crash and burnThe Blasters -- I'm Shakin'
The Blasters -- Trouble Bound
The Blasters were a roots-rock band from the 1980s, a band that I'm surprised that the good Reverend hasn't yet posted. (I scooped the Rev? That's unpossible.)
"I'm Shakin'" is a Little Willie John cover, a snappy groovin' blues tune with saxophones. (Thanks, Jon)
"Trouble Bound" is a rockabilly tune with rollicking piano and some spot-on background harmonies.
They're both good examples of the Blasters' work, which seamlessly mixes covers and original tunes with a confident, uncluttered style.
[Testament: The Complete Slash Recordings (1981-1985)]
... My file hosting has gotten a bit wobbly. The UI, for one, has become unworkable in both Firefox and Internet Explorer; uploading and linking to a file is now a three-part process involving swapping browsers twice and usually watching one of them freeze. The bugs are being worked on and, with any luck, they'll be sorted out soon.
"That's not Haggis; that smells like chitlins."
"It's okay, Daddy; just put your hand over your mouth like this."
(image nicked from The House Next Door)
Here's some Haterade for Crash that I found particularly relevant, fun, and amusing.
And here's more, just because this movie has been bugging me ever since I saw it:
Maybe in L.A. bigotry isn't typically out front and center, unsubtle and undeniable--but in the rural monocultural high school I attended in North Florida it was. All the most popular students--the football players and the cheerleaders--were, with very few exceptions, openly homophobic, sexist, racist, and classist. I'll choose a fairly tame incident, the kind that supposedly doesn't happen any more: one year I had the same class as a fairly clever bigot. Nearly every day that year, he would ask me if I had my Green Card. He had an audience and it always got a laugh; the teacher overheard it and ignored it. I don't know why; I didn't feel confident enough to ask. And I also wasn't strong enough or fierce enough to confront the student--he was the kind sure to resort to violence--so I just did my best to let it roll off me. I perfected a blank stare.
I've forgotten the student's name, though I remember his permed mullet and his left earring and the day that he came to school with one eye solid red. I'd been out sick the previous day and then the next day, the day he came to school with a red eye, the student didn't make the crack about the Green Card. Instead, he sat there silently. His eye wasn't slightly bloodshot; it wasn't extremely bloodshot; it was pure red from iris to corner and from lid to lid, the red of ruptured blood vessels. It looked like something from a cheap horror movie except that it was actually horrifying.
"What happened to your eye?" I said, which pissed him off.
"He was out sick yesterday," one of the other students said--quickly--and the student settled back.
"I was in a fight," he said, still angry.
"With two other guys, at a bar."
"Tell him about the others," one of the students said.
"They got hurt too." He was smirking now. It was easy to say, I guess, with no one there to contradict him.
"Oh," I said. I nodded. And then I had to bite my tongue to prevent saying "did they have their Green Cards?"
Now, L.A. is not my home town, and my home town is not L.A. (and is, I'm sure, glad of it). But this L.A. in the film is probably also not the L.A. in California, out in that "reality" that people tend to go on about. The L.A. in the film rings false, and not just because of the constant ridiculous coincidences, but also because most people are not openly bigoted. The bigotry is a contrivance to present some drama and to give Haggis a chance to talk about issues he ostensibly cares about. So the movie makes a lot of noise about its characters' "complexity," but the kinds of things the characters eventually do--the good things, mind, intended to round them out as characters, to offset the bad--include not shooting people, not selling people, and not watching people die. These are not the kinds of things that the Nobel committee tends to award prizes for, though they might be unusual enough to deserve attention in Hollywood.
The biggest failure of the movie--and there are several to choose from--is that the story flirts with cynicism, claims to reject it, and adopts platitudes instead. The example that sticks in my craw most is near the end, where a black man discovers that the cargo hold of the stolen van he is driving is loaded with people. And so this man pulls over, and with all the predictable grandiose musical cues a hack could hope for, he opens the back of the van and sets the people free. Now, that's a bold ethical stand. This movie does not approve of slavery.
Instead, it approves of a laissez faire system which will fold undocumented workers into its sweatshoppy embrace until the DHS takes it upon itself to expel them for doing the shit work that Americans wouldn't do at those wages, daring to dream the American Dream without proper papers. All the character has done is make the minimal choice any decent person would make--refusing to sell people--and he's done it at very little personal cost. Yet this setting people free was, according to the film's narrative, something meant to add to the character's "complexity," some good to offset the bad. So the movie posits that character redemption is just as far away as one refusal to sell slaves.
I bet if we all try, if we stick with it and really try, we can be redeemed and fulfillingly complex by breakfast time.
The Blasters' version of "I'm Shakin" is actually very similar to Little Willie John's version.
Thanks for the correction.
When I first moved to Chicago from L.A., people would say, "Oh L.A., it's so racist," memories of the riots--or the media depiction of the riots--still fresh. Which was funny because I've never known a place as racially divided geographically--whites on the north side, blacks on the south and Hispanics on the west--and psychologically as Chicago. L.A. is, in my experience, less so. Neighborhoods and workplaces generally boast greater racial diversity.
No, Robert, I didn't know those scenes were in Haggis' house, but that is awfully interesting. Maybe the film was just an extended psychotherapy session; too bad it's so muddled and, well, tries too hard.
Yes, Haggis isn't interested in writing realist fiction, but he's chosen its clothes for his delivery, and I find wrapping an obvious parable inside it to be an artistic mis-step. The film fails on the literal level, leaving little more than a hollow shell telling things that most of us know already, and not even telling them with much subtlety....
I wonder if I'd like the film if it were overtly theatrical, like von Trier's Dogville.