Alright, last things first:
No, I am not going to be finished the first draft of the book by midnight. Per usual, Life rears it’s ugly head and derails my best laid plans. Sick baby… sick me… the Holiday season and the ever-lasting cock-block of full-time employment have set me back a tad. That being said, a new year and a fresh decade are upon us and I, for one, embrace the change and the chance to redeem the last wasted decades of my Life. The book will be done in time to get my proof done before July. Period. End of fucking sentence.
Secondly, I realize that the last post, which was supposed to be a kick-ass widget for, well, KICK-ASS, didn’t work a lick. Oh well, qué será, será. I have removed the big white square where it should have been. Doesn’t change the fact that I am stoked to see it.
Now… onto the 2009 LIST OF STUFF THAT MADE MY YEAR.
‘Bruises’ by Chairlift
I know it’s totally cheez. I know it’s terribly unhip of me to like a song from an iPod commercial. Suck it. This song takes me straight back to 1987, when I was a mere lad of 13, standing awkward, hopeful and blissfully unawares on the brink of truly discovering the great mystery of Life… women. I remember standing in the corner of a Jr. High School gym, at my first ‘school dance’, 80’s wool-blend preppie suit, sleeves pushed up to the elbows, skinny leather tie… waiting for one of the big-haired, Wham-lovin’ teeny-bopper girls (who all look vaguely like Molly Ringwald in my memory) to take my hand and lead me to the promised land of slow dances and lip-smacker kisses.
This is the most unrepentantly 80’s style synth pop I’ve heard since the Thomspon Twins seperated and the Flock of Seagulls took wing for distant shores. And I love it. What I love even more is the lyrics, perfectly expressing the obsessive, and often self-destructive, need to prove our love and gain the acceptance of people we find ourselves in thrall to.
AWAY WE GO
I’ve enjoyed most of Sam Mendes’ previous flicks, but always felt that , while he has a deep mastery of the cinematic art, he needed to work on establishing realistic characters and feelings of sympathy or empathy towards them. Well, I now stand corrected. AWAY WE GO was my favorite film of the year. Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski both played against type. The writing was deep, full of emotion and felt more real than any 10 Hollywood blockbuster bullshit fests (no doubt due to the literary graces of the almighty Dave Eggers). The thing that most moved me, heowever, was one single scene between Rudolph and Krasinski’s characters and their best friends, played by Chris Messina and the always phenomenal and criminally underused Melanie Lynskey. Messina and Lynskey play a married couple with an armload of racially diverse, yet happy, well-adjusted and obviously loved, adopted children. We learn that Munch (Lynskey) has had numerous miscarriages in her attempts to provide a ‘natural’ child. It’s almost mentioned in passing and the focus remains on what a happy and incredible couple these two really are. After a night of friendly revelry and sweet comraderie between the friends, all of the previous assumptions about Tom and Munch are shattered during a conversation at an after-hours club where Tom reveals that Munch has – mere days before – suffered yet another miscarriage. And during his confession and the heartwrenching monologue he carries about family and loss, Lynskey appears on the stage and dances to The Velvet Underground song ‘Oh Sweet Nothin’ slowly turning a seductive non-strip-tease into a heartbreaking expression of pure sadness. It’s an amazing scene. As anybody who knows me would be able to tell you… ‘Oh Sweet Nothin’ is one of my all-time favorite songs to begin with, but the emotional uppercut Mendes manages to deliver in that scene through the use of that song and Lynskey’s amazing talent for understated, yet powerful emotive acting blew my brains clean out my ears.
This is a BBC series from back in the very beginning of the decade (2001-2003) but I only recently discovered it after becoming enamored of Dylan Moran’s stand-up. The show features Moran as a curmudgeonly Irish bookshop owner who spends his days smoking, drinking and chasing away customers with his outbursts of misanthropic anger. My wife has repeatedly asserted that this character – Bernard Black – is what I would have been, had I been raised in the Motherland and never gotten married. True. So true. The show also features the hilarious Bill Bailey as Bernard’s oddball man Friday and Tamsin Greig as their ubiquitous gal-pal Fran, who drinks, smokes and cavorts even more than they themselves. Watch for a bevvy of cameos from England’s best, including Pegg and Frost, their SPACED costar Jess Stevenson, the lovely Lucy Davis, Nina Conti, and Martin Freeman as well as Annete Crosbie and Sam Kelly. My new favorite TV series EVER!
Right! Which one of you bitches wants to dance?
The best viral video I saw this year was the special Halloween offering from Adam Green, director of HATCHET and FROZEN. Starring Paul Solet as the Boston Southie version of smilin’ Vince Shlomi of TV infomercial and hooker-slapping fame. You have never heard so many perfectly placed ‘Fakkin’s’ in all your life, kid. And I quote “It’s Holloween, ya got Trick r’ treatahs up the ass, your kids are runnin around like retahds… YOU ain’t got time to be cahvin’ a muthafackin’ punkin’ KID!’
In April 1964, Van Morrison answered an ad for musicians to play at a new R&B club in Belfast, Ireland. The new venue at the Maritime Hotel needed a full band to play for opening night. Morrison, who had already been touring Europe in various showbands and R&B combos since he was 17, quickly cobbled together a band from his pals in a band called The Gamblers. They called themselves ‘Them’ and headlined the Maritime, gaining momentum and acclaim until they were signed by Decca and released two albums, THEM and THEM AGAIN from which erupted 10 singles including such classics as ‘Gloria’, ‘Mystic Eyes’ and ‘Here Comes The Night’. They toured the US in 1966 and found themselves at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go with The Doors in the opening slot. After disputes over finances with noted Decca scumbag Phil Solomon and with their US work visas expering, the band returned to the Emerald Isle and soon broke up, with Morrison going on to become one of the most influential folk-pop songwriters of the past 30 years. I recently rediscovered my love of THEM with my unearthing of a couple of vinyl LP’s of those two albums and was absolutley boggled by how truly influential they have been, and hwo well they still stand up today. There is no better slave for the soul than a good rolicking collection of R&B boogie and Van Morrison and Them are among the greatest to ever grace the genre.
The Rebirth of TREK
J.J. Abrams big screen resurrection of STAR TREK could have easily become an inexcusable fiasco. Rebooting the longest-running, world-wide, nutso fanboy franchise in human history was a risky proposition to start with, let alone using the ol’ ‘time-space/alternate reality’ chestnut, but J.J. came through for Trekkers and non-Trekkers alike. The new TREK flick was a rollicking adventure story filled with top-flight FX, humor, romance, bromance, derring-do, macho rivalry and just enough reverence to Gene Rodenberry’s creation to avoid backlash from the unruly geek mobs. The cast was stellar and perfectly chosen to emulate their predecessors without resorting to cheap imitation. Both Chris Pine and Zach Quinto now have huge Hollywood careers to look forward to. Anton Yelchin and Zoe Saldana have cemented their backup cred and John Cho was rescued from the wasteland of endless HAROLD & KUMAR sequels. My personal favorites were Simon Pegg as a lovably upbeat Scotty and the always reliable Karl Urban absolutely nailing the irascible personality and sardonic wit that the late, great DeForrest Kelly imbued Dr. McCoy with in the original pantheon of TREK.
Here’s to a whole new world of ‘Boldly Going Where No Human Has Gone Before’ in the Twenty-Tens.