So I’m trying to be back in the habit of posting weekly to the blog, and I’m also trying to finish up my grading for my summer class, so I’m going to cheat and just post two Neil Finn (of Crowded House fame) songs about his dogs.
I’m sure you’ll forgive me because Neil is far more entertaining than I am.
Happy 4th of July!
Lester – Neil Finn acoustic solo
Lester is a song about a dalmatian he once had who was hit by a car but recovered from the accident. To the best of my knowledge he’s never recorded it on an album, but he sometimes does it as an encore.
Anytime – Live performance with guest pianist from audience
Another lovely song about a dog who has had a traffic accident with a guest pianist Neil picked out from the audience.
We’re headed into the heart of summer, and that makes this a great time to talk about the movies.
Film composer James Horner dies in plane crash
James Horner, best known for his score for Titanic, died earlier this week from injuries he suffered when the plane he was piloting crashed. I’ve long been a fan of his film music, starting with his brilliant score for Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Kahn. I loved the score Jerry Goldsmith did for the first Star Trek movie, and I loved the contrast of Horner’s work on Kahn. He also did a wonderfully uplifting score for Apollo 13. He will be missed.
Remembering Christopher Lee
Horror movie great Christopher Lee passed away June 7th at the age of 93. While he had lengthy career as a monster/creature/villain, he was best known for playing the evil Count Dooku in the Star Wars prequels and the wizard Saruman in the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies.Top 10 Christopher Lee performances from WatchMojo
Why Jurassic World being a big hit is bad for movies Strictly speaking, anytime a movie is a big hit, that’s good for the movies. And by all reports, Jurassic World is a great deal of fun. (I’m hoping to finally get to see it early next week.) But Charlie Jane Anders, writing the io9 blog, suggests that it will lead to more and more over-the-top sequels of franchise movies without a shred of originality. While I have no doubt she’s right, Jurassic World is hardly alone in encouraging such things. And good, new original big movies are always few and far between. On the other hand, if reading her blog post gets you go pull out the disk of last summer’s Edge of Tomorrow (aka Live, Die, Repeat), it will be a good thing.
If you grow up or live in a small town, you know how important it is to have a local movie theater. Your theater is a place for people in the community to get together and have fun. It’s a place for young people to go to on a date. It’s the place where you make memories of those fun summer movies.
(Nope, I don’t have fond memories of the 13 times I saw Star Wars in the summer of 1977. Nope, not me….)
I love the fact that here in Kearney we have The World Theatre, a revival/art house theater run by a community non-profit, that plays a great combination of vintage movies and films that would never play here otherwise.
These are things that people who live in urban areas can take for granted.
But it was also a huge recent hit for Darius Rucker, former front man for Hootie and the Blow Fish. (And one of very few top country hits by an African American singer.)
But the roots of the song go back further – Dylan credits the words “Rock me, mama” to blues player Arhtur “Big Boy” Crudup. And Crudup may have gotten the idea from a Big Bill Broony recording.
In short, you will see that the history of Wagon Wheel follows the themes disucssed in Everything is a Remix Part 1. It’s not that “Wagon Wheel” isn’t an original song – it clearly is. It’s just that almost everything in art and music owes a debt to what came before.
You still here?
Yes! I realize it’s been a scant spring of living in a media world this spring, but I’m hoping to get back on a more regular schedule of posting. I have been busy over on Twitter, however. You should follow me there!
If you’ve ever had me for class, you know that as much of a Disney fan as I can be (Love Big Hero Six and Wreck It Ralph), I really hate what the studio has done to some classic stories. (Don’t get me started on why I hate the Disney version of The Little Mermaid!)
Among the stories I think Disney has ruined is the wonderful man-eating-plant-horror-musical Little Shop of Horrors. The play version is clearly a comic tragedy that ends with everyone dying and the hero Seymour learning the consequences of the sin of hubris. But in the Disney movie, Seymour kills the plant and everyone lives happily ever after. And the whole point of the story is lost.
But it didn’t have to be that way!
Director Frank Oz originally shot the movie with a version of the play’s ending. And here it is – with an extended dream sequence of one of my favorite songs from the movie:
This is a reposting (with slight editing) of a post from four years ago. Hard for me to come to terms with the fact that this presentation is from 20 years ago!
My JMC 406 commentary class is going to be talking about writing critical reviews over the next week or two. Here are a couple of readings and great talk by movie critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert for my students. But for all of you thinking about reviewing, these materials are all great. (And, please, take the time to watch the C-SPAN video of Siskel and Ebert talking to National Press Club back in 1995. Get passed the complaints about Sen. Bob Dole and get to where they talk about what makes movies good or bad.)
We’ve been talking about the movies this week in my media literacy class, and I’ve shown a range of video clips, but there are even more clips that I haven’t had time to show. So here are links to a host of links on the movies for you:
Links to a host of silent movie examples from animations of Muybridge images to Edison kinetoscope films, to Edwin Porter’s The Great Train Robbery. Oh yes, and it includes a link to Thomas Edison’s seminal funny cats video – his 1894 film Boxing Cats.
Here are links to a number of columnists and columnist index pages from newspapers around the country for my JMC 406 commentary writing students, and anyone else who’s interested. It has previously been published here in somewhat different form.
George Will, Washington Post Writer’s Group
1977 Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, known as an “old guard” commentator who drops a lot of Latin and literature references into his columns, and writes occasionally about baseball.
Commentary from Nebraska newspapers:
Note: Many of the posts here are letters to the editor. They are interesting, but they are not newspaper columns. If you use this link, check what you are reading carefully.
Everyone in the tech press is spending enormous numbers of electrons on the new Apple watch announced today. Except it was really announced several months ago. It will talk to your iPhone, it will track your activity, it will help you navigate, it will….
…run at most 18 hours before it needs to be hooked up to a charger, when it’s new, before the battery starts its slow march toward death.
And the price? Any where from $350 for the entry-level Sport model all the way up to $10,000+ for the 18k gold Edition model. Yes, more than $10,000 for a gold electronic device that will be obsolete in two years. (Buzz is that maybe the high-end watch is a great idea. We’ll see.)
Now I realize that I’m not anywhere near Apple’s target market for fancy/schmancy Edition watch. And I realize that I’m an incurable Apple fan boy. But I have to admit that the Apple Watch loses me. I’m far more interested in the new Pebble Time smart watch that uses an eInk display that isn’t nearly as cool looking as the Apple display, but has the capability of running for up to a week between charges. (Only a lack of money is keeping me from pre-ordering the new Pebble.)
I doubt that cable companies will ever be forced by the federal government to start selling al a carte cable channels (nor should they, in my view), but people who want to pick and choose a few select cable favorites are getting pretty close to being able to do that with streaming. And in the long run, I think that’s going to be the big change that today brings (in part) to the media world landscape.