If this wasn't enough Nate...

If you do not scan the right-hand sidebars every time you enter the site, you may not have noticed the addition of a couple of "wings" of the Hollow Chatter.

Other than my running 'Best of 08', you can now take a look at my new projects, The Hollow Pictures and The (Less Hollow) Lists. They are both pretty self-explanatory, but I must mention that both blogs are exercises in fun and entertainment, not anal-retentive, masturbatory stuff, so you shouldn't be afraid to check it out.


...you are a runner, and I am my father's son

Oh lordy!

Why the blasphemous exclamation, you ask?

Well sir, I just got my hands on the new Wolf Parade LP, At Mount Zoomer. To paraphrase the infamous "Coast to Coast," I was so shocked, I almost dropped my glass of lemonade.

This album should definitely silence some haters who called shenanigans on their over-"indie-ness" on Apologies to the Queen Mary. This release is much more subdued, less bouncy, poppy stuff. They sound like a band moving their career forward, not a trendy flash-in-the-pan trying to maintain sub-cultural relevance.

And that is an undeniably good thing.

As for the songs, "Grey Estates" is an early favorite, but I'm only on listen number one. I should have more detailed thoughts soon.


Sub Pop's press release for the album is actually worth a look. I definitely think the claim that the album "never feels labored or fussy" is totally legit. This album is 100% less affected than their first LP, which I absolutely adore. But I have been known to love fussy art and entertainment.

Sub Pop has the best corporate slogan I've ever seen: "We're not the best, but we're pretty good"


wow, that's all

I am absolutely speechless.

Nathaniel Kinslow Tyson

Here's an interview with George Clooney that includes him watching 2 Girls 1 Cup. He didn't make it through the whole thing, neither did I.


I LINK I love you, so what am I so afraid of?


Maryann Johanson, the Flick Filosopher to you, has a disappointing review of Tina Fey's new comedy, Baby Mama. I kinda was getting nervous about this one.

And, because I'm always a sucker for a list, here's the British Time Out Film Guide's readers list and critics list of the 100 Greatest Films of All Time.


The Flick Filosopher also informs us of a new Joss Whedon internet project. As if I wasn't already life-threateningly excited, here's the best part...it's a fucking musical. Starring Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion. Fuck yeah.


Nat Rogers celebrates "the gayest day of the year" over at The Film Experience (if you didn't know, today's the b-day of Barbra Streisand, Shirley Maclaine, and Jean Paul Gaultier).


Gossip Girl: Best Show Ever...according to New York Magazine

This is a great, great, great article. It certainly makes me wanna watch Gossip Girl.


"what's this tribal shit?"

I'm more than a little late onto the bandwagon with this alum, but I have been unable to stop listening to El Guincho's Algranza!. It's technically a 2007 release, but it has only really become a thang in 2008.

Anyway, this thing is great; El Guincho is a Spanish electronica/sample based musician who dabbles in a whole lotta musical cultural appropriation, but there's little pretension whatsoever, and I would imagine Spanish roots are a lot closer in spirit to the sound of the album than, say, a hypothetical Western Mass college student's version of this album would be.

Check it out:




The perfect set of links...when you're stoned

Happy 420 everybody! Have fun with some links. Guaranteed funny content when high.


Some beautiful soul has adapted Juno into a much funnier screenplay, courtesy of Cracked.

Here's a (somewhat) controversial list of the ten most most dissapointing Star Wars characters.

Film of the Year, an interesting new blog discovery for me, has a great post (with an even better title) about a seminal piece of early film-making: "Workers Leaving the Lumiere Factory."


Hollwood Elsewhere blowhard Jeffrey Welles has a decently interesting post on the new generation of "Millenial voters." Worth a gander just for what he cites.

What the dude up there did to Juno, this article from 23/6 News does to the Philly debate. Pretty funny.


Well, Punch-Drunk Love initially scared me too

So, the other day I stumbled upon a piece of film info that pretty much stunned me:

David Gordon Green is directing Pineapple Express.

...the fuck?

This is like Linklater doing School of Rock, except even more bizarre.

David Gordon Green is supposed to be "the Terrence Malick of our time," and he's directing a pot head action comedy written by Seth Rogan.

Is this gonna be an Inside Man/Spider-Man style meeting of auteur and pop? Or is this just David Gordon Green unable to get other work (say it ain't so), or are Green and Apatow just boys?

