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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