Friday, May 08, 2009

Pop Culture Roundup

I've been reading Frankenstein. I've never read it. And more people should, because now I'm wondering where all these popular renderings of the story come from: Igor the assistant, stealing a murderer's brain, the lightning storm, screaming "It's alive!" Yeah, none of it's in there. Instead, when we get to the part where Frankenstein talks about bringing the monster to life, he just says, "And I can't tell you how I did it, because then you may attempt it as well and ruin your own life as I've ruined mine." Subtle, and communicates his sorrow and regret. Nice.  And the monster is intelligent and articulate, too.

I also watched Forgetting Sarah Marshall this past week, wherein a guy feeling absolutely horrible after his actress girlfriend (in a CSI-type show that they brilliantly spoof) takes a trip to Hawaii to try to clear his head. One problem: his ex shows up with her new boyfriend, a caricature of Bono. Although he doesn't direct it, Judd Apatow has his hand in this as evidenced by some of his usual go-to actors showing up. There's a lot of weaving in and out of different relationships and conversations about relationships, and at times it feels more like an ensemble movie the way different characters interact and bounce off each other. It's at times raunchy, at times cute, and often funny...perhaps a more understated Apatow-related movie, which can be a good thing.

This past week, the final episode of Scrubs aired. It was a full one-hour finale about J.D.'s last day at Sacred Heart before taking a new position at the hospital where the mother of his child works. He frets about making the day extra special, but seems to be let down more often than not. We do end up learning The Janitor's real name, a lot of recurring characters and past guest stars make cameos, and the episode is wrapped up very well. There's some talk that they'll still attempt another season without Zach Braff, but I see no possible way to continue without the main character who narrated the series. That'd be entering shark-jumping territory in a major way.

I've listened to a couple new albums this week:

The National, Boxer - I picked this up out of curiosity, having never heard of The National before. Their lead track hooked me with a strings line that really added depth to the song, but they lost me more and more over the course of the album. It's a nice laid-back sort of sound, with horns to accent much of it, but it just didn't do it for me.

Feist, The Reminder - I had my first taste of Beth Orton's music a few weeks ago and liked it, and lo and behold, I like Feist. Even if you've never heard of her, you've probably heard her music...there was a commercial for an iPhone or something like a year ago that used her song, "1234." In some ways, it's the weakest song on the album...I liked the rest a lot better.

The Derek Trucks Band, Already Free - I'm actually surprised that this was my first taste of Derek Trucks Band. As a jamband kinda guy in general and an appreciator in particular of the Allman Brothers Band and Gov't Mule, I can't believe it took me this long to experience Trucks' work. DTB's sound is very Allman-ish...driving, bluesy southern rock. Trucks is an awesome guitarist besides.

Beastie Boys, The Mix-Up - This is a purely instrumental album, mixing a wide range of styles into a hip-hop feel. It made for a good cruising sort of album while I made pastoral visits this week.

From around the web and in honor of the hopefully final episode of Scrubs, here's a pieced-together Dr. Cox rant: