May 26, 2009

122: All The Music That Fits

My first, best rock & roll collage from high school
While packing and preparing to move to a new apartment, I did a Thoreau-ian "simplify, simplify" purge of my possessions. Part of that project is recycling Rolling Stone back issues from the 1980s. Since I bought the complete Rolling Stone 1967-2007 on DVD-ROM, technically I don't need ANY of those back issues clogging up my bookcases anymore. Rather than unilaterally toss 'em all out, I only discarded the issues which were too tattered to keep, and/or the issues I had scissored to ribbons during my teenage collage-making days.
After placing those issues aside, but before dropping them in the recycling bin, I leafed through the stack: about a dozen issues, all from 1985-1989. This quick skim inspired some MP3 purchases from that era (see below).
Another side-effect of packing? A slew of new music discoveries. Since I hardly ever hear new music on the radio, I tend to find new music on the RCN Music Choice channel: Adult Alternative. And when do I listen to this channel? When packing boxes!
  1. "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" by Vampire Weekend is my wife's new ringtone.
  2. "All Around the World Or The Myth of Fingerprints" [demo], Paul Simon
  3. "On A Night Like This" Los Lobos (from the movie soundtrack Masked and Anonymous)
  4. "Take The Joker & Run" Steve Miller Band: I found a special re-release of Miller's Fly Like An Eagle, which includes several outtakes, including this one. It's a early version of "Take The Money & Run", but the arrangement is exactly like "The Joker". It's really funny and odd to hear it like that!
  5. "Waiting for a Miracle" Bruce Cockburn
  6. "Real Love" Lucinda Williams
  7. "Smoking Gun" Robert Cray Band
  8. "Mona Lisas & Mad Hatters" Elton John (I just bought his album Honky Chateau, and re-discovered this great song.)
  9. "People Got A Lotta Nerve" Neko Case
  10. "Satellite" The Hooters
  11. "Trashcan" Delta Spirit
  12. "Lips Like Sugar" Echo & The Bunnymen
  13. "The Big Bang Theory (Theme)" Live in Concert, Barenaked Ladies
  14. "Mykonos" Fleet Foxes
  15. "Hurt Feelings" Flight of the Conchords
  16. "Folsom Prison Blues" Merle Haggard & The Strangers: I like putting together the faux badasses of FotC next to the faux badass of this song.
  17. "I Know" [live] Pat McGee
  18. "I Want to Make The World Turn Around" I had completely forgotten this Steve Miller Band song until I read a review of the LP in my old Rolling Stone magazine...
  19. "Used To Be Bad" A completely ordinary blues duet between two old fogies: Paul McCartney & Steve Miller.
  20. "Absolutely Still" Better Than Ezra
  21. I liked "OK It's Alright With Me" the first few times I heard it, but Eric Hutchinson is starting to sound like a second rate Jamie Cullum or Maroon 5?
  22. "Phantom Limb" The Shins

May 15, 2009


Moving out in 2009:
Note the CD shelves are empty, and the LPs are in crates!
A lovely mix CD from my wife!

1.       "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?" She & Him Volume One
2.       "I Got You (At the End of the Century)" Wilco Being There
3.       "Deep Red Bells" Neko Case Live from Austin
4.       "Los Angeles, I'm Yours" The Decemberists Her Majesty The Decembrists
5.       "Right Moves" Josh Ritter The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter
6.       "Classic Cars" Bright Eyes Cassadaga
7.       "Cab" Train For Me, It's You
8.       "As Long As You Follow" Fleetwood Mac
9.       "One Sweet Duet" John Craigie A Picnic On the 405
10.   "Put Your Records On" Corinne Bailey Rae
11.   "The Way I Am" Ingrid Michaelson Girls and Boys
12.   "David" Nellie McKay  Get Away from Me
13.   "Viva la Vida" Coldplay Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends
14.   "Campus" Vampire Weekend
15.   "The Underdog" Spoon Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
16.   "Keep the Car Running" Arcade Fire Neon Bible
17.   "Chocolate" Snow Patrol Final Straw
18.   "Come On Get Higher" (live)  Sugarland Love On the Inside
19.   "Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight" Amos Lee
20.   "Passing Afternoon" Iron & Wine Our Endless Numbered Days

