Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Blade Runner Is My "McCartney II"

Paul Simon or Paul McCartney?

Paul McCartney or Bob Dylan?

"McCartney" or "McCartney II?"

As "Les" said in yesterday's comments, "Discussions like these are one of the reasons I love Burning Wood."

Me too!

Personally, I never bought into the "Enjoy, it's only music" approach.  For years behind the counter at NYCD, my beloved sinkhole of a retail outlet, I was often accused of getting a little too passionate over the music I loved. I tried to convince the skeptics that I wasn't trying to sell product. My animation and fervor was genuine. I would say, "This is what music SHOULD do to you," as I fielded yet another query about a "Beatles' Greatest Hits" CD. "YEAH...ALL OF THEM," I would bark.

That said, yesterday's discussion made me think of another possibly troublemaking topic. I hope I haven't done this before.

Is there a song, album or film, that has achieved cult status but leaves you absolutely cold?

I'm not saying "McCartney II" is considered a masterpiece, but it is often cited as one of Paul's better releases.

I'm going all in with "Blade Runner," a movie whose first 30 minutes I've seen 10 times, because by minute 31, I want to hang myself. I admit to never having been able to sit through the entire film. I've finally given up caring.


steve simels said...

Three words:

Young Sean Young.

Troy said...

I don't watch a lot of movies any more. Mostly it is a time thing, but the interest / passion just isn't there like it used to be.

That said, I have tried to watch the movie "Once" on several occasions. My wife loves it and I cannot make it through the first 15 minutes without falling asleep. Just do not like it. I know everyone loves the Swell Season and the music from that movie, but I'm can't even listen to the 'Falling Slowly' song in the car because I'm afraid I will be snoozing by the time it is over.

Spookywolffe said...

Just came across your blog, and as a fellow-former music-slinger, I'm looking forward to following!

As for this topic, I thoroughly agree with Blade Runner. After lo these many years, I've never made it through the film, in spite of accolades from friends, reviewers that I respect, and the general "cult film".

But my own personal "Wha?!?!?" artist is Tom Waits. Over the years I have had SO many friends -- ALL of whom have had GREAT taste in music, in my opinion -- tell me of the greatness of Tom Waits. I have borrowed albums/CDs, listened to online, listened to "best of" collections, listened to The Black Rider -- several times!!, and...I just don't "get it"! I feel like I SHOULD "get it", and I shudder with guilt that I DON'T! Perhaps something will "click" for me someday, like that fateful day when I was lying on the bed NOT paying attention to Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz album and it ALL OF A SUDDEN MADE SENSE!!

Sal Nunziato said...

Hey Spooky..


I happen to adore Tom Waits and think he is one of the world's finest storytellers, but even I can't really handle "The Black Rider."

Waits seems to have two different careers--pre-"Swordfishtrombones" and post. I suggest starting at the beginning with "Closing Time," and taking it from there.

soundsource said...

almost any movie by Jim Jarmush (except Ghost Dog) and I'm sure that's just a start. Also for me Bitches Brew (sorry not so melodica). let me think on this i'm sure there will be more. And I sorta agree about Tom Waits but that could be a pretentious voice thing not a songwriter thing.
Good Topic Mr. Wood

FD13NYC said...

Quite a few movies fall into this topic for me. One in particular, and I hope I'm not committing blasphemy is Godfather Part 3.

While we all know the first one stands on its own as a classic even if the others were never made. Part 2 was long but still very interesting utilizing flashbacks with DeNiro, and watching Pacino transform even further into a stonefaced cold hearted killer. His own brother for heavens sake. At the end sitting alone in the back yard still gives me a shiver.

I admit I've probably tried to sit through Part 3 maybe twice in all these years. Always thinking to myself, why was this movie even made and who cares about the next generation of guido mob Corleones.

Sal Nunziato said...

Yeah, FDNYC...I'm with you on Godfather 3, but does anyone like it? I don't think it falls into the cult category. I think it's universally thought of as a stinker.

Aaron said...

Love Jarmusch's early work but last 5 movies or so (Coffee and Cigarettes, Broken Flowers) were absolute crap.

I can't think of any cult movies that leave me cold, but we watched Black Swan and were laughing at the most inappropriate times. An article in Harper's magazine reminded me of the trippiest move: Night of the Hunter. Ever seen it? Robert Mitchum, Lillian Gish. Apparently a lot of people don't like it, but it's insanely good, in my opinion, one of those, "I can't believe they made this movie when they did" movies. I urge you to check it out.

misospecial said...

Pulp Fiction. i tried, and i watched it a couple of times, but the walken/willis/psychokiller plot disgusted me; it was like some pale teenage boy who lives at his PC's overheated fantasy, and i was not amused.

