You talked until your tongue fell out: The Cure B-sides

Among contemporaries no other band released so many non-album songs that conjured a world within a world: exploding boys, feet thrown, upstaris rooms, exploding boys. Perhaps Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe came closest. Until 2004’s Join the Dots compilation, I depended on the Standing on the Beach cassette and the assorted cassingles and CD singles for this list (“Lovesong,” “Never Enough,” and “High,” I’m looking at you). Dip in — this is a daffy world.

1. Throw Your Foot (The Caterpillar 12″)
2. This Twilight Garden (High)
3. Snow in Summer (Just Like Heaven)
4. The Exploding Boy (In Between Days)
5. Mr. Pink Eyes (The Love Cats)
6. Halo (Friday I’m in Love)
7. Harold and Joe (Never Enough)
8. 2 Late (Lovesong)
9. 10:15 Saturday Night (Boys Don’t Cry)
10. Just One Kiss (Smith, Tolhurst) –
11. The Upstairs Room (The Walk)
12. The Dream (The Walk)
13. Happy the Man (The Caterpillar)
14. Burn (The Crow soundtrack)
15. A Chain of Flowers (Catch)
16. A Man Inside My Mouth (Close to Me)
17. Speak My Language (The Love Cats)
18. Lament (The Walk)
19. Ocean (The 13th)
20. A Foolish Arrangement (A Letter to Elise)

Ranking Best Actress nominees, 2010s edition

Not a great decade, and it’s not over yet. Thus far young Saoirse Ronan has given two of its most indelible performances while Meryl Streep, a star instead of an actress at last, gave three of her most insufferable star turns, and I don’t include the worst performance and least deserving (not often the same thing!) by a Best Actress winner since Hilary Swank in 2004, awarded to her because apparently she needed a third Oscar. Continue reading

Ranking Best Actor nominees, 1950s

In which Marlon Brando, with help from Montgomery Clift, Paul Newman, and James Dean, began the decade revolutionizing screen acting, only to watch Charleton Heston win his only competitive Oscar in the kind of historical role for which the Academy has always been a sucker (Brando tried it to uneven results in Julius Caesar). Continue reading

Ranking R&B singles of 1980-1981

It’s impossible to overstate what a relief the R&B chart was in the early Reagan era, and I can reshuffle the solid entertainments and good/great ones for days: this afternoon I hesitate about categorizing the SOS Band’s biggest pop crossover (it’s missing something; prefer their Jam and Lewis period) and “Double Dutch Bus” (a splendid novelty riding its novel sound). Continue reading

Liveblogging the Oscars

11:14 p.m. Green Book won. Racism solved.

11:09 p.m. I know Guillermo del Toro won last year, but watching him present the award to his bro Cuaron is too much of a setup.

10:59 p.m. Here we are for Best Actress. Melissa McCarthy. That’s all. BUT HOLY SHIT. Olivia Colman wins for The Favourite, beating favo(u)rite Glenn Close. The acceptance speech is as charming as she didn’t expect. Proving herself as a good actress and sport, Close nods and applauds.

10:56 p.m. How do you pivot from John Lewis to Green Book?

10:49 p.m. Notice the music hasn’t cut off Malek. The Academy knew what was coming. They wanted a campaign speech, they got it.

10:44 p.m. Here we go: Best Actor. Christian Bale, AWWW HE GAINED FORTY POUNDS. Rami Malek wins for singlehandedly saving BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY from the obscurity it deserved

10:40 p.m. All rise for Barbra Streisand. Don’t rise if you want trouble.

10:31 p.m. The Academy president is on, sharing a conversation he once had with Mary Pickford.

10:27 p.m. Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, and their co-writers win Best Original Song for “Shallow,” the only major award A Star is Born has or will win tonight. The Best Actress speech she would’ve given she does now.

10:26 p.m. Hi! What’s happening?

10:19 p.m. True to form, Lee connects the threads between 1619 and Donald Trump. The audience squirms. Damn right. They voted for Green Book.

10:15 p.m. Alas, Nick Davis’ dream of having the Green Book and BlacKKKansman screenwriters intersect on stage won’t happn.

10:12 p.m. Green Book won Best Original Screenplay. Venezuela will endure regime change. Global warming will continue. The Academy has cured racism.

10:01 p.m. To sing “Shallow,” Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga walk to the stage. And, I gotta say, they finally sell this schmaltz. When Cooper joins her on the piano bench, I’m sure his beard smells of honey unicorns.

9:56 p.m. In typical Oscar fashion, the Mexicans introduce Roma. If the Academy believes in “universal film,” then let, say, Sam Elliott introduce Roma.

9:54 p.m. Diego Luna is my boyfriend. His hair gleams. He has aged without Rogaine.

9:51 p.m. It’s amazing to me how Bradley Cooper has kept his hair in place for the last two hours yet no one will reward him.

9:48 p.m. “I can’t believe a film about menstruation won an Oscar,” says the winner of Best Documentary, Short Subject.

