Can't understand a word these guys are saying, but it's still pretty cool -- I'm fascinated by Frank's popularity among the counterculture in Czechoslovakia, and the warm welcome he received there after the collapse of its communist regime.
(Well, "today" by the time you read this. As I'm writing this it's still February 22. By the time this posts I expect to be nowhere near my keyboard. ...but there are still going to be people in my house. Don't try to rob the place.)
So, breaking from Zappa, here's the song we used for our first dance.
We connected on match.com, some four years ago. One of the first things we bonded over was a mutual appreciation of The Jerk. So, to that end, here's Tonight You Belong to Me, performed by Folk Uke:
Folk Uke are, as the name implies, a comedy folk ukelele duo, made up of Cathy Guthrie and Amy Nelson. They are the daughters of exactly the two famous musicians you think they are. You can buy their self-titled album, on which the studio version of Tonight You Belong to Me appears, on Amazon or direct from Rising Son Records.
Caught a rather interesting and unlikely pair of movies last night: Beasts of the Southern Wild and Hotel Transylvania.
Beasts isn't like most movies, and it took me awhile to really hit a point where I could describe what I was seeing. But at the point where Hush Puppy finally comes face-to-face with the aurochses, it hit me: a movie about a little girl, with one parent missing and the other suffering from a vague illness, a watery disaster, strange beasts, strange houses, and strange modes of transportation? This is a live-action Miyazaki movie. I don't really give a shit about the Oscars, but it's nice to see this movie nominated for a few because the film, its director, its writers, and its stars deserve the recognition.
Hotel Transylvania is, of course, a thoroughly different animal, but I enjoyed it. The script was decent enough, Sandler and the other SNL vets' hammy performances suited the material, and, most notably, Tartakovsky managed to pull off some cool Tex Avery/Chuck Jones shit that you really don't see in a lot of CG films. It leads me to believe that he's just the right guy to take a stab at the Fleischer style in a Popeye movie.
The theme of Skyfall is the conflict between the old and the new. You can tell because every third line of dialogue reminds you of this.
I think the trouble is that the writers and director don't seem quite clear on what that premise actually means.
Does Silver represent the new, because he is a computer hacker and a new kind of enemy? Or does he represent the old, because he's a Cold War-era agent who's gone rogue for reasons that are entirely tied to the way M has run MI6?
There's also the question of the contrast between the original Bond films and the Craig-era ones. This movie makes a big point of bringing back the trappings of the original films -- Moneypenny, Q, a 1960 Aston Marton with machine guns -- but it also makes a big point of how the original movies felt a lot more high-tech and futuristic than the current ones. (The gadgets Q gives Bond are "A radio and a gun -- not exactly Christmas, is it?") So which is the old and which is the new? And that's before you even get into the point that Craig's Bond, and Casino Royale as a whole, are throwbacks to Fleming's novels, the oldest version of Bond there is.
There's another conflict between the old and the not-quite-so-old: the last two Bond films seemed intent on introducing Quantum as the new, non-infringing version of SPECTRE, a shadowy organization that would pose a recurring threat through the rebooted franchise. And then, in Skyfall? No trace of Quantum at all. We're back to isolated, one-off villains -- perhaps because someone at the recovering-from-bankruptcy MGM realized that self-contained movies without recurring villains just make more sense for the film franchise. (Hell, even when the old films were using Blofeld as their go-to villain, they still had a different actor in the role every time; it may as well have been a different character.)
On the whole, though, it all hung together pretty well; I thoroughly enjoyed the first and third act. (The second act was stupid and had Magic Computers. I don't know where the writer picked up the phrase "security through obscurity", but apparently he missed the part where it is not an expression any security professional would ever use without sneering. The less said about the movie's idea of data encryption and depiction of code as a stupid-looking early-1990's wireframe screensaver the better.) But nonetheless, perfectly decent. Though I'm kinda glad I waited to see it at the cheap theater.
There's not really anything I could say about Valentine's Day that wouldn't be either a cliché banality or a banal cliché. So instead I'm going to talk about this Ska Brewing Molé Stout I bought at Top's yesterday.
It's good! It's dark, it's chocolatey, it's got a hint of peppers. And it's four bucks a six-pack at Top's! I will probably buy more.
Guess that's it. Off to dinner and Die Hard 5: Son of Die Hard.
You Are What You Eat (1968) is a strange, psychedelic and convoluted film as incoherent as its hippy brethren 200 Motels (1971) and Rainbow Bridge (1972). It belongs with that small collection of movies in which more people own the soundtrack than have actually seen the film. The soundtrack is phenomenal. The bright yellow cover is as eccentric as the vinyl itself that features audio cut-ups, squealing Moog synthesizers, relentless psychedelic improvisations, lounge music, Tiny Tim oddities, and the final appearance of The Hawks before they changed their name to The Band.
The list of those involved with the film is an incredible roster of counter culture heroes and weirdos. Tiny Tim, The Electric Flag, Frank Zappa, Peter Yarrow, Paul Butterfield, Super Spade, David Crosby, Hamsa El Din, Barry McGuire, the radio personality Rosko and several others.