It was all very run of the mill: the best of the Pretenders

Many years ago I heard “Precious” and “The Phone Call” side by side and thought I’d discovered the secret of what rock ‘n’ roll singing should sound like. Although she hasn’t recorded an album I care about since the first Clinton was in the White House, I like to say Chrissie Hynde is my favoriteContinue reading “It was all very run of the mill: the best of the Pretenders”

The best films of 1983 and 1984

I’d include Purple Rain‘s concert sequences and almost every frame of Molly Ringwald’s work in Sixteen Candles, but I couldn’t include the movies in the 1984 list. 1983 The Right Stuff (Philip Kaufman) L’Argent (Robert Bresson) Fanny and Alexander (Ingmar Bergman) Rumblefish (Francis Ford Coppola) Pauline at the Beach (Eric Rohmer) Local Hero (Bill Forsythe)Continue reading “The best films of 1983 and 1984”

The élan, the perfect poster boys of conservatism

Do go on, Jonah Goldberg: So it sounds like Trump was rude, bullying and tacky to the former Miss Universe about her need to lose weight. That doesn’t shock me and I doubt it shocks anybody else. So could he have been nicer about it? Absolutely. But this notion that a beauty pageant winner’s physicalContinue reading “The élan, the perfect poster boys of conservatism”

The essence of libertarianism

Digby: I’m not sure who believes that just because someone has educated herself about geography and foreign leadership that her ideas must automatically be followed. It’s just that most of us used to think that presidents should have some basic knowledge of facts before they propose policies. The campaign of 2016 has revealed that suchContinue reading “The essence of libertarianism”

‘The Nice Guys’ treats Crowe, Gosling like dull guys

Why Shane Black set The Nice Guys in 1977 instead of 1987 baffles me: it has the torpid rhythm, zombie’s touch for staging violence, and uneven comedy of Beverly Hills Cop 2. A decade after Kiss Kiss Bang Bang became a DVD cult item, the writer-director thinks the physical contrasts between Russell Crowe as aContinue reading “‘The Nice Guys’ treats Crowe, Gosling like dull guys”

‘The man who claims authority…is an object of distrust and resentment’

“America has always been a country of amateurs where the professional, that is to say, the man who claims authority as a member of an elite which knows the law in some field or other, is an object of distrust and resentment,” W.H. Auden wrote in the middle of the twentieth century during the peakContinue reading “‘The man who claims authority…is an object of distrust and resentment’”

‘You must change your albums’

Rock critics who are liberals tend — I can’t stress enough the hesitation in that verb — to have tastes I can understand more than liberals who like rock music. The latter tend to like Americana, ignore R&B unless it’s of the cryogenic Leon Bridges kind, and blame their kids for not following hip hopContinue reading “‘You must change your albums’”

Against Me! look for some measure of peace

Against Me! – Shape Shift With Me I know Shape Shift With Me is a singer-songwriter record because the vocals are mixed so that we notice how smart the words are. But lots of singer-songwriter records sound good – too good in many cases. Back when Butch Vig interfered with Against Me! he treated themContinue reading “Against Me! look for some measure of peace”

‘Election’ 17 years later and Election 2016

I squirmed watching Election in the late spring of 1999. As sharp as a rapier and in some ways Alexander Payne’s most satisfying film, I understand why it unnerves Maureen O’Connor experiencing it anew in election year 2016: When I watched the movie in previous years, I responded to the comedic value of Reese Witherspoon’sContinue reading “‘Election’ 17 years later and Election 2016”

Debate #1 post-mortem

Last night I learned to drink a marvelous gin and Aperol concoction. This morning I learned that if Hillary Clinton looks assured, talks as if she has the facts at her command, and smiles she is smug. “Smug, composed, and not attractive” in the words of Brit Hume, the long-faced basset hound who took overContinue reading “Debate #1 post-mortem”