All posts tagged: Scott Malchus

Basement Songs: Justin Bieber, featuring Ludacris, “Baby”

Reading this, you may believe that I’ve just opened a big ol’ can of uncool on Popdose. After all, what 40 year old Springsteen fan in his right mind would devote a column to Justin Bieber, for Christ’s sake?! Well, I am the writer who expressed his affection for a certain Bryan Adams power ballad, a song that is the target of disdain for most of the staff at Popdose. I’ve received my fair share of ridicule for that particular post and I’m sure some will be shot my way after today’s entry. However, I’m not afraid to admit that I like the song, “Baby” by Justin Bieber. The Beeb. His teeny bopper, heartthrob music is the hottest thing to happen to tweenage girls since the Jonas Brothers, which is how I became familiar with the song. My daughter, Sophie, loves this song. There have been times when I’ve witness her walking through the house singing it to herself, with or without her headphones on. Then there have been the occasions when, passing by the …

Basement Songs: Death Cab for Cutie, “Your Heart Is an Empty Room”

A week ago we were in North Olmsted, Ohio, once again vacationing with family and friends. Despite the costs and some of the emotional baggage that must be sorted through with each trip we make back east, the reward is watching Sophie and Jacob developing a bond with their cousins that will hopefully last their entire lives. Simple acts like driving to the grocery store can create instant memories as laughter fills the confined space of an automobile from something as crude as well timed fart or being the first person to spot a yellow car in a game of tweeter. Have you ever played tweeter? It’s the less violent cousin to the timeless game of punch bug. Punch bug, as you know, is the contest in which participants keep an eye out for Volkswagon Beetles and literally punch the person closest to them if they’re the first to see one. The game is cute when you’re five; it loses its charm once your older brother is in high school and is much stronger than …

2010 Emmy Nominations!

I’ve been vacationing in Cleveland for the past week, so the only  news on Thursday that anyone seemed to care about was fucking LeBron James and whether or not he would crush the spirits of Clevelanders with his decision for the next phase of his career. He did. But hey, there were Emmy nominations yesterday, and here are some of my quick thoughts: As a native Clevelander in his hometown to experience the city take another blow, I was happy to see that many of the shows nominated for this year’s Emmy Awards were about community and family. Lost, Modern Family, Friday Night Lights, The Office, Glee, Mad Men, The United States of Tara, Parks and Recreation, and True Blood are just a few examples of shows that deal with these themes — I’ve always felt that the best television recognized the importance of human beings interacting and trying to get along, and this year shows that there are a crop of shows trying to make the world a better place, even if they have …

Basement Songs: Pink Floyd, “Wish You Were Here”

I have a hammock. Last week, upon returning home from work, I shut off the Jetta and got out of my car, sweating and tired. The side gate was open. As I retrieved my things from the backseat, Julie called out from behind the house. “Come here! Something happened in the back yard.” Great, I thought, probably a tree branch that brought down the phone wire, or one of the sprinkler valves had burst. I trudged back to see what was up. To my surprise, and the delighted giggles of my children, set up in the yard was a new hammock, an early Father’s Day present. I’ve always wanted a hammock. The idea of gently swaying side to side while reading the newspaper with a cup of coffee or staring at the night sky while sipping on a beer has always been appealing, reminding me of the years spent rocking in the grungy yellow recliner down in my parents’ basement. Perhaps if I had a hammock I would be able to return to that place …

Basement Songs, LP Edition: The Reivers, “End of the Day”

“I think we should break up.” As those words crept out of my mouth, a cold sweat trickled down the back of my neck, even though it was 90 degrees and humid outside. Sitting on the kitchen floor of my friend, Dan’s apartment, I wanted it all to be over. I wanted to hang up the phone and curl up in a ball, or at least lounge in a recliner with my friends in the next room. But I had to be honest with her; I had to be up front about my feelings and do the right thing, even if it meant hurting her. Each June, as the sidewalk bakes and the L.A. air becomes a cloud of gray smog (in Ohio, we called it haze). I pull out End of the Day, a jangly pop masterpiece that hardly anyone has heard of by a band named The Reivers. The album’s song, “Star Telegram” perfectly evokes my childhood summers in Ohio. Those days were spent trying to stay cool, parked in front of fans, …

Listening Booth: Iron Maiden, Steel Train, Rush

Some singles have just arrived on our doorstep, so now’s as good a time as any to scan what’s sailing ’round the horn. To kick things off, let’s talk about “El Dorado” from Iron Maiden, which is available at the band’s site, www.IronMaiden.Com. The track comes from their newest album, The Final Frontier, and finds the band in that strange position of being who they are. Some groups are expected to explore different areas of sound and maturity, while others are expected to remain true to a pre-designated sound they’ve fostered through the years. Occasionally it is for the best. By now, if AC/DC tries to sound like anything other than AC/DC, it’s liable to be rejected and left for dead. This was a problem for Metallica, where they pushed against their thrash metal roots and became more commercial. At the same time as they were achieving new heights of fame, their longtime fans bristled. Many still carry that resentment, even though their last album, Death Magnetic, tried to inch back to the comfort zone. …

TV on DVD: “thirtysomething: The Complete Third Season”

By its third season, thirtysomething was a well tuned machine, turning out quality television week after week with some of the finest writing, directing and acting at the time. The producers and writers, led by creators Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick, could have rested on their laurels and continued to just feature stories about the mundane everyday lives of their ensemble of true-to-life characters. Instead, they chose in the third season to introduce the specter of death in the form of cancer, using what could have been clichéd sick character empathy and turning it into a string of beautifully realized episodes featuring some exemplary work by Patricia Wettig and Timothy Busfield. The third season also had the distinction of airing one of the most controversial hours of television (at the time), an episode that has not been seen since its initial airing back in 1989. At the beginning of season three, Herskovitz and Zwick decided to inflict the character of Nancy (Wettig) with cancer. After spending two seasons avoiding “big” stories like cancer, the producers …

CD Review: Grace Potter and The Nocturnals, “Grace Potter & the Nocturnals”

Grace Potter means business. She lets you know from the get go with the first “UH!” on her band’s new self titled album, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals. This isn’t some poppy, Adult Alternative record; it’s a gritty, passionate affair with swagger, soul and plenty of classic rock influences. The opening track, “Paris” kicks things off with a heavy guitar riff and the sleaziest drums this side of Don Henley’s The Long Run days. Singing about getting what she wants, Potter proves that she’s a woman with strength and conviction and knows how to work it. Grace Potter & The Nocturnals is full of songs that have a deep groove and a bit of an edge to them, such as “Oasis” and “Medicine,” which feature the kind of exemplary guitar work you’d expect to hear from the Allman Brothers on any given night. This may come from the Nocturnals’ years of touring, or it could be the new chemistry in the band. For this new album The Nocturnals include lead guitarist Scott Tournet and drummer …

Film Review: “The Infidel”

Only in indie cinema will you find a comedy about a burly, hairy English Muslim who explores his faith and personal identity after discovering that he’s actually a Jew. I can’t guarantee you’ll get more laughs from The Infidel than you would is you were to plop down twenty bucks to see Killers, because I haven’t seen that film; but I have faith that you’ll enjoy The Infidel much more. Omid Djalili stars as Mahmud Nasir, a loving husband, doting father and something of a “relaxed” practicing Musilim living in London. His son, Rashid (Amit Shah) is engaged to marry Uzma (Soraya Radford), whose stepfather is a fundamentalist/radical Muslim Arshad Al-Masri (Igal Naor). Apprehension fills the Nashir household as the whole family must receive the approval of Al-Mari in order for Rashid to be allowed to marry Uzma. Mahmud thinks it’ll be a piece of cake. Nothing is ever a piece of cake. While cleaning out the home of his recently deceased mother, Mahmud makes a shocking discovery. He was adopted. Even more shocking, and …

Film Review: “My Last Five Girlfriends”

Duncan has decided to end it all. Distraught and heartbroken, he sits down and writes a suicide note to his last five girlfriends hoping to make a point: Love doesn’t exist. After five painful break-ups, Duncan is going to show them! He pours his heart out on the page and slams his pen down. Then, the young man quickly downs a handful of pills with some tequila and collapses on his apartment floor. So begins Julian Kemp¹s clever romantic comedy, My Last Five Girlfriends, adapted (by Kemp) from a novel by Alain de Botton. The bleak opening aside (and it’s really not that bleak), Kemp¹s film brings to mind the work of Terry Gilliam, if he was working from a script by Richard Curtis. As Duncan (a touching and very funny Brendan Patricks) slowly drifts away to his supposed death, we enter his mind as he replays those last five relationships. Kemps uses an amusement park metaphor to represent the hero’s love life. He approaches each attraction with optimism, taking in the ups and downs, …

Basement Songs: Matthew Sweet, “Girlfriend”

