Howdy Blog Otters (What? I’m sticking with it, I don’t get to nickname things very often), I was driving to work today, rocking out to a little Kid Rock, Eminem, and Big and Rich, and it got me thinking about what makes me love a song, movie, or TV show. Whereas I can enjoy a show like say Pawn Stars, I *love* a show like Breaking Bad or Scrubs or Shark Tank. I think the devil is in the details.
What are your favorite nuances?
Nuance is pretty important to me, especially in music. For example Kid Rock’s Cowboy. That song, while in addition to actually telling a pretty fleshed out story about Kid Rock going to LA to become an honest-to-goodness pimp, also does a lot of cool technical things that make me appreciate it more.
“Cowboy” came out in the heyday of Parental Advisory. Walmart wouldn’t sell uncensored CDs, Kazaa was years in the future, and most of us were downloading tunes via Napster over dialup connections, so odds are you’d end up with a censored version of the song at least occasionally. Which is fine, I actually like the censored version better.
Why? Bells and whistles. Literally. Whereas Limp Bizkit or Eminem simply bleeped out their words with silence, Kid Rock went the extra step to replace the swears with bazings and bells and whistles and cat calls that FIT IN TUNE WITH THE SONG, which is a level of craftsmanship that I really appreciate, even today. He still does it, too with the censored version of “Happy New Year” replacing the lyrics “Lets get shitfaced” with “lets get <beercan opening sound effect>-faced” .
Jay-Z does some cool stuff, too – For example if you listen to ’99 problems’ you’ll notice Bitch actually never refers to a woman. Instead it refers to a K9 dog, The music / radio industry, and a weak drug dealer, in that order. It’s really neat. Jay-Z also manages to throw the word “Faux” into “A Star is Born” using it in the context of “Some real, some Faux”, and while you may think it means foe as in enemy, the next line in the song is actually about that, meaning “Faux” fits in the context of the lyric. Hell, most lyrics sites get this wrong, too.
Thirdly, while Eminem is pretty straight forward – though he changed up his whole style on “Recovery” to make about 6000 puns, I always liked all the “ha has” he throws in over the course of his career to particularly brutal burns or jokes or puns. There’s a bunch, if you listen to him at all, you’ll pick up what I’m putting down.
Toby Keith gets points for gradually progressing the amount of the beers ago it was, in “Beers ago” as the song moves forward in time. And as cheesy as it is, I really like the crowd coming in during “I love this Bar”.
I dig nuance in wrestling that helps me suspend my disbelief a little more. Don’t stand in the ring like an idiot when you’re about to get top-rope drop kicked, make it look like you weren’t expecting it, dummy. This is why I hate the GTS – why, exactly, do you need him on your shoulders before you knee him in the face? What exactly does that do again?
In movies I have a love hate relationship with nuance, because if you do it wrong, you come off like an idiot self important asshole. I’m not sure if anyone here has seen Paul Haggis’s “In The Valley of Ellah” which is a really well told story about The War in Iraq and its toll on soldiers, and there’s a really subtle undercurrent of American unrest, along with Tommy Lee Jones kind of losing his mind – forgetting to shave, tie his shoes, etc – as the film goes on. It’s really heartbreaking. But the ending of the movie is so ham handed and stupid, and unpatriotic that it made me hate all the nuance prior to it. What’s the point of being subtle if you’re just going to hit me over the head with a hammer later.
There’s also a great deal of nuance in “The Dark Knight”, of all flicks, which is sort of like the opposite of “In The Valley of Ellah” in that it doesn’t even bother letting you know what it’s going for subtext wise. That whole movie is ultimately a metaphor for America’s war on terrorism. Here’s America (Gordon, the cops) who are fighting a war against an enemy that has no rules (The Joker), and losing because, well, Gordon *does* play by the rules, which is like playing football against a team with 3 extra defensive and offensive lineman. You simply can’t win. Thus, Batman comes in, a guy who DOES break the rules, but has his own code. As a result Gordon must trust Batman to use his best judgement when it comes to what rules to break.
Thus Batman pulls an NSA and starts spying on everyone in order to get to his target via their cell-phones. Lucius Fox says this is wrong, that citizens should not be spied on. Naturally Batman gives this power to the man that doesn’t want anything to do with it, Lucius himself. The ultimate metaphor being that if you’re going to break the rules to catch the bad guys, be SURE you give that power to break the rules to the right people. That’s my take (with some help from my buddy Ross on that Lucius part).
So Blog Otters, what are you favorite nuances, subtle moments, and neat details you love oh so very much?
Blog Otter Award: wnyxmcneal
for seeing more movies than I did last year. Yikes!
1. Poker Tournament E-mail is going out today around 10am. 4 sign-ups plus myself. [email protected]
2. If anyone is playing Madden this year let me heartily recommend the most popular sliders you can get from the “Share” option on the main menu. If you follow the instructions and crank your game up to All-Madden, you’ll end up with one of the most realistic games of Madden I’ve played in quite some time.