Get Off My Lawn, Ya Punk! (Good Charlotte, Youth Authority review)

There is this fantastic track by NOFX called Mattersville. That they are in my top five punk bands of all time should have no bearing on this. Now you should know, when this song was first released in the early oughts, it made me nostalgic for my youth while I was still in my formative under grad years.

In the song NOFX sings about getting old and living in a gated community for punk rockers which are over the hill. Members of US Bombs and Die Hunns, Soda, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, and AFI are referenced.

But that is one of the qualities of punk rock, it can be both subversive and a hype machine of it’s own culture. I wonder what 4th generation punk bands will be singing about when they start to reach that age?

 

 

 

Good Charlotte – Youth Authority
released July 15, 2016
******* 7/10

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Good Charlotte is a five-piece American pop punk band that has been active for 19 years. They formed in 1995 but took a break between 2013-2015. Led by twins Joel and Benji Madden, who both supply vocals, Benji taking lead guitar, Paul Thomas on bass, Bill Martin on rhythm guitar and keyboards, and Dean Butterworth on drums (since 2005), the band has now released six studio length albums and two compilation albums.

I have always been a die-hard fan of their early work – their self-titled album, The Young and the Hopeless, and The Chronicles of Life and Death. I kind of intentionally missed the last two efforts because like many people, I was growing tired of what I was hearing from these guys in the late oughts.

Fortunately for me and everyone who likes pop punk, after taking a break, Youth Authority appears to be a return to form for Good Charlotte, who have never really been a cool kid band. Or to put it another way, they’ve finally committed to not be concerned about making music that can sit atop of a top 40 chart. Unlike say Marianas Trench.

But I think that’s a good thing.

Where they shine best is in being silly, sweet, and suburbia subversive. After all, the Madden brothers had a dad step out on them when they were young and their mother dealt with all kinds of health problems.

It’s a difficult thing for pop punk bands to overcome middle age and still sound like something a teenager could listen to, but like The Descendants, NOFX, Blink 182, Green Day, and The Offspring have all done before them, Good Charlotte is easing rather comfortably into that beer belly and easy chair motif. Now worthy of cult status and a loyal fan base.

I’m not the first reviewer to say this, but the challenging parts of the album often come in the slower lyrics, but because of the emotional pull these guys have, you can easily forgive it.

Some of my favourite tracks include Life Changes, 40. oz Dream, Reason to Stay, and War. But the real gem on this record comes in the form of The Outfield. It’s an autobiographical account of where they’ve been both before success and after their blockbuster album The Young and The Hopeless. It even features a lyric which quite literally mentions that fact.

And like NOFX and other punk bands like Bowling For Soup have done before, Good Charlotte is happy to reference the past in a constructive way.

Good Charlotte don’t need to prove themselves to us anymore, so maybe they really do have youth authority.

 

 

 

I don’t expect Good Charlotte to become a stereotype of aging cynicism any time soon, but dammit if it isn’t interesting to watch go through these life changes. Song lyric pun intended. If you like crappy punk rock, don’t listen to Youth Authority. But that’s just a theory.

Tim!

 

Hit Me With Your Best Shot (Space:Nunz)

In a time when loving love can be just as polarizing as hating love, it’s refreshing to see people who recognize that disparity which so often happens between star-crossed cultures, and push through it all the same – while laughing.

What the heck does that have to do with art or the going ons of your life, timotheories? 

Well, a few different things will justify this, dear readers. First and foremost, Valentines Day is just around the corner.

Second, it’s reading week in Edmonton next week, as well as the girlfriends birthday next week. And while those two things don’t have anything major to do with this week specifically, they have led me to commit to a vacation from my day job next week, which is important for this week – You’ll see, because you should now expect lots of cool updates on timotheories soon, which is foreshadowing to a minor tie-in to the first thing. AND FUTURE THINGS. Yes plural.

Last thing (read: one of the FUTURE THINGS), and the most relevant to you fine folks – a very special band has put together their first ever self-curated musical comedy show, which will be debuting this weekend on Saturday night February 13th, at Bohemia located at 10217 97 st NW, Edmonton AB.

Okay, let’s start tying all of these threads together. I’ll start by giving you a bit of background on Valentines Day first.

Valentine’s Day is an interesting holiday which has totally gone off the rails.

I mention this because a lot of the symbolism and traditions stem from a Christian saint named Valentine who was martyred on February 14th. Those symbols and traditions really came into fashion in the Middle Ages via Geoffrey Chaucer and his circle of friends, a time when popular fiction was about noble knights performing services for ladies. As such by the 18th century, England had adjusted it’s social cues such that people expressed love through flowers, sweets, and giving each other handmade greeting cards called Valentines, which of course, are now largely replaced by commercial ones.

What are the symbols?

The heart shape, doves, heart keys, and Cupid.

These are all Anglicized symbols of Valentines day which have been around for centuries now. Interestingly enough, we don’t really know a lot about Valentine the man (or men, if you do a little research) other than stories that indicate he would perform unofficial weddings for soldiers that were forbidden to do so and minister to Christians as a time of great persecution. He was eventually imprisoned and executed in Rome, by Romans, but managed to heal his jailers daughter before he was executed, leaving a letter to her that ended with “your valentine.”

What all of that exposition means, and what I am trying to spell out, is that culture is weird.

I get why some people really dislike the commercial forced obligations of this holiday. But I also understand why others think it’s sweet and like to observe aspects of it, whether they understand the origins or not. As a fan to culture and a bigger fan of satire, this is why I’m excited to check out Cupid Can Suck It on Saturday night at Bohemia!