Take a look at a couple of examples of David Gordon Green's back catalog to understand my confusion.

The opening scene of George Washington

The trailer for All the Real Girls

Anyways, yeah, you all can figure that out on your own. Maybe he's just trying to prove that he can make money with a movie. That sometimes produces a director's best work.

Nathaniel Tyson


Pineapple Express trailer


Listin the ways I looove you

A Music Thought and a List!

The two best albums I've heard in a long time: No Age's Nouns & Blank Dog's On Two Sides. Both are great, noisy, lo-fi genius. Listen to them if you can.


And, because I feel like it.

The Ten Best Comedies of the 2000's (so far)

10. Mean Girls (Mark Waters, 2004)
09. The 40-Year Old Virgin (Judd Apatow, 2005)
08. Adaptation. (Spike Jonze, 2002)
07. Ghost World (Terry Zwigoff, 2001)
06. Shaun of the Dead (Edgar Wright, 2004)
05. The Man Without a Past (Aki Kourismaki, 2002)
04. About Schmidt (Alexander Payne, 2002)
03. Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (Danny Leiner, 2004)
02. Hedwig and the Angry Inch (John Cameron Mitchell, 2001)
01. Wet Hot American Summer (David Wain, 2001)


Oh, and check this place out! Whoa.


For those curious about Action Awareness Week

Here's some background, and here's some disappointing media coverage of Action Awareness week here at Hampshire College:


The "Chronicle of Higher Education" displays thinly veiled contempt, but decent control of their sentiments.

Boston.com explains how students "cut class" for demands including "anti-oppression training."

Our local NBC affiliate has a tiny little story.


This under-informed article over at Villainous Company blames failing educational standards on all those rude Hampshire students among other unrelated news stories.


Some LJ drama regarding the whole thing.

Nathaniel Tyson


With beautiful weather having a arrived here in Amherst, I can't help but be in a cheery mood. So here are some good Spring Jams for y'all.

MGMT - "Time to Pretend"

Vampire Weekend - "Walcott" (live)

Blank Dogs - "Leaving the Lights on"



I may not know art, but I know what I link

This website will make you sad. It is about Puppy Mills. You can't say that I didn't warn you.

I thought of all of my friends from MD's trip to California when I read this.

Here's a time-lapse video of a dude stuck in an elevator for 41 hours. It's fucked up. You're basically watching someone go insane.

Race & Such...

My Politics on Pop Culture teacher referred us to this really, really, really well-done blog post about the eternal question: What constitutes racism? The ensuing comments are some of the better ones dealing with the subject that I've ever seen. Not all 100% positive, but not the usual ignorance pageant.

She also pointed out this (hopefully) eye-opening essay about the wide acceptance of "Racism 2.0" in America. Unfortunately, the article doesn't tackle less obvious examples like message boards and review sites.

The Racism Review also tackles a terribly ironic story in which white nativists get all huffy about some images in Mexican ads for Absolut vodka. Gosh. It's just a joke guys. Get over it.

Oh, and for good measure, here's an article about the controversy from the Absolut site. Take a look at all those level-headed Americans in the comments section. Thank God the internet is so colorblind.

[I am very happy, however, to see that Absolut is refusing to apologize. That heartens me.]

Nathaniel "Nate Tyson" Tyson


free shit? hell yeah

Mostly because both Matt and Marjorie have told me me how much they listen to "Hitten", I have decided to use my blog for semi-illeg@l purposes (the coded spelling throws off the feds, or so I'm told...by terrorist cells and child pornographers).

So, ladies and gentlemen (ie, Matt & Marjorie), I present Those Dancing Days' self-titled EP for the cost of pressing on that "Free" option and then following the directions afterwards. Have fun with all that!

link: hxxp://rapidshare.com/files/108108835/Those_Dancing_Days_EP.zip.html

If you are anybody who downloads this and likes it, please make sure to go to a show, or buy a shirt, or write them a nice email or something. I don't wanna rip the little guy off with this blog. I love these guys; they're cute, and they've got one maybe-masterpiece pop gem in the can, plus two of the members kinda look like my lady friend. She's Swedish too!


By the way, I downloaded Hannah Takes the Stairs today, so I will now officially be able to form an opinion on all this mumblecore bullshit.

