9 items from 2013
Not only did that recipe become Eddie Wilson’s reason for living in the 1983 film Eddie and the Cruisers, but it has also served as the modus operandi of Elton John and Bernie Taupin since initially joining forces back in 1969.
Their opening statement, Empty Sky, sowed the seeds of greatness early on despite not producing a single track worthy of revisiting. John was still flying by the seat of his pants artistically and Taupin had yet to find his comfort zone as a poet capable of synthesizing the static with the mercurial to create something truly profound.
Nonetheless, the potential was evident, and, by the next year, they would have a bona fide smash on their hands in the form of, Your Song, an immortal ballad that wears its emotions on its sleeve while Taupin’s protagonist professes love to someone who is destined to leave the »
- David Hens
Not so much harrowing as achingly reflective, “I Am Breathing” follows, with expressive respect, the last year or so in the life of a 33-year-old Scottish architect whose vivacious wife and young son can be of only limited help as he slowly succumbs to Als, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Currently playing a week at New York’s IFC Center before moving to an engagement at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles, the item could find further arthouse engagements on the basis of reverent reviews and numerous previous fest screenings, with lively tube sales and strong specialized ancillary also likely.
Shortly after his 2008 diagnosis with what’s been called the last truly incurable disease of the day, Neil Platt becomes determined to spread the word via a soon-popular blog he writes with maddeningly inaccurate speech-recognition software. He’s an expressive and self-aware fellow, explaining, “I didn’t »
- Eddie Cockrell
Tim & Eric's Tim Heidecker and that show’s composer, Davin Wood, first collaborated as Heidecker & Wood on Starting From Nowhere, an album inspired by 1970s rock songwriters like Warren Zevon, Harry Nilsson, and Boz Scaggs. Since then, Heidecker has released a parody jingle for a Herman Cain compilation, dropped by the home studio of Chicago’s The Earth Is A Man to record an impromptu cover of Bob Dylan’s “All The Tired Horses” to go along with other Dylan spoofs like his Titanic song, and even released a tune about drinking his own urine. But now Heidecker & Woods »
The Rock Bottom Remainders are a weird idea. The concept of famous writers like Stephen King, Dave Barry, and Amy Tan getting together to form a mediocre rock band brings to mind your middle-aged dad and his drinking buddies declaring that they’re gonna get the old college band back together, someday. But it’s different than that, richer than that. The Rbr’s previous jam-book memoir, Mid-Life Confidential, went a long way toward explanation. One of the benefits of having your vanity band made up of all talented writers is that they have no trouble articulating what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. For some, it’s a way to try something outside their comfort zone; for some, it’s a way to connect with people who understand the unique problems of bestselling writers; and for some, it’s about discovering whether they can be good »
- Kevin Quigley
What started out as cheap, populist entertainment in comic book form has turned into an endless parade of sexist, semi-fascist bores.
Twenty years ago, after appearing in two phenomenally successful, visually opulent and generally brilliant Batman movies, Michael Keaton decided he didn't want to make any more Caped Crusader films. So he walked away. It was a disastrous move that effectively ended Keaton's career as a leading man, the actor learning the hard way that the only unforgivable crime in Hollywood is to walk away from a phenomenally successful franchise.
The next two Batman films starred Val Kilmer and George Clooney. Batman Forever was not very good and Batman & Robin was terrible. And for the next few years Batman dropped out of the global conversation. This was good because it gave society a breather. The Dark Knight thing was played out: the excitement moviegoers felt when Tim Burton made the »
- Joe Queenan
As he does with most things, Kevin Smith used the internet to announce he's completed the first draft of what will become, he says, his final movie, "Clerks III." He posted a photo of the finished script, along with the clapperboard from his first movie, "Clerks," to Instagram.
The photo is accompanied with the caption, "It Is Accomplished! First draft of 'Clerks III' is 137 pages. Plays like the 'Empire Strikes Back' of the 'Clerks' trilogy." That's a pretty long script for a comedy, but the number holds some significance to fans of Smith's work. The number 37 has been referred to in just about each one of his movies.
Initially Smith said he grand plan for the movie was to use crowd-source funding to get it made, and he almost went through with launching a Kickstarter for the project in November. His stance has changed though. In an Ama on Reddit, »
Judd Apatow may be one of the biggest and funniest producers in Hollywood, but the man behind Freaks and Geeks, Knocked Up, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and so many more hits is no different than many in that he still is harboring his rock star dreams.
Taking advantage of that access, Apatow worked with Jackson Browne, »
Johnny Cash: Blood, Sweat and Tears (Columbia)
Some of Cash's '60s concept albums were burdened with much too talking between tracks; here the tribute to the American working man gets to mostly stand alone on its musical merits, and shines. Notably, it incluces the top version of the traditional "John Henry"” about the most legendarily heroic working man ever, and the version of "Casey Jones" here is classic as well. Politically and psychologically, Cash was the perfect man for this job.
Byrds: Notorious Byrd Brothers (Columbia)
Sometimes transitional albums, confusing listeners expecting a group's earlier style, are underrated. Not so with this classic. It's true that it didn't sell as well as earlier Byrds LPs, nor did the single from the album chart very high, but for decades Notorious Byrd Brothers has been widely revered, and not just by fans; some critics have even anointed it as the band's best album. »
David Duchovny's Hank Moody, the protagonist of Showtime's hit series Californication, may be a writer by nature, but there is arguably no bigger rock star on episodic TV than the wild-living author. He's been shot at by RZA, propositioned by more women than Gene Simmons and woken up in jail, in the hospital and on the streets, all while chasing his on-again, off-again true love Karen (Natascha McElhone).
On the show's upcoming sixth season, which premieres January 13th, creator Tom Kapinos embraces Moody's rock star nature, having the character »
9 items from 2013
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