This week Alex and Wesley exchange disappointment about the too-cleverness of 22 Jump Street. They like it, yet they really don’t. It brings us back to about 15 years ago, when movies were steeped in irony and wanted to be let off the hook for being derivative because at least they knew they were derivative.
Then it’s on to Lana Del Rey’s Ultraviolence. Alex smartly connects the album to the knowingness of 22 Jump Street, but deduces it’s different because it’s pushing far beyond the limits of self-awareness. Del Rey is a total pop-art construction, but she’s gained complete control of her persona-driven project, and it’s exhilarating.
Finally, Casey Kasem died last weekend, and Alex and Wesley mark his passing with a conversation about his actual legacy. He helped people figured out what they liked and didn’t like simply by exposing them, with the help of the Billboard Hot 100, to everything. In other words: He was the radio, when the radio wasn’t a wall of cubbyholes. Wesley used to record a weekly list of the Top 40 songs as Kasem announced them on his four-hour countdown show American Top 40. Who’s doing that now? Someone start a podcast. Also: Wesley sings.
Don’t forget: Next month’s Prince Movies book is Rachel Kushner’s The Flamethrowers, which they’ll discuss during the week of July 16 show.
Here are links to topics discussed on this week’s show:
22 Jump Street
“Blockbuster Talk: A ‘22 Jump Street’ Bro-Down Throw-Down,” Grantland, June 16, 2014
“Too Fast! Too Fun! Too … Two?” Grantland, June 13, 2014
“‘21 Jump Street’ brings new love to the buddy comedy,” The Boston Globe, March 16, 2013
Lana Del Rey and Ultraviolence
“Fresh to Death and Sick as Cancer,” Grantland, February 2, 2012
“Finding Her Future Looking to the Past,” The New York Times, June 12, 2014
“The United States of Lana,” Grantland, June 17, 2014
“The Dark Fantasy — and Reality — of Lana Del Rey’s ‘Ultraviolence,’” Grantland, June 13, 2014
Cindy Sherman, interactive exhibition, Museum of Modern Art
“Falling,” music video, 1989
“Casablanca, or, The Clichés are Having a Ball,” Umberto Eco, 1985
“A Goddamn Death Dedication: Casey Kasem, 1932-2014,” Grantland, June 17, 2014
Listen to the podcast here.