We'll see. I have my doubts. Things from New York generally suck.

Nathaniel "T-Bone" Tyson

two cool pictures from movies I'm kinda dreading

(image from here)

(image from here)

The top one is from the X-Men spin-off Wolverine:Origins, the second one is an encouring from from the Watchmen adaptation directed by Zac Snyder. Snyder's done two movies and is batting 50/50 right now; he did 300 [bad] & the Dawn of the Dead remake [good]. You should check out the link for the Watchmen picture, because there are a ton of other cool ones there.

Anyways, both will probably suck, but these photos kinda get me a little excited anyways.


omg he's back again

Well, Lars Von Trier is coming back at us with a new movie, according to sources I will refer only to as "this link."

What's it called you ask? Why, Antichrist, of course.

This sounds just too awesome. Evidently, this thing's gonna be a horror film, and Von Trier will be revealing the cast at Cannes (for a cinematic purist, he's a bit of a showman). I haven't seen his older horror work, but I imagine this will rule pretty handily.

If you haven't seen any Von Trier, start with Dogville and see if you wanna continue, and if you do, I salute you...it's hard work.



GREAT Mountain Goats song

This is one of my favorite songs of his ever. God it's good.

"I got two big hands and a heart pumping blood!"

Nathaniel Tyson

Parnoid Park = Really Gay

In film class the other day, my insructor Lise was discussing the emergence of psycho-analytical film readings in the 1940s and 50s. She then mentioned that two of the fastest-growing areas film-studies: Queer & Colonial. In other words, we can look back at the filmographies of the geratest directors of all time and re-read these fims from a queer angle or from an anti or pro-colonial stance.

That said, I have always been a fan of a queer reading of cinema. Afterall, Hollywood has always been a little bit more densely populated by the gays than most other fields of work. So, I watched Paranoid Park tonight, and I am really psyched both that my streak of great films remains uninterrupted, and that I have a brand-new exmple of barely-disguised queer cinema to discuss.

So, Paranoid Park tells the story of a young skater who might've sorta killed a dude. Its directed by Gus Van Sant, and is apparently his first art film sicne completing the Death Trilogy (Elephant, Gerry, and Last Days). Now, I've loved Van Sant's Elephant since the film was released, I listed it as my favorite Van Sant film. However, after watching Paranoid Park, I would have to say that my mind has almost changed. And that is saying something.

Reading over the IMDb comments for the film, I immediately encountered a comparison to Camus' The Stranger. While the commenter specified that the film resmbled the book in tone not plot, I would argue the opposite. I would say that the film tells the basic story of The Stranger, except because the central characters are fundamentally different (the protagonist of Paranoid Park is not exactly nonchalant about the whole ordeal), we see the plot cut in half.

I think that the most apt reading of the film is with a homoerotic subtext. While Van Sant's film's have always embraced handsome male characters, much of his recent work (specifically this flm and Elephant) have employed androgynous male teens as the audience's surrogate, and this film especially seems to legitamize the queer subtextual reading of Van Sant's ouvre.

Where is the homoerotic subtext in this film you ask? Geez. Where to start? Well, the film's baby-faced main character is constantly day-dreaming about slightly older boys gliding through the air in slow motion, their backsides in special focus. Many times, these skateboarding reveries (shot on grainy handheld film, in the style of actual skate videos...an aesthetic that Van Sant wisely explores throughout the film) are accompanied by narration that can easily be read as a sort of sexual awakening. The young protagonst is constantly talking about his fascination and reverence of the older skate punks at Paranoid Park, and he dumps his girlfriend after she basically pressures him into having sex for the first time with her.

One scene that highlights the homoerotic subtext of the story in particular is approached in a Rashoman-like format. The first time we see it played through, we are introduced to a group of older homeless skate punks who seem to take a liking to our anti-hero Alex. After they invite him out "for some beers," one older guy seems to eye Alex with a predatory glance, and he explains that while he was unsure of drinking, he couldn't resist "jumping boxcars" with this handsome mysterious man.

The first time we see this scene played through, we immediately cut to a shot of Alex quickly undressing himself in an empty room, taking a shower, and then finding himself too emotonally distraught to call an unnamed somebody. It seem that this scene has been set up to lead the viewer to assume that a sxual liason has occured. However, later in the film, we learn that the strange gap in time actually contains the accidental murder at the plot's center.

