What’s New on the Site
What We’ve Been Reading
Clint’s Reading List
The Bazaar of Bad Dreams – Stephen King
I love short story collections. You can pop a couple when you need them and then come back to it later, like taking an excedrin when you have a migraine. When you have an itch for Stephen King that you need to scratch, despite not having time to read some sprawling epic, you can hit any of his many collections of short fiction. This one is his newest, from a couple of years back, and it’s an unsettling collection. I’ve finished it and feel like I can finally include it in my read list. Definitely check this out, if for no other reason than Batman & Robin have an Altercation or Fireworks. His stories really do hit home. I’m also just avoiding my long-overdue reread of IT, and I’ll save that for the summer when the film is closer.
Christopher’s Reading List
The Martian Chronicles: There Will Come Soft Rains – Ray Bradbury
There was an article was posted over at Nerdist.com recently, sharing this short story as read by Nimoy. I’m sure I’d read the story before earlier in life, but hearing it again, read expertly, brought it to life in a new way. He narrates the story of a technology-infused house, now empty, following its pre-programmed routine for no one but mice and stray dogs. It prophetically mimics the “Smart Houses” or our age, and effectively uses the robotic and sterile environment to emphasize the emptiness of a home without a family, and further than that, a world without humans.
What We’ve Been Watching
The Forbidden Planet – Leslie Nielson before he did primarily comedies is a wonderful thing. He stars as our captain, our intrepid adventurer and leader of the party. The overall effect of this film is that it has had a lasting influence on science fiction, the heady and comtemplative sci-fi rather than just the action packed. Monsters, ancient civilizations, robots, and the ugliest futuristic car you could ask for. This is an absolute canon film for fans of the genre, right up there with The Time Machine or Robinson Crusoe on Mars, and is so crucial to the development of this type of film into the popular culture we have now.
The Elephant Man – David Lynch’s masterwork of weirdness is also his most accessible film. I got the opportunity to see this on the big screen and I couldn’t pass it up. Usually burying someone in heavy prosthetics draws a negative reaction, the performance weighed down by being unable to really see the actor. John Hurt, on the other hand, works wonders and plays perfectly off of Anthony Hopkins. The film’s black and white aesthetic really adds a feeling of realism to the period piece, feeling like some lost archival footage of Joseph Merrick (renamed “John” in the film for some reason). For those who have avoided Lynch or just haven’t seen this film, it’s a hell of a movie.
Power Rangers – I used to be a big fan of Power Rangers as a kid. My parents would tape the episodes for me to watch once I got home from school and I have a very specific memory of the Green Ranger standing atop my birthday cake one year, kicking at the candles. But the obsession came and went with each variation, and the Rangers of the Mighty Morphin’ variety were quickly replaced with Samurai, or Jungle Animals. I think one season they were Wizards? Anyways, Jason, Billy, Zach, Kimberly, and Trini will always have some well-hidden place in my heart. So the franchises return to the big screen was something I didn’t even realize I wanted and was pulled off mostly successfully. The film updates the modern setting without ever losing the fun camp of the original series, and left me interested in what comes next.
Sneaky Pete – An Amazon Exclusive series, Sneaky Pete follows a con-man just released from prison. He learns of a massive debt that is expected from him upon release and he quickly assumes the identity his cell-mate. Of course, this only embroils him deeper in trouble as he must now balance the lives of two criminals. The main performances by Giovanni Ribisi and Bryan Cranston are great and the story is a great blend of family drama and crime caper.
What We’re Listening To
Hot Thoughts – Spoon
Guys…yay! We got another Spoon album and it’s the best release I’ve heard this year (so far). One thing that many bands don’t learn is that they have to build to their weird, their personality drawing the audience in. Vampire Weekend went full crazy on just the second album, making it their weakest. Spoon, on the other hand, drew it out over about five albums and by the time Transference came out we were all in. Hot Thoughts is like that all over again, with the band fully cutting loose and showing off their garage band sensibilities with a more tightened sound that reminds me of pop without fully falling into that category.
Heartworms – The Shins
I’m less impressed with this release, but it’s still a damned good one. The Shins have been revolving around James Mercer for several years now. Like the Eels and Mark Oliver Everett, it’s less a band and more one musician who builds a touring group each album. Mercer has been spending time with Brian Burton recently but he’s back on his own and gave us a pretty solid Shins album. Is it on the level of Oh, Inverted World or even Wincing the Night Away? Nope, but it’s on the same level as Port of Morrow and that’s fine with me. It’s a fun album and I really do adore it.