Mastodon, Blood and Thunder

I don’t listen to that much metal, of any type. It would have suited my 15 year old head, but didn’t exist them (as far as I knew). Deep Purple filled that space a year or two later.

So, I saw the movie the Big Short today. It’s a fun and energetic telling of the story of the 2008 worldwide financial meltdown, with goofy period costumes (a la American Hustle), and lots of music, a la Scorcese and his imitators.

It also has Christian Bale playing an autistic genius MD with a thirst for metal. And a need to drum when things go bad. Almost all the writing and acting in the movie is on the mark, but Bale (as he often does) is above and beyond, not only chewing the scenery but making you (me) believe it needs to be chewed. That is, unostentatious ostentation.

I don’t listen to much metal, but one of the metal bands I like is called Mastodon, and they’re in the movie. Which is a good excuse to revisit this one. (And go see the movie. It is actually fun, and if you aren’t mad about the financial industry and government, you should be, with blood and thunder!)


5 thoughts on “Mastodon, Blood and Thunder

  1. 1) I’m not a metal fan, but using the old 15-year-old thing for hard, loud, fast music is condescending. And cliche. And so “Rolling Stone.” As if everyone who hasn’t “progressed” to The Eagles and smooth jazz at some point is some degree of retarded. Turbonegro used to say their fans were the smartest kids in the class and the dumbest kids in the class. I can live with that.

    2) Mastodon is one of those bands I so much wanna like but I just can’t get over the hump. It’s the vocals, it’s the lack of “swing” as Peter once described. This swings a little, but not enough.

    3) Being the fine culture hound that I am, I try to see as many of the best picture noms as I can stand. I’ve been on a tear lately, still needing only “Bridge Of Spies” “Brooklyn” (sorry, Peter) and “Room” to complete the set.

    “The Big Short” is my favorite so far. And if reading one book makes one a rock expert, then watching one movie makes one a politics expert. I walked out of “The Big Short” 100 percent committed to throwing my vote away to Bernie Sanders. (If I cause Trump or Cruz to win, I’ll simply start carrying a cyanide capsule.)

    Underrated aspect of “The Big Short” is “When The Levee Breaks” rolling through the closing credits – my very favorite Zep song. Needless to say, I was the last one to leave the theater.

    4) Steve’s Top Five Flicks Of 2015

    1. The Big Short
    2. Spotlight
    3. The Revenant
    4. Black Mass
    5. The Hateful Eight

    The first three are within a pussy hair of each other. The fact that pussy hair is scarce these days makes them even closer.

  2. The Mrs. and I were the last one’s to leave the theater, too, after the cleaning people, because of Levee. It is a great song.

    My point about not being a metal fan isn’t condescending, it’s that I have no sense of history and critical proportion. I was trying to inoculate myself, in case everybody hates Mastodon, from looking like an idiot. For some reason I’ve listened enough to them to like them, even though I’m not a fan of that voice, but don’t ask me to name a song or album. It’s a hole in my handbag of experience, metal is, like Jane Austen novels and Thai cinema (though I’ve made inroads there recently).

    About being 15, I’m not saying it’s music for 15 year olds. Or maybe I did say that, but I didn’t mean it to be stupid or condescending, though maybe it is. What I meant was that at 15 I was doing my head banging to Zep and Tull and, a little later, Deep Purple. For better or worse my tastes run to blues and swing, and I don’t get a ton of pleasure from much of that hammering metal attack, which abjures the blues. I do appreciate it. At one point I did a full dive into Metallica, figuring I had to get familiar more to like it. But nope. I appreciate the good songs, but after a while I stopped playing it. Not much pleasure for me there.

    Except Helmet. I still play Helmet regularly.

    When you search on Big Short it seems a popular search is Is the Big Short the most metal movie of 2015. Could be.

    Brooklyn is not the most metal movie of 2015. I very much liked the book and the movie is almost exactly like the book. Maybe the closest adaptation I’ve ever seen. That’s good, it’s a very good book, and not so good, no surprises.

    I very much liked the book of Room, too, though the pleasure in it was her use of voice. I can’t imagine how that translates to a movie. There’s much more metal potential in that one.

  3. Unfortunately, I tried the same thing with Metallica myself. With the same results. (Tried the same thing with Frank Sinatra too. With the same results.)

  4. If appreciating Sinatra is a requirement of our time on earth, then I’m flat-out screwed. I just don’t get it.

    It certainly swings. At least this does. But the swing here isn’t enough. What’s missing for me? My best guess is a) drums (sure there are drums in here, but not DRUMS) and b) electric guitar. (Ironically, this is kind of the opposite of metal, where the drums and guitar are not enough.)

    What do I really, really, really like that isn’t drums and electric guitar? Maybe certain Christmas songs? (Go ahead, laugh your fucking ass off, Dave Marsh.) I kinda like some church music/classical music, but I certainly wouldn’t make an effort to hear any of that.

    Like a musically retarded 15-year-old sitting in my shit diaper, I am.

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