This blog is one that is near and dear to the heart of B&B co-founders Bill Bodkin and Brent Johnson. As former inside beat editors-in-chief (2003 and 2004, respectively), bringing back some former members of our editorial staff warms the cockles of our journalistic hearts.
For those unaware, inside beat is a weekly entertainment magazine that appears within the pages of The Daily Targum, the independent student newspaper of Rutgers University. inside beat covered pop culture, music, film, video games, books, art, and under Bill and Brent’s run, fashion, television, nightlife and food.
Both Bill and Brent owe this blog — and more importantly, their careers — to their work at inside beat. Without the wealth of knowledge they accrued working in the small nook that was the beat “office,” this blog would not exist, nor would they have had the chance to express their love for entertainment writing.
The B&B Entertainment Blog (as well as Scott Thurlow and Nicole Kotsianas’ blogs) is a tribute to inside beat, bringing back members of its editorial staff — as well as small contributions from the publishers of this blog — is very important to us, as it is not only a tribute to our past, but also a way to bring former beat editors back home to the world of entertainment writing. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Some Secrets You Never Can Tell
A Blog by Jason Kundrath
My Top Albums Of The Decade
For those of us born in and around 1980, looking back on the past decade is an especially big deal. We’re looking back on the whole of our 20s. It’s a crazy time. Some of us went to college. Some of us fell in love. Some of us started careers, got married and even had children. Whatever we did, all of us became adults. And this is the first decade we can look back on as adults.
When it comes to the music of the last 10 years, we’re talking about the soundtrack to all of this. With little exception, this is the music that we will return to over and over again for the rest of our lives. Picking out the 10 best is difficult, if not impossible. There were just too many important albums. So here are 15 highlights from a very long list written in my heart.
Nada Surf — The Weight Is a Gift
Nada Surf — Let Go
Spoon — Girls Can Tell
Ryan Adams — Rock N Roll
Say Anything — …Is a Real Boy
Arcade Fire — Funeral
The Strokes — Room On Fire
Radiohead — Kid A
Death Cab For Cutie — Transatlanticism
The Shins — Chutes Too Narrow
Feist — The Reminder
The Thrills — So Much for The City
Wilco — Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
The Webb Brothers — Maroon
Superdrag — In the Valley of Dying Stars
My Top Albums Of 2009
Confession No. 1: I don’t listen to as much new music as I should. Instead of whittling down a giant list of greats, I’m struggling to remember 10 albums I bought — let alone albums I loved. But thankfully, I did discover these six gems.
Say Anything — Say Anything
Phoenix — Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Them Crooked Vultures — Them Crooked Vultures
Mute Math — Armistice
Passion Pit — Manners
Grizzly Bear — Veckamest
Confession No. 2: I have also been a terrible moviegoer this year. Although I ravenously watch trailers online almost every day, and I have lists of movies I want to see, it has been a rare occasion when I actually found myself in a theater. So with hope for a better 2010, I humbly present my top seven films of ’09.
My Top Films Of 2009
Fantastic Mr. Fox
(500) Days of Summer
Drag Me to Hell
Where The Wild Things Are
This Is It
Jason Kundrath was the inside beat’s music editor in 2001, and had the exquisite pleasure of editing many of Bill Bodkin’s earliest album reviews. When he wasn’t at the Targum office, he was down the hall at Rutgers student radio stationWRSU 88.7 FM, where he was the music director. And when he wasn’t either of those places, he was probably practicing with his band, Hero Pattern. Upon graduation, Kundrath quickly abandoned his journalistic aspirations to seek rock stardom full-time. Though he never found it, he followed his dream, saw the country and met the love of his life along the way. He is now married and living with his beautiful wife in Bergen County, N.J. They recently bought their first home and their first pug. During the week, he is a manager at Trader Joe’s in Florham Park.
