We’d Hide from the Lights

Every time I want to finish, they keep throwing technical glitches at me…I’ve been racing through The Sopranos for the first time—it’s been at the top of my watch-list since I plunged into the world of Prestige Television three years ago with Mad Men; it was just a case of finding the whole series at a decent price—but a defective DVD has put everything on pause two episodes into Season 3. This is the second time I’ll try to work an exchange with the flea market kiosk where I found sealed copies of the show’s entire run for $10 each a few months ago. Last time, season 1, I had to exchange for something else and re-order online. The proprietor’s a good guy, but I think he (and therefore I) got screwed over on this purchase. It may be touch-and-go trying to get through all seven seasons.

Anyway, I’ll use the break to jot down some early impressions of the first two. A couple of questions have been at the forefront of my mind as I’ve been watching, although for me the two are inseparable: is The Sopranos, as often cited, the greatest television show ever (more specifically, how does it compare to Mad Men), and what about the music?

Short answer to the first: I like some of it a lot, I’m definitely hooked, but so far I prefer Mad Men with room to spare. (Truthfully, The Larry Sanders Show sits at the top of my list anyway.) Uncle Junior makes a great Roger Stirling, Carmella is as well shaded as the coach’s wife on Friday Night Lights, and Nancy Marchand as Livia (singled out by Kael in one of her last interviews) is amazing—just to look at, she doesn’t even have to speak. Lots of other great characters: Dr. Melfi, Pussy, both kids. Richie Aprile is—was—scary. But Tony’s non-stop harangues can wear on me. That’s the biggest thing I’ve had to navigate my way through: Tony’s non-stop harangues. (Come to think of it, there was a certain sameness to Don Draper that would wear on me at times too.)

Still getting a feeling for the music. I’ve had one friend promise great things; I know “Moonlight Mile” is on the way, for one thing, and I’d already peeked at the famous ending even before I started. (Hoping those two scenes still hit me full-force anyway—undermining the element of surprise is never a good idea.) There’s been a lot of music so far, but only twice has anything really reached me viscerally. The key episode thus far from a musical standpoint was Season 1’s “Down Neck,” where Tony repeatedly flashes back to his earliest recollections of his father’s criminal double-life. You’re back to the mid-‘60s here, so dropping in great music automatically becomes exponentially easier. My favorite Animals song, “Don’t Bring Me Down,” plays as the seven-year-old Tony watches his dad and Uncle Junior beat the living hell out of some guy on a street corner; later on, Them’s “Mystic Eyes” as Tony hides in the trunk so he can figure out where his dad and sister are always sneaking away to. “White Rabbit” plays twice: the first Prozac-induced flashback, and then, right at the end of the episode, when Tony tries to smooth over some familial tension with his own 14-year-old son by fixing up ice cream sundaes for the two of them. It’s a complete non-sequitur (unless you see the ice cream as the drug of choice for two obviously overweight characters) and it’s fantastic, the most Mad Men-like moment in the series thus far.

My other favorite musical cue is purely subjective: Cream at the end of “Isabella,” the episode where Tony fantasizes a stunning foreign-exchange student into existence over at his neighbor’s house. After a botched hit on Tony, the episode ends with Tony on the phone with Dr. Melfi: “I feel pretty good, actually—when I find out who took a shot me, I’m gonna feel even better.” Cut to the indelible opening of “I Feel Free” and a long shot of Tony standing in his backyard. As thrilling as “Sunshine of Your Love” in Goodfellas—but, like I say, I’m not to be trusted when it comes to Cream. (David O. Russell really wasted “I Feel Free” in Joy, so its appearance here made me extra happy.)

Also of interest: “State Trooper” to end Season 1, Sinatra to start Season 2, and Johnny Thunders and the Rolling Stones towards the end of Season 2. The Springsteen disclaimer again: if I were a fan, I’d probably be writing a few hundred words on “State Trooper.” It felt like Springsteen was as ever-present in Season 1 as The Godfather and Goodfellas, even if his name was never actually mentioned (I don’t think—maybe in passing), so having him come up right at the end, and with a song so minimal and un-arena-like as “State Trooper,” even I was able to appreciate the timing and inevitability. Ditto with Sinatra and “It Was a Very Good Year” to open Season 2—one of those collages where the camera keeps moving-moving-moving and you check in with all the main characters—although in this instance it was something I love. Compliments for using the entirety of the song. Finally, “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory” provided a really nice, bittersweet ending to Season 2’s “House Arrest,” the camera pulling back on a street scene where Tony’s back at work and everyday life resumes. I’m not sure why they decided to basically repeat the scene two episodes later, this time with the Rolling Stones’ “Thru and Thru”—granted, the mood’s darker now—but that works well too, and is probably as close as I’ll ever come to the Rolling Stones in the 1990s. Good song.

