Todd Haynes

How ‘Love & Mercy’ Tells Brian Wilson’s Story and Breaks the Music Biopic Mold

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Tomorrow, director Bill Pohlad’s Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy hits theaters — though it seems a bit reductive to classify it as yet another music legend biopic, as the film takes such great pains to eschew the conventions of those movies and tell Wilson’s story in a unique, unexpected way. I was so taken with the film after seeing it at SXSW that I asked Flavorwire’s music editor/fellow biopic exhaustion victim Jillian Mapes to accompany me for a second viewing, and to share her thoughts on where Love & Mercy falls amid the quietly exciting reinvention of movies about the people who make music.
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What Is “Soft Dick Rock”? Jenny Hval Explains

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Less than a minute into the existential and experimental musician and writer Jenny Hval’s brilliant new album, Apocalypse, girl, she asks a question for the ages: “What is soft dick rock?” She answers clinically: “Using the elements of dick to create a softer, toned-down sound.” She even put it on a t-shirt. A classic Hvalian mix of soft and hard if there ever was one.
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The Prescience and Power of Todd Haynes’ ‘Safe’

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The important thing to remember about allegorical art is that it doesn’t always have to insist on a single reading — it can be analyzed, interpreted, and extrapolated many times over, from many different perspectives, and that benefit only grows with the passage of time. Todd Haynes’ Safe (out today, in a sharp new Blu-ray and DVD edition, from the Criterion Collection) is nearly 20 years old, and when it was released back in 1995, critics read it as metaphor for any number of maladies. Now, from a distance, Haynes’ target seems clearer, and the film all the more prescient: in many ways, Safe predicts both the insular nature of contemporary society, and the (counter-intuitive) disease of conformity that’s synonymous with it.
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The 25 Best Rock Movies Ever Made

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Next Tuesday, the Criterion Collection will release an all-new, stunningly restored, and just plain wonderful Blu-ray version of A Hard Day’s Night, the classic Beatles musical comedy that, wouldn’t you know it, also turns 50 years old this summer. To mark the release of that acclaimed rocker (and the theatrical unveiling of the thus-far less-acclaimed Four Seasons biopic Jersey Boys), we decided to round up the best rock movies of all time — no concert films and no documentaries, but narrative films where popular music plays a vital …Read More

25 More Dysfunctional Families on Film

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Last week, we shared a list of some entertaining movies about dysfunctional families. But the closer we got to Thanksgiving, as we made plans to head home for turkey and awkward moments in which we avoid talking about politics with our extended family, the more we realized that we missed a few great films that feature families that make our own look pretty normal in comparison. Take a look at this second round of fights, tears, breakups, and breakdowns for some fun tips on how not to act at dinner next …Read More