Things You Will Love: January 2018
~Mario Spinetti sings "Johanna": A sort-of viral video on my Facebook feed was this haunting, strange, kind of hypnotic cover of the Sondheim staple. Obsession is an understatement.
~Purple Rain, Prince: One of the best parts of following the gated reverb playlist (see below) was reconnecting with Prince's iconic album. I had actually never listened to the album all the way through (for shame), and it is safe to judge it as one of the top 10 albums ever.
~The New Zapp IV U, Zapp: Another gated reverb find. Pure '80's pop bliss. Favorites are "Computer Love," "Radio People," and the pure awesomeness of their robot-meets-the-American-Songbook take on "I Only Have Eyes For You."
~Paul Thomas Anderson has a new film out that I consider to be very good. It is called Phantom Thread. One of the best parts of this film is Jonny Greenwood's phenomenal score, which is now available on Spotify.
-Been saying goodbye to the late Dolores O'Riordan.
~Some singles I've been jamming to: Brandi Carlile's "Sugartooth," Betty Who's "Ignore Me," the standout for me from The Greatest Showman, "Never Enough," and certainly the new Funk Wav Remix of SZA's "The Weekend."
~January was a busy month for gym-goers, or it seemed that way on Instagram where a healthy amount of people posted songs they were jamming out to.
~The Next Picture Show: "To Die For/I, Tonya" (Parts 1 & 2)
~Katie Couric: "Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough"
~Katie Couric: "Wonder Woman: Maggie Haberman"
~Still Processing: "We Have a Theory About Oprah": The duo is back and as good as ever, with a season debut that explores the stereotypes of black women throughout film history.
~Filmspotting: "The Best Movie Moments of 2017"
~/Filmcast: "An Evening with Rian Johnson...": An extraordinary interview that demonstrates what a considerate and patient artist Rian Johnson is. Love or hate The Last Jedi, this interview is essential.
~Semantics lovers! This is Louis Menard's round-up of the words of the year for 2017. (The New Yorker)
~I think the most essential films aren't always the ones everyone loves, but the ones we love to fight about. So, the battle of "Ebbing, Missouri" rages on. In fact, it's never been as heated as it is now. (Wesley Morris, The New York Times)
~An unreal look at one of America's last pencil factories. (Sam Anderson, photos by Christopher Payne, NYT)
~David Remnick's sharp critique detailing the unfitness of Donald Trump, amidst the Fire and Fury fall out. (The New Yorker)
~Firmin deBrander ponders the philosophical toll of baring ourselves on social media. (Aeon)
~David Ehrlich wonders why bother having both a Best Picture AND a Best Director category at the Academy Awards. (Indiewire)
~A.O. Scott's delicate and thoughtful piece on his troubling relationship with the work of Woody Allen and how we re-examine an artist's work. (NYT)
~Self-improvement is so hot right now, it may be a disease. (Alexandra Schwartz, The New Yorker)
~Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, lays low. Until now. (Nick Wingfield and Nellie Bowles, NYT)
~What does an artist really need? Materials. (Austin Kleon, austinkleon.com)
~American Vandal (Season 1): Finally finished this genius little gem of a show. Both ridiculous, funny, and also sort of enthralling, it's no surprise that this was one of Netflix's surprise hits.
~Black Mirror: Season 4 has brought the goods we've come to expect, but I was really moved by "Hang the DJ," a take on dating app culture that made me feel all nice inside. (Netflix)
~My Next Guest...with David Letterman: Dave is back and his first guest is Obama. Take a breath from the reality of today to remember a time when we had a leader who felt like a leader (and still does). (Netflix)
~Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman: A dissertation on how television has totally skewed modern discourse, as we devolve to information as entertainment. The book was written in 1985, and feels as scarily relevant as something just published this morning.
~An ode to gated reverb (Vox): This video is one of my favorite things on music I have seen in a while. Estelle Caswell for Vox's music series Earworm (which are all great) explains how we got the iconic '80's beat. Her playlist on Spotify has been my most listened thing this month.
~What Realistic Film Dialogue Sounds Like (Nerdwriter)
~To Die For (1995, d. Gus Van Sant): Discovered this '90's gem through The Next Picture Show, one of my favorite film podcasts. They examined this movie in relation to I, Tonya, and both films share a shocking amount. Nicole Kidman gives one of her best performances as a wanna-be TV reporter who will do just about anything to get what she wants. It's a savvy, biting satire that I reviled in.
~Gaslight (1944, d. George Cukor): My second time seeing this and it was just as delicious. Ingrid Bergman thinks she's going insane, but it might just be her husband using manipulation techniques. The subverted twist at the end is a satisfying conclusion to this melodramatic great.
~No Country For Old Men (2007, d. Joel and Ethan Coen): Finally got around to re-watching this after my book club read the Cormac McCarthy novel this is based on last December. Man, not only do they absolutely nail this purely as an adaptation, but the cast is top to bottom superb and Roger Deakins' proves again he's one of the best cinematographers of all time.