Music, Movies, Media: Aggregate Thoughts From a Trying Summer

For a brief but indelible portion of my life I was intoxicated by music so much that I only paid scattershot attention to any sports other than my favorite teams — the nerve!. While I’ve been back in the fold sports-wise for a few years, my belly still burns for the life-accentuating media.

JAMMAGE: Over the course of the summer, and well into 2012 hint hint, I’ve been rediscovering some of my favorite music but I’ve found precious new that I’ve genuinely loved. When I have stumbled onto something awesome, it’s usually been a new offering from a band I’ve known for a while.

Enter Typhoon.

Typhoon’s “A New Kind of House” arrived at my house in beautiful clear vinyl a couple days ago and it has wafts through the abode on a consistent basis when I’m in the building. To me, the record feels like a culmination of an era with the promise of something bigger and better.

“A New Kind of House” either whispers or screams so many of the past decade’s great indie (if you will) rock artists: Arcade Fire, Built To Spill, Band of Horses, The Gloria Record/Mineral, Rocky Votolato, M. Ward, Appleseed Cast, Anathallo, Sufjan Stevens, Sparklehorse, The Shins, Anathallo…

… and on-and-on. This is the performance that made me buy the record and I haven’t been let-down:

CATHODE RAYS: Since my little Nicks invaded my beautiful wife and laid down roots in the form of offspring, we spent the ensuing nine-month and ten-plus-month periods doing a lot of catching up on television. Some quick thoughts on a bunch of “dramas”:

“The Wire” – is incredible in every way. It may be about Baltimore, but I guarantee it changes the way you look at Buffalo politics, news, police work and more. Just phenomenal. The best show I’ve ever seen. Grade: A+++

“Boardwalk Empire”  – Pretty cool, but a little slow-moving during Season One. Ready for its return, but not sure it’s earned an entire second season from us. Grade: B-

“Deadwood” – This show was made for me. My expectations were through the roof, but the show only made it to the ceiling. Grade: A

“Suits” – The best active show on television due to its actors, not its premise (which is two lawyers, one who has a fake Harvard degree). Real romantic tension to go with intelligent plotlines. Grade: A

“Law and Order: SVU” – I think we watched 127 episodes in three days. It was the chocolate ice cream and pickles of the pregnancy. Harder to watch now that we have a child. Grade: A

“Mad Men” — For real with the hype? I mean, I’ve watched every episode and can pinpoint maybe five that count as great TV. I love whiskey, old clothes and slick lingo as much as way more than the next guy, but this is “Desperate Housewives” for dudes. Grade: C

“The Killing” –  Who killed Rosie Larsen? AMC. This show built up to what should’ve been a remarkable finale and then kicked us all in our respective procreational devices. Grade: B-

“Rescue Me” — Show was downright incredible for a couple of seasons before getting patently-absurd. It rode that absurdity wave into the final season when it showed more than flashes of brilliance. The final season had the show’s funniest episode (the penultimate one) and most dramatic. Overall there were a few A+ seasons and a couple D’s. Grade: B

“Six Feet Under” — I was stunned to learn from my wife and every woman I know that’s seen the show that my sympathy and like for Nate Fisher was disgusting. He’s one of my favorite characters in TV history and the reason to watch the show. “Six Feet Under” is worth watching if only for the surprising final season story arc and the best final 10 minutes in the history of TV. I’ve gone back to Youtube to watch the aforementioned 10 minutes a whole bunch of times. Grade: B

“Dexter” — He would’ve been caught by now, but that’s another story. The John Lithgow season was point-blank incredible. I’m still finishing the most-recent season, but it’s worth watching even in its grody-ness (word?). Grade: B

“Sons of Anarchy” — If you’re in it for incredible dialogue, forget it. If you can live in a world of fantasy, greasy people, bar fights and motorcycles, you’ll know why I love Tuesday nights. Grade: A- for me, C+ for intelligent criticism.

SILVER SCREEN: This post was much longer than I thought, so here’s a very brief movie set-up: “127 Hours” made me cry, but I fast-forwarded through some of the middle. Netflix instant jams I’ve enjoyed: “The Baxter”

“Meet Bill”

“Humble Pie”

“Gigantic”

“The Good Life”

“Skills Like This”

“The Good Life”

Especially the last two.

Email: nicholas.mendola@gmail.com

6 Responses to Music, Movies, Media: Aggregate Thoughts From a Trying Summer

  1. Daniel says:

    “Meet Bill” (and “Thank You For Smoking”) made an Aaron Eckhart fan for life. If you haven’t seen “Smoking”, check it out.

  2. Chris says:

    You should make “Breaking Bad” your next television endeavor. After the season airing now wraps up, there will only be 16 more episodes.

  3. Jim says:

    Check out Justified staring Timothy Olyphant, the marshall from Deadwood playing you guessed it a US Marshal. it’s based on an Elmore Leonard character

    Also try Game of Thrones from HBO, love the books and the TV adaption is very good.
    both shows won Emmy’s for supporting actors that were well earned

    Walking Dead is coming back, jury is still out due to very short 1st season but it’s on AMC which along with FX make the best shows currently on TV

  4. Topher says:

    Lot’s of good stuff here, and I’m definitely glad to see another Wire fan.

    But I completely disagree with your take on Mad Men. I get that the show’s slow burn isn’t for everyone, but you can’t argue with the character development, tension, or set pieces. And with the wire gone, it’s probably the Show with the most literary sense on tv.

  5. Topher says:

    And Jim, you’re right. Game of Thrones was awesome. Usually not into the whole fantasy thing, but it’s much more about relationships, struggle for power, and human character. And Peter Dinklage turns in an unbelievable performance as Tyrion Lannister.