Caught Miracle at St. Anna a few days ago. I generally like most everything Spike Lee does and this was a very good film. But trim 30 minutes and a few needless characters and subplots and it could have been great. The end was really trite and some twists in the story are simply implausible. But the acting was tremendous and the music (as is always the case with Lee) was perfect. It’s worth going to see in a theater if only because the battle scenes translate better to a big screen.
Also saw Appaloosa. A friend suggested this and I’m glad she did because it was really good. Ed Harris wrote, directed, produced and starred in this good old-fashioned western with a great cast. Viggo Mortensen could get a supporting actor nomination for playing the shotgun-toting sidekick to Harris. Virgil and Everett are for-hire lawmen who are given the task of dispatching the evil rancher Bragg, who is gleefully played by Jeremy Irons. Renee Zellweger is the love interest who is seeking a good man – and any of them will do.
There are good guys, bad guys, shootouts, the whole deal. But the characters are the story, not the gunslinging. It reminded me a little of Lawrence Kasdan’s Silverado or 3:10 to Yuma but it was better. No doubt it was because it was based on a Robert Parker novel. Can’t go wrong with Parker.
Now that the season is over, I’m trying to get my iPod to a point where every other song isn’t Springsteen. It’s getting there.
A few recent additions:
* Something Is Not Right With Me by Cold War Kids. Heard this on Entourage and liked it. HBO’s web site helpfully lists the music played on all their original series.
* The album Real Animal by Alejandro Escovedo. A Texas singer/songwriter, Escovedo writes some catchy tunes and plays a mean guitar. Download Always A Friend to get a taste.
* I downloaded the greatest hits of Del Shannon, who is best known for Runaway.
* Impulsively purchased The Clash: Live At Shea Stadium. I had no idea The Clash played there. Great version of Career Opportunities. I caught the Clash live when I was in college and my ears are still ringing. Tremendous show. Meanwhile, why did Shea have so many better concerts than Yankee Stadium?
* Dangerous by Kardinal Offishall (with Akon).
* The Fabled City album from Tom Morello. Amazing stuff, lyrically and his guitar work. It came out about a week ago.
* Jackson Browne has a good new song Off Of Wonderland.
If you have any good music suggestions, shoot me an e-mail.
As for books, I’m in the middle of Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas Friedman. No matter your political bent, Friedman makes a lot of sense.
Feel free to throw in your own suggestions. The blog can’t be baseball 100 percent of the time.