The Exorcist. i saw it too long after its sensational opening, in a third-run house on E 23rd St. (now Blender at Gramercy), and all that head-spinning and verdant projectile vomiting was just...funny. in a lame way.

and... okay. i'm going to say this with extreme prejudice, because this is a safe place where we can differ in our opinions without losing respect for each other, right? i don't love springsteen. i don't hate him, i have owned springsteen records and listened to them back in the '80s, but although several of my most respected music-loving friends are passionate devotees, i have to admit it: i was not born to run.

Sal Nunziato said...


Not born to run? WHAT THE...

(I kid)

Actually, I really don't like anything by Quentin Tarentino.

Rushbo said...

I like 'Godfather 3'

I dislike 'The Matrix'. One day, the world will wake up and I will carried around the town at shoulder height and I will never have to pay for my own drinks again. Until then, people think I'm weird.

Alan said...

Tom Waits (beautiful loser pose), Bruce Springsteen (good guy, boring songs), Beausoleil (how to you say “yawn” in French), Almost Famous (self-aggrandizing myth making), Blue Velvet (quirky randomness masquerading as profundity), …, I’ll stop there.

Jeff Kisseloff said...

anything by Bruce Springsteen.

But, this is personal, right? No one will kill me for standing up and declaring that I've never, never liked Led Zeppelin? I've tried. I've tried so hard, but I can't.

There, I feel better. Thirty years of guilt off my chest. Thanks for giving me the opportunity.

Anonymous said...

I would like to agree with everything everyone has written. Especially those who disliked, AND those who liked, Tom Waits.
Oh, and add rap to the list. I was in on it at the beginning ... liked Gil Scott Heron, Grandmaster Flash, some early hiphop (Nena Cherry, etc) but nothing since (I stopped trying a long time ago)

Paul in Brentwood said...

I just can't wrap my head around Quadrophenia. Have tried many times but it's not happening.

As for films, I thought Broken Flowers was wonderful. Bill M. is always understated, pained and complex.

GF III was a good attempt but short in many ways (except length). Some of the most recent best picture winners of late aren't even good. Crash? Sorry.

Anonymous said...

I second, third, fourth that emotion re: Tom Waits. I'm so happy--I though I was alone in the world!

Also Springsteen. Loved him in my teens and early 20s, but now find most of it overblown, sometimes even hokey. And I know he just had a stroke the other day, but Clarence Clemmons--once a friend pointed out to me what a lousy sax player he really is, it was like the scales fell from my eyes, or ears, or whatever.

Movies? I don't get ANYTHING by Darren Arnofsky. I laughed harder during Black Swan than I had during anything since the ludicrous climax of Requiem for a Dream. Actually, that should count for something...

I love Blade Runner but I could see not. In fairness, it's a BIG screen movie. If you've only tried watching it on TV and it comes to the Ziegfield sometime, I'd maybe give it another shot, but yeah, the plot's thin. Also, its vision of the future has been recycled so many times that what once seemed stunningly original (at least to me, at 22) might now come off as hackneyed. Same with the scavenged future of Road Warrior.

Bruce H.

DK said...

I think I may have to whisper the band's name (velvet underground) and make sure no one's looking, but I just never got it. I'm a huge fan of many of the bands they influenced like R.E.M., etc and even really like many of the cover versions of their songs.

I just can't get into the whole Lou Reed thing...

Anonymous said...

Godfather III had two fatal flaws -- the miscasting of Sofia Coppola (after Wynona Rider dropped out), and that awful scene where Michael tries to win Kay back by putting on a chauffeur's hat and driving her around Sicily. Actually three fatal flaws, because it was unnecessary in the first place; everything we ever need to know about Michael is contained in the last shot of II. But otherwise III is enjoyable, for me, and some of it I think is great.

Bruce H.

steves said...

The entire oeuvre of Guns 'n' Roses.

I like Slash's playing just fine, but given a choice between listening to any one of these guys' songs or chalk squeeking on a blackboard, I'd choose the chalk every time.

Sal Nunziato said...

So with all the anti-Waits remarks, is it the voice or the songwriting? Or something else?

My problem with GF 3 is as Bruce H. said, it was unnecessary. But it's not just Sofia Coppola. Talia Shire is even worse than she was in the first 2, and Pacino and Diane Keaton seem like cartoon characters. But again, is their cult following for this film?

Gotta say, I love "Quadrophenia."

soundsource said...

oh god yes VELVET UNDERGROUND in uber caps how could I have forgotten them.......YECH!!!!!
and to bring up old wounds but every Radiohead record since OK Computerkeppie.
Let the riots begin

Carl said...

Pearl Jam

Spookywolffe said...

Well, I'm not "anti-Waits". I mean I can appreciate the songwriting. The voice doesn't necessarily turn me off, either. I just don't "get it" in terms of the cult status, I guess. I mean, people don't generally "kinda like" Tom Waits, they LIKE TOM WAITS!!!!!!! And I can't even claim to "sorta like Tom Waits". I shall keep trying, but I am generally of the opinion that if you have to work TOO HARD to like something, you probably don't like it in the first place.

mcb said...

Morrissey. There are musical figures I don't necessarily care for, but the sound emanating from that pompous ass fills me with out-and-out HATRED like no other.

His cult seems to think he's speaking sympathetically to their own heartaches. No he isn't! He thinks you're a sucker for having a heart, and he tells you that over and over! And people just keep lining up to pay him to hear him do it again.

Oddly, nearly every artist I'm aware of who cites Morrissey as an influence - Jeff Buckley, Joe Pernice, the superb Texas trio Girl In A Coma - is INFINITELY more talented than Morrissey could even conceive of being. He's not fit to shine those artists' shoes!

Converse said...

Yeah, I'm there with V.U. and Lou Reed, in general. Wow, you're so druggy and draggy. I get it. Zzzz.

Here's a band I don't get and refuse to get: The Replacements. And anybody else proud of the fact that they can get so drunk they can't stand up, let alone play their gig. It's not really an achievement, guys. Yeah, Westerberg has written a few good songs - a few - but he's batting in the low .200s, to me. The male Liz Phair. Meh.

As for movies, here's a couple: Raging Bull i've started twice and never completed. Maybe I need to see it in the theater. And Citizen Kane is enjoyable enough, but I don't understand the greatest-movie-ever stuff. In fact, the only Welles flick I ever really loved is Touch of Evil, and even then, only the re-cut version from the late 90's.

But what do I know.

Droning on, I've had a few (mainly jazzbo) friends who loved to bust on Clarence Clemons, I guess because he doesn't have Coltrane's chops. I just roll my eyes. He does what he needs to do within the Bruuuuce context, and does it fine. Shit, listen to that solo on Jungleland - I could cry every time, if I let myself.

Anonymous said...

Great thread. Love Bruce but have many friends that don't. Quadrophenia had 2 of my favorite Who songs but the rest leaves me cold.

As for movies I just don't get the appeal of Fight Club. Just awful in my opinion.

J. Loslo said...

Ditto on "Blue Velvet." It has its amusing and memorable moments, but for the most part I found it smug and cold.

jeff kisseloff said...

Years ago the NY Daily News asked me to interview Scorcese in connection with a movie of his that had just come out. I spent the weekend watching all of his films up to that point (The Age of Innocence), and it occurred to me that in nearly every movie there's a scene in which a leading male character slugs a woman.

So I asked him, "What's with that?"

He said that was a reflection of the people he grew up with. Somehow, I doubted it. What a great filmmaker but the misogyny comes through crystal clear (ok, maybe not the Last Waltz).

Sal Nunziato said...

Wow. A simple post about what crap "Check My Machine" is, and now suddenly everyone hates Scorsese.

("Raging Bull," not "Citizen Kane" is in my Top Ten films of all time."

big bad wolf said...

i like the V.U., but it's pretty much over for lou when the band breaks up. his solo career is wildly overpraised in my view. i admit i stopped listening after new york---there's only so many times one can read raves and find nothing resembling the raves in the actual music before one stops listening. lou and laurie anderson do make a great couple though: o superman was one of the more bafflingly praised songs of my life. really, people like this?

i have a perverse admiration for radiohead. they've made unlistenable, unlikeable albums in a number of different styles. few bands can claim such variedly pretentious unsuccess.

also, i, um, well, i don't really, ah, like the ramones. i don't hate them, i just don't get them like i'm supposed to

A guy called Tak said...

My verdict:

Godfather 3
Never seen it, never will...
1&2 are masterpieces though.

Tom Waits
I agree with you Sal, you have to start with "Closing Time".

Velvet Underground
I bought "Banana" when it's released - no need to answer.

I stopped buying his outputs after the first listening of "Born In The USA".

Jim Jarmusch
"Stranger Than Paradise" was a typical fresh-out-from-film-school flick and it was OK, but after that...overrated.

Blade Runner
Two words: Sean Young

Leon said...

Poor Tom Waits... no, I don't really get him either, but he's taking a beating here!

I have several that fall in this category: Radiohead and Wilco foremost among them. They inspire such fervent adoration, and I do not get it. Radiohead seems like a dour put-on to me part of the time, and Wilco seems more pedestrian than their fans will admit.

Yikes - will I get struck by lightning now?

big bad wolf said...

leon, i'm mixed on wilco's records, but, fwiw, i love them live

Dave said...

I think some of the foreign directors in the "pantheon" get a free pass. "Blow Up" and "Weekend," for example, were hailed as avant garde masterpieces and yet seemed dated as soon as they were released. I'd put Lars Von Trier in the same category, today.

