Jockstrap-on (Everybody Wants Some!! review)

I kind of hated dating when I was a younger buck. Mostly because of all the hormones, the uncertainty of identity, and dealing with the scores of other impressionable youth who were in the same boat as I.

It was messy and unclear, but giving myself and others roles made it easier to navigate, and in hindsight it probably was the most mature way to deal with the situation.

But hey, I wanted some, and everybody else did too.

 

 

 

Everybody Wants Some!! (2016)

Cast: Blake Jenner, Tyler Hoechlin, Ryan Guzman, Juston Street, Wyatt Russell, Glen Powell, Temple Baker
Director: Richard Linklater
released on blu-ray July 12, 2016
******** 8/10

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IMDB: 7.3
Rotten Tomatoes: 87%, Audience Score 76%
The Guardian: ****/*****

Richard Linklater is an American filmmaker, screenwriter, and actor. He is also one of my favourite directors of all-time. To quote Wikipedia:

Linklater is mostly known for his natural humanist films which mainly revolve around personal relationships, suburban culture, and the effects of the passage of time.

Linklater is responsible for Dazed and Confused (the spiritual predecessor to Everybody Wants Some!!), Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight, Waking Life, Boyhood, A Scanner Darkly, Fast Food Nation, School of Rock, and Bernie.

And those are just the movies of his that I’ve seen. I STILL haven’t seen Slacker, SubUrbia, The Newton Boys, Tape, nor Me and Orson Welles. But let’s not talk about The Bad News Bears remake. *shudders*

Influenced by the film Raging Bull, Linklater has always made movies about travelling, whether literal or a metaphor. Never focusing in on one theme or end goal, his movies resolve themselves in a loose way, much like life itself.

Everybody Wants Some!! is a perfect example of this play on suburbia, timing, and relationships. Set in Texas in the fall semester of 1980 and taking place over the first few days of college, we meet freshman Jake (Blake Jenner) as he moves into the house he’ll share with college baseball teammates over the period of his college education.

Sharing the screen time with Jake are his roommate Billy AKA “Beuter” (Will Brittain), teammates Finnegan (Glen Powell), Roper (Ryan Guzman), Dale (Quinton Johnson), Plummer (Temple Baker) and several others.

Over the course of the movie Jake and his new friends cruise the streets to meet women, get competitive over ping pong, basketball, drinking, and other games, and host a couple of parties. Not to mention attending a disco, a country bar, a punk show, AND a theatre house party.

We watch the group dynamic quickly evolves over the weekend, and Jake develops a relationship with Beverly (Zoey Deutch) (one of the women he met while cruising the streets at the outset of the film), it isn’t long before the film closes out with Jake and Plummer in their first class, sound asleep.

ProsLinklater has a delicate touch, and he’s able to inject us into the lives of his characters without giving us a villain to best or a heart to win. He manages to articulate brotherhood and time in such a venerable way, that becomes quite sad when you see the credits roll and realize it’s time to go.

Cons: You do feel tested at times in this experience, wondering if all of this competition really is necessary and if the characters wouldn’t benefit from some breaks in their self-imposed roles.

Runtime1 hour 57 minutes

Points of Interest: Linklater has said that Everybody Wants Some!! is a continuation of Boyhood as it picks up right where that movie left off, conceptually. The original title of the film “That’s What I’m Talking About” is a line from Dazed and Confused, and often quote in this film.

The major takeaway of this movie is that dialogue is at the centre of it. It’s a coming of age tale in a time when masculinity was overtly tied to direct competition. And it demonstrates rather well the challenges that young men face in their conquest of meeting young women, whether that means putting on bell bottoms, adorning a cowboy hat, ripping up a white t-shirt with blood and ash or ultimately (and cleverly on Linklater’s part) putting on a costume to cozy up to the artistic. And he manages to make interest in sports way more nuanced than it’s ever been on film before.

The attitudes these young men hold for themselves, their peers, and women are rather basic at the root, but underneath the costume of jock wearing costume to get a woman, they reveal they are complex and just as lost as the rest of us dumb nerds.

Tim!

Country Talk (Eric Church Mr. Misunderstood review)

Driving on the highway can do a lot to clear your head I’ve found. Especially when you are all alone. And sometimes that silence forces your mind to work through ideas that you’ve been ignoring for weeks. 

I’m sure you’ve heard metaphors about the highway before dear readers, and the common associations of a highway representing life and everything on it.

And why is that the country music genre seems to tackle that association so well? And seemingly so often?

I have to wonder if it’s a misconception or hard won strength of the genre.

 

 

 

Eric Church – Mr. Misunderstood
released November 3, 2015
********* 9/10

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Kenneth Eric Church, known professionally as Eric Church, is an American country music singer and songwriter. Signed to Capitol Nashville since 2005, he has since released a total of five studio albums for that label.

Before I lean too far into this review, I should warn you, I’m not really a fan of modern country music.

