Movie Review: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Posted in Movie Reviews with tags on February 28, 2011 by thomasnr95

In 1962 director John Ford brought together two of the silver screen’s biggest stars James Stewart and John Wayne together. The result of such pairing was the western classic “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.” In this film, Stewart plays Ransom Stoddard, a U.S Senator who returns to a town known as Shinbone. Once he arrives he tells a reporter that he came for to go to the funeral of Tom Doniphon (John Wayne). Perplexed by the unknown name Stewart’s character goes on to tell the story of himself, Doniphon and the outlaw known as Liberty Valance.

This western isn’t so much about the gunslinging and fighting, but more about the visual changing of the old west.  This is because this movie is about the transformation of the west from wide open lawlessness to “civilization” and law and order.

Other than the performances of Wayne and Stewart (which were incredible as usual) kudos should be given to the lesser known actors of the movie. Including Andy Devine, who portrayed a bumbling, usually drunk town marshal and Edmond O’Brien, who played Dutton Peabody, founder, editor, and publisher of the local newspaper. You can’t forget Lee Marvin whom was the character of the title.

If you’re looking for a way to spend a night, and are wanting a thrilling, yet sometimes comical classic, look for John Ford’s “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.” A film I enjoyed, and I am sure many others did aswell.

RATING: 5/5 STARS

Favorite Quote: “This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact…print the legend.”

New Robbie Robertson LP Coming April 5th

Posted in Uncategorized on January 4, 2011 by thomasnr95

Today it was announced that on April 5th, the first album by Robbie Robertson in  thirteen years would be released. The album is named “How To Become Clairvoyant” after a song on the album, which was featured on the second volume of the True Blood soundtrack.

The album has twelve tracks (which are listed below), three of which were co-written with Robbie’s longtime friend Eric Clapton. Right now you can hear “When The Night Was Young” by clicking onto the picture below. The song features vocals by Angela McCluskey, as well as one of Robbie’s best vocal performances. Other musicians on the album include Steve Winwood, Tom Morello, Trent Reznor, and Taylor Goldsmith (of the band Dawes).

I’ve gone this far  without mentioning what Robbie is most known for, and it’s probably the longest someone has gone without bringing them up since the album was announced. Of course I’m talking about The Band.  It’s known that The Band played their last OFFICIAL concert on Thanksgiving Day 1976, and that the concert was filmed and released as The Last Waltz. But it’s lesser known that they re-united (minus Robertson) in 1983. The reason I bring this up is that “How To Become Clairvoyant” includes the song “This Is Where I Get Off” which is about Robbie and the breakup of The Band.

I don’t know about you, but I know that I’ll be picking this record up. I’ve enjoyed all of The Band members solo career efforts, and can’t wait until I get that new Robbie record into my hands.

The track listing for “How to Become Clairvoyant” is:

1. “Straight Down The Line”
2. “When The Night Was Young”
3. “He Don’t Live Here No More”
4. “The Right Mistake”
5. “This Is Where I Get Off”
6. “Fear of Falling”
7. “She’s Not Mine”
8. “Madame X”
9. “Axman”
10. “Won’t Be Back”
11. “How to Become Clairvoyant”
12. “Tango For Django”

Overdoing a TV Genre

Posted in Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 by thomasnr95

The idea of buying or appraising items as a TV show is not a new one.  It started with “Antiques Roadshow” in 1979, but over the past few years this style of show has taken a huge change.  In July of 2009 History Channel premiered “Pawn Stars” which features the buying antics of the Gold  & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas, Nevada. With this being a success, History commissioned “American Pickers” which has also become a success.

Because of the success of these two shows  other basic cable networks decided to create similar shows to try to gain the success of History Channel. After seeing a few similar shows I must say, none of them are as entertaining as “Pawn Stars” and “American Pickers” themselves.

One of these knock-offs is on TruTV and is called “Hardcore Pawn.”  Unlike “Pawn Stars” it takes place in Detroit, and unlike “Pawn Stars” the items brought into the pawn shop are more realistic, and thereby (in my opinion) making the show less entertaining. The show tries to make up for it by adding dramatic bits amongst employees, but you can tell its scripted.

Another knock-off is called “Pawn Queens.”  and is no different than “Hardcore Pawn” except the main staff is all female. The only big differences is that this takes place in Naperville, Illinois and airs on TLC.

Spike TV isn’t a stranger to this style of show either. One of their shows, “Auction Hunters” is about people buying and selling storage containers. Another called “Scrappers”  is about buying and selling scrap metal. Neither of these are as entertaining and the items are more usual unlike some of the odd things brought through the doors on “Pawn Stars.”

