Sunday, December 12, 2010

the Top 10 worst Christmas/Holiday Songs

Ah, Christmas.  The Holly and the Ivy, Christmas Trees, Wassail, stockings, your favorite specials on TV, all those things make Christmas and the holiday season great.  However, in recent years it has become more and more popular to play Christmas music starting immediatly after Halloween all the way to January 6th (the official Twelfth Night or Twelfth Day of Christmas if you will.)  Although some Christmas songs are established classics in their own right and should always be heard in the holiday season, others are just god damned obnoxious because they are relentlessy overplayed or are just bad to begin with.  This list concerns these Christmas and Holiday songs that are just so horrible that they could turn any Santa into a Scrooge.

10. "Do They Know It's Christmas?" (1984) by Band Aid: 

Basically this song is a huge guilty pleasure of mine.  Although this song is great to sing when you are completely blasted out of your mind on wassail or holiday cheer, if you took a close look at the lyrics, you realize that they are extremely paternalistc and almost condescending.  Tthink about it, the starving Ethiopians probably don't give a shit about Christmas, they care about food!  Plus, your damn right, there will be no snow in Africa, because it is a sub-tropical continent.  Another weird addition are the people who they picked to sing the song.  Although some notable artists like Sting, David Bowie, and Bono make sense for their contributions to music, other artists that sang on the record have had less considerable staying power or have become a punch line for late time talk show hosts.  Some of these artists include Boy George, George Michael, Bananarama, and Big Country.  Plus the song made Bob Geldof one of the biggest douches of all time.

9. "I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas" (1953) by Gayla Peevey:

This song, a suggestion from my friend Jen, is cute the first time you hear it, but gets annoying to down right wanting to kill yourself with each subsequent listen.  If you haven't heard this song, even though I am sure you have, the song basically concerns how a little girl wants a Hippopotamus for Christmas.  From the bassoons that seem out of place, to Peevy's nails on chalk board voice, this song is a good one to skip over during any holiday season.  Plus why would you want a Hippo for Christmas?  They're really big, aggressive and smell bad.

8. Rocking Around The Christmas Tree (1958) by Brenda Lee:

The first of our Christmas songs on this list to feature the new fangled music the kids are listening to called Rock and Roll, "Rocking Around The Christmas Tree" falls under the same category that "I Want A Hippo" falls under, in that the music doesn't fit the structure of the song, and the voice of Brenda Lee is down right annoying.  Basically the song is about Rocking Around The Christmas Tree as it were, even though I don't really the know how that would be possible considering that you probably would knock over said Christmas tree.  The music has a stupid guitar solo that sounds like they just put it in there to capitalize on rock and roll so the teenagers would buy the record, and Lee sounds terribly bored and annoying singing the song.  Urban Legend says it that Lee's disdain for the song was so great that she tried inserting f-bombs into the recording.  Plus, an even worse cornier version was made by LeAnn Rimes.

7. Last Christmas (1984)- by Wham!:

Wham!'s 1984 single Last Christmas has much in common with other Christmas songs from the 1980s in that almost all of them were synth-based bubblegum pop that while extremely catchy, became instantly overplayed and annoying.  This begs the question: what made us so fond of the song to begin with. The song is basically about how George Michael has given his penis...errr I mean "heart" another person.  The lyrics basically repeat the entire chorus over and over again and the stupid synth-based music gets into your damn head and it doesn't want to get out.  Plus that single cover is horrible.

6. Winter Wonderland by Various Artists:

It appears that almost every single singer or band in the entire world has covered "Winter Wonderland" and why not?  The song lends itself well because it is about Winter, thereby making it secular and therefore more PC than other christmas songs.  But that doesn't mean that it sucks any less!  Basically "Winter Wonderland" has an extremely terrible melody with equally excrutiating lyrics that talk about dressing up a snow man like a traveling parson and talking about how beautiful winter is, which I disagree with.  Beside the first couple of days after the first snow fall, the beauty and joy of winter turns into dread due to the fact that you have to shovel said snow, stay inside, and have to deal with the freezing cold on a daily basis.  Versions of this song have also been increasingly bizzarre with covers being done by Frank Sinatra, The Eurthymics, and perhaps the most bizarre interpretation of all: Jessica Simpson and Ozzy Osbourne.  Seriously, youtube it, it's nuts.

