Sunday, December 26, 2010

Daniel Radcliffe and the Burgeoning Career

My sole experience with Harry Potter is the Harry Potter movies, and I’m totally ok with that as long as there are still Harry Potter movies coming out. I mean, I’d rather watch the films subjectively as films rather than having to compare them to the books. The problem with this is that I find that my liking of the movies pretty much depends on how much specific characters show up.  I love the Harry Potter for the three following reasons.
1.       Alan Rickman
2.       Gary Oldman
3.       Emma Watson
But mostly just the first two reasons: I will never be satisfied with the amount of screen-time Snape or Sirius Black gets, especially now that Sirius up and got murdered by his bitch cousin Bellatrix Lestrange, which, on a related note, I should say I don't really care if Voldemort is defeated in the final movie; I just want to see Bellatrix wiped off the face of the fucking earth in the bloodiest way possible. Watson I mostly just like cause she looks cute and has smart costume design. 

So, what about Harry Potter? Y’know, the title character of the entire series? Well, he’s alright. I like him enough that I’m interested in what’s happening, but Radcliffe is far more interesting to me as a future actor than as Harry. I can’t wait for his next batch of movies because he’s proven time and time again that he’s not afraid to try new things. Example number one: Extras

Example two: He did horse porn. And by horse porn I mean he posed naked with horses. Stemming from an acclaimed role as a stable boy in Equus in which he briefly appeared naked with horses, Radcliffe agreed to pose for an Anne Liebovitz book named Nude. Did this have a negative impact on his career? Not at all. He’s Harry freaking Potter and he posed stark naked with a horse for the sake of art? Somebody give that man a medal. He had the audacity to risk public disgrace and ridicule for art. That takes some balls (no pun intended). What other cards does Radcliffe have up his sleeve? For all we know, he could be the next Dennis Hopper just waiting for the next David Lynch to cast him as that deranged, pimp monster with mommy issues.  

Werewolves ain't got shit on Radcliffe.
Example three: as mentioned earlier, he’s appeared on stage, but I didn't mention that one of those plays was The Play That I Wrote directed by the almost always wonderful Kenneth Branagh (one of the better things my parents introduced me to). I’m impressed by anyone who can do stage work, but  the fact that he went on to take on more challenging roles (i.e. horse obsessed stable boy) makes Radcliffe even more impressive. Plus, a play directed by Branagh? That’s gold for just about anyone.
The list goes on and on… He spent sixth months working on an Australian accent for a movie he joined specifically because he wanted just a supporting role in a movie. For sweet’s sake, his favorite band is The Hold Steady, a band that played mostly drunk in Columbia, Missouri just a couple of weeks ago. Prepare yourself, world, Harry's gonna take over, and it's hopefully going to be awesome, or at least moderately entertaining and enlightening.    
Joel Samson Berntsen (Kim & Jesse - M83)

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Year in Review: A Complicated Viking Tale...'s 2010 Music Lists of Lisztomania

Top 10 Albums of the 2010 (according to me)

10. The New Pornographers - Together
9. Vampire Weekend - Contra
8. Yeasayer - Odd Blood 
7. Robyn – Body Talk
6. Best Coast – Crazy For You
5. Sleigh Bells – Treats
4. Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
3. LCD Soundsystem - This Is It  
2. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Before Today
1. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Noted albums I have not listened to: Drake - Thank Me Later, Joanna Newson - Have One On Me, Girls - Broken Dreams Club EP, Wavves - King Of The Beach The Walkman - Lisbon, or Deerhunter - Halycon Digest. Forgive Me.

My 30 Favorite Songs of 2010

I'm New Here: also the winner of Best Album Design.

I'm going to try to add more as the week goes on as to why I've picked these songs, but for now I'm just trying to get my official list out there before before music juggernaut Pitchfork publishes their best songs of 2010 list. Here's mine...