Even History Channel themselves has aired new programming based on the success of “Pawn Stars” with the show “American Restoration” a direct spin-off of the original cash cow. It features Rick Dale and his business Rick’s Restorations who regular does business with the pawn stars themselves.

This genre of show is entertaining, but watching it in mass amounts can get boring fast. If you’re wanting to watch a show of this nature, just wait until “Pawn Stars” airs next and watch that.

Catcher’s Banning and the Modern Media

Posted in Uncategorized on November 16, 2010 by thomasnr95

They say one learns from his surroundings, as in one learns from those
around him. And although one may learn from books, the current generation
learns more-so from movies and television. Maybe J.D Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye should have been banned when it was first released in 1951, but 59
years later parents should be worried about more than books when it comes to cursing, smoking and overall rudeness of today’s youth.

First, one should know the plot of the book. The Catcher in the Rye
chronicles three days after the suspension of Holden Caulfeild from boarding
school Pencey Prep. One of the most famous things from the book is the
opening paragraph: “If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll
probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was
like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them” (Salinger 1).

Many peple would say that J.D Salinger’s most known book would let
kids know smoking is arlight as a teenager when you can’t blame protagonist
Holden Caulfeild from smoking. He was more than likely swept up in the
independence of a boarding school. It’s not the only book where the protagonist smokes at a boarding school. Look at John Green’s 2005 novel Looking for Alaska. In this book based on real events (Green). The main character does not start smoking until he arrives at Culver Creek (the boarding school in the novel) he does so based on the habits of those who surround him.

Parents also complain that the books large amount of swearing would “inspire” teens to pick up swearing. When on any given day when you walk down the halls of George Washington High School you’ll hear familiar swears, and ones you did not even know existed. One could blame the total disregard of keeping ones mouth clean by the rise of swearing in popular media which spread words of curse every night. For example, as of October 2010 one of the most
popular movies is “Jackass 3D” (Kay). Just like its predecessors it features a
gang of grown men doing stupid stunts and of course cursing. Although the type of parent who would want a book banned would not let their child see this movie somehow, someway, they will find out about swearing. When according to TV guide, “Profanity is uttered once every six minutes on American primetime television”

If smoking and cursing is not a bother maybe one would be offended by
Holden Caulfeild’s bad attitude towards his family, his teachers, and practically everyone he runs into over the course of the novel. Caulfeild complained about basically anything, and his whinging was bearable unlike the complaining of the current generation. Even the smallest little thing makes one whine nowadays.
Whether it be an assignment a teacher gives out, to not getting their way. In
some classes depending on who’s in it, one can have the feeling of their I.Q.
literally dropping. And you can’t blame books for this. If anything this is due to the parents not rasining their children right.

Since 1951 media has advanced a long way. With mass forms of radio,
Television, movies and internet communication and learning amongst culture has never been higher. Freedom of speech has never been higher aswell, and sadly people use these new forms of media to curse and whine. J.D Salinger shouldn’t have a banned book in Catcher in the Rye when any child could log onto the
internet and read worse.

The Term “Oldies” = Disrespect

Posted in Uncategorized on September 20, 2010 by thomasnr95

If you were a musician and you worked your ass off to release a record wouldn’t you be mad if one day they started classifying your music as “oldies”?  So would I.  This term I personally dislike is most commonly used to describe a radio station thats concentrates on music from a period of about 15 to 55 years before the present day (So for the sake of this post, anything before 1995 is considered an “oldie”).

I’m going to write this with  concentration on that early rock ‘n’ roll. Mainly because this is what I hear called “oldies” the most. It’s a crying shame to see people calling such influential music by a term that degrades it. Now, if you were gonna tell a kid you were listening to “oldies” just by the term they’d be turned off. Now if you told them that you were listening to “the pioneers of music as we know it today” you might spark some interest.

I also have a problem with how everything pre-95 is considered “oldie.” This would include all of Nirvana’s stuff, Everything from the 80’s including heavy metal, the dance and teen pop of the 70’s, and everything before that until you run into 1950

Music shouldn’t be called old, because all music (except the stuff that’s popular today) is truly timeless. And if you really loved music thats been around for a long time, you wouldn’t call it “oldies”

Rich Rock History Charleston

Posted in Uncategorized on August 31, 2010 by thomasnr95

One of the things I’ve heard said about Charleston is that hardly any good bands come to town. But if you dig deeper you’ll realize that great bands have come and gone. And if you look to the future you’ll realize that not all hope is lost.

1950s

Let me starts with the beginning of the Rock n Roll era. The 1950s. Back in the ’50s most acts toured in a revue type setting. As in you pay $2.00 to $2.50 and you’ll see a number of acts over a timespan of a couple of hours.

