Let get right into it this week! I got quite a bit to say, and I am excited to write about it!
Album of the week:
Album of the week is an odd category this week, as I have only been listening to Louis Armstrong albums this week, and I have to be honest, I’ve been pretty disappointed. I definitely picked the wrong way to go about listening to Armstrong. I imagine I should’ve just listened to a definitive collection of his work as opposed to trying to listen to all his album releases – most of them are just okay. They aren’t bad, it’s still Louis Armstrong! But I don’t feel like I’m getting a full picture of Louis’ career. However, I am still going to pick one of his albums that I listened to this week and thoroughly enjoyed. It was a shorter one, entitled The Great Reunion. Louis’ collaboration with Duke Ellington on this record was a homerun. It starts with the timeless classic “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” which feels more sultry with Louis singing it than any time I have heard the track before. There are also (finally!) a few tracks on this record where Louis just wails on his horn. As much as I enjoy hearing Louis sing, sometimes I just want to here that beautiful, erratic trumpet playing, and on The Great Reunion, I got it! The album is really short – only 30 minutes – so I’d recommend it even more highly as some of Louis’ work is upwards of an hour and if you aren’t invested in him, it’s more difficult to sit through. Start shorter and sweeter and listen to the wondrous styling of a Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong collaboration.
Song of the week:
I haven’t stopped listening to Louis Armstrong this week, so it only makes sense that I would stay in this wheelhouse, so I am picking one of my favorite Louis Armstrong songs as my song of the week. Sometimes in these sections, I just like to let the song speak for itself, and I’m going to do so here. Louis is one of the greatest trumpet players and blues artists of all time – this song is just one example why.
Television episode of the week:
So last week, I decided to discuss what interests me about the television show, Life and in that, I mentioned that I was also watching Wayward Pines. This week, I want to dig into Wayward Pines. I just finished the first season, and I have a lot of thoughts about the whole season. The premise hooked me from the beginning. I thought the pilot was legitimately quite good. The show struggled with pacing as the season went on. Majority of the season
was slow. We had a few major things that happened each episode and the rest of the time in the episode was spent digesting those major things. The show takes some crazy turns, so it makes sense they would give us this time! It just at times got a little frustrating, especially the final episode, which I will get to later. The performances throughout the season were nice, I sort of missed Matt Dillon in this leading role. I had never seen Shannyn Sossamon (Theresa Burke) or Melissa Leo (Nurse Pam) before, and they ended up putting on some of my favorite performances of the season. The premise for the show remained really interesting through the end of the season. I am even decently excited to see where they take it in season two. The directing didn’t do too much for me, but I am also not sure how much I paid attention to it, given how wild the story was. Now can I get to what drove me nuts about this show?
Are you kidding me with that finale, Wayward Pines? The whole season moves pretty slow to let us disgest everything, then you suddenly want to throw all caution to the wind and immediately bring everything together? Characters, looking at you Matt Dillon (seriously, besides those final couple scenes, he is a pretty terrible husband – I have never seen someone refuse to talk to their wife quite like Ethan Burke), refused to communicate with one another, then finally when everything comes crashing down, we are suddenly all in this together and on the same page. Okay, maybe I’m just being nitpicky about that, but the next part is legitimate gripe. The pacing of the season is completely thrown to the wolves in the last 5 minutes of the finale. Ethan dies, but instead of letting the audience mourn that character and what that loss means to the other characters, we accelerate the show 3 and a half years because inexplicably Ben had been in a coma/frozen by the sociopathic underlings for that long? I get it, they are going to explain it in season two, AND I get Djimon Hounsou there, but that was a cop out if I ever saw one. Why did you need to do that? We didn’t need that time jump at the end of the season, and we sure as hell didn’t need to basically just restart the first season except this time with hanging bodies and Ben as the main character instead of Ethan. We saw Theresa break down for like 10 seconds before the director was like, “Alright, that’s enough with the feelings, let’s move onto the crap that won’t make any sense until you start season two, so you HAVE to watch season two.” I’m not here for that. I was already frustrated that they hardly let Theresa’s character breathe or come into her own at all until like episode 7 of the season. For a show that seemingly is predicated on the characters, at least the main characters, it seems like we should have gotten more development there. It seems as though we should’ve been able to learn about those characters before the moments you wanted us to have an emotional attachment to them. Alright, I digress. Clearly I really see the potential in this show, otherwise I wouldn’t have written this much about it. There are just certain aspects of the show that if they were tweaked just slightly or explored a bit more, it would’ve made for better character development and more confidence going into season two.
All that being said? Check out the first season of Wayward Pines, I hope you get hooked like I did.
Movie of the week:
Hey guys! I saw my first Howard Hawks film this week! I was so excited, His Girl Friday has been on my list for such a long time, and I finally got around to it. Oh, and I am definitely writing about it as my movie of the week, because it surpassed expectations. In His Girl Friday, it was the first time I noticed the influence of movement of people in a scene and how it influences dialogue and how it can become a dance between two actors and actresses. I am not just talking about characters simply walking and either. The way Hawks directs this film, it makes the dialogue so fluid, characters talk fast and at and past each other constantly. It feels chaotic, but never out of Hawks’ control. There is one particular scene near the end where Rosalind Russell (Hildy Johnson) and Cary Grant (Walter Burns) are literally walking around a table together, exchanging dialogue, and it actually does resemble a dance at times. It is moments like that, in those smaller details (Hawks having them move as opposed to just standing and talking to each other), that make this movie so very special. This is my first experience with Howard Hawks (and Rosalind Russell actually!), so I don’t want to go too far in my excitement about this film, but you should absolutely watch it. Ignore the date if that keeps you from seeing certain films, between the direction and the dynamic performances of Russell and Grant, it won’t feel all that aged. I was taken aback by just how much Rosalind Russell dominates with precision and wit in every scene she is in, it’s a beautiful sight to behold. Essentially, I am telling you that you are actually doing yourself a disservice if you love movies and haven’t seen this film.
Piece of writing of the week:
Let me keep this one short and sweet. I don’t want to repeat last week, so check out this profile on the seemingly consensus number #1 pick the upcoming NBA draft, Markelle Fultz, written by Jason King. I have been reading about prospects for a few weeks now, especially as March Madness nears, and I don’t think there is a better profile than this one: