Busted Halo
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March 27th, 2005
A review of Bob Dylan's autobiography, Chronicles: Volume I

When Greil Marcus reviewed Bob Dylan’s eagerly awaited 1970 album Self-Portrait for Rolling Stone, he began with the infamous line “what is this s—t?” Dylan’s legions of fans, Marcus included, suffered traumatic disillusionment upon listening to the inscrutable collection of covers and poorly-produced musical experiments to be found in Self-Portrait, in large part because all were expecting something more revealing from the “self portrait” of the larger-than-life musician whose impact on popular culture had been—and continues to be—so enormous. While Chronicles, the first in a promised series of autobiographical works by Dylan, offers far more to…

February 10th, 2005

If you could visit Pope John Paul II in the hospital right now, what would you like to say to him?
We set out for Central Park on a slushy afternoon to ask people in New York City what message they would send to the ailing Pope if they had the opportunity. Many international tourists–in town to visit “The Gates” in Central Park–enthusiastically agreed to speak to us. Not so eager to answer, however, were the many Americans we approached. One of them even laughed and said “I’m not touching that one.”…

February 9th, 2005
Aimee Mann's new album is a knockout

“Addiction and Grace,” the title of the Christian spiritual classic by Gerald May, is also an apt description of Aimee Mann’s latest disc, The Forgotten Arm . Her new collection of songs marks the fifth solo release for the former ’til Tuesday front woman and the first time she’s dared to tread into the highly dangerous territory known as “The Concept Album.” Fear not, music fans, The Forgotten Arm is a musical novella that contains some of Mann’s finest work to date. In it she recounts the story of John—a drug addict—and Caroline who meet at the Virginia State Fair in the 70′s and begin a troubled journey across the U.S. Through her melodies Mann is…

February 4th, 2005
Indie troubadour du jour, Conor Oberst, is not the next Dylan...yet

Conor Oberst, the lead singer and creative force behind the band Bright Eyes, is one of those ridiculously accomplished young people who make you wonder what you’ve been doing with your life. The 24-year-old Oberst started performing when he was 13, and since then he has written nearly 100 songs, most of which have been released on a record label he started himself. When Bright Eyes released two albums on the same day in late January?I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning and Digital Ash in a Digital Urn?the precocious Nebraskan received the kind of attention usually reserved for musicians many years his senior.
The pale-faced, stringy-haired Oberst is now the bright young thing in indie music. In the…

February 2nd, 2005
A review of HBO's Empire Falls

Good novels rarely make good movies, but author Richard Russo has somehow defied the odds. The film based on Nobody’s Fool captured the tenderness and humor of Russo’s novel, thanks in large part to Paul Newman’s spot-on performance as a sixty-year-old bachelor named Sully. Empire Falls, based on Russo’s Pulitzer-Prize winning novel (which will be shown in two parts on Saturday and Sunday nights on HBO), is also an unexpected success, and again Newman, who plays the lovably disheveled Max Roby, deserves much of the credit.
At first glance, Russo’s novels would seem particularly difficult to adapt to the screen. His books are chock-full of idiosyncratic characters that need…

February 1st, 2005

“What are your thoughts on Valentine’s Day?”…

January 31st, 2005
10 albums that changed my world but never won a Grammy

Award show season is coming to a close. The big ones (Grammys, Tonys, Oscars) have all been distributed to this year’s winners and those of us who were not nominated for anything have had a chance to argue with one another about why our favorite stars should have won. Americans love award shows. It is strange in some respects because the movies, shows and music that garner awards every year are rarely our personal favorites. Our relationship to a movie or album is so personal. When it comes to the music that is most important to us, we probably feel an affinity to it because of the emotions it evokes, or the memories associated with it, and not because of any awards it may or may not have won.
Music can make the human…

January 6th, 2005
HBO's latest comedy phenomenon is vulgar, offensive and hilariously revealing

Yes, it’s crass. It’s crude. And it’s more than a little insensitive. All these charges can and should be leveled against Da Ali G Show , which recently completed its second short season on HBO. Nevertheless, Ali G’s critics miss the most important quality of the show, that Sacha Baron Cohen and his trademark alter egos Ali G (the rapper straight outta Staines), Borat Sagdiyev (Kazakhstan’s top journalist) and Bruno (the cartoonishly gay Austrian fashionista) are practicing a kind of guerilla comedy that does much to reveal and eviscerate some of modern American culture’s most laughable assumptions about itself and others.
The Cambridge-educated Cohen first earned…

