Saturday, January 02, 2010


Reflection Pond 2009

This is the primer for my new series, my reflections on the past year. I love to listen to music and watch movies and every year I put up an analysis of everything that I liked about the year before. This year, like the reflection pond at balboa park, I'm peering down into the last twelve months and seeing myself, as I heard it and saw it on the screen. Our attitudes change constantly about how we perceive the world, what we come to appreciate and the art that touches us. Every year I notice different trends in the music I listen to or the movies that I really like. It reflects back to us if we choose to look at it.

So this is my primer, what you can expect for the next month on my blog. I'll call it the classic primer just to give you a taste.

Wilco - The Album (2009)

What other band could I consider as classic for our generation? Those who have followed Jeff Tweedy through the years and know the type of dedication and integrity that he brings to music, truly understand what I mean. It doesn't matter how much you've heard them or whether their time rolling upon the dime is more than enough, whenever Wilco delivers music to the masses you feel it as soon as it hits you. It's just damn good music. And this eponymous effort is no less fantastic. When I first heard the album I felt my old safeguards rise up.'s a little boring...we've heard all of these songs's nothing special...which is usually my first response with a band that I've followed for so long. Then I listened, really listened, and I listened some more. Then days passed and months and it was stuck on my playlist, never leaving, always wrapping it's beauty around my head. Once you bury yourself down inside the music of Tweedy and Co., it doesn't take long for you to feel the energy, a unique brand upon the brain. Some people have called them poetic and mesmerizing. I wouldn't disagree but I also think that for so many of us who look for a message that doesn't circulate within the sphere, that reaches beyond the acculturated demands by the homogeneous mob, then it's refreshing to know that there will always be a prophet out there that refuses to modify his voice. A group of guys who will forever speak your language.

The 400 Blows - Francois Truffaut (1959)

I've been told so many times how important this movie is to cinema; the greatest film ever made, changed the industry forever, absolutely must watch. So we finally queued it up and sat through the thing. It's a good movie, don't get me wrong but there's something about it that is despicable...every adult in the film hates children. Truffaut's 400 Blows was the defining film of the French New Wave movement, wherein a group of French film-makers in the late 50's and early 60's rejected the classical style of movie making and experimented with a radical departure of narrative force, visual style and editing. The 400 Blows follows a young teenager from a dysfunctional home as he skips school, runs away from home, lies, cheats and steals his way to reformatory school. Meanwhile his mother is having an affair while his father is a ruthless jackass. Told completely from the boy's perspective, Truffaut really wanted to convey what it meant to be a teenager in 1950's France. He wanted the audience to feel it, not just watch it and I suppose that was the reason for every adult in the film being complete jerks. He also created a film with a distinct vision of wonder. The cinematography was very honest and pulled you in, immersed you in the scenes, which was apparently very forward thinking at the time. Now, in the twenty-first century, we see these types of films all the time, from jerky hand-held manic masterpieces to macro closeups that make us sick from all the detail. We're so used to it that it would be easy to dismiss the effort put forth by Truffaut and not appreciate what he started a half-century ago. Now if only he had worked on that script a bit more.

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