Movie Mondays #7 – Punch Drunk Love

As part of our Ultimate Playbill project, each week a faculty member will take the time to extol the virtues of one of the beloved films on this list. This week, I tackle GWC’s #4 pick,  Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch Drunk Love (2002).

Paul Thomas Anderson is my favorite living and active filmmaker so I was overjoyed to see two of his films make the Ultimate Playbill.  His themes of broken people trying to find a place through a makeshift, damaged family always speak to me.  It also made my day that Punch Drunk Love, one of his lesser talked about films made the cut.

By 2002, PTA was one of the hottest new voices in film. With Boogie Nights (1997) and Magnolia (1999) under his belt, the film world was at his feet.  And as the strongest new director to come out of Hollywood in a very long time,  Anderson really could have done whatever he wanted.  Instead he chose to make a film that many people at the time considered a misstep: an Adam Sandler movie.

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Tunes of the Month – August

Yesterday I woke up for work before the sun did. Traffic guards are back on duty at every corner and the local roving Pokemon trainers seem to be going to bed at a reasonable hour. I’m two weeks removed from the last disappointing Hollywood “blockbuster” I’d care to spend money on, and I’ve attended my last outdoor festival of the year (jury’s still out on you, Treasure Island). Summer is officially over.

But not before we queue up one more quick hit of tunes. August’s Tunes of the Month features recent songs from five leading ladies that call to mind beach bonfires and late dawns, winsome smiles and ten-week crushes, and all the speaker crackle and headphone buzz that energize us every summer.

Ette – “Attack of the Glam Soul Cheerleaders (Pt. 1 & 2)”

Seems like nobody knows how to turn overcast skies and marine layer mist into sunshine and fun better than a Scottish pop band. Ette’s debut LP, Homemade Lemonade, is a welcome successor to similarly upbeat charmers by the likes of Teenage Fanclub and Camera Obscura. This track is the lead single from the album, and figures to get a lot of L-O-V-E on all my future summer playlists. Lead singer, songwriter, and keyboardist Carla Easton has a great interview on the Bandcamp blog, including an anecdote about discovering an inspiring collection of Cookies hits at a record shop in Edinburgh. Continue reading Tunes of the Month – August

New Comics: SuperF*ckers Forever

Seeing any James Kochalka book published by IDW, let alone his obscenity-laden Superf*ckers, caught me by surprise. But why the fuck not? They publish comics based on existing properties almost exclusively – whether they be movie franchises, action figure lines, or animated series. And the original Superf*ckers series, published by Top Shelf in 2005, was developed into an animated series for Cartoon Hangover. So, it makes sense, more or less: let’s call it a based-on-a-cartoon floppy. Superf*ckers is basically Spongebob with sex and skin flayings, after all. Congratulations, James. This week’s release of SuperF*ckers Forever #1 means we’re that much closer to seeing Optimus Prime battling talking piles of shit in space armor.

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Hi-Fi Fifteen: Geography

What makes a person feel a strong connection to a strip of land? The Olympics are here, and I’m doing my best to root for the USA. I’ve never been very patriotic and am not particularly proud of my dusty little Northern California hometown.

Still, I am constantly moved by artists paying tribute to their beloved geography. For this month’s Hi-Fi Fifteen, the three of us contributed songs titled and about the love of neighborhood, state, and country. We follow the moon, moving west to east from our Pacific coastline to the valley of the Himalayas.

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Movie Mondays #6 – Casino Royale

As part of our Ultimate Playbill project, each week a faculty member will take the time to extol the virtues of one of the beloved films on this list. This week, I tackle holybeeofephesus’s #2 pick, Casino Royale (2006).

By the time Holy Bee selected Casino Royale with the thirteenth overall pick, I had only made one pick myself and was already digging in to my backpocket for another favorite film. The 21st(!) film in the Bond series was already on my short list, so I was quite pleased to see it chosen so early for the Ultimate Playbill. While there were five total Bond films eligible for selection, including 2012’s excellent Skyfall, I’m confident the right Bond film was picked.

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PBC #5: Get Wet

Playlist By Committee is a subdivision of the Institute of Idle Time dedicated to the preservation of the mixtape format. Each month, four governing members and one guest contributor choose a theme and each pick five songs that best correspond to that theme. The songs are then reviewed and ranked by the committee, with the the top songs being added until an 80 minute blank CD is filled. The list is then published via Mixcloud for the listening pleasure of all who seek it. This is our 5th playlist

Rain makes us feel something. Rain makes moments poignant, it facilitates loneliness, forces people to hole up away from each other to wait out the storm. Songs about rain come from all genres, from all eras of recorded music. In an effort to expand the PBC’s musical horizons this month’s guest is TB, producer, composer, and someone whose taste runs tangential to our main group. He chose the theme of “rain” because of its ability to cross genres and time. Next time you hear a storm brewing, see it through to the sounds of this mixtape.