So, if we were to just ignore the second edition of the scene, and acknowledge that SOMETHING happened in the boxcars between Alex and the handsome older gentleman, the murder becomes completely irrelevant...and the movie still works. Alex walks around with paranoia, shame, guilt, and ultimately a small relief, this could be the result of the discovery of his homosexuality if the context was tweaked just slightly.

The entire film, Alex discusses his girlfriend with a vague sense of disgust, and expresses to the audience through narration his extreme anxieties about the possibility that she may want to have sex with him. When they finally do have sex, she asks afterward "Should we do it again, or should we wait?" Alex just lies, expressionless on the bed.

These scenes play around with gender roles and expectations far too much to be ignored in any reading of the film, let alone a queer reading.

However, I would argue that a queer reading is really the dominant reading of the film. With the staggered plot progression - broken up by the film's narrative gimmick of having Alex be writing the story down as a confession - the murder and escape or over within a half-an-hour into the film. The real meat of the film lies in Alex's face, which must take up about 88% of the film's running time. Van Sant has the camera study Alex's blank face the same way Bergman observed Ullman's in Persona.

To be clear, I am in no way implying pedastray - on the contrary, I find Van Sant's treatment of of Alex to be far from exploitative - but I would definitely argue that the film's fascination with the physical nature of skateboarding, paired with the somewhat allegorical homoerotic reading of the film, cannot be ignored when assessing its direct meanings.

In the end, Van Sant continues to be one of the most worthwhile modern directors to get invested in, rain or shine. In this case, the sun is almost brighter thn ever,

Nathaniel Tyson


I have a very strange concept of fun

AFI's Best Films List 1997 Edition

01. Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)
02. Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942)
03. The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppolla, 1972)
04. Gone With the Wind (Victor Fleming, 1939)
05. Lawrence of Arabia (David Lean, 1962)
06. The Wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming, 1939)
07. The Graduate (Mike Nichols, 1967)
08. On the Waterfront (Elia Kazan, 1954)
09. Schindler's List (Steven Spielberg, 1993)
10. Singin' in the Rain (Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly, 1952)
11. It's a Wonderful Life (Frank Capra, 1946)
12. Sunset Blvd. (Billy Wilder, 1950)

AFI's Best Films List 2007 Edition

01. Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941) [no change]
02. The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppolla, 1972) [up 1 slot]
03. Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942) [up 1 slot]
04. Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese, 1980) [up 20 slots]
05. Singin' in the Rain (Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly, 1952) [up 5 slots]
06. Gone With the Wind (Victor Fleming, 1939) [down 2 slots]
07. Lawrence of Arabia (David Lean, 1962) [down 2 slots]
08. Schindler's List (Steven Spielberg, 1993) [up 1 slot]
09. Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958) [up 52 slots]
10. The Wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming, 1939) [down 4 slots]
11. City Lights (Charlie Chaplin, 1931) [up 65 slots]
12. The Searchers (John Ford, 1956) [up 84 slots]


Sight and Sound Critics Poll, 1952 Edition

01. Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica, 1948)
02. City Lights (Charlie Chaplin, 1931)
02. The Gold Rush (Charlie Chaplin, 1925)
04. Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein, 1925)
05. Intolerance (D.W. Griffith, 1916)
05. Louisiana Story (Robert J. Flaherty, 1948)
07. Greed (Erich von Stroheim, 1924)
07. Le Jour se lève (Marcel Carné, 1939)
07. The Passion of Joan of Arc (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1928)
10. Brief Encounter (David Lean, 1945)
10. La Règle du jeu (Jean Renoir, 1939)

Sight and Sound Critics Poll, 1962 Edition

01. Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941) [new]
02. L'avventura (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1960) [new]
03. La Règle du jeu (Jean Renoir, 1939) [up 7 slots]
04. Greed (Erich von Stroheim, 1924) [up 3 slots]
04. Ugetsu Monogatari (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1953) [new]
06. Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein, 1925) [down 2 slots]
07. Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica, 1948) [down 6 slots]
07. Ivan the Terrible (Sergei Eisenstein, 1944 & 1958) [new]
09. La terra trema (Luchino Visconti, 1948) [new]
10. L'Atalante (Jean Vigo, 1934) [new]

