My best films of all time.

Had I known I could’ve voted in Sight and Sound’s poll of the greatest films of all time, I would’ve submitted the ballot below. From films like Le Bonheur, Before Sunrise, Summer Hours, and On a Beach Alone At Night it looks like I lean toward films of a deceptive lightness: a surface on whichContinue reading “My best films of all time.”

‘The Fabelmans’ is the rare complicated film about filmmaking

[/caption] Assembling a home movie as a favor to his dad, Sammy (Gabriel LaBelle) matures into adulthood in minutes. While his sisters clown during a camping vacation, he catches his mom Mitzi (Michelle Williams) and family friend Bennie (Seth Rogen) in the background as they unsuccessfully try to avoid physical contact: a hand brushed asideContinue reading “‘The Fabelmans’ is the rare complicated film about filmmaking”

Ranking #54 singles, U.S. edition: 1971-1976

There isn’t a single James Gang album of my acquaintance which hasn’t made a comparable Eagles effort sound like Cat Stevens. It confirms why Frey ‘n’ Henley wanted Joe Walsh; it confirms why Joe Walsh wanted part of the increasingly multi-platinum act; it does not confirm why Walsh stuck around, although his weaknesses for theContinue reading “Ranking #54 singles, U.S. edition: 1971-1976”

Tea for one: On aloneness and the pandemic

After the most frantic Thanksgiving weekend in years, after my five-mile morning walk (the novel Hamnet in hand), after coffee and breakfast, I dwell on the difference between introspection and shyness, then change my mind because The New York Times published a story as bothersome as a fly buzzing in a kitchen:

Ranking #65 singles, U.S. edition: 1973-1977

Why Boney M didn’t cross over in America when all kinds of schlock from Alicia Bridges to David Naughton did mystifies me, especially when Frank Farian’s project had grooves as deep as Bellotte-Moroder-Summer; but if “Daddy Cool” leaves you stone-cold the Edgar Winter Band and the Allmans grooved.

Ranking #87 singles, U.S. edition: 1987-1995

Slick Rick’s fey, prissy tone and matter-of-factness about matters sexual were his own; he owed nothing to no one, especially in the mid ’90s when rappers aped shit-hot guitarists in their run of notes. With its tinkling electric keyboard, “Behind Bars” doesn’t celebrate the carceral state but unlike Public Enemy’s “Black Steel in the HourContinue reading “Ranking #87 singles, U.S. edition: 1987-1995”

‘Bones and All’ needs vitamins in its blood

Taylor Russell and Timothée Chalamet are a dish, and the rest of the characters in Bones and All their meal. Self-described “eaters,” they amble through the Upper Midwest of the 1980s, at first sullenly and then idly accepting their destinies as consumers of human flesh. The material requires a David Cronenberg, an Ana Lily Amirpour,Continue reading “‘Bones and All’ needs vitamins in its blood”

Ranking #63 singles, U.S. edition: 1990-1995

The stink from today’s Hague candidates is worse than last week’s turkey. Hung with rank fruit, “Secret Garden” is Springsteen in his least erotic mode: the whispery-hoary loverboy whose idea of come-ons is to recite the sewn-together of a hundred Old Testament-inspired songs. Fans will remember how more than a year later “Secret Garden” enjoyedContinue reading “Ranking #63 singles, U.S. edition: 1990-1995”

Ranking #83 singles, U.S. edition: 1977-1981

To listen to “Belle” on Thanksgiving is just and necessary. Over a yearning synth line and a guitar plucked as cautiously as if he were starting a dangerous conversation, Al Green commits a sin while purportedly separating himself from temptation: he’s proud about abandoning his lover for the Almighty. That confidence, adduced by the undulationsContinue reading “Ranking #83 singles, U.S. edition: 1977-1981”