Sometimes a novel stares you straight in the eye with its greatness. Other times, it sneaks up on you, working its magic so subtly that you’re halfway through before you truly understand the beauty captured between the covers you hold in your hand…er, or on the screen you hold, whatever. Such is the case with Jennifer Egan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning A Visit from the Goon Squad. In case you’re wondering the titular squad isn’t referring to a band of troublemakers, but rather time – an instrument that Egan plays masterfully, as she guides us through a period from roughly the 1970s through the 2020s, in and out of the lives of a group of characters connected in big and small ways, sometimes in surprising, but always, ultimately, inevitable ways. From the New York punk rock scene to an African safari to the Arizona desert to a somewhat frightenly believable future, Egan crafts a story of subtle power. And speaking of power, this book contains one of the most moving chapters of fiction I have ever read…and it’s written as a PowerPoint presentation.
The Year of the Gosling continues. No actor is having a better moment in 2011 than Ryan Gosling. Kicking off the year with a brilliant turn in Blue Valentine, he followed it up with a turn in Crazy Stupid Love that had “movie star” written all over it. That would be enough in any year, but Gosling is back this fall with two films, the first of which is Drive. This film, in which Gosling plays a Hollywood stunt driver who moonlights as a getaway driver and gets caught up in trouble (of course), has been slowly gathering buzz since director Nicolas Winding Refn won the Best Director prize in Cannes in May. It also stars Carey Mulligan (An Education), and Albert Brooks (Broadcast News) as a villain (!). The movie just flat out looks cool, from the trailer to the posters to Gosling. He’s the coolest of all.
So, the Emmys are Sunday night. You know there used to be a time when there was an actual “awards season.” Now, there’s so many awards shows that you can’t tell where one season ends and another begins. And I’m fine with that. I love awards shows – always have, always will. That doesn’t mean that I find a great many aspects of them frustrating – from undeserved wins to truly ridiculous scripted banter to dresses made of meat. But still, it’s worth it. I love to see everyone dressed up, the whole spectacle of it all. And it’s very gratifying to see someone rewarded for a job well done – cough *Jim Parsons* cough. This Sunday, the best of TV will be rewarded for jobs well done – or at least according to the television academy. So, who do you think will take home Emmy gold? Thanks to the creative renaissance of television over the last few years, there are lots of truly competitive categories, like best actress in a drama. Julianna Marguiles? Mirelle Enos? Elisabeth Moss? Who. Will. It. Be?
I love to shop. Yes, there are guys who enjoy the art and act of shopping. And one of my favorite places to window shop is www.uncrate.com. Uncrate is a sensationally curated site for guys (and the gals who love them) that spotlights fashion, gadgets, food, drink, cars and more. The choices are pretty electic – from the recent deluxe re-release of Nirvana’s Nevermind album to the Banana Republic Mad Men Collection to a Fridge Monkey. There’s always something pretty to look at…Yes, a fridge monkey. Go look.
I’m obsessed with “Paradise,” the new single from Coldplay’s upcoming Mylo Xyloto album. I love this more epic, synth-laden upbeat tone Coldplay has been showing. Chris Martin & Co.’s latest starts out with an ominous swirl of organ and strings before launching into a full-on blitzkrieg of synths and percussion, with Martin’s falsetto soaring above in top fashion. And the artwork is just so spot on. Coldplay really has a knack for developing an artistic identity for each album cycle that really meshes perfectly with the tone of the music.
JT Landry has been in a torrid affair with pop culture ever since his parents first sat him down in front of Mary Poppins as a tyke. A movie buff, a music lover, a voracious reader and an evangelist forCommunity- Go Human Beings! – and other marvels of storytelling, JT can be found on Twitter and Facebook.Read more posts from JT.