Colin Wessman

2021 Albums I’ve Liked So Far, Pt. 1

My prediction for 2021 was that it would be an off-year for music, not unlike 2020 was for movies. While music is a medium that (especially now) can be produced by one person at home, it typically thrives on collaboration, which we didn’t have much room for in 2020 or early 2021. So it was hard for me to imagine that a lot of artists would be able to go into the studio and record new music while also abiding by covid protocols. While this does seem to somewhat be the case, considering there haven’t been nearly as many hotly anticipated albums as there were last year, 2021’s still been no slouch.

Some of this has been due to the fact that a few high-profile albums that were already gestating for a while got released this year after delays. But also, music is just such a vast, universal art form that there’s always going to be good stuff to discover. I would say this has been the theme for my 2021 listening, as I’ve definitely ended up listening more to artists that I either hadn’t heard of or had somewhat ignored for a while. I’ll admit that Spring/early Summer is usually the time when there seems to be a new great album from an artist I love coming out every week, and that isn’t quite the case this year. But again, there’s still been some good stuff coming out recently in addition to the other discoveries that have made this year worthwhile so far.

Also, since streaming has made it rare that I end up spending much time with albums I don’t like these days, I’ll forgo using star ratings for these albums in exchange for arbitrary “like”-ness ratings. Continue reading

The People’s Albums #11: Boston

Holy crap, we’ve almost reached the top 10. Though because the rankings of the top 50 best-selling albums in the U.S. has shifted since I started doing this countdown, the math has worked out that less than 39 albums have been written about. To remedy this, I’ll start doing some bonus entries to make sure I round this out to an even 50. I know, that may sound insane to give myself more work for a project that’s taken me years to finish, but we gotta do this right.

Album: Boston
Artist: Boston
Release Date: August 25, 1976
Copies Sold In U.S.: 17 million Continue reading

The 5th Annual Criterion Month Draft

And we’re back with our first podcast in quite some time! Just as the NFL draft happens each Spring, a far more important draft also happens this time each year, where we pick what movies we’ll be reviewing for Criterion Month. Like every year, it’s an odd exercise in talking about movies we haven’t seen yet while there isn’t much competition as to whether one of us will steal each other’s pick. Still, the boys find plenty of arty movies to look forward to seeing in a summer that should actually see the return of theater moviegoing and possibly a newfound appreciation for this medium that we already know and love. Continue reading

Oscar Fortnight Day 14: The Blind Side

The Blind Side (2009)

The 82nd Academy Awards (2010)
Nominations: 2
Wins: 1

I, like John, got very much into the Oscars around 2006 as well as the idea of seeing every Best Picture nominee each year. This culminated in one of my absolute wildest nights in college when I went all alone to go see the extremely forgettable Kate Winslet vehicle The Reader. However, 2009 was the year where that longterm plan came to a screeching halt, almost entirely because of The Blind Side. I saw every other Best Picture nominee in 2009, but I had so little interest in seeing this movie that I just couldn’t pay money to see it. This, of course, was a result of The Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences changing their cap of 5 Best Picture winners each year to a maximum of ten, ushering in a breadth of Best Picture nominees that hadn’t been seen since the early ’40s. Continue reading

Oscars Fortnight Day 10: The English Patient

The English Patient (1996)

The 69th Academy Awards (1997)
Nominations: 12
Wins: 9

Probably not the most appropriate review to accompany today’s news, considering this is a very white person movie. But hey, my Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner review is still sitting there for the reading if you want.

Anyways… going into The English Patient, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, since the two things I equate this movie with don’t actually have much to do with the content of the film itself. One big thing about this movie for me is that it took home a bunch of Oscars at the first Academy Awards ceremony I can remember watching live on TV. Granted, it’s not like its ability to bring home the gold inspired me to seek it out (until now), since I wasn’t exactly interested in a sweeping romantic epic at the age of eight. As you could probably guess, the other thing I equate with this movie is the episode of Seinfeld called “The English Patient”, where Elaine Benes is driven insane by being seemingly the only person in her life that doesn’t love the film in question. Continue reading

Oscars Fortnight Day 8: Chariots of Fire

Chariots of Fire (1981)

The 54th Academy Awards (1982)
Nominations: 7
Wins: 4

When I chose the films I did for these Oscars reviews, I was not intending to chart the course of British films at the Oscars, but here we are. After dominating the Oscar conversations throughout the ’60s, the ’70s were a pretty fallow period for the UK film industry in terms of prestige. I’m sure much of this has to do with the sheer amount of groundbreaking films filled with sex and violence that were coming out of Hollywood that decade, while the Brits struggled to keep up. However, Chariots of Fire seemed to rejuvenate both the British film industry as well as its chances at the Oscars, as there were considerably more UK films going head-to-head with the Americans at the Oscars throughout the ’80s. This, of course, is fitting considering Chariots of Fire is the story of some scrappy Brits going up against the big bad Americans at the 1924 Olympics. Continue reading