Front Row Network

Movie Podcasts
  • Local Host Craig McFarland & Jeremy Goeckner

Are you a movie-lover? Do you look for the good before the bad? Do you think hater critic culture has gone a little too far? Well then this is the podcast for you! At The Front Row, we're the podcast for people who ACTUALLY LIKE MOVIES. We have over 10 different shows that all bring their unique perspectives to the world of entertainment. Check them all out, and we'll see you in the front row!

Ways to Connect

Flashbacks: Fargo

Jan 22, 2021
Gramercy Pictures

Front Row Flashbacks is kicking off 2021 with a snowy independent film from 1996 that had a huge impact as it snow blew the Coen Brothers into the world of mainstream cinema and received an avalanche of award nominations. We are discussing the impact of Fargo as it celebrates its 25th Anniversary this year. Along with your Flashbacks hosts Ryan, Jay & Erin we have Front Row Classics host Brandon Davis and friend of the pod, Ryan Hunt.

Beyond the Mouse: Muppets, Dinosaurs and more with John Kennedy

Jan 21, 2021
Walt Disney Studios

John Kennedy is a puppeteer who has had so many amazing experiences throughout his career. In this special interview, the crew discusses his time at Disney MGM Studios. We also ask about projects he worked on with The Muppets, and a special experience he had with Jim Henson. January 29th fans of the hit show Dinosaurs will be able to stream every episode on Disney+. John was with the show from pilot to finale and we speak to him about all his experiences with the Sinclairs.

FEATURING: Craig McFarland, Brett Rutherford, Vanessa Ferguson

CLASSICS: City Lights

Jan 20, 2021
United Artists

Front Row Classics is celebrating the 90th anniversary of Charlie Chaplin's 1931 masterwork, City Lights. Join Brandon and Eric as they pay tribute to Chaplin's genius in a film that's still funny and heartwarming nearly a century later. Topics include: the precision of some of Chaplin's greatest comedic set pieces and the world events surrounding the film. The hosts also discuss the importance of going back and watching silent movies

Beyond the Mouse: with John Saccheri

Jan 14, 2021

We are so excited to be joined by John Saccheri! His Disney content on YouTube has kept us from feeling the Disney Parks blues for so many years! We speak to John about how he got into vlogging, what he has been up to the past year and what he’s looking forward to in 2021 in the parks. The crew also discusses what they are looking forward to the most this upcoming year.

Visit for more of John’s content!

FEATURING: Craig McFarland, Brett Rutherford, Vanessa Ferguson, __________________________________________ 

6th Annual Geek Year In Review (2020)

Jan 13, 2021
Front Row Network

Once a year the geekiest podcasts in all of Central Illinois gather together to discuss the year that was. It is true that 2020 was a year we may want to forget, but the content creators gave us lots to sink our teeth into! Join Craig and Jeremy from the Front Row, Mitch from The Geek Awakens, Bailey from Lincolns Legends and (for the first time) Meghan and Jacqueline from I Think You're Gonna Like This as we break it all down for you.


The Front Row is thrilled to welcome writer and lyricist, Chad Beguelin. Chad is an Illinois native and is an accomplished lyricist for the Broadway stage. His musical, The Prom, is now a brand new feature film on Netflix with an all-star cast. Join Jeremy as he discusses the many aspects of the film with Chad in this delightful conversation.

FEATURING: Jeremy Goeckner

Don’t forget to follow/reach us at:

Paramount Pictures

Just when we thought we were out, they pull us back in! Brandon and Lou are back to talk about The Godfather saga one last time as we discuss Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone. After 30 years, Francis Ford Coppola offers up a new version of The Godfather: Part III. We get into all the changes and which version we prefer.

Featuring Lou Hare & Brandon Davis

Full Disclosure - Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Jan 7, 2021

Netflix's Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is one of the most celebrated films of the year and The Front Row is breaking it all down. We are thrilled to have August Wilson scholar Dr. Joan Herrington along with Davenport Junior Theatre’s Creative Director Ben Gougeon joining Lou to review the film and how it honors the legacy of August Wilson.

Non-Spoiler review to start, Full Disclosure (spoilers) discussion at 8:20.

Panel – Lou Hare, Dr. Joan Herrington, Ben Gougeon

CLASSICS: The Sound of Music

Jan 2, 2021
20th Century Fox

Front Row Classics rings in 2021 with one of the most enduring movie musicals ever made, The Sound of Music. Robert Wise's production of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical features some of the most iconic musical moments in film history. Brandon and Eric are joined by first time Front Row guest, Kelly Lohrenz. The three discuss the cast, score and never-ending behind-the-scenes trivia that have made this inspirational story a favorite of audiences for the last 55 years. 

Beyond the Mouse: 2020 Year End Review

Dec 31, 2020
Brett Rutherford

Happy New Year!

