newsletter

Overzealous Recycling 002: Nothing really matters, anyone can see

malek_reading

This week’s cover photo alludes to Bohemian Rhapsody‘s surprising Golden Globe Awards win for Best Picture – Drama. The voters of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association thought the Queen biopic was better than Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, A Star is Born and If Beale Street Could Talk. (I haven’t seen Beale Street yet, but hope to take care of that this weekend, now that it’s opened in Asheville.)

Obviously, this is all subjective and awards don’t matter that much, but come on. Bohemian Rhapsody was fun and a testament to the greatness of Queen’s music. But the narrative was a mess and the script played with the facts more than necessary. Yes, the re-enactment of Queen’s 1985 Live Aid performance was tremendous, even more so when you compare it to the real-life footage.

Bohemian Rhapsody reminds us Queen was great, ignores too much about Freddie Mercury — 

This isn’t even a concession to popular tastes. If so, wouldn’t Black Panther have won that award? Maybe the voters just got caught up in the music and Freddie Mercury’s story (regardless of how the movie portrayed it). Or we just chalk this up to being the Golden Globes and winners don’t linger in the memory as they do with the Academy Awards.

But if the award got you to listen to “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Fat Bottomed Girls,” “We Will Rock You” or “Radio Ga Ga” over the past week, that’s not a bad thing.

Musical Interlude

Well, it has to be a Queen song after all that, right?

Writing Outbox

The rebooted Star Trek movie series might be finished, which I wrote about for the Amusement Park Podcast website.

Maybe there’s still hope, but with “Star Trek 4” on the shelf (and the film’s director, S.J. Clarkson, moving on to direct the Game of Thrones prequel pilot), it doesn’t look good. That cast is probably moving on to other things too. Unfulfilled potential is always disappointing.

10 to Read

** Reading more is a perennial New Year’s Resolution for me. I’ll argue that I read a lot online, but it’s not the same as reading books. I almost put “Aspiring Voracious Reader” in my Twitter bio. I envy those who devour books. Maybe my problem is that I don’t give up on books I’m not enjoying? Setting a goal is probably better, though. [Strand Book Store]

Right now, by the way, I’m reading How to Be Alone by Lane Moore and because we’re in the midst of the NFL playoffs, Gridiron Genius by Michael Lombardi. For the past 10-12 years, I’ve read a lot more nonfiction than fiction. This year, I’m reading some novels. I haven’t decided where to go yet (though Warren Ellis’s Normal is the current front-runner) and welcome your suggestions.

** Are you drinking coffee as you read this? (I’m enjoying some as I write this.) Would it surprise you to learn that coffee — organic beans ground properly, brewed at the right temperature, etc. — is a key part of the Portland Trail Blazers’ pregame preparation, 35 minutes before tipoff? A caffeine jolt is necessary when Portland is so far from every other NBA city. [ESPN]

** Peeing frequently is a symptom of diabetes, but I also drink a lot of water. (Typically, I drink about 100 oz. per day.) So what is considered normal? Apparently, I’m OK for how much I drink. (I actually counted last weekend; I went 14 times over a 24-hour period.) [The Cut]

** Another nonfiction book that will be on my reading list is Tommy Tomlinson’s The Elephant in the Room, in which he writes. This is a must-read for me. Not just because of how the topic relates to me, but also because Tomlinson is a wonderful writer and beloved figure in the sportswriting profession. Here’s an excerpt. [The Atlantic]

** Have you watched Bandersnatch yet? We reviewed it on last week’s Amusement Park Podcast, but apparently didn’t go as deep in the hole as we could have. I’m not sure I want to watch it again, but knowing that even more endings exist is certainly intriguing. Overall, Bandersnatch was a really fun, ambitious endeavor by the Black Mirror team. [TV Line]

** Chelsea Janes is going from covering the Washington Nationals to Washington D.C.’s true sport: politics. Some of the best sportswriting today comes from the reporters who cover the Nats: Barry Svrluga, Adam Kilgore, and Janes. I’m excited to see what she offers from the national politics beat. Janes is off to a good start, following Elizabeth Warren in Iowa. [Washington Post]

** I’m against the idea of MLB banning the defensive shift, though I understand why baseball is concerned about less scoring and fewer balls in play. Though the shift seems like a relatively new concept, its origins actually go back to the 1940s when teams were trying to stop Ted Williams. [FiveThirtyEight]

** Until reading this, I didn’t quite realize just how bad group restaurant dinners can be. I thought I disliked them because they were usually family gatherings. But a few birthday dinners where people didn’t at least contribute to the birthday boy or girl scarred me for life. [Lifehacker]

** It took me a long time to embrace non-superhero, alternative comics. But even when I wasn’t reading Love and Rockets, I knew it was there. The art and colors by Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez were so eye-catching. When I visited the Fantagraphics store in Seattle last May, I wanted to buy all of those books and bring them home. [SYFY Wire]

** If NFL teams put as much creativity into their front office and coaching hires as they did with circumventing the Rooney Rule (which mandates interviewing minority candidates for head coach and general manager positions), more of them might be successful. [Bleacher Report]

Weekly Affirmation

Naturally, from noted motivational speaker, Ice-T:

IceT_rule

newsletter

Not a Newsletter 002: Overzealous recycling

may_reading

“Overzealous recycling” could be a good name for a newsletter if we ever take thing that way. That could pop in people’s inboxes, yes? Still aiming to get this out on Thursdays, or at least early Sunday mornings.

Since seeing Bohemian Rhapsody last week (my review here), I’ve been obsessively consuming all things Queen. I listen to their songs while working or driving. I’ve spent hours on YouTube, watching almost all of their music videos — some of which are legitimately terrible (surely a product of the time) — and lots of documentary footage.

One of their good videos was for “Radio Ga Ga,” made when Queen apparently steered into their sci-fi fandom after doing the Flash Gordon soundtrack. Finding some behind-the-scenes footage from the video’s production was a happy discovery.

To feed that hunger, I put together a list of my favorite Queen songs. It was supposed to be a top 10 list, and I thought I’d have trouble getting to 10. But my nostalgia trip reminded me of how big a Queen fan I’ve been since childhood and the list boiled over to 16. It probably could’ve been 20.

Reading For You

** Bohemian Rhapsody was released in theaters last weekend, but it took eight years for the Queen biopic to be made. That includes, as many likely know, Sacha Baron Cohen wanting to play Freddie Mercury but clashing with Brian May and Roger Taylor over the story. [Vulture]

** In my review of Bohemian Rhapsody, I said the mouthpiece Rami Malek had to wear for playing Freddie Mercury was distracting, especially early in the film. But maybe that was an accurate portrayal of Mercury trying to hide his teeth when younger. Here’s a fun interview with the man who made those teeth, Chris Lyons. [New York Times]

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music

My favorite Queen songs; I couldn’t keep ’em to 10

queen_mic

How much Queen have you been listening to since seeing Bohemian Rhapsody? (If you haven’t read my review, compare your thoughts and let me know what you think.) I’ve been listening virtually non-stop while watching plenty of concert and documentary footage, and reading dozens of articles on the band.

That got me to thinking about what my favorite Queen songs actually are. Unless I’ve missed them, I haven’t seen many of the top 10-type lists that normally populate the pop culture internet since Bohemian Rhapsody was released. And many of my favorites are not what other fans might pick for theirs.

So as a way to distract myself from the 2018 midterm elections (which are now thankfully over, although nothing has been settled), note my preferences for posterity, and create some content for this blog, we have a list!

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movie reviews

Bohemian Rhapsody reminds us Queen was great, ignores too much about Freddie Mercury

freddie_rami

If you’re a fan of Queen and Freddie Mercury, you will very likely enjoy Bohemian Rhapsody. The movie is a celebration of the band and its music. You’ll be reminded of just how much you loved songs like “Fat-Bottomed Girls,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We Will Rock You,” “Another One Bites the Dust,” and “Radio Ga Ga,” along with deeper cuts such as “Love of My Life.”

Whether or not the film is a fitting tribute to Mercury will depend on your view. Director Bryan Singer (who was fired from the production yet is still credited) and writer Anthony McCarten take a safe approach to the singer’s personal life, largely settling for allusions to Mercury’s homosexuality, drug use and partying. Much like Mercury did publicly, the movie keeps that away from the audience.

However, Bohemian Rhapsody does a fine job of portraying Freddie Mercury, the rock star. Rami Malek (Mr. Robot) has all of the legendary frontman’s stage moves and swagger down. Mercury commanded the stage, punching, gyrating, and thrusting with the beats from bassist John Deacon and drummer Roger Taylor. The rest of Queen effectively faded into the background because the eye was always drawn to Mercury’s energy and charisma.

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