Saturday, June 25, 2011

Top Ten Albums of 2007

1. Band of Horses - Cease to Begin
2. The National - Boxer
3. Deer Tick - War Elephant
4. Okkervil River - The Stage Names
5. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
6. Ryan Adams - Easy Tiger
7. Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha
8. Beirut - The Flying Club Cup
9. Dr. Dog - We All Belong
10. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular

Honorable Mention: Feist - The Reminder, Bowerbirds - Hymns for a Dark Horse, Coconut Records - Nighttiming, Sea Wolf - Leaves in the River, The White Stripes - Icky Thump, Rufus Wainwright - Release the Stars

Disappointments:  Bright Eyes - Cassadaga, Rilo Kiley - Under the Blacklight

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Movie Review: Super 8

Rating: *** (3 out of 5 stars)

Written and Directed By: J. J. Abrams

Starring: Joel Courtney, Kyle Chandler, Elle Fanning, Riley Griffths, Noah Emmerich

The Gist: A group of friends witness a train crash while filming their own zombie movie in the summer of '79. Turns out the train is holding some mysterious and deadly cargo.

Incredibly Lame One-line Review: Super 8 is super gr8!

The Review: There's plenty to like about this film, but it is by no means perfect. One of the highlights is the acting. I've read reviews praising Abrams' decision to cast relatively unknowns to play the kids in the film, and I will definitely agree. I really enjoyed Joel Courtney's performance as the lead (playing Joe Lamb); he gives a very authentic performance and does better than most of the child actors working today. He's a likable kid who you want to root for. In this case, we're rooting for Joe to get the girl - Alice, played by Elle Fanning. Their relationship is very innocent and it definitely provides some nostalgic feelings - it's the kind of relationship that makes you think back to your first crush and almost makes you forget how much of a bad note that first crush ended on. Anyway, in order for this relationship to work on the screen, Alice is also needed to be portrayed flawlessly - which is the case. Even though most of the kids in the film are unknown, that's certainly not the case for Elle Fanning. You'll recognize her last name for sure, but Elle isn't just riding the coattails of her older sister Dakota (she did a great job in Somewhere as well as this film). Some of the best scenes are the ones that only involve Joe and Alice.

But the other kids are pretty damn good as well. I think you might also read comparisons of this cast to that of a film like the Goonies; there are definitely similar archetypes in this one. But it is obvious that that's what Abrams was trying to capture. This film is very much in the mold of an E.T. or The Goonies - an children's adventure flick that isn't necessarily for children. Riley Griffths plays Charles - the director of the Zombie flick and your typical bossy friend. I think we all know someone like him and have been bossed around by him or her when we were growing up. Another really good performance.

So while I'm able to praise the kids in the movie, I do admit that I wasn't as impressed with the adults - not that they had a whole lot to do in the film. Kyle Chandler (who plays Joe's father, Jack) is an actor I'm not crazy about. I don't think he's a bad actor, I just feel he looks too generic. And since the character is named Jack, why not cast Matthew Fox, Abrams? He needs work.

While the film's A-story deals with the relationships in the film, the B-story deals with the "monster" on the train. I won't get into too many details about this "monster," but I've heard some reviews stating that it was a bit of a disappointment. In Terri Gross' recent interview with Abrams, he said that he wanted to spend more time developing the A-story than working on what the "monster" would look like. I think this is commendable (given Hollywood's current nature), but no doubt - if you put a mysterious "monster" in a film, you kinda have to deliver. I would agree that, in the end, the monster is a bit of a disappointment. The A-story definitely lands and the B-story sort of falters. But I would argue that the film isn't ruined because of it. It's still enjoyable and I cared more about the relationship between Joe and Alice anyway. So while the monster's story is something that's a little rehashed (similar to E.T. and District 9), the last few shots worked for me because it provided a great moment for Joe and Alice and Joe and his Dad.

I would recommend this film to all, but at the same time, I don't mean to suggest that it is a great film or a must-see. It is what it is, an enjoyable adventure flick that provides more good than bad. And because Spielberg was one of the producers for the film, it will inevitably be compared to his work. And whether that's fair or not, I will probably agree that this movie isn't as good as E.T., Jurassic Park, or The Goonies. I do feel that it's a nice homage, though.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Movie Review: Midnight In Paris

Rating: **** (4 out of 5 stars)

Written and Directed by: Woody Allen
Starring: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen, Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates

The Gist: Screenwriter Gil (Owen Wilson) travels to Paris with his soon-to-be Fiance (Rachel McAdams) and her parents. While there, Gil begins to take nighttime strolls by himself. Each night at midnight,  Gil is transported back to the 1920s where he meets F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, among others. Not only does Gil long to spend time with and converse with these individuals, but he also seeks advise on writing his first novel.

The Review: I am a huge Woody Allen fan, but I can admit that his films in the 90s and 2000s have been mostly underwhelming - though there have been a few that I really enjoyed (Match Point, Whatever Works, and Manhattan Murder Mystery for instance).  Midnight In Paris might be his best since Match Point, though I could probably go back further to Crimes and Misdemeanors. When Jeff (my brother) told me about the plot a few weeks back, I was really excited to see it because the concept reminded me of the kind of storytelling Woody did with his short stories.  I own a copy of The Insanity Defense and I've read most of the stories multiple times. They're all highly hilarious and creative. I definitely view the storytelling in Midnight In Paris much in the same light. It's an idea I wish I had, but obviously it's best left up to someone of Woody Allen's ilk.

I liked Owen Wilson's handling of the "Woody Allen" character. Owen's definitely a guy with a lot of charm and it's hard not to like him. For that reason, I think he makes the character more accessible. I do have to say that with Rachel McAdams and Michael Sheen I wasn't as impressed. Neither does a poor job in the film, I think I just prefer them to play likable characters. I extend that criticism of Michael Sheen to 30 Rock as well; I was just never a fan of the Liz Lemon/Wesley relationship. I really like Rachel McAdams because I feel that she's usually great in films and I'm also attracted to her. But again, and I know the audience isn't supposed to like her, I wasn't crazy about her and didn't like her for the wrong reason. And I don't mean that criticism to be directed at the archetype that those two are playing. I love Woody's pseudo-intellectual characters and the way that the "Woody" character interacts with him. Alan Alda was far and away the best interpretation of the pseudo-intellectual.

Anyway, the script is great, though, there really aren't as many jokes in the film as you would think. This isn't a script like that of Whatever Works or his 70s comedies. The jokes that are in the script are very humorous and I can't think of any that I didn't enjoy (I am a sucker for Republican/Tea Party bashing). I would say that this film is more of a tribute than a comedy. It's a tribute to Paris (first and foremost). What a beautiful city! I've always wanted to visit and now the desire has increased (though I understand that Allen is deliberately romanticizing the city). The film is also a tribute to Woody's various muses: Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Bunuel, Eliot, Matisse, etc. Like Woody, I revere these people as well. The script and subject matter are very personal to Woody and it shows.

I would love to talk to an expert on Hemingway or Fitzgerald about the film - though I probably wouldn't care too much what they would have to say, but I do wonder about Woody's interpretations of such people. But that's all they really are - interpretations and caricatures, as intended. But I love the character of Hemingway in the film (though, I admit, I'm not really a fan of his work). I really like what Corey Stoll does with the character; he's tough, confident, and passionate. He knows who he is and you get the sense that that's how one would need to behave in order to be considered a great writer.

The subject of writing in the film is also something that is near and dear to my heart. I've attempted to write novels at various times in my life, and I have completed two full-length screenplays. I can sympathize with Gil's thoughts, emotions, and ambitions. I also love the "Golden Age" theme and the concept of nostalgia. I think we all, at one point or another, long to spend time in a previous decade. The one we live in is never fulfilling enough. And I do agree with the film, the Golden Age always seems to rest with an earlier generation, no matter which time period you're in. But it also speaks to the fact that we often don't know what we have in the present.

Having said that, nothing written today will probably stack up to the works of Hemingway or Faulkner. During their time, there were less novelists  and less books being published than that of today. Which is probably best - I feel like there are too many published authors and too many bands out there making music. Much of it is garbage. But who knows, maybe there were plenty of writers in the 1920s who were brilliant and never got a shot at being published. I'm sure that's probably true, but perhaps not. Either way, I just wanted to write something on this topic. I'm not exactly sure that feel this way 100% of the time.

Lastly I just want to say that while I was watching this in the theater with Jeff, two moronic girls were sitting near us and were talking to each other the entire time (yep, talking, not whispering). Luckily I didn't hear most of it because I was further away from them than Jeff, but he relayed some of what they said to me. It was the most inane shit I've ever heard. I'm glad they spent money on a Woody Allen film and all, but good god, I have no idea what they were doing in there. Not to mention the fact that they were incredibly rude. I hate those whom treat the movie theater like their living room. Sorry, I had to get that out.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Available Now: Bon Iver - Bon Iver

I honestly cannot understand why anyone would rate this album higher than "For Emma, Forever Ago" (which Pitchfork did). I want to like this album more than I do, but honestly, I am a little disappointed with it. That isn't to say that there aren't great songs on it - there are some great melodies and sounds on it. I'm definitely a fan of Justin Vernon and I will continue to support him. "For Emma, Forever Ago" is a brilliant album. It offers originality and immense creativity. It's an album that feels like it has always existed and will always exist. And so, I hate to talk more about Vernon's previous album than the one I'm currently reviewing, but I've never really had the chance to gush over it until now.

I know that I need to listen to this album more and give it a real chance. I've recently given Okkervil River's "I Am Very Far" a more in-depth listen and I like it a lot more now than I did when it came out. Maybe that will be the case with this album as well. Some of the tracks that I am fond of are: Holocene, Towers, Calgary, and Beth/Rest. They're good songs, but the album as a whole has yet to soothe my ears. Of course, give it a chance and check it out for yourself. Let me know why I'm wrong about it.

1. Perth
2. Minnesota, WI
3. Holocene
4. Towers
5. Michicant
6. Hinnom, TX
7. Wash.
8. Calgary
9. Lisbon, OH
10. Beth/Rest

Monday, June 13, 2011

Top Ten Films of 2010: Re-Issue

1. The Social Network

I can easily say that this is the best film of the year. It is brilliant; it is complete. I've been a staunch supporter of David Fincher for the past ten+ years. He's underrated and was completely screwed over at the Oscars this year - a damn shame. Anyway, I was actually able to appreciate this movie even more after watching A Few Good Men. It began to feel more mature and less "Hollywood." The Social Network is an exploration of life that doesn't dwell within the confines of your typical Hollywood film. There are no clear heroes and villains; there is no clear resolution. There's no cheesy dialogue or unnecessary scenes. Everything about this movie works. Also on display here are some very fine performances - Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Armie Hammer, Rooney Mara, and Justin Timberlake are flawless and real. And I don't mean flawless in the sense that Eisenberg perfectly portrayed Mark Zuckerberg. I think that too many people are getting caught up in the debate of whether the film is one hundred percent accurate or not. No film is one hundred percent accurate. What I love about the script here is that it focuses on different points of view. We're not getting one story here - but several. And hats off to Fincher and Aaron Sorkin because the movie is never confusing or dull. You've also got to love the Trent Reznor score. Great all-around film.

2. Another Year

There's a lot to say about this film, and I watched it just last night. One thing to instantly take away from it is that the performances are all very authentic. Jeff told that the director, Mike Leigh, improvised with the actors to come up with the dialogue. That seems to make a lot of sense now, as the dialogue was very real, yet it never felt improvised. I don't know, it was just seamless. Obviously Mary is a great character, and Lesley Manville plays her flawlessly. There were moments in the film where I was absolutely annoyed by her and then others where I couldn't help but feel massive sympathy toward her. The dynamic between her and Tom & Gerri was something that I think we can all relate to. I think we've all had friends where we get kind of sick of all their drama and unhappiness - yet they're a close friend and you accept them and try to help them out as best you can.  I love the last shot where Mary is sitting at the table and suddenly the audio cuts out - yet the camera stays on her for about thirty more seconds or so. I also just really love the concept of the film: Another Year. Since graduating from high school, the years have gone by exponentially quick, and the years seem to blend together. There's the scene after Ronnie's wife's funeral where everyone is reminiscing and Joe forgets which year an event occurred (something like that) but it just really felt familiar to me.

3. True Grit

It's truly a gift that the Cohen brothers seem to put out a movie each year. True Grit is Joel and Ethan back to their best - both Burn After Reading and A Serious Man were good, but this one comes closer to No Country For Old Men. And speaking of Oscar snubs, Hailee Steinfeld should be the proud owner of one right now. I haven't seen the original John Wayne version, though I've seen some clips on AMC. I don't know that I will ever watch it because I honestly don't care for John Wayne, and my friend Sharon (who's currently reading the Charles Portis novel) has told me that the Cohen's version is pretty much a word for word adaptation. But she also stated that the movie was funnier, which I would expect. And that's really why I love the Cohens. They provide accurate portrayals of the books, and also do a great job of improving on them. And anyone who says that Jeff Bridges' version of Rooster Cogburn can't hold a candle to John Wayne can piss off. Jeff Bridges is the better actor (Wayne is only iconic as this point) and Bridges is so much better in True Grit than he is Crazy Heart - for which he won an Oscar.

4. Inception

Tough call here because I wasn't sure whether or not this movie would be usurped, after having just watched Blue Valentine. I'm going to go with Inception (for now), because of my love for Chris Nolan and because of the originality of this script. I've talked about this movie with Jeff many times. It should be viewed as a heist film - like Ocean's 11 - and that's why the script doesn't take the time to explain the stories of the other characters. In Ocean's 11, we only learn the most about Danny Ocean. In this case, we have Dom Cobb, played brilliantly by Leo. But yeah, there are too many complaints about this film that I feel are unwarranted. I love it for its ambition. I love it for the subject matter of dreams. The Science of Sleep was a fun movie, but Inception is such a better film. Nolan came up with a highly original concept, and I don't think he should be criticized for that, even if you think he ultimately failed. I get that Ellen Page's character is annoying and a fill-in for the audience. It doesn't really bother me, though. I've seen it multiple times and each time I get hung up in the love story between Leo and the beautiful Marion Cotillard. I was consumed by the cool persona of Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt's respective characters. And that's without even mentioning the visuals. Gordon-Levitt's zero-gravity fight scenes are always a joy to watch. And that sequence was beautifully executed in Nolan's decision to make the set they shot in rotate. I also love the scenes with Ellen and Page walking through dreams -with her manipulating the architecture and the cafe and street exploding. Great stuff.

5. Blue Valentine

Maybe someday this movie will overtake Inception. I have to see how it sits with me, having just watched it. I've felt for a while now that both Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams were some of the best actors currently working. This film is a great showcase of that. The scene near the end of the film when Gosling confronts Williams at work is obviously very intense and real. It was interesting to see Gosling completely lose control in that way. He was scary and intimidating. He pulled it off perfectly. I also got a strong sense of Michelle Williams' character early on that I was able to understand why she felt the way she felt. That isn't to say that Gosling's character was such a terrible person who deserved to be divorced. But I could understand why she was just tired with him and why she couldn't do it anymore. Another interesting thing about the film is the use of flashback intermittently. I wonder if the audience is supposed to say to themselves, "Aw, they were once in love. They just need to realize it again" as if there is some hope for them. If you like someone, you want things to work out for them. You also have to consider their daughter in the relationship. But honestly, I never had the impression that the relationship could be salvaged. I don't know. Just a thought.

6. Biutiful

Javier Bardem gives another powerful performance here. The film is very sad and can be tough to watch at times, especially what happens to the sweat-shop workers. But despite how depressing and messed up most of it seems, I love the ending - the way he dies and what he sees as a result. When he's standing in the snow with his father, it's a beautiful scene. I really like the dynamic between the family. Because Marambra is so complex and kinda fucked up, it makes it that suck that much more that Uxbal would die. And with Uxbal, he has a lot of people depending on him, not just his children, so his death really brings about a huge loss. His line of work is also something that's debatable. While it's nothing that should be promoted in any country, he does what he can to find work for people. I don't know, it's a very gray issue and I like that about it.

7. 127 Hours

James Franco is the shit! Sorry, I was watching Freaks and Geeks recently, and I felt that that needed to be said. He carries this film. I was never bored by it, and Franco and Danny Boyle both deserve a great deal of credit for that. Danny Boyle is one of those directors that if you watch any of his stuff, you instantly realize how talented he is. I don't know - it just seems obvious to me...and especially with this film. Think of the shot where the water travels up Aron's hydration pack or the shots of Aron's internal system. He's a very clever director. I haven't read Aron Ralston's story, but I think this film is a great tribute to what happened to him. The scene where he begins to see everyone from his life is very emotional and interesting. And yes, the end with the Sigur Ros track is definitely one of those scenes where you get chills down your back.

8. Black Swan

I feel like Natalie Portman's performance was a real transformation in this film. Obviously I'm not alone in that opinion, seeing as how she won every award this year, but I just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge that. She was good in Closer, horrible in Revenge of the Sith, and fantastic here. And obviously Portman's character in the film undergoes a transformation as well. But I feel like she really embodied Nina Sayers. She is that sweet, innocent girl who has the potential to do very dark and mature things. Great stuff. Also, I really got the sense that Vincent Cassel character allowed for Darren Aronofsky to be a character in the film. And there I'm referring to the fact that Aronofsky played a lot of mind games with Portman and Mila Kunis. I love the ending - it's very dark and fitting...or, "perfect," as Nina says. And my favorite shot is when Portman is spinning on stage, and with each turn she turns more and more into a black swan.  Visually stunning.  Beautiful. But yeah, I'm not big on thrillers that make you jump in your seat - this film is the exception. 

