Julie Taymor’s Phony-Baloney Beatles Movie: A Retrospective Rant

My personalized Amazon Gold Box Quick Pick of the Day yesterday was the DVD of Across The Universe for $7.99. Man, Amazon doesn’t know me at all.

There is the casual Beatles fan, and then there’s me and Mark Lewisohn. (If you get that reference, you can join me and Mark Lewisohn.) Back in ’07 when this flick hit the theaters, about a half-dozen well-intentioned but clueless people asked me if I was going to rush out to see it, and my answer was “No, and if you go see it and I find out you did, then you and I are no longer on speaking terms.” What director Julie Taymor has concocted is a paen to “casual” Beatles fans and obnoxious, aging Baby Boomers, and a slap in the face to serious Beatles fans everywhere.

OK, that last sentence was a little obnoxious itself, but, dammit, I’m upset. So let me lay my case out slowly and clearly, simple enough for even a Doors fan to understand. Continue reading Julie Taymor’s Phony-Baloney Beatles Movie: A Retrospective Rant

Ghostmann’s Top 10 Songs From 2005

Do you remember what music you were listening to 7 years ago? Hopefully these 10 songs were somewhere in your collection. If not, well, it’s never too late to change your taste in music. Click that play button and amend your ways.

10. Bright Eyes, “Old Soul Song (for the new world order)”

January 2005 / From the album I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning Continue reading Ghostmann’s Top 10 Songs From 2005

Idle Time: A Look Back, Part 2

Uncle Isey, the official historian of our collective, recounts our humble origins in the website’s About the Institute section. Admittedly, however, some of those early tales of Top 5 tomfoolery and mixtape mayhem have been either dismissed or disregarded as a mixed bag of half-truths and hyperbole. It’s much more interesting, after all, to say that Isey ate Beau Baca’s entire seven-layer burrito without asking rather than report that he unwittingly snuck a bite before realization set in. Never let the truth get in the way of a good story, I’ve been told.

Sometimes we get lucky. Sometimes, scouring through drawers of discarded memoranda and forgotten files actually turns up something of value. An original artifact of those halcyon days of yore was recently uncovered, serving as far more than just a time capsule reminder of idle days past. This gem of a CD-R, in all its archaic glory, gives us a glance at an early music-themed Top 5…

But it also gives us a bonafide anniversary date. Continue reading Idle Time: A Look Back, Part 2

From The Google Group Vaults: Top 5 Sidekicks (March 2008)

Since our goal for 2012 is to kick-start Idle Time and keep this website jumping, it might be a good time to take a fond look back at our original website. No, not that one. That’s right, that one. The original Google Group. It’s still there and functioning, but since all Idling eyes should be here at WordPress, the old Group site is like one of those half-empty ghost malls. In its glory days (summer 2007 – early 2009), the Group page enlivened many a dull workday with debates, random thoughts, and the ever-popular Top 5 lists. As explained before, Top 5 lists were the little acorns that grew into the Institute of Idle Time. Anyone was invited to come up with a list topic, and encourage everyone to weigh in with their own entries. There is a lot of fun stuff buried in the old Group site that deserves to be re-discovered and re-read. Hence, this Encore Presentation.

In the spring of 2008, no one had yet seen Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (and thus, no one had yet experienced the crippling disappointment of almost Phantom Menace proportions), but as a tip of the battered fedora to Shia LeBeouf‘s introduction to the series, Mike Di Gino posted the topic of Top 5 Sidekicks to the group. Some of the more iconic sidekicks had already been taken by the time I weighed in (repeating items from someone else’s list was allowed in extreme cases, but generally frowned upon), so here’s what I came up with:

Sidekick Type #5: The Sidekick Who Is Not As Cool As You
Milhouse Van HoutenThe Simpsons
A walking, talking self-esteem boost for Bart, the rasping, bespectacled Milhouse would be the sidekick of choice for someone who associates with local psychopaths Dolph, Kearny, and Jimbo. Milhouse can be jettisoned at will, providing a decoy (if the bullies are victimizing Bart), or just because he’s too dorky to hang out (if the bullies are teaming up with Bart). But at the end of the day, Milhouse will always be there, usually stuffed conveniently in a locker.

