[photo: Graham Lucas]
Last night's show was a great kick off to what will be a memorable late summer tour. I'm sure many were happy to see them get the Mike's > Hydrogen > Weekapaug out of the way. At the same time- hearing Ghost, Bowie, Wedge...well, let's just say I would have killed to be there. But then again, what Phish show would I not want to be at? Maybe if they played BBFCFM over and over again, then I'd probably want to leave.
Also- any of you phans out there attending Festival 8? If so, drop me a line at email@example.com. Would love to connect with phans that find themselves on Great Scott regularly and want to meet the author in person!
Also, we've been posting live, b-side and rare studio Phish recordings all summer long. Check the archives for some tasty downloads.
Time Turns Elastic
Water in the Sky
Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan
Split Open and Melt
Crosseyed and Painless >
Backwards Down The Number Line
A Day In The Life
Suzy Greenberg >
Friday, July 31, 2009
New colleague and all around brain trust Mark Jordan Legan spills the beans on just what to expect this weekend at your local cineplex in Slate's Summary Judgment. Check back at Slate for daily updates and more from our favorite critic, Mark.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
The Divided Sky
The Moma Dance
The Horse >
Silent In The Morning
Mike's Song >
I Am Hydrogen >
Limb By Limb
The Squirming Coil
Back in 1994, Trey and Fishman toured with another of their off-shoot outlets, Bad Hat. The band consisted of Trey and Fish, of course, but also included Jamie Masefield and Stacey Starkwhether (now of Jazz Mandolin project). The show is a fun one. Plus it's nice to hear all these talented guys before they really made their mark.
Interesting note: Bad Hat played for two tours (Jan./Feb. and Sept. 1994). Their show program read, "Bad Hat is the quietest band in the world! They challenge anyone to play quieter."
02.23.94 Middlebury, VT
01 Tuning / Banter
02 Bag's Groove
03 Jump Monk
05 Intro / Banter / Thank You's
06 Noodling / Vamping
07 Blues For Ernie
08 Take the A-Train
09 Milestones In The Sunrise
10 So What
12 In A Sentimental Mood
13 The Country Open
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Our second to last rare phish download this summer comes to us from 2002. Dubbed, "The Victor Disc," it consists of some awesome in-studio instrumental improvisation. The record is a personal favorite of mine and a must have for any fan. The recording quality is excellent as well, so don't be worried you're downloading an analog-turned-mp3. It's as crisp and clear as they get.
1. Lazy and Red (5:57)
2. Den of Iniquity (9:55)
3. Bubble Wrap (4:34)
4. Sky Train Wand (17:24)
5. Blue Over Yellow (15:30)
6. Guantanamo Strut (17:22)
1. Victor Jam Session (11:19)
2. Heartache (0:34)
3. 35 minute jam (35:33)
4. Last Victor Jam (24:23)
EMAIL ME FOR A DOWNLOAD LINK
I realize this link has been down for quite some time. Should be up and running again now. If it craps out again, just leave a message in the comments and I will try to restore the link in as timely a fashion as possible. Enjoy!
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Since Phish officially pushed back the release of their newest studio effort "Joy" until September 7, I thought I'd do an homage today by releasing "Joy- the live version" from the front half of this summers tour. Please note that today's download is for sampling purposes only. If you like what you hear, download the entire tour right here for a mere .99 per song!
This faux-collection has been pieced together from several shows on the tour. They are, in my opinion, the best of the best from the tour. And since Phish has baffled me by not releasing Alaska on "Joy," I've added it here to replace the missing studio track I Been Around. I've also added Let Me Lie, from Trey's most recent solo record. It was too large to fit in one file, so it's split into two parts for your downloading pleasure.
