...where distraction is the main attraction.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Gettin' it done

Just saw The Hustler (1961) last night and it was such a pleasant surprise that I had to tell someone. So I'm telling you. It was sitting on my overflowing media shelf as part of a Paul Newman set that I bought only to obtain Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid. If I knew that The Hustler was going to be so strong, it would not have remained lonely and unopened for so long. But that solitude was appropriate. The film is so much harsher than Scorsese's 1986 sequel. It's a 135 minute descent into separate private hells for all of its characters. Not a single cuss word, no nudity, and the only acts of physical violence are hidden, but the end result is brutal. Newman carves out a brooding layered performance. Piper Laurie is a constantly unsettling disorienting presence. George C. Scott could possibly be playing the devil as his character is completely bereft of a soul. And Jackie Gleason is so graceful that I want to dig up more of his movies. Anyway, it's a film about a pool hustler, possibly the best there is. And at the end it may leave you pondering the definition of "winner" and "loser".

Since I referenced Scorsese, I've realised that I forgot to mention that KP and I have watched The Last Waltz (or at least parts of it) 3 times in two weeks. Definitely a nominee for top concert film ever. And I'm really excited that Kristen liked the music. The Band is awesome. Might need to add their first 3 albums to my list of art to get.

Speaking of great rock, I downloaded Shadows of Knight's other album, Back Door Men (1967). Not a disappointment at all. Right now it's playing for the fourth time today. I don't listen to anything four times a day except maybe my work computer restarting. Anyway, besides using one of the best blues double entendres ever as a title, they pummel out the music. The tunes are threatening and propulsive. They burn through Hey Joe as if on amphetamines. They even drop a couple of jazzy instrumentals.

On the exact opposite side of the music universe, I had KIIS-FM playing a bit today too. Finally heard "Lollipop" which seems to have taken over the charts for some time. It's a solid club song. Has a good beat, but the lyrics are largely unintelligible because every 5th word is blanked out. I wish they still beeped swear words instead instead of cutting them out. It may have provided this song an additional track. Someone should try that. Also heard "American Boy" which sounds like a quality dance tune. Made me wish I was back in London. And I heard the gory "Bleeding Love" which apparently is either a romance for murders/taxidermists/surgeons or it's just terrible symbolism. "You cut me open"? Could it be the worst pop music metaphor ever?

Hardly. Pop music records are made to be broken.