Continue reading From The Google Group Vaults: Top 5 Sidekicks (March 2008)

Ghostmann’s Top 10 Songs from 2003

As you know, Idle Time’s 10 year anniversary is upon us and we have something huge planned to celebrate, so stay tuned to this website for announcements. In preparation I’ve been dusting off the old CD’s, picking my favorite songs from the last 10 years. Here are my picks for the best 10 songs from 2003. Enjoy.

10. The Postal Service, “Such Great Heights”

February 2003 / From the album Give Up Continue reading Ghostmann’s Top 10 Songs from 2003

Ghostmann’s Top 10 Songs from 2002

The Tenth Anniversary buzz is just starting to build, and all the Idle Timers have been busy plotting and planning. Following up on yesterday’s peek into ’01, here are my Top 10 Songs of 2002. Again, these are arranged in order of release, not preference. Ranking, arguing, and name-calling to come.

10. Badly Drawn Boy, “Something To Talk About”

April 2002 / From the About a Boy soundtrack Continue reading Ghostmann’s Top 10 Songs from 2002

Ghostmann’s Top 10 Songs of 2001

We have serious plans for our Tenth Anniversary year and, in preparation for our next big project (stay tuned for more details!) the IT Staff has been discussing the music that made the last decade so memorable.

So here are my Top 10 Songs of 2001. These are arranged in order of release, not preference. Of course, knowing how fond we are of ranked lists, you can expect some hardcore rouletting in the very near future.

1.  Stephen Malkmus, “Church on White”

Feburary 2001 / From the album “Stephen Malkmus

Continue reading Ghostmann’s Top 10 Songs of 2001

Movies You Can Watch: A Retrospective Look at the Films of 2011

While I completely dropped the ball when it came to pursuing new music in 2011, my theater attendance was at an all-time high. Even while I lived in the U.K., where the price of a movie was roughly $20.oo after the conversion, I somehow managed to see just about everything I thought was worth seeing, and some films that might pass for entertainment if they were playing in the upper corner of Hell’s waiting room. Is there anything I can say about the year in movies as a whole? I suppose.

Actually, I do think Tin-Tin represents the future of blockbuster entertainment, and I hold The Artist and Hugo  in high esteem for gilding film history and incorporating it into entertainment. Then there’s the success of  The Tree of Life, which demonstrates how far people are willing to like something even if it is dense beyond comprehension… But otherwise, this was not the most remarkable year for the moving pictures. Speaking generally, the budgets of 3D action-adventure flicks continued to expand into the grotesque, and 3D technology itself became more engrossed in the production process, gaining the support of beloved American directors (Spielberg and Scorsese each made 3D films this year to much critical acclaim and equal audience satisfaction); even so, there was nothing really “innovative” or urgent about the movies of the past year. So why even talk about ’em?

Despite being cynical toward the future of the industry, there were plenty of things to enjoy on the big screen. Sure, nothing was absolutely life-changing, but after I shelled out my ten bucks for admission more often than not I left the Cineplex satisfied that neither my time nor money was wasted. I do think it’s sad that we’ve probably exhausted the grammar of popular film making to the point that entertaining innovation seems impossible, but let me say this: 2011, I ain’t mad at ya’! You reminded us of the charm of Woody Allen’s comedies; you lifted Ryan Gosling to the prince-like stature of a young DiCaprio; and you soiled the jeans of many fanboys, as Marvel completed their set of Avengers “prequels” with the promise of the biggest cross-over event in blockbuster history! This wasn’t the zeitgeist of twenty-first century movie making, but it certainly wasn’t a year to avoid theaters. Continue reading Movies You Can Watch: A Retrospective Look at the Films of 2011