Tag Archives: media

Best movies 2009, belated.

Looking back, without trying to think to hard about it, these are my
recommended movies from 2009 (titles are in alphabetical order within tiers).

Tier One:

Funny People

The Hurt Locker

Inglourious Basterds

Julie & Julia (really just Julia, though)

A Serious Man

Up in the Air

Zombieland

Tier Two:

500 Days of Summer

Adventureland

Whip It

And here's a couple I really looked forward to and wanted to like more than I did:

Crazy Heart

Moon

Kathryn_bigelow_2445917 

Pictured: Kathryn Bigelow, director of 2009's best film.

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“and that’s just dandy with the White House”

Thanks Bill. At least, when this thing passes, no one can say should be able to say they weren't told.

[Snip.]
BILL MOYERS: "Welcome to the Journal. Something's not right here. One year after the great collapse of our financial system, Wall Street is back on top while our politicians dither. As for health care reform, you're about to be forced to buy insurance from companies whose stock is soaring, and that's just dandy with the White House."

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The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974, Director: John Sargent)

Growing up in Nevada I gravitated to a certain kind of gritty, cynical drama: "The French Connection," "The Seven-Ups," "Report to the Commissioner," "Dog Day Afternoon" and in a connect that maybe only makes sense to me, "The Producers." I watched these movies chopped up for content a the make room for commercial breaks every ten minutes at odd hours on my tiny black and white, where no amount of adjusting the rabbit ears would ever do much to eliminate the ghosting of the images. In fact, I was surprised and somewhat dismayed to learn as an adult that "The Producers" was actually shot in color.

Along with these was another never-miss, the gripping and funny "Taking of Pelham One Two Three," which is running now on Hulu.com because of the current remake, which I haven't, and will never bother, to see, unless by accident. Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw as the antagonists, along with great actors like Hector Elizando, Martin Balsam, Jerry Stiller, and (taking a break for sidekicking for Woody Allen) Tony Roberts. It's a straightforward story: four men with four machine guns take a subway car hostage demanding $1 Million, in non-consecutive unmarked bills. One hour deadline. No explosions, no secret agenda, no digital effects. Plenty of humor and suspense all from the interactions of the characters: a bunch of jaded, tough, caustic New Yorkers as you'd ever hope to see butt heads. All that and an unforgettable final shot. Recommended.

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How the recent election has already benefited me measurably.

I stopped caring about following pro baseball and football this because I spent so much time follow the election last  spring, through November. I never got back into them, and now I have tons more free time as a result.

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Charles Schulz / "Mad Men" / Radio Lab

"But in the mid-1950s a large part of [Schulz's] public consisted of good, plain people who felt guilty at being discontented in an epoch of unprecedented prosperity. Peanuts struck a chord with those who had thought they had everything they wanted only to discover that they didn't, and needed an acceptably gentle reminder of this insight."

— David Michaelis, Schulz and Peanuts pg 342.

Mad Men begins at the dawn of the sixties but the same dynamic is in play. Today the existential anxiety is coming from the unprecedented level of possibilities the connected world promises to offer (or should that be threatens to offer), as discussed in the first part of WNYC's Radio Lab latest program "Choice" with it description of new college grads frozen into inaction from fear of making decisions — each decision taken represents an elimination of some tantalizing (and now lost) hypothetical opportunity.

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Charles Schulz / “Mad Men” / Radio Lab

"But in the mid-1950s a large part of [Schulz's] public consisted of good, plain people who felt guilty at being discontented in an epoch of unprecedented prosperity. Peanuts struck a chord with those who had thought they had everything they wanted only to discover that they didn't, and needed an acceptably gentle reminder of this insight."

— David Michaelis, Schulz and Peanuts pg 342.

Mad Men begins at the dawn of the sixties but the same dynamic is in play. Today the existential anxiety is coming from the unprecedented level of possibilities the connected world promises to offer (or should that be threatens to offer), as discussed in the first part of WNYC's Radio Lab latest program "Choice" with it description of new college grads frozen into inaction from fear of making decisions — each decision taken represents an elimination of some tantalizing (and now lost) hypothetical opportunity.

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Roger Ebert on McCain’s VP Pick

The American Idol candidate :: rogerebert.com :: People

Ebert on Palin, Sun-Times:

People identify with the contestants. They think, Hey, that could almost be me up there on that show!

My feeling is, I don’t want to be up there. I want a vice president who is better than me, wiser, well-traveled, has met world leaders, who three months ago had an opinion on Iraq.

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Middleman!

middleman_nataliemorales.jpg

When I first caught The Middleman I thought it was a mildly amusing Men in Black meets “Buffy-parody” fun summer series, with the added advantage of a very fetching Natalie Morales as Wendy “Dub-dub” Watson. As the season continued and the pop culture references piled up, I thinks it’s more that that: a charming campy, sci-fi/hipster/comic book nutty soup of clever goodness. Sort of like the 1960’s Batman series, but with story continuity. I hope it comes back next year. Ratings were weak, I heard. First couple episodes aren’t much, but it gets better each week. All online now. ABC Family: The Middleman videos: watch free.

The series is created and written by the original comic’s creator, Javier Grillo-Marxuach; is that a first?

By the season finale, in which every single man in the mirror universe sported a goatee, I found myself looking for the “more like this” button on my remote.

UPDATE: Apparently all but the finale episode have already expired at ABC Family website, (but will return at somepoint?). Meanwhile there is iTunes for just under $24, and the other method people resort to when networks fail to make their content easily accessible, in an on-demand advertising-supported web format.

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Kanye West "Good Morning" video.

Cool Murakami furry-scifi animation:

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Sunrise by Shannon Hurley remixed

We spent all afternoon remixing a song on ccMixter using Garage Band which was fun. Garage Band’s not that intuitive though. We couldn’t do a lot of things — which is probably for the best, because it kept our band’s version simple. Not that we created any original samples, we grabbed everything from Creative Commons. Here’s the license. Another thing we would never ever been able to experience in the pre-digital age.

Here’s the original:

And here’s our version: A Simple Sunrise.mp3

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That other time no one expected a Palin: "Our Chief Weapon is Surprise"

“amongst our weaponry are such diverse elements as fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency …”

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"The Universe sent you a pasty goblin to welcome you into the world. "

My favorite celebrity blogger (hey, he's read and praised Michael Shea): Patton Oswalt's graduation speech to his old high school is funny and moving.

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