First things first, I'd like to welcome Fran I Am to the blog buddies list. She is a regular commenter here and at Princess Sparkle Pony and has posted links both to this site and to essays of mine on The Smirking Chimp, and likewise accepted a tag after Padre Mickey tagged me. In the publishing business, the process of giving good reviews to people who have given good reviews to your book is called log rolling. I guess this is part of the reason we call this practice blog rolling.
Next up, a big hello to Portugal as part of the appreciation of readers from many lands.
Some folks recommended Napoleon Dynamite, the little teen comedy that did good business for a small budget film and launched lead actor John Heder's career. I saw it and liked it well enough, but as often happens for me when I see a movie that is good but not great, I am reminded of other films that covered similar themes, but that I thought did a better job. The other thing these films have in common with Napoleon Dynamite is that they are all from MTV Films.
The first movie, Election, is fairly well known, though it only did about one third the business of Napoleon Dynamite. It's really good. Reese Witherspoon gives a brilliant performance as an overachieving kid and Matthew Broderick is also terrific as her teacher who just doesn't like her very much. The movie is written and directed by Alexander Payne, who went on to do About Schmidt (which I didn't see) and Sideways. Of all the films mentioned in this post, Election would be my top pick.
A movie that can be compared more fairly to Napoleon Dynamite is Better Luck Tommorow, since both have tiny budgets and unknown casts. The story revolves around a group of Asian American high school students. Some are high achievers and some are goof offs, which is what I remember from high school so many years back. There's also a heist involved, which doesn't seem like a realistic plot point, but it makes for a nice switcheroo. Director Justin Lin has graduated to bigger budget movies like The Fast and the Furious:Tokyo Drift. I haven't seen it, because the ads make it look like it sucks and it's stupid. On the other hand, I can recommend Better Luck Tomorrow. Give it a try.
And as the last part of Multitasking Friday, it's the Random 10 from my iTunes. There is a non-random part to this one, which is it's all tunes from the era of punk and New Wave, though not all the songs fit in those categories.
Whole Wide World Wreckless Eric
Don’t Let’s Start They Might Be Giants
Roam The B-52s
American Squirm Nick Lowe
I Think We’re Alone Now Lene Lovich
Would I Lie to You? Eurythmics
Cult of Personality Living Colour
I’ve Been To Memphis Lyle Lovett
Hide Your Tears The Social Club
As for "the obscure", both Wreckless Eric and Lene Lovich recorded on the great British label Stiff Records. Whole Wide World was featured prominently in last year's movie Stranger Than Fiction, which starred Will Farrell, Emma Thompson, Dustin Hoffman and Maggie Gyllenhaal.
In regards to the truly obscure, The Social Club is a band from San Jose. Their only album was produced by my buddy Padre Mickey. Hide Your Tears is a really good tune, with influences from early R.E.M. and The Jam, or at least that's what I hear. Thanks to Padre Mickey for putting it on a CD for me earlier this year.