Author: rnhaas

1976, Music

Blackheart Man (1976) by Bunny Wailer

When I first heard Peter Tosh’s solo stuff, it was a revelation. I couldn’t believe how much more I liked it than the Wailers. And I sort of stupidly assumed that it was specifically Tosh I liked and the Wailers I didn’t like so much. I already knew I liked Tosh’s Wailers songs more than …

2009, Books, Non-Fiction

The Buyout of America (2009) by Josh Kosman

The problem with making big predictions in your book is that, when they either do not come true or only partially come true, you kind of look like an idiot. (I should say you “should” look like an idiot because we humans love to listen to people who’ve failed in their predictions time and again. …

2021, Movies

Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash (2021, Edwin)

This film is many things all at once. It is, kind of incredibly, based on a novel, which made my confusion over what happens all the deeper, as the thing that I can’t resolve feels like its the kind of issue that wouldn’t exist in a book. So I’m wondering if something was lost in …

2021

Dashcam (2021, Rob Savage)

The people who made this movie are extremely enamoured with Annie Hardy. I didn’t know anything about her though she’s actually only a few months older than me. If I had encountered her music when I first encountered Anal Cunt or when I was, say, 22, I can imagine also being enamoured by her music. …

2021, Movies

Huda’s Salon (2021, Hany Abu-Assad)

This is an excellent, taut thriller about blackmail and hard choices in Palestine. It is mostly extremely well done and really worth checking out both for how it works as a movie and for its message of how hard it is to be moral in a place where you feel like you have no allies. …

2021, Movies, TV

Attica (2021, Stanley Nelson)

All I really knew about Attica was the scene in Dog Day Afternoon, a movie I’ve seen way too many times. I had some vague idea of the riot, but that was it. This documentary collects interviews from the prisoners, the “Observer’s Committee” and the families of some of the guards to re-tell the story …

2021, Music, TV

The Bob’s Burgers Music Album Vol. 2 (2021)

The second volume of music from Bob’s Burgers is another massive collection of original songs interspersed with some deliberately bad covers. Like the first volume it is full of catchy stuff performed extremely campily. It’s more evidence that this show has about the best use of music of any similar “sitcom” since The Simpsons. There …

2001, Music

It’s a Wonderful Life (2001) by Sparklehorse

Mark Linkous was one of the more reliable lo fi singer-songwriters of the 1990s, both for quality of songs – and relative paucity of song fragments – and for relative stylistic diversity with those songs. I’ve only heard the first two records before this one but I appreciated his diversity paired with song quality and …

2001, Music

No More Drama (2001) by Mary J. Blige

So, I basically only know Mary J. Blige from her hits and maybe some guest appearances. I thought I had listened to an album of hers at some point in the past but there are no reviews so I must have decided not to. I’m not really sure why, I guess I decided the combination …

1977, Books, Fiction

A Book of Common Prayer (1977) by Joan Didion

I’m in marketing. But I cannot for the life of me understand the cover of my copy of this novel, “published in Canada.” (Actually distributed by PaperJacks and published in New York. Anyway…) The cover tells me it’s “A story of passion” and there is an elegant woman’s hand in soft focus, holding a lighter. …

1996, Music

ATLiens (1996) by Outkast

Somehow I’ve actually managed to listen to a substantial portion of Outkast’s catalogue at this point. But I’m sorry to say I’m still not really in a position to evaluate this album (or any of them) in relation to the catalogue simply because it’s usually a year or so between listens. Unfortunately, I don’t remember …

2019, Books, Non-Fiction

Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland (2019) by Patrick Radden Keefe

This is an excellent account of the disappearance of a mother of 10 during The Troubles and the surrounding context. My knowledge of The Troubles comes almost exclusively from films (mostly fictionalized) but Radden Keefe’s book gives a lot of context and history for someone like me who is pretty new to the subject.

2021, Movies

Free Guy (2021, Shawn Levy)

This is an intermittently amusing and clever film about an NPC that becomes sentient. I have to say, I had no idea what it was about from the title, though the trailer clarified that for me. On the whole, given the cast and the conceit, it’s a film that should work more often than it …

1740s, Books, Non-Fiction

An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748) by David Hume

I have always encountered Hume in quotes and summaries. At some point, it to the point where I felt weird that I hadn’t ever actually read any David Hume, one of the most referenced/cited philosophers of his age and arguably one of the most important ever. (The same could be said of Spinoza, whom I …

1901, 1902, 1917, Books, Non-Fiction

Three Sea Stories: Typhoon, Falk, The Shadow-Line (1902, 1901, 1917) by Joseph Conrad

This is a collection of three pretty great Conrad novellas, the rather incredible Typhoon, Falk and The Shadow-Line. Though all three are not of the same quality, to show off many of the things that make Conrad great, including his ability to innovate and create tension at the same time. I sort of feel like …

2017, Movies

The Dawn Wall (2017, Josh Lowell, Peter Mortimer)

This is a pretty good documentary which I might have liked even more had I not stupidly already watched Free Solo first. I would strongly recommend that, if you’ve seen neither and you want to watch both, you watch The Dawn Wall first and Free Solo second. For one, that’s the chronological order of the …

2021, Movies, TV

Untold: Malice at the Palace (2021, Floyd Russ)

This is a roughly hour-long episode from a new Netflix documentary series about the infamous “Malice at the Palace.” I was just getting into basketball then – I think Pistons/Lakers may have been the first NBA finals I really watched – but I did not watch this game live as far as I know. But …

1991, Music

The Comfort Zone (1991) by Vanessa Williams

Who is this for? Some of it feels like it’s for Janet Jackson fans (who have lower standards). But some of this is for your grandma. Well, maybe your parents. Either way, some of this is super cheesy adult contemporary. (Her “signature” song being the most obvious example.) And that leads you to wonder why …

1979, TV

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979)

If you thought the 2011 remake was deliberate well, this is a deliberate six episode miniseries adaptation of the John le Carre novel. It takes its time. And if that’s a problem for you, I highly recommend avoiding this version. But, if you are interested in TV adaptations of novels and you like slow-burning plots, …

1991, Music

Pocket Full of Kryptonite (1991) by Spin Doctors

What a bizarre story. A bit like Ten but with way fewer sales and hits. “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” hit #17 in December of 1992. “Two Princes” hit #7 in April of 1993. (The album came out in August 1991.) When this came out, the world was apparently not yet ready for it. I’m …

1991, Music

Of the Heart, of the Soul and of the Cross: The Utopian Experience (1991) by P.M. Dawn

I don’t know what I would have thought about this if I hadn’t yet heard Dearest Christian already, but I have, and I can’t help but have that experience colour this one.