1. Backwards Down The Number Line [6.14.09]
2. Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan [6.19.09]
3. Joy [6.07.09]
4. Sugar Shack [6.07.09]
5. Ocelot [6.16.09]
6. Kill Devil Falls [6.16.09]
7. Light [6.14.09]
8. Alaska [6.18.08]
9. Time Turns Elastic [6.16.09]
10. Twenty Years Later [6.05.09]
11. Let Me Lie [6.19.09]
Monday, July 27, 2009
Our next installment is a gem. Comprised of studio takes of many popular live songs, this record is reminiscent of the later Bearsville Studios discs that were leaked during the Story of the Ghost recording sessions. A slightly low-fi twinge, but that's what makes these downloads so great: the transition from analog to digital has only added a nostalgic timbre to the entire recording. Track list and download link below.
4 days til Red Rocks!
1. Dog Gone Dog
2. Uncle Pen
3. Suzie Greenberg
4. Suzie Greenberg (2nd attempt)
6. Alumni Blues
7. Take the A-Train
8. In a Mellow Tone
10.Mike’s Song >I Am Hydrogen >Weekapaug Groove
11.Rift (Alternate Version)
1. The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday >
2. Avenu Malkenu >
3. The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday
6. Harry Hood
7. Rift (Alternate Version)
8. Runaway Jim
Sunday, July 26, 2009
In gearing up for the late summer tour, we'll be doing Phish downloads all week long until Phish hits the Rock in Colorado.
Today's installment comes to us from November 29, 1997. I couldn't believe it when I first read about it in the Helping Phriendly Book years ago, but Phish took Runaway Jim and played it for an hour. It was cemented between two sets of their funkiest tour to date. And this song, in particular, seems to encapsulate entirely what this tour was about: start/stop jamming, complete free improvisation, abandonment from melody and harmony only to come full circle 56 minutes later. Essentially, this is the best cross section of Phish you're bound to come by. And you can download the entire show that night right here
Commonly referred to as the Phish Destroys America tour after the art work printed for their 12/31/97 show at Madison Square Garden, this show came when they were at their peak in many fans opinions. I'm not sure that I entirely agree with that statement, having loved their early years as well (and their stint with the Giant Country Horns in '91 especially), but I have listened to the entire '97 fall tour, and it's just about the sickest shit ever. Enjoy a glimpse of the past (and hopefully what's to come this late summer tour and fall).
DOWNLOAD: Phish- Runaway Jim [11.29.97]
Saturday, July 25, 2009
You have to hand it to Mohammed Johry, Abdel Had Kahjary Mulloul and Ashraf Sekkaki for escaping from a prison in a helicopter. It sounds so much like a Michael Bay movie I almost couldn't believe it when I read it. The only thing it's missing is a big explosion and a terrible performance by a former sit-com actor.
The really funny part about this though is that apparently helicopter associated break-outs are quite common. This lead me to ask the question: what kind of fucking morons work at these prisons that they leave inmates unguarded around an aircraft? I think it would play out a little like this...
Inmate: Hey, nice chopper.
Guard: It's a chopper.
Inmate: Yes, I said that.
Guard: Neato pants. They are orange.
Inmate: So are both my friends pants. We want to take a ride in the chopper.
Guard: I can't fly it.
Inmate: I can. May I borrow it?
The guard deliberates. Then, cautiously...
Guard: Well, okay, but you have to promise to bring it back. The last guy didn't and I got in a whole mess of trouble.
I'm not saying I'm happy that convicts are on the loose here. If anything, I'm saying that the penal system of Europe (and for that matter the U.S.) needs to step their game up. Or, jeez, I don't know, ditch the freaking helicopters! What prison has a helicopter?! Do they teach the inmates avionics or something? Cause couple that with a class in problem solving and you're training your inmates to break out!
I'm just saying, is all...
Friday, July 24, 2009
Phish.com released the art work for the forthcoming Phish record, Joy. It was set to hit stores next Tuesdsay, July 28th, but now the site reports they'll wait until September 8th. I for one could care less, I'm just glad they're making records again. And for anyone who saw them (is seeing them!) or heard any of the summer tour thus far, the album won't be a big surprise.
While the review of the new material is mixed, I for one really like it. It's kind of a polished return to form for them. A lot of it reminds me of Rift, but there's also more Grateful Dead elements in their music than ever, as evidenced by their reprisal of Destiny Unbound earlier this summer, which has always reminded me of a Dead tune.