1. Gene Kelly – Singin’ In The Rain

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New Comics: The Accused

File_001This week’s The Accused fills in the gap between issues 3 and 4 of Civil War II. Specifically, we are in the gallery and behind closed doors for all the conspiratorial intrigue that takes place during Hawkeye’s month-long trial. There’s no drama in the final verdict: that was revealed two weeks ago (Clint walks!) but this one-shot puts a very different spin on the hero vs. hero conflict that is at the center of the Civil War event. By now, in Week 45 of All New All Different Marvel, readers know that Matt Murdock has returned to New York and is once again practicing law. This time, however, he’s sitting at the other table, as one of the prosecuting attorneys tasked with convincing a jury to convict Clint Barton of murder. And sentence him to death.

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Movie Mondays #5: Attack the Block

As part of our Ultimate Playbill project, each week a faculty member will take the time to extol the virtues of one of the beloved films on this list. This week, I go for tyrannofloresrex’s 4th pick, Attack the Block.

Attack the Block flew under the radar in 2011. In a just world this film would have exploded like Block producer Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead did back in 2004. Thankfully the film was enough of a success to launch the careers of director Joe Cornish as well as future Star Wars star John Boyega.

A subversive science fiction film with a simple enough premise, Attack the Block is a film that is greater than the sum of its parts. It is rare for a directorial debut to have so much personal style, but Cornish is as confident as co-writer Wright was and has continued to be throughout his career. Right now Cornish is the writer and director attached to an adaptation of Neal Stephenson’s 1991 classic novel Snow Crash, and his name is one of very few that would inspire confidence in such an ambitious project.

Cornish shows he knows how to direct young black heroes with Samurai swords.

Attack the Block specializes in something that is far too uncommon in science fiction, it humanizes every character, and spreads its comedy, drama, and character development evenly among its talented young cast. All too often science fiction films designate a character as the “funny” one, or the “one with a tragic history,” a technique which allows viewers to notice patterns they’ve seen before, absolving what surprise or suspense they might have had if the characters each seemed like potential protagonists. Continue reading Movie Mondays #5: Attack the Block

A Salute to the Olympics, An Ode to Sports Movies

The 2016 Olympics kick off today in Brazil, and in true Idle Time form, we’re commemorating this epic contest of nations with a list of some of our favorite sports movies.

Our collective is delighted to have long-time friend and impeccable lifestyle blogger, Christine Amorose, collaborate on this particular list, as she has the most genuine love of sports movies of anyone I know. Before settling down to watch the opening ceremonies tonight, get a dose of locker room inspiration reminiscing over these classic sport tales!

C’est ChristineConfession: I love sports movies. Just love them. Give me a story with an underdog who overcomes adversity and comes out on top (wins state, brings home the gold, total knockout in the 11th round!) and I am hooked. The thing about sports movies is that they’re always feel-good stories. They give you something to root for: a person,a team, a town, a country.

I grew up playing sports and watching sports. To me, sports are mostly about community: playing on a team binds you to your teammates and cheering for a team instantly turns strangers into friends. Sports movies manage to bottle up this feeling and turn you into a fan, to make you part of the community who’s behind the protagonist.

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New Comics: Suicide Squad and Harley Quinn

It’s Week 11 of DC: Rebirth and, in a clearly coordinated effort with this weekend’s release of the Suicide Squad movie, we get both the “zero-issue” one-shot Suicide Squad: Rebirth, as well as the debut issue of a Squad member’s solo book, Harley Quinn #1. While fans of the comic book characters have taken exception to the film’s critical response as compiled on Rotten Tomatoes, they can rest easy knowing that the new comics have a much more narrow audience. Adam Graham of The Detroit News probably hasn’t ever been in a comic shop. Russell Baillie lives in New Zealand. What could he possibly know about genre flicks? The vast majority of comic readers are already familiar with, if not fans of, Suicide Squad, and Harley in particular. They’ll appreciate these books. Besides, there isn’t a Rotten Tomatoes for comics.

But maybe there should be…

Typically we’d wait until all of the rebirthed titles have been released to tabulate and publish our rankings, as we did with Marvel’s All New All Different initiative. But in honor of this weekend’s fan revolt against the aggregated Rotten Tomatoes percentages, we’re revealing our scores for these two comics right now.

SS RT image

Continue reading New Comics: Suicide Squad and Harley Quinn


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