This is where I collect all of my Kulturblog-esque observations that don't really fit in with my usual posts. Here are my recommendations for movies, music, and television.
The first thing you'll hear about this movie is that it is a Woody Allen picture. Personally, I love Woody, but I know he turns some people off. This is not your typical Woody Allen movie. For starters, he's not in it, it's not a comedy, and the plot doesn't involve an ugly old man hooking up with an improbably young and attractive young woman. This is a complete departure from his recent work and you'd never guess in a million years that he wrote it.
Did he write all the British dialogue? There is only one American character, and this movie is full of British slang. How good is this movie? It's so good that not even Scarlett Johansson can ruin it. See this movie.
Death Cab for Cutie, "Plans"
When I was younger, I used to worry that eventually I'd stop liking new music. My parents never seemed to like anything recorded after they had graduated from high school and I guess I thought that was normal.
Fortunately, this hasn't happened to me (yet). Some of my favorite bands have come out in the last couple years, like Bloc Party, The Bravery, Franz Ferdinand, The Killers, and The Postal Service. I thought Death Cab's previous album, "Transatlanticism," was just okay, but this new one is great. I love-love-love this album, especially "Soul Meets Body." It's so good that it will soon get way overexposed. I heard it at a Starbucks the other day, so you've been warned. Enjoy this album before it shows up in a Volkswagen commercial.
The Alternative, VH1 Classic. Shown Wed., Thurs., Sun., 11 am and 11 pm Eastern.
Do you remember when MTV used to play music videos? It wasn't all that great. They played the same videos over and over again, usually something terrible like "Naughty Naughty" by Danger Danger or "Funky Cold Medina." However, there were always two hours a week when they played great, new music, during the alternative music show "120 Minutes." There used to be a time when getting a video shown just once on 120 Minutes could make a no-name band. Most famously, when the members of Garbage were looking for a lead singer, they saw Shirley Manson on 120 Minutes and recruited her.
MTV eventually moved the show to MTV2, where I watched it for a few years (when I actually got MTV2). They finally killed it off in favor of Wild Boyz re-runs. Isn't that how life works? Well, 120 Minutes may be dead, but into the breach steps "The Alternative" on VH1 Classic. It's only an hour long, but it's on three times a week. Does anyone actually get VH1 Classic channel? Yes, it's one of those sixty channels in the hundreds range on digital cable that no one ever watches. Well, you should watch this show.
I tivo the show so I can fast-forward through the videos that I don't like. They skew mostly eighties and nineties alternative, which is perfect for my musical taste. Many of the videos from the early eighties are very amusing but nearly unwatchable. That is okay, because the music is great. I've already ordered two cds because of this show. I saw a Nick Cave video ("Do You Love Me?") I hadn't seen since I was 16 and had forgotten how much I liked. Also, though I am a huge Depeche Mode fan, I had never heard early DM song "Get the Balance Right."
To give you a better idea of the type of music, here is a list of the videos shown on the most recent episode (I've bolded the songs I like):
The Church, "Reptile"
Liz Phair, "Supernova"
Sonic Youth, "100%"
P.J. Harvey, "Down by the Water"
They Might Be Giants, "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)"
Dramarama, "Last Cigarette"
Bob Mould, "See a Little Light"
Live, "I Alone"
My Bloody Valentine, "Only Shallow"
The Cure, "Fascination Street"
Depeche Mode, "Shake the Disease"
Gang of Four, "Cadillac"
Utah Saints, "Something Good"
Fishbone, "Everyday Sunshine"
Sure, there are a couple of duds in there (sorry, Susan M!), but who knew they were still playing Cure and Sonic Youth videos on actual television? Not me.