And You Can Quote Me: The Best Movies of the Decade
A Blog by Darren Phillip
Here are my picks for the 10 best films of the last 10 years. They represent relatively young talent (Chris Nolan, Alfonso Cuarón) as well as industry veterans (Spielberg, the Coen Brothers). They skew slightly toward fantasy and sci-fi, but that’s a reflection of the rise of the geek in Hollywood, and the ability of the new vanguard of filmmakers to make great movies that defy genres. All of them are thought-provoking, technically dazzling and entertaining as hell. It’s impossible for me to sing their praises in one or two paltry sentences, so I’ve taken a representative quote from each one.
Synecdoche, New York (2008)
“I don’t menstruate, so I don’t know how I could smell like I’m menstruating.”
Minority Report (2002)
“Now, you understand I can’t just give you new irises. Because if I do, the retinal scans will read the scar tissue, alarms will go off, and large men with guns will appear.”
Almost Famous (2000)
“And you can tell Rolling Stone magazine that my last words were … I’m on drugs!”
Children Of Men (2006)
“The youngest person on earth was 18 years, 4 months, 20 days, 16 hours, and 8 minutes old.”
The Dark Knight (2008)
“You won’t kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness. And I won’t kill you because you’re just too much fun. I think you and I are destined to do this forever.”
The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy (2001-03)
“Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them?”
Monsters, Inc. (2001)
“There’s nothing more toxic or deadly than a human child. A single touch could kill you.”
No Country For Old Men (2007)
“Mister? You got a bone stickin’ out of your arm.”
Black Hawk Down (2001)
“You can’t control who gets hit or who doesn’t or who falls out of a chopper or why. It ain’t up to you. It’s just war.”
District 9 (2009)
“Here, you can take that, you want to keep that, as a souvenir of your first abortion, eh. You can feel like you’ve done one of these, too.”
Darren Philip was inside beat‘s Associate Editor a long time ago — like before Apple made the iPod. He now lives in New York City with his pregnant wife, who may no longer be pregnant by the time you read this. [Editorial Note: Darren Phillip also served as Features Editor under Bill Bodkin. He and Bill also wrote a review of Popeye’s where Bill cited Tae B –o and they both actually incurred the wrath of Billy Blanks’ legal team. Luckily, no one was sued and Darren didn’t let Bill live that one down.]
You Want A List? I’ll Give You A List!
A Blog by Michael Dory
The 2000s. The Aughts. The Zeroes. Modern-day pundits never came to a full consensus on exactly what to call the first decade of this new millennium — and it’s come and gone already. We’re still waiting on the flying cars, the jetpacks and the robot butlers, but we’ve seen huge changes and advances in the music world come and go so fast, it’s hard to imagine life before them.
iTunes. iPod. Ten years ago, none of us had ever heard or seen those words. “Peer to peer network” was nothing resembling a household term (unless your household was full of geeks), and certainly nobody knew what Napster was, let alone what it would become. Our bandwidth got bigger, our file sizes got smaller, and our musical devices got more practical and more portable.
Over the last 10 years, we saw social networks rise, bloat, fall and rise again. Friendster caught our attention, MySpace caught our ears, and Facebook caught embarrassing pictures of us and shared them with our friends, bosses and moms. As much as they connected friends, these networks connected artists with each other and with their listeners, letting new music reach new ears just seconds after release.
No longer were record labels, radio stations and television broadcasts the primary channels for aural discovery. We learned what sites knew of the best music, we learned where to buy (or “borrow”) tracks, and we found a whole new world of recorded delights. Our musical inboxes exploded with new options, and our lives of listening have not been the same since.
1. The Wrens — Meadowlands
2. TV On The Radio — Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes
3. Wilco — Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
4. Cinematic Orchestra — Man With The Movie Camera
5. Boy In Static — Newborn
6. The National — Boxer
7.At The Drive In — Relationship Of Command
8. Bloc Party — Silent Alarm
9. Calexico — Carried To Dust
10. Mastodon — Crack The Skye
The Next 50:
11. Radiohead — In Rainbows; 12. Sufjan Stevens — Illinois; 13. The Secret Life Of Sofia — Seven Summits; 14. Long Winters — Putting The Days To Bed; 15. The Postal Service — Give Ip; 16. The New Pornographers — Twin Cinema; 17. M83 — Dead Cities, Red Seas, Lost Souls; 18. Eels — Blinking Lights And Other Revelations; 19. The Flaming Lips — Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots; 20. Holy F*** — LP; 21. Cave In — Jupiter; 22. Outkast — Stankonia; 23. Death Cab For Cutie — Transatlanticism; 24. Drive-By Truckers — Decoration Day; 25. Viktor Vaughn (MF Doom) — Vaudeville Villain; 26. Aimee Mann — The Forgotten Arm; 27. F*** Buttons — Tarot Sport; 28. Queens Of The Stone Age — Rated R; 29. Elbow — Cast Of Thousands; 30. The Streets — Original Pirate Material; 31. Interpol — Turn On The Bright Lights; 32. Burial — S/T; 33. Danger Mouse — The Grey Album; 34. The Dismemberment Plan — Change; 35. Menomena — Friend And Foe; 36. The Shins — Chutes Too Narrow; 37. Ted Leo & The Pharmacists — Hearts Of Oak; 38. The Jayhawks — Rainy Day Music; 39. Nada Surf — Lucky; 40. Brendan Benson — Lapalco; 41. RJD2 — Dead Ringer, 42. Boards of Canada — Geogaddi; 43.Arcade Fire — Neon Bible; 44. Toadies — Hell Below/Stars Above; 45. Unwound — Leaves Turn Inside You; 46. This Will Destroy You — This Will Destroy You; 47. Deltron 3030 — Deltron 3030; 48. Yo La Tengo — … And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out; 49. Ratatat — Ratatat; 50. Spoon — Gimme Fiction; 51. Beck — Sea Change; 52. Silversun Pickups — Carnavas; 53. Yeasayer — All Hour Cymbals; 54. Deftones — White Pony; 55. Baroness — Blue Album; 56. Black Moth Super Rainbow — Eating Us; 57. Kanye West — The College Dropout; 58. Amon Tobin — The Foley Room; 59. Tool — Lateralus; 60. Botch — We Are The Romans
1. Wilco – I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
2. The New Pornographers — The Bleeding Heart Show
3. The Wrens — Everyone Chooses Sides
4. The Postal Service — The District Sleeps Alone Tonight
5. Boy In Static — Bellyfull
6. The Secret Life Of Sofia — Moose Collision
7. M83 — Gone
8. The National — Guest Room
9. Glassjaw — Cosmopolitan Bloodloss
10. Silversun Pickups — Melatonin
The Next 51:
11. Low — Sunflower; 12. Brendan Benson — Metarie; 13. Autolux — Turnstile Blues; 14. Ratatat — Wildcat, 15. This Will Destroy You — A Three-Legged Workhorse; 16. Superdrag — Gimme Animosity; 17. Xploding Plastics — Funnybones And Lazylegs; 18. Benzos — It’s Amiable; 19. Interpol — Untitled; 20. TV On The Radio — Staring At The Sun; 21. Grizzly Bear — Don’t Ask; 22. Viktor Vaughn — Vaudeville Villain; 23. Unwound — We Invent You; 24. Said The Whale — This City’s A Mess; 25. Evil Nine — Crooked (featuring Aesop Rock); 26. Mylo — Otto’s Journey; 27. Menomena — Evil Bee; 28. Throw Me The Statue — About To Walk; 29. Royksopp — Poor Leno; 30. MGMT — Kids; 31. Yeasayer — 2080; 32. White Rabbits — Percussion Gun; 33. Burial — Distant Lights; 34. Four Tet — She Moves She; 35. Radiohead — Everything In Its Right Place; 36. Bloc Party — Like Eating Glass; 37. The Flaming Lips — Do You Realize??; 38. Gnarls Barkley — Crazy; 39. Pilot To Gunner — It’s So Good to Be Here In Paris; 40. Toadies — Plane Crash; 41. Gorillaz — Kids With Guns; 42. Outkast — The Whole World; 43. Animal Collective — Summertime Clothes; 44. LCD Soundsystem — Daft Punk Is Playing At My House; 45. The Long Winters — Fire Island, AK; 46. Bruce Springsteen — Devils & Dust; 47. Arcade Fire — Rebellion (Lies); 48. Norah Jones — Don’t Know Why; 49. Modest Mouse — Float On; 50. Spoon — Beast And Dragon, Adored, 51. Muse — Knights Of Cydonia; 52. Queens Of The Stone Age — A Song For The Deaf; 53. Dredg — Same Ol’ Road; 54. Bit Shifter — Reformat The Planet; 55. Why? — The Vowels Pt. 2; 56. Simian Mobile Disco — Hustler; 57. Presets — Steamworks; 58. System Of A Down — Chop Suey; 59. Mastodon — Divinations; 60. Shiner — The Egg; 61. M.I.A. — Paper Planes
Michael Dory was the literary mentor to both Bill Bodkin and Brent Johnson during his run at The Daily Targum. Mike served as Metro Editor and Opinions Editor on the Targum’s newsdesk until he became music editor during the first semester of Bill Bodkin’s run atop inside beat. A self-proclaimed “lactard,” “llama lover” and musical aficionado, Mike is currently an adjunct professor at NYU ITP, which in his words is like “Hogwarts for art/tech nerds,” and is the founder and CTO of Socialbomb, a company that combines all the cool stuff about games and social network. He currently resides in Jersey City with his lovely and patient wife.
The Best … The Worst … The Caverly
A Blog by James Caverly
Picking the best 10 is hard! I chose a list that gave diversity to genre and style. You WILL disagree in some ways, I’m sure. But here they are. Note: As I write this, I realize that I’d need to watch of these movies again to have the clearest picture.
1. City Of God
In the tiny company of Casablanca, The Godfather, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Citizen Kane and Ghostbusters, City of God is a flawless film. It’s the only flawless film made in the 21st century so far. Bad-ass child gangsters played by no-name, all-genius child actors, a hell of a script and so much more … I really don’t know how they found every perfect cinematic puzzle piece for one film. The planets aligned, and movie magic was truly made.
2. The Departed
Walking out of the film, I said that it might be Martin Scorsese’s best, but time would have to tell. Time has told. It’s his masterpiece.
While most rom-coms (that’s romantic comedy, to the lay-person) turn the “cute” all the way up to 11, Amelie brings magic, mystery and beauty to the wonderful situation of love. Calling it a rom-com would be disrespectful. With its clever story, brilliant characters and eye-tingling visuals, Amelie is a modern romantic fairy tale that just happens to be hilarious.
4. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
This film is a true cinematic magnum opus. You can watch it on mute and still get chills. The film blends a group of opposites that all attract, connect and blend to black to create a rainbow of conflict.
Payback … it’s a …a … well, it’s something … and the ultimate payback is found in Oldboy. But this payback is not “a bitch” … this payback is a tsunami headed straight to the heart. That might be an understatement. I hate when people say all great stories have already been told. I can’t see the future, but if ever, maybe now all great stories have been told.
6. Sin City
The violent male dominance of this film kept a lot of people away (and for good reason), but regardless, this film takes the noir genre to a new level … a darker level … a greater “all or nothin’ days!” level.
I forgot what I was about to write. But I’ve told you this before, haven’t I? Detectives collect facts over an extended period of time (days, weeks, months …), so the monster of mystery is extremely strong surrounding a man who is trying to figure out who brutally killed his wife but who can no longer form new memories. Guy Pearce schools his generation in acting, while the writing and direction is near flawless. Oh yeah, and did I mention the narrative is strung backwards? Fucking genius!
8. Finding Nemo
It set the stage for Pixar to broadcast a beautiful animated film on two equally amazing levels at the same time: one level designed for young children to enjoy, the other for adults. Clever as hell, funny, sad, heartwarming, inspiring, therapeutic, ____, the list goes on …
9. High Fidelity
This is the last of the 20-something ’90s film genre. It was just running late — typical of all the Gen X slackers that populate this film, Singles, Reality Bites, etc. High Fidelity was the best of them, and so much more. A realistic comedy with flawed characters figuring out the impossible puzzle of life, it gives its audiences great music, a young Jack Black and a long list of quotes from John Cusak’s brilliant set of monologues.
