Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Saturday Pop Culture Roundup, a Couple Days Early

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I'll be away from the coffee table the next few days, but God forbid I miss my weekly ode to entertainment. So you get it a few days early...not too long after the last one. Waddaya gonna do?

One other thing before I get started. I originally called this 'Saturday Recommendations' and then 'Saturday Plugs,' and then I realized that I don't necessarily want to recommend or plug some of this stuff to my small yet dedicated readership. It's more like I'm reviewing those items of film, music, literature, and the internet that I've stumbled across for better or worse over the course of the week. If you dare to pick up, for instance, the movie that I'm about to tell you about, it's your own freakin' fault. But it won't be because I mentioned it on this blog. Here, let me illustrate what I mean.

The other day I decided to watch The Sweetest Thing. Why? Because it was just starting on Comedy Central and I wanted some background noise. This throwaway piece of fluff stars Cameron Diaz and the chick from Anchorman whose name I don't feel like looking up, and combines two of the dreadful and predictable 'chick flick' genre's most cliche plots. First plot: chick falls in love with engaged guy, engaged guy (and usually the engaged girl as luck would have it) decides he doesn't want to get married (usually on the wedding day) and (SHOCK!! GASP!!) the chick and the guy end up together. What a wonderful thing when marriage doesn't work out. It's a good thing the guy who asked the girl had second thoughts just before she walked down the aisle. That was a close one. Second plot: two or more chicks go on road trip, empowered and free, and if at all possible the chick who owns the sports car has to drive. Along the way they find themselves in an unlikely string of stupid predicaments. This one includes a urinal blowing up and a guy crashing his motorcycle. Zany. This movie is best watched while doing something else that is much more interesting.

I'm afraid that it doesn't get much better, to my personal chagrin. Ever the loyal fan, I picked up Dave Matthews Band's new CD 'Stand Up,' fresh out as of midnight this morning. At first listen, I can't say that I'm impressed. They've come a long way since the winding violin and saxophone solos on 'Under the Table and Dreaming' and 'Crash.' 'Busted Stuff' was a tighter album, but in a good way. 'Stand Up' just doesn't seem to have the soul that previous outings do. But perhaps another listen will change my mind.

I'm still working through Toni Morrison's Beloved, which will take a while longer. My wife made two observations last night when she discovered that I was reading this. First: 'You read depressing books.' I look over at my nightstand to prove her wrong. The top book is Elie Wiesel's Night. All right, fine. Second: 'They made that into a movie starring Oprah.' Well, even so, I'm going to keep reading it. So there.

Around the web, there is a series of discussions on various theological topics happening between 'liberal' and 'conservative' Christianity at Progressive Protestant. Check 'em out.

Enjoy the rest of your week. Back in a few days to pick things back up again.