Still working towards a couple of relatively immediate deadlines, but to get back in the blogging routine, here are some of the things I’ve been watching, reading, or listening to lately:
- I caught Introducing the Dwights (IMDB) last night at the art house, and while I was generally entertained, the film itself turned up the eccentricity a little too high for my tastes, making the film feel like Yet Another Quirky Indie (YAQI?). I don’t know if I realized it at the time, but I think that Aaron Hillis is correct to observe that Brenda Blethyn’s “trademark histrionics” were turned up just a little to high. The film feels a bit like Muriel’s Wedding meets Little Miss Sunshine minus the charm of both of those films (coincidentally minus Toni Colette in both cases).
- I’ve been checking out the Netflix “Watch Now” Player, which allows you to watch certain Netflix films streaming over the Internet. The feature appeals to my propensity towards spontaneous movie rentals, so I’ve been taking advantage of it quite a bit. Most recently, I enjoyed loudQUIETloud: A Film About The Pixies (IMDB), which follows The Pixies on their 2004 tour. The doc reminded me of the Metallica doc, Some Kind of Monster, especially in its treatment of the changes rock bands as they grow older. Like the Metallica documentary, we get several scenes that show the band’s sometimes dysfunctional relationships and we also see members of the band juggling their responsibilities as parents with their responsibilities to the band. LQL culminates with a poignant scene in which a female fan makes a connection with Pixies bassist Kim Deal that gave me an even greater appreciation of their music.
- I also caught a preview of the new David Duchovny Showtime show, Californication (IMDB), which features Duchovny as a New York novelist grumpily “slumming” in Hollywood after his novel was adapted into a treacly hit movie. He also manages to have lots of meaningless sex with virtually every attractive woman who crosses his path, which the show kind of-sort of pretends to criticize him for doing. In other words a middle-aged male fantasy show in search of a narrative.
- Speaking of music, I’m still wearing out the Once soundtrack after seeing the film a few weeks ago. Also continuing to dig Pela and, more recently, Beirut’s EP, Lon Gisland. This Pitchfork review is more critical than I would be, but the Neutral Milk Hotel comparisons make a lot of sense (and may help explain why I like Beirut).
- Much of what I’ve been reading lately has, of course, been research related to the book. I’ve been reading Neal Pollock’s Alternadad, which is great for short bursts of inattentive reading, in part because it mostly consists of anecdotes about Pollock becoming a father and dealing with the responsibilities of parenting. It’s a genuinely funny book in places, a good leisure-time distraction for me while I’m waiting in coffeehouses, movie theater lobbies, or other such places. But for the most part, my reading list has consisted of long tails, convergence cultures, and other such things.