December 26-27, 2014

Plowing through user stories on this WXDU database project that has been sitting fallow for the past 9 months or so. Thankfully this head-cold hasn’t affected my [limited] ability to program. If anything, feeling too lousy to get up & move around has actually improved my concentration.

The daily routine has basically involved getting up, coughing horribly until some sort of detente is achieved, working all day, and then watching a movie.

Friday night was L.A. Confidential, which has its flaws, but which serves as a reminder that Kim Basinger, Russell Crowe and Kevin Spacey can all be excellent actors when they feel like it. Or they could at one time, anyway. I have no idea whether Crowe or Spacey are salvageable at this point.

I’ve read some Ellroy but I don’t think I got very far into L.A. Confidential – it was too much about politics for me at the time I was trying it. Might give myself a month to re-forget the movie & then try again.

Saturday night we watched Dazed and Confused, and I was reminded of all the things I disliked about it the first time around. It’s not so much the plotlessness – lord knows I’ve watched plenty of plotless movies. But the use of music is really lazy.

There are quite a few scenes that cut between multiple carfuls of kids, all apparently listening to the same music, which is a cool idea – only the stuff that they’re listening to is unlikely to have been on the radio in May 1976.

This is what was on the radio in May 1976:

  • “Afternoon Delight” – The Starland Vocal Band (G) (#1)
  • “The Boys Are Back In Town” – Thin Lizzy (#12)
  • “A Fifth Of Beethoven” – Walter Murphy & the Big Apple Band (G) (#1)
  • “I’ll Be Good To You” – The Brothers Johnson (G) (#3)
  • “I’m Easy” – Keith Carradine (#17)
  • “‘I.O.U.’” – Jimmy Dean (G) (#35)
  • “Let Her In” – John Travolta (#10)
  • “Love Is Alive” – Gary Wright (#2)
  • “Making Our Dreams Come True” – Cyndi Grecco (#25)
  • “Never Gonna Fall In Love Again” – Eric Carmen (#11)
  • “Rock And Roll Love Letter” – The Bay City Rollers (#28)
  • “Shop Around” – The Captain & Tennille (G) (#4)
  • “Still Crazy After All These Years” – Paul Simon (#40)
  • “Take The Money And Run” – The Steve Miller Band (#11)
  • “Tear The Roof Off The Sucker (Give Up The Funk)” – Parliament (G) (#15)
  • “Today’s The Day” – America (#23)

Sure, for the stoners, the soundtrack would have been heavier, and closer to the music featured in the movie – but they’re not the only kids shown listening to music. And it’s not like every car sold in 1976 came with a Foghat 8-track.

Plus the prohibitive costs of licensing certain bands resulted in some glaring omissions – no Who, no Zeppelin, no Pink Floyd (this in a movie with a character named Randall “Pink” Floyd). I don’t hold that against Linklater, but if your big hook is verisimilitude in costuming, cars, language & music (and you let plot and character development take a back seat to those things), then you open yourself up to criticism on those factors.

Having said that, Wiley Wiggins is just as astonishing to me every time I see that movie (and I’ve seen it 3-4 times, for some reason). And yes, so is McConaughey.

In semi-unrelated news, I finished reading Viv Albertine’s memoir Clothes Clothes Clothes. Music Music Music. Boys Boys Boys. It features a lot of all of those things. I enjoyed it quite a bit, even though the Slits wind up playing a major role for only maybe 20% of the whole book.

One last note: the advanced search at IMDB is really quite useful. Here’s Most Popular Comedy Feature Films Released 1979 to 2012 With User Rating Between 7.4 And 10 , Online Videos Available on Amazon Instant Video, Amazon Prime Instant Video , At Least 20,000 Votes and Production Status: Released

December 26-27, 2014