Anyway, looks like we'll have to wait longer, but one thing is for certain: we'll get details about halloween soon!
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Great Scott was more than pleased to learn that Phish has in fact decided to do their 3-day Halloween festival in Indio, CA, just miles from our global headquarters. For those of you who don't understand the impact of said facts: we're flipping the fuck out.
Now to try and get tickets! Happy Hunting, friends!
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Great Scott was saddened to hear the news today of the death of the Taco Bell dog, Gidget. Authorities chalk it up to old age (he was 15 after all), an addictive personality and way, way too much Capri Sun. Many initially suspected foul play (after all, Michael Jackson is dead too...coincidence?), but those conspiracies were quickly corrected.
"Gidget was the worst dog on the planet. So we're glad he's not on the planet anymore," said Pita Puppykill, Gidgets long time owner and master. When asked if Pita, being an African American woman, had any qualms referring to herself as "Gidget's master," she simply replied, "stay off my land."
Still, one can't help but wonder if the Taco Bell dog is in a nicer version of heaven right now. One reserved for those that were more important during their time on earth. People like the soon-to-be-late Jim Belushi, Hypercolor tee shirts, and Pogs.
Gidget's legacy lives on in his transgendered puppy, Sprouts.
For Great Scott, I'm a cantaloupe.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Big ups to Desmond once again. I love this joint. Plus it manages to sample one of the worst songs ever and actually make it somewhat tolerable: Lady Gaga's "Poker Face."
Now I'm not el presidente of the Lady Gaga fanclub, but I can think of a few other things they could do to her face too. Like tape her mouth shut so she can't sing anymore. Not in a crazy, "I'm a kidnapper" way, but more in a, "for the good of mankind, please, SHUT UP" kind of thing. Maybe that's why she's wearing those huge glasses in that photo, cause what can you do with a woman when you've already told her something twice! Hiyo!
I kid, I kid. I love women. My mom's a woman. So is my sister.
But Lady Gaga did manage to make headlines today for what she was wearing at some snobby event. Not all that uncommon of a theme I am finding out, though just as worthless as I ever hoped it could be. Why is it that we dissect exactly what celebs wear when we all know full well that the clothes were all FREE from a designer to begin with? Shouldn't our beef then be with that terrible designer who selected Lady NaNa to model their clothes? And not to be all 1950s-Cold-War, but if I am offered free clothes I always take them. Always. Something about our primal needs to find shelter (clothes being shelter, once removed). With that in mind, can we even comment on what she's wearing? She did the same thing any of us would do: graciously accepted a bad gift.
Great Scott has also just learned that Lady Gaga plans to travel to the Amazon rain forest to make a set of gloves and a matching scarf made entirely of endangered species. She'll start by killing her first single which is so played out I thought it was already extinct!
For Great Scott, I'm Great Scott, reporting.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Hey! Did you hear? That really overpaid guy is back in LA. No, not Manny Ramirez. The other guy. The one with the balls.
Turns out, I'm not the only one to be less than enthused about his return. Fans booed and hung up signs around the field claiming that Beckham betrayed Los Angeles by playing for another soccer* club for the first half of the year.
When confronted on the field however, Beckham put up quite a fight...or at least the best that he could with his high pitched squeaky voice. Hey Beckham- here's a tip, next time bring Scooby along before you go all Scrappy Do on our asses. Better yet- tell them you've got the Bubonic Plague, since, you know, you kind of look like a rat to begin with.
*I meant soccer, not football. Football is an AMERICAN sport that whoops soccer's stupid ass any day of the week. Not that I don't love soccer, I just don't see the need to kill spectators at sporting events like the rest of the world. Unless it's Tony Kornheiser, but he won't be with MNF this year THANK GOD. But for those of you Americans that think we should call soccer "football" like our former parent country, I say go ahead and move to England already.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
I understand the idea that when a world is created, there's also a world of culture that is created with it. And with such a rich tapestry that Harry Potter has created, it's only natural we see true pop-culture emerge from it's spine.