As we look back on the past year, we are so grateful to all of you. Thank you for continuing to spend time with us each and every week. We have expanded the show in so many ways during 2020, and we can’t wait to see what happens in 2021. THANK YOU! Also, thank you to the amazing guests we had on this past year. FEATURING: Craig McFarland, Brett Rutherford, Vanessa Ferguson

Walt Disney Pictures

Join us for a special discussion about the new Pixar film, Soul. We are thrilled to bring back to the show, Disney Legend Floyd Norman. In addition to his thoughts about the film, Floyd gives insights into the Pixar process, his experiences in animation and much more. We also speak about the voice acting, production, animation and beautiful music that makes up Soul.

FEATURING: Craig McFarland, Brett Rutherford, Vanessa Ferguson, Floyd Norman


FLASHBACK - Clue The Movie

Dec 29, 2020
Paramount Pictures

FLASHBACK is closing out 2020 by taking a look at what might just be the best murder comedy ever made. Based on the Parker Brothers board game and featuring an all-star comedy cast, CLUE is one of those movies that just gets better with every watch. Let's break it down with the entire Flashback crew!

FEATURING: Ryan Lootens, Jay Hoffman, Erin McCabe & Rob

Don’t forget to follow/reach us at:

Let’s get one thing clear from the start.

This is NOT one of those “Is Die Hard a Christmas Movie?” articles.

For one, this discussion has gone from ironic, to serious to irritating so many times there’s no more ground to cover regarding Die Hard’s Christmas bona fides. Second, after the year we’ve all had, if you find Christmas Spirit in ANYTHING, then I say have at it. Die Hard puts you in the Christmas spirt? Great! Gremlins? Sure! Boogie Nights? Why not? Now is not the year for gatekeeping Christmas cheer.

An Interview with Disney Legend Rolly Crump

Dec 24, 2020
The Walt Disney Company

We have quite the treat for you at Beyond the Mouse. We recently had the amazing opportunity to chat with Rolly Crump. He was awarded the Disney Legend award in 2004 for his tremendous work as an animator and as an Imagineer. Rolly worked on attractions from The Haunted Mansion to The Tiki Room. We talk about it all in this episode!

FEATURING: Craig McFarland, Brett Rutherford, Vanessa Ferguson __________________________________________ 

CLASSICS: The Great Race

Dec 23, 2020
Warner Bros

Front Row Classics brings you something a little offbeat for the holiday season. Our editor-in-chief, Jeremy Goeckner, makes a return to Classics to discuss Blake Edwards' big budget salute to slapstick, The Great Race.  This episode covers topics that include Jack Lemmon's insanely zany dual role, the underrated talents of Tony Curtis, the professionalism & beauty of Natalie Wood and the most expensive pie fight ever put to film. We also give our thoughts on aspects of the film that might not hold up through the lens of 2020.

VIEW FROM THE BACK ROW - Unbreakable (w/ Larry Smith)

Dec 23, 2020
Buena Vista Pictures

VIEW FROM THE BACK ROW returns with a look at M. Night Shyamalan's superhero drama Unbreakable. Steve is joined by CONVINCE ME host Larry Smith to talk about the film and how well it portrays it's wheel chair bound antagonist.

FEATURING: Steve Sykes & Larry Smith

Don’t forget to follow/reach us at:


Dec 19, 2020

FULL DISCLOSURE's packed December continues with a deep dive look at Netflix's new musical hit The Prom. We're talking the ways it was adapted from Broadway, the stacked cast, our favorite musical numbers and hit briefly on that possible controversial casting. It's time to dance!

FEATURING: Jeremy Goeckner & Sara Baltusevich

Don’t forget to follow/reach us at:

Beyond the Mouse: Disney Christmas at Home

Dec 16, 2020
Walt Disney World

This is a Christmas season like no other, and we are here to help you celebrate the season. One of the best times of year to be a Disney fan is during Christmas. Craig, Brett and Vanessa give you all the ways that Disney helps them enjoy this time of year.

FEATURING: Craig McFarland, Brett Rutherford, Vanessa Ferguson __________________________________________ 

Named one of the top 60 Disney Podcasts by Feedspot! 

FIND US ON Patreon! 

Paris Visone

We are thrilled to welcome Chris DeMakes of Less Than Jake to the show! Chris is the lead vocalist and guitarist for the band. Their new album Silver Linings was just released last week. Craig and Scott have been fans of Less Than Jake for over twenty years, and had a lot of questions for Chris. The interview covers the new album, Chris' favorites from the bands 28 year career, his new podcast and much more. Thanks for listening and be sure to subscribe to The Front Row Network!