5. O Holy Night (1998) by Celine Dion:

Let's not forget the real reason Christmas is celebrated, the birth of Jesus.  But somehow this message gets lost in the crass commercialism that is the holiday season.  Thankfully, there are carols and songs to remind us of the importance of the holiness of the day.  Unfortunatly, "O Holy Night" by Celine Dion isn't one of them.  This has to be one of the schmaltziest Christmas songs ever, which is saying quite alot.  The song is  full of sticky sentimentality and overblown production that make the song horrendous.  It certainly doesn't help matters that Dion sings it in that extremely pompous voice of hers, as though she is the only one capable of telling the story of Jesus.  On a personal note, I was subjected to this song so many times during the holiday season by my sister that one year it nearly ruined christmas for me.

4. It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year (1963) by Andy Williams:

I think the problem with this song that I have is that not only is it over played to the hilt, but its been used in a fashion to promote all the things that are wrong with Christmas, such as the extreme crass commercialism.  This song has been used in almost every single coroporate commercial to promote products for Christmas and has also been used out of season for such other holiday sales like "Christmas in July", Memorial Day and even school supply shopping.  Williams is completely hamming up his performance as the singer and the lyrics are especially corny. 

3. Santa Baby by Eartha Kitt and Various Artists

Oh man, I really hate this song.  When I was first compiling the list for Christmas songs, everybody told me that I had to include "Santa Baby", which of course has to be one of the worst Christmas songs ever.  Basically the song is about how a girl is being slutty for Santa and basically wants to hump his brains out.  While this would be every Santa's dream, the fact of the matter of is the song is quite disturbing.  Think about it, would you really have sexual relations with an overweight married man who comes down your chimney every Christmas Eve?  I didn't think so.  What makes the song truly terrible is the way that singers sing this song, trying to make it sound sexy, but instead sounding like an annoying 13 year old (which adds to the overall creepiness of the song.)  Versions include the original Earth Kitt version and the even creepier Madonna version.

2. Do You Hear What I Hear by Bing Crosby and Various Artists

The second song that has to do with Jesus on our list, "Do You Hear What I Hear" is one of the most overplayed holiday songs of all time.  It doesn't add anything to the Christmas song canon and its constant bombardment on radio and tv make it excruciatingly horrible for the holiday season.  For those who haven't heard it, the song is bascially about how a person hears, sees, knows, feels and tastes the birth of our Savior.  The fact that this is one of the few Christmas songs about Jesus to have been covered by everyone also shows how a person cannot escape from this song.  You would have to go to the remote wilds of Tibet or the Islamic Republic of Iran to fully escape from the carnage that is "Do You Hear What I Hear."  However, I can't say that about the number one song on this list.

1. Jingle Bell Rock by Bobby Helms and Various Artists:

Finally, we have reached number 1, and I must say that this has to be not only of the worst Christmas songs, but one of the very worst songs of all time.  There's a great line in the movie "Mean Girls" about how everyone in the Western World has heard "Jingle Bell Rock" at one time or another, and this is most certainly the case.  What they also forgot to mention is that they're probably is no other Christmas song that has been as loathed and hated as Jingle Bell Rock.  Seriously, the hatred that this song inspires from not only myself, but from other people borders on semi-psychotic.  The song is so stupid and simple, that I'm kind of amazed that it has lasted this long as a holiday staple.  If I had three wishes, one of them would be to destroy every copy of "Jingle Bell Rock" that has ever been pressed, recorded or covered by any artist.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Movie Review: Carlos

Oliver Assayas' sprawling 5 hour epic Carlos deals with the life of infamous terrorist Carlos the Jackal, the famous 1970s terrorist that organized the OPEC Hostage Crisis.  As said earlier, the film is sprawling in the truest sense: set in 16 different countries and featuring many languages, the film does a very good job of keeping its details straight with regards to the countries that Carlos lived in and how he interacted with various people.  This brings up question:  How does a filmmaker go about making a film about terrorist in this day age of the so-called "War on Terror"?

