Upon the death of Robin Williams a few weeks ago, I wondered if Dead Poets Society (Touchstone Pictures) would hold up after all these years. It's been #1 on my all-time list since its 1989 release, but since it's been at least ten years since I viewed it, I had to question whether or not it would still move me. Turns out that I was more thrilled and shocked by Dead Poets Society than ever. I'm a sucker for almost any movie about coming of age and rejecting conformity, and Williams and a fab ensemble cast turn in some remarkable performances--the film is still a wonder. I excerpted the audio of a classic scene to air on my radio show back in August. It's the scene where Williams instructs his young students to rip an "introduction to poetry" section out of their textbooks. Indeed, "this isn't about laying pipe--it's about poetry." In a nutshell, the beauty of life. There's something ironic about that now. Williams will be missed for a long time to come.
I look for movies that are honest and emotional, and was more than charmed by 2013's Frances Ha (IFC Films). It's the story of a 27 year old woman (Greta Gerwig) struggling to make it in New York; she is fabulous because she brings a complex character to life, one full of youthful energy and mistake making, dealing with a lonely streak and a deep commitment to her best friend (played by Mickey Sumner). The movie was shot digitally, and then de-colorized to black and white; it's a stunning presentation. And the script, written by director Noah Baumbach and Gerwig, is everything you remember about finding your feet and not-quite maturing yet: It's profane and innocent, silly and cutting, and a whole lot more. Someone referred to Frances Ha as "just above Mumblecore," which is a lame, trendy term--not to mention an assessment that just doesn't hold up.
The Seattle Mariners are still in a pennant race, just behind Oakland and KC for a wildcard birth, but it's not so great to be a baseball fan in the Northwest these days.
Ten years of mediocre to poor baseball have produced a lethargic fanbase when compared to the World Champion Seahawks. Recently, I was listening to a Mariners game and midway through, the Seahawks pre-game show cut off the baseball game. When that happens, you have to move your ESPN radio setting to a crappy conservative station in order to hear the rest of the Mariners game. It's ridiculous--you suck, ESPN! You should make Seahawks fans--not Mariners lovers--switch to the other station; NFL fans will lap up anything. Scads of people wear football shirts in my locale, very few baseball. I found a good looking Mariners shirt at Goodwill but there was a little hole on the backside of the material, so I'll have to keep searching.
If you could slap someone who's an inventor, who would it be? Back in the '80s and '90s, I would have liked to have slapped the person who came up with the CD jewel box; drop the damned thing, and it's useless. Nowadays, I would yell at the inventor of the new-fangled car alarm, the one that beeps the car horn when people lock their auto and walk away from it. Why am I subjected to that noisy crap?
I was asked if I'd like to choose some music for a display at the library where I work! There's a little sign that plugs my show and there are three shelves to put up some discs that library patrons can checkout and take home. So far, they've gone for Derek & the Dominos' Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (Eric Clapton's finest hour by a mile), Joni Mitchell's Blue (slightly better than a few of her other best records), Ron Sexsmith's Retriever and The Exciting Wilson Pickett. I have other stuff ready to restock the display, such as The Buena Vista Social Club (the DVD, since we no longer have the album).
A final note: I overheard two parents and their son in the movie section of the library last week. They were trying to find him something for him to watch, and kept badgering him about what he wanted to learn. The couple insisted that he have a goal, make something of himself, and not melt his mind watching a bunch of garbage that other children watch. That might be a good parental strategy for young students close to college age, but I looked around the corner and saw that this kid was about 12 years old; "let him be a kid," I thought. Neither parent let up. "Son, tell me what you're interested in!" demanded the father, getting more intense. I could hear the boy answer, kind of sheepishly, "pirates."