I’ll check in again when I finish the next couple of seasons.

We’d Hide from the Lights

The Same Routine

The night turned into a Bowie jam-session sing-along dance party, because of course it did. Everybody who brought an instrument hopped onstage; the rest of us were out on the floor. Harmonica Joe was wailing away. I got a snippet of phone video, but I couldn’t show it to anybody, because it’s ruined by the sound of my voice screaming “I remember! Standing! By the wall!” (Rob Sheffield, On Bowie)

I liked Maggie’s Plan just fine when I saw it a few weeks ago, even though, after four or five films, Greta Gerwig is coming up against the limits of how fetching I find her. (David Edelstein: “She forces me to exhume that most gruesome of adjectives, adorkable. The problem, though, is not so much her performance. She is charming. She is—damn it—adorkable. But she’s just too… Greta Gerwig-ish.” I’ve since seen her in Wiener Dog.) It reminded me of Joan Micklin Silver’s Crossing Delancey from the late ‘80s, also of Amy Heckerling’s Clueless. I guess my aversion to storybook romance is loosened up a bit with a female director.

There was a scene I loved that I considered making note of here, but I didn’t really have any context for it until I came across a similar but even better scene in another film (and then thought of the quote from Rob’s book to tie them together). Ethan Hawke and ex-wife Julianna Moore are both—thanks to Greta Gerwig’s scheming—at a Quebec resort for an academic conference. They finish off a day of skiing and hiking inside their chateau’s bar, where a quasi-Québécois folk trio (kind of a Moldy Peaches-type group…hard to describe) is playing an oddly-arranged cover of “Dancing in the Dark” (the original appears earlier in the film). Moore—so comically and severely Teutonic, she may as well be playing John Simon—and Hawke start dancing, and soon they’re jumping around and singing with everyone else in the room. A few weeks ago, I would have laid long odds on “great scene” and “Bruce Springsteen” both showing up in a paragraph written by me, but consider it done.

More communal revelry in 1968’s Up the Junction, a film I’m now kicking myself for somehow dodging all these years. Not consciously…the fact that the DVD I watched was reissued by Olive only a couple of years ago tells me it may have been out for circulation for a long time. I hesitate to praise too highly; there’s a Ken Loach telefilm from a few years earlier that looks like it might be a better and more faithful adaptation of the same source novel. Or maybe Loach’s version is just drearier—the commercial concessions that the ’68 version makes, primarily the excellent Manfred Mann soundtrack and, in the lead role, To Sir with Love’s Suzy Kendall (IMDB: “A doe-eyed, honey-blond actress of extraordinary beauty…”), are precisely what appealed to me the most. Manfred Mann dives right into the spirit of the moment: far from the bluesy beat music they were playing in 1964 (“Do Wah Diddy Diddy” their signature, of course—I like the Exciters’ original even more), the three or four songs that show up in Up the Junction all reside in the grey area between dreamy psychedelia and sunshine pop that describes a lot of my favorite music from ’68 and ’69. Except, that is, for “Need Your Love,” which a couple of Kendall’s new-found friends jump up to sing at a local pub, as Kendall tries to acclimatize herself to self-chosen exile from a moneyed life back in Chelsea. (The film—like To Sir with Love—is primarily about a British class system I only understand in broad outline.)

I assumed at first they’d chosen an old Helen Shapiro or Cilla Black song I didn’t know, maybe an obscure Petula Clark B-side, but no, the songwriting credit is the same as everything else on the soundtrack—it was written by Manfred Mann specifically for the film. I just love what the two women (Maureen Lipman and Adrienne Posta; they’re sisters in the movie) do with the song, especially the way they thrust out their hands and turn into the Supremes at the 4:20 mark. They miss some notes, as they should. They’re having the time of their life—the characters, the actresses—a beautiful counterpart to all the grimness elsewhere in the film.

People having fun. I could use some more of that in my life.

