Monthly Archives: March 2009
Mostly, I like to write about things I hate on here, so this should be a fun change of pace.
Dave Eggers, who has long been one of my very favorite authors, somehow just keeps getting better. You may have read his memoir, the Pulitzer Prize-Finalist “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.” And trust me, it’s just that. Or maybe you’ve read “What is the What,” a novel about a Sudanese refugee’s early life. While it’s billed as a novel, it had major factual components, as the main character is a friend of Eggers’, Valentino Achak Deng. All of the proceeds from this best-selling book went to Valentino’s foundation, which is in place to rebuild his hometown of Muriel Bai in Sudan. Pretty cool.
Also, Eggers is responsible for starting McSweeney’s, one of the funniest, smartest literary journals out there. A sample of their online offerings.
Oh, and he started an incredible non-profit group (826 Valencia*) to offer tutoring in reading and writing to kids around the country. The guy’s not even 40 yet.
So, Eggers is a brilliant writer, publisher, humanitarian, etc.
This month, it came to my attention that he has yet another job description: Screenwriter. Remember the “Where the Wild Things Are” trailer Brandon posted? Remember how it looks so amazing it almost made you want to cry (be honest)? Guess who wrote that. Dave Eggers. And as if that weren’t enough, he’s also responsible (along with his wife Vida) for the screenplay for “Away We Go,” certain to be one of the better films of the year (it’s directed by Sam Mendes, “American Beauty”).
All that to say, Eggers is brilliant, and I am so pleased he is expanding into the world of film.
*Eggers won the TED award last year for his work with 826 Valencia. Check out the video. It’s awesome.
Kevin James seems like a nice enough guy. I mean, I’ve watched “King of Queens” a few times when nothing else was on. It’s just a fat-guy-has-a-hot-wife sitcom, but James is fairly enjoyable. And he was fine in “Hitch.” Whatever.
What troubles me is the success of “Pall Blart: Mall Cop.” As I write this, “Paul Blart” just surpassed a domestic box office gross of $140,000,000.
To put that in perspective, here is a list of the movies nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture last year, and their earnings. Also, “Paul Blart” has been in theaters for a shorter time than any of these.
– “Frost/Nixon” – $18,000,000
– “Milk” – $32,000,000
– “The Reader” – $33,000,000
– “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” – $127,000,000
– “Slumdog Millionaire” – $137,000,000
How the hell did this happen? Are we really such suckers for the lowest common denominator of comedy?
I’ll finish with one piece of related, positive news. There’s another mall cop movie coming out that looks risky, intelligent, and creative (Read: Another film that will make less money than “Paul Blart”).
I’m a huge fan of the NBA, particularly the Nuggets, and i passionately hate many teams and players around the league. I hate them because they show no self-respect, flailing and flopping all over the place.
When Chris agreed to join the Diafero Collective blog he only request one thing, the addition of the “Things I Hate” category. I love him for that, because now I have the opportunity to call out all the little babies in the league that are ruining the sport.
First up is Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets. He had me infuriated last night after many horrible flops were rewarded with free throws, somehow the refs are still giving CP3 calls. The Nuggets won the game 101-88, but it would have been an even bigger lead if it weren’t for the horrible refereeing.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably been asking yourself the same question I have these 5 long years since the release of Limp Bizkit’s final album: “When will the multi-talented Fred Durst see fit to offer his art up to the world again?”
Nope. I hate Fred Durst. Who doesn’t? But what happens when something you hate makes something that looks good?
Recently, I saw a movie trailer for “The Education of Charlie Banks” that got me feeling a bit excited. “Charlie Banks” is an Independent coming-of-age story starring Jesse Eisenberg (Squid and the Whale, Adventureland). The movie ran the festival circuit in late 2007, winning the “Made in NY Narrative Award” at the Tribeca Film Festival, and by all accounts looks like a pretty decent movie.
The problem for me while watching the trailer occurred in the final seconds as these words crossed the screen: “A Fred Durst Film.” Shit. Did I accidentally get excited about a film directed by a man who named his band after this?
