December 20, 2009

Avatar

An exciting, broad-stroke epic, perfectly realized by James Cameron. The aliens and their future world are perfectly presented without artifice. All the dreams of alien worlds from the entire history of science fiction were finally realized. Who knew that James Cameron cared about our innate connection and dependence on sustaining Mother Gaia? Every tree is sacred? As my friend Brian pointed out, Cameron's misanthropy was securely in place, in the part of the imperialist strip-mining corporation.

I give this movie an A-minus. What was wrong with it? The villain was completely one-dimensional, with no motivation except simple war-mongering. All the characters could have used more detail and emotion. Also, the plot is completely cribbed from Disney's screenplay for Pocahontas, so I never for one moment wondered what would happen next.

It is not necessary to see Avatar in 3D. It was only occasionally distracting. If you have not yet seen a movie with this new 3D technology, picture and entire movie presented like a ViewMaster, and that's the sensation you get. (In REALD 3D at Cinema Du Lux, Dedham)

December 1, 2009

124: The Hank Scorpio Dictionary of Soul

  1. "These Days" R.E.M. Live at the Olympia. Have you ever continued to follow your favorite band long after their creative peak, then looked back in regret, wishing you hadn't bought their last four albums? I used to be a big fan of R.E.M. I have all their CDs up through Reveal (2001). Not long after that, I looked back at the previous decade, and wished I had given up the R.E.M. habit after Automatic for the People in 1992. If anyone is interested in buying used copies of Monster (1994), New Adventures in Hi-Fi (1996), Up (1998), and Reveal, let me know...
  2. Soap on a Rope" Chickenfoot. A unabashedly retro hard rock supergroup: Joe Satriani, Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony, and Chad Smith. I got this single for free on Amazon.
  3. "I Hate My Generation" Cracker
  4. "Camera One" Josh Joplin Group sounds remarkably like R.E.M.
  5. "(If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To" Weezer. I have never been a particular fan of Weezer, but this song is a lot of fun.
  6. "Big Yellow Taxi" by Joni Mitchell has very similar guitar rhythm to the Weezer song, above.
  7. "Carol Brown" by Flight of the Conchords turns "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover" back on the guy. I love Jemaine talking back to his ex-girlfriend backing chorus.
  8. "Already Gone" might be my favorite Eagles song.
  9. "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)" (Extended Club Mix) Hall & Oates. I am a collector of 12-inch dance remixes, specifically remixes of 1980s rock and pop songs (non-disco.) I have never heard of a group re-releasing their remixes as part of catalog reissues, but I found some Hall & Oates remixes re-released on Amazon.
  10. "Mississippi" Sheryl Crow. Thanks to RDM for including this song on a mix CD he gave me. Bob Dylan's original version is one of the first songs my son heard on our iPod the day after he was born.
  11. "I'm Looking Through You" The Beatles. I have liked singing to my son since Day One (literally.) I sang this song to him on Day One. I don't know how I chose this song, but there you go.
  12. "Rock Me On The Water" Jackson Browne
  13. "In Your Room" The Bangles. In November 2009, I saw one of my favorite musicians, Matthew Sweet, live onstage in Arlington MA (!!) as part of his "Under The Covers" side project with ex-Bangle Susannah Hoffs. One of the final performances of the night was an acoustic version of "In Your Room". NOTE: Susannah and I share a birthday!
  14. "Planet Claire" The B-52's. I saw a cheer group dance to this song in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2009.
  15. "Poker Face" Lady Gaga
  16. "We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)" Tina Turner. I also used to sing the chorus of this song to my newborn son. Who knows why.
  17. "Free Will" Rush
  18. "Maggie May" Susannah Hoffs & Matthew Sweet
  19. "Singalong Junk" Paul McCartney. Another singalong to my son.
LEFT: Me and my son, 2009.
RIGHT: Paul and Mary McCartney, 1970.