December 31, 2004
December 20, 2004
After I gave a copy to Sara, I created cover art for the collection. The cover is the only photo of Madonna I could find online from her video for "Open Your Heart". My 14-year-old self was already deeply in lust for Madonna when that video came out in 1986, and her gold-nippled costume didn't cool things off any.
- Sinead O'Connor "The Emperor's New Clothes"
- The Breeders "Divine Hammer"
- Go-Gos "Head Over Heels"
- Liz Phair "Why Can't I?"
- Sheryl Crow "Hard To Make A Stand" (my wife loves this song- I had never heard it before)
- Garbage "Stupid Girl"
- No Doubt "Hey Baby"
- Cyndi Lauper "Girls Just Want To Have Fun"
- Madonna "Open Your Heart"
- Lucinda Williams "Right In Time"
- The Bangles "If She Knew What She Wants"
- The Cranberries "Empty"
- Aimee Mann "Save Me"
- Alison Krauss "Baby, Now That I've Found You"
- Bonnie Raitt "Fearless Love" (I thought I was the only person who liked this song, until I heard it in the movie Sideways.)
- k.d. lang "Constant Craving"
- The Pretenders "Don't Get Me Wrong"
- 10,000 Maniacs "Candy Everybody Wants"
- Indigo Girls "Peace Tonight" (18 & 19 go together because they both feature bands with newly-hired horn sections.)
- Suzanne Vega "Tombstone"
December 3, 2004
December 2, 2004
November 29, 2004
"You've tricked and fooled your readers for years. You've tortured us all with surprise endings that made no sense. You've introduced characters in the last five pages that were never in the book before. You've withheld clues and information that made it impossible for us to guess who did it. But now, the tables are turned. Millions of angry mystery readers are now getting their revenge. When the world learns I've outsmarted you, they'll be selling your $1.95 books for twelve cents."(Brattle Theater, Cambridge)
November 28, 2004
November 25, 2004
November 19, 2004
November 7, 2004
November 5, 2004
When the superheroes of the world are forced into retirement by a litigious public, Mr. Incredible and his wife, Elastigirl, raise a family in anonymous suburbia. Elastigirl hangs up the super-stretchy costume easily- she's content to leave her crime-fighting days behind her, but Mr. Incredible is stifled as a desk jockey. They very cleverly use his past exploits as a superhero as a metaphor for bachelorhood, and the constraints of life as a civilian for married life: Elastigirl begins to suspect her husband is having a extra-marital love affair, but he's not- he's actually fighting crime on the side without telling his wife. He's soon trapped by a former stalker-turned archenemy Syndrome. This forces the whole family to use their superpowers together to save Dad and save their city from certain destruction.
The Incredibles pays tribute to the history of superheroes without directly referencing any of them. They showcase a world full of superheroes in a expansive way which a live-action movie has never done. I have pointed out in the past that Pixar movies tend to focus on the types of characters which are easy to render with CGI (plastic toys, bugs, fish, cars, monsters). The Incredibles is mostly actual people, and they are very well done, if not lifelike. They spent a lot of time getting the hair perfect, maybe a little too perfect in relation to the relatively simple faces and skin. Of course, the main characters are in skintight costumes most of the time, so that makes the animation easier too. However, what's smart about choosing to make a CGI superhero movie is the verisimilitude of their super-heroics: It may take tons of wires and CGI to make Christopher Reeve or Brandon Routh fly, but Mr. Incredible is already CGI, so making him CGI off the ground adds zero effort.
The action sequences in the second half are a classic showcase of how superheroes can join forces and exploit each other's strengths to fight their adversaries, in a way which other superhero movies-- the X-Men trilogy, for example --do much less effectively. Why Disney is incapable of making movies like this is beyond me. (Landmark Embassy Cinema, Waltham)
October 31, 2004
- Let's Get It Started - The Black Eyed Peas (this song was used in one of the many montages of baseball excitement on TV.)