I can't help but think that if these kids had one day with Phish-guitarist Trey Anastasio's epic senior theis,The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday, that they would notice the same thing I did: It's already been done you posers!
So maybe Trey needs to look into kids books. The time sure seems right.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Catch 1/4 of your favorite band on tour this fall:
09/08 - Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn NY
09/09 - Somerville Theatre, Somerville, MA
09/10 - Port City Music Hall , Portland, ME
09/11 - Bearsville Theatre, Woodstock, NY
09/12 - State Theatre, Falls Church, VA
09/14 - Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh, NC
09/15 - Orange Peel, Asheville, NC
09/17 - Variety Playhouse, Atlanta, GA
09/18 - Freebird Live, Jacksonville, FL
09/19 - WorkPlay Soundstage Theatre, Birmingham, AL
09/21 - Minglewood Hall, Memphis, TN
09/22 - Mercy Lounge, Nashville, TN
09/24 - The Vogue, Indianapolis, IN
09/25 - Park West, Chicago, IL
09/26 - Barrymore Theatre, Madison, WI
09/28 - 20th Century Theatre, Cincinnati, OH
09/29 - The Blind Pig, Ann Arbor, MI
09/30 - Mr. Smalls Theatre, Pittsburgh, PA
10/02 - Mod Club, Toronto, ON
10/03 - Town Ballroom, Buffalo, NY
10/04 - Higher Ground, Burlington, VT
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Heart Attack Hollywood is an anonymously written blog that trashes some of the worst Hollywood has to offer. It looks a bit out date at this point, but some of the articles are hilarious. Here's to hoping they do more in the future! Their roast of Bromance is especially comical, especially given that Brody Jenner is a dingus.
The site has a pretty clear message too: apparently almost everything we make in hollywood is terrible, so Heart Attack Hollywood has devised a system of just how terrible a show, movie, book, or band is. It ranges from 1, being the least painful, to a 5, being a full blown heart attack. Quite funny!
I'd give my site a 3 (or infarction, as it were)
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
My homie in D-town sent me this link today. While I'm not familiar with all of Oliver Reed's work, some of his quotes are too good not to honor:
"Look, I'll put my plonker on the table if you don't give me a plate of mushy peas."
my new hero...
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
So the blog has taken a back seat for a few days while I finish up some scripts. Apologies. Enjoy this trailer, and if you've yet to see Bruno, please, for the love of god, do yourself a favor and go see it.
In other less fun news, Phish will not be doing Halloween in SoCal. Hearts are broken here at Great Scott.
More updates soon, and a fresh phish rarity later in the week.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
This weekend we bring you a site that I just learned about. Quite possibly one of the best work procrastination tools ever, The Chive is nothing short of amazing. Between their hilariously captioned pics, faux-motivational posters, and collection of scantily clad attractive women, I can't help but wonder if this is what Perez Hilton's site would look like if he weren't gay (or a total douche).
That being said though, there is an inherent element of douchiness at the Chive as well. I mean, there's no real news here, nothing that makes the site worthwhile save for the occasional "dayum!" moment from time to time. But the difference here is that it's the kind of douchiness we here at Great Scott have grown to love: bad jokes, big boobs, and a seemingly never ending supply of simple humor. Head over and check it out!
Friday, July 10, 2009
Week 2 our caption contest really heated up...we had 5 times as many entries as before. And the winner you wonder?
Darren with his line:
'Having endured the shame of secret rendezvous and forbidden love for six months, having traveled thousands of miles and risked her life for this reunion, Flipper was devastated when Max told her "there's other fish in the sea" '
We cut the last line, Darren, cause all good comedy writers need an editor now and again. But quite funny! email firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your prize!
We also have to give honorable mention to Toby Terry once again who seems to be the only one who really cares about this besides us here (thanks Tobs!):
"Flipper was better, NO Lassie was better, Flipper, Lassie, Flipper, Lassie"
So close! It was a tough decision to choose, but I have a feeling you'll crack the winners circle sooner or later!