The summer of 1992 continued. Thanks to my good friend, Sally, I had found a worthwhile job working at The Bin, a nonprofit Natural Foods Store that trained mentally and physically handicapped adults basic jobs skills; a stepping stone in preparing them for the real world. Little did I know that this job would be my own stepping stone into the real world. Although my intention was to stick around northeast Ohio until the fall and then move to Los Angeles, I met my future wife, a fellow employee, while working at The Bin. Our love altered my plans, delaying the western move for a year and a half. But I’m getting ahead of myself. As I’ve written previously, 1992 was a year of change in politics, film and especially music. Alternative became the new mainstream and radio stations reflecting this new trend began popping up across the country, even in blue collar Cleveland. At that time, Cleveland’s alternative station was WENZ – The End. While they certainly played the popular tracks by Nirvana, Pearl …

Basement Songs: Peter Gabriel, “The Power of the Heart”

Long ago, I foolishly accepted the idea that horror, sci-fi and fantasy films, book and television series did not have emotional resonance of more serious dramas because of the fantastical elements inherent of their genre. Someone I respected subscribed to this notion that these works weren’t legitimate art and I became convinced that Stephen King books, graphic novels, and films like John Carpenter’s The Thing, E.T. and Field of Dreams, while involving and often emotional, were not legitimate art. I was lead to believe that the only fiction with substance came from the likes of William Faulkner or Cormac McCarthy, that the value of big blockbusters was for entertainment value only, and that arthouse / indie films were the only works of cinema worth recognizing when discussing universal themes. Additionally, television was considered a vast wasteland of useless information (you know, “fifty-seven channels and nothing on”) save for rare exceptions like thirtysomething or Homicide: Life on the Streets. It took some twenty years to shake this train of thought, but thanks to Lost, ABC’s series …

Basement Songs: Jimmy Eat World, “The Middle”

In the wee hours of the morning I would pace the living room, bouncing Jacob in my arms, lulling him back to sleep. This was our routine in the winter of 2001/2002, when he was just a baby. Jacob would wake up sometime between one and three AM and I would be there to calm him, walking around with the TV on to keep me alert. At that time of the morning, with the volume down low, I would catch highlights on SportsCenter, watch a portions of great films on Turner Classic Movies, or turn on VH1, which only seemed to air their music videos during that ungodly hour. Not much drew me out of my somnambulist state, save for two or three songs. “Everyday” by Dave Matthews Band stuck with me, as did that pearl of power pop of Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle.” I must admit that what first caught my eye about the video was the provocative images of teenagers dancing around in their underwear at a house party. The joy of …

The Three Strike Rule: Touchdown! “Friday Night Lights” season 4

One of television’s finest series returns to NBC tonight, as the network begins airing the 4th season of Friday Night Lights. The 13 episodes that make up this season already aired last fall on Direct TV (as a part of a financial deal between the two media giants), however, this particular season is so splendid, I will be DVR’ing it all over again and re-watching what may be their best season. When FNL left off last year, Coach Eric Taylor (the exceptional Kyle Chandler) was fired from coaching his championship West Dillon Panthers. He was given a consolation prize: revive the football team at the run down, East Dillon High. Coach Taylor accepted the challenge and this season, he embarks on creating something from nothing. This major story shift not only reboots the series in a wonderful new direction, but also revives the drama and spirit of the show that we’ve all come to love. While Coach Taylor struggles to piece together a group of players and get them to act as a team, his …

Basement Songs: Scissor Sisters, “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin'”

I always feel inadequate in trying to express just how much I appreciate what Julie does for our family and how blessed we are that she is the mother of our children. Looking at Sophie and Jacob, I only see their mother in their faces. Julie has the most glorious smile and if she passed along just one trait to the kids, I am glad that it was this one. But she passed along so much more. Our kids have gorgeous blue eyes and they have fantastic laughs (not the hyena cackle that I possess). They are warm and affectionate; they are strong and independent. They are living examples of the greatness of Julie. When I see the three of them walking around the school yard, talking about classes, or when I come home from work and they’re already involved with another round of Just Dance or bouncing around the kitchen to the upbeat disco of the Scissor Sisters “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin,’” I’m mystified by the connection they have.  Of course, I could …

Mix Six: Rock ‘n’ Roll Disco Party!

