This week John & Pat are of a single mind. Everyone should watch Veronica Mars. Both the TV show from a few years ago, and the movie that came out this month. If you have been meaning to, check it out now. If you don’t think you’ll like it, give it a try you might be surprised. If you have already seen the show, what are you waiting for? See the movie already!
As usual, Pat & John each have a recommendation this week. In addition to those it is worth mentioning that they have high praise for both subjects of the episode. Talking Heads’ Fear Of Music, and St. Vincent are both well worth searching out and enjoying.
Pat is raving about the latest CD from Broken Bells called After The Disco. Broken Bells is a collaboration between James Mercer, of the Shins, and Danger Mouse. They are disparate artists who come together to create something that has obvious influences from their previous works. In spite of these influences, the combination of their talents creates something new, different, and wonderful..
John realizes that no one ever finishes Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the 20th Century by Greil Marcus, but he wishes everyone would try. It’s a book that starts by tracking punk’s failed attempt to change the world, and moves on to talk about various other social and political movements around the world that also failed to make changes they struggled for.
This week John & Pat’s guest star Jessica was so afraid that she would never be welcomed back that she offered four recommendations. (That was her mistake. She’ll inevitably be welcomed back, and also be expected to have another four recommendations!) The guys have their usual boring one pick for everyone to check out.
First off Jessica would like you to investigate the art works of Yoko Ono. She is the best living artist representing the Fluxus movement and conceptual art in general.
Next she would like you to investigate the works of Mexican artist and tattooist Dr Lakra.
She also think that you should check out the sadly cancelled HBO series from Laura Dern and Mike White called Enlightened.
Finally, she wants you to watch Dark Horse. An overlooked more mainstream film from director Todd Solondz.
Pat recommends the The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. It’s a heist novel set in medieval times with fantasy trappings such as magical creatures, and mages. It’s an excellent story with well written characters. The book’s only flaw is an ending that feels rushed.
John thinks you should watch The Friends of Eddie Coyle. A neo-noir film set in New England starring Robert Mitchum, with Peter Boyle.
This week John & Pat are both living in the past with their recommendations.
John is going back through the 60s-90s to read Pauline Kael‘s film criticism. Thoughtful film criticism, such as what Kael wrote, has been supplanted by simple thumbs up or down reviews. Her sharp wit and insightful commentary is still relevant 40 years after these pieces were published. They are worth reading even if you have never watched the films being reviewed.
Pat finally went back to 2013 and watched Jenji Kohan’s Netflix series Orange Is the New Black. It is a funny, thought provoking, sad series. It’s filled with believable characters who you feel sympathy for, in spite of their flaws. It is a show that is well worth binge watching.
With two guests we had plenty of recommendations this week!
Pat is disregarding all of the changes in late night talk shows, and sending you out to watch Jerry Seinfeld’s web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, instead.
Neil doesn’t want to give his initial recommendation, lest he jinx it and never finish reading the book (On an entirely unrelated note. Pat (and the Pulitzer people) think everyone should read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay). Instead, he wants everyone to watch H. Jon Benjamin in Archer on FX, or catch up on the show on Netflix.
1999’s Johnny Depp thriller The Ninth Gate is a film that Laura thinks everyone should watch.
Hot on the heels of such terrible movies Michael, John & Pat were forced to clear their palates with works that actually made sense and had talent behind them.
John thinks you should check out The Young Ones, the British television show from the 1980s. The Young One’s attempts at absurd humor hit home more often than not. He also believes you will enjoy watching Tim Robbins star in the 1990 psychological thriller Jacob’s Ladder.
Pat wants you to read The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes. It’s a novel about a time traveling serial killer. One of the interesting things about The Shining Girls is the fact that the victims are well written and extremely fleshed out. Reading the book you don’t feel like you are being forced to witness meaningless violence, instead you are upset by the fact that interesting well rounded characters are being killed.
And, finally, Michael wants everyone to watch the Australian television comedy Kath & Kim. He says to try your hardest to see the very funny Australian version, but to avoid the American version at all costs.
John thinks you should watch Bill Moyer have a conversation with David Simon, the creator of HBO’s The Wire. In it Simon rails against the overwhelming selfishness inherent in today’s America. He talks about how the poisoning of government by money has widened the gap between the haves and the have nots.
Pat wants to reiterate the fact that everyone should catch up on Saga, the comic book series from Brian K. Vauhgn. It’s a story that is set in space with all sorts of exotic creatures, but it dives into common themes use Vaughn’s usual wisecracking dialog, and his casually written deep insights.
This week John and special guest star David Schneider both made thematically appropriate recommendation for the episode, while Pat stayed out in his lonely sci-fi world to recommend something that had nothing to do with Las Vegas or heist films.
John thinks that Rififi is the greatest heist film ever made. David agrees while Pat still needs to see it. So does everyone else out there who hasn’t watched it yet.
Pat gives high praise to Love Minus Eighty by Will McIntosh. It’s a story set in a future that feels familiar to our own. It’s the best sort of science fiction, the kind that uses future technology to examine relationships and issues that resonate in any time period.
And, David says that Grandissimo: The First Emperor of Las Vegas: How Jay Sarno Won a Casino Empire, Lost It, and Inspired Modern Las Vegas by David G. Schwartz (he used a slightly shorter title, but the power of cut and paste makes it easier to put the whole title in) is an excellent look at Jay Sarno, an unheralded hero in the creation of the modern day Las Vegas that is more than just a place to gamble.