Tuesday, April 18th, 2006
I had to double-check Noah Baumbach’s IMDB entry after seeing The Squid And The Whale to verify that it was The Life Aquatic he worked on with Wes Anderson and not The Royal Tenenbaums (though Anderson produced Squid). His semi-autobiographical film about a family slowly fracturing before, during and after a divorce plays like a sort of looking-glass version of Anderson’s film, but instead of reveling in eccentric, fairy tale-ish irony, Baumbach’s (fictional) family comes across all too real, flawed and pained. But still funny, if heartbreakingly so.
Set in 1986 Brooklyn, Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney are the two academic/writer parents whose marriage decays for various reasons while Jesse Eisenstien and Owen Kline are their two sons trying to cope with the changes in their life, and not especially well. The cast was uniformly terrific, conveying tremendous depth of character with minimal gestures, though not the emotional catatonia that, say, Bill Murray would have brought to the table. The seven or eight minutes of the opening scene alone offered more subtle and nuanced characterization than some films manage to get out of two hours. Jeff Daniels in particular was superb as the father, probably initially the least sympathetic and outwardly jerk-ish character but by the end, the saddest. Ireland’s Event Guide has an interview with Daniels about his role in the film.
It’s a great film and highly recommended, though if you’re the sort of person who hates the sort of films that critics love, you’d best stay away. And because it’s fun to play segue, Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips, who provided the score for the film (Dean also scored Baumbach’s Mr Jealousy) have made one of the songs available to download. And Dean contributes a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Hey You”, integral to the film, to the soundtrack.
There’s also a pretty instrumental piece cryptically titled “Luna movie soundtrack” available to stream/download on their MySpace page. The duo has also updated their website with photos and video footage from the recording sessions for their second album, and getting back to the forthcoming Luna doc, Head Full Of Wishes has an interview with drummer Lee Wall about Tell Me Do You Miss Me. You’ll recall Britta went a couple weeks ago.
It’s Cinnamon Girl day at Stereogum – he’s got a tidy dozen versions of the Neil Young classic available to download – eleven covers and the original. More one-note solos than you can shake a stick at. And Billboard has more on Young’s Life In War, which Young describes as “A metal version of Phil Ochs and Bob Dylan … metal folk protest,” recorded in power-trio configuration. Interestingly, his label hasn’t heard it yet – they get to listen to it today, and I’m sure after hearing/seeing all the rancour the album’s very existance has caused amongst their red state markets, are more than a little nervous about what’s coming their way. But whether it’s awful or brilliant, offensive or inspired, does Reprise have any option but to release it? Has an album from an artist as high-profile as Young, especially one that’s gotten this much ink already, ever been turned down by a label? Somewhere, deep in Reprise HQ, some exec is watching Prairie Wind and shaking their head, saying, “we were doing so well, Neil…”
Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers talks blesssings and curses with Philly.com. The new album is out today and already doing pretty well on Metacritic. Via Largehearted Boy. Billboard mentions that the Truckers will be on tour with Black Crowes but that bill doesn’t kick in until June 10, considerably after the Crowes play Massey Hall on May 16.
24: Is it strange that I spent the first ten minutes waiting for a sniper to take out the Secretary of Defense? And while his position on not turning in the tape isn’t actually that surprising, his throat punch on Jack was. Probably just wanted to see if he could do it. And is this the second time today that Chloe’s been arrested? Or was that last season? Anyway, Peter Weller’s rented Hong Kong Cavaliers weren’t very smart. “Let’s take cover form this firefight behind a giant fuel tank!” Geez, are there really seven more hours to go? And check it out – Kiefer and 24 are on the cover of Rolling Stone. Don’t get too caught up in the online quiz – some of the questions were kind of tough, but I don’t think it actually ends. It just keeps going… and going…
np – Calexico / Feast Of Wire