Welcome to a new feature for this blog where I give quick recommendations from assorted pop culture categories of things I’m currently into. These things may or may not be current, but are things that I’m currently enjoying (or have recently enjoyed) that I think you (the reader) might enjoy as well. Provided that you enjoy things that are awesome.
In the past, I’d write reviews of things that I wanted to recommend, but I don’t have as much time to write those reviews as I used to, so instead of deciding how good something is, or weighing pros and cons, and all those things a responsible reviewer does, I’m just gonna come right out and say “I like these things. They are worthwhile”, which is basically what anyone is looking for when reading a review anyway. And because blogging can (and should) be a two-way street, please feel free to leave a comment with any recommendations you’d think I’d be into.
I Love You, Man
Director: John Hamburg; Starring: Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, J.K. Simmons, Jane Curtin, Jon Favreau, Jaime Pressly, Sarah Burns
I caught a sneak preview of this with my brother-in-law two weeks ago, and enjoyed it so much that I went again with my wife (and her friend) last night. It’s the best non-Apatow Apatowian comedy I’ve seen, largely because of the relaxed comedic chops of its cast, especially the chemistry of leads Paul Rudd and Jason Segal. The only thing I didn’t like about it (besides Segal’s character not picking up after his dog — seriously dude, not cool!) is that the story of a guy who has no close guy friends because he spends all his time with his fiancée hit a little too close to home for me.
The Fall (2008)
Director: Tarsem Singh; Starring: Lee Pace, Catinca Untaru, Justine Waddell
Just got around to seeing this 2008 film on blu-ray last week, and was duly impressed. Going in, I knew it was a visually creative movie, from the mind of the director who did The Cell (a movie I’ve never seen, but know had a distinct visual style). The visuals didn’t disappoint, especially on blu-ray, but what really took me in was the sweet, original story that those visuals served. Rent this if you were a fan of Pan’s Labyrinth and want another imaginative fairytale directed at adults.
Creators: Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer; Starring: Bill Paxton, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloë Sevigny, Ginnifer Goodwin, Amanda Seyfried, Harry Dean Stanton, Shawn Doyle, Matt Ross, Douglas Smith, Grace Zabriskie, Joel McKinnon Miller
Seeing as how the current season of Big Love ends tomorrow, this recommendation might be a little late. But since HBO repeats everything after it’s finished airing, consider this a notice for those of you who might’ve missed the start of this season. After over a year off the air due to HBO’s spread out scheduling and the writer’s strike, you’d be forgiven if you overlooked this show, especially since it isn’t as glitzy as some of the network’s previous shows. If you did, you’ve missed the best season of one of television’s quietly fantastic shows. I always loved this show, but with this season, I’ve been in awe of it. Man, I love HBO.
A.C. Newman – Get Guilty (2009)
So far, my favourite new album of 2009. Yes, I’m enjoying A.C. Newman’s newest more than bandmate Neko Case’s new album (although Neko’s is also pretty great). To be fair, Newman has gotten more play than other 2009 albums because he’s currently the first artist ranked alphabetically on my iPod (as iTunes goes first name, last name), and thus comes up anytime I press play without selecting an artist specifically. Still, if it wasn’t great, I’d be more likely to change it when that happens, but more often than not, I just let keep playing and enjoy the tunes.
Sample Track: “Like a Hitman, Like a Dancer”
Writer: Alan Moore; Artist: Dave Gibbons; Colorist: John Higgins
Yeah, I realize this hardly needs my recommendation. But I’ll go ahead and say it anyway: if you haven’t read this yet, you probably should. I just re-read it in time for the movie, and enjoyed it immensely. Before I re-read it and watched the movie, I was suggesting to people that hadn’t read it yet (but were intending to) and wanted to see the movie to just go ahead and watch the movie first, so they could judge it on its own instead of merely comparing it to the book. Not bad advice, but now I think they should read it first (if they have the time), as the big surprises of the story are handled by the book better than the film (for the simple reason that the book has more time to develop surprises). Since you can only be surprised once, I suggest you go for the better experience. I’ve also been watching the Watchmen Complete Motion Comic, which at first glance seems like a cheap cash-in for the movie (and probably is), but have found to be a fun new way to experience the story (not a better way, just a different way). So I recommend that too.
On the Net
Saturday Morning Watchmen Cartoon
Slightly spoilerish (in that you need to have read the book or seen the movie to get the jokes), but decidedly awesome.