Sight and Sound Critics Poll, 1972 Edition

01. Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941) [no change]
02. La Règle du jeu (Jean Renoir, 1939) [up 1 slot]
03. Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein, 1925) [up 3 slots]
04. 8 1/2 (Fedrico Fellini, 1963) [new]
05. L'avventura (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1960) [down 3 slots]
05. Persona (Ingmar Bergman, 1966) [new]
07. The Passion of Joan of Arc (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1928) [reentry, no slot change]
08. The General (Buster Keaton, 1927) [new]
08. The Magnificent Ambersons (Orson Welles, 1942) [new]
10. Ugetsu Monogatari (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1953) [down 6 slots]
10. Wild Strawberries (Ingmar Bergman, 1957) [new]

Sight and Sound Critics Poll, 1982 Edition

Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941) [no change]
02. La Règle du jeu (Jean Renoir, 1939) [no change]
03. Seven Samurai (Akira Kurosawa, 1954) [new]
03. Singin' in the Rain (Gene Kelly & Stanley Donen, 1952) [new]
8 1/2 (Fedrico Fellini, 1963) [down 1 slot]
06. Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein, 1925) [down 3 slots]
07. L'avventura (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1960) [down 2 slots]
07. The Magnificent Ambersons (Orson Welles, 1942) [up 1 slot]
07. Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1948) [new]
10. The General (Buster Keaton, 1927) [down 2 slots]
10. The Searchers (John Ford, 1956) [new]

Sight and Sound Critics Poll, 1992 Edition

01. Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941) [no change]
La Règle du jeu (Jean Renoir, 1939) [no change]
03. Tokyo Story (Yasujiro Ozu, 1953) [new]
04. Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958) [up 3 slots]
05. The Searchers (John Ford, 1956) [up 5 slots]
L'Atalante (Jean Vigo, 1934) [reentry, up 4 slots]
06. The Passion of Joan of Arc (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1928) [reentry, up 1 slot]
06. Pather Panchali (Satyajit Ray, 1955) [new]
Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein, 1925) [no change]
10. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968) [new]

Sight and Sound Critics Poll, 2002 Edition

01. Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941) [no change]
02. Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958) [up 2 slots]
. La Règle du jeu (Jean Renoir, 1939) [down 1 slot]
04. The Godfather/The Godfather pt. II (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972 & 1974) [new]
05. Tokyo Story (Yasujiro Ozu, 1953) [down 2 slots]
2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968) [up 4 slots]
Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein, 1925) [down 1 slot]
07. Sunrise (F.W. Murnau, 1927) [new]
8 1/2 (Fedrico Fellini, 1963) [reentry, down 4 slots]
Singin' in the Rain (Gene Kelly & Stanley Donen, 1952) [reentry, down 7 slots]


Sight and Sound Directors Poll, 1992 Edition

Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)
02. 8 1/2 (Fedrico Fellini, 1963)
02. Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese, 1980)
04. La strada (Federico Fellini, 1954)
L'Atalante (Jean Vigo, 1934)
06. The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972)
06. Modern Times (Charlie Chaplin, 1936)
06. Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)
09. The Godfather Part II (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)
The Passion of Joan of Arc (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1928)
10. Rashomon (Akira Kurosawa, 1950)
10. Seven Samurai (Akira Kurosawa, 1954)

Sight and Sound Directors Poll, 2002 Edition

01. Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941) [no change]
02. The Godfather/The Godfather pt. II (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972 & 1974) [up 4 slots; up 7 slots]
8 1/2 (Fedrico Fellini, 1963) [down 1 slot]
Lawrence of Arabia (David Lean, 1962) [new]
05. Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Stanley Kubrick, 1964) [new]
06. Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica, 1948) [new]
Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese, 1980) [down 4 slots]
Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958) [no change]
Rashomon (Akira Kurosawa, 1950) [up 1 slot]
La Règle du jeu (Jean Renoir, 1939) [new]
Seven Samurai (Akira Kurosawa, 1954) [up 1 slot]


Nathaniel Tyson's Rough Top 10 Films of All Time, April 2004 Edition

01. Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1974)
02. Seven Samurai (Akira Kurosawa, 1954)
03. Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)
04. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Stanley Kubrick, 1964)
05. Lawrence of Arabia (David Lean, 1962)
06. All About Eve (Joseph Mankiewicz, 1950)
07. Cabaret (Bob Fosse, 1972)
08. Manhattan (Woody Allen, 1979)
09. Wings of Desire (Wim Wenders, 1987)
10. Breathless (Jean-Luc Godard, 1960)