NEXT WEEK'S PHOTO TO CAPTION:
CREATE THE FUNNIEST CAPTION AND WIN!
captions may be posted as comments to this post, or emailed directly to us at Great Scott at email@example.com. Winners are posted approximately one week after caption contest begins.
Good luck, and happy captioning!
Thursday, July 09, 2009
This week's exclusive Phish rarity is in the form of the 1996 Billy Breathes outtakes. Keep in mind, these are a bit more lo-fi than most of the ones I've posted so far this summer. It was the best quality recording I could find.
Strange Design (version 1)
Strange Design (version 2)
Swept Away > Steep
Remember to keep checking back all summer long as we leak live shows, outtakes, and b-sides all summer long.
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
HBO recently debuted their new dramedy Hung, starring Tom Jane. The premise of which I'm sure you think you can surmise, but it actually digs a lot deeper than just a couple of inches...
Now I'm not one for drama normally. Quite frankly, there's too much of it in the real world as it is. Life is too serious, too short, etc. So when I turn on my TV, or better yet- when I subscribe to a pay channel like HBO, I do it for the comedy, not for the drama. With the arrival of Hung however, HBO may have me singing a different tune. And no sooner either, as HBO had me questioning my subscription as Entourage enters its next nose-dive season and Rome is all but a relic of some glorious past at this point. And forget Curb too. (I never really liked that show, though the episode where Larry buys a hooker so he can use the carpool lane is genius.)
But where Larry David is real to the point of annoyance, Jane sparkles with deadpan honesty. Until recently, I had been most familiar with Jane's work from his brief stint on Arrested Development. And while he was "playing himself" in that case, similar character elements seem to reappear here. Jane is very stoic, his voice a confident baritone with a touch of despondence. You believe what he says, and therefore, you relate to him. It's almost like a science in a way. Jane plays Ray, a father on the brink of collapse that hits a breaking point. His whole life burns out on him and he's left marketing the only thing he can: his enormous dick. Sounds funny so far right? Not when your so-called pimp is played by the all-too-real Jane Adams, a woman so gritty and character ready, I'm surprised she hasn't been an A-lister for some time. And while Anne Heche may really be nothing but a foil for Jane's character, playing his terrible control-freak ex-wife, it's her new hubby, played by Eddie Jemison, that has me intrigued. The dynamic between Ray and Jemison's character Ronnie crackles out of the gate. And while I never saw Jemison as an actor with incredible range (his Oceans roles could have been cut and pasted by virtually anyone), he's taking a chance here, and it's already paying off.
Now, there is one enormous caveat with this show: it's a premise plot. Without Tom Jane being a he-ho, there is no show here. Without that one key element, it falls apart. So it will be interesting to see how long (and hard, huh huh) it will last. It could either go the way of My Name is Earl and do 100+ episodes, or it can fizzle out like the U.S. adaptation of Worst Week did before it even had a chance to sprout some legs. So far though, this show comes highly recommended.
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Tired of all the damn MJ coverage? Head over to Passion of the Weiss and read my super serious interview with NY based producer/raconteur (no, not the band) Disco Vietnam. For further reading, check out his awesome breakdown of Green Day on his blog.
Sunday night I took in the next show in my summer concert series. This time it was The New Pornographers, Tegan and Sara and Death Cab for Cutie. I'm a fan of all three bands, so I was quite excited to hear them live and had high hopes for what they would bring to the bowl. Especially considering Death Cab would have the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra behind them for a set.
The New Pornographers kicked off the night, playing a lot of songs I both love and recognize. Having only heard 2 of their albums in the past, it doesn't really feel fair to write about them too much here. They played tunes I like, they had a great stage presence, and Neko Case was awesome. That being said however, the music wasn't balanced. They were far too loud for the bowl, often times reaching decibel levels so high I had to cover my ears (and I was 100 rows back!) Coupled with that, they only played 35 minutes making it hard to leave that much of a lasting impression.
