Film/Music/TV


Terrence Malick’s Prodigal Son

The trailer for Knight of Cups is out! Christian Bale, come home! Come home!

Top Ten Films of 2014, Pt. 2: Nos. 5-1

Top Ten Films of 2014, Pt. 2: Nos. 5-1

Yesterday, we revealed the bottom half of the best ten films of 2014, according to me. I’ll skip the pleasantries and jump right in. Here are my top five films of 2014.

5. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Lots of dollying, panning, and surface fade to reveal shots create the illusion that Alejandro Iñárritu’s Birdman was filmed in one, long continuous take. Which is not true. Howbeit, the film is made up of many continuous one shot scenes, sometimes lasting up to ten minutes long, and it’s all done, essentially, at one location. That’s tough to do. Not a lot of directors can do it, or do…

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Top Ten Films of 2014, Pt.1: Nos. 10-6

Top Ten Films of 2014, Pt.1: Nos. 10-6

Simply put, which is the best way to put it, 2014 was a pleasing year for the avid movie-goer. Now that it’s nearing its end, I thought it fitting to give the Mockingbird reader a list of personal favorites in a two-part top ten list. Disclaimer: Alas, I am not yet a member of the Academy. I do not get the year’s best films delivered to my doorstep free of charge. I will admit, there are many (presumably) good films that I have just have not seen yet, because, well, movies cost money. But here are the bottom five of Joe Nooft’s personal, paid for, top…

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The Best of the Year in Television 2014

The Best of the Year in Television 2014

Another phenomenal year on the small screen, and thankfully not one where we can come even close to being comprehensive. Series that’ve gotten raves that we’re waiting to binge on would be The Good Wife, The Americans, and You’re the Worst. Here’s our best shot at rounding up what we’ve watched this year. I had some serious help with this (ht McD, EKR, HE).

Top Twelve Television Series of 2014

12. Parenthood. The Bravermans didn’t make it terribly easy to keep watching this year–what with the Joel and Julia debacle–but even after four-plus years, the show can still bring the waterworks like…

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The Office: Middle Earth

As we brace ourselves for the final Hobbit film hitting screens this week, SNL produced a truly funny parody:

For more along these lines, check out Stephen Colbert’s interview with Smaug.

Joyce Manor, Father John Misty, and Other 2014 Favorites

Joyce Manor, Father John Misty, and Other 2014 Favorites

As I’ve gotten older (read: lazier), I’ve had seemingly less time to scour the internet for hours for new music.  I think I’ve consumed less and less music each year after college to the point where I always feel the need to play catch-up this time of year when websites start publishing their end of year lists and roundups. I spent a lot of time in 2014 though just trying to enjoy the albums I enjoyed again and again without the need to seek out and explore all the albums that I was “supposed to listen to” (this is not…

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My Way is a “Crap Song”: Reflections on Regret

My Way is a “Crap Song”: Reflections on Regret

Say what? I was out for a jog this week and I had to stop, take out my earbuds to squeegee out my ears with my fingers, hit rewind, and hear that again. Did Ira Glass just disparage Frank Sinatra? Ira Glass is the creator and executive producer of NPR’s weekly podcast “This American Life”. I was made privy to this can’t-miss weekly series by this Mockingbird post a while back, and I’ve been riveted every week since.

Each week’s podcast features 3 segments of real life Americana stories that are centered on a basic (and usually innocuous) theme. The December…

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Come Down to the Manger and See the Little Stranger

Come Down to the Manger and See the Little Stranger

There’s one particularly ‘seasonal’ portion of A Mess of Help, and here it is (minus the copious footnotes). Longtime readers may recognize portions, but this is the published and much-expanded version, which comes in the book’s final chapter, track nine of “Sing Mockingbird Sing: The Alpha and Omega of Annotated Playlists”. Enjoy:

I am quite proud of my office. It has taken a decade or two, but I finally feel like I’ve collected a suitable constellation of mementos to display. There’s the foldout from the ET: Picture Book record, which has Michael Jackson posing for what appears to be a school…

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What Happened at the Debut of Handel’s Messiah

Priceless anecdote from the beginning of The Smithsonian’s rundown of “The Glorious History of Handel’s Messiah”, published in 2009, ht PNW:

George Frideric Handel’s Messiah was originally an Easter offering. It burst onto the stage of Musick Hall in Dublin on April 13, 1742. The audience swelled to a record 700, as ladies had heeded pleas by management to wear dresses “without Hoops” in order to make “Room for more company.” Handel’s superstar status was not the only draw; many also came to glimpse the contralto, Susannah Cibber, then embroiled in a scandalous divorce.

The men and women in attendance sat mesmerized from the moment the tenor followed the mournful string overture with his piercing opening line: “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.” Soloists alternated with wave upon wave of chorus, until, near the midway point, Cibber intoned: “He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” So moved was the [Anglican clergyman] Rev. Patrick Delany that he leapt to his feet and cried out: “Woman, for this be all thy sins forgiven thee!”

When Balance Becomes a Weapon (Women, You Can Have It All!)

When Balance Becomes a Weapon (Women, You Can Have It All!)

Not often do I get the opportunity to quote my dad on matters other than Alabama football and Fox News, but lately I’ve been turning over in my head two of his favorite axioms: Life isn’t fair and Everybody just CALM DOWN!

I grew up under the constant admonition of that first phrase: the awareness that the world doesn’t always work according to the balance and order I think it should have; that even if I do the right thing it doesn’t mean everyone else will; that, ultimately, there are no guarantees. But I also grew up under the reign of…

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Reflections on America’s Happiest City

Reflections on America’s Happiest City

Four and a half months ago, Charlottesville, VA was named the happiest city in America. As the happiest blogger in the happiest city, I feel like I should do some commenting.

In the original paper for the happiness study, the researchers are careful to note that they’re measuring only “self-reported” happiness, a qualifier lost in some of the news outlets which reported it. To oversimplify things, we could view one’s self-reported level of happiness as consisting of three factors: (1) happiness itself, (2) pressures to lie on the survey, and (3) self-deception about perceived happiness. Since the survey was anonymous and Sandford,…

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Star Wars Reticence

Star Wars Reticence

On this site, it is hard to miss the emphasis on God’s grace and our passivity. Grace as God’s overriding disposition toward the human condition in Christ and passivity as suffering the work of an interested and loving God on His people. All of the grace, celebration, joy, redemption, and catharsis we receive rest on The Great Ending of One Finished Act of God we suffer… an act we observe and hear about instead of work to bring to pass. This Great Ending is the basis of all of our mining on Mockingbird.

So, count me as one who is deeply…

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