We’re still here (and we have things planned)!

Hello world,

Sorry for the long break in our correspondence, but life can get in the way of many things. Sadly, for the past month or so, life has been getting between us and our beloved Recorder for one reason or another. But have no fear, for Alex, Andrew, ~J, and Travis are all doing well and will soon be back with a vengeance.  The rest of the boys will get their work on here in good time, but I wanted to chime in and let our readership know about a few of the projects that I have been working on and plan to spit out soon.

Firstly, I am and will remain your devoted TV viewer, and so I am starting a recurring feature where I will drop an article every week or two about one of the shows that I keep tabs on. This will give me a chance to expound on all the programs that I dearly love (or still tolerate), without breaking my neck trying to do a weekly recap of absolutely everything. That’s what The A.V. Club is for.

Secondly, the awards season for films is quickly approaching, and since I have a longstanding fascination with the simultaneously excellent and awful horse race that is Oscar season I will be chiming in with coverage of that. I’m going to endeavor more to cover the films themselves, on their artistic merits (as I have with surefire Oscar contenders Moonrise Kingdom and The Master), but will likely devote a few posts to the race itself as well. Also, I plan to complain a lot about how the Academy consistently mishandles how to present itself and its mission (Seth MacFarlane!?! Really?!?).

Finally, I am planning on working through one of my burning shames as a cinephile. Many of my friends and colleagues know that I am a huge fan of the Coen Brothers, the filmmaking siblings behind such modern classics as Fargo, O, Brother, Where Art Thou?, and No Country for Old Men. What I rarely let on when I discuss the Coen’s work is that I have not seen huge swaths of their filmography. Every cinephile has many blind spots, and one of my most glaring ones is that I have not seen any of the films that the Coen Brothers have made before The Hudsucker Proxy. So, I plan on rectifying that with a series of articles wherein I will watch (or re-watch as the case may be) and write about every Coen film up to 2010’s True Grit. I think it will be illuminating to travel through their eclectic resume in a (relatively) short span of time, and if this is a hit, maybe I will do the same with other filmmakers or movements that I am woefully underseen on.

Anyway, that’s the plan of attack for yours truly. I’ll see you in the comments section.

P.S. I am going to write my essay about it someday, but if you’ve been holding your breath since the 1st week of July the best show on TV last year was Louie. It will also be the best show on TV this year. My thoughts about it will appear when I do not feel hopelessly intimidated and over-matched by its genius.

“Remember, You’re On My Side”: Mike Birbiglia, The Everyman, and “Sleepwalk With Me”

“I’m going to tell you a story and it’s true… I always have to tell people that.”

WARNING: This will contain spoilers, although knowing them does not spoil the movie. (Trust me.)

So begins the precious gem of an indie comedy that is Mike Birbiglia’s feature debut as a lead actor, screenwriter, and director, Sleepwalk with Me. The introduction to the film, featuring Mike Birbiglia driving along in his car stopping at a toll booth, immediately recalls Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, the seminal John Hughes classic which featured Matthew Broderick continually breaking the 4th wall as a means providing the audience with a narrative fixture. As a device, it also gives the audience a means by which to relate to the protagonist of the film, which in the case of Sleepwalk With Me is exceptionally important. This is a tough little film, hilarious at times, that refuses to ask simple questions or provide easy answers to its viewers while still entertaining the hell out of its audience. But we’ll get there.

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Alex and Andrew Debate the Sight & Sound List: Part Two

Picking up where we left off two days ago, Alex and Andrew continue to debate Sight & Sound’s list of the “Greatest Films of All Time.” Be sure to check out Part One if you missed it.


Alex, I grant you every single point about Citizen Kane…I find the story as compelling as you do, and the idea that it takes an entire cast of characters to make an individual life is a profound one which may never have been as fully realized as Welles and Mankiewicz realized it. This being said, your description of Kane could just as easily be applied to Jay Gatsby, Julian English, even Michael Corleone in his way…and I have felt much more emotionally overwhelmed by The Great Gatsby, Appointment in Samarra, and even the two Godfathers (even though I’m not a giant fan of part one) than by Kane. Maybe my problem is I always come at film more from the writing/story perspective than the pictorial/mise-en-scene perspective. I hold both as the two equal standards of judgment, but the story takes precedence only because of my turn of mind. (And I’m not saying you discount story…I know you and your love of movies too well to make such a horrid and untrue claim…but you and I see movies from slightly different angles, just slightly, but still.)

Anyway, my point: with Gatsby, English, Corleone, Scottie, I see them as Shakespearean tragic heroes, good men brought to death, be it actual or spiritual, by a flaw. Kane is never presented that way, which makes empathy for him harder to obtain…and on the one hand, this may part of the brilliance of Citizen Kane, that the protagonist is so down-to-earth and recognizable and presented without either endearing or purely villainous qualities…Kane is neutral, is Everyman despite being the MAN among men, is recognizable. But at the same time, Welles’s refusal to give the adult Kane, his Kane, any character trait I can relate to beyond his very human ambition, anything which makes me feel involved with him, means that I only appreciate the film for that intricate and dense plotting. Don’t get me wrong, I love a film, a novel, anything with a whirling story like Kane which is so well-told. And I will never deny Kane’s greatness for an instant. You will see it appear on my own top ten list at the end of this reply because I know how much we all owe Welles. I am simply trying to understand why people are now disinclined to rank it as number one, and I think it is because it lacks the pull on the heart, even though it may be the darkest corners of our heart, which is found in Vertigo.
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A Dark Night’s Sorrow: An Addison Recorder Editorial

To begin, let me just say that, on behalf of all of us at the Addison Recorder, I would like to offer our condolences to all of the victims of the shooting that happened early this morning at the movie theatre in Aurora, CO. These murders are horrifying, a senseless act of violence that might seem like a vast impossibility, and because of the nature of this particular act, many of us around the nation, and the world, are in a deep state of mourning today.

There are many things to be said about this attack. I want to try and keep from politicizing the nature of the event, casting blame about, and making this into something more than it is. Lord knows that I want to rant about several things, and I’ve struggled with this in my mind as I sit down to write out my thoughts and feelings. Therefore, I apologize if this gets wordy, windy, or overly dramatic. If you wish to avoid such thoughts (though I’m trying to avoid getting preachy), close out now and you won’t have to suffer through my thoughts.

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