The Same Routine

Electric Boots, a Mohair Suit

Floyd Mutrux’s Aloha, Bobby and Rose (1975) belongs to a group of films—two dozen, I’d estimate—I’ve alluded to many times: movies I watched on TV through the seventies, most of them on either CITY or CFTO, most more than once (I’d already seen some probably four or five times before my family bought its first VCR), some because of, well, nudity. (I was a teenager; I’m really way beyond that kind of thing now.) A few are famous, some are inconsequential, and at least one is truly—and entertainingly—awful. Examples: The Candidate, The Paper Chase, The Heartbreak Kid, Cisco Pike, Goin’ Down the Road, Five Easy Pieces, Such Good Friends, The Love Machine, Summer of ’42, California Split, The Last American Hero, Save the Tiger. These were essentially the movies that gave me the bright idea in 1979 that I should abandon math and take a film degree instead. I love them anyway.

Mutrux went on to direct American Hot Wax in 1978, a lively recreation of Alan Freed’s heyday, but Aloha, Bobby and Rose seemed to disappear from view. I would periodically check around for it online through the 2000s—didn’t remember a whole lot by then; an image of a billboard for Neil Young’s Time Fades Away, the certainty that it used Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” long before Almost Famous—but the only copies I ever seemed to find existed in that alternate universe where people ask $120 for matching Seals & Crofts Pez dispensers. Something prompted me to take another look a few weeks ago, and it turns out that it was reissued by Shout! Factory in 2014. I would have thought a reissue in closer proximity to Almost Famous might have been in order, but maybe there was and I missed it—these things drift in and out of print.

Aloha, Bobby and Rose is such a ‘70s film. It’s a ‘70s road movie with requisite moody cinematography from William A. Fraker (Rosemary’s Baby, Looking for Mr. Goodbar). It’s one of the many post-Bonnie and Clyde love-crossed outlaw films that are a staple of the decade (at least one of which, Spielberg’s The Sugarland Express, I like better than Penn’s film). And it has the usual assortment of ‘70s faces: Robert Carradine, Tim McIntire (Freed in American Hot Wax), Martine Bartlett (Sally Fields’ terrifying mother in Sybil), Noble Willingham (truthfully, not that familiar to me, but he has a lot of famous ‘70s credits on his filmography), and, most all, Paul LeMat, who might sit alongside John Cazale as the greatest ‘70s actor who didn’t make it out of the decade (close, anyway—Melvin & Howard came out in 1980). Dianne Hull, who plays Rose, ought to be all over the decade—Rose is every long-haired, willowy hippychick from that era rolled into a single character—but she really didn’t make many films, and nothing all that noteworthy. She’s evidently more famous as a method-acting instructor.

It’s Aloha, Bobby and Rose’s soundtrack, though, that explains why the film has stayed in some corner of my mind all this time. “Tiny Dancer” is indeed there, along with “Bennie and the Jets” (used more than once), “Honky Cat,” and “Your Song.” Paul LeMat trades in Chuck Berry and Frankie Lymon from American Graffiti for Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s “Karn Evil 9” (first impression…part 2) as his preferred cruising music, and, only a year after Grand Funk hit #1 with their great ooga-chaka ooga-chaka cover of “The Loco-Motion,” Mutrux goes back to Little Eva’s original for a reminder of why it’s even better. “Just My Imagination” and “Smiling Faces Sometimes” are both here, even if the latter was the one time in the film I wanted the volume turned up. Over the end credits, a real surprise: the version of “Like a Rolling Stone” from Before the Flood—again , essentially brand new at the time—surely one of the songs Christgau had in mind when he called that album (at its best) “the craziest and strongest rock and roll ever recorded.”

Eclipsing everything, an incredible three-minute drive down (or up—never been on it myself) Sunset Strip that not only ranks with the greatest musical detours of the decade, but is a scene I can recognize across four decades as being just as central to my conception of how pop music should be used in movies as American Graffiti, Mean Streets, or The Graduate. (I also now know why Junior Walker’s “What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)” is such a favorite of mine—I’d always attributed that to CHUM and Solid Gold Weekends, but I think Mutrux’s film is the real reason.) The procession of billboards LeMat and Hull pass goes far beyond the Neil Young I’d remembered to become an amazingly precise snapshot—practically an essay unto itself—of pop music circa 1974: (in order) Ringo Starr, Neil, Steve Miller, Billy Preston, Marvin Gaye, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Al Green, ELO, Bette Midler, and Goat’s Head Soup, with Tower Records, the Rainbow, and the Roxy thrown in for good measure. I can’t think of another scene like it…It’s the same neon overload that you get when people drive down the Vegas strip in movies, but between a Time Fades Away billboard and a Wayne Newton marquee, that’s not a close call as to which one I’d rather be looking at.

Electric Boots, a Mohair Suit

A Man Who Left from Nowhere

Almost didn’t even watch Trudeau. I took it home from Queen Video last week thinking I’d rented out a documentary; my heart sank when I sat down to watch and could tell from the visual on the disc that it was instead a CBC mini-series/biopic I had a vague memory of. I’d always rather see a documentary than a recreation, but obviously some are better than others (Oliver Stone’s Nixon the gold-standard for me—hard to find agreement there) and, after a little reading, decided I’d give it a chance. I was prepared to bail quickly: the two parts, the original film and a prequel aired three years later, totaled almost eight hours. Given the option, there didn’t seem to be any point in not watching them sequentially, so I started with the prequel.

Better than I expected—not nearly as compelling as the NFB’s Champions, Donald Brittain’s three-part examination of the Trudeau-Levesque relationship (I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better political documentary—you can watch the whole thing online), but a pretty thorough overview of Trudeau’s political career, with special emphasis on his courtship of Margaret, their eventual marriage, and all the personal and political fallout that ensued (“The Margaret Factor,” a chapter heading the film takes from a 1979 MacLean’s cover). It was a little jarring to go from Stéphane Demers brooding, almost Brando-like portrayal of Trudeau in the prequel, which ends on Trudeau’s election in 1968, to Colm Feore’s more playful and recognizable Trudeau in office. Also disorienting: Polly Shannon’s Margaret was amazingly similar, in both appearance and manner, to Jessica Paré’s Megan Draper on Mad Men. I mean, it’s uncanny—I’m convinced that Paré, consciously or not, modeled her conception of Megan on Shannon’s performance in Trudeau (Paré joined Mad Men six or seven years after Trudeau aired).

Right, right, the music blog…Something I never expected, even though in retrospect it seems like the most obvious decision in the world: Trudeau ends up being a veritable primer on Canadian pop music during the window of Trudeau’s tenure as prime minister. The music isn’t just there, meant to evoke era, liven things up, fill gaps, sell a soundtrack (not even close on that count); very clearly, the director (Jerry Ciccoritti) wanted to surreptitiously sneak a Canadian American Graffiti into the mix.

For Trudeaumania—consciously shot in a way that’s meant to evoke A Hard Day’s Night and Beatlemania—you get the Beau Marks’ “Clap Your Hands” and Robbie Lane & the Disciples’ “It’s Happening.” There’s a Guess Who song I’d never heard before, “It’s My Pride” (fuzzed-out garage from 1966), ditto the Perth County Conspiracy’s “Take Your Time.” Ciccoritti doesn’t dodge the gruesome: both Frank Mills’ “Music Box Dancer” and Hagood Hardy’s “The Homecoming” turn up. Pagliaro’s “Rainshowers,” Moxy, Fludd’s “Cousin Mary,” Motherlode’s “When I Die,” a Québécois cover of “Sugar Shack,” Rush (I’ll refrain from including them with the gruesome—Rush fans are very sensitive), even Teenage Head near the end…I’m working from some notes I scribbled down during the credits, so I’m probably forgetting a few things. The only non-Canadian music I can think of was Free Design’s “Kije’s Ouija,” but again, maybe I missed something—seems strange that there’d be one and one-only non-Canadian song.

The part of Trudeau devoted to the FLQ and the October Crisis raised an interesting question: what’s the one Canadian song you would pick to capture the most extreme examples of late-‘60s/early-‘70s political chaos? You’ve seen the same dynamic in countless American films and TV shows: Vietnam, Kent State, Nixon, Patty Hearst, etc. There’s a short-list of a dozen or so default songs that invariably get trotted out for such footage: “For What It’s Worth,” “Volunteers,” “Ohio,” “Something in the Air,” “Time Has Come Today,” a few others. (If it’s sun-groping hippies in a non-political context, count on “Purple Haze” or “White Rabbit.”) Part of me thinks they should retire all those songs, as great as they all are, and just use the Mothers of Invention’s “Trouble Every Day” whenever necessary, but I digress—what Canadian song fits the bill?

Trudeau goes with April Wine’s “Fast Train.” Trudeau has declared the War Measures Act, soldiers are ominously assembling on the streets of Quebec, and “Fast Train” plays.

You know, not bad. It’s not “Ohio” (written by a Canadian, I believe), but it works.

A Man Who Left from Nowhere

Marcello!

