Quantcast

Video of the Day

Masthead

Editor-in-Chief
Alex Carnevale
(e-mail/tumblr/twitter)

Features Editor
Mia Nguyen
(e-mail)

Reviews Editor
Ethan Peterson

This Recording

is dedicated to the enjoyment of audio and visual stimuli. Please visit our archives where we have uncovered the true importance of nearly everything. Should you want to reach us, e-mail alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com, but don't tell the spam robots. Consider contacting us if you wish to use This Recording in your classroom or club setting. We have given several talks at local Rotarys that we feel went really well.

Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

Live and Active Affiliates
This area does not yet contain any content.
Thursday
Mar262009

In Which Lost Violates Its Own Inner Chi

The Dumbest Professional Killer Alive
by DICK CHENEY

The dream. Every night it's always the same.

I'm a little boy walking through my hometown. My dick is super-huge, because in my dreams I'm always well-endowed. I'm trying to walk home, but I keep finding the same street at the end of wherever I go. A man finds me there. He's wearing a mumu and he smells like a skunk masturbating. He tells me that I'm going to be the vice president one day, and that I'll run the whole world. And then he shoots me in the face.

he can't say he didn't see this coming

This dream is reflective of reality: some enterprising hippie is always going back to try and save the future. But lately, it's not just hippies killing me in my dream. And no longer are people telling me I'll be the vice president one day.

setting the record for interminable press conferences...this guy

The people who kill me in my dream now say one thing: "If it wasn't for you, we wouldn't have elected him." "Who?" I say. "Obama," they answer. At first it was 60 Minutes. Then, he started guesting on Heroes and The Office. Pretty soon he was on television three times a week. Three times a week turned into every night.

Like Benjamin Linus, our president can't get enough of his own press. And someone is trying to travel back in time to ensure I never exist so that Obama won't get elected. It's the perfect plan.

I know what Sayid Hassan Jarrah is going through. I too have many lives on my conscience. Families without homes, because their president is addicted to watching himself on TV. I have half a mind to go back in time and prevent myself from ever existing. One thing and one thing only stops me: Faraday said you can't change the fucking timeline.

Where is Faraday? Who knows. He's probably doing yeoman time travel work. I half expected him to pop up during Adam Lambert's phenomenal rendition of Smokey Robinson's "Tracks of My Tears" on Idol last night.

"I brought you some chicken salad...unless you are planning to kill me later on perhaps?"

You can't change the timeline, and yet young Benjamin Linus sits dead somewhere in the jungle. There are only two possibilities. The first is that Linus somehow weathered a bullet to the heart, and is still alive. The second is the possibility that Linus dies in every version of the timeline.

"I'm doing a blond now"

Let's take possibility one. Having lived through these events, it's possible that the elder Linus made his way off his sick bed on the other island and was able to communicate with his young version of himself, and ensure that he wore some kind of protection from Sayid's killing bullet. This would allow him to live to a ripe old age.

The second possibility is that Linus dies. Since we meet Linus later on, it's possible that the two Linuses are not one and the same. We believed that the older man was Benjamin Linus, but he could be Henry Gale for all we know. We have no proof that the two are one and the same, except the show's POV storytelling. Taking Benjamin Linus' name and place within the Dharma Initiative would be a clever way for the hostiles to infiltrate Initiative if they knew what had occurred. With the Senior Linus dead, there would be no one to refute this.

Either way, one thing is for goddamn certain: you cannot change the timeline. (The next episode is even titled "Whatever Happened, Happened.")

Then again, Sayid always was one to learn things the hard way. This is approximately the 8,000th time he has slept with a woman on Lost only to find out she was deceiving him in some way. This time it was somehow more forgivable, because honestly who could believe that a bounty hunter could be that foxy?

In Dharmaville, things are getting a bit on the edgy side. LaFleur and Juliet had a good thing going, and the only one of the castaways who seems amply satisfied with his new digs is Hurley, and that's just because of proximity to the cafeteria.

the fucking tater tots here are out of this world you guys

Presumably Jin was driving the van around because he was finally looking for Sun. Once again instead of finding Sun he finds Sayid. The only screen time Jack Shepard can manage is when his wet hose is flailing around. His meek little firefighting smile is just about the saddest thing we've ever seen.

Where is all of this going? I'm going to put myself out on a limb and guess that when the Dharma Initiative gets dumped into a mass grave, it's the Losties writing the check. They're going to win this war for Benjamin Linus, and they're going to complete the Swan station. The only question is, what is going to motivate them to take the lives of Horace Goodspeed and Co.? What is going to end female fertility? What is going to put a premium on young children, and what is going to bring the Losties back to the future?

I have but one answer for you.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.

Wednesday
Mar252009

In Which Nobody Says I <3 Tokyo Even Once

City Porn
by FERNANDA DIAZ

Tokyo!
dir. Michel Gondry, Leos Carax, and Bong Joon-Ho

To attempt to label Tokyo! as the latest in the genre-franchise of city porn created by Paris, Je T'aime and the upcoming New York, I Love You is to miss the point. As an urban romantic, I was at looking forward to a similar production with Tokyo-fetishizing monologues or time-lapse scenes that exposed the "zany energy" of the Japanese capital. But Tokyo! delivered a different kind of love letter to its namesake through three surrealist vignettes that are actually more like breakup e-mails, simultaneously asserting independence and lamenting a looming loneliness. Perhaps this is because Tokyo is not an easy city to romanticize--at least not compared the the more obvious process of zooming in on the glossy grit of a New York or a Paris, or even a Mumbai. Tokyo's clusters of bright neon signs and otherwise slate-colored landscape are familiar enough that one can pick it out of a big-city lineup, but, let's be real, Sofia Coppola might be disproportionally to thank (blame?) for that. Also to thank/blame for my fantasy of just walking around Tokyo sullenly for a week like ScarJo did.

On the western pop culture objectification scale, Japan's capital city is quirky enough to be used as a plot point, yet impenetrably foreign enough to prevent all-out adoration. Tokyo! fits correspondingly in that same spot, and since none of the three films were made by Japanese directors, using that scale seems appropriate. (It's also worth noting that actual French filmmakers were wildly outnumbered by American ones in Paris, Je T'aime). 

Regardless, to watch Tokyo! is to realize that it's a far simpler task to idolize our cities all out of proportion than to truly try to understand their impact on us. In Tokyo!, all three directors seem to have silently agreed to this challenge. The film itself is not difficult to love--and it's taken me this long to mention that it's definitely really good--but its merits can only be measured once you figure out that it didn't take the easy way into the city's psyche. Either that, or Tokyo is just unavoidably depressing.

French directors Gondry and Carax and Korean Joon-Ho. "Interior Design," Gondry's short about transformations and new beginnings, is the film's most obvious draw. It is also the most cheerful of the three stories, but considering the protagonists of the following two shorts are a chaos-creating sewer-monster and a man who hasn't left his apartment for eleven years, the few hints of playfulness seem monumental in comparison. 

In "Interior Design," a young couple moves to Tokyo, he an aspiring filmmaker, and she of the much-relatable "not sure yet" category of 20-somethings who squat on a friend's tiny couch (which is tinier in Japan) while pretending to apartment hunt and actually just staying in and cutting pictures out of magazines all day (kind of like what everyone does on Tumblr!). 

The Japanese Lelaina Pierce?Curiously enough, "Interior Design" is adapted from Gabrielle Belle's Manhattan story, "Cecil and Jordan in New York," and yet it is the highlight of the film, either defeating the point or making it. I'm not sure which -- it is tempting to qualify it as an inherently Japanese tale with minuscule apartments and careers in origami gift-wrapping, but those are just the details. At the core is a universal identity crisis for which the city has no answer, and a transformation that takes her further away from its streets.  

Leos Carax's short "Merde! " is a take-it-or-leave it absurdist horror story about a crazy (caucasian) dude in a green suit who comes out of the sewers to terrorize Tokyo with grenades and face-slaps. My brother swears it's an allegory for the Rapes of Nanking, but I just fixated on how the monster reminded me of Heath Ledger's Joker.

I would argue that the city itself is most central in Carax's short, as the Japanese newscasters, protesters and lawyers unite in a fixation with this creature and in defense of their fellow citizens. (I don't like elaborating on movie plots because review spoilers bother me, so I won't go further into it).

Carax: Basically, it doesn't have much to do with Tokyo...I could've made it in any big, rich city in the world.

The final short is the most Haruki Murakami-like one -- really the only Murakami-like one, but I am limited to him in my Japanese author knowledge and so it is the comparison I must ignorantly make. "Shaking Tokyo" is about a hikikomori, an individual who lives in isolation and has completely withdrawn from an outside life, who gives it all up after a slight glimpse of a delivery girl's garter belt. 

It must be the opposite of love to retreat entirely from one's city, to reject it as a home and see it only as a place from which to hide. But ultimately it is Tokyo's own earthquake that literally and figuratively shakes the film's hermit out of his apartment cave, indirectly changing his life. 

