The Future Of Nostalgia

By: Brennan Carley, Taylor Cavallo, and Dan Siering


“Chimpanzee Ridin‘ On A Segway” YouTube Video
Thanks to a particularly quirky friend, this YouTube video fell into our hands. Yes, the video features a chimpanzee outside in a grassy field, riding on a Segway. There’s even a catchy song that details the monkey’s adventure on this transportation device, also emphasizing the fact that, in case the viewers missed it, he is wearing overalls and a helmet. The video’s origins are unknown, however, it seems to be a dubbed over home movie from someone who wanted to share this mobile monkey with the world. And we’re forever thankful.

“Gucci GuccI”  By Kreayshawn
“One big room, full of bad b-ches …” is a mantra of sorts for girls who know this song by Oakland, Calif. rapper Kreayshawn. While the rapper has recently released a new, poppy album titled Somethin’ ‘Bout Kreay, sales on the album, and therefore her attempt at the mainstream, have proved disappointing. “Gucci, Gucci” highlights her Oakland-diva flavor, her sick rhymes and her unique sense of style. The song is undeniably catchy, and knowledge of it seems to be reserved to certain groups of people-it is not widely known at all. The music video (which appears to be made by an amateur) is definitely worth a peek, as Kreayshawn’s style is not only unmatched, but also highly enviable.

Kanye West’s 808’s and Heartbreaks
Although “Love Lockdown” and especially “Heartless” got a lot of radio play, it’s obvious that critics and fans alike hated this album with a burning passion. Kanye, coming straight from his achingly perfect Graduation, had a lot to live up to in Heartbreaks, but instead of rapping, chose to focus on his … singing. People were confused, to be certain, but the album stands strong as an esoteric and entirely enjoyable pet project almost four years after its extremely quiet reception. It introduced the world to Kid Cudi on “Welcome to Heartbreak,” kept Lil Wayne’s Carter III wave crashing on “See You In My Nightmares,” and mined the depths of his emotions on “Street Lights.” People often refer to it as “that time Kanye sang off-key,” but isn’t that kind of what rap’s all about? It’s brilliant in its own right, shedding any labels or classifications. One question remains: what ever happened to Mr. Hudson?

Bored To Death
HBO has the reputation of consistently churning out quality television programs. Despite being on the air for three short seasons, Bored To Death is no exception to this trend. Jason Schwartzman, Zach Galifianakis, and Ted Danson star in Jonathan Ames’ comedy series about a quirky Brooklyn writer who moonlights as an amateur private eye. Schwartzman is the writer, Galifianakis plays his troubled cartoonist friend, and Danson plays the classy pot-smoking boss. Ames keeps the humor fresh and off-beat, poking fun at serious issues such as self-loathing and soul searching. With a strong cast and creative writing, Bored To Death will without a doubt be locked in the cult classic vault for future comedians to embrace.

“Let’s Get Faded” by Gucci Mane and V Nasty
This song is admittedly lacking in many musical areas: good lyrics, catchy verses, and a general enthusiasm from the singer. While “Let’s Get Faded” doesn’t stand up to the “Clique” and “Pop That” collaborative rap songs of today, its somewhat hypnotic beat and (for better or worse) its entertaining music video (go watch it) make this song stand out. V-Nasty’s shrill voice on her verse adds an interesting twist to Gucci Mane’s monotony. While it certainly makes one laugh (out loud, I might add), it might be ridiculous enough to work. And who knows? Gucci Mane wearing a furry snow hat in the middle of a club might catch on one day.

Little Dragon’s Ritual Union
The Swedish electro-pop group has been having a topsy-turvy 2012, complete with an Absolut partnership (which yielded a better-than-it-has-any-right-to-be single), a successful stateside tour, and some serious studio time with Atlanta rapper and Outkast impresario Big Boi. Why, then, was nobody talking about the absolutely fantastic, earth-stomping 2011 album Ritual Union? It’s that rare album that manages to do everything right, from stellar vocals (provided by Yukimi Nagano) to imaginative beats and head-turning harmonies. It’s an interstellar work that evades any hate because it truly offers something for every listener. It’s impossible not to bob one’s head while listening to tracks like “Please Turn” and “Shuffle a Dream.” One can only hope that somewhere down the line, some intuitive music listener will stumble upon this short but sprightly EP.

