Category Archives: beau

Cool As A Cucumber In A Bowl Of Hot Sauce

Adam Yauch, aka MCA of The Beastie Boys, passed away at the age of 47 yesterday, and while celebrity deaths don’t often get under my skin (I mean, I don’t know these people), this one hit harder than most, probably because I associate the Beasties with effortless cool, fun and, above all, my youth. In my private universe, no one will ever again be as cool as The Beastie Boys were in 1994. As a guy on Metafilter put it, “Check Your Head came out and was like a wrecking ball to us. It could not have been more perfect for who we were or wanted to be, at that point in our lives. It might as well have been created by some platonic, idealized version of us.” And as platonic, idealized versions of us, these guys weren’t supposed to get old. It’s a story as old as rock and roll fandom itself. Namaste, Mr. Yauch.

But enough moping. In memory and in honour of MCA, here’s my personal shortlist of The Beastie Boys’ finest moments:

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“I am an exceptional thief, Mrs. McClane.”

Die Hard is one of those greater-than-the-sum-of its-parts movies where everything just came together. I’d say it’s the best American action movie of all time (although I am prepared to entertain arguments in favour of Robocop). One of the things everyone loves about it is its villain, Hans Gruber, famously played by Alan Rickman in his first movie role, and he’s everything you want in an action movie bad guy; stylish, formidable, quotable and fun to watch*. But he also has a team of henchmen, and the way they’re portrayed makes the movie even better.

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For The Love Of Music

A few months ago I was talking about music with a friend my age who said he missed the feeling he used to get when he was younger and heard a song that really shook him to his core in that visceral HOLY SHIT FUCK YEAH!!! way that is, to me, almost unique to music (movies do get there, occasionally)*. I reluctantly empathized, but to my mind this sort of thing is an inevitable aspect of aging; you get older, all of the music you’ve heard piles up, you’re harder to impress…and for better and worse you experience almost everything more intensely when you’re younger. So it goes.

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Melancholia and The End Of The World

For as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated by stories about the end of the world. Post-apocalyptic stuff like The Stand or Earth Abides or The Road – wherein small bands of survivors struggle to survive and maintain human civilization – are okay, but what I’m really drawn to are stories (like Last Night or On The Beach) where EVERYBODY dies.* For a variety of reasons people have always had an appetite for tales of the apocalypse, but what I’m interested in for the purposes of this blog post is my personal reaction to them. Which brings me to Lars von Trier’s Melancholia. Julia and I saw it a month ago and while I didn’t think it was entirely successful, it has stuck with me for reasons I will attempt to explain here.

I don’t think it counts as a spoiler to tell you that the film begins with a shot of the titular massive blue planet colliding with Earth and completely destroying it. The thing is, Melanchoia is no more about the literal end of the world than The Hit (a great film about death and how people prepare for and approach it) is about crime. It doesn’t attempt to realistically depict what might transpire in the face of the events the movie dramatizes; the astrophysics are pretty ludicrous and society’s collective reaction to a new planet that may or may not collide with Earth seems rather muted.

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