But, it looks like Fred Durst is back, and he may even have a reasonable film on his hands. Even so, there is hope for all of us Durst haters out there. He made this movie, too, which looks like a cross between “Little Giants” and “Are We There Yet?” And I mean that in the worst possible way. Plus, there are reports of a Limp Bizkit reunion tour later this year.
I just hope that “Charlie Banks” is as terrible as everything else I’ve come to expect from Durst. I know how to hate the man, but if “Charlie Banks” is good, I won’t know what to do. Wait for a summer blockbuster from the drummer of Nickelback, I guess.
And I couldn’t agree more. I also agree with Deion Sanders telling Jay to man up. These are two of the best clips I’ve heard throughout this whole saga. The Broncos need to get a MAN to be their quarter back and not some little whiny boy with a “strong” arm.
I know this doesn’t quite fit in with most of the posts we make on here, but man is it great.
Scott Hastings on Jay Cutler
Deion Sanders on Jay Cutler
I’m always amazed at the timelessness of Leonard Cohen’s song Hallelujah. You would think people would get tired of it, but it seems like every couple of months I run across an artist who has had success covering this song. Even still, it doesn’t crack the top 100 most covered songs according to Second Hand Songs. Though, I find that hard to believe since it has been recorded by around 185 different artists. (Here’s a list of all the artists to cover the song)
Just as interesting as the song’s popularity is its ambiguity. Probably because Cohen was a more of a poet than a songwriter, the song is left open to interpretation and everyone seems to have their own. I love how Cohen describes the meaning… “It explains that many kinds of hallelujahs do exist, and all the perfect and broken hallelujahs have equal value.” Supposedly, Cohen told Bob Dylan this song took him 2 years to write and the original composition had 80 verses. The full version has been slimed down to a mere 15 verses.
So, with all those versions out there, I decided to rank my personal favorites. Like most people, I secretly used Jeff Buckley’s version as the standard. I leaned towards artists who were creative with their melodies and instrumentation without killing the feel. There are some good voices covering this song but their too similar to Buckley’s version. Anyways, here are my top 5:
No. 1 – Jeff Buckley
No. 2 – Phil Wickham
No. 3 – Rufus Wainwright
No. 4 – Brandi Carlile
No. 5 – Bob Dylan
Honorable mention: Beirut
Dishonorable mention: Bono
Let me take a minute and introduce you to two bands that will make you think you’re on an acid trip when you’re not and remind you when you are. Son Lux and Riceboy Sleeps. Let’s start with the latter…
Sigur Ros frontman Jón (Jónsi) Þór Birgisson and his boyfriend Alex Somers made a conscious decision to begin making art together in the summer of 2003. Their work began as a musical collaboration but evolved into still images, videos and storytelling (as well as music). Their work is known today as Riceboy Sleeps. Most people have become familiar with Riceboy from their recent appearance on the prolific Dark Was the Night album created by the Dessner twins of The National. Riceboy’s two previously released tracks accompany videos and a storybook found under the Riceboy Sleeps name. Watching these videos and listening to their sounds becomes this mind-blowing, ethereal experience. So much so, that I only “do” Riceboy if they have my full attention. If you appreciate anything similar the sounds of The Album Leaf, Explosions in the Sky, Mogwei or Sigur Ros then Riceboy Sleeps will give back every second you give them.
The second and a personal favorite is Son Lux. I’m a guy who hates mash-ups and seldom enjoys a remix. Because, for all of the remixes out there very few are actually good. Ryan Lott who is Son Lux, is a guy who does them right. He is one of the industry’s most sought-after “remixers” for his work with artists such as Mute Math, My Brightest Diamond, Beirut, Anathallo and several others. Alongside his remixes, Lott has recorded his own debut album At War With Walls & Mazes. It’s crazy to think that one of last year’s best albums was done in between Lott’s day-to-day job of writing jingles for TV and radio commercials.
Riceboy Sleeps – Hapiness
Son Lux – Wither