Why I Listen to Screamo

One of my favorite movies ever.

At this point in my life I really should know better than to play the music and  movies that I like for other people: I have a terrible track record. Starting with playing a Bloodhound Gang song for a girlfriend in high school (I still think Asleep at the Wheel is sort of catchy, but I’m deliberately not linking to it out of shame) and going up through playing Voices of a Distant Star for my parents a couple of years ago. At the conclusion my mother–my own mother–responded with “That was supposed to be good?” For the record: it is very, very good and I highly recommend it. See? I know better, but I still can’t stop.

In that vein, I wrote a long piece that I’m inordinately proud of called “Why I Listen to Screamo” and posted it at Times and Seasons last night. I had misgivings about posting it, but I thought that the piece was interesting even if you didn’t listen to the music. Then again, with several YouTube videos embedded of Thrice, Underoath, and Emery, folks probably will listen to the music. And if you haven’t listened to that kind of music before, it can sound a bit like sonic assault and battery. (The fact that I drew a direct parallel between “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” and “The Artist in the Ambulance” probably didn’t win me any new friends either!)

I know that, in a sense, I should stop. But I’m not sure if I really want to or not. Playing eclectic music and movies for people backfires more often than not, but I’m sort of hoping it’s like a high-risk / high-reward activity. Maybe the “hits” will be fewer, but the connections formed will be all the sweeter for it? Who knows, but if any of this has drawn your interest, go read my original piece and let me know (there) what you think.

Here’s a Distraction: Funny Les Mis Review

I’m a little behind on my blogging for DR this week because I’m working on some pieces for other websites (which I shall dutifully link to here). In the meantime, David Edlestein’s review of the new Les Mis movie made me laugh out loud at several points, starting with this:

For the musical Les Misérables, director Tom Hooper has his cast of stars perform the songs live on-camera instead of having them lip-synch to prerecorded tracks, which is the norm. He doesn’t want you to forget the momentousness of his grand design, either. When an actor begins to sing, the camera rushes in and fastens on the performer’s face, positioning itself just below the head, somewhere between the navel and the Adam’s apple—and canted from 30 to 45 degrees, although the angle changes as the performer moves and the operator scampers to keep up. I imagined the cameraman to be small, fleet, and extremely high strung, like Gollum. The actors must have had to cultivate an inner stillness to keep from recoiling from him/it.

It gets even better, so read and enjoy. I particularly enjoyed re-reading it in David‘s voice, once I recognized his name as the film critic for NPR’s Fresh Air. It’s definitely given me a review style to aspire to!

Yes, but Angus T. Jones Still Thinks It’s Filth…

On Monday the Internet was abuzz with news that Angus T. Jones (the “1/2” from “Two and a Half Men”) had found Jesus, declared the show “filth” and asked people to stop watching it. (He’s stuck making it for another year because of a contract.) To which I responded “It took him 10 years to notice?” Yesterday, Vulture (a popular blog covering the media) printed Angus’s apology and noted that we now had “Two polar opposite perspectives.”  Except that we don’t. Angus apologized to the cast and crew of the show (who depend for their livelihood on people watching it) and also expressed gratitude to Lorre and others (for giving him 10 years of work and stacks of cash), but the heart of his earlier comment was that the show is “filth”. Nothing he said actually retracted that. And why should he?