FEATURING: Craig McFarland, Scott McFarland

*This interview does include explicit content*   

Beyond the Mouse: Disney Investor Day Recap

Dec 13, 2020
Walt Disney Company

There was an incredible amount of news coming out of the Disney Investor Day presentation last Thursday. The whole crew is here to breakdown the biggest announcements from Lucasfilm, Disney Theatrical, Disney Animation, Pixar and Marvel!

FEATURING: Craig McFarland, Brett Rutherford, Vanessa Ferguson __________________________________________

Named one of the top 60 Disney Podcasts by Feedspot!

FIND US ON Patreon!


This is a biased review. I’m putting it out there early because it’s going to become pretty obvious pretty soon. I’m a huge musical lover, do live theatre and musical and have a particular love of The Prom stage production. I remember watching this show and not only feeling the laughter but also the undeniable importance mixed with a heart that so few stage productions can seem to master. Put simply, when you can merge a message with genuine heart and comedy, that is a recipe for success.

Beyond the Mouse: Disney Gift Extravaganza!

Dec 10, 2020

There are only a couple weeks left to Christmas. What gifts do you get for the Disney fan who has everything? We have the answers! The crew reviews some of their recommendations and then we jump into two very special items. The first is a new book called "Boundless Realm" by Foxx Notle. This book really dives deep into the Haunted Mansion, and it's an incredible account of the attraction that holds a special place in all our hearts. The second is a board game provided to us by Ravensburger. We all love the Jungle Cruise, and now you can experience the attraction in your own home!


Dec 10, 2020

Larry sits down with comedian and podcaster Jeremy Nunes where they discuss Jeremy’s comedy career, improv, his transition to clean comedy, and Jeremy tries to convince Larry certain foods are of the devil and conspiracy theories can be fun!

FEATURING: Larry Smith (@poundsmith2)

Don’t forget to follow/reach us at:


You read the synopsis of a film like Happiest Season and you think you know exactly where this is going to go: “A holiday romantic comedy that captures the range of emotions tied to wanting your family's acceptance, being true to yourself, and trying not to ruin Christmas.” It sounds like a heavy on the comedy Christmas romp that is also heavy on the cheese. Add in the presence of comedy superstar Dan Levy in a supporting role and you’d wouldn't be crazy to assume such things.

CLASSICS: Auntie Mame

Dec 5, 2020
Warner Bros

Let's ring in the holiday season with our newest episode of Front Row Classics! We bring you 1958's Auntie Mame starring Rosalind Russell, recreating her Tony nominated stage role for this film. Brandon and Eric are joined by Beyond the Mouse's Brett Rutherford to discuss this legendary comedy. The hosts discuss among many topics: Russell's hilarious performance, the amazing roster of character actors in the supporting cast and the life affirming themes that still resonate today.  We know 2020 has been a challenging year for us all.


Dec 3, 2020

We're kicking off a packed December slate with FULL DISCLOSURE of the new Netflix drama Mank from acclaimed director David Fincher. Telling the behind-the-scenes inspiration for what many call the greatest film ever made, just how much of an Oscar shoo-in is this black and white tour-de-force? We're spoiling it all!

FEATURING: Brandon Davis, Jay Hoffman & Brett Rutherford

Don’t forget to follow/reach us at:

Beyond the Mouse: An Interview with Brenda Chapman

Dec 3, 2020

We are incredibly excited to speak with Academy Award winning director, and Central Illinois native, Brenda Chapman. We had the chance to speak with Brenda about her career from her time working in animation during the Disney renaissance to her bring Pixar’s Brave to life. Brenda’s live-action directing debut, Come Away, is out now on any video on-demand platform. This wonderful reimaging of Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland will have you filled with whimsy throughout the picture.

FEATURING: Craig McFarland, Brett Rutherford, Vanessa Ferguson


1941’s Citizen Kane is considered among many critics and cinephiles to be the greatest film ever made, even 70 years after its release. The story behind Kane’s creation has proven to be just as compelling. One of the key architects of the film classic is the lead character in David Fincher’s new film, Mank. Herman Mankiewicz was a charismatic, brilliant screenwriter who became a favorite among the Hollywood elite due to his entertaining wit.


Being a parent is just plain hard. As the father of a 3 year-old and a 7-month old, I can personally attest that the hardest moments of life are often associated with the crippling insecurity and self-doubt that accompanies every decision you make for your child. You second-guess literally everything no matter how simple or mundane.

FLASHBACK - The American President

Nov 30, 2020
Warner Bros. Pictures

FLASHBACK is closing out our November by taking a nostalgic look back at the 1995 Aaron Sorkin drama The American President. The template for what would become The West Wing boasts an amazing cast but does it really still have something to teach us about politics today? Our crew breaks it all down!

FEATURING: Ryan Lootens, Jay Hoffman & Craig McFarland

Don’t forget to follow/reach us at: