My new “Think Again” column is called “ How to Be a Political Journalist in America” and it’s here. (Though a bit sappier than I would have preferred).
This past week saw both the New York Film Festival and the Hamptons International Film Festival. Don’t ask me how many films I saw. It was too many and in a few cases I only made it through about a half hour of some. But you can ask me what were the standouts and why. Ok, well not “why” or at least not today. But here are a bunch of movies you should probably see if you get the chance.
Argo: This movie is almost too much fun.
Not Fade Away: This movie has, I swear, the largest budget for music rights in the history of all moviedom, curated by Steve van Zandt.
The Girl:This is an HBO movie about Alfred Hitchcock and Tippi Hedren. It’s pretty good.
Smashed: This is a really impressive little movie; thoughtful and real, about family life.
Refuge: Guess what, so is this.
Between Us: A great little domestic drama
Inch’ Allah: This movie, about a young French (or perhaps French Canadian) woman doctor working in Ramallah with Palestinian refugees, is one of the most depressing films I’ve ever seen, made by the same filmmaker who made the terrific “Incendies”
Everything or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007
Fill the Void: An amazing compendium of great movie moments.
Like Someone in Love: Abbas Kiarostami goes to Japan and makes a lovely little love story, of sorts.
I actually saw more movies than this, but I am not sending you to all of them; I suffered so you don’t have to. And I will try and write more about some of these films over the next few months.
The Preservation Hall 50th Anniversary Collection [Box Set]
Ben Jaffe, who is now creative director of the band, picked out 58 tracks recorded over a period of fifty years. It’s not chronological, which bums out the historian in, but it’s pretty great stuff nevertheless. The story begins, let us note, with Nesuhi Ertegun’s 1962 recording of the band through 2010, when in anticipation of the anniversary, they invited the like of Richie Havens, Tom Waits, Pete Seeger, Andrew Bird and Del McCoury. The set also features five previously unissued performances, though to be honest, I can’t imagine anybody on earth already had everything on this box before so that’s kind of silly. In any case, you enjoy the “old school” orthodox pre-bop New Orleans Dixieland-influenced “jazz,” there’s no place better to go. I saw them last April at a midnight show, and believe me, they still got it; four cds, and pretty cheap at that.
Oh and that Jazz For Obama Show I mentioned last week. What a lineup. I wasn’t really paying attention, but look here.
Our Democracy’s “F” Word
by Reed Richardson
As this election season nears its climax, campaigns of every stripe are staking out their positions on the host of challenges facing our country. But over the next few weeks, one of the most important structural problems facing our nation’s ability to govern itself will likely go unmentioned by the presidential candidates, unasked about in any of the debates, and all but ignored by the press. But make no mistake, the notion that anything will really change for the better in Washington next year is the very definition of crazy if we continue to allow our legislative process to be hijacked by the lazy tyranny of filibusters.