Nathaniel Tyson's Rough Top 10 Films of All Time, April 2008 Edition

01. Breathless (Jean-Luc Godard, 1960) [up 9 slots]
02. Cabaret (Bob Fosse, 1972) [up 5 slots]
03. Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989) [up 13 slots]
04. Manhattan (Woody Allen, 1979) [up 4 slots]
05. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Ang Lee, 2000) [up 72 slots]
06. Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1974) [down 5 slots]
07. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michael Gondry, 2004) [new]
08. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Mike Nichols, 1966) [up 7 slots]
09. Being John Malkovich (Spike Jonze, 1999) [up 8 slots]
10. Wings of Desire (Wim Wenders, 1987) [down 1 slot]

Nathaniel Tyson


Charlie Kauffman, fat and bald speaks into a tape recorder: "Charlie Kauffman, fat and bald speaks..."

I had a read-through of my sketch/play today. It is currently titled 3 Teachers, but who knows what that will end up being after all is said and done. I wrote the script for the new play festival here, but I might end up keeping a couple of the characters I wrote for other stuff. Or maybe I'll write more stuff about a couple of them. Who knows.


Rewatching Adaptation. last night, I was struck by just how difficult it is to figure out the exact trajectory of the screenplay.

Evidently, this film is what Kauffman turned in when he was given the real-life assignment to write a film version of The Orchid Thief. But we all knew this back in 2002, when I originally saw the film. It is generally accepted that the real transition of the film occurs between the second and third act, after Kauffman has attended McKee's lecture and Charlie's imaginary twin brother and hack screenwriter Donald has joined him in New York. At this point, the film dissolves into all the conventions and cliches that Kauffman had been struggling to avoid using the entire time.

But my question is this: how did Donald come around as a concept at all? Did Kauffman write his meta-adaptation and then revise it to include Donald, or was Donald an original part of the story. I doubt it, considering that Kauffman is not a part of the original story. I also wonder if Kauffman actually attended a McKee seminar while writing this movie. If he did, that makes this whole thing that much better.

Ultimately, Adaptation. is both a denial and a justification of Kauffman's refusal to "write a simple story." When he does, it is the grotesque third act of the film, but it is that third act that propels the screenplay into genius territory. So Kauffman both mocks and indulges in all the typical cinematic cliches, and we get Mery Streep, Nicolas Cage, and Chris Cooper at the top of their games? Plus cameos from Maggie Gyllenhaal, Tilda Swinton, and Catherine Keener? Maybe I was a little harsh on this one at first.

Nathaniel Tyson

an article, you say? i'll slap together some ten year anniversary thing...wait...twenty years? fuck.

Well folks, I might have an article in the upcoming edition of The Climax (the Hampshire student newspaper).

In case I don't get approved, or any Tyson purists want to see the un-copy-edited article, I will gladly provide the original text...now.

How long ago IS ten years, exactly?

The other day, as I was watching Dazed and Confused I was thinking about growing up in the 00s, as opposed to the 70s. It is strange to be approaching the end of this decade so soon. It feels as if we haven’t had time to shape our culture, or to define who we are and what time we are growing up in.
As it has been discussed on campus recently, it has been twenty years since the Dakin take-over. But twenty years seems so much longer ago in the abstract.

You know what occurred just ten years ago? How about the release of Saving Private Ryan, and the popularity of “Whatever” by Godsmack? “Rosa Parks” by Outkast and Cruel Intentions. There’s Something About Mary and “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls.
Makes you think, no?

So, in the spirit of nostaligia, I decided to look back at the past ten years, and revisit an album from each year that we can look to in order to see our progress as a generation…or something to that affect. Except they’re all chosen by me…so I’ll just ignore any cultural implications, sound good? Great.

1998: Cat Power – Moon Pix

Long before The Greatest in 2006, Chan Marshall was really, really, really crazy and drunk all the time. Or at least that’s what the press would have you believe. But even if that’s somewhat true, she was still capable of producing some of the best music around. The younger, rougher Chan will be familiar to fans of her newer material, but might appeal more to those who think her sound is a little polished and same-y these days.