While writing this, I almost forgot that there's actually quite a happy medium between the initial excitement visible in the title and the seeming widespread despair of the stories: the enjoyable viewing experience. Even deep in the characters' crises and confusion, the tone in all of the shorts is of half-joking, and there is never a sense that the filmmakers are taking the subject matter too seriously.

head hurting I put on the Lost in Translation soundtrack for inspiration, and after two loops, I realized it was making me want to kill myself. The spacey monotone of the music and the gray loneliness of Tokyo! were too much all at once. But I turned the music off, and screened the film through my mind yet again, realizing that what lacked in romance it made up in explicable magic that might not necessarily be optimistic but is still beautiful, and actually quite fun.

Fernanda Diaz is a contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Manhattan, and she tumbles here.

 

"Happy Up Here" - Röyksopp (mp3)

"I Love The Unknown" - Clem Snide (mp3)

"Girls" - Death in Vegas (mp3)

"Alone in Kyoto" - Air (mp3)

Monday
Mar232009

In Which Girls Relate to Billy Madison Too You Know

large_love-you-man-453

I Love You, Man
by MOLLY LAMBERT

I Love You, Man
Wr/Dir: John Hamburg
2009

Critics were split on I Love You, Man and so was the crowd I went with. Half thought it was funny (if not memorable) and inoffensive and the other half thought it was bland and misogynistic. I remember a similar argument after Knocked Up where a female friend defended Leslie Mann's character's actions against a guy arguing that Paul Rudd's husband character had done nothing wrong. Bromantic passions run high. 

run, run, run from adult responsibilityWhat's bland is not Paul Rudd's character, who's actually quite well sketched out, but Jason Segel's. Which is strange because Segel's brand of creepy-funny seems like an ideal match for Rudd's muddled adorableness. I was expecting something more along the lines of The Zoo Story or The Cable Guy

Instead what happens is that Segel's character seems to shift from scene to scene to suit the needs of the questions posed to Rudd's character. Which could also be funny, but it's just kind of confusing. Lots of ideas are set up and never returned to again. There are some really funny bits in the movie and the chemistry between Segel and Rudd is charged with a first date giddiness, but the film never quite makes the leap from good to great.  

Comedies have focused on male immaturity for more or less all of time. What is so weird about these movies to real life slacker girls like me is the way they all portray women as inherently responsible. I must have slept through that memo. Women are always shown being driven endlessly towards goals of marriage, responsibility, financial security, with the men bucking against it.  

Andy Samberg and Paul Rudd demonstrate two different delicious flavors of handsome Jewish guynessBesides Charlyne Yi, girls in these comedies tend to all get cast in this light. The single friend in I Love You, Man (the charming Sarah Burns, memorably from a FOTC episode) is typed as desperate for a man, any man. Most of her laughs come from this, and she's really funny. But in a movie where a single male character who doesn't have his shit together is portrayed as having a life worthy of emulation, it feels a little bit sexist.  

they live in Silverlake, naturallyRashida Jones is as winning as she can possibly be, but she is meant to be the Ralph Bellamy of this love triangle and has no chance against a Rush covers montage. By the time the movie gets to the couple questioning their decision to get engaged I was pretty sure they ought to break up. Like in Apatow movies, a lot of timely and sensitive real life issues about gender and relationships are touched upon and then buried under jokes.

Segel and Rudd display two brands of feminine masculinityThe only trailer that ran before the movie was for Inglorious Basterds, which was strange. Despite the fact that I finally just saw (and loved) Death Proof, I can't feel myself getting that stoked for a war movie, even a Quentin Tarantino war movie. I'm just not sure I care yet about B.J. Novak and Samm Levine murdering Nazis. Can I give you a maybe? If it were a World War One movie I'd be so down.

even though Mahnola Dargis really hated ILYM, she agrees with all of humankind that Paul Rudd is the fucking cutest ever War movies are the ultimate bromances. They have the same message as most of these comedies; that nothing in the world is better, more fun, or more awesome than the not-gay but gayish close friendships between straight men. Most movies violate Bechdel's rule so flagrantly that it's depressing to talk about.

What we need are more girlmances. I guess Sex and The City is a girlmance. Big Love is definitely a girlmance. Gossip Girl is a gossip girlmance. Little Darlings is a great classic girlmance. I have high hopes for the long-rumored Amy Poehler and Isla Fisher collaboration Groupies if it comes to fruition. 

One thing I Love You, Man got completely right: Sunday night programming on HBO really IS amazing. Or at least it was until ten last night, when Big Love and Eastbound & Down wrapped up their seasons. I was already subjected to one Entourage promo tonight and had to wash my eyeballs out with Axe bodyspray. When does Curb start again?   

Molly Lambert is the managing editor of This Recording.