DOWNLOAD THE FULL MIX HERE Whenever I fill in at Ted’s desk here at the Mix Six, I like to have a good time. Case in point, this week’s flashback to the late 70’s and early 80’s. I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Disco? Really?” Truth is, many venerable rock acts, most of them English, saw dance music as a way to reach a new audience. This was especially true for some rock acts whose success came in the early 70’s. While many disco songs are scoffed at, I present to you six durable tracks that many of you may have shaken your grove thing to back in the day.  Several of these selections are still staples on mainstream/classic rock stations. The irony of that last statement is that those same stations decried the disco movement and applauded the downfall of the genre (perpetuated, no doubt, by  Disco Demolition Night at the old Comiskey Park in Chicago back in 1979). Ted put together an excellent mix that recalls the bygone days of radio when …

TV on DVD: “Sports Night: The Complete First Season”

Sports Night, ABC’s critically acclaimed television dramedy that aired in the late 90’s and became a cult classic, was released as a complete series on DVD back in 2008. Now, Shout! Factory, who also released the complete series, have divided the two seasons of the beloved show into two individual box sets, making the purchase a little more affordable for fans of the show. Sports Night: The Complete First Season is available now and it’s an example of television at its finest. Created by Aaron Sorkin (A Few Good Men, The West Wing), Season One of Sports Night introduces us to the fictional sports television network of CSC, an ESPN type network that has a sports clip show called “Sports Night,” which is clearly based on Sportscenter. Peter Krause (Six Feet Under, Parenthood) and Josh Charles (The Good Wife) star as Casey McCall and Dan Rydell, the anchors of “Sports Night,” (clearly based on Keith Olbermann and Dan Patrick). The premise is a behind the scenes look at how a show like this gets put …

Basement Songs: AC/DC, “If You Want Blood (You Got It)”

Each year the movie industry tries to push up the start of summer by opening their big event movies earlier in the year.  Used to be that Memorial Day was the weekend that kicked off the season. Now it feels like mid-April is when the studios begin pushing their big blockbusters. Pretty soon it’ll be summer year round and the only way to see small indie films will be through video on demand or Netflix. For me, the summer officially begins the first Saturday of May. Throughout the country that day is Free Comic Book Day at the local comic shops. This Saturday, May 1st, Jacob and I will head on over to Brave New World, the excellent comic store we frequent, getting caught up in the  zaniness the proprietors will serve up that day. Raffles, baked goods, discounts, Stormtroopers and droids, and of course, free comic books. I’m so happy that my son has become enamored with this art form. It’s one way that the two of us bond separately from his sister and …

Basement Songs: Thomas Newman, “Finding Nemo: Main Title”

People do this all the time: they neglect to ask about my daughter Sophie. They don’t mean to, especially when they receive so many updates about her brother Jacob’s health and our efforts to find a cure for CF. But they do. They ask about  him and only him. How’s his health? How’s he doing in school? Does he have a lot of friends? What are his hobbies? They are genuinely concerned about his well-being and we really appreciate it. In each of these conversations, I always… ALWAYS make a point to tell people that both of my children are doing great. That Sophie is doing awesome in school and is one of the tops in her class, that she excels at the piano, and that she’s still the most empathetic little girl (sorry, tween) that you’ll ever meet. I don’t want anyone to forget that we have two children and that both of them are affected by cystic fibrosis. Jacob lives with the disease physically; Sophie lives with it just as much emotionally. Sophie …

DVD Review: John Krasinski Adapts David Foster Wallace’s “Brief Interviews With Hideous Men”

John Krasinski continues to impress me with his talent. The actor, who’s achieved stardom on the NBC’s The Office, has shown great range on the series this season, displaying many facets of his character, Jim’s, personality. It’s been fun watching him. Now comes the DVD release of his directorial debut, Brief Interviews With Hideous Men, an accomplished adaptation of the late David Foster Wallace’s book. For any of you who’ve read any of Wallace’s work, you’ll know that it’s no small feat translating Wallace’s dense writing onto film. Krasinski, who also wrote the screenplay, captures the essence of Wallace’s writing, creating a literate, thoughtful film, while still making Brief Interviews With Hideous Men a fully realized cinematic experience. Julianne Nicholson stars as Sara, a graduate student working on a project interviewing men. She probes their minds, getting them to open up about their desires, failures, fears, resentments and successes. Many of the interviews take place in a nondescript room, windowless, at a metal table with a folding chair. In some ways it feels like a …

Basement Songs: Bruce Springsteen, “The Rising”

I had a dream about Bruce Springsteen and he told me what to write. You’re thinking, “Again? Come on, Malchus, all you ever write about is Springsteen. And Journey. All you write about are Journey and Springsteen. Can’t you come up with any other artists?” Actually, the last time Bruce made an appearance in the basement was a year ago, as my family was in the midst of our annual CF Great Strides Fundraiser. Since then, the Boss has been hanging out on his ranch in Jersey. Carpet cleaning sent us out of the house on Saturday. Early that morning, Sophie, Jacob and I drove across town for breakfast at one of the local IHOP’s. Jake brought along his iPod and acted as DJ for our trek through Santa Clarita. After playing his current favorites, he asked what I wanted to hear. “Surprise me,” I replied, trying to focus on the road and dreaming of coffee. His iPod clicked while he searched for something. Meanwhile, I began thinking about what I should write about for …