Tegan and Sara followed with another short set, but they really killed it. Their sound is almost tailored to the bowl's acoustics. Both Tegan and Sara have such unique vocal timbres that they balanced perfectly. Even the songs that had distortion were turned down, almost as if they noticed The New Pornographers mistake and grew from it. It was sad to see them leave the stage as the sun was finally setting. They could have played another 45 minutes and still left me wanting more.
Then the main event came. Death Cab came out and did a short set without the orchestra followed by an even shorter one with them! I can safely say they played 85% of everything I have ever wanted to hear them do live, but they left a lot to be desired in the end. Again the instrumentation seemed unbalanced or unmixed. The subtle nuances of DCFC's studio work were completely lost in distortion and feedback from the stage. Worse yet, the band under-utilized the orchestra, only using them for only a handful of songs- many of which their presence was hard to even notice. It was a shame really, going to a show you think will have your "My So Called Life" moment of the summer, only to feel no magic at all. And I had seen Belle and Sebastian at the bowl 2 summers before. They took the LA Phil and made them a part of the band. People "oohed" and "ahhed" at their arrangements. I got goosebumps several times. It was almost like the strings had always been there, they fit that well. I heard similar things of the Decemberists/LA Phil show as well, though I wasn't there in person to witness it. Still, I had hoped DCFC would have taken a cue from these past successes and hired someone to determine which songs could be arranged best with an orchestra. Alas, it seemed like the band played a normal 'nothing out of the ordinary' set with a clunky orchestra behind them, struggling to keep up and be heard.
To be fair though, it was great to see them live. Their closer, Transatlanticism, was the highlight of the night, accompanied by fireworks and perfectly orchestrated strings. If only the rest of the night had been as good as that one song. Oh well. Onward and upward!
Up next: Andrew Bird at the Greek Theater. Expect a review early next week!
Monday, July 06, 2009
If this isn't the greatest music video ever made, then what- WHAT- I ask you, is?
Mind you, all of the acting and dialogue is terrible. But, on the other hand, "take that D?" It doesn't get much better than that.
Sunday, July 05, 2009
...but it sure as shit is funny!
I have to thank my friend Courtney for opening my eyes to Fail Blog the site that points out (quite amazingly I might add) when the world fails in it's execution of something. In this case, I couldn't help but crack up at the indignant duck that wanted no part of any human-help.
Keep checking back daily as users post their content quite frequently.
Saturday, July 04, 2009
As our nation turns 233 years old today, I'm almost surprised our people haven't ditched her to find a younger, more supple bed mate. Alas, it looks like she's hear to stay though, so to you, greatest nation on the planet (and still one of the youngest, hubba hubba), happy birthday and many happy returns.
I think it's also important we mention our troops today- both past and present. Without these daring men and women, we wouldn't be able to enjoy many of the simple pleasures we do on a daily basis. And while we all may not support the war (or any for that matter), that doesn't mean we can't support the people who are involved with it. After all, they're some of the few that have to work today! The least we can do is raise our glasses in thanks.
In other less-serious news today...Bob Barker turned 233 years old as well. Doctors credit his good health to his astounding collection of nutless cats and dogs, claiming that, "any man that has accrued that many ball-less animals has to know something we don't." While his efforts to curb the pet population were nothing short of inspiring over the course of his career, many activists claim Barker went too far. David Fartner, father of three, and rabid pet enthusiast, of Lansing Hills, MI had this to say:
"Where are the balls, Bob? Where are they! You can't just collect nuts for 50 years and expect no one to notice. Cough 'em up."
While we here at Great Scott agree there is foul play afoot, come on! give the guy a break. It's his birthday for christ sake! Besides, he was here when America was born. Or rather, our world began the day Bob Barker set foot on planet earth.
I'm Sigorney Weaver for Great Scott, reporting.
Friday, July 03, 2009
Last week we started our first "Insert Caption Here," contest. Our winner?
Funnyman Lucas Held with the following caption:
"The Least Intimidating of The Mohicans"
As his prize, Lucas will receive a new Huffy bike, a pair of aqua socks, and will be entered into the grand prize drawing: a trip to space camp!
OK, so we really can't afford any of that here, but Lucas did receive one record of his choice from the Great Scott musical archives (now numbering over 2,500 albums).
2nd place and an honorable mention goes out to Toby Terry:
"Hurry we are going to be late to Sturgis."
THIS WEEK'S PHOTO TO CAPTION:
WHAT COULD THESE TWO POSSIBLY BE TALKING ABOUT? CREATE THE FUNNIEST CAPTION AND WIN!
captions may be posted as comments to this post, or emailed directly to us at Great Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good luck, and happy captioning!
Thursday, July 02, 2009
I recently had the chance to take in The Hurt Locker, a gritty story about the Iraq war in 2004. Starring Jeremy Renner (along with a great ensemble of cameos including Ralph Fiennes, Guy Pearce, Evangeline Lily and David Morse), many are calling it the most realistic depiction of the war, and subsequently the people's lives surrounding it, ever to be made. While this may or may not be true (shocker: I've never been to Iraq OR war...though I did see them in concert in '77 at the Forum...they played "Low Rider," it was awesome*), it still holds up as a fantastic film that is worth the price of a ticket to see.
Renner absolutely steals this film in his cock-and-bull performance as sergeant William James. And aside from the fact that he really looks like he could be Jason Bateman's little brother, it's a completely unique performance. Your feelings in the audience wax and wane with his, yet often times, when it comes to the battle scenes, you wonder just how crazy he really is. You tend to think he might be acting a little recklessly, easily commiserating with his subordinate officers as they worry for their lives with him at the helm. Mind you, our leading man wasn't going to die in this film. After he confesses to a Colonel that he's diffused over 873 bombs, it's clear that he's done a few tours by that point. So despite the action keeping you on the edge of your seat, you can remain quite confident through the entire film that nothing will happen to Bateman Jr. His confidence is founded.
And perhaps that's what makes this film so unique in the end: in this guerrilla war of discord and chaos, Renner stands atop the heap of rubble with no questions in his mind. In fact, it's only when he returns to the "real" world (an ironic name for it to a soldier) that Renner's character feels completely lost. Quite the opposite from the rest of the men in his company, as they would much rather be with their families (or making families for that matter) then diffusing 500 tons of C4.
Without saying too much more, this film comes highly recommended. It's a superb story with a clear balance of good and evil, right and wrong, order and chaos, everything. Many people say the world isn't just black and white, it's got a grey area too. This film redefines the lines reminding us that when it really matters, black and white is all you got. Though, as we creep closer to the anniversary of our nation's independence, rest assured there's plenty of red, white and blue too.
*editor's note: I was born in 1982 making that completely false. Though I did see Dazed and Confused 1000 times, and that song is featured in the movie.
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Fanboys of the sci-fi genre will have a new reason to cream their jeans this month. Moon, a film by Duncan Jones, and starring Sam Rockwell and ... Sam Rockwell, breathes new life into the serious sci-fi genre. This ain't your mother's Star Trek, nor is it anything like 2001: A Space Odyssey, despite the incessant comparisons. Instead, Moon is a character study about a lonely man.
SPOILER ALERT: the movie takes place in space.
Sam Rockwell, who nails this role (and will sadly never be acknowledged with an award for his work), is this film. Sure, it's set in space, and there is plenty of beautiful CGI imagery of what our post-modern-moon-mining existence might be like, but that's all secondary to the struggles of the protagonist. Also, in a sort of ironic twist, the protagonist and antagonist turn out to be the same guy. In an almost Shakespearean way, Rockwell battles himself to determine what makes his life worth living. But instead of literally facing ones' inner demons, he gets to meet his demons first hand in his clone, a man that's as identical to him as is his polar opposite.
I won't reveal too much more, except to say that this film is both eerie and beautiful, adding layer after layer of subtext as the story unfolds. It almost reminds me of a forward version of Memento, as our leading man tries to piece together his broken life not fully knowing what he might find next.
This film comes highly recommended and should be seen on the big screen.