- Staring At The Sun - Simple Kid
- Life Less Ordinary - Carbon Leaf (Worst band name ever. The song is good- they sounds like Mr Mister for the 21st century.)
- Old Days - Chicago (from the Starsky & Hutch movie soundtrack.)
- IGY (International Geophysical Year) - Donald Fagen (I see Donald Fagen's The Nightfly album in yard sales and used record bins all the time!)
- Mr. Blue Sky - Electric Light Orchestra (from the theatrical trailer for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.)
- Ride - The Kleptones
- Float On - Modest Mouse
- The Spirit Of Radio - Rush
- Gimme All Your Lovin - ZZ Top
- Love Song - 311 (An inventive cover of the Cure song)
- Sleepwalker- The Wallflowers
- Look What You've Done - Jet
- History Repeating - The Propellerheads featuring Shirley Bassey
- Afternoon Delight - Will Ferrell & The Channel 4 News Team (I love the scene in the movie where they spontaneously sing this song a capella!)
- The Waiting - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (also used in Red Sox montages.)
October 21, 2004
October 17, 2004
September 20, 2004
Eric Zala (who played Belloq) having a plaster cast of his face made for the final "exploding Nazi head" sequence. They used the wrong kind of plaster, the kind with a heating agent mixed in, so his face was burning, and then they couldn't get it off because his eyebrows and eyelashes (!) were caught in the plaster! They tried a hacksaw and a hammer and chisel (!!!!) before finally calling 911 and going to the hospital -- oh, and letting Mom know what was up. Unreal! This same kid also played the Ratty Nepalese, the guy whose back is on fire in the Nepal pub scene, and he got singed in that, and the production nearly got shut down completely due to lack of fire safety! Also, Nat asked about how they got all the dialogue so correct, and get this -- when they started out there was no VHS or laserdisc available, so they wrote it all out from memory! In the car on the way home, we were most amazed at how these kids stuck with this project for so long, and with such (relatively) high-quality results...everybody might have played "Indiana Jones" back then in the yard, but only for a day or two, not 7 years!
The submarine, by the way, was used by the kids after Chris (Indiana Jones) spent 3 years talking to the guy who owned a WWII submarine moored in Mobile Bay in Alabama and convinced him to allow them to shoot there, much to the bemusement of the local tourists.
September 18, 2004
September 8, 2004
It's funny- Donnie Darko was not a success in theaters, but has gained a cult following on DVD. That means more people have seen the DVD (and have had the opportunity to see the Deleted Scenes) than only saw the original theatrical run. Usually people who watch a Director's Cut are seeing some footage for the first time, but I'm guessing the majority of viewers at the Brattle had already seen the extra scenes on the DVD. Way back in the early nineties, when Blade Runner was released as a Director's Cut, it had been released on laserdisc but I don't think the Director's Cut was released on VHS? I'm not sure.
September 4, 2004
- The Bar-Kays - Soul Finger (as heard in the 1980s comedy Spies Like Us)
- The Pointer Sisters - Automatic
- Philip Bailey & Phil Collins - Easy Lover (I always loved singing along with the harmonies in this song, but it only appeared on Philip Bailey's solo LP, and I wasn't about to buy a whole album for this one track. Long-story-short: this song is what 99c downloads were meant for!
- Hall & Oates - Private Eyes
- The Doobie Brothers - What a Fool Believes
- Prince - When You Were Mine (later covered by Cyndi Lauper)
- Wilco - I'm A Wheel
- The Rolling Stones - Can't You Hear Me Knocking (Used to great effect in the movie Goodfellas.)
- Jet - Get What You Need (obviously owes a debt to #8 above)
- The Isley Brothers - This Old Heart of Mine (used to great effect in an episode of Moonlighting.)