9. Winter's Bone

The best part about this film is the acting. John Hawkes and Jennifer Lawrence are perfect and deserving of acclaim (too bad I didn't feel the same way about Hawkes while he was on Lost). Everyone in the film is authentic. Teardrop is a great character because he's both frighteningly intimidating and a caring, supportive Uncle to Ree. I really like the scene where Ree is talking to the Army recruiter. Your heart just goes out to here. Her life story is a tough one to watch, but Lawrence does a hell of a job in portraying it.

10. Shutter Island

When I saw this movie in theaters, I really loved it. Since then, my admiration for it is kind of on the decline. I'm not sure why, but it is. Once again, Leo is great. I'm glad Mark Ruffalo got the role as his partner Chuck - he's phenomenal. The script is captivating. It's a mystery that you never feel bored. And then there's Scorsese...a man who needs no introduction. And so, the cinematography is great and beautiful...even when the images are most disturbing. But I love the shot of when Michelle Williams dissolves into ash. The Concentration Camp scenes are also very haunting. But with that background for Teddy, you see that this film is really hitting on larger themes. The theme here being the idea that people can be absolute monsters. The scene were Teddy comes home to find his children in the lake is also very painful to watch. But yes, I wouldn't call this a perfect movie probably due to the extent that Ben Kingsley explains Leo's condition. I just feel it could have been done better, I suppose.

Honorable Mention: Catfish, The American, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Never Let Me Go, Inside Job, I'm Still Here

Shite Films: Alice In Wonderland, Prince of Persia, Date Night, Hot Tub Time Machine

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Arsenal Sign Carl Jenkinson

I figured I would post signings as they are announced on Today we've signed 19-year-old defender Carl Jenkinson from Charlton Athletic for a fee thought to be around 1 million Euros. He's 6'2 and can play both centre and right back. Obviously he isn't the answer to our current defensive woes, but he is a promising young player (something we're all too familiar with at Arsenal). But anyway, I can't wait to watch him play.

Also, I'm glad that Arsenal missed out on signing Phil Jones from Blackburn (whom is days away from signing with Manchester United).  The last signing we need to make is a 19-year-old centre back for 16 million. While Jenkinson can learn from Sagna for the new few seasons, we would our centre back signing to start for us immediately. Jones was never the answer. It would have been a huge risk to take, and hopefully we'll sign someone more experienced to shore up the back line.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Simpsons Episode Rankings: Season 4

This might be one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. How do you rank episodes from the greatest Simpsons season of all-time? These are also some of the greatest episodes in television history, in my opinion. Well, I was able to come up with my rankings through careful deliberation. I've seen each of these episodes at least twenty times and they're still funny to me (and you know it's a great season when even the clip show is hilarious). This is also a very quotable season, and I'm sure I make reference to one of these episodes at least once a day. So if I've said something strange and you don't know what I'm talking about, odds are, I'm quoting something from season four of The Simpsons. But seriously, if you're unfamiliar with these episodes, do yourself a favor and buy, download, borrow, steal, or rent these episodes.

Also, I'm debating whether or not I might eventually do individual write-ups for each pick. Until then, enjoy the list without any sort of specific commentary. Even the episodes at the bottom of the list are hilarious and fun to watch, so really, I just wish to praise the season as a whole for now.

1. Last Exit to Springfield
2. I Love Lisa
3. Duffless
4. Marge vs. the Monorail
5. Homer the Heretic
6. New Kid on the Block
7. Treehouse of Horror III
8. Mr. Plow
9. Brother from the Same Planet
10. Lisa's First Word
11. Marge In Chains
12. Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie
13. So It's Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show
14. Whacking Day
15. Selma's Choice
16. The Front
17. Marge Gets a Job
18. Homer's Triple Bypass
19. Lisa the Beauty Queen
20. Krusty Gets Kancelled
21. Kamp Krusty
22. A Streetcar Named Marge

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Teaser

I'm not posting this because I'm a fan of the books or the international films, but simply because I'm a big David Fincher fan.  This teaser is extremely badass - I love the Karen O/Trent Reznor cover of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song," and the cinematography looks incredible. Can't wait to see more.