Space:Nunz will be hosting this event and coincidentally they are also this month’s featured interview. Whoa, the tie-ins are starting to happen. That’s right, I am working behind the scenes to put up an interview I recently had with them. So stay tuned for that!

As mentioned already above, Space:Nunz are a musical comedy duo who are super awesome and make music about possible futures where people are food zombies, how to make friends with spiders, and other things. Laura Stolte and Nathalie Feehan have been jamming together for about a year now and they have been hanging out with Edmonton’s local comedy crowd and also finding time to join in shows with various other musical acts too.

They recognize that Valentine’s Day is an incredibly strange holiday and are big proponents of making clever, weird and fun art. Which is why I think they are the perfect act to check out this weekend, especially when they are hosting a group of 10 other acts that night. I’m sure we’ll see awesome content that is clever and challenges typical comic conventions.

If you want to hear more about the event directly from them, check out this incredibly recent article from VueWeekly! Otherwise, leave some comments and please subscribe to keep up with my media reviews, wisdom posts, local events, and theories on the arts! See you on Sunday friends!

Tim!

A Natural D20? (The Last Witch Hunter review)

Have you ever even played Dungeons and Dragons? That’s what so many advocates have said to me so many times before I finally took the plunge a couple of Christmases ago. And believe me, I get it. I get why they get so excited about it. It’s an opportunity to get lost in a role and play out a character for a period of time.

With all the risks and rewards of a narrated life.

 

But it’s that labour of creating the character and learning all of the rules, which by the way, there is always a  chance your character will get killed off.

Not unlike in a certain indie movie called Unicorn City. But what if you took your love for D&D and made it into a movie? That’s this weeks question…

 

 

 

The Last Witch Hunter (2015)
Cast: Vin Diesel, Rose Leslie, Elijah Wood, Julie Engelbrecht, Michael Caine
Director: Breck Eisner
released on blu-ray January 12, 2016
**** 4/10

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IMDB: 6.0
Rotten Tomatoes: 16%, Audience Score 43%
The Guardian: **/*****

Who the heck is Breck Eisner, and why is he directing a Vin Diesel movie? Argh, Vin Diesel is an avid D&D player and has exactly the casting type to pull off the character of an ancient warrior who fights witches! This movie feels like it could be tons of fun, and yet it doesn’t quite get there.

So why, oh why, did the guy who directed Sahara and The Crazies land this film? Well, I suspect it had a bit to do with the fact that Vin Diesel is already the helm of 3 other action franchises and I heard he pushed really hard to make this movie a reality using his own money to fund the project.

Is the movie really terrible though? Why don’t I give you a tease of the story first.

 

The warrior Kaulder (Vin Diesel) is a witchhunter who has lost his wife and daughter, but works with the Axe and Cross during the Middle Ages. Kaulder and friends slay several witches on their path to the Witch Queen (Julie Engelbrecht). They eventually find her, and many are slain in the process, but not before Kaulder sets his sword on fire and kills her. In her last moments she curses The Witch Hunter with immortality, so that he may always live with his suffering.

Fast forward to present day, where Kaulder is headed to New York to see off the 36th Dolan (Michael Caine), his representative of the Axe and Cross. The 37th Dolan (Elijah Wood), is eager to work with Kaulder, but also nervous of his personality.

The Axe and Cross serve as a bridge between witches and humans, who operate in secret, and the priests execute those who break the law.  When the 36th dies, the 37th immediately take over duties. Kaulder goes to investigate the 36th’s apartment, because something is off. He learns that the place has been cursed, and dark magic indicates foul play.

After visiting Max Schlesinger (Isaach de Bankole), a shady man who works with witches and warlocks on occasion, Kaulder determines that Max gave something to a warlock called Ellic (Joseph Gilgun). After capturing him, Ellic is deemed guilty by a council of witches and imprisoned.

Kaulder and 37th go to see 36th’s body and realize he’s been cursed, and not dead. They can bring him back if they kill the witch that did it.  The clues left the 36th left behind spell out “remember your death,” so Kaulder decides to visit a witch to enter his own memories.

Chloe (Rose Leslie) runs a bar for witches. Kaulder enters the bar, and it immediately empties. Kaulder asks Chloe for a memory spell to remember his death. She concedes and he falls asleep. This is where he sees the tree the Witch Queen died on, and his own burned corpse, and suddenly wakes up to discover he has been chained to the floor by Belial (Olafur Darri Olafsson), a warlock. Kaulder breaks his hand to escape, but Belial lights the bar on fire. Kaulder and Chloe leave just as the place is destroyed.

 

And freeze spell! That’s enough of that.

 

Pros: The casting choices are fun and Vin Diesel always does a solid job as an action movie lead because he delivers his lines with authority and authenticity. It’s fast and fun, and exciting, at the ver the least.

Cons: I’ve seen this movie before, one of them was called Constantine, and the other was called Highlander. A lot of the time I got the impression that the rest of the cast was phoning it in and the script drags on at times, proving the direction isn’t good enough.

Runtime: 106 minutes

Points of Interest: The main character Kaulder is based off of Diesel’s real life D&D character, also a witch hunter. Julie Engelbrecht makes her debut with this film.

 

 

 

This was a difficult review for me to write, because I like Vin Diesel in pretty much everything he does, but if I am going to give an honest review, the movie doesn’t have an interesting enough plot, good performances or properly executed pacing to keep most people interested. You can watch the movie once, but I doubt this will become a cult classic.

 

Now, having said that, that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy it if you go in expecting a medieval action flick with bad guy witches. So think on it and decide if want to get immersed in this character, dear readers. Otherwise, I’ll be back tomorrow evening with something clever. I promise.

Tim!