9:44 p.m. I ate a pork dumpling from Ibis and Victor’s potsticker soup.

9:43 p.m. Never mind: Myers and Carvey just introduced the nominee.

9:37 p.m. If Mike Myers and Dana Carvey present Best Picture, hide, America — you know the results.

9:34 p.m. I love Kacey Musgraves’ cotton candy dress, the sartorial equivalent of Golden Hour.

9:33 p.m. Oscars are so fucking weird.

9:32. Spider Man: Into the Spider-Verse wins Best Animated Feature, a rebuke to Green Book‘s politics.

9:22 p.m. Best Supporting Actor. The Green Book scene? If you’d seen it in a cable movie in 1994 you wouldn’t have flinched. Mahershala Ali wins, of course, for (a) category fraud (b) the least convincing prissy accent signifying gayness and intellectualness I’ve ever heard. He wears what my friend calls a “circumcised fedora.”

9:17 p.m. Hi. Bohemian Rhapsody wins another award. Bohemian Rhapsody won for EDITING? That movie was edited?!?

9:12 p.m. Bette Midler has odd, punctilious diction; she savors syllables. I often mind her choice of bathetic ballads when eyeing Oscar, yet she treats “The Place Where Lost Things Go” with care.

9:06 p.m. Javier Bardem, stunning, recites portentous Spanish while Angela Bassett, ageless, looks as if she wants a spinach empanada. Roma wins, which augurs gruesome news. Green Book looks like it has a clear electoral path to victory. Or it could mean it’ll be the first Foreign Language Film winner to also take Best Picture.

9:04 p.m. Is it too on-the-nose to say the Academy chose Queen Latifah to introduce queer friendly The Favourite?

8:54 p.m. Oh cool — James McAvoy is drunk and greyer of head already. I’m not! Bohemian Rhapsody wins Best Sound Editing for turning Queen into Andy Williams songs sung by Jobraith. Bohemian Rhapsody wins again, this time for mixing Queen’s subversiveness in a pestle.

8:52 p.m. Can you imagine the Clarence Thomas documentary theme song by Ted Nugent?

8:50 p.m. Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s opinions are the opposite of this overripe fruit. Take that however you like.

8:47 p.m. RBG is the first film to inspire a song for a Supreme Court Justice. By Diane Warren. I can’t swallow my fist.

8:46 p.m. “What would Lubitsch have done?” he asks. He would not have made a portentous two-hours-plus example of poverty porn.

8:44. Alfonso Cuarón wins Best Cinematography for his unsubtle and look-at-me-I’m-black-and-white work on Roma.

8:39 p.m. I’m told you can’t look Jennifer Lopez in the eye. I can’t look Chris Evans in the eye. Nor can he look at the cue cards. Black Panther wins for Best Production Design. Delivering an empathetic and well-delivered speech, Hannah Beachler thanks Ryan Coogler and, to my ears, sounds and looks like an actress. Can someone cast her if she wants it?

8:34 p.m. Chris Evans is gleaming. I’m told his father is a dentist. But who does his hair?

8:30 p.m. Melissa McCarthy enters wearing a “pastiche of authenticity yet never distract(s) from the story” to introduce Best Costume Design, thus demonstrating why she won’t win an Oscar. Black Panther wins.

8:28 p.m. “I want to thank Dick Cheney for inspiring this movie.”

8:26 p.m. Vice wins Best Makeup because Adam McKay put lipstick on a centrist pig.

8:24 p.m. Tom Morello, sleek and passionate, explains how Vice inspired him to write songs.

8:20 p.m. I’m distracted because my friends Victor and Ibis have prepared a potsticker soup and edamame salad that has made me regret I ate a quarter of a ribeye an hour ago.

8:15 p.m. Best Documentary Feature gets introduced by a marvelous Helen Mirren, wearing a dress that looks woven out of dried Pepto-Bismo, and Jason Momoa, whose hair looks woven out of spider webs. The winner: Free Solo, wow. An upset! It’s psychotherapy on a cliff.

8:10 p.m. Here we go: Best Supporting Actress. Watching clips of Vice induces intestinal cramps. The winner: Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk. The other winners look genuinely happy for, which is excellent acting. Her speech was a model of poise.

8:06 p.m. Tina Fey gives the first flop line of the night. If you’re gonna be making political jokes, be dangerous.

8:05 p.m. It is marvelous how Queen + Lambert gave a simulacrum of a performance, rather like Bohemian Rhapsody. HO.

8:03 p.m. Bradley Cooper gave Adam Lambert a malevolent smiling gleam very Terminator-esque: “Fuck you, asshole”

8:01 p.m. Angela Lansbury singing “We Will Rock You”!

7:43 p.m. Willem Dafoe has been the most gracious of Oscar red carpet people. He’s got four Oscar nominations, and he looks like a kid wandering through wildflowers. But he acts as if he never played a painter #ToLiveandDieinL.A.

7:40 p.m. Let’s do this!