Jeff in Denton TX said...

MC5, The Stooges, Guns 'N Roses. All are bands I can appreciate historically and I like a few tunes, but cannot come to love them as others do. I've tried.

"Blue Velvet" also did nothing for me (outside of the Orbison "In Dreams" scene). I own Godfather III as part of the restored DVD box set, but have only watched it once. It's OK, but not a great film.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE Blade Runner, and would put it in my personal top 50 movies of all time, but it's all subjective, so I'm not effected by your dislike. ( though I wish you'd made it through it. Beautiful ideas, cinematography, and a gorgeous, utterly unique ending. Perhaps read the amazing Philip K Dick novel it's based on. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?
Also, I love Once, Tom Waits ( who the fuck told that guy to start with Black Rider ?) there's a few great Jarmusch films, NOBODY, not even Coppola likes Godfather 3, Raging Bull and Citizen Kane are considered masterpieces for damn good reasons. Quentin Tarantino is in my opinion, the best young-ish filmmaker out there. ( And I have a degree in film and 25 years in the business, which doesn't make me right, but doesn't make me just a fanboy either )
Bruce and Zep? Those who don't get them, I can't even take seriously.
But I think BOTH of those McCartney albums are boring.
I'd pick as my cult bands that I hate: The Smiths, The Cure, New Order, Joy Division all boring, overrated crappy bands.
Movies ? Apparently a lot of people think Shawshank Redemption is a great movie ( voted number one by moviefone users? )but I'd say it's barely a good one.
PS I worked with Sean Young for a month, and she's annoying and bat-shit crazy , in a Lorena Bobbitt scary kinda way.

James A. Gardner said...

Blue Velvet: my brother and I took dates to see it (not a recommended date movie) and yet we both wound up married to our dates from that night; "Don't be a good neighbor, Jeffrey" is a line that has often come in handy, too; so has that one about Heineken

Blade Runner: two more words, Joanna Cassidy

soundsource said...

To totally flip this discussion and maybe start another one in another post. The other side of this is iconic bands or movies that you missed (didn't get) the first time around.
I admit to being a musical snob when it came to Zep and Skynyrd but ultimately saw the light ( I always loved Todd.pun aside).
and you Mr. Wood

Sal Nunziato said...

Well Soundsource,

Oddly enough, I never understood the Velvet Underground, though I do love early Lou and just about ALL John Cale.

Then one day, maybe 10 years ago, I can't really say, I just got it. I sincerely love those 3 records.

Also, I still don't get Star Wars. Any of them. (Or, "Married With Children.")

elizabeth said...

Two not mentioned I can't stand: "Last Tango In Paris" & "Clockwork Orange." The premise of "Fight Club" is so unappealing I have no desire to see it, despite lobbying from others in my home.

I've got to stick up for Jarmusch, at least the ones I saw, which would be the earlier ones and the later, including "Coffee." And Scorcese, well, I'll just content myself with not disliking people who don't like him.

"Night of the Hunter", mentioned by Aaron - why wouldn't people like it? Aaron's right, it is insanely good. Genuinely creepy, with the suspense coming from the characters.

Poor Tom Waits! Maybe, as suggested, the passionate dislike is fueled by the passion of supporters. I'm in the middle myself, sometimes it's just far more than I can take, at others it seems just right. (ditto Lou Reed) A few nights ago, we heard Curtis Stigers do a staggeringly beautiful performance of "San Diego Serenade". Maybe the trick is not to listen to more than two or three Waits songs in a row to avoid melancholy overload.

Jerry Lee said...

Never liked David Bowie's "Young Americans" album, really hate the title track, which is played constantly here in Philly where he recorded it. Dave ain't my idea of a white soul man, it's just a role he plays (badly). No surprise that the MFSB band saw through him and refused to be his backing band.

Can't stand Wilco, I just don't understand the hero worship. I especially hated that song about the girl who fell in love with the drummer, good God it's so horrible!

Don't even get me started with Guns 'N Roses...

Hank Speilberg said...

Kevin Smith

Can't write, can't direct. Who the hell keeps throwing money at him???

Theresa K. said...

I don't like McCartney II. I've never seen Blade Runner, never seen ET, never seen Star Wars and don't intend to. I don't care. I LOVE Tom Waits, but then again, he was my neighbor in LA in the 70s; all I know about jazz, Tom Waits told me. I like Jim Jarmusch and his movies but I don't think he likes me anymore after learning I didn't have to work while in college, but we share a love for big dumb rock in the form of Cobra Verde. I offended Martin Scorsese when I worked at PBS and he came on one of our talk shows to promote Age of Innocence. But he made the mistake of asking me what I thought... that said, misogyny aside, the guy really knows how to use music in a narrative to forward the narrative. Age of Innocence is something that Ang Lee should have made, though.

Sal - you rock...