1999: Boredoms – Vision Creation Newsun

Perhaps you’ve heard of these crazy Japanese noise/prog/whatever rockers. They are highly influential in nearly every experimental music scene one can imagine. This album is one of their few proper releases, but it is a doozy. They’ve recently started touring around again, and where just around here, playing a relatively quiet show in Northampton.

2000: O Brother, Where Art Thou? – Soundtrack

When this came out, it was one of the weirder cultural phenomenons at the time. It won Best Album of the Year at the Grammys in 2001. In beat Radiohead, Outkast, Eminem, and Paul Simon. Weird, right? Anyways, the Coen Brothers are acknowledged geniuses, as is T-Bone Burnett, and bluegrass was bound for a comeback. So really, the success of this was fortold in the stars. But we all love it, right?

2001: Radiohead – Amnesiac

The point is that Radiohead is so canonized that they released the stuff that they didn’t think was good enough for their last album, and critics still slurped it up like it was free Slurpee day at 711. My similes are usually better, I swear.

2002: The Mountain Goats – All Hail West Texas

Because I had always had a burned copy of this CD, I hadn’t realized until the other day that the subtitle for this album is “fourteen songs about seven people, two houses, a motorcycle and a locked treatment facility for adolescent boys.” John Darnielle’s albums are often very literary in their construction and this one is no expcetion. But where The Sunset Tree is autobiography, and Tallahassee and We Shall All Be Healed are full novels, All Hail West Texas is a series of short stories that all tie together in Darnielle’s fictional, literary universe. In some ways, this album is Darnielle’s best; on it, he’s hitting hard and often, never reaching a lull, and the lo-fi recording strips everything down to the basic necessities: his voice and his guitar.

2003: M83 – Dead Cities, Red Seas, and Lost Ghosts

I’ve heard it said multiple times that this is one of the seminal albums of the 00’s, and I am pretty sure I agree. As far as epic, heart-pounding electronica goes, you won’t find anything as good as this album, even in M83’s later work. The band was a duo during the making of this album, and they split soon after, and it seems the albums have followed the law of diminishing returns as a result.

2004: Jens Lekman – When I Said I Wanted to Be Your Dog

Mr. Jens Lekman is one of my recent heroes. This guy balances sincerity with irony like only the Swedes can do, and he does it with some catchy tunes. If Lou Reed was more about disco samples, violins, and short reflectons on bananas from 711, he might sound like this. His album last year (Night Falls Over Kortedala) got him more attention and press, but that was only because people took a while to pick up on just how great this album was.

2005: Love is All – Nine Times the Same Song

I know that our Arts & Entertainment editor, Joshua “Moshua” Schneider, would support he in calling this one of the better “garage rock” (though I hate that term, for the most part) albums of the past few years. Lead singer Josephine Olausson really charges through this album about love, television, movie marathons, and angry night spent waiting by the phone. Kevin Barnes has covered “Make Out Fall Out Make Up” on recent tours, and the album got a proper US release in 06. But they still remain relatively unknown stateside.

2006: T.I. – King

This may not be the masterpiece of southern rap, but it seems like a definite pinnacle. Fans will argue that his older stuff was far more distinct, and they might be right. But this album is so consistently catchy, memorable, and listenable, that I can forgive some artistic concessions for a wider audience. Plus, I mean, c’mon, who doesn’t like “What You Know?” In an era in which everyone complains about lyrics taking a backseat to production, nobody takes the time to appreciate a good radio hit that manages to combine great beats and good rhymes.

2007: Radical Face – Ghost

The album is the work of one guy (who is also involved with Electric President [I don't care what his name is, frankly]), and it is evidently something of a concept album about haunted houses, or at least songs that sound like they could be about a haunted house. It's a fantastic winter and fall record, but it has moments of momentous pop bombast that keep the album from a strictly downer status. But honestly, bullcrap aside, the music is just really beautiful and sad and haunting. And it's kind of funny that I choose the word 'haunting', but it's not a joke. It's one of those albums that becomes especially personal the more you listen to it.

So, yeah, it's a bit of a throwaway piece, but we needed to fill some space, evidently. Plus, we already have someone to talk about movies, and various people to discuss TV. So, I write about music. I plan to never attend a newspaper meeting, and provide articles to as many issues as possible. But next article, I'm not writing about albums or doing capsule reviews. Unless that's what the people call for. Because I'm a whore.