January 4th, 2005

How has the tsunami disaster affected your faith in God?…

January 4th, 2005
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Toward the end of Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, the Jacques Cousteau-esque oceanographer (played Bill Murray) and his crew finally finds the shark that they have pursued with Ahab-like recklessness for most of the film. The crew is still traumatized by a tragedy that occurred earlier in the film, and as they stare at the animal, they are deathly silent. Finally, Jane (Cate Blanchett), a very pregnant journalist who has accompanied the crew on their journey, tells the aging seaman that in 12 years her child will be 11-and-a-half years old. “That was my favorite age,” Zissou replies wistfully.
That bit of dialogue explains a lot about Anderson, the precocious writer-director…

January 2nd, 2005
A Review of "Meet the Fockers"

One of the most stressful situations for an engaged couple is meeting their future in-laws and trying to make a good impression. However, the angst-o-meter rises even higher when those in-laws meet each other.
The 2000 hit movie “Meet the Parents” captured the first part of that equation with hilarious results. Gaylord “Greg” Focker (Ben Stiller) struggled to connect with his girlfriend’s tightly wound dad Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro) but usually wound up with both feet in his mouth. After lots of awkward squirming ? and even some body and property damage, Greg managed to enter Jack’s “circle of trust” and become a part of the family. In the 2004 sequel “Meet…

January 2nd, 2005

What do you think of the current steroid scandal? Does it reflect a cheater’s mentality in our society?…

December 23rd, 2004

On the surface, Christmas shopping season is at its peak and our lists of “must haves” and wants are long. But will full shopping bags and trees blockaded by presents fulfill all our Christmas desires? No way, says our unofficial survey.

December 16th, 2004
Clint Eastwood, my father and going the distance.

“Please kill me. I don’t want this anymore. Please kill me.”
Three years ago, just a few weeks after my wedding, my 74-year-old mother spoke those haunting words to my father while she struggled to recover from a risky surgical procedure to repair her colon. Doctors had only given her a 25% chance of surviving and after the surgery, her recovery was slow and depression loomed large. She spent her days in anxiety and tears while my father watched her lose her will to live. Still, he traveled every day to be by her side. He slept little and worried much. My mother’s words rang in my ear this past weekend as I watched Clint Eastwood’s gripping tale, Million Dollar Baby (spoiler alert: Stop…

December 13th, 2004
a book by Terry Gross

In the introduction to a collection of her radio interviews broadcast on National Public Radio, Fresh Air host Terry Gross has a few words for potential skeptics: “You may be wondering what the point is of reading interviews that were meant to be listened to,” writes Gross, who has hosted Fresh Air since 1975. “But in going through transcripts in preparation for this book, I was pleasantly surprised that so many of the interviews I remembered as having been good radio also made for enjoyable reading. In reading the ones gathered here?and I probably shouldn’t admit this?I’ve learned things from them that went right by me in the studio.”
While guests on Fresh Air are often…

December 13th, 2004

Christmas Questions on the streets of NYC…

November 20th, 2004

BustedHalo hits the streets of New York…

November 14th, 2004
Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby doesn't go the distance

In one sense, Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby–which was nominated for seven Oscars earlier this week–will be familiar to anyone who has seen Rocky or The Great White Hope or any number of boxing movies. There’s the ornery old trainer, this time played by Clint Eastwood; the run-down gym full of has-beens; and the perfectly toned fighter who jumps rope faster than is humanly possible. But as recognizable as all of this is, the movie is not simply rehashing a tired clich?. That may be because the contender in this film is a woman. Or it may be because, in the end, Million Dollar Baby is not a boxing movie at all.
Let me explain: Million Dollar Baby has been touted as one of the best films of…

November 1st, 2004

How has the tsunami disaster affected your faith in God? Would God cause such destruction? Does it make you question your faith or belief in God?…

October 31st, 2004
A Neighborhood Divided Local man hasn't had Trick or Treaters since the Reagan administration.

At first I thought it’s because of my mole, you know, the one here on my nose? Like, I don’t think it’s that big a deal anymore, I mean after the therapy and the cream. But sometimes people still make comments like “Technically speaking, you might want to consider
listing that thing as a dependent?” silly stuff like that from my accountant. But I don’t think that’s any reason kids wouldn’t want candy. I mean, who doesn’t love candy? Especially the organic candy I have, which is, you know, healthy and all, not like all the processed garbage kids have these days. Honestly, who would want a “Milky Way” when you could have an organic oatmeal soy surprise?…

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