. I often go back and listen to my favorite ones, they feel like old friends. Your work and passion have meant a great deal to me personally – I love the way you experience film in all it’s dimensions. I’m saddened to hear you go, but your archives will endure. Me and my friends will continue to treasure them and the work you’ve done. Here’s to all the movies we’ve not yet seen.

  16. Policarpo Corvalan Aravena says:

    Thank you for your work podcasts, videocasts and in general the knowledge, the insights and delightfully inspiring particular point of view as to relating films and all the influences and facts around their making, their appearance in that certain moment of history, and reason to be as a cultural phenomenon. I keep listening and repeating your podcasts for all the above reasons and more. Be well!

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