Nathaniel Tyson

PS: yeah, that's right, two pictures of Jeff in a row. guess I'm in love.


They beat me to the fucking punch and just announced over at StuffWhitePeopleLike that they're making a textbook about white people.

Well, I'd better go find a new Div 3. God damnit.

(That's a senior thesis, basically, for those not familiar with Hampshire jargon.)

Nathaniel Tyson

PS: In all seriousness, a huge congratulations to the SWPL site and everyone behind it. It's lovely to see success come in such an organic way. Maybe there's a future for this "internet" thing afterall.

PPS: I updated my recommended section for the year so far. Take a look. Some good stuff there.

Superman does good, you do well

I had a bit of a movie binge today, and watched Margot at the Wedding and rewatched Adpatation., along with starting up a complete viewing of 30 Rock in its entirety (inspired by my recent enjoyment of Mean Girls.

Margot at the Wedding is a less effort than director/writer Noah Baumbach's last movie, The Squid and the Whale, but that is not necessarily that negative a comment. Where The Squid and the Whale excelled was the effortless cohesion among the actors, director, and script. While Margot has its excellent elements (especially Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Jason Leigh, both of whom were fantastic...but more on that in a moment), it strikes some distractingly off-key notes at times.

While I am actually a Jack Black fan usually (shameful in most circles), I think he's miscast and hammy in here. In fact, his character seems to be written as a completely different character than Black is playing. The young actors also leave much to be desired. The boy (I just don't feel like looking up his name) has an expressive enough face, but little emotive ability besides that. John Tuturro's cameo is welcome and nuanced, and he plays excellently against Black and Kidman (it's Black's best scene in the film).

Now, on the subject of Nicole Kidman...I just wish the God she would choose projects as good as this all the time. She is absolutely amazing in this. Really wonderfully layered and playful work, and never over-the-top or flashy. No really, not even for a second. There's this wonderful moment in the final scene in which you think she is about to break down into the emotional catharsis of the film, but one comment from her son quickly snaps her back into her vicious, defensive self. It's a tricky moment that Kidman pulls off flawlessly. It's really a shame she's out of fashion, because she would have been a deserving nominee in February. In fact, I might go as far as to say that she deserved the trophy. But mind you, I'm a little under-viewed for 2007.

Down to the thematic stuff. Like his colleague Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach obviously has his influences, and wears them on his sleeve. The son of two film critics, it's easy to see how Baumbach ends up making "critic-friendly" films; but I think that it's unneceessary to discount him for this. Where Baumbach succeeds, and Anderson fails, however, is in the exploration of their particular cinematic and thematic fetishes. Margot is pretty clearly the same character that Laura Linney played in The Squid and the Whale, but while this sort of redundant character work bothers me in Anderson's films (look at the characters he writes for Anjelica Huston), Baumbach plays with real characters, not story-book cut-outs. The long family history that is hinted at in Margot seems to fit with the random details of The Squid and the Whale, so it's tempting (and perhaps correct) to assume that both films are somewhat autobiographical, and that Baumbach is exorcising some family demons with these films. But we all knew that.

Baumbach Cinematic Themes: the official list
incest (both oedipal and otherwise)
feminine teenage boys
strange attachment to emotionally-damaging parental figures
family secrets
fathers/husbands screwing around with young girls
competing intellectual parents
mom's who fuck around with other men and deny any emotional intimacy to the rest of their family
siblings taking sides in divorce

Yeah, you get the picture. White people stuff.

Question for Baumbach fans: do you think Margot's son is the parallel to the older or younger son in Squid and the Whale? My bet is that this is a younger version of the older son. The behavior is similar but not quite exactly like the younger son, but it seems to be set before the couple's break-up. I mean, this is all presumptuous, but I think it's kind od a clear connection between the families in the two films.



Cyberspace is not colorblind

Man, if I have to hear the "what about 'white-only' dorms and 'straight-only dorms'" argument one more time, I'm gonna fucking kill someone.

Action Awareness Week here at Hampshire was an amazing, provacative, hopefully productive time. It's shameful that the media will focus on the aspects of the issues that they least understand and most fear. There were 17 demands on that list, and this response mentions 3 at most.

You are blind if you don't think the internet is as racist, bigoted and backwards as the rest of the Earth.