That statement is probably difficult to pin down because there are so many forms and variations of country music, but what I think of when I use the term “modern” country music is specifically music that has come out of the 1970s and onwards. Think John Denver, Garth Brooks, The Dixie Chicks, Carrie Underwood and all of their like. I would have included Taylor Swift in that mix, but she turned heel at one point and became more mainstream. Check my Stimulating Sunday post from yesterday for more personal revelation on that.

This album had an atypical release, which I think is an important component to consider in the totality of the album experience of today’s world.

It was recorded in a month and was sent via mail to his fan club first.

Let’s reread that that sentence and break it apart. The Church Choir premium members all got copies of the album sent to them, via the postal service. But every fan member got a hold of the album in some form. And they got to hear it first. And they didn’t pay for it.

What an incredible notion for an album release. Something get’s quietly released to the most die-hard fans before it hits the ears of the critics. That means they got an unfiltered listen before the opinions started to crop up. In the days when instant communication is almost inescapable. This method of delivery very clearly highlights the intimacy and awkward delivery of the album’s contents. All of the tracks address various difficult issues with measured lyrics and thoughtful melody – ego (Mistress Name Music), heroes (Record Year), wisdom and youth (Three Year Old), identity (Mr. Misunderstood), loss (Mixed Drinks About Feelings), and language (Kill A Word).

I think my favourite track is probably Record Year, because it appeals to love and loss, both of which I have personally experienced. However, the one that will sit with most parents and anyone facing a period of cynicism is Three Year Old. Church is a father to two little boys and he realizes that the wisdom of a child is as powerful a truth as it ever has been.

 

I understand that his last album was supposed to be an arena effort with lots of studio power, this one feels like it’s meant to sit with you and not let go. That doesn’t mean you won’t immediately enjoy it, but it does mean that it will stay in your rotation for years to come.

The fact that Church’s influences come from country, folk, hard rock, alt rock, and metal is quite apparent to me. This is an incredibly nuanced album which has made a fan of someone who had lost interest in new works from this genre for the better part of his life.

 

 

 

While Eric Church doesn’t sing about the open road on this album at any point, he did manage to cover some well worn topics and rejuvenate them. And he rekindled my interest in the genre.

I can see why he might feel misunderstood, but I don’t think it will last too long. That’s it for today, I’m going to hop in my car and go for a drive with my new friend. Till next time.

Tim!

Licensed To Steal (Artist As Collector)

I’ve been thinking about what I should write for today pretty much all of my waking hours this past week.

Sometimes I chew on a theory for months (anticipating the date to share it with you), other times the theory appears in a flash of light. And sometimes theories just work themselves out naturally in the moment and I kind of surprise myself with the results.

It’s a similar experience that many artists have when they create work. Nothing happens perfectly, but relying on moments of inspiration is incredibly draining and risky in terms of output. That is why it is so incredibly important to set up a routine and a space that works for the individual, so that bursts of creativity can happen naturally and “seemingly” spontaneously and the disciplined efforts can cover of those moments of creative silence.

It really is amazing that our unconscious minds are working in our favour though when you stop to think about it.

We organize information, experience, and our interests to produce something special, and if we do it correctly, we create a work of art which looks and feels unique, whatever the source of inspiration.

The reason why I’ve been thinking about this process today is because I have this theory that all good artists steal ideas (not an original idea either), but the best ones steal from everyone and everything in their lives. They do this because of an honest appreciation for life and an attachment for what already exists in the world.

To put it simply, every artist is a collector. On the surface it could appear that they store objects, but the reality is that they have enduring love for the object(s) which house much more than the literal contents we observe in passing.

This TED Talk by Austin Kleon details the point quite well.

Nothing is original. All art, from the bad to the great, references what came before it.

So why do critics sometimes comment as if we should operate in a vacuum? I’m not entirely sure. I think it is likely that nuanced truths are harder to swallow than obvious ones, if I am being perfectly honest. Which can be a full blown topic for another Stimulating Sunday.

But that is not what today is about.

Today is about the theory of artist as collector. And the inspiration for today’s post is from a very talented artist who I am sure you have heard of at one point or another, whether you like their work or not.

Here is a sample of my favourite song from the record.

Walking through a crowd
The village is aglow
Kaleidoscope of loud heartbeats
Under coats
Everybody here wanted something more
Searching for a sound we hadn’t heard before
And it said

Welcome to New York
It’s been waiting for you
Welcome to New York
Welcome to New York
Welcome to New York
It’s been waiting for you
Welcome to New York
Welcome to New York

It’s a new soundtrack I could dance to this beat, beat
Forevermore
The lights are so bright
But they never blind me, me
Welcome to New York
It’s been waiting for you
Welcome to New York
Welcome to New York

I’ve highlighted particular lines because I think they are especially relevant for the topic at hand.

This song is from the album 1989 by Taylor Swift. Yes, that’s right.

But that’s not what I was listening to on the drive home to Edmonton from my girlfriend’s parents home in Lacombe today. I was listening to Ryan Adam’s cover album, also titled 1989, with the exact same number of tracks, with almost identical lyrics, in the same song order.