Except for Help! or some other film involving real-life musicians, Antonio Pietrangeli’s I Knew Her Well (1965) might have more pop music than any other narrative film I’ve seen from the mid-‘60s. Some of it is Italian, some seemed in the yeh-yeh mode, and there are two songs by Millie Small, the Jamaican ska singer who had a big hit with “My Boy Lollipop.” Not sure if I would have been able to identify the two Millie songs—“Sweet William” and “What Am I Living For”—if they hadn’t been listed in the end credits; she’s got a pretty distinctive voice, so I probably would have gone back and figured them out eventually.

A lot of times the music comes from Stefania Sandrelli’s portable record player, which she’ll walk over to and kick with her foot when she wants the next 45 to drop down and play. There are also three or four lively dance scenes (one of which, the first, may be intended as an homage to Godard and Bande à part—the two films are pretty close on a timeline, so hard to say), and an excellent drive through the city that takes up a whole song. I’m still undecided about the ending; I kind of wish it had ended with the three-minute drive. Sandrelli plays an aspiring model/actress drifting from one sexual fling to another, used and condescended to by some men, while she herself can’t be bothered with the mechanic or the lumpish boxer who might possibly take a deeper interest in her. Criterion reissued the film a year or two ago. I definitely liked it better than any Fellini film I’ve ever seen (major blind spot for me), and even though I get that it’s about emptiness and the exploitative nature of an industry, all the fun stuff and music and great photography reminded me of something Kael wrote about Blow-Up: “Yet despite Antonioni’s negativism, the world he presents looks harmless, and sex without ‘connecting’ doesn’t really seem so bad.” It really doesn’t.

Someone on YouTube has conveniently put together most of the musical cues into a single clip (major spoiler at the end).

Marcello!

Broke, Fearless

David O. Russell’s American Hustle—which, besides its title, shares with American Beauty the ability to inspire some especially spirited invective—might be my favourite music movie of the 2010s. I’d have to check back over my year-ends…It’s up there with Carlos, anyway. I watched it for a second time last week, and there are easily five or six songs in there that are each worth an entry on this blog.

As I mentioned on ILX (as usual, most of the invective I encounter is found there; I remember there was a more general critical backlash, though, after some early and admittedly overly effusive praise from David Edelstein and others) when American Hustle first came out, seeing it a day after The Wolf of Wall Street really helped. I was prepared for two hours of yelling and caricature and general mayhem, but on the heels of Scorsese’s oppressively one-note hysteria, AH was practically Bresson by comparison. A mish-mash of Boogie Nights and Reservoir Dogs and Goodfellas and a half-dozen other (better) films for sure—and at least one, Argo, that was decidedly inferior—but Christian Bale expertly disappears into the role of Irving (the performances are excellent all around), the story is an ambiguous, intricate, and classically structured double- or triple-cross, and, starting at about the half-hour mark, the music kicks in with hardly a misstep the rest of the way.

My favourite, used twice, is ELO’s “10538 Overture.” Such an inspired choice: it was my favourite ELO song in 1976, when I bought their first greatest-hits LP; it was my favourite 25 years later, when I included it on a mix-tape for a friend called “Beatle-esque” (what the Beatles would have sounded like in other times and other places); and it’s still my favourite today. It’s the most Move-like song ELO ever did (putting their re-recording of “Do Ya” aside), specifically reminiscent of “Message from the Country.” It shows up twice in American Hustle: first, at the airport, as Bradley Cooper’s phony sheik deplanes to meet Jeremy Renner on the tarmac, then again towards the end as Cooper’s called on the carpet for his colossal mishandling of the whole operation. “10538 Overture” is a difficult song to describe, a kind of magisterial drone that defies genre. At the airport, it somehow encapsulates the phony grandeur of the situation, a fabricated summit between one well-meaning dupe (Renner) and five or six grifters inside and outside of the law. The reprise is signaled by two perfectly matched shots of Amy Adams and Bale as they caustically look over at the suddenly vanquished and humiliated Cooper.

Most everything else that turns up isn’t nearly as idiosyncratic, but it all works, sometimes exceedingly well: “Dirty Work,” “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is,” “I Feel Love,” “Jean Genie,” “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart,” “Evil Ways,” Russell even gets me to like “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” a little bit.

The only real miss for me also comes from ELO, some terrible stray track from 2001 called “Long Black Road.” The logic—chronological, conceptual—escapes me. (Ditto the weird contemporary Arabic cover of “White Rabbit,” but that one at least sounds good.)

