14 February 2015

Saturday Morning Speaks (and Links)

Valentine's Day.
Going to the movies for the first time in a month today.
"The Theory of Everything" this day.
My one last Best Picture nominee to see today.
Valentine's Day.

Let me tell you about my week:

It was supposed to be fifty degrees and sunny on Tuesday. I had set my golf team tryouts for that day for this reason. That didn't happen. It was cold, windy, and thirty-five. Had tryouts anyway. Finally got my team picked. We start practices next week. I'm pretty pumped! Pretty chill week at work otherwise.

Wrapped it up with Valentine goody day at school. Buncha baked goods and whatnot made by our school's "hospitality team" a.k.a. yearbook staff. Kids were all jacked up on sugar all afternoon. It was a blast...for them.

Got Amanda some beautiful white tulips we can plant in our garden when it warms up next month.

Got a three-day weekend with a chance for four if it snows on Monday, Presidents' Day.

Happy Birthday, Abe!

My cousin's band, a spacey, Southern slice of bread with a side of jam known as New Madrid exploded out of the Athens, GA, rock scene a few years ago and are still going strong. Their second album, produced by the legendary David Barbe for New West Records was released last summer. It's called "Manners." And it's so good. Find it on iTunes and Spotify. Check around your city for tour dates.

To see their new video, click here and read this article from "Paste Magazine."

I started listening to my vinyl records again. Last Saturday, as I wrote my Saturday post, I listened to Jethro Tull's "Aqualung." It was a genius move. Later in the week, I got in a conversation about vinyl on this guy I follow's Instagram post. Inspired me to brush off my most prized vinyl: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's Live: 1975-1985. 5 Vinyl set. OMG!

Speaking of music. I Tweeted that ^ on the other day. It holds true.

My lovely Valentine got me that beauty ^ for Valentine's Day. Just lovely. Can't wait to re-watch it!

Can Cameron Crowe finally bring it back to the "Jerry Maquire" into "Almost Famous" into "Vanilla Sky" glory days? Don't get me wrong. Crowe has proven incapable of making a "bad" movie. Even "Elizabethtown" was totally lovable, filled with great music, excellent performances. It just ended up all sappy and meaningless. "We Bought a Zoo" is a fine movie with all of that as well. It was just way too easy.

The first full trailer for Cameron Crowe's newest movie "Aloha" dropped this week. It stars Bradley Cooper as a military contractor in Hawaii battling previous glory and love woes in a triangle featuring the just on fire Emma Stone and Rachel McAdams. Three actors at presumably the tops of their games. Then, you add in Bill Murray, Danny McBride, Alec Baldwin, John Krasinski. What could go wrong?

As for the trailer itself, it's very well-done. Love the song choice. The movie looks incredible. Hawaii locations always help. Looks to me like they've used a bit of that "Lost" hilltop location. Man! I miss that show. Anyway, this trailer has confirmed also just how much I love Emma Stone. Some of those shots of her just have me swooning. What is it about her?  Anyway, I can't wait to see this movie. Releases around Memorial Day.

Amanda and I are officially caught up on "The Walking Dead." I think I've said it before, but this show was not initially for me. I had to force myself through the third season. But, man, am I glad I did!

I don't know what happened. I've done no research. But, starting around the middle of season four, this show got great! I'm talking cinematic. It's not fully up there with the likes of a Mad Men or a True Detective or a The Affair (more on that in a minute), but it could get there.

The latest episode, a mid-season premier episode called "What Happened and What's Going On" is the most beautifully crafted episode of the series yet. It centers around Tyreese (Chad Coleman of HBO's "The Wire") and the gang's mission to bring Noah (Tyler James Williams) back to his home. But is there a home left in this world? This was just an incredibly intense, emotional episode of a show that I believe has finally found the right combination of show-runner, writers, and directors. Plus, the cast is now nicely whittled down to the right set of people.  

