These are the Top 5 things you’ve all been looking at since we got under way in August 2012. I’m proud to say this may be the only place where Captain Beefheart was in a Top 5 in terms of popularity. If you haven’t perused these yet, check ’em out:
1. The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party, from SNL Sept 2012
2. “Everything is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson” by Kevin Avery
3. “Saturday Night Live 1980″ – Nathan Rabin’s “How Bad Can it Be? Case File #23″
4. “Hard Working Man” – Captain Beefheart / Ry Cooder / Jack Nitzche, from the film “Blue Collar” (1978) dir. Paul Schrader
5. “Poetic License is Not Appreciated” a look at “American Me” (1992) dir. Edward James Olmos and “Blood In, Blood Out” (1993) dir. Taylor Hackford
Billy Batz: “Tommy, now go get your f–kin’ shinebox!”
Dedicated to my wife and my children for their support during all of the overtime I’ve worked in 2012. I love you all very much!
I’ve always been a bit sheepish about admitting my love for this knuckle-dragging anthem of the early 1970s. Mostly because I’ve never been much of a fan of lead singer Sammy Hagar. However, I have to say Hagar delivers the goods here. Along with Nazareth’s “Hair of the Dog” and Foghat’s “Slow Ride,” this is my favorite bass-heavy, multi-layered guitar, nasal-draining hard rock song of the bell-bottom and ludes decade. I’m sure this is on some gentleman’s club all-time Top 10 and if it’s not, it damn well should be. No less a man of taste than post-punk legend Julian Cope raved about Montrose’s first album in his recent book “Copendium,” so at least I have good company.
I really miss George Carlin. Carlin is one of the few comedians who got better as he got older. That guy just seemed to get angrier and angrier (and funnier and funnier). Some will chalk Carlin’s crankiness up to old age. I see it more as an intelligent man’s reaction against a world that just keeps getting more ridiculous and willfully stupid. Lots of bad language and bad attitude on this one, so not safe for work or little ones. But also painfully funny!
Director David O. Russell is currently enjoying a critical (and increasingly popular commercial) hit with “Sliver Linings Playbook.” While Russell has directed some great films in his career (“Three Kings,” “The Fighter”), my favorite is the nearly forgotten “Flirting with Disaster” from 1995. Easily one of the best comedies of the 1990s, Ben Stiller plays a new father who can’t bring himself to name his new child until he discovers who his real parents are. His journey leads him down some very bizarre and hysterically funny detours. Everything about “Disaster,” from the script to the casting (Stiller, Patricia Arquette, Tea Leoni, Josh Brolin, Richard Jenkins, Mary Tyler Moore, George Segal, and several other terrific character actors) is flawless. Aside from the generic title (which is pretty terrible, in my opinion), I don’t know why this film was not a commercial hit. While it has become a minor cult favorite, the film truly deserves better and is so goofy and weird, it will put a smile on your face, even if you’re in the worst mood.
This may be a bit shopworn, but I still think this is pretty funny/awesome. The Dan Band covers Bonnie Tyler/Jim Steinman’s overblown Wagnerian ballad from the early 1980s, only with lots of f-bombs thrown in as punctuation. This first became famous through its appearance in the Todd Phillips’ comedy “Old School.”
Many people remember Julian Cope for his mid-1980s solo hit “World Shut Your Mouth” or his stint as lead singer for the post-punk band The Teardrop Explodes. In recent years, however, Cope has built a formidable reputation as a writer on all matter of subjects, most notably music and antiquities. His overview of Krautrock (1960s-1970s German psychedelic rock) from 1995, “Krautrocksampler” is considered a classic, even though he refuses to have it republished because of factual errors he’s since discovered and because he claims there are others more knowledgeable than he is. His antiquities books “The Modern Antiquarian” and “The Megalithic European” have also proven to be very popular.
Cope’s latest book “Copendium” is a massive collection of essays (over 700 pages) culled from Cope’s website that chronicles terrific, but ignored or forgotten music albums, spanning several different genres. Among the artists that Cope exhaustively writes about: Von LMO, The Electric Eels, Montrose, Pentagram … even a Van Halen bootleg gets a detailed essay. If you love discovering new music and enjoy great writing, “Copendium” is damn near perfect.
This came out a couple of years ago, but I still haven’t completely absorbed all 463 pages of it yet. This, my friends, is the definitive and most exhaustive look at punk rock on film ever created. Carlson and Connolly reportedly spent 10 years putting this massive tome together. The concept? Watching and reviewing every film between 1975 and 2000 that not only had punk rock as its subject matter, but also every single film where someone who looked even remotely punk appeared. Blessed with the ability to rent videos for free from Seattle’s Scarecrow Video (the best video store in the world!) over the course of this project, Carlson and Connolly watched … and watched … and watched … literally thousands of films … all for the sake of proper documentation of this important subculture on celluloid. Even the publisher (Seattle’s esteemed Fantagraphics) reportedly thought they were nuts, but fortunately had the gumption and foresight to see this project through. Even if you don’t like punk rock, this punkopedia is ridiculously entertaining from start to finish. However, it doesn’t look like it’s currently in print, based on the high cost of copies on Amazon. Fantagraphics: please republish this or at least, put out a Kindle version for those who love to browse this tome, but don’t have the luggage to carry this coffee table size book with them while they’re out and about.
Be sure to hear the entertaining interviews with Carlson and Connolly that appeared on the terrific “The Gentleman’s Guide to Midnite Cinema” Podcast for more details:
One of the most riveting films ever made is the 1969 French-Greco political thriller “Z.” While it won best Foreign Film at the 1969 Oscars, it was also nominated for Best Picture that year, which it lost to “Midnight Cowboy.” While I love “Midnight Cowboy,” “Z” is arguably the better film. It’s intelligent, fast-paced, action-packed, and was a sizable hit back in the day (grossing the equivalent of $84 million in 2012 dollars), which is amazing for a foreign language film. A big part of the film’s success is the awesome score by Mikis Theodorakis, which rivals the best scores by Ennio Morricone.
Some excerpts of the amazing score are below:
You can hear the influence on Giorgio Moroder’s classic score for “Midnight Express: