October 24, 2003

Lost In Translation

I went to see Lost In Translation last night, then several Blue Moon Belgian Whites at the Coolidge Corner Clubhouse.
Let's tackle these in reverse order: The CCC is a great place for drinks and food. It's an authentic sports bar, not one of these soulless franchises that feel as if they come from an assembly line: "GO _insert_local_team_name_here_!"
CCC is very small, with TVs everywhere, so you can see the game wherever you are sitting or standing. I was glad to be there on a travel day for The World Series. Like the rest of New England, I have been avoiding the Series. I am trying not to get too excited- How do New York fans get excited about a team which has been in 40% of all World Series since 1921, and won 72% of those? It's just depressing.
The Blue Moon Belgian was good- I just don't understand why bartenders try to put lemon in it. I only take citrus products in Corona beer, and that's strictly between Independence Day and Labor Day.

Lost In Translation was exactly what I expected, and all I'd hoped for. It's a small, inconsequential movie, and I don't mean either of those adjectives in a bad way. Writer/director Sofia Coppola has captured a small, specific niche of human existence and made a thoughtful, heartfelt feature film about it.

Past-peak movie star Bob Harris (Bill Murray) and just-graduated, and just-married Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) are stuck in Tokyo, and lost in their own lives. Bob knows what he wants to do with his life but doesn't know how, and Charlotte doesn't know what she wants and doesn't know what to do about it. Coppola very effectively uses this completely foreign city as a perfect metaphor for isolation and confusion. Bob and Charlotte both need a sympathetic presence in their lives for a few days, and Coppola describes and shows us this unique three-day relationship perfectly. There's no defining what they are for each other, and neither the characters nor Coppola try to. There is only the slightest hint of sexuality in their relationship (Johansson was born around the time Murray was getting slimed in Ghostbusters), and that hint is very tastefully done. A good ending is always important to me, and I appreciated the non-Hollywood resolution. (Loews Church St)

October 19, 2003

Covered Road

My all-time favorite artist fits any occasion: The Beatles. The challenge is to find Beatles songs which haven't been played to death. One of the ways I make their music fresh is with cover versions. I collect covers of Beatles songs. Whenever I go yard sale-ing, and I find a carton of LPs, I scan track lists for Beatles titles.

  1. "A Hard Day's Night" John Bayliss (in the style of Bach)
  2. "I Call Your Name" The Mamas & Papas
  3. "Two of Us" Aimee Mann & Michael Penn
  4. "I Will" Tony Furtado & Alison Krauss
  5. "The Ballad of John & Yoko" The Persuasions
  6. "The Miser/Taxman" The Deighton Family
  7. "Here Comes The Sun" Nina Simone
  8. "I'll Be On My Way" Johnny Society
  9. "Don't Let Me Down" Paul Weller
  10. "Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me & My Monkey" Kristen Hersh
  11. "Why Don't We Do It In The Road?" Lydia Lunch
  12. "Tomorrow Never Knows" Five O'Clock Shadow
  13. "Happiness Is A Warm Gun" World Party
  14. "Girl" Tiny Tim with Brave Combo
  15. "All I've Got To Do" Toxic Audio
  16. "We Can Work It Out" Stevie Wonder
  17. "Day Tripper" [live] Otis Redding with the Mar-Keys and Booker T. & The MGs
  18. "I've Got A Feeling" [live] Pearl Jam
  19. "With a Little Help From My Friends" [live] Joe Cocker
  20. "Being for The Benefit of Mr. Kite" Les Miserables Brass Band

October 18, 2003

Kill Bill Volume 1 & School of Rock

bill-rockA nearly unprecedented event: Two movies in a row which aren't a double feature. Kill Bill feels like it was filmed in Quentin Tarantino's pleasure center. "Tributes" or "homages" to your favorite old movies cease to have any meaning to your viewing public when
  1. You love every movie you've ever seen
  2. No one but you "gets" all the references you're making anyways.
School of Rock is still hilarious the second time around- I noticed some nice subtle moments from Jack Black this time. (Showcase Cinemas Woburn)

October 10, 2003

Intolerable Cruelty

A spot-on screwball comedy, but the Coen brothers seem to be more interested in being wry, ironic, and eccentric than showing any emotional involvement. We never feel like the characters are really in love, and we never see Catherine Zeta-Jones even pretend to fall in love. Great costumes, and wonderful supporting performances. (AMC Fenway)

October 6, 2003

School Of Rock

schoolHysterically funny. I almost passed out from laughing so hard at one point. Also sweet and heartwarming without being saccharine. Jack Black only takes his shirt off twice. The crowd at Loews Boston Common loved every second of it.

October 2, 2003

92: Missing Summer

I based the cover photo on one of my favorite photos of the E Street Band, circa 1980, on Central Park South. I Photoshopped Max Weinberg out of the group and inserted a photo of myself in a tuxedo between Clarence Clemons and Roy Bittan.
I named the CD "Missing Summer" because it was recorded in the fall of 2003, near the end of a six-month period where my future wife and I were on a break.
1/You Wreck Me TOM PETTY
2/Couldn't I Just Tell You TODD RUNDGREN
3/Any Major Dude Will Tell You - A fun cover of the Steely Dan song by WILCO.
4/Barrytown STEELY DAN
5/The Night Is Still Young - One of those new songs added to a greatest hits collection because a>the label can push it as a single to radio to promote the album, and b> it's an incentive for true fans to re-buy music they already own. In this case, it's one of two songs added to one of the best-selling greatest hits collections ever, from BILLY JOEL.
6/It's Different For Girls(Live in London 9/02) JOE JACKSON BAND
8/Red Dragon Tattoo FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE
9/Heart & Soul HUEY LEWIS & THE NEWS
10/Workin' On The Highway BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN (Live at Giants Stadium 8/19/85)
11/Maybellene CHUCK BERRY
14/Going To California LED ZEPPELIN
15/Can't Find My Way Home BLIND FAITH
16/Try Not To Breathe R.E.M.
17/Beercan BECK
18/Losing Lisa BEN FOLDS
19/Where Do They Make Balloons? THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS (sung by DANNY WEINKAUF)