Personal Classics

As I’ve gradually gotten more aggressive about minimalism, it’s forced me to seriously appraise which entertaining non-essentials mean the most to me. Many a DVD or CD has made its way to the give-away pile as of late–a culling that’s left behind only the idiosyncratic best. Some of these are what I would categorize as “personal classics,” pieces of media that I find hugely meaningful–bulwarks of my inner universe–but fall a tad outside the mainstream. So I thought I’d share those in the event that any media-hounds are out there slavering for recommendations to break up the hum-drum tedium.

First up and no surprise to anyone who knows me well is the unequaled HBO miniseries True Detective Season One. I must admit, when I first heard the title my eyes glazed at the done-to-death connotation. But please trust me when I say the title is the only sub-par thing about it. Far from a cable true-crime yarn, Detective is more like an eight-hour-long movie. To avoid spoilers, it can only safely be described as the hunt for a serial killer in the swamps of Louisiana, with the love-hate relationship of a dumb jock (Woody Harrelson) and bookworm nihilist (Matthew McConaughey) duo adding drama to dread. I believe it to be the finest cinema depiction of the (modern) Southern United States, and  host to some of the sharpest dialogue that ever graced a screen. “Because we know what we want and we’re not afraid to be alone”–the sound of a world overturned.

Next is Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, a thinly-veiled exploration of WW2 PTSD ala Let There Be Light paired with L Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics and early Scientology. It’s an astoundingly accurate period-piece eerily juxtaposing white-picket-fence cultural kitsch with social alienation. The cinematography is transfixing; when I first saw it I moved from the back to the front of the theater for the first time to get a closer look. It is also one of the only films I’ve seen to unapologetically opt for a Dionysian conclusion that makes hamburger of the Sacred Cow called “character development.” In this movie, the only one who truly changes is you.

Blues aficionados need no introduction, but the uninitiated may well revel in these heart-aching howls.

A transcendentally progressive and melodious metal act–too pure for this world, based on their untimely demise. Like an electrified angelic choir.

It never ceases to amaze me how many dedicated metalheads are unacquainted with Nile. With lyrics based on Ancient Egyptian myth and Lovecraftian lore, and a sound as groovy as it is crushingly heavy, I can’t recommend them enough.

An original yet credible take on the American Revolution that avoids the pseudo-intellectual drivel of “deconstruction” whilst appropriately demystifying the motives and means.

That’s all for now. I hope you found something you’ll enjoy!

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