Let's talk about Showtime's "The Affair," starring Dominic West and Ruth Wilson. Three emotionally taxing episode in, and we can't stop. This show is genius. It feels like reading a good novel that you can't read a lot of at once but can't wait to get back to.

It is dark, though sometimes light, and sexy as hell. West plays Noah Solloway, a school teacher with one published novel, married to Helen (Maura Tierney). They go to Montauk every summer to spend time at the beach and with Helen's uber-wealthy parents. Wilson plays Alison, a local woman around town, married to Cole (Joshua Jackson), a horse-trainer at a nearby ranch.

I'm not far in but the Golden Globe wins for Best Drama and Best Actress, I can already tell you, are no joke. This series is the real deal. And, as far as narrative is concerned, it's the most original cable drama series yet.

At Amanda's request, we re-watched Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's "This is the End" the other day. It holds up. It's front-loaded, way funnier in the earlier scenes, but it's a slice of genius that I ranked number five of 2013.

On Thursday night, I watched Gia Coppola's "Palo Alto" as part of my 2014 Movie Cram quest. There is much to admire. Really dreamy like Sofia, meandering like Korine, reminiscent but not quite as vile as Larry Clark's "Kids." I would be interested to read the short story collection it's based on, written by James Franco. And the young actors, including Emma Roberts, Val Kilmer's kid, Jack, and the up-and-coming Nat Wolff ("TFIOS", this year's "Paper Towns") is just perfect.

It's far from perfect, but I'm recommending it.

In Serial Podcast fan news, this:

If you haven't listened to Sarah Koenig's groundbreaking, intense, genius new podcast, produced by This American Life, the do it now. Please. I need more people to talk to about this.

In True Detective Season 2 news, these:


Andrew at A Fistful of Films finally saw and reviewed "Blue Ruin."

Brittani at Rambling Film reviews "Tusk," a movie I plan to see soon.

Ryan at The Matinee did a post on the "Aloha" trailer, posing some of my same thoughts and questions.

Alex at And So It Begins... threw down a comprehensive James Bond breakdown.

Mette at French Toast Sunday remembers "Fried Green Tomatoes" as part of the genius Netflix Rainbow series.


  1. Thanks for the link! I hope you enjoy seeing Theory today. I loved it.

    I'm glad Chad Coleman got to be the main focus of that episode. He really brought it. I have a love/hate relationship with TWD, but I've always loved Chad/Tyreese.

    Palo Alto was pretty decent. Definitely not a bad movie at all.

    1. No problem. Just got back from Theory. Really good. Beautifully shot. Redmayne's looking like he might run away with it next Sunday.

      Agreed. Coleman is a fine TV actor. I've been a fan since he played Cutty on The Wire. I feel the same way about TWD. It's so hit and miss. That's a show that's just been messed with too damn much. No direction at all for three seasons, then, boom!, great last couple of seasons, for the most part.

      I was surprised by Palo Alto. It was quite a bit different from what I imagined going in.

  2. So out of the loop. Haven't seen a single episode of any show you mentioned. Sad. Aloha looks interesting. I hope Crowd dies return to his glory days. His work had been rather underwhelming lately. Cool post.

    1. Thanks, man. This one looks like he's getting back to the Maguire/Elizabethtown-type story. Hopefully, he pulls it off like he did with the former.

  3. I just LOVE these posts!

    I really want to love Bradley Cooper, but I just can't. Like...I don't like him. BUT, that trailer looked conventionally lovely and Emma Stone is always a YES from me, so I'm in.

    Thanks for the link bro.

    1. Thanks once again, man. I really like the reflection aspect of doing these.

      I've just always found Bradley Cooper impressive. Honestly, I think it stems from my love of Wet Hot American Summer. The character he plays there is just so ridiculous and then the next time I saw him was in fucking Wedding Crashers, likewise ridiculous. Hangover, etc. Then he does just astounding, manic, dramatic work in the David O. Russell duo. I'm just impressed with his range.

      No problem!