Let’s break this thing down for a minute.

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Taylor Swift, who is incredibly talented, let Ryan Adams, who is also incredibly talented, “steal” her work and create his own version of it.

In fact, she gave her instant approval, when he asked. She is a genius.

If you think about it for a second, there have been reviews claiming he did a better version of her work, and that he made it more meaningful.

I call bullshit on that. But not for the reasons that lots of people are.

He was a vehicle that proved how powerful her lyrics really are to everyone, whether people choose to see it or not, is a completely different matter.

This is especially important to note for those who don’t listen to her music and pass if off for cookie cutter pop. Taylor Swift is an incredibly talented songwriter. Period.

And, she gracefully pointed that out with her title track, without being a jerk about it.  Let me illustrate – while we might all be “searching for a sound we hadn’t heard before,” 99% of the time, the sound already exists. It’s because someone loved it, and made art about it, that we can appreciate it the new art. 1989 by Ryan Adams is a great album, but it wouldn’t exist without 1989 by Taylor Swift, and Taylor’s is definitely the better album because she made something “original” without making it obvious what she “stole” from to get inspiration.

And she understands that sharing is caring.

My girlfriend, who is a super fan of Taylor Swift, realized this brilliance of TSwift years ago, I’m finally starting to see it myself. I hope that other creative types make that leap sooner than later, and I also hope that everything I just stole from makes this post worthwhile. And that’s all of the theories I’ve got for tonight.

What do you think? Leave comments!

Tim!

 

It’s Pretty Refreshing (Ellie Goulding, Delirium review)

What do you do when you really like something and you’re afraid of that old adage “too much of a good thing?” Fun fact, one of the earliest examples of this phrase in print is from Shakespeare’s As You Like It.

Turns out, if you are like me, you just go for it and hope you haven’t just wasted your time and hard earned dollars.

That’s why this week’s timotheories Melodic Monday review is so enticing. I am already in love with this artist, not romantically, mind you, it might be worse than that. I’m delirious over her music.

 

 

 

Ellie Goulding – Delirium
released November 6, 2015
********** 10/10

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Elena “Ellie” Goulding is a very multi-dimensional singer and musician. Her career began in 2009 (my opinion), when she signed to Polydor Records.

She released Lights In 2010, and with it the title track reached top 10 lists in the US billboards in 2011. Goulding’s second studio album, Halcyon, was released in 2012. The lead single was Anything Could Happen.

Three years later, we have finally been introduced to Goulding’s third studio album, titled Delirium, with On My Mind as the album’s lead single.

This is a very surreal album to listen to folks.

Hold up for a minute, give me a minute here to explain my rationale a bit better. I mention this quality of Delirium because I really, really, really like it, but I don’t know how many other people will appreciate this record right out of the gate.

I immediately enjoyed it, but I can see why some of her biggest advocates will be disappointed by the seemingly “sudden” shift from EDM and electropop tones into a mature dancepop effort. But I’m a grown man and this is not only the album I didn’t realize I wanted, but it’s the one that fans of Goulding need. Sorry, not sorry for the Dark Knight reference.

All of the songs tackle topics of love, life, and labour, but they don’t treat us like children and hopeless romantics while they do it. Again, as I mentioned, I find it weird to listen to, because it’s a pop album.

But I think this album represents a turning point in pop music. We are finally starting to see more nuanced efforts in the industry, and it’s because talented artists enjoy this kind of music too and they want to participate in the culture.

Goulding calls this her “big pop” album, and it makes that mark very clearly. Being a child of the 80’s, you could make an argument that she is better suited for this synth resurgence than her contemporaries. I know I do.

The intro track starts us off strong, with stadium inspired instrumentals, and leads us right into Aftertaste, one of my favourite tracks on the album. This one is about an ending relationship, a sober one at that, but without all of the bitterness at the end.

Something In The Way You Move is next up and will remind you of track 9, Love Me Like You Do, which apparently was released for the Fifty Shades of Grey movie, but I won’t hold that against her.

On My Mind, is a clever enough song, and opens you up for the more exciting ones which show up midway through the album – Don’t Panic, and We Can’t Move to This.

Army is an epic track for sure, but I really think the bonus track on the deluxe edition, I Do What I Love, showcases Goulding’s unique voice and where she has come 3 albums and 6 years later.

As I mentioned earlier in the post, I’m already a fan of Ellie Goulding, so I bought the deluxe edition of the album, and as a result I’ve been treated to an additional 7 tracks. Which I think are essential. Outside and Powerful are great collaboration choices. Besides, who doesn’t like Calvin Harris and Major Lazer?

You need to listen to this album. Period.

 

 

 

It really was a tough decision to make, because I had promised myself I would do whatever I could to buy and review albums from artists that I hadn’t heard much of previously or whom I did not already own something in their catalogue.

But this was too difficult to resist. And I think I just gave my first 10. What do you think? Was I off the mark? Leave some comments!

Tim!