Recs &- well, just Recs this week

This will be a new feature, hopefully weekly (YOU’VE LIED TO US BEFORE, BUM), wherein I recommend one movie and one album coming out this week based on hype alone and also I recommend great articles to read from the past week.


Movie of the week: Saving Christmas


Just kidding.

SONY-FXOS-03_102414_SteveCenter_FINAL.inddMovie of the week: Foxcatcher

Honestly, I’m not excited about this movie at all. I expect myself to be excited about any awards contender, and something about Foxcatcher just isn’t tickling my fancy. The film stars Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo as a pair of wrestling brothers who catch the eye of a wealthy benefactor played by Steve Carell. Watching the trailer, I can’t get a feel for Steve Carell’s character; his performance seems gimmicky. This is, of course, based on less than two minutes of observation. Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher‘s director, while not the most adventurous of auteurs, has yet to make a bad movie. Regardless of my misgivings, the level of buzz this has received coming out of the fall film festivals makes this the most important release of the upcoming weekend. Good riddance, Kirk Cameron!

sonichighwaysAlbum of the week: Sonic Highways by Foo Fighters

Dave Grohl’s band hasn’t been relevant for at least seven years. And if I was complaining about gimmicky above, this album is the definition of gimmicky. Foo Fighters spent the past year or so traveling to eight cities with distinct musical histories and styles, and they recorded one song for their album in each city, supposedly paying homage to that city’s style within the music. Oh, and they also made a documentary show about it that’s currently airing on HBO. If this sounds like the kind of thing you’d like, then you’ll probably love it. If it sounds boring to you, then why are you reading this anyway? I, for one, am excited that Grohl and his band are trying something different. Also, the early songs the band has released have been awesome.


I did a pretty poor job this week of tracking down articles worth sharing here. Forgive me. I’ll do better next week.


Recs & Reads: Interstellar, Dylan, & Wonder Woman

This will be a new feature, hopefully weekly (YOU’VE LIED TO US BEFORE, BUM), wherein I recommend one movie and one album coming out this week based on hype alone and also I recommend great articles to read from the past week.


interstellarMovie of the week: Interstellar

It’s hard to imagine that a movie with this pedigree (directed by Christopher Nolan, who has yet to direct a movie I haven’t loved; starring Matthew McConaughey, my woman crush Jessica Chastain, the reliable Michael Caine, and the suddenly prestigious Anne Hathaway) could fail. Putting aside those hilarious Lincoln ads, McConaughey is on an incredible run. This should just keep his streak alive. The trailers have been (wait for it…) STELLAR, especially in how little of the plot has been revealed, hopefully allowing for a little surprise, something uncommon at theaters of late. Expectations may be too high for a movie throwing around words like “wormhole”, but advance word is good, about on par with Inception, which may have been the best movie of 2010. There’s no way I’m not seeing this this weekend.

bobdylanAlbum of the week: The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 by Bob Dylan & The Band

Slow week for music, but even in a busy week, Dylan would reign supreme. While I’m not a Dylan-oholic, I do love the guy’s music, and I do happen to be a fan of the original Basement Tapes, which he released with the great band The Band. Also, the Bootleg Series has done a superb job of mining Dylan’s vast back catalog of demos and unreleased songs and live cuts for some incredible gems. This set is six (six!) discs long, which may seem like overkill, but considering this series is already on Volume 11, subtlety isn’t exactly the goal here. Honestly, six discs seems like it might not be enough to do this historic recording session justice.


The 30 Best American Independent Horror Films (The Dissolve)

I have a fondness for lists of genres, especially when the genre is absurdly specific, with qualifiers like “American” and “independent”. This is helpful though- maybe you don’t like foreign movies or glossy blockbusters, but you still want to pee your pants out of fright, even after Halloween. If that’s the case, then the fine folks at The Dissolve have you covered. They know their stuff, and I can personally attest to the high level of terror I reached during six of these movies. That means I can guarantee 20% accuracy from this list. What more could you want?

Is It Time to Stop Watching Sports? (Christ & Pop Culture)

I’ve asked myself this question many times over the past few months. The litany of horrific news forced me to confront whether or not it was even worth it. This was, of course, a purely academic exercise in my mind, because the teams I support are deeply ingrained in my heart due to personal experience or family ties, so I couldn’t even imagine not rooting for them. Ethan McCarthy at CAPC reminds us that there’s more to sports than the negatives, even when those feel crushing.

Suffering Sappho! The Tortured History of Female Superheroes (Grantland)

The title is a little misleading. Molly Lambert’s article is more about the history of Wonder Woman than anything else, though she does tie it into the current state of women in superhero movies. Basically, if reading Jill Lepore’s new book sounds too daunting, Lambert gives you a similarly themed, well-organized, and thoughtful perspective on Princess Diana and her cultural legacy.

Recs & Reads: Lost, Gone Girl, and Sam Amidon

This will be a new feature, hopefully weekly (YOU’VE LIED TO US BEFORE, AARON), wherein I recommend one movie and one album coming out this week based on hype alone and also I recommend great articles to read from the past week.


gonegirlMovie of the week: Gone Girl

Ben Affleck stars as Nick Dunne, a man whose wife (Rosamund Pike) has disappeared. If the movie is anything like the book (and the chilling trailer suggests it will be), not all is as it seems; Nick ends up being the police’s prime suspect in the first of many twists and turns. The director, David Fincher, is widely considered one of the best of his generation (He made Fight ClubZodiac, and The Social Network. So yeah.), and Gillian Flynn’s novel was one of the best (and best-selling) books of 2012.

samamidonAlbum of the week: Lily-O by Sam Amidon

I know this should probably go to Prince’s new albums (2 of them! In the same week!), but I couldn’t help myself. Sam Amidon is a folk artist from Vermont who incorporates jazz stylings in his original songs and his covers of songs by artists like Mariah Carey and Tim McGraw…I’ve lost you, haven’t I? Look, his album last year, Bright Sunny South, was one of my favorite records of 2013, so give him a chance, huh?


The Lessons of ‘Lost’: Understanding the Most Important Network Show of the Past 10 Years (Grantland)

That’s a bold proclamation in that title, but it should be tempered with the realization that network TV has basically sucked for the past 10 years. Grantland’s TV critic, Andy Greenwald, breaks down the impact that Lost should have had and the wrong lessons the networks learned from the show. It’s a great read for those of us who stuck with Lost for its entire run and loved every second of it.

What Bill Simmons Showed About ESPN (The New Yorker)

The New Yorker’s Amy Davidson sheds some light on what was wrong with ESPN’s suspension of Bill Simmons. I tend to think ESPN suspended him less for his bashing of Goodell and more for his blatant insubordination directed at ESPN itself, but Davidson’s dissection of the situation makes it seem a lot fishier.

Zen Is Still Nowhere Near the Building (Comic Book Resources)

Kelly Thompson has been blogging at CBR for quite some time now, usually focusing on women in comics. The level of chauvinism in the comic book world is staggering, and she is constantly exposing it as thoroughly as possible. This article isn’t from this past week, but, well, y’know.