before sunrise (richard linklater, 1995)

I was interested in seeing this again, because I've always thought of it as the weakest film in the trilogy. Not that it's bad ... far from it ... but I felt each movie was better than the one before, perhaps because the earlier movies added depth to the later ones. Returning to the first, I see that it is of a piece with the others, and if I still believe the third is better than the second is better than the first, my opinion about Before Sunrise is higher than when I first saw it and didn't know others were to come. (When I watched Before Sunset a few years after it came out, I found my appreciation of that film had grown, as well. Guess when I re-watch Before Midnight, I'll have to call it the best film of all time.)

The truth is, I didn't get any new insights into Before Sunrise by watching it again. There were no surprises I hadn't noticed before. I just find the groove Linklater establishes to be amenable to my own rambling thoughts. As always, I also have a crush on Julie Delpy.

This movie falls into another category that I am realizing over the years is more well-stocked than I ever knew: Movies I Love But I Bet My Wife Wouldn't Love. She isn't a fan of Linklater ... as she said about halfway through Dazed and Confused when I finally convinced her to watch it, "Is anything going to happen in this movie?" Saw Slacker and thought the same thing. I think the only movie of his she liked was A Scanner Darkly, and that came in part because we love the book and the movie was an excellent version.

Point is, I want to share my favorites with my beloved, but I'm crushed if she doesn't like them, too. I'm not talking about everyday favorites ... I don't take it personally if someone doesn't care for Gun Crazy (although Bonnie and Clyde might be a different story). But I can't bring myself to sit her down with the Before series, because I assume in advance she won't like it, and I really want her to. (The best/worst example of this is In the Mood for Love, one of my very favorite movies, which she would hate because "nothing happens".)

She often has the TV on during the evening and on the weekends. She has shows she likes, and movie genres she enjoys, but mostly she's looking for something she can half-watch while she knits. Mad Max: Fury Road turned up on some channel the other day, and that's only my favorite movie of the last few years. She liked it when we saw it, she is always ready to watch something again (since she's knitting, it helps that she already knows what's happening), and she loves action movies. I would have sat down and watched with her ... well, I would have stuck the Blu-ray in the player rather than watching the "TV version", but she never cares about that. But it seemed like a perfect movie for us to watch together. Instead, she surfed around until she found another action movie and watched that.

And I knew, once again, that we really don't have the same taste in movies anymore.

 


20 faves #18: hüsker dü, new day rising

18th of 20, roughly by chronology.

I chose Dirty Mind over later, perhaps "better", Prince albums because it has a special place in my life. If I were going by the same concept, this 18th album would be Zen Arcade, which I played over and over. Still play it, especially "Turn on the News", one of Grant Hart's best (my fave of his remains "Sorry, Somehow", for the way he sings, "You're making me sorry, sorry somehow, AND I'M NOT SORRY!"). But New Day Rising gets my vote. It's not as sprawling as Zen Arcade, and while Hüsker Dü played in more than one style, the overwhelming sonic power is best when compacted into what we used to call a single disc. The opening cut and title track is in some ways the ultimate Hüsker track ... the entire lyrics being "New day rising" repeated over and over atop a noise squall ... if nothing else, that one must have imprinted itself on my kids' brains, I bet if I mentioned Hüsker Dü to them now, in their 40s, they'd say "New Day Rising!". And there's my favorite of all favorite Hüsker Dü songs, the one I quote regularly because it's the story of my life, but I can't really get it in words, because like with Grant in "Sorry, Somehow", Bob Mould's vocals are crucial:

So now sit around we're staring at the walls
We don't do anything at all
Take out the garbage, maybe, BUT THE DISHES DON'T GET DONE!!!!!!!!

My wife, who loved the Ramones, never liked Hüsker Dü, because of the noise. I'd tell her that they wrote great pop songs, just like the Ramones, and they were loud, just like the Ramones, but she'd say they were just noise. She was probably right. For me, though, the way the sound of the instruments all bleed into each other is the primary appeal.

New day rising


music friday: 1991

Nirvana, "Smells Like Teen Spirit". I saw Pink perform this song earlier this year. She did a very straightforward version, which only shows that the original is already perfect.

The Geto Boys, "Mind Playing Tricks on Me". As important to rap music as "Teen Spirit" was to grunge.

Bonnie Raitt, "I Can't Make You Love Me". 1989's Nick of Time was supposedly her comeback, and it did indeed reach #1 and win a lot of Grammys. But Luck of the Draw was a much better album.

The Feelies, "Sooner or Later". I preferred their previous album, Only Life, but I saw them in 1991 (second time, first being in '89), so they're just fine right here.

A Tribe Called Quest, "Scenario". Ladies and gentlemen, Busta Rhymes.

Saint Etienne, "Nothing Can Stop Us". I'm not entirely sure how two songs from the same album ended up on two different Music Friday lists, but whatever. This was their first release with Sarah Cracknell.

fIREHOSE, "Flyin' the Flannel". They headlined that 1991 show with The Feelies. I think the wrong band was headlining.

Naughty by Nature, "O.P.P.". Even with all of the other great songs from his year (including a few on this list), I'm not sure any record puts us right back in 1991 better than this one.

Eg & Alice, "Indian". Confession: I've never heard of these folks.

My Bloody Valentine, "Only Shallow". If we're to believe Christgau, this was an almost-great band. His grades for their first four albums (one an EP): A- A- A- A-.

Spotify playlist ... a couple of songs weren't available, so I added two surprises.