Mildly Pleased Summercast

What we did on our summer vacation: watch lots of Criterion movies, see a few quality blockbusters, and rock out to some sweet summer jams. Oh, and not post very frequently. But fortunately here’s a special end-of-summer podcast to let you know what we’ve been doing this summer pop culture-wise as we head into the cold hard crispness of Fall.

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C.A.T.: Zen Arcade

Hüsker Dü – Zen Arcade (1984)

It’s unfortunate that once again I feel compelled to write an impromptu Classic Album Thursday due to the passing of an alt-rock legend. In recent years, it’s felt much more like Bob Mould has been the one preserving the legacy of Hüsker Dü, due to an accomplished solo career and the fact he’s probably more equated with the band’s greatness than drummer/singer/songwriter Grant Hart, who passed away earlier today. But make no mistake, Hart was just as much a reason for the Hüsker’s being one of the most important and influential rock bands of the ’80s. Continue reading

For A Good Time, Call The Twilight Guy

Good Time

It’s fairly odd that I saw Good Time the same day as Columbus, because I can’t think of two more tonally different movies I’ve seen this year. And yet, somehow I think that contrast worked in their favor, since they both present two sides of the same pleasure coin that more adventurous cinema can provide these days. In particular, Good Time feels like a much more down-and-dirty version of Baby Driver, offering the sensation you get when a film aims to grab you by the neck and never let go. Continue reading

Character Architecture

Columbus

It’s strange to see a movie that wears its influences so heavily on its sleeve, and yet seems so completely devoid of cliche. Granted, the two most obvious influences of Columbus, the debut feature from director Kogonada, are in themselves influences that are very good at avoiding cliches. Because when first hearing about this movie upon its arrival at the Seattle International Film Festival (I didn’t catch up with it until last week), the names Ozu and Linklater seemed to naturally come up. Yet somehow, Columbus feels like such a singular little meditation about taking stock in what surrounds us, that it transcends whatever familiarity might be there on the surface. Continue reading

2017 Summer Movie Triple Feature

It’s been kind of a weird summer here at Mildly Pleased, as we had our most post-filled month of 2017 in July, due in no small part to our deep dive into the Criterion catalog. But I think also due to Criterion month, June was kind of a dead zone due to our preparation, while August has also been similarly dead due to us being burned out on talking about movies.

Which is a bit of a shame, because by all accounts 2017 has been one of the best summers for movies that I’ve seen in a while. Sure, there have been some clunkers like the obligatory Transformers or The Emoji Movie, which apparently was underwhelming, even by the extremely low expectations one would set out for a movie called The Emoji Movie. But here I offer a review of three of the better high profile movies I saw this summer, because I’m sure you haven’t already heard people talk about them enough already, right? Continue reading

C.A.T.: Dirt

Alice in Chains – Dirt (1992)

Today marks the 50th birthday of grunge icon Layne Staley. A mighty presence in the 90s Seattle grunge scene, Staley tragically died from a heroine/cocaine speedball in his University District Seattle apartment on April 5, 2002 and yet the man and his music live on.

I’ve never been a big fan of grunge outside of Nirvana, but over the years (particularly this year) I’ve found a greater admiration. Chris Cornell’s death was a big part of that revelation. To see another Seattle icon befall such a tragic fate well before his time helped put everything in perspective. It was people like Staley and Cornell that gave the city I live in and love an identity, a pulse. Before grunge, Seattle was a sleepy fishing town. After grunge, people finally saw Seattle for what it was, a rainy, over-caffeinated hub of angst and alienation. A place of beauty and introspection but also pain. And we had the best spokesmen; Cobain, Cornell, Staley, all taken too soon.

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Love Gun

Sheer Mag – Need To Feel Your Love

Times are tough, shit is rough, and Sheer Mag feel like the perfect band to rock us into the apocalypse. Which isn’t to say there’s anything particularly doomy and gloomy about this band’s bubble-gummy amalgam of both punk and classic rock. And that’s not even to say that I actually think we’re careening towards some sort of global endgame in the near future. Though maybe that’s just the way I feel every time I listen to Need To Feel Your Love, and try to convince myself that the warring factions of the world could be united under the almighty power of rock and roll. Continue reading