January 25, 2001

The Gift

Cate Blanchett once again submerges herself into character in this by-the-numbers Southern Gothic thriller.

giftWith a cast as talented as this, you'd hope for great performances and clever, inventive direction to match, but The Gift delivers on the first point only. Quality performances are subverted by a paper-thin script, hackneyed characters, and cheap thrills among the soggy South Carolina swamps. Blanchett stars as unemployed widow and mother of three with a 'gift' for precognition. A rich, fast, and loose uptown girl (Katie Holmes) goes missing, and Cate becomes entangled in the case- At face value, the crime is solved in fairly short order, but alas, nothing is at it seems. Fairly early on, it becomes clear why co-screenwriter (and Academy Award winner) Billy Bob Thornton chose not to direct this: the story is replete with cardboard cutout characters and clich├ęd scenarios. The battered wife (Hilary Swank) who refuses to leave her abusive husband (Keanu Reeves); the local-yokel cops who care more about the last ├ęclair in the donut box than their work; the D.A. (Gary Cole) with a personal agenda and a secret to hide. At one point Blanchett says "If you don't find a way to re-open this case, I will!" and Blanchett just manages to avoid rolling her eyes. Ultimately, be disappointed that the film could not live up to the quality of the cast. Only A-list talent keeps this film out of C-list territory. (Showcase Cinemas Randolph)

January 24, 2001

The House of Mirth

houseCould this movie be more depressing? I think not.
(Kendall Square Cinema)

January 22, 2001


snatchWished I could have rented it for the subtitles. I couldn't follow the dialog. (Showcase Cinemas Randolph)

January 20, 2001


chocolatA chick flick made for the sole purpose of generating awards. I can just imagine the Weinstein brothers making this movie simply because it caters to Academy members worst tendencies. (Showcase Cinemas Randolph)

January 5, 2001

Cast Away

castMaybe I need to give this movie another try, but I didn't enjoy it the first time. As my father (who loves to poke holes in movies) pointed out, there are no islands in the Pacific Ocean which are capable of supporting a person which don't already have people on them. At the end of the movie, Helen Hunt points on a map and says:
"Here's the charted island you were on the whole time but no one looked there." Have you ever seen a premise deflated in its own movie before?

January 1, 2001

60: Your Sweet Voice

The story of Track 13, the Beatles' Abbey Road Medley is complicated, and fascinating to me. The medley appears on side 2 of the LP Abbey Road.
I am going to quote Wikipedia's entry on "Her Majesty" to tell the rest of the story:
"Her Majesty", tacked on the end, was originally part of the side two medley, appearing between "Mean Mr. Mustard" and "Polythene Pam", like this:
  • "You Never Give Me Your Money"
  • "Sun King"
  • "Mean Mr. Mustard"
  • "Her Majesty"
  • "Polythene Pam"
  • "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window"
  • "Golden Slumbers"
  • "Carry That Weight"
  • "The End"
McCartney requested "Her Majesty" be removed from the medley. However, second engineer John Kurlander had been instructed never to throw out anything, so Kurlander spliced 14 seconds of red leader tape onto the end of the reel, and spliced "Her Majesty" immediately after the leader tape. When Malcolm Davies at Apple received the tape, he (also trained not to throw anything away) cut a playback lacquer which included the 14-second gap and "Her Majesty". The Beatles liked this effect and this sequence was retained for the album:
  • "You Never Give Me Your Money"
  • "Sun King"
  • "Mean Mr. Mustard"
  • "Polythene Pam"
  • "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window"
  • "Golden Slumbers"
  • "Carry That Weight"
  • "The End"
  • (14 seconds of silence)
  • "Her Majesty"
The reason the all-acoustic "Her Majesty" opens with a loud, crashing chord? That's the last note of "Mean Mr. Mustard", which was not needed when "Mustard" is spliced directly into the first note of "Polythene Pam". Meanwhile, the final note of "Her Majesty" is missing on the LP because it was left behind in the medley, as part of the first note of "Polythene Pam".
Track 13 on this mix is a bootleg copy of the original rough mix of the medley. Thank you Napster!
  1. Walls (No. 3): Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
  2. Some Guys Have All The Luck: This Rod Stewart recording is laden with thick 80s production, but I always thought this song would benefit from a simpler blues-folk arrangement.
  3. When Heroes Go Down: Suzanne Vega
  4. Hero Takes a Fall: The Bangles
  5. I'm Going Down: Bruce Springsteen
  6. The Real Life: From John Cougar Mellencamp's terrific LP The Lonesome Jubilee.
  7. Peace Tonight: I really like this Indigo Girls song, not only for its melody and lyrics, but I love the horn section. Every song is better with a horn section!
  8. Dirty Boulevard: I am not a Lou Reed fan. At all. However, I liked this song when it came out when I was in high school, and the advent of Napster allowed me to acquire the song (on MP3) without paying anything. Score!
  9. Footprints: Squeeze
  10. You Get What You Give: New Radicals
  11. Next Year: Foo Fighters
  12. Your Sweet Voice: Matthew Sweet
  13. Abbey Road Medley [rough mix] The Beatles
  14. Fifty Years After The Fair: Aimee Mann
  15. What Makes You Happy: Liz Phair