Music Video Of The Day: God’s Gonna Cut You Down (2006, dir by Tony Kaye)


This is a case where I like the song more than the music video.  This video was actually filmed three years after Johnny Cash’s death.  As far as “official” music videos are concerned, I always feel like a musician should have some sort of say into how their music is visually interpreted.  Obviously, Johnny Cash wasn’t around to have anything to say about the video for God’s Gonna Cut You Down.

Since Cash wasn’t available, director Tony Kaye filled the video with cameos from other actors and musicians, a few of whom (though not many) were previous Cash collaborators.  Among the celebs who make an appearance in this video: David Allan Coe, Patricia Arquette, Travis Barker, Peter Blake, Bono, Sheryl Crow, Johnny Depp, the Dixie Chicks, Flea, Billy Gibbons, Whoopi Goldberg, Woody Harrelson, Dennis Hopper, Terrence Howard, Jay-Z, Mick Jones, Kid Rock, Anthony Kiedis, Kris Kristofferson, Amy Lee, Adam Levine, Shelby Lynne, Chris Martin, Kate Moss, Graham Nash, Busy Philipps, Iggy Pop, Lisa Marie Presley, Q-Tip, Corinne Bailey Rae, Keith Richards, Chris Rock, Rick Rubin, Patti Smith, Sharon Stone, Justin Timberlake, Kanye West, Brian Wilson, and Owen Wilson.  Some of the celebs — like Dennis Hopper and Kris Kristofferson — seem like they naturally belong there.  Others seem so out-of-place that you’ll want to throw something.  You know how that works,

God’s Gonna Cut You Down is a traditional folk song.  I’ve heard countless versions of it.  I prefer Cash’s version to the more traditional gospel arrangement but, then again, I tend to find gospel music to be dull in general.  Cash’s arrangement brought new life to an old song.

Enjoy!

Music Video of the Day: Do It Again by Wall Of Voodoo (1987, dir. ???)


Wow! I have no idea what the story behind this video is, but for some reason, four years after Stan Ridgway left Wall Of Voodoo, they covered The Beach Boys’ song Do It Again, and Brian Wilson is in the video. The only information I can find is in the YouTube comment sections on postings of this video. One says that Wilson and Wall Of Voodoo had a good time putting this together despite the content and where Wilson was at this time in his life. Another says that the group was probably forced by their record company to do something pop friendly, yet dark, in order to survive as a group. Other comments are just about the quality of the song or taking jabs at Eugene Landy–played by Paul Giamatti in the film Love & Mercy (2014).

Sit back and take in the weird. This is like a post-apocalyptic look at the vision of California The Beach Boys created while also being prophetic about their own group breaking up the next year.

30 Days Of Surrealism:

  1. Street Of Dreams by Rainbow (1983, dir. Storm Thorgerson)
  2. Rock ‘n’ Roll Children by Dio (1985, dir. Daniel Kleinman)
  3. The Thin Wall by Ultravox (1981, dir. Russell Mulcahy)
  4. Take Me Away by Blue Öyster Cult (1983, dir. Richard Casey)
  5. Here She Comes by Bonnie Tyler (1984, dir. ???)

Playing Catch-Up: The End of the Tour (dir by James Ponsoldt) and Love & Mercy (dir by Bill Pohland)


Two of the best films released last year dealt with troubled artists.

The_End_of_the_Tour

The End of the Tour opens in 2008, with a writer David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) getting a call that the famous and acclaimed author, David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel), has committed suicide.  After learning of the tragedy, Lipsky remembers a few days that he spent interviewing Wallace 12 years earlier.  Wallace had just published his best known work, Infinite Jest.  At the time, Lipsky himself was a struggling writer and he approached Wallace with a combination of admiration and professional envy.  Lipsky hoped that, by interviewing Wallace, he could somehow discover the intangible quality that separates a great writer from a merely good one.

Almost the entire film is made up of Lipsky’s conversations with Wallace.  We watch as both the somewhat reclusive Wallace (who seems both bemused and, at times, annoyed with his sudden fame) warms up to Lipsky and as Lipsky forces himself to admit that Wallace might actually be a genius.  There are a few conflicts, mostly coming from the contrast between the withdrawn Wallace and the much more verbose Lipsky.  Lipsky’s editor (Ron Livingston) continually pressures him to ask Wallace about rumors that Wallace was once a drug addict.  But, for the most part, it’s a rather low-key film, one that’s more interested in exploring ideas than melodrama.  It’s also a perfect example of what can be accomplished by a great director and two actors who are totally committed to their roles.  Jason Segel, especially, gives the performance of his career so far.

The shadow of Wallace’s suicide hangs over the entire film.  Throughout their conversation, Wallace drops hints about his own history with depression.  Much as Lipsky must have done after Wallace’s suicide, we find ourselves looking for clues to explain his death.  But ultimately, Wallace remains a fascinating enigma in both life and death.

Love_&_Mercy_(poster)

Love & Mercy (dir by Bill Pohland)

Love & Mercy opens with Cadillac saleswoman Melinda Ledbetter (Elizabeth Banks) selling a car to a polite but nervous man (John Cusack).  The man sits in the car with her and rambles for a bit, mentioning that his brother has recently died.  Soon, the man’s doctor, Eugene Landy (Paul Giamatti), shows up and Melinda learns that the man is Brian Wilson, a musician and songwriter who is famous for co-founding The Beach Boys.  After having a nervous breakdown decades before, Brian is now a recluse.  He and Melinda start a tentative relationship and Melinda quickly discovers that Brian is literally being held prisoner by the manipulative Dr. Landy.

