Friday, October 27, 2006

Sofia Style.

So a few months ago, I was routinely checking out the latest and greatest on Apple Trailers and I came across the teaser for Sofia Coppola’s next flick Marie Antoinette. Can I just say, I love teasers. I think the world would be a better place if all previews were teasers. Think about it, great music, great imagery, no spoilers. Anyways, the moment I saw this teaser, I probably watched it a half dozen times right then and there. I also downloaded it for iPod and with a play count that’s now well into the double digits.

I will tell you right now Sofia’s teaser is the best preview I’ve seen in a long time. It is the perfect juxtaposition of lush visuals, awesome ‘80s new wave magic and brilliant editing—basically an emotionally energizing music video.

So on Friday, we went and caught the premiere. We thought for sure we’d be a couple members of a small audience. I mean this is Sofia, it wasn’t going to be your typical romantic comedy (which is really what it is). Well, it turns out that Scarlett hooked up Sofia again. The Prestige was selling out left and right and the overflow caused us to have a packed house.

Now I am not a huge fan of The Dunst, and I normally don’t go out of my way to see her (you know, the vampire teeth and all). But I was compelled. The film was very visual. It was by no means a dialog driven narrative and therefore it was
, well let’s just say… slower. Cinematography, editing, production design, were all top notch making this flick worth a gander. Now on to the music.

The music was incredible. A perfect mix tape of ‘80s almost hits. Even the score was extra cool, chill solo electric guitar. I have only two musical complaints. (Soundtrack spoilers ahead, beware.) To my utter dismay, the film was mysteriously missing the “Age of Consent”, the amazing New Order track from the trailer. It felt like you were totally expecting to see that one old friend at the reunion and they never ever showed up. The second oddity was the addition of The Strokes’ track “What Ever Happened?” Not only was this very much out of place in the musical landscape, it’s not even that amazing of a Strokes song. But all in all, film and the soundtrack were undoubtedly Sofia’s style.

Bottom line: I’d definitely recommend Marie Antoinette for a single viewing, but it won’t be gracing my permanent collection.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Being a Driver: A Commitment to the Car.

There are two kinds of BMW owners out there: there are your average owners and then there are drivers. I’m sure you’ve seen the average owners, the hair, the make-up, the brand new 330Ci. Yeah, that’s not me. First of all I don’t have any hair. Second, I don’t wear make-up. And finally, though I do own Bimmers (yes, that’s exactly how you spell it) I also know how to drive them.

Why a BMW, one might ask? Well, I think there are 3 reasons: heritage, driving experience, and design. When I was growing up I remember driving with my padre on a windy highway along the Hudson River in our cherry red ‘76 2002. The perfect combination of leather, oil, and breeze in the air, totally complemented the rollercoaster-like handling of that groovy old car. A 2002 has huge windows all the way around the cockpit and is completely driver-centric. Even though it’s not registered at the moment, I now have my own 2002, a ’75. I also drive a ’99 M Coupe.
In Bimmerese, M stands for Motorsport, the tuning division of BMW corporate. They make cars go fast. Driving the Coupe on a daily basis has taught me a few things about upholding the brand. First rule: when you see another BMW driver (not owner) you give ‘em a high-beam flash. Bimmers worthy of the high-beam flash include: retro vehicles, like 2002s and Bavarias, other M cars, and unique or well-kept BMWs. Now, if a fairly standard BMW model high-beams you, you may flash back, this is actually a fellow driver disguised as a mere owner.

Second rule: choose who you smoke wisely. When you’re at a stoplight, and the car next to you revs its engine, look before you leap. You’re a BMW driver, you can’t just drop the hammer on anyone. First you have to be able to beat them, second, they need to be worthy competition. So what does that mean? Well, it means comparable cars are best—other Bimmers, other German cars, go for it. (Just watch it with the Porsches, someone might know how to actually handle one of those things.)

It’s some of the Japanese cars that get tricky. Nissan Z? Do it. WRX? Light ‘em up. (Beware of the STI.) Modified, spaceship-like Honda Civic? Not even close to worthy. You see where I’m going with this. Mustangs, Camaros, and even Corvettes are all fair game, but let them make the first move—otherwise ignore.

Third rule: there’s nothing wrong with a friendly game of cat and mouse on the freeway. Cat and mouse is not about winning or beating the other guy. It’s about mutually pushing your cars into slightly more extreme driving conditions. This works best when the other vehicle is a BMW driver and you take turns being the ‘wing man’.

Bottom line is this, you either get it or you don’t. There are a lot of BMW owners out there and only a handful of drivers. So when you come across one, make it worth it.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Godfather of Modern Rock.

So, a friend has been debating who’s the greatest American rock band. He’s been considering just about everybody. I've been thinking about this a lot lately—and after watching The Coldplays on a rerun of their Austin City Limits performance after midnight the other night—I'm gonna have to throw R.E.M. into the mix. Michael Stipe made a special appearance and I think that even though he personally hasn't been musically relevant for nearly a decade, his influence is undeniable. So here’s a brief history of my on and off relationship with R.E.M.

Other than the Huey Lewis tape my aunt gave me for my 12th birthday, my first rock anything was R.E.M. Green, on vinyl, for Christmas that same year. I cannot even tell you how many times I've listened to that album. I started gathering tapes of the old stuff next. Through junior high and high school, I'd say R.E.M. shaped nearly all my tastes: clothes, movies, girls, everything. Automatic was even more impactful than Green. Its acoustic edge led me to tons of new music. I was kind of known as the kid who liked R.E.M.

Then there was Monster. And all the sudden all the kids who used to make fun of me for liking R.E.M. were piling into their moms' minivans to go the concert at Giants Stadium. The clincher happen one day at my locker when I overheard this little, blue-haired freak say to his buddy: "I heard this brand new R.E.M. song today, it's called Superman."

That was it, I was officially betrayed. But after the mish, I went and bought both Monster and Hi-Fi—let's just say they're both currently on my iPod. I’ve purchased every R.E.M. album since then, but rarely listen to them. Their new sound, never really appealed to me. Then, the song Leaving New York came out. It kicked my trash. It was layered, beautiful, and passionate and it inspired my wife and I to catch the SLC concert at the E-Center.

I somehow, without knowing it, managed to get 5th row, center stage tickets. And other than the mega-creepy Michael Stipe raccoon make-up, the concert rocked. Honestly the standout songs were actually The Great Beyond and Imitation of Live—two totally new-sound songs. So that was weird. But easily the best song of the night was their rendition of the original version of Drive—not that crap funk version they played for a few years. I'll be utterly honest here and say (cuz Matt would comment and tell everyone anyway), that it maybe made my eyes water. I totally realized how much of my youth was tied to that anthem.

So here's the deal, when bands and artists like The Coldplays, Radiohead, Nirvana, Grant Lee Phillips, etc. cite R.E.M as a major influence, contributor, and/or friend—you know something's up. Okay so R.E.M. isn’t the greatest American rock band, but Michael Stipe is without a doubt the Godfather of modern rock. And let’s face it, we all know who the greatest American rock band of all time is anyways: why it’s U2, of course.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I’ll See You in Another Life Brotha!

So it’s Wednesday 8:00 pm and we’re recording the Season 3 premiere of LOST as I type. Kids are still kinda up, so we’re gonna watch it later. And let me tell you, I am so stoked. Last night we reviewed some episodes in anticipation for the big night. We watched both the premiere and finale of Season 2. Basically it was Desmond’s storyline.
Why is Desmond my all time favorite character on that show? Seriously. The guy’s been in 3 maybe 4 episodes and he’s drunk in half of those. You barely know anything about him. But it’s what you do know about him that makes him rock. Here’s what we know:

He digs Mama Cass.
He has a killer Scottish accent.
He pulls off long hair.
He drinks egg yolks.
He enjoys not reading good literature. (Just like me.)
He runs around empty stadiums giving advice on life to other stadium runners.
He makes cameo appearances on 24.
And he has an awesome catch phase.

(Pausing and watching the premiere.)
Back. I just watched it. Okay, I’m officially LOST.