Monday, August 31, 2009

New music Monday

I just got back from a great weekend in Philadelphia, during which I met my friends' new son for the first time, learned my cousin gave birth to her first child, and was introduced to the joys of Quizzo. I'm still annoyed that we missed the Jabberwocky question.

Thanks to some unused Thank You points from CitiBank, I was able to order some free new music last week, and the box from Amazon was waiting when I got home today. I look forward to listening to London Calling by The Clash and Conditions by the Temper Trap. I also replaced my lost copies of Funeral by the Arcade Fire and Give Up by the Postal Service. Except I accidentally ordered that last one on vinyl, and don't own a record player, so back it goes.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What a sweet disposition

This afternoon I went to see (500) Days of Summer with my brother's lovely fiancee. It's a charming, funny movie, and a refreshing change from typical romantic comedies. It also has an especially good soundtrack. One of the standouts is Sweet Disposition by The Temper Trap.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Those aren't pillows!

Like a lot of people in my generation, I've been re-watching some John Hughes movies in the past weeks since he died. I think he remains so beloved because he made movies about teenagers that didn't condescend, and capture some of the awkwardness and giddiness that come with being that age. The intoxicating freedom of a day skipping school in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, one of the best father giving advice to his daughter scenes ever in Sixteen Candles (the scene with Samantha trying to sleep on the couch and telling her dad about her huge crush on Jake Ryan). Oh, that scene kills me.

And in a more adult spectrum, Planes, Trains & Automobiles is something I like to watch every year at Thanksgiving with my brother, and think of every time I'm traveling and something goes wrong.

Here are a few of the things I've enjoyed reading since Hughes passed away: had this very funny breakdown of the pros and cons of having a John Hughes boyfriend, written in early June.

This is one of the sweetest tributes ever: a woman who asked John Hughes to be her pen pal, and he actually did it.

EW ran remembrances from actors who worked with Hughes.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

That's the way it crumbles, cookie-wise

I just watched The Apartment, directed by Billy Wilder, for the first time since film class back at Kenyon. I think I'm on a bit of an early 1960s kick, between this and Mad Men. The Apartment covers some similar ground but in a warmer, but not sentimental, way: workplace alienation, infidelity, the power imbalance between a young woman working as a secretary or elevator operator and the more successful, less emotionally involved guy with a wood-paneled office.

Billy Wilder's dialogue always impresses me afresh, and it's hard to believe he was not a native English speaker. He pairs beautifully with I.A.L. Diamond here, and together they walk a fine line between comedy and tragedy, being touching without getting maudlin. One of my all-time favorite movies.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Bad ideas in football

I was surprised and disappointed to read that the Philadelphia Eagles signed Michael Vick yesterday.

Clearly, the main goal of any sports team is to win, and the Eagles have never won a Super Bowl. They lost to the Oakland Raiders in 1980, and failed again against the New England Patriots in 2004. Michael Vick, at one time the highest-paid player in the NFL, could be the one to get them that ring.

But on a personal level, I find the idea of Michael Vick playing for the Eagles abhorrent. My dad used to take me to Eagles games when I was a kid, and my parents even celebrated their tenth wedding anniversary by going to that 1980 Super Bowl. (My mom is a very tolerant person.) Vick disgusts me. I don't believe he feels any real remorse for what he did to those dogs, and anything he says on the subject is just PR bullshit in an attempt to rehab his image.

Signing Vick is a desperate move from a desperate organization, one I think the Eagles will come to regret.

Monday, August 10, 2009

"Mad Men" is almost here!

I'm a mere three episodes away from finishing season two of Mad Men, just in time for the premiere of season three this Sunday. This is one of the most engrossing, surprising, and well-done shows I've ever seen. I'd also like to steal some of the character's wardrobes.

AMC seems to be ramping up the publicity for this year in hopes of increasing viewership -- while "Mad Men" is critically adored and currently up for 16 Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Drama, their viewership isn't that high. One of the coolest things AMC has done is, a site that allows you to create your own Mad Men avatar. (See my profile for mine.)

Vanity Fair has this interesting article detailing how the show was created and the process for filming. Annie Liebovitz provides some great, beautifully tortured pictures of January Jones and Jon Hamm in character as Betty and Don Draper.

The current issue of Entertainment Weekly has a brief article with a recap and preview for each of the main characters, which I haven't read yet so as to not find out what happens in the rest of season two.