- R.E.M. - Harborcoat
- Guster - Amsterdam (Live in Portland, ME December 2002)
- Paul McCartney & Wings - Call me Back Again
- Ray Charles - Half As Much
- Trey Anastasio - Alive Again
- Los Lobos - I Got Loaded (used in Bull Durham, when they turn on the field sprinklers and go on a drunken escapade.)
- Tommy McCook & The Skatalites - GOldfinger (a ska song about the movie)
- Crystal Waters - Come On Down (A dance track whose chorus is based on the closing credits theme to The Price Is Right TV show.)
- Laura Branigan - Gloria (a big hit single right around the time I started listening to music.)
August 7, 2004
August 3, 2004
While I had never seen The Blues Brothers on the big screen before, I have seen in on home video way too many times: I bought the movie on VHS around 1988, when a neighbor decided to get out of the in-house movie rental business: I bought The Blues Brothers and Ferris Bueller from her. Brattle Theater, Cambridge)
July 30, 2004
July 18, 2004
July 10, 2004
July 9, 2004
July 3, 2004
June 20, 2004
June 16, 2004
June 6, 2004
Our strategy for avoiding the overstuffed children's screenings, Em and I bought tickets for the 21-plus Framingham Premium Cinema. For a premium price, you get assigned advance seating, coat check service, FREE popcorn and soda (with free refills), and the best picture and sound in New England. In an "only at the Premium Cinema" moment, I was shuffling down our row to my seat when I dropped a tub of popcorn butter in the Merlot glass of my seat-neighbor. Obviously this spoils the bouquet! I quickly headed back to the bar and bought her another glass...
ALSO by Gary Oldman on STUB HUBBY:
June 5, 2004
May 22, 2004
May 16, 2004
The Cover: I wanted to splice together very similar photos of Jakob Dylan and Dave Matthews from the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. But where to stitch them together? All of my surgical options ended up looking like Mr Potato Head crossed with Robert De Niro as Frankenstein. I eventually had a brainwave and simply slashed a diagonal line across them both.
2. “Superstar” SHERYL CROW
3. “It's My Life” NO DOUBT (I thought I was the only one who loved this New Wave classic!)
4. “Shimmer” SHAWN MULLINS
5. “Rock Me On The Water” JACKSON BROWNE
6. “One Down” BEN FOLDS (recorded live 6-12-02, on the tour where my wife and I saw Ben on the same night, a few weeks before we met for the first time.)
7. “Go Where You Wanna Go” The MAMAS & PAPAS (I think this song was in a commercial for Claritin.)
8. “Gypsy” (alternate mix) FLEETWOOD MAC
9. “The Difference” The WALLFLOWERS
10. “Metal Firecracker” LUCINDA WILLIAMS
12. “Drown” (acoustic) SON VOLT (from Napster, circa 1999)
13. “Bigger Than My Body” JOHN MAYER (a solo acoustic performance, downloaded from the KISS-108 FM Web site.)
14. “Crash” DAVE MATTHEWS (see #13)
15. “Seven Bridges Road” The EAGLES (live 1980)
16. “Please Don't Tell Her” BIG HEAD TODD & THE MONSTERS (from Napster, circa 1999)
17. “Cars Can't Escape” WILCO (downloaded from the Wilco Web site)
18. “Waiting For My Real Life To Begin” COLIN HAY
May 15, 2004
May 5, 2004
May 1, 2004
1. TEARS FOR FEARS Everybody Wants to Rule The World (My wife mentioned she used to sing this song in her college a capella group.)
2. ERIC CLAPTON Hello Old Friend
3. PEARL JAM Alone (A favorite b-side of mine, Pearl Jam played this song when I saw them at the Orpheum in Boston on the Versus tour.)
4. PETE YORN Come Back Home
5. WILCO & BILLY BRAGG California Stars
6. STEELY DAN Black Friday
7. PAUL McCARTNEY & WINGS Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five
8. THE CARS Don't Cha Stop
9. UTOPIA Love In Action (I had recently listened to both The Cars debut album and The Best Of Todd Rundgren, and I noticed a similarity in the choruses of these two songs.)
