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Weekly Mishmash: May 11-17

Happy End of the World — Pizzicato Five and Readymade Digs Disney 1 — Konishi Yasuharu and Pizzicato Five. I was in a Pizzicato Five mood this week. An eMusic download, 1997’s Happy End of the World typifies their brand of fizzy, fun retro dance pop — even if it’s a bit long and dated sounding at times. I was further inspired to look for one of the Readymade Digs Disney compilations after seeing Patrick write about them. Since they’re hard to find Japanese imports, I managed to track down vol. 1 in the series through other means (coughBitTorrentcough). This one has P5 and Konishi Yasuharu covering a variety of Disney tunes in styles that are alternately jazzy and/or layered with hyper dance beats and a sugary children’s chorus. I wasn’t fully prepared for how invigorating and creative this is — especially their takes on the Main Street Electrical Parade theme and that Mary Poppins song with the long, long title.
Modern Times (1936). Another thing to cross off the “classic films I’ve never seen” list. This was very appealing and enjoyable, a beautifully made valentine to the particular strengths of silent filmmaking. Chaplin is still overrated and too sticky-sweet for my tastes, but this was a fun diversion.
North Country (2005). An infuriating movie for all the wrong reasons. This was based on a true story of events at a Minnesota coal mine which led to the first sexual harassment class action lawsuit. A worthy subject for sure, and Charlize Theron is excellent. I just wish the screenwriter didn’t load Theron’s character with an extraneous (and likely fictionalized) backstory and the direction wasn’t so friggin’ unsubtle. The film would have been so much better if they stayed true to what really happened and toned down the Lifetime movie of the week dramatics.
Six Feet Under series finale (2005). I reached a milestone this week when completing all five seasons of Six Feet Under via on and off viewings of rented DVDs (since 2002!). The finale’s end, though, was an unforgettable experience. Recalling old David flashing back to a youthful Keith playing touch football again makes me want to cry.

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