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
It’s virtually impossible to count the times that Hollywood has tried (and failed) to adapt popular comic book franchises. In 2010, writer/director Edgar Wright gave this muddled sector of the film industry a breath of fresh air with Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Combining the series’ patented witty dialogue with state-of-the-art visual effects, Scott Pilgrim achieves the impressive feat of seamlessly converting comic frames into film frames. Michael Cera and Mary Elizabeth Winstead lead an impressive cast of characters in this high-flying comedy that was passed up by a shocking amount of moviegoers. It seems impossible that a film with such modern flair will also be combed over by future generations.

White Oleander
White Oleander, the 2002 film directed by Peter Kosminsky, follows the maturation of young, pixie-like Asterid, played by Alison Lohman. Her mother, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, is in jail for poisoning her boyfriend with the beautiful white oleander flower native to California that grows by the bush in their bungalow backyard. The film traces Asterid through a string of her phases, styles, foster homes, and foster mothers, while always struggling to fit her outlier mother into her hectic and unsettling life. The story provides insight into the life of a foster teen, but also speaks to the universality of Asterid’s human experience.

Portugal The Man
Originally from Wasilla, Alaska, this four-piece psychedelic folk band has been quietly flying under the radar for some time. Nonetheless, Portugal has built a sturdy fan base over their career. The band has released an annual album (and two in 2009) over the last six years, developing a unique sound that takes from a broad range of influences. From the poppy The Satanic Satanist to the introspective American Ghetto, Portugal has proven their ability to package great music in a variety of forms. The future of the band seems hazy, with some members leaving to pursue personal projects yet their remarkable collection of past albums can easily solidify their place in fringe music history.

Better Off Ted
Especially relevant for fans of Arrested Development eagerly waiting for the cult classic’s long-delayed upcoming season, Ted offers the same kind of sharply written jokes that cause heads to swerve in both admiration and bemusement. Helmed by Jay Harrington as Ted, the workplace sitcom detailed the hijinks at Veridian Dynamics, a company whose purpose is never really made clear to the audience. Ted’s boss, Veronica, is played with acerbic wit by Portia de Rossi-she of AD fame-in a completely different but equally intelligently delivered role. Lasting only two seasons, the ill-fated comedy attracted very few viewers but consistently offered the smartest and, oftentimes most daring take on workplace laughs on the small screen. Luckily, the show lives on through Netflix-it’s only a matter of time before people catch on.

Many great works fall into the cult classic category simply due to poor marketing and misleading trailers. Greg Mottola’s Adventureland seems to be such a case. Fresh off directing the megahit Superbad, Mottola elected to take on the semi-autobiographical coming-of-age film as his next project. Starring a pre-Twilight Kristen Stewart and a pre-Social Network Jessie Eisenberg, Adventureland tells the story of a recent college grad who is stuck working a miserable summer job at a local amusement park. With Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, and Ryan Reynolds in supporting roles, the film sports an artful balance of smart comedy and real life difficulties. Marketed as the next Superbad, Mottla’s more serious Adventureland seemed to miss its intended audience when it hit theaters. Hopefully word of mouth will drive this fine film into the cult vault.

Stranger Than Fiction
A movie about an author writing a book, whose main character comes to life and experiences whatever that author decides to write when she puts pen to page: sounds like a hit, right? To nobody’s surprise, Will Ferrell as Harold Crick, a mild-mannered, everyday employee who never bothered a flea, enchanted and charmed with his low-key performance. Emma Thompson turned in a typically wonderful and whimsical performance as the woman who, when she spins her stories, changes the course of Crick’s life forever. Maggie Gyllenhaal makes a mark as the bakery employee who falls for Ferrell’s Crick, but is subjected to whatever Thompson decides to do to his character on a daily basis. The biggest conflict arises when Thompson decides to kill off Crick, leading to an existential crisis on his part. It’s quiet and small but full of impressively wide-reaching themes.


October 3, 2012