10. Napoleon Dynamite
There is something very off about this film, and that mysterious “not-quite-there” quality is exactly what makes it a piece of genius. One of the most quotable films of all time, the pack of “freak” kids who find friendship among the thickets of their cruel Utah world, which is 10 years behind the trends of the rest civilization, represents a piece of all of us who were never captain of the high school football team.
The Big Lebowski — It came out in 1998, but its cult abilities caused most of us to see it this decade.
Donnie Darko — This film is a mind-fornication, but there are too many tiny flaws … mostly Drew Barrymore with lines like, “Sit next to the boy you think is the cutest.”
Batman Begins/The Dark Knight — With an even darker side to Gotham City and a “blow your purple socks out of your shoes” Joker performance by the late Heath Ledger, these two movies show that comic book films can be more than kids stuff.
The Hangover — The most ridiculous comedy of the decade.
Hamlet 2 — Wins for movie you can watch most consecutive times, with 17!
Worst (Mass Release) Movies
Finding 10 is easy! Soooo many bad movies to choose from.
The two most overrated and over-paid actors of the decade (Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez) star in this piece of shit film.
2. Twilight/New Moon
I’ve always tried to find the good in something a generation loves that no one understands, but the rumors that all middle schools put some weird Mormon, Vampire-loving drug in the food must be true. These films are all-the-way, by-the-book terrible. And that scrawny British star who played Cedric Diggory (the only bad actor in all the Harry Potter films) in Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, who chose that talentless hack? But it’s making tons of money, so I suppose I should shut up.
3. Pledge This!
Paris Hilton, stick with what your good at … suckin’ #&%*!
4. From Justin To Kelly
They made this movie from scratch in about 3.5 minutes. In the weekend of July 20, it made less than $6,000 across America. Dope ….
5. Son Of The Mask
I’ve heard stars Jamie Kennedy and Alan Cumming are teaching a class at UCLA on how to be cast in the worst films ever. They write the book and garbage.
6. Dumb And Dumberer
Oh come on! What were these people thinking? Eugene Levy, you should have known better. Never remake a Jim Carey movie again!
7. One Missed Call
“That’s not my ring …” DUN DUN DUN!
8. Disaster Movie, Epic Movie, and Meet The Spartans
The Wayans brothers stopped being funny when they realized they could make a ton of money making corny pop-culture references for the lame and ignorant. God knows, these money-makers (sort of) prove the world is filled with douche bags.
9. Daddy Day Camp
This is a prime example of why so many people hate movie producers … because they’re really stupid. “Okay, let’s redo that Daddy Day Care movie with a different white and black guy. We’ll put them in a camp, and we’ll just see what happens.”
10. Terminator Salvation
This good-looking film was super boring, the acting sucked and it’s filled with holes. Music would not be forgotten after a nuke. What, did everyone forget how to whistle? A Jeep survived but no MP3s, CDs or CD players? And why were the roads covered in dust in the beginning, then later totally clear of any debris? Booo! Terminator 3 was bad, but so much better.
Best TV shows
1. The Wire
2. Gilmore Girls
3. It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia
4. The Colbert Report
6. The Office (U.S.)
5. Arrested Development
6. Chappell Show
7. Myth Busters
8. How I Met Your Mother
9. The Sopranos
10. Family Guy
James Caverly was the shooting star of inside beat. Originally a staff writer, James moved his way up to assistant editor during Bill’s editorial term, managing editor during Brent’s editorial term and the following year was the editor-in-chief. James was also know as the super-funny, super-tall, vegan, indie-hearthrob of the Targum office, most likely unbeknownst to him, but extremely apparent when editors’ girlfriends would swoon when he entered the room. You can read more of James’ work by heading over to Caverly Creative.