Allow me to use this poster for “Biggest Show of Stars for ’57” as you can see

it was held in Charleston’s own Municipal Auditorium and it featured many big acts of the time. Including the legendary Fats Domino and Chuck Berry. Other acts that come to town on other tours included Etta James and Bo Diddley, who played the Municipal Auditorium atleast twice during this era of Rhythm and Blues Revue tours.Another interesting bit of information about these shows is that the balconies were reserved for the “white” concert goers while the main floor was reserved for the “black” portion of the audience  Maybe we’d be able to still receive big name acts if they toured in revue shows like the bands of the  past. The closest thing to the old style of revue show we have is Mountain Stage. And although that brings fairly big names it doesn’t have a very big variety when it comes to genres.

The 1960s

In the mid-1960s Charleston hosted more national recording acts at the Charleston Civic Center. Amongst these artists were  The Young Rascals (also known as just The Rascals) , Paul Revere and the Raiders, and The Monkees. Many other acts came to town as apart of “Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars”

The first major hard rock act to visit the city was Jefferson Airplane on December 8th 1967. They played the old Charleston Civic Center and they brought a big light show to accompany them. Perhaps one of the most famous acts to come here was  The Jimi Hendrix Experience who played the Civic Center on  May 10th 1969. And although it was not in Charleston I thought it was interesting that the British rock supergroup Cream played Huntington around this time period.

The 1970s

When it comes to the 70s I’m mainly going to talk about two artists, and I’ll list some of the others. The first of the two is Led Zeppelin. On April 2nd 1979 Led Zeppelin performed at the Charleston Civic Center with no opening acts for two and 1/2 hours. This is one of the shows Zeppelin played that they called “An Evening With….”. They played this show shortly before releasing there third album “Led Zeppelin III

The second of the two is none other than the King of Rock, Elvis Presley. Elvis appeared live at the Civic Center on July 25th 1976. It is even rumored that he have a couple of Cadillacs to some policemen. From what I’ve heard he played many of his biggest hits during his concert. Presley was also supposed to play two shows in Huntington but he never made it to those shows as he died before they took place.

At this point instead of doing into detail of the 80s in 90s I’m going to list other bands that have performed in Charleston.

Stevie Ray Vaughan,BB King, Alice Cooper, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Kiss, Ted Nugent, AC/DC, Ozzy Osbourne, Nazareth, Heart, Van Halen, Bon-Jovi, The Police,  Grand Funk, , Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker, Willie NelsonTed Nugent, The Eagles,Blue Oyster Cult, Metallica (Opened for Ozzy), Heart ,Kansas ,KISS, Foreigner, Billy Squier ,Stevie Nicks Joe Walsh  ,Rick Springfield ,.38 Special, Huey Lewis and The News,Duran Duran, Fleetwood Mac, The Beach Boys, The Band (the 90 reunited version), R.E.M. , Uncle Tupelo and last but not least: Bob Dylan

For more information and personal accounts of some of these shows please visit the following page on Facebook: Rock ‘n Roll Memories of Charleston

The Difference Between Past and Present

Posted in Music, Social Commentary with tags , , on August 30, 2010 by thomasnr95

Back during the Vietnam War when the soldiers were away at war the kids protested. While the Soldiers were away the folk singers sang. When the soldiers were away the Folk Singers sang Protest Songs. Today while the soldiers are away the kids…….play a game based on war on Xbox Live. I know the times have changed and so has the music but activism should not.

Back in the 1960′s you had Phil Ochs , Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Odetta now you have hardly anyone. No one is singing it like they used to. The only people in the music business that are involved in activism are acts that have been around for more than a decade. I mean I write songs I’d record them myself but I can’t sing (And some of you may say Bob Dylan can’t sing but his voice grows on you, My voice is the kind that can’t). What we need is something like a Folk Revival but the youth of todays mind’s have been rotted by too much pop.

COMMENTS FROM THE ORIGINAL POST:

Nathan~As I’ve told you, you are way beyond your years when it comes to music. I hope you never lose that. It is a true gift to be an original thinker–especially at an age when “peer pressure” is so prevalent.

You already know what it takes many of us a lifetime to learn–the significance of what has come before.

PLUS–you happen to have GREAT taste in music. Never change!
– Carol Caffin

Reading this, I feel like I’m reading the works of a 70-year-old man, in every way complimentary, in saying that. I agree completely with the previous comment. Kids these days may be more book smart, but they aren’t as savvy when it boils down to truly appreciating America. This post, posted by a 15-year-old, gives me hope for future generations. All I can say is, I’m impressed.
-Daisy Thomas