Throughout the film, we are presented with flashbacks to the 1960s and we watch as a young Brian (Paul Dano) deals with both the pressures of fame and his own relationship with his tyrannical father (who, in an interesting parallel to Brian’s later relationship with Landy, is also Brian’s manager).  As Brian struggles to maintain his grip on reality, he obsesses on creating “the greatest album ever.”

Love & Mercy is an enormously affecting story about both the isolation of genius and the redeeming power of love.  Whether he’s played by Cusack or Dano, Brian Wilson remains a fascinating and tragic figure.  It’s hard to say whether Cusack or Dano gives the better performance.  Indeed, they both seem to be so perfectly in sync with each other that you never doubt that the character played by Paul Dano will eventually grow up to become the character played by John Cusack.  Both of them do some of the best work of their careers in Love & Mercy.

Here Are The Houston Film Critics Nominations!


Another one of my former hometowns has checked in with their nominations for the best of 2015!  The Houston Film Critics gave Ex Machina another nomination for best picture.  Wouldn’t it be kinda neat if Ex Machina snuck into the Oscar race as well?

BEST PICTURE:
The Big Short, Paramount
Ex Machina, A24 Films
Inside Out, Disney/PIXAR
Mad Max: Fury Road, Warner Bros.
The Martian, 20th Century Fox
The Revenant, 20th Century Fox
Room, A24 Films
Sicario, Lionsgate
Spotlight, Open Road Films
Steve Jobs, Universal

BEST DIRECTION OF A MOTION PICTURE:
Alejandro G. Iñárritu, The Revenant
George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
Lenny Abrahamson, Room
Ridley Scott, The Martian
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE:
Brian Cranston, Trumbo
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Matt Damon, The Martian
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Tom Hardy, Legend

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE:
Brie Larsen, Room
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Charlize Theron, Mad Max: Fury Road
Emily Blunt, Sicario
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Michael Shannon, 99 Homes
Sylvester Stallone, Creed
Tom Hardy, The Revenant

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina

Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
Rooney Mara, Carol

BEST SCREENPLAY:
Aaron Sorkin, Steve Jobs
Drew Goddard, The Martian
Emma Donaghu, Room
Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight

BEST ANIMATED FILM:
Anomalisa, Paramount
The Good Dinosaur, Disney/PIXAR
Inside Out, Disney/PIXAR
The Peanuts Movie, 20th Century Fox
Shaun the Sheep, StudioCanal

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:
Dariusz Wolski, The Martian
Emmanuel Lubezki, The Revenant
John Seale, Mad Max: Fury Road
Robert Richardson, The Hateful Eight
Roger Deakins, Sicario

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE:
Amy, Altitude Film Distribution
Best of Enemies, Magnolia
Cartel Land, IFC Films
The Look of Silence, Drafthouse Films
Where to Invade Next, IMG Films

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:
The Assassin, Well Go USA
Goodnight Mommy, Radius/TWC
Son of Saul, Sony Pictures Classic
The Tribe, Drafthouse Films
White God, Magnolia

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:
Ennio Moriccone, The Hateful Eight
Michael Giacchino, Inside Out
Junkie XL, Mad Max: Fury Road

Daniel Pemberton, Steve Jobs
Ryuichi Sakamoto, Alva Noto & Bryce Dessner, The Revenant

BEST ORIGINAL SONG:
“Love Me Like You Do,” music & lyrics by Savan Kotecha, Ilya Salmanzadeh, Tove Lo, Max Martin & Ali Payami, 50 Shades of Grey
“One Kind of Love,” music & lyrics by Brian Wilson & Scott Bennett, Love & Mercy
“See You Again,” music & lyrics by Wiz Khalifa, DJ Frank E, Charlie Puth & Andrew Cedar, Furious 7
“Simple Song #3,” music & lyrics by David Lang, Youth
“Writing’s on the Wall,” music & lyrics by Sam Smith & Jimmy Napes, Spectre

TEXAS INDEPENDENT FILM AWARD:
6 Years
7 Chinese Brothers
Last Man on the Moon
Results
Sir Doug and the Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove

BEST POSTER
Carol – Theatrical Poster
Ex Machina – Theatrical Poster
It Follows – Rear Window Alternate
Mad Max: Fury Road – ‘What A Lovely Day’ Alternate
Sicario – Theatrical Poster
The Walk – IMAX Alternate

WORST FILM OF THE YEAR:
Aloha, Columbia
The Boy Next Door, Universal
Fantastic Four, 20th Century Fox
Mortdecai, Lionsgate
Pixels, Columbia

Congrats to The Rangers


I don’t know a damn thing about baseball but I do know that the Rangers are going to the World Series and the Rangers are apparently from my hometown.  Oh, and the Ranger Josh Hamilton is apparently not the same guy as the actor Josh Hamilton.

Anyway, for now, I will also extend hearty congratulations to Arleigh because his team is apparently going to the World Series as well.  I learned today that apparently, San Francisco’s team is called the Giants and not the Phillies.  Apparently, the Phillies are actually Philadelphia’s team.  Actually, that makes a bit more sense.  I also found out that the Giants have a player with the exact same name as the former lead singer of the Beach Boys.

Anyway, congratulations to the Rangers (who I guess are now my team) and the Giants.  The song below is dedicated to both teams and to baseball fans everywhere…