Sunday, April 28, 2013

In Memoriam: George Jones (1931 - 2013)

I remember the first time I ever heard the music of George Jones. I thought to myself, "Wow, this guy was probably amazing before his stroke."

Well, George Jones never had a stroke, but lord knows he didn't lead an easy or turmoil free life, and the loving and the leaving and the drinking and the smoking and the demons all led to one of the greatest country voices of all time, if not the greatest. If Pavarotti had been born in Tennessee, he would've sounded something like George Jones... after his stroke, that is.

Anyway, I always liked the guy and I'm sad he's gone.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Spielberg-A-Thon Part 20: Schindler's List

This is not an easy film to watch, so you can imagine how difficult it was to review, so forgive me for taking an extra week. It's a brilliant work of art and I hope I did it justice:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Iron & Wine: Ghost on Ghost

I have a funny story about Iron & Wine: Years ago, a girl I was dating at the time and I went to see Iron & Wine at First Avenue in Minneapolis, MN. We drove past the venue while looking for a place to park, and I saw a homeless man standing out front -- shaggy beard, dirty clothes, fat, etc -- and joked, "look! It's Iron & Wine!" My girlfriend got really excited and looked over, then got pissed when she saw it was just some gross bum.

Then, later on that evening, after we were inside and Iron & Wine took the stage... we both looked at one another in shock. That guy I thought was a bum was actually the guy from Iron & Wine.

True story. Anyway, I told you that story because I have nothing much to say about this new album other that it's brilliant and you should buy it.

Monday, April 15, 2013


42 is the new biopic about Jackie Robinson, and while it isn't a great movie, there's a great movie hidden in there, just waiting to be excavated and dug out by a merciless editor. Anyway, it's still a very good film, a very important story, and I recommend it highly. I loved it.

It's a story most people know, of course, about the first African American to enter the realm of Major League Baseball, but it's the kind of movie you can know but not actually now. I've only known the cliff notes version of the story, without actually knowing much about the man or what his incredible accomplishment actually entailed. This is not an easy movie to watch, since the language and attitudes and the racism of the time are such integral parts of the story. You will be disgusted and sickened and angered by what you'll see, but that's kind of the point and it's something that we as Americans need to be faced with and reminded of constantly. We did some horrible things, and it was only because of heroes like Jackie Robinson and Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey that we are where we are today.

So that's why I can forgive the movie for occasionally being trite, hokey, and sometimes guilty of hero worship instead of showing Jackie Robinson as an actual human being with faults and frailties.

This isn't a movie about Jackie Robinson, so much as a movie about what he did and what he represented.

Anyway, I loved it and recommend it highly. See it for the story. See it for the exceptional baseball sequences. See it for its historical importance. See it for the star making performance by newcomer Chadwick Boseman or the Oscar-worthy performance by screen veteran Harrison Ford, who, for maybe the first time in his entire career, actually acts.

But just see it.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

In Memoriam: Jonathan Winters (1925 - 2013)

I'll admit, I was never the biggest Jonathan Winters fan. I'm a joke man. I like a set up and a punch line. Jonathan Winters didn't do any of that. I don't know what Jonathan Winters did. I don't think anybody knew what Jonathan Winters did, least of all Jonathan Winters himself. He just came out and talked, usually as anybody but Jonathan Winters.

But funny is funny, and lord knows the man was as funny as anybody. He will be missed.

Monday, April 8, 2013

In Memoriam: Margaret Thatcher (1925 - 2013)

For over a decade Margaret Thatcher was the most powerful woman on the face of the Earth, and probably neck and neck with Reagan and Gorbachev for the most powerful over all. She was a staple of my childhood, and I can't remember any other world leader in power during the course of my life who was as dynamic or inspiring.