For Assayas, he decides to go the route of treating his terrorist as a rock star in the first half of the film.  At the beginning of the film, Carlos is a young revolutionary who believes he can do no wrong and stares at himself in the mirror while he is naked.  He is dynamic compared to the rest of his comrades and even considers himself to be a celebrity in the mold of Che Guevara or Mick Jagger.  As the film progresses, Carlos' excesses end up catching up with him: he becomes fat, loses the support of his allies, and ends up with testicular problems.  The latter being no doubt a symbol for Carlos' last days on the run.  This character arc is the strongest point of the film.  Its rare these days for a film to have completely fleshed out characters and it is fortunate that Assayas to make Carlos a clear ambiguous character, one that you end up rooting for and rooting against.  Hollywood should take notice of this character arc and realize that audiences prefer characters that are completely fleshed out instead of composites of typical arcs.

Another worthy point of consideration is Edgar Ramirez' amazing transformation as Carlos.  As stated before, Carlos undergoes a huge transformation from rock star terrorist to fat slob and back again in the space of five hours, and amazingly Ramirez goes along with the character.  He is able to turn Carlos into a real human being with all of its flaws.  It also probably helps that like the real Carlos, Ramirez is Venezuelan, which helps bring a certain believability to the character.

The only criticism of Carlos has to be the slow part at the end of Part 2.  Although the film does a good job of pacing, considering that it is a five hour long movie, I personally felt that the film dragged a bit toward the end of part 2 and could have used some cutting up or trimming.  Other than that, Carlos is an effective character study of one of the most interesting enigmas of the 20th century and features tight action and great performances.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Book Vs. Movie Round 1: One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

Today, we start a new tradition here on the blog, that of pitting classic novels against their celluloid counterparts to see whether or not an adaptation holds a candle to the original work.  This first installment is the classic Ken Kesey novel and 1975 Oscar winning film One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.  Although both are works are considered classics of their respected mediums, I personally feel as though the film holds a slight edge over the book due to its better narrative, character development and easier to understand themes.

The narrative of the film is perhaps the most striking difference between the novel and the film.  In the novel, the story is told through the eyes of The Chief, who tells the reader what is going on and offers his own opinions on each of the characters.  Although this makes for interesting  reading when compared to the film, I for one felt particularly bored with The Chief's narrative and lost interest whenever he went into one of his background stories.  Thankfully, the filmmakers decided to abandon the whole Chief narrative and instead make McMurphy the central character and make the story revolve around him.  Not only is Murphy a better character to build a story around, but he also comes with more surprises and moxy.  This makes him a perfect foil to evil personified, Nurse Ratched. 

In the novel, the reader doesn't get a sense a true sense of the eternal struggle between good and evil that McMurphy and Ratched represent in the film.  Ratched is a great villain in every sense of the word.  Although she is ranting and raving like most Hollywood villains, she uses other subtle forms of terror in order to keep the patients of the ward in line, such as emasculating them in front of their peers, and forcing them to obey her every whim in order to get little things like cigarettes.  This is what makes McMurphy's arrival at the ward even more compelling: he is literally a freedom fighter ready to free the patients of the ward from the tyranny of Nurse Ratched.  The film touches upon this good vs. evil mentality most accessibly, but in the novel, the message gets lost in the Chief's narrative and the confusing names that he applies to Nurse Ratched and McMurphy, which lessens the overall message and power of the book.

After looking at all the facts in this round of Book vs. Movie: One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, I am going to have to go with the movie.  Personally I feel that the film speaks to me on a more personal level and is much easier to understand than the book.  If you disagree with me, feel free to check it out for yourself.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Top 10 Movies where the Future Sucks!

This list is inspired by a recent viewing of the restored version of Fritz Lang's classic film "Metropolis" that I saw at the Detroit Film Theatre.  Although the film was made in 1927, the warnings that it made about the future have still made it relevant, especially the theme of class conflict which is becoming more and more likely.  Although technology has opened the door to many great innovations, it has also caused us to question how much innovation is a good thing, and what does it mean for humanity. Please also note that I have decided to limit this list to just one dystopian film per director.  Anyway, if you have any comments please feel free to post, now onto the list!

10. Children of Men (2006)- The most recent film on our list, Children of Men owes a lot to the films that came before it in terms of setting, cinematography and plot device.  Basically in the future everyone has become infertile due to the decaying world and environment around them (i.e. Climate Change).  Anyway, when a woman somehow finds herself pregnant, Clive Owen must find a way to get her to safety, fighting against left-wing terrorists and a repressive military government in the UK.  Although I personally felt that the ending was a bit too optimistic for my tastes, Children of Men serves as a good starting point for anyone looking to get into the dystopian genre.