10. SUZANNE VEGA Caramel
11. SMITHEREENS w/SUZANNE VEGA In A Lonely Place
12. R.E.M. w/KATE PIERSON Me In Honey (a pair of women duet-ing on other records.)
13. THE ENGLISH BEAT Save It For Later
14. NICK LOWE (I Love The Sound Of) Breaking Glass
15. JEFF LYNNE Don't Let Go (We heard the original version of this song on the PA at Krispy Kreme in Everett, after the party where Mandy's photo was taken for the cover.)
16. JET Are You Gonna Be My Girl (Yes, another iTunes commercial song!)
17. THE CURE Close To Me (I think this is on here because the bass line reminds me of the Jet song.)
18. OUTKAST Hey Ya!
19. THE ROLLING STONES Undercover Of The Night (I always had a soft spot for this excessively Eighties sounding track from the Stones. I included it here because David Chase used this song as a closing credits track on the Sopranos.)
20. AC/DC Highway To Hell
April 25, 2004
April 3, 2004
April 2, 2004
March 27, 2004
March 14, 2004
February 26, 2004
February 21, 2004
February 14, 2004
February 13, 2004
February 8, 2004
The title "Fireworks Factory" comes from the episode of The Simpsons "Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie": During an I&S short, there's a delay in the plot where Milhouse whines "When are they going to get to the fireworks factory?!"
1. Elvis Presley "A Little Less Conversation" 1:42
(Davis/Strange) Live A Little, Love A Little Soundtrack 1968
2. Stevie Wonder "Sir Duke" 3:45
(Wonder) Songs In The Key Of Life 1976
3. Nikka Costa "Everybody Got Their Something" 4:20
(Costa/Stanley) Everybody Got Their Something 2001
4. Weezer "Island In The Sun" 3:20
(Rivers Cuomo) Weezer 2001
5. Nick Lowe "American Squirm" 2:31
(Lowe) from the Radar single 1984
6. Freedy Johnston "Bad Reputation" 4:10
(Johnston) This Perfect World 1994
7. The Minus Five "Retrieval Of You" 3:51
from Down With Wilco 2003
8. Michael Penn "Lucky One" 3:58
(Penn) MP4(Days Since A Lost Time Accident) 2000
9. Fountains Of Wayne "Stacy's Mom" 3:17
(Collingwood/Schlesinger) Welcome Interstate Managers 2003
10. Rolling Stones "Shattered" 3:47
(Jagger/Richards) Some Girls 1978
11. R.E.M. "Can't Get There From Here" 4:10
(Berry/Buck/Mills/Stipe) Fables Of The Reconstruction 1985
12. The Statler Brothers "Flowers On The Wall" 2:23
(Lew DeWitt) Flowers On The Wall 1966
13. Apollo Sunshine "The Egg" 3:18
(Apollo Sunshine) Katonah 2003
14. New Pornographers "Letter From An Occupant" 3:46
(New Pornographers) Mass Romantic 2000
15. Ben Folds Five "Julianne" 2:30
(Ben Folds) Ben Folds Five 1995
16. Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band "You Done My Brain In" 1:40
(Neil Innes) Keynsham 1969
17. The White Stripes "Seven Nation Army" 3:51
(Jack White) Elephant 2003
18. Red Hot Chili Peppers "Universally Speaking" 4:19
(Flea/Frusciante/Kiedis/Smith) By The Way 2002
19. Bruce Springsteen "Tougher Than The Rest" (live) 4:02
20. Pete Yorn "Crystal Village" 3:46
(Yorn) Day I Forgot 2003
21. Sheryl Crow "If It Makes You Happy" 5:23
(Crow/Trott) Sheryl Crow 1996
22. The Beatles "Flying" 2:16
(Harrison/Lennon/McCartney/Starr) Magical Mystery Tour 1967