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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Culture Corner with Dominic Faria

The Arts Desks’ weekly picks for movies, books, music and television shows

TV Show: “Bosch”

Based on a series of novels by Michael Connelly, the show follows the life of a surly, jazz-appreciating Los Angeles Police Department homicide detective named Harry Bosch. He’s basically the John Wick of law enforcement, but with a bit less of the rogue assassin vibe. Bosch has no fear, hates bad guys and lets nothing stand in the way justice (“Get off your ass and go knock on doors” is written on a piece of paper posted on his desk at the precinct). “Bosch” may feature action scenes that are adrenaline-inducing, but it also contains an overarching sincere and poignant attitude. More than just an everyday crime action-drama, Bosch confronts themes of grief, loss, regret, redemption and atonement in a brutally honest way. But if that does not intrigue you, at least watch for the shots of Harry’s bitchin’ house in the Hollywood Hills. You can stream all five glorious seasons now on Amazon Prime and then wait in agony until season six airs in April.

Movie: “Burn After Reading”

In the year following Joel and Ethan Coen’s best picture-winning film, “No Country For Old Men,” the famed Coen brothers released this much less critically-acclaimed masterpiece — which is one of my personal favorites. An alcoholic CIA agent, a serial cheater, a guy named Chad who works at a fitness center and a woman who just wants a few “procedures” to make her feel pretty all somehow get mixed up in this ridiculous, dark and twisted comedy set in Washington, D.C. You can’t really go wrong with any film that features both Brad Pitt and George Clooney, but what truly ties this hilarious-but-gut-wrenching work together is the sheer smugness and anger of Osbourne Cox (played by John Malkovich) and the ditsy-yet-determined power of Linda Litzke (played by Frances McDormand). This is one of the few movies that will make you cackle and wince at the same time.  

Book: “East of Eden” by John Steinbeck

“Timshel” is probably the most important word in this lengthy masterpiece. Is it might, or may? Can one be both good and evil? And do we have a choice in which one we get to be? That’s for you to decide after you unpack Steinbeck’s profound and ornate tale that centers around two families in California’s Salinas Valley. “East of Eden” contains so much substance that it’s the only book I’ve ever read more than once, and it actually gets better the second time around. The novel is filled with biblical parallels, complex family relationships and stark juxtapositions that make it impossible to put down. It also has Lee, the novel’s best character and the dude I most wish I could hang out with in real life.

Album: “Tapestry” by Carole King

Despite being someone whose music taste varies with the day, I keep finding myself coming back to this album. In my younger years, my mother would play the entire album on repeat during long car rides — so often that I still have every track memorized. “Tapestry” is an irresistible mix of playful Motown rhythms, nostalgia-infused ballads and songs of self-empowerment (“you’re as beautiful as you feel”). My personal favorite from the album, “Way Over Yonder,” is smooth and uplifting — evoking pleasant memories while inspiring me to make it through the toughest of days. Even though the album was released in 1971, its emotional depth is as timeless as Carole King’s vocals. King is considered one of the most prolific and successful songwriters of the 20th century, and “Tapestry” was her breakthrough into singing. As one of the best-selling albums of all time, it’s a must-listen for anyone in our younger generation with an old soul.

Written By: Dominic Faria — arts@theaggie.org


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