The Filtered Excellence: December 13, 2018

Bob Geldof once asked us, “Where is the filtered excellence!?” It’s right here. Once a week we take a break from comedy to bring you this week’s picks of the best things to watch, the most interesting things to do, great things to try, the best picks to read, our favorite things to listen to and more.


WATCH THIS

Springsteen On Broadway.  Fans who couldn’t get a ticket to Bruce Springsteen’s epic run of shows on Broadway will get the next best thing with this Netflix special.  Viewers will get a front row seat as The Boss tells stories about his life, the people who were in his orbit and how they became the basis of some of his greatest songs.  Once you get the full backstory and context, songs such as Born To Run, Growing Up and Born In The U.S.A carry even more weight and power now than the first time you heard them.  This is Bruce Springsteen stripped down to the core, but done with candor, warmth, honesty and humor.  It’s a full on triumph from one of rock’s greatest singer-songwriters.  Springsteen On Broadway premieres this Friday on Netflix.

Divide And Conquer:  The Story Of Roger Ailes.  The improbable rise and spectacular fall of the former head of FOX News is the subject of this new documentary from director Alexis Bloom.  It covers his formative years as the son of a factory foreman in Ohio, and how meeting Richard Nixon while working on a local TV talk show led him to become a key media consultant for three Presidents.  Bloom also covers how as the head of a fledgling cable news network, it became the go-to platform for the right – and his own personal playground to get some of his company’s prettiest employees to sleep with him.  With the use of archival footage and new interviews specifically for the film – Bloom also covers how Ailes’ paranoia, ego – coupled with a blitz of sexual harassment allegations – brought his career to a crashing halt.  Part history lesson and warning, Bloom has put together a film that shows the widespread ripple effects of power unchecked.  Divide And Conquer: The Story Of Roger Ailes is in theaters now.

If Beale Street Could Talk.   Writer/director Barry Jenkins’ follow up to his Oscar-winning film Moonlight is a big screen adaptation of the classic 1974 James Baldwin novel.  It stars KiKi Layne and Stephan James as Tish Rivers and Fonny Hunt, two childhood friends who are now a loving, married couple.  Their lives are rocked by two life changing events:  Fonny’s arrest on trumped up rape charges and Tish learning that she is pregnant.  Working with her family, Tish tries to clear Fonny’s name in time for the birth of their child.   Jenkins has been trying to get Baldwin’s novel to the screen for quite some time, and his love and reverence for the material – thanks in large part to legendary cinematographer James Laxton – leaps out in blitz of bright, vibrant colors.  Layne and James deliver strong breakout performances as the couple trying to overcome enormous odds, and Regina King gives an Oscar-worthy performance as Tish’s mother Sharon.  Also watch Atlanta’s Brian Tyree Henry nearly steal the movie as Fonny’s released paroled friend Daniel:  His take on his time locked up is devastating.  While the film takes pointed shots at the criminal justice system’s gut wrenching effects on people of color, it’s above all, a celebration of love between lovers, family, and friends.  One of the year’s best films.  If Beale Street Could Talk is available now in select theaters and rolling out nationwide Christmas Day.  You can also go to www.bealestreet.movie for more information.

LISTEN TO THIS

The Miseducation Of Eunice Waymon by Amerigo Gazaway.  The latest installment of the California-based DJ/producer’s ‘Soul Mates’ series imagines a studio session between Nina Simone and Lauryn Hill.  By infusing audio and mashing up classic songs by both artists, Gazaway finds incredible, almost eerie parallels between the two in terms of musical arc and overall life philosophy.  By making the connection between hip hop and soul, Gazaway has put together a loving tribute to two women who have made their mark on global culture.  The Miseducation Of Eunice Waymon is available as a free download at www.amerigo.bandcamp.com.

BUY THIS

The Jerk (40th Anniversary Edition).  Released in December 1979, this Carl Reiner-directed comedy was a box office smash, earning over 100 million dollars at the box office (off a 4 million dollar budget) and elevating Steve Martin to mythic status.  This new 40th Anniversary Edition features a 2K transfer, the original trailers, radio spots and new conversations with Martin, Reiner, and screenwriters Michael Elias and Carl Gottlieb.  There’s also a feature that instructs how to to play ‘Tonight You Belong To Me’.
Whether you loved the film or seeing it for the first time, this is your ticket.  The Jerk (40th Anniversary Edition) will be available on Blu-Ray on December 18th.  You can also go to www.shoutfactory.com for more information.