May 13, 2009

Summer Movie Preview

These are the movies I want to see.
  • I just read Dan Brown's novel Angels & Demons. It was so poorly written, I started quoting the worst passages to my wife. However, the plot is gripping and will make an exciting movie. It must turn out better than the inscrutable Da Vinci Code, whose plot I could not follow. UPDATE: Poor reviews have demoted this movie to "Must Rent" status.
  • I am a huge fan of the first two Terminator movies. When I finally saw the third movie on HBO, I was not impressed. I had zero interest in a fourth Terminator movie, until I saw the intriguing trailers for Terminator: Salvation- the plot tease seems to be adding a new exciting variation into the Skynet world, let's see how the reviews look before I pony up $10. UPDATE: One year later (May 2010) I finally saw this on DVD. Boy, what a grim movie. Any film which starts after 6,000,000,000 people have been wiped out is tough to get excited about. Even if the Resistance does destroy Skynet, the remains of the human race are still living on a post-nuclear cinder. Yay! Break out the party hats! As I saw in the trailer, there were some novel ideas introduced, but so many missed opportunities. Coolest moment by far is when John Connor (Christian Bale) fights the Arnold Schwarzenegger Terminator. Yes, they used CGI to create a photorealistic Arnold, just like he looked in 1984. Pretty neat, and almost believable.
  • The new Pixar movie is called Up. I have really enjoyed all the Pixar movies (except Cars). I finally saw UP in November 2009, and I liked it. I was a little distracted by my newborn son, but that's a tradeoff I can live with!
  • The Hangover, from the director of Old School!
  • Public Enemies is a gangster movie directed by Michael Mann. Need I say more?
  • Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince, finally.
  • The new Tarantino movie, Inglourious Basterds [sic]. I finally saw Basterds on DVD in January 2010, and I was totally underwhelmed. Yes, the opening farmhouse scene is amazing, and Christoph Waltz is spellbinding as The Jew Hunter. However, the trailers include every second of action from the whole movie, and some which didn't make it into the movie, and as a result, paint a totally inaccurate picture of the film. As my wife put it, "as usual, QT has too many good ideas stuffed into one movie" and "sometimes I think Brad Pitt cannot act at all."

May 11, 2009

To Boldly Go To The Theater To See Star Trek

I may have seen all the Star Trek movies in the theater:
  1. Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979): I was 7 going on 8 when this movie came out. I am sure my parents would take me to see it, but I have no idea if they did.
  2. The Wrath Of Khan (1982): I think I saw this in the theater when I was 10. I finally saw it again on the big screen, in 2007, at the Brattle Theater.
  3. The Search For Spock (1984): I must have seen this in the theater!
  4. The Voyage Home (1986) I definitely saw this in the theater- my parents love this movie!
  5. The "Final" Frontier (1989)
  6. The Undiscovered Country (1991)
  7. Generations (1994)
  8. First Contact (1996)
  9. Insurrection (1999)
  10. Nemesis? I saw it in the theater in 2002, but I can't find the blog post?
  11. Star Trek (2009)
  12. Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
  13. Star Trek Beyond (2016)

May 10, 2009

Star Trek

An excellent general-interest reboot of the dormant Star Trek franchise. A thrilling, emotional, funny, and fast-paced ride, this Star Trek "origin" story remains faithful to the characters we love, while acknowledging the pre-TV show history which had already been told, in dribs and drabs, over the last 40-plus years.
NERD ALERT: Director/Producer JJ Abrams, with screenwriters Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman, have deliberately altered the history of the Star Trek "universe" within the first five minutes, which frees them from the shackles of 40 years of tangled and patchwork "history" of the Federation. Who honestly cares if 2009 Kirk contradicts something 1966 Kirk said in passing once? Blind fidelity like that only satisfies the most obsessive-compulsive of fans.
I'm conflicted over the general tone of the movie. The 1960s TV show was about a UN-style exploration vessel, which occasionally got into scrapes with strange alien worlds. The plot of this 2009 movie is similar to 1982's Wrath of Khan: a ruthless alien warrior takes vengeance on the Federation, and lots of spaceships go BOOM in the process. It's fair to acknowledge that the writers and director needed to make an effort to draw in a general audience to the theater, and the space battles are exciting. Besides, I am certain that the 1966 TV show would have had scenes like this if it were possible in their day.
The pacing was airtight and relentless- no third-act lag here! My only major complaint was a completely unnecessary interlude where Kirk escapes from some snow monsters. Besides the biological unlikelihood of giant monsters in an arctic wilderness, the creatures seemed out of character for Star Trek. I am not saying that they would never would have had giant monsters on Star Trek in 1966 if the technology allowed it, but it seems unlikely.
The casting of the original crew is uniformly excellent, and their performances are all spot-on. The only character which is slightly off-center is Simon Pegg's Scotty, who behaves exactly as Scotty should, but he's used exclusively as comic relief, including goofing around with a tiny alien sidekick.
Origin movies carry a heavy burden- introducing a dozen new characters and a whole fictional universe is hard work (see the first Harry Potter movie if you don't believe me) but Star Trek 2009 does it with grace, personality, faithfulness, and in an efficient and non-bloated 126 minutes. I give this movie an "A", and now that we've been reintroduced, the next adventure should be even better.
(AMC Boston Common, screen 2, with Emily, Jon & Bobbi, Amy & Adam, Ilan, Brian, Jess G, Marc, Jeff S, and friend; AND again on May 23 at the Somerville Theater with Emily)
Also on Stub Hubby
To Boldly Go To The Theater To See Star Trek ...Twelve Movies and Counting (1979-Present)
Two Star Trek movies, two gratuitous bra-and-panty scenes?

May 2, 2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

So much of the Wolverine origin story has been told, perhaps obliquely, in three X-Men feature films, that I hoped that a 107-minute all-Wolverine movie would contribute something new, something interesting, and something faithful to the comic books. I was mostly disappointed. Excellent performances by Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber are the highlights of this workmanlike reheating of X-Men 2.
As a whole, the film was capable, but the three previous X-Men features (even The Last Stand, directed by Brett Ratner) all had some thoughtfulness, some sophistication, and some personal flair. Wolverine felt like it was directed by autopilot. "Workmanlike" is not much of a compliment to director Gavin Hood on his second Hollywood feature.

Stub Hubby Sees The X-Men Movies

...or click the label Marvel below