30. Little Lion Man - Mumford and Sons
29.  Need You Know - Lady Antebellum
28. Bottled In Cork - Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
27. Written In Reverse - Spoon  
26. Dancing On My Own - Robyn
25. I Feel Better - Hot Chip
24. Zebra - Beach House    
23. Beverly Kills - Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti  
22. U Should Know Better - Robyn (Feat. Snoop Dogg)
21. Not In Love - Crystal Castles (Feat. Robert Smith)
20. Cousins - Vampire Weekend
19. Janelle MonĂ¡e (Feat. Big Boi) – “Tightrope”

18. Only Girl (In The World) - Rihanna
17. Drunk Girls - LCD Soundsystem
16. DJ Got Us Falling In Love Again - Usher
15. In The Sun - She & Him
14. Fever Dreaming - No Age

13. Weekend - Smith Westerns 
12. We Used To Wait - Arcade Fire  
11. Afraid of Everyone - The National  
10. Hell Of A Life - Kanye West

There's a weird moment when hearing a track for the first time when there's an "oh maaaaann this is amazing" moment, and then the chorus comes in with "no more drugs for me / pussy and religion is all I need" and then Hell Of A Life becames one of the top songs of the year. And it just gets better with each listen. The beat, the song, Kanye West... I think I just fell in love with a Superstar.

9. Shutterbugg - Big Boi
8. O.N.E. - Yeasayer
7. Rill Rill - Sleigh Bells
6. Boyfriend - Best Coast
5. Hang With Me (acoustic) - Robyn
4. Round and Round - Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
3. Dance Yrself Clean - LCD Soundsystem
2. Runaway - Kanye West 

Without a doubt I believe that Runwaway is the most important song of 2010, and on top of it being the most important it's also totally fucking awesome. It's an anthem of redemption, and it's an anthem for anyone who's ever fucked up. The fact that the full version is nine minutes long doesn't even bother me. It's one of those songs that applies to pretty much everyone, but still feels deeply personal every time it pops on.

1. I'm New Here - Gil Scott Heron

Never in my life have I had such a personal reaction to song. It's my favorite song of 2010 because it's the most personal song of 2010, at least to me it is. It's not the "applies to almost everyone song" that like Runwaway; it's a song that feels like it was written to me. The first time I listened the it I almost cried. The second time I did cry. It's that rare instance when a song gathers so much meaning over your life that it's scary, and in three minutes and thirty-three freaking seconds. What more can I say? I cried. The End. 

Joel Samson Berntsen (Pretty Girls Make Graves - The Smiths)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Guitarist Johnny Marr Repudiates British Prime Minister's Right To Enjoy The Smiths

British Prime Minister David Cameron apparently loves The Smiths, and Modest Mouse, and Johnny Marr. From the various heated responses to this news it seems like it's something similar to if Glenn Beck said he liked Radiohead.

Hopefully, he's better than Beck, but I have no head for politics, so I'm not even going to head in that direction. 

But it does seem like Cameron has decent taste, at least according to this brief anecdote from Neil McCormick (via The Telegraph): "When I ran into David Cameron at the BBC once, I asked him what was the last CD he bought. Without a moment’s hesitation, he named a new album from an obscure American band called Modest Mouse, who had been working with Morrissey’s old Smiths’ collaborator Johnny Marr (who played every date on Red Wedge’s original tour). I am not sure what credibility it gives him to tackle global economic meltdown, but he is certainly the hippest party leader."

As Jack Torrance would say "Heeere's Johnny!"
I don't know what's weirder, a musically hip politician or the fact that Modest Mouse is "an obscure American band". 

Johnny Marr's reacted on his twitter saying "David Cameron, stop saying that you like The Smiths, no you don't. I forbid you to like it." Hilarious.

Cameron said at an earlier date, in response to the news of his Smiths love  “I’m sure when Morrissey finds that he’s getting an endorsement from the leader of the Conservative Party, he will think ‘Heaven knows I’m miserable now’. But I’m a big fan, I’m afraid. Sorry about that.”

Well, no real conclusions from this except I really enjoy British music, my parents really enjoy British Television, and David Cameron really enjoys Johhny Marr, as does composer Hans Zimmer who tapped Marr to play guitar for the Inception soundtrack. Actually, real conclusion: Johnny Marr is the secret ingredient that helps ignite moments of creative genius i.e. The Queen is Dead, We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank, and The Inception Soundtrack. Cheers, Johnny.

Joel Samson Berntsen (Objects Of My Affection - Peter Bjorn & John)