9. They Live (1989)- John Carpenter's classic film deals with a mysterious stranger (played by the one and only "Rowdy" Roddy Piper) who stumbles upon a worldwide conspiracy where the mass media and government promotes excessive greed, consumption and obedience (no doubt a reference to the Reagan Years).  Did also mention that the people in charge are aliens who have taken human form?  Awesome!  Well basically its up to Piper to stop these guys with the help of a magical pair of sunglasses and Keith David.  Although the premise sounds far fetched, the film actually contains themes that wind up permeating through other dystopian films: what does it mean to be human?  what would people do to gain power? etc.  Also how can you hate a movie that has one of the greatest fight scenes ever, and this classic line:

8. Gattaca (1997)- Released in 1997 and immediately disappearing from theaters, Gattaca in recent years has become extremely prophetic with regards to its dystopian message: the warning of laboratory eugenics and genetic engineering.  The story goes as follows: A young man (Ethan Hawke) who is genetically inferior because he was conceived the old fashioned way (i.e. through intercourse) has taken the identity of a genetically superior person (Jude Law) in order to realize his dream of going to outer space.  With the advent of genetic engineering which now guarantees that parents can choose what sex, eye color and hair color their children can have, the warnings that Gattaca made have become startlingly true, and the film still contains great relevance.  In fact, Gattaca has been cited by many opponents of genetic engineering to show people what consequences genetic engineering has.

7. Mad Max/The Road Warrior (1979, 1981)- Alright, I know I'm cheating by putting two films on the list, but God damn it, I love both of them and I couldn't choose, so there!  Anyway, the Mad Max films deal with an Australia that has been made to waste and is now run by deadly motor cycle gangs and marauding tribes where Oil is the most valuable commodity and the police have basically become judge, jury and executioner.  Into this fray comes Max (a pre-insane Mel Gibson) who goes bat shit crazy after the Toe Cutter wipes out his best friend, wife, kid and dog.  Wouldn't you too?  In The Road Warrior, Max has become a vagabond, who is eventually enlisted to help get Oil from various tribes.  Obviously, the film deals with what happens if society runs out of Oil and how we all go from being civilized to essentially being savages.

6. The Last Man on Earth (1964)- The reason this movie gets on the list isn't so much for its technical breakthroughs or acting, but for single-handled creating a whole subplot of the dystopian genre: that of the last human against a swarm of unearthly like beings.  The remnants of this plot idea can be found in later films such as The Omega Man, I Am Legend, Night of The Living Dead, Planet of the Apes and much much more.  Plus any movie with Vincent Price is automatically awesome.

5. Modern Times (1934)- Now we get into serious classic film territory with Chaplin's classic parable of man vs. machine in Modern Times.  Chaplin basically controlled every aspect of the production, handling starring, directing, writing, producing, and composing the films score. Wow.  Anyway, The film is a meditation on the inefficiency of technology and what Man's place is in it.   Although seemingly benign today, the film was attacked by Chaplin's detractors by claiming it was anti-capitalist.  Personally the film isn't as anti-capitalist as people claim, but it is certainly a critique on capitalism and technology and what role does the worker or consumer play.

4. A Clockwork Orange (1971)- The truth is I could have picked other Stanley Kubrick films such as Dr. Strangelove or 2001, both of which have heavy dystopian themes; but since the former is more of a political satire and 2001 is more straight up sci-fi, I figured that A Clockwork Orange is more dystopian not only in its themes, but also in its setting and story.  The film deals with Alex DeLarge (Macolm McDowell in his best film role) a youth that leads a gang of hooligans in dystopian England where hooligans wreck havoc and people go to milk bars.  When Alex is caught, he is sent to prison where he takes a part in a weird experiment meant to "cure" him of his psychopathic tendencies.  In addition to the standard dystopian themes of a decaying society, the film also discusses the role of rehabilitation and whether or not it is a possibility in a violent society.  The film proved especially controversial on its release, garnering bans not only in the UK but in the United States as well.

