Link Party: 11/23-11/27

Brush lettering fun.
Brush lettering is fun.

Here’s what I read this week:

1. People actually used to talk at the movies.

2. The Paris Review’s author interviews are really the best. Here’s a fantastic one with Ernest Hemingway.

3. How the New York Times’ City Room blog helped spark its digital evolution.

4. The millennial housing crisis.

5. I first read Nora Ephron’s “My Life as an Heiress” in one of her essay collections, but it popped up in a New Yorker newsletter this week and I remembered how much I liked it.

And a bonus: I can’t stop watching/listening to this classroom instruments version of Adele’s “Hello.” Jimmy Fallon is a national treasure.

Have a wonderful day.

Link Party: 10/26-10/30

Here, have a photo of a pretty tree I parked under this week. This is the extent of my photography these days, but I'm working on it.
Here, have a photo of a pretty tree I parked under this week. This is the extent of my photography these days, but I’m working on it.

Here’s what I read this week:

1. You might be a basic witch.

2. Baby Michel Foucault. (Side note: The Toast made me laugh a lot this week.)

3. Here’s another book to add to my very long list of books to read: “The Other Paris.”

4. The fascinating history of the midnight movie showing.

5. I’m so glad that there are business people who are still interested in print media. Case in point, Peter Barbey and the Village Voice. (Also, I am very upset about Grantland. It was a Link Party staple, and I miss it already.)

And a bonus: I have been thinking about this Vine for the past week. It is perfect.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Culture Connoisseur: Whiplash

Man, this movie.

 

I’m dreadfully behind on newer television (I really need to get it together for Better Call Saul and Broad City), but I saw a fantastic movie I’ve been thinking about all week: Whiplash.

Whiplash has been getting a lot of awards buzz lately, and it’s well-deserved. The semi-autobiographical movie is about a young music student, played by Miles Teller (hearts-for-eyes emoji), who wants to be one of the best jazz drummers of all time. At the He’s given the chance to play in a very prestigious jazz ensemble at a fictional music conservatory. Very quickly, however, the audience finds out that the conductor, played by J.K. Simmons, is a complete and utter sociopath.

I won’t spoil the rest of the movie, since I didn’t know that much about Whiplash beyond the premise. The cinematography is beautiful and the soundtrack is fantastic. I’m not exactly impressed with the all-white list of Oscar nominees this year either, but J.K. Simmons definitely deserves some kind of recognition for his performance.

What really sealed my high opinion of this movie, though, was how artfully it translated to the audience how Miles Teller’s character was supposed to be feeling without succumbing to overly dramatic music or carefully framed camerawork. While watching it, I felt anxious and strung-out, which I presume is how the audience is supposed to think a first-year music student would feel trying to make it in a very competitive industry. The entire time (especially the ending) I was on the edge of my seat. And moreover, I almost always Google the plot of a movie before I watched it. I didn’t with Whiplash, nor did I feel compelled to look mid-movie. I was that enthralled from the very beginning.

I know that some of my favorite publications have criticized Whiplash for getting jazz wrong, but I don’t really think that’s the point of the film. The music is certainly a big part of the movie, but I think Whiplash is supposed to be a study in how far a person can be pushed, and how much that person can possibly want something — regardless of who or what prohibits you from getting it. For that exploration, Whiplash has earned a spot on my list of favorite films. 

See any good movies lately? Let’s talk about in the comments.