Thursday, August 7, 2008

Peter Mulvey - Notes From Elsewhere

Hearing a live Pete Mulvey set on XM's The Loft was enough to catch my fancy. The singer-songwriter sounded smart and engaging so I downloaded his new Notes From Elsewhere from Emusic the other day.

Now this is great stuff! Just acoustic guitar and strong voice but soon enough you'll be providing your own percussion with either a rhythmic knee-slap or a tappin' toe. Intelligent, catchy, and the guy plays some wicked guitar. Highly recommended!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Kingsley Gets Whacked!

Ten minutes into The Wackness I wondered what I'd gotten myself into. In fact, a couple of good ol' boys a few rows in front of me must have wondered the same thing because they abruptly got up and fled. Oh, I was well aware that this was to be nimble offbeat fare not meant for everyone but I always want to at least like the main characters regardless of the depths to their neuroses... and as we all know, those neuroses can be either charmingly entertaining or downright repulsive.

Ben Kingsley stars as a bong-toting psychiatrist longing to be both stoned and loved. One of his patients, a dope-peddling high school graduate who just so happens to be falling for Doctor Ben's cute and popular stepdaughter, offeres payment for his sessions with his potent aromatic wares. Now this poor kid, who seems to be drawn into his vocation by both the need to generate a little extra cash and to squelch his lonely boredom, turns out to be the most mature person in the flick. Sure, he is confused and ultimately gets badly used, but at least he feels something real, unlike the other adults in the movie who have resigned themselves to the daily grind of forever trying to catch up financially or, in the doctor's sad case, putting up with a wife who seemingly has run out of the ability to give love or to even care.
Hey - I warmed up to it. Especially when Kingsley implores the young lad in a no-bullshit plenty-of-bong session, "go out and get laid - get your heart broken," and within that short mid-movie pitch of dialogue the key ending scene is set up.

And as for the always pivotal "wading-into-the-dark-and-bleak-surf" scene where a supremely whacked Kingsley finally gives himself up to the whims of the undercurrents, well, it's always interesting to see where the writer and thus the story will go from there, especially once the young and innocent bystander rushes in himself to save the beaten man. Will Kingsley end up swallowed by the sea, will he in fact somehow survive and struggle to shore only to see that our young rescuer has cruelly been swept away (cue Tom Waits' The Ocean Doesn't Want Me Today)? Or will both perish - or could both whipped souls somehow survive? It could go any of four ways and thus the mood of the departing audience is thereby determined.

I left in a happy mood, satisfied, understanding that it's always good to feel some thing, even if it is raw hurt, because maybe the depth of your bad feeling provides the catalyst for tomorrow's hope.