3. Metropolis (1927)- One of the movies that set all the rules with regards to dystopian movies, Metropolis is a triumph not only of dystopian films, but of films in general.  Made on a budget that was equivalent to the big blockbusters of today, the films achievement is even more spectacular considering that it was made during Weimar Germany, where money was extremely tight.  Basically the story follows a typical dystopian spiel: Overworked workers seek to rebel against the oppressive authority that is undermining them.  But what makes Metropolis stand out is not only the impressive set designs, or story, but the great acting by all the main players involved.  I know silent films are kind of seen as antiques these days, but you owe yourself as a film buff to see Metropolis at least some point in your life.

2. Brazil (1985)- Terry Gilliam's bureaucratic nightmare vision of the future may have seemed like a far fetched idea when it was first released, but has now come closer to reality.  Basically the film foretells of a world where everything is ruled by paperwork, machines and computer are constantly breaking down, and people have lost their collective soul in service to the bureaucracy.  Enter into this fray is Sam Lowery (Johnathan Pryce), a bookish civil servant that hopes to escape this bureaucratic society and become free.  The film can be seen as a meditation on bureaucracy and technology and what it has done to society, especially since the whole idea of what is man's role in the world of bureaucrats and technology.  This film would perhaps be the no. 1 dystopian film of all time, if it hadn't been for the next one...

1. Blade Runner (1982, 1992, 2007)- The film that all dystopian films must be measured against has all the hallmarks of a dystopian film that it is no wonder that the genre is essentially indebted to it.  Decaying societies, technological nightmares, and what it means to be human are all themes explored by Blade Runner and help make it a film classic.  Although the experience of Blade Runner may very on the version you see, the best versions are perhaps the 1992 director's cut and the 2007 final cut; but make no mistake, Blade Runner is a true classic in every sense of the word and a movie where the future truly sucks.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Film Review: The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus

Yes!  Thank God Terry Gilliam is back to making a Terry Gilliam movie!  After making the un-Gilliam like Brothers Grimm and the interesting but flawed Tideland, Gilliam has finally decided to take a page from his old hand book and make a movie that is in the same vein as Time Bandits and The Adventures of Baron Munchasen.  Although not as good as the former two, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus is still an interesting film that deserves to be considered along with Gilliam's other great films.

Co-written with Charles McKewon (Gilliam's co-writer from his classic Brazil) Imaginarium tells the story of Dr. Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) who in exchange for his magical powers promised the Devil (a wonderfully over-the-top Tom Waits) his daughter at the age of 16.  Although the deadline is fast approaching, Parnassus strikes a deal with the Devil: if Parnassus is the first to get five souls, then he may keep his daugther, if not then the Devil wins her.  Enter into this set up is Tony (Heath Ledger in his final role) a mysterious stranger who decides to help Parnassus, although his motives may not be clear.

Along with breathtaking visuals which audiences have come to expect from a Terry Gilliam film, the film can also be interpreted as a metaphor of film making: Parnassus is Gilliam himself, a man in charge of creating dreams; the Devil represents Hollywood, who is trying to bring Parnassus under his control; Tony represents the critic or supporter who is trying to get Parnassus to not back down. 

Although this metaphor is just an interpretation, this interpretation is even more likely considering the obstacles Gilliam has faced time and time again in his career (such as the studio handling of Brazil and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; and the extreme box office failure of Baron Munchasen.)  Through this interpretation it could also be seen that this is Gilliam's artistic testament, one where an artist must always put his feelings and emotions into his work instead of conforming to the ways of the public.

Most of you however will probably see this movie due to the fact that it is Heath Ledger's final role, and although Ledger does a fine job in his part, I implore you as a viewer to look at the big picture of the film: what does the film say about art, creation and emotion?  In the words of Parnassus: the path is not easy, but if you persevere, you will succeed! 

Final Rating:  * * * 1/2 out of * * * *

Album Review: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds- The Good Son (1990)

Cave loves the Children!

Released on the heels of Cave's most rocking album to date Tender Prey, The Good Son was maligned upon its release by Cave fans for its emphasis upon ballads and love songs instead of focusing on other Cave topics such as death and Old Testament rapture.  Although this description of The Good Son is true, it should not be served as a distraction, but instead should be served as a welcoming point for a new direction in Cave's career.