The Three Strike Rule: Coco Goes to Cable

Like the rest of the entertainment industry, my jaw hit the floor at the news that Conan O’Brien would be taking his late night talk show to TBS and not the Fox network, as was thought by just about everyone on the planet who cares about this nonsense. Once I closed my mouth, I concluded that this is going to be great for all Conan O’Brien fans. Conan’s new home will work their asses off to make sure that Conan gets whatever he needs to make his show not just as good as his old NBC endeavors, but better. When interviewed by Entertainment Weekly, Turner Network President, Steve Koonin, said “(Conan) can do whatever he wants to do here. We think he is an incredibly talented artist and we want him to make his show and if he wants it edgier, we are 100 percent supportive.”  Whatever he wants to do? Nice. Remember at the end of his tenure as The Tonight Show host, when his comedy was no holds barred and he didn’t give …

DVD Review: “We Live in Public”

For those of you sitting at your computers reading this review while you’re updating your Facebook page, tweeting about the great dump you just took and watching the auto tune version of “Charlie Bit Me” for the hundredth time, We Live In Public is a movie you should watch immediately. Director Ondi Timoner’s documentary is flat out brilliant and one hell of a ride. The film, which won the Sundance Grand Jury Prize in 2009, is a stunning audio-visual journey into the mind of Internet visionary, Josh Harris. Haven’t heard of him? You’re not alone (just ask the MySpace guys), but Harris had the foresight back in the early 1980s to see the potential of the Internet and how computers would change the course of mankind. He remained one step ahead of everyone until he lost it all — including, perhaps, his sanity. Harris’s first business venture was Jupiter Communications, a market research company that projected how people would use the Internet and how powerful a business tool it would become. Surrounded by number crunchers …

Bootleg City: The Heroically Tedious Journey of Making a Movie Begins!

Last week I delivered the thrilling news that a movie is going to be shot right here in Bootleg City, and now I’m happy to announce that shooting begins next week! The story line is top secret, but my sources in Hollywood tell me Vin Diesel is set to star as a bald, muscular, monotone type. You want more vague rumors? You got it! Vin’s character may or may not be a postapocalyptic bounty hunter assigned to track down Betty White’s sweet-natured yet salty-language-spouting grandmotherly type, who may or may not hold the key to the future of civilization in her bionic hip replacement. Will sparks fly between the two? Does a large bucket of popcorn already contain as much saturated fat as six Big Macs before the partially hydrogenated soybean oil, or “butter,” is added on top?! “Untitled Vin Diesel-Betty White Sci-Fi Romantic Action Thriller Comedy” is the film’s working title, but my sources have been calling it “The Goon and the Prune,” and word has it that “The Future Depends on Grandma” has …

Basement Songs: Glee Cast, “Don’t Stop Believin'”

Last week our kids’ school, Emblem Elementary in Saugus, held their third Cure Finders fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. For the past three years, the students at Emblem have taken a week to go home, scrounge up change and ask for donations from their parents and others all in the name of CF. Julie is responsible for spearheading the fundraisers and each year has been more successful than the last. The lower and upper grades compete for a pizza party provided by BJ’s Restaurant, who also donate $1000 to the fundraiser should the school raise that much. The spirit of competition aside, all of the kids get involved and really appear to put their hearts into this fundraiser. I wish I could say that it wasn’t because of us; I wish I could say that this fundraiser would have been organized without our help, but that isn’t the case. This fundraiser was organized for Emblem Elementary because one of their students has cystic fibrosis. I wish that student wasn’t my son. Each morning children …

Basement Songs: Kiss, “Detroit Rock City”

You can thank mall cop Paul Blart for this week’s basement song entry. That fictional creation, played so winningly by actor Kevin James in the film, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, has become another family favorite in the Malchus household. It’s one of those family films that has just enough edge to keep the grown up’s amused (at least the grown up’s in our house), but also has plenty of sight gags and heart to please the kids. After spending four months on our DVR, we bought the DVD last week. One of the pivotal scenes in the film involves Paul, an oversized man with low blood sugar (a condition that prevents him from being able to join the police force and being relegated to mall security) holed up in a mall video arcade rocking out on Rock Band to the Kiss rocker, “Detroit Rock City.” Paul gets so in the zone during the song that he fails to notice a band a thieves shut down the mall and take hostages. In case you haven’t figured …