DO THIS

New York City: Punk Lust:  Raw Provocation 1971-1985.  Punk culture didn’t bring rock n roll back to its bare essence, it also redefined how we viewed sexuality in both visually and lyrical terms.  The Museum Of Sex has teamed up with cultural critic Carlo McCormick, journalists and musician Vivian Goldman to present a new exhibit that show how punk broke through gender and societal norms to present a style that liberated as much as it outraged.  It will include over 300 artworks, films, and garments worn by punk legend – the majority of which are some the artists personal archives and private collections – to show how punk sexuality played with stereotypes and gender roles and ushered in a new era of artistic and expression that’s still being felt today.  Whether you are of that period or a millennial looking to learn more about the era, this exhibit for your best ticket.  Punk Lust:  Raw Provocartion 1971-1985 will be a The Museum Of Sex through November 2019.  You can also go to www.musuemofsex.com for tickets and additional information.

New York City: A Cher For All Seasons.  Cher’s been on the national radar for over 50 years and shows no signs of slowing down.  She had a movie-stealing performance in the hit film Mamma Mia!  Here We Go Again and her album of ABBA covers, Dancing Queen, debuted at No. 1 on the U.S. album chart.   Her life and legacy is also the subject of the hit Broadway musical, The Cher Show.  To celebrate this recent run of success,  The Musuem Of The Moving Image will be presenting a 9 day retrospective of her work on screen.  It will include her Oscar-winning performance in Moonstruck, Silkwood, Mask, The Witches Of Eastwick, Mermaids and much more.  Whether it’s dramas and comedies, Cher more than holds her own and this retrospective deftly put her range on full display.  A great salute to an entertainment icon.  A Cher For All Seasons will be at the Museum Of The Moving Image December 15th through the 24th.  You can also go to www.movingimage.us for more information.

New York City: Rated X.  As a new wave of filmmakers were pushing the envelope regarding violence, language and sexuality on screen, studio heads were looking to find new ways to better inform the public – especially nervous parents sending their kids off the movies – about what they were about to see ahead of time.  In the fall of 1968, Jack Valenti, the newly appointed head of the Motion Picture Association Of America, implemented a new ratings system that most thought would solve the problem.  A film rated ‘X’- one that indicated the presence of sexual and/or violent content – forbid anyone until 18 from entering the theater.  The MPAA made a crucial error by not trademarking the X rating, allowing the growing porn industry to double and triple down on the label, causing already nervous studios to trim down X rated films to obtain a much more ad friendly R rating.  But for a brief time, X-rated films were not only made, but they did big business and, nominated for major awards, and, in the case of Midnight Cowboy, win the Academy Award for Best Picture.  This short, but creatively adventurous period will the subject of month long retrospective at Quad Cinema.  It will include Midnight Cowboy, A Clockwork Orange, Last Tango In Paris, Klute, Dawn Of The Dead, Myra Breckinridge, Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer, and much more. It’s a unique look back at one of the most unsung periods of the ‘New Hollywood’ era.  Rated X will be at Quad Cinema through January 10th.  You can also go to www.quadcinema.com for a complete rundown of films, tickets and additional information.

Want more excellence? Read last week’s the filtered excellence.

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Earl Douglas is a writer/photographer based in New York City. A frequent contributor to The Interrobang, Earl is also Executive Director for the New York chapter of The Black Rock Coalition. Earl worked in radio for nearly two decades at WNEW-FM and XM Satellite Radio, which included being the on-air producer for Carol Miller, Scott Muni and Ron & Fez, and a contributor to Opie & Anthony. Earl has also independently published a number of books including Black Rock Volume 1, Urban Abyss, Mobile Uploads, and For Shimmy. His latest project is the photojournalism magazine PRAXIS, which is available exclusively through Blurb.com.

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Earl Douglas
Earl Douglas
Earl Douglas is a writer/photographer based in New York City. A frequent contributor to The Interrobang, Earl is also Executive Director for the New York chapter of The Black Rock Coalition. Earl worked in radio for nearly two decades at WNEW-FM and XM Satellite Radio, which included being the on-air producer for Carol Miller, Scott Muni and Ron & Fez, and a contributor to Opie & Anthony. Earl has also independently published a number of books including Black Rock Volume 1, Urban Abyss, Mobile Uploads, and For Shimmy. His latest project is the photojournalism magazine PRAXIS, which is available exclusively through Blurb.com.