Self High Five: Number 12

bill bodkin rolls out number twelve…

Movie: Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

This is the modern film noir masterpiece. The supremely dark, compelling, white knuckle thrill ride known as The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo is a must-see. Based on the insanely popular book of the same known, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is a Swedish film that revolves around the lives of cyberpunk hacker Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) and recently and wrongly indicted do-gooder journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist). The beginning of the film is a very, very harsh look at Salander’s life and if you don’t handle violence well this might not be the film for you. However if you can, then you will be taken on a intelligently constructed thriller that harkens to the day of the classic 40s/50s black and white film noir. Rapace is absolutely brilliant as the emotionally damaged yet utterly brilliant Salander. The film runs a staggering two and a half hour, but you never feel it because the story is so intense that you become so engrossed you are actually begging for more. Luckily they’ve made two sequels, one I will be reviewing next week. There will also be an American remake starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara and directed by David Fincher. I will be posting a piece on my opinion on this remake sometime tomorrow.

Music: Gaslight Anthem
I first The Gaslight Anthem when 101.9 RXP played their single “’59 Sound.” The Springsteen-esque ballad of
hot rods and teen romance smacked of Bruce Springsteen. It had a haunting sense of emotion, immediacy and energy that was undeniable. Its a sound that is completely unique to the scene. I looked them up online later that day and realized that one of my former coworker at The Daily Targum, Benny Horowitz is the band’s drummer. Small world, right? I was very happy to see him gain so much success as the guy had worked so hard in so many New Brunswick bands for years. With this knowledge I figured I’d give the band a shot and I’m glad I did. The Gaslight Anthem performs the type of meaningful, emotional rock ‘n’ roll that we haven’t seen since The Boss was still rockin’ Asbury Park. The band often gets the Bruce comparison and it’s probably annoying to the band, but they seriously have the same working man, blue collar, straight outta Jersey sound. It’s definitely a beautiful thing.

Television: Modern Family
Looking for the best comedy on TV? Then you have to tune in every Wednesday at 9pm on ABC and watch Modern Family. It’s a smart, honest and hilarious look at three very different families. The first family is Jay (Ed O’Neill) and Gloria (Sofia Vergara) a younger/older multicultural couple and the second is Jay’s daughter Claire (Julie Bowen) and her husband Phil (Ty Burrell) the typical straight couple and his son Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and his boyfriend Cameron (Eric Stonestreet), you guessed it, the gay couple. The family is hilariously dysfunctional, neurotic and in the end extremely loveable. The laughs come a mile a minute and it’s actually a smart show. It doesn’t go for the cheap laughs a la Two and a Half Men and it doesn’t go for the typical “I Hate Being Married But I Guess I Love You” shtick like on ABC’s The Middle. This is the best show you’ll see, go watch it now.

Food: Cheesecake Factory
One day someone is going to have to explain to me why a restaurant named the Cheesecake Factory looks like something you’d see standing next to the Kremlin and the inside is a chain restaurant version of a Persian palace. I mean, it’s all about cheesecake right? Well outside of this aesthetic conundrum, this place is the cream of the chain restaurant crop. It’s one of the few spots you can take a serious date or your parents out for their anniversary. Or at least I have. The food here is fantastic the Navajo Sandwich (chicken, avocado, cheese and more on fry bread), the pizza, the pasta (my fiancee loves the Thai Chicken pasta) and most importantly the burgers are all quality. On a recent Saturday night while my fiancee was at her bachelorette party I went out with a close group of friends to the Cheesecake Factory. For my dinner I combined two of my favorite things in the culinary world — fried eggs and burgers. Yup, I had the Farm House Burger. This burger is a thick juicy burger, some cooked pork belly and a fried egg. Yes, it’s an artery blocker but it so delicious. If you’ve never had an egg on your burger; you seriously need to try it. It’s the perfect savory sandwich. And the pork belly — smokey, succulent and delicious.

News on the Blog: This is a very proud moment for me. I’m very excited to announce the addition of our newest blogger, Jay Kundrath. Jay has written for us before with his review of Get Him to the Greek and took part in our inside beat reunion blog. Now, after much pestering, begging and bothering, he finally caved in. Jay, the former lead singer of Hero Patten, former WRSU program director and the guy who gave me my first break in journalism will be interviewing bands for us on the second and fourth weeks (scheduling permitting) of the month. Jay is a fantastic writer and musician and to have him on board as our lead interview guy is truly a blessing. In theory his first interviews will be with the awesome indie band The Milwaukees and one his personal favorites, Readymade Breakup. In the coming months he will be interviewing bands from all over the Jersey scene and we look forward to his journalistic genius!
We’re also going to be rolling out a lot more original band interviews on the site in addition to Jay’s columns. Look for interviews with Toms River-based indie rockers on the verge of the major league River City Extension, alt-blues rockers Bow Thayer & The Perfect Trainwreck and California-based singer Lindsey Ray next month. In addition local for interviews with popular Jersey Shore original artists and some interesting interviews with cover bands who have strong ties to the original scene.

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site’s podcast, The BreakCast.┬áHe is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites