Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Yesterday's entertainment highlights

When you start with a package sticker that says The New York Times says the CDs enclosed are the greatest recordings ever, let's face it, the bar has been set pretty durn high. So how good is last year's Unreleased Recordings of Hank Williams. It's pretty friggin' great.

That 54 tracks by Williams would be unavailable for so long is something of a national scandal, though not as horrific as the popularity of Marley & Me. Recorded for a morning radio show sponsored by Mother's Best Flour, these faux live shows, are crystal clear and riveting. The boys, though pretending to be live, are certainly lively. Songs end with hoots of "Good one Hank" providing the end punctuation. Williams introduces some songs with personal references, my favorite being a shout out to "Brother Moon Mullican" before the band tears into a slightly racist take of Cherokee Boogie.

As someone who spends entire days in front of the computer (hey, I'm doing that right now), I appreciate the announcer thanking Hank for playing for the show's "shut-in friends." Thanks boys.

Watched The Wackness last night. A fine movie that hits some surprising chords. Set in 1994, the movie's soundtrack and dialogue is replete with the period's hip hop slang. Great tunes from Wu Tang and Tribe Called Quest, as well as a min-sub plot on the greatness of Biggie. (There must be something in the ether that is making Notorious B.I.G. high on the comeback trail. A forthcoming biopic is the biggest of the lot, but The Wackness paves the way). That high school whities are spouting the lingo is a point of hilarity always simmering below the surface. Josh Peck does himself credit with his performance, and his star turn allowed me to drive my son crazy with my insistence on mispronouncing Peck's show as Jake and Drosh. That's another point of hilarity, though mine alone.

A memorable movie has to contribute to my personal lexicon, and Olivia Thirlby's quote that Peck's character needs to "focus on the dopeness and not the wackenss" are truly words to live by. Hold them close.

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