1964, Movies

Woman in the Dunes [砂の女 or Suna no onna] (1964)

This is a really distinct and kind of crazy film that pairs a plot that could be in a horror film with a bit of a retelling of the story of Sisyphus. It is also, perhaps, the most incredible use of sand in a movie in film history. Very mild spoilers

2001, Music

Miss E…So Addictive (2001) by Missy Elliot

I have some vague memory of beginning to listen to an earlier Missy Elliot album and then deciding to stop before my three listens because it didn’t seel enough, the reviews weren’t good enough or I felt I didn’t have enough to say (I do not remember why or even which album it was). But …

2001, Music

Moulin Rouge! Music from Baz Luhrmann’s Film (2001) by Various Artists

I have no idea what to do with this. I haven’t seen the movie. (“Then why are you reviewing the soundtrack?!?!”) And so all I have to go on is the music.

2001, Music

Break the Cycle (2001) by Staind

So this is what happens when post grunge meets nu metal? Good, I needed to know. Really, I did. Imagine if you were a fan of post grunge and you were like “This just isn’t heavy enough some of the time (really, a tiny bit) and the way we should make it heavier is to …

2001, Music

Survivor (2001) by Desinty’s Child

I can’t quite get over the congruity (and timelessness!) of writing a song about being an independent woman, while starting off the song referencing the Charlie’s Angels remake. Because, if the idea of Charlie’s Angels was ever feminist, well it’s a pretty dated and dumb version of feminism. (Smart, capable women whose lives are controlled …

1996, Music

Bringing Down the Horse (1996) by The Wallflowers

I think my brother had this album but I don’t think I ever made it far enough into his CD collection before I got to it. I had, um, zero interest. Once I was interested in the contemporary stuff he owned I certainly wasn’t interested in Dylan’s son. That single was everywhere. I must have …

1996, Music

Older (1996) by George Michael

This is my third George Michael album, in addition to at least one Wham album, and I can say, without doubt, that I’ve never liked his aesthetic. But he often makes up for that with his talent, as a performer (not just a great singer but as a versatile instrumentalist, and some who commits), as …

1991, Music

Gish (1991) by Smashing Pumpkins

There are people, usually older people, who will tell you that Gish is actually the Pumpkins’ best album, or their only good album, or something like that. I suspect these people are either just old or they are being deliberately contrarian/curmudgeonish, or they are trying to be hipsters (“I liked the Pumpkins before they were …

1991, Music

Seamonsters (1991) by The Wedding Present

We all have musical sweet spots, things we like so much that we just eat up anything that fits into those sweet spots. This album, the first I have ever heard by The Wedding Present, hits me in a few of mine. And I left wondering, not for the first time, why it took me …

1991, Music

Blessed Are the Sick (1991) by Morbid Angel

So yes, I’m listening to this without ever having heard Altars of Madness. That is likely a mistake but I have a good reason: despite its reputation within the metal community, mainstream critical appreciation isn’t really there, so I missed it in 2019. As a result, I’m likely going to say something stupid.

1991, Music

Spellbound (1991) by Paula Abdul

I know very little about Paula Abdul. I remember a couple of her songs – and, honestly, remember the video for “Rush Rush” than I do the song – and I remember some vague reason for her being kicked off some talent TV show. That’s it. So I was expecting some kind of early ’90s …

1954, Movies

Sansho dayu [Sansho the Bailiff] (1954), directed by Kenji Mizoguchi

There’s a high standard to meet “The Greatest Film of All Time.” Though it’s sometimes not #1 on lists, Sansho the Bailiff has been called “The Greatest Film of All Time,” “Perfect” and many other things and when it’s not considered the single greatest, it’s often on a very short list. It’s even harder for …

2020, 2021, Basketball, Sports

Your 2020-21 Toronto Raptors

To tell you the truth, I’m still basking in the glow of NBA Champion Toronto Raptors. I don’t care if it’s been nearly two years. I didn’t think they would ever win the championship. The day before the Kawhi trade, I would have bet you money they never would have in my lifetime. Its’ still …

1986, Music

Raising Hell (1986) by Run-D.M.C.

Full disclosure, as usual: I know little about hip hop. But, that being said, the more I learn about hip hop the more I get at least some idea of what matters and what doesn’t. And I feel like I might be able to say that this has to be one of the most consequential …

1986, Music

Top Gun Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1986) by Various Artists

Like everyone else my age, I have seen Top Gun more than a few times. Unlike virtually every other boy my age, I didn’t like it. I think it’s because I recognized it was dumb but more because everything else I knew seemed to love it. And I was already watching old war movies and …

1981, Music

East Side Story (1981) by Squeeze

Can I admit something to you? I thought “Tempted” was from the ’60s. Of course, if I’d really listened to it, I might have noticed it wasn’t. But I became familiar with it when I was young and before I had an ear that could spot time and genre differences. And I guess I just …

1981, Music

Computer World [Computerwelt] (1981) by Kraftwerk

There’s an argument to be made that Kraftwerk are one of the most influential bands of the 1970s, given how they are more responsible than anyone for the transition from the fairly abstract tone poems of ’70s German electronic to synthpop. That’s an argument I’m extremely receptive to on their pioneering mid and late ’70s …

1976, Music

Turnstiles (1976) by Billy Joel

I have trouble putting into words how much I hate Billy Joel, especially late ’70s Billy Joel. Basically I don’t like anything about his music, though occasionally there will be something redeeming. And I’m getting to that point where I should be inured to him, where the animus should be wearing off. But it’s not.