Broke, Fearless

They Don’t Even Know, You Know

Richard Linklater was born July 30, 1960. (Just looked it up.) I knew we were close to the same age—truthfully, I wasn’t sure if he was a little older than me (probably my impression from Dazed and Confused) or a little younger (the incoming freshman of Everybody Wants Some!! are starting university in the fall of 1980; I started a year earlier). So he’s a year and bit older. If there’s another director who’s made films I love even closer to me than that, I don’t know who that is. (The two Andersons, Sofia Coppola, and Noel Baumbach are all bunched together between ’69 and ’71.)

Dazed and Confused, School of Rock, and (especially) Boyhood are among my favorite films of the past 25 years. Top 100, let’s say. And if there’s one thing I should know from my experience with those three films, it’s that I shouldn’t be writing about Everybody Wants Some!! until I’ve seen it a second, third, or fourth time. All three, to one degree or another and for different reasons, initially disappointed me. Don’t think it even occurred to me how much I’d started to like School of Rock until the fourth or fifth time I watched it with one of my grade 6 classes.

I’m stalling for time…I didn’t like hardly anything about Everybody Wants Some!!, and if I do go back for another look, I can’t see that happening for a while. As most of the reviews I’ve skimmed point out, it’s a very genial film—so much so, it practically vanishes on impact. My favourite active (employed?) film critic, David Edelstein, likes EWS!! fine, although he does concede it “doesn’t have the uncanny sense of time and place of Dazed and Confused.” Anyway, I don’t want to pick over all the things that puzzled or annoyed me about the film. I still think about a long Pulp Fiction diatribe I contributed to Martina Eddy’s old fanzine soon after the film came out. I went on and on and on about this, that, and the other grievous shortcoming, often stridently so. I should have reduced all that to a paragraph, and instead spent the time writing about the Big Kahuna/Flock of Seagulls scene, one of my favourite ever.

With that in mind, the one scene in Everybody Wants Some!! that I absolutely loved: the film’s main characters piled into a car, singing along word-perfectly to “Rapper’s Delight.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQrN-Y0X14g

sugarhill

I liked the way it completely undercuts what I would have expected based on Dazed and Confused—that the focus again would be almost exclusively on classic rock, and maybe even the most obvious dynamic, that these guys would have been steadfastly holding out against the disco, new wave, and (brand new) hip-hop of the day. No; besides “Rapper’s Delight,” most of the film’s first few songs are disco, and the characters themselves reflect upon how effortlessly they move between the different worlds of disco and punk and country. (As a means of meeting women, granted, but they’re cool with all the music, too.) I think Linklater gets that part of 1980—the musical schizophrenia, as a bunch of styles and genres, some a-bein’-born and some a-dyin’, compete for the listener’s attention, haircut, adopted lifestyle—exactly right.*

Elsewhere, I liked the song that was playing went they went to the country bar and played urban cowboy. Scanning the songs on a soundtrack list, it would seem to be Johnny Lee’s “Lookin’ for Love,” which was indeed in Urban Cowboy, but I just gave it a listen, and that doesn’t seem right. I also liked whatever was playing on the turntable when Old Stoner Guy was holding court on telepathy and Mahogany Rush. Was it actually Mahogany Rush, who I don’t think I’ve ever heard?** They’re not listed above, so I can’t say—maybe it was Van Halen. “Alternative Ulster”’s an all-time favourite; it’s okay here. “My Sharona,” “Whip It,” “Urgent”…we’re kind of in Ron Howard territory there.

The best laugh in the film, for me, comes at the very end, even though I couldn’t tell if it was intentional or not. Two of the players are sitting in a lecture hall on the first day of class, an older guy in a beard walks across the front of the room, and the one player turns to the other and says, “Who’s that fuck?”

Well, I don’t know. Hard to say who that might be.

*Feel like this needs some clarification…Let me amend that to “symbolically right,” as a snapshot of a moment in time. In actual practice, outside of a few Pazz & Jop voters circa 1981, I think most people gravitated one way or the other. I know my friends and I at that point mostly listened to X, Black Flag, the Cramps, and other punk and punk-leaning stuff—don’t recall that we paid much mind to a whole lot else.

**Pink Floyd’s “Fearless,” an ILX poster has informed me. Very nice—will have to investigate Meddle, an album I’ve never owned (the only Pink Floyd I ever bought was A Nice Pair and the one with the triangle on the cover).

They Don’t Even Know, You Know