MUSIC"Whip My Hair," Willow Smith
Like Hillary Rodham Clinton, George W. Bush and Miley Cyrus before her, Willow Smith's inexplicable popularity is yet further proof that our country, despite having fought two wars to secure its democratic system of government, loves nepotism like a parent loves their offspring enough to get him/her a job.*
Now, some of you might say obviously sane things like "9 years old isn't too young to be Auto-Tuned!" or "Clearly she's only famous because of her amazing talent." And to a certain extent, the latter might be true — if you read the lyrics to "Whip My Hair," you'll notice more than 78 percent of the words are devoted to slight variations of "whip my hair back and forth." While good for remembering the name of the song, the lyrics don't really smack of being written by someone who's made it out of third grade yet. Still, the Auto-Tune thing. Also, 9-year-olds don't need their own (albeit horribly designed) logos. They just don't.
The bottom line, really, is this: Haven't we done enough for Will Smith? Wasn't his incredible appetite for attention/money satiated when we transformed him from a hit TV star to one of the few remaining movie stars to (shudder) his "rap" career? Must we continue to support his progeny's artistic endeavours as well? We already gave him our adoration once: That's why he lives in a huge mansion and drinks the tears of unicorns. Leave us alone, Will Smith!
- Speak Now, Taylor Swift — Some might say that Taylor Swift writing a song excoriating Kanye West's stupidity at the VMAs more than a year ago is a little petty. I wouldn't say that, but only because I don't want to wake up listening to a hate-song written about me three years from now.
- Olympia, Bryan Ferry — People have been saying disco is dead for 20 years, but at this point I think we can all agree we're just trying to bury it alive. Bryan Ferry does his part to dig it out of the hole by releasing a mix of low-energy lounge pop, Eurodisco and funk.
- The Essential Dixie Chicks, The Dixie Chicks — Despite the anti-Bush wave that swept the country in 2008, country music was not so forgiving. Thus, they're relegated to churning out music their fans (the only people who would buy a greatest hits complilation) already have. Good luck with that.
- Codename: Rondo, Ghostland Observatory — They'll be at the Knitting Factory on Nov. 16, but if you just can't wait you can always pick this up. And besides, who wouldn't want to support a label called "Trashy Moped Recordings"?---
DVDsThe Girl Who Played With Fire
In lieu of
doing any actual work of my own not stepping on toes, I'll just excerpt from the full review when the movie was in theaters, by DJ BGarden. For the record, he gave it a "watch at home" rating … which you can now do!
And so we’re off on a twisty little Scandinavian holiday that winds around and around until we land smack dab in incredible revelations about the bad guy, who turns out to be Lisbeth’s … [spoiler redacted!]. Suffice it to say that through the magic of the Swedish equivalent of Hollywood, Lisbeth is in up to her eyeballs in a national intrigue that began the day she was born.
I suspect the film adaptations of the GwtDT franchise — like The Da Vinci Code — are better when watched as a companion to the books. Someone actually told me as much.
For a film this twisty, that’s a real problem.
Check out the whole review! Or buy the movie!‡
- Sex and the City 2 — Continuing in the vein of not doing any work, many people have said funnier things ("This is the new torture porn") about this movie than I. Read the reviews. Laugh at them. Then remember which of your friends liked this show and look down upon them.
- Winter's Bone — Seriously. It's like I don't have to do anything at all.
- Wild Grass — It's a French movie about the wild incomprehensibility of the seemingly meaningless and arbitrary events of everyday life. That description also fits what watching the movie feels like.
VIDEOGAMES Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 (PS3, X360, PC, Wii, DS)
Oh, LucasArts. How long will we let you tease us with your wild promises of games where we can actually pretend to be Jedis before we finally figure out you're really just in it for the money? (See: everything Star Wars-related ever made that's not Eps. 3-6.) Backforming canon compatability with the "Midichlorians are sea monkey-looking little creatures that can be measured with a blood test" best of them, STFU 2† features the same character as the original. Except he's a clone, because the canon ending had Starkiller dying in the first one. Or something. I didn't really care.
STFU 2 developers took all of the complaints of the first (it's boring, too repetitive, the controls are clunky, boss fights are basically Mario Party-esque button-mashing minigames) and fixed one of them: the controls. Kind of. They also spent a lot of time making the characters look even more realistic, and rendering the monotonous backgrounds in hair-splitting detail. Which is always the most important aspect of the game.
As with STFU and Enter the Matrix before it, STFU 2 has some really cool moves that are fun to perform. The always hilarious "Jedi Mind-Trick the Stormtrooper into leaping to his death" is a welcome addition, but after the 12th or 13th time I use it, it's boring. There are about seven different types of enemies, each of which can be defeated easily by using a different one of your moves. Throwing said enemies at the player in different combinations doesn't make the game fun: It makes the game Pokemon.
Make sure you play the demo before you plunk down cash. Then play it for another four hours. That's pretty much what the game feels like. Your call if it's worth $60.
- Rock Band 3 (PS3, X360, Wii, DS) — They've finally listened to musicians' complaints about people putting so much time into the game they might as well learn the real instrument: The new keyboard peripheral is an actual MIDI instrument.†† No word on what purists will kvetch about now.
- Fable III (X360) — Wow, we really are kicking it into high gear for the holiday season with three big titles. Good luck finding time to play all the good ones.
- Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare Pack (X360, PS3) — Because I think it's federal law that every entertainment offering must include zombies, vampires or Ken Jeong.
* Notably absent from this list: George Clooney. Yet one more reason he's the best actor of the recent generation (You know Angelina Jolie's going to force her and Brad Pitt's adopted kids into something at some point). Also, Will Smith named his daughter AFTER HIMSELF. Will Smith to Willow Smith? Seriously?
‡ Or don't. See if I care. (Jerks.)
† Not a wholly accurate acronym, but you gotta love it.
†† This is probably not a true statement for the DS version. Or else they made a tiny, tiny keyboard.