You Need to See: Nashville

by dawn on November 12, 2014

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With the neighborhood video store all but extinct and movie-lovers finding their films via Netflix and Amazon searches, the pleasure of “stumbling across” a great film is becoming a lost pleasure.  Each week I share one of my favorite movies, and I encourage you to seek it out.

At the time of its release, Robert Altman’s 1975 film Nashville was a ground-breaker. It’s impossible to imagine a film inspiring so much public debate in today’s zeitgeist of short pop-culture attention spans – you’d probably have to go back to 1999’s Fight Club to find a film that had Nashville’s level of cultural impact, and then multiply it by about a hundred

The New York Times ran at least eight pieces on the film, while critics and commentators ripped it apart, analyzing and dissecting it for months after its release. Nashville played a large role in the return to auteur filmmaking that enjoyed a resurgence in the late ’70s, helping to win public acceptance of directors like DePalma, Scorsese and Alan Rudolph, opening further doors for current-day auteurs. All of which is history, of course, and has little to do with the experience of seeing the film almost 40 years later. Nashville is, indeed, an innovative, fascinating, frustrating, and perhaps brilliant film. But it’s also a film that was important because of the time that it arrived in American history. [click to continue…]

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Ham-Fisted Playlist: Open Wide

by admin on November 10, 2014

DJ

Hey, listeners! We’re on a two-week hiatus, but we’ll be back with a new show on Nov. 24th, with all sorts of infotainment for your ears and your brain. In the meantime …

In 246 episodes, we’ve accumulated a sundry aggregate of show openings. So in lieu of a new podcast this week, here’s a heaping platter of songs, movie trailers, and other merriment culled from previous shows. Enjoy!

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You Need to See: The Last Waltz

by dawn on November 5, 2014

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With the neighborhood video store all but extinct and movie-lovers finding their films via Netflix and Amazon searches, the pleasure of “stumbling across” a great film is becoming a lost pleasure.  Each week I share one of my favorite movies, and I encourage you to seek it out.

In 1976, the group known collectively as The Band — guitarist Robbie Robertson, bass player Rick Danko, drummer Levon Helm, pianist Richard Manuel and keyboard wizard Garth Hudson — decided to hang it up and stop touring. They’d been on the road for 16 years, having first come together in the early ’60s as the back-up band for rockabilly artist Ronnie Hawkins. After struggling through various artistic and temperamental differences with Hawkins, they struck out on their own, first as Levon and the Hawks, then as The Canadian Squires and finally, simply, The Hawks. They recorded two singles and were approached by Bob Dylan, who was looking to go electric and needed a back-up band. The resulting tour was famous mostly for the intense animosity with which Dylan’s folkie fan-base greeted his new approach; they were regularly booed by crowds (most notably at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival) and had food and bottles thrown at them. Helm left the band, returning to his native Arkansas, later saying that he wasn’t sure if he’d return to music at all. [click to continue…]

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Episode 246 – Shelley Nolan Shyamalan

by admin on November 3, 2014

It’s a particularly movie-centric slice of Ham this week as Eric D. Snider joins the show to discuss Halloween movies, the writings of Stephen King, the last book Dawn threw across the room, horrible things you could do to trick or treaters if you were a terrible person, Gilmore Girls-binging, and the ways in which film critics of all stripes try to convince themselves they’re smarter than they really are.

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You Need to See: A Very Long Engagement

by dawn on October 29, 2014

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With the neighborhood video store all but extinct and movie-lovers finding their films via Netflix and Amazon searches, the pleasure of “stumbling across” a great film is becoming a lost pleasure.  Each week I share one of my favorite movies, and I encourage you to seek it out.

There’s something fundamentally wrong with people who don’t appreciate Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Yes, that’s an admittedly high-handed statement, being just another version of the annoying film-geek mantra “You just didn’t get it” that’s tossed at anyone who disses a much-loved film. Well, a lot of people didn’t like the sweet, romantic Amélie. And a surprising number of people didn’t like his Gilliamesque weirdnesses Delicatessen or City of Lost Children. And a whole lot of people hated his American debut, Alien: Resurrection (about which this reviewer would happily argue that a revisit might change one’s mind, as repeated viewings prove it to be far more complex, dark and witty than your average horror-flick franchise fodder).

At the risk of ticking off the reader at this early stage of the review, though, this must be said — those people were all wrong because those movies are all great. They just didn’t get ‘em. [click to continue…]

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Episode 245 – #NotAllPumpkinSpice

by admin on October 27, 2014

Dawn finds herself couch-bound with an illness, and decides to while her sniffly hours away engaging with #gamergaters on twitter. This somehow ends with Dawn (and her feminist ladyparts) on the verge of memehood. Best to celebrate with a warm cup of coffee and some homemade pumpkin creamer, the recipe for which is shared WITH YOU, on THIS EPISODE! Get some.

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With the neighborhood video store all but extinct and movie-lovers finding their films via Netflix and Amazon searches, the pleasure of “stumbling across” a great film is becoming a lost pleasure.  Each week I share one of my favorite movies, and I encourage you to seek it out.

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Jim Jarmusch makes the kind of movies that infuriate people who hate independent films. The characters talk too much. Odd things happen that remain unexplained. There are no spaceships or big explosions. And they’re very weird. So, yes, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai is a very weird movie – which isn’t to say it’s not a very good movie as well, because it’s very good indeed. One should expect no less from the man who made Down by Law, Mystery Train, Night on Earth and Dead Man. [click to continue…]

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Dawn considers her ambition to have robot parts grafted onto her body after her burner dies prematurely, the films of Christopher Walken are considered, was admitting Michael Bay into the Criterion Collection really that much of a tragedy, and the only type of meats you should beat… with a hammer.

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You Need to See: Big Fish

by dawn on October 15, 2014

With the neighborhood video store all but extinct and movie-lovers finding their films via Netflix and Amazon searches, the pleasure of “stumbling across” a great film is becoming a lost pleasure.  Each week I share one of my favorite movies, and I encourage you to seek it out.

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“Here in Hollywood, you have to describe [a film] in a couple of sentences or it’s not going to get made. So it was nice to work on a movie where that’s the whole point — you can’t describe it, put it into a real hard category. Things aren’t just black and white. Some things are both real and unreal at the same time.”

— Tim Burton

Art may not always imitate life, but some of the very best art is directly inspired by it. Author Daniel Wallace’s novel Big Fish, about a man coming to terms with the tall tales told by his fabulist dad, came from Wallace’s ruminations on his relationships with his flamboyant father and with his own young son. Screenwriter John August found himself drawn to the novel because the father/son relationship, he says, reminded him strongly of his own family dynamics. And director Tim Burton took a shine to August’s script because he was going through a journey of self-discovery following the death of his own father, doing a lot of thinking about the relationships between fathers and sons (“It was an opportunity to explore that without, you know, therapy,” he explains on the DVD’s commentary track.)  [click to continue…]

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Episode 243 – I Love My New Drug

by admin on October 13, 2014

Dawn discusses the sense of overkill (as described by Colin Hay) she’s grown familiar with, and the way she’s come to combat it – a method that involves abandoning delicious, delicious alcohol. Also discussed: Seeing the Who, the decision to abandon bad nicknames in the pursuit of seriousness, the future of weed, and the magic of pop-tarts.

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