Shows I've Finished Watching: Six Feet Under

I recently finished the entire series of HBO's former show Six Feet Under. Overall, it was a great experience, and was one of the best dramas I've ever watched. The performances were amazing, from the main cast to those providing the smallest of guest spots. The show was full of heartfelt sincerity and raw emotion and the writing was both mature and intelligent - habitually tackling subjects that many people ignore. Death doesn't really frighten me as much as it probably should, seeing as how I don't believe in an afterlife.  But I honestly don't mind thinking or talking about death - so for me, this show wasn't something that I found to be too cold or pessimistic. Though, there were certain horrific moments of sadness and shock.

Shifting the focus back to the cast, I need to praise a few people for a little bit. While everyone did an amazing job, Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Frances Conroy, Rachel Griffiths, Lauren Ambrose and Matthew St. Patrick were absolutely phenomenal. Many of my favorite scenes in the show involved Nate. Peter Krause brought a lot to the role and it definitely shows in some of the more emotional scenes. Brenda was someone I could relate to on a mental and psychological level - though we differ in sexual promiscuity. Frances Conroy just embodied Ruth Fisher in every sense and her character was very fun to watch. Michael C. Hall, whom I'm a big fan of due to Dexter, really gives some of his best performances during this show. Like everyone else, he was given a wide range of emotion to play, and he pulled everything off brilliantly. Matthew St. Patrick just seems like a cool guy and he made Keith very likable despite his flaws.

Having said all that, I do wish to expound some criticisms of the show. It seemed as if every interaction on the show eventually led to a sexual relationship. I suppose that's all part of the Alan Ball world (he wrote the script for American Beauty). I'm not a prude or anything, but damn, short of actual incest (though it's semi-explored with Brenda and Billy), everyone on the show seemed to have sex with whomever they met. That definitely got old in the last couple of seasons. In the beginning, I didn't mind it as much. Also, I'm a big fan of what they did to Ruth in the last couple seasons. I'll tackle that a bit more in the spoilers section - same with what happened to Keith in the last episode. But so, I guess it's time to transition to the spoilers section of this review.

But before I sum things up, there are many things to say about the show. I probably haven't covered everything that I want to write about it. It's tough to talk about something when I'm just reminiscing by myself. So, if you end up seeing the show, let me know and we'll discuss things.


So, let's talk about Ruth first. When she married George Sibley, I felt as if her spirit was destroyed. She was no longer interesting. Instead, she was defined by her unhappiness in marriage and her hatred for Claire. They really didn't give her a whole lot to do until she started thinking about leaving George. And while I'm sure it's difficult to be married to someone with George's problems, I don't like the fact that she wanted to give up on him so quickly. Yes they rushed into marriage and didn't fully know each other, but I do find it odd that the George stuff just popped out of nowhere and that she wanted to get out so quickly. I just to say that I liked Ruth better in the first couple seasons of the show. She was funny and her willingness to finally explore different aspects of life.

With Keith, I think it's bullshit the way he was killed. To go out like that just doesn't seem respectful to the character or Matthew St. Patrick. I mean, I understand that he was in a dangerous line of work and something like that is very possible and that we don't always get to out on respectable terms, but still. I just wasn't a fan.

So those are just problems I had. Other than that, I don't have too many complaints.

With the final episode, I wasn't sure what to expect. Around the time that Lost ended, I read Sarah Schneider's blog (of College Humor) and she mentioned the Six Feet Under finale while talking about Lost and seemed to suggest that SFU did a much better job. I kinda kept that in my head as I watched the entire series and I was sort of expecting a big twist ending with the finale. And so, that wasn't really the case. Everything is wrapped up (though I don't understand why it took Claire and Ted to get married). The closest shock moment the series had was when Nate died. I thought that that was a very interesting thing to do. As much as it saddened me to watch Nate die, I think it was the right move for the show.
Especially since Nate was probably never going to be happy. It seemed as if he always wanted to be with someone else, and I'm sure he would've gotten tired of Maggie too.

Anyway, I liked the finale, for the most part. It was fitting to show the deaths of each of the main characters, though it is a little painful to watch the people you know die, even if they're fictional characters on a television show. I would've liked to have seen what happened to Maya, Willa, Durrell, and Anthony, though.

Speaking of Durrell and Anthony, I think the thing I liked most about the finale was that everyone was decent to each other in the end. Durell accepted Keith and David as his parents and saw Claire as his aunt. They were finally a family. Same with Claire and Ruth - they put their differences aside and made peace with each other. It was refreshing to see everyone get along in the last episode.

New Beirut track "East Harlem" on Pitchfork

Listen Here

Sounds promising. Can't wait for the next album.