THE GRUDGE REPORT: Searching for the Pinball Wizard


In an effort to predispose myself towards a somewhat more consistent writing schedule, you may now look forward to my bi-monthly feature, a new column that will be taking a quick, dirty look at a landmark album or movie from the past on a rotating basis. This will be a somewhat more curtailed look than the in-depth analysis that myself and my colleagues at the Recorder have become known for over the past two months, but it will hopefully provide a quick listener’s (or viewer’s) guide to approaching the works of past masters. Owing to a lack of creativity and an overwhelming need to be a smart-ass on my part, this column will be henceforth entitled “The Grudge Report”.

For the record, this is not indicative of any sort of professional criticism on my part. The deep analysis you might expect, having already found it in many other articles within our magazine, will not be here. Nor, however, will this be a simple diatribe or a love totem on my part on the behalf of past masters. It’s best to think of this as simply a Buyer’s Guide to Classic Media, a Purchase or Pass if you will. Those looking for deeper analysis on my part may simply post below and let your feelings be heard.

You may enjoy.

Tommy – The Who (1969)

Ah, Tommy.

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Living With the Dead, or, My Favorite Kind of Necrophilia

The diehard fans now call them “The Days Between,” after a song written during the group’s final years of existence and never recorded in the studio. It was only played live, the only way most people ever wanted to hear their music.

Jerry Garcia would have been 70 this year; he was born August 1, 1942. And he in all likelihood would have been stepping onto a new stage, his feet planted on a Persian carpet, guitar at the ready. But he died seventeen years ago today, August 9, 1995, itself exactly one month after the Grateful Dead encored with their elegiac songs “Black Muddy River” and “Box of Rain” at what was destined to be their final concert, right here in Chicago at Soldier Field.

It was a full house, and that is something which might surprise people of our generation: for the final decade of their existence, the Grateful Dead was one of the only bands in history to be a guaranteed sell-out at any arena and stadium. They couldn’t play smaller concerts; the demand was far too great. In 1991, for instance, they played NINE shows at Madison Square Garden and turned people away. For those who only know the Dead from the skull and roses, the multi-colored Teddy bears, and the classic video for their only top ten single, “Touch of Grey” (which I ate up as a kid every time it was on VH1), their appeal might be hard to understand. Even harder because the Dead are a very foreboding band to get into. It took me a long while.
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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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