Pop Culture Friday:Stay for a Week in Winter and Explode edition

22 Feb

1.  Stay–Rihanna–Rihanna is one of the few pop stars that I really want to hear, underneath it all, what she’s really thinking.  The problem is, I don’t know that we ever will get such a thing, but her video for Stay comes pretty close.  On its own, Stay is a very pretty, somewhat sad, break-up song.  The production is top notch, the mood melancholy, it reminds me of a song that would be on a Twilight soundtrack or something (and while I hate the movies, the soundtracks did have something to be said about them.)  The only thing I wish about the song itself, was that Mikky Echo who has a beautiful pure voice, like Jeff Buckley pure, I wish he was in another song, and he was replaced with someone a little rougher, a little tireder–someone like Grant Lee Phillips, honestly–I think if they chose him to sing this song would go over the top.

The video has some silly elements–like they seem to be hanging out in bamboo, zen hut, bathroom.  And things like, Really Rihanna, you wear diamond earrings to the bath?  And basically you can skip the Mikky Echo visuals where he wanders around bathroom fixtures and mouths words.  Where the bang is, is Rihanna who lets out such a beautifully uncomfortable performance that she mesmerizes.  It starts with exploitation shots–Rihanna taking off her clothes to get in a bath, and the camera going over her like this song was going to be seductive.  It’s not, but the shots and the camerawork bring an uncomfortable tension between the “sexiness” and Rihanna looking vulnerable and broken.  Her face is a dead stare, she is curled up in this gigantic bath like someone who is lost, to the point that in several moments she stops mouthing the words like she’s just too tired.  And it’s hard to watch knowing her past, knowing that she was found punched, bitten, and passed out a few years ago, and it’s harder knowing that she is back with her attacker.  Sure he could have changed, but I’ve seen this too many times before to feel confident in that.

2.  Maeve Binchy–A Week in Winter–Maeve Binchy reminds me of my mother–she has all my mother’s values in each of her books, and while they don’t always suit my taste, I am glad to see her posthumous book doing so well.  Binchy has things like distrust of the city, the value of getting away from it all (honestly I can’t think of one book of hers where people are where they live), small things mattering, like politeness and home, staying away from graphic sexuality or politics, looking to the  future and not moldering over the past.    Yep, they all remind me of Mom, and a certain gentle insistence to look for the positive, to lessen conflict, to be kinder and more graceful.  I’m quite glad this is on top.

3.  A Good Day to Die Hard–Ok, to make sure that nothing on this list matches, we get a movie that I have the least desire to watch of nearly everything.  I didn’t even like the Die Hards when they were good.  I don’t know, it’s just all that machismo–that type A barreling through every obstruction to a rather simplistic goal that doesn’t exactly play to the better angels of our nature.   Also, c’mon, I’m not expecting an action movie to be Shakespeare, but Hollywood, can’t you stop drinking out of dry wells for movies?  We could have made three good movies for this “explosions go boom” behemoth.

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