Instead of overpowering the narratives of his songs with bombastic music, which no doubt worked to effect on his earlier work, Cave decides to be much more minimalistic on the music.  However, this minimalist approach does not distract from the lush orchestrations or the power Cave's  lyrics, which is on full display.

Cave directs his lyrics to be focused on heartbreak and love, and although this combination can be damning to some songwriters who have spent the majority of their career having a hard rock mentality, Cave is able to handle his lyrical subject with great emotion.  Take for example The Ship Song, a love song that is seemingly simplistic.  Although the song can be taken as a love song, the song is also about letting go with the person you love and letting them discover themselves in the world, even if that means not being by their side.

Another great highlight of the album is the duet between Cave and Blixa Bargeld on The Weeping Song, which tells the story of a son's betrayal to his father.  Cave's tenor and Bargeld's bass help elevate the song from a simple duet to a haunting melody about sadness, betrayal and even possibly murder. 

Finally, The Good Son should not be seen as some aboriginal album on Cave's discography, but instead should be seen as evidence that Cave is just as comfortable writing love songs and ballads.  Personally, this album is my favorite Cave album, and is a perfect starting point for any person seeking to get into the work of Cave and his music.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Proposition: An Appreciation in Bad Ass Film!

Bad Ass film, on an epic scale!
 In 2005, The Proposition an Australian film directed by John Hillcoat with a script written by Nick Cave (him of the Bad Seeds) was released into theaters.  Although the film did not become a big box office smash in the US, the film has found a steady cult following on home video and is widely considered to be one of the best neo-westerns released in the 21st century.  In my personal opinion, The Proposition is not only a great western, but also a completely bad ass film that provides some much needed bad ass filmmaking that cinema today seems vitally lacking.

First, lets look at the fact that Nick Cave of the mother fucking Bad Seeds wrote the screenplay.  That's right, the man who is responsible for writing some of the most tender songs ever written (think of The Ship Song, Into My Arms and Straight to You) while never losing touch of his complete ability to rock (think The Mercy Seat, The Carney, Red Right Hand) wrote the screenplay.   This comes as no surprise if you are familiar with Cave's music because the plot feels like a Nick Cave song.

The story goes as follows: Charlie Burns (Guy Pearce) is an outlaw in the Australian Outback circa late 1800s.  After he and his younger brother Mikey are captured by the law, he is given a "Proposition" by law enforcer Captain Stanley (Ray Winstone): In order for Mikey to not be executed, Charlie has to find his psychotic older brother Arthur, (Danny Huston) who has murdered a local family, and kill him.  While Charlie goes off in search of his brother, Stanley is presented with all sorts of challenges in order to civilize the Outback, which is not only limited to rounding up murderous outlaws, but also includes aboriginal rebellions, a meddealing Governor, and a displanted wife from England (Emily Watson).

This theme of attempting to civilize a land is very prominent.  As the film goes on, Stanley begins to wonder whether or not he can keep order in a land that is rooted in chaos.  This predicament gradually takes its toll on Stanley to the point where he is constantly suffering migraines and feels completely fatigued.  Winstone displays this anguish perfectly as he alternates between acquiescing to the forces of the Outback and attempting to create a piece of civilization in an uncivilized part of the world (notice the fact that the Stanley's home looks as though they are trying to recreate an English garden.)

Another prominent theme of the film is choice.  What choice would you make if when you were in Charlie's shoes?  Would you attempt to kill your older brother to save your younger brother's life, or would you let your older brother live because you love him.  Unfortunately for Charlie, he has to make that choice, whether he wants to make it or not. 

In closing, The Proposition is a great film that exemplifies the themes of civilizing an uncivilized land, brotherly bonds, and the ties that bind.  Although the film may appear to be old fashioned, it is the old fashioned-ness that helps make The Proposition a new classic of the new millennium (plus let's just face it, any movie that Nick Cave is involved in is bound to be at least a seven on the bad ass scale.)

What the Blog is About

Hello Interweb,

In case you haven't figured it out yet, this blog is about the world of movies, music and books.  So basically I will be taking about these three things in the form reviews, essays and appreciations.  I will probably tend to focus a bit more on the movies and music side of things, but I also will talk about such things as restaurants and sports from time to time.  So in a nutshell, onto the blogging!