The Tuesday media recap. And on time this weekend, before most of you layabouts have bothered to crawl from beneath the feathery bliss of your Calvin Klein duvets (I wrote “duvet” instead of “comforter”; that makes me a “metrosexual”; time left before that moniker thankfully expires: 26 hours, 17 minutes).
First, video games, because as the holiday overindulgence season approaches, the games are practically pouring off the shipping ramps of major publishers. This week you’ll want to look for Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Singled out for top pick this week: although the much-ballyhooed convergence of games and film occurs with frightening regularity and often reprehensible results, Return of the King may mark the watershed event for games riding movie coattails: a great game based on a film expected to have immense popular appeal and rank well among respected movie critics. Available on PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube, though you’ll likely want the GameCube or Xbox versions for that graphics edge. To split hairs, go Xbox with this one.
Next up, Castlevania: Lament of Innocence, exclusive to PlayStation 2. Nothing lamentable about this one; fans of the series will want to buy now. Action-adventure mavens otherwise occupied may delay, but if you own a PlayStation 2, likely you’ll drop $50 for Castlevania sometime over the holidays or save a bit at a New Year sale.
Finally this week, SOCOM: U.S. Navy Seals II, also exclusive to PlayStation 2. This is a multiplayer experience, not highly recommended if you’re in it only for the solo game. And if you don’t already have the necessary accoutrement, it’s not a game, it’s a bloody — it’s all fake blood in SOCOM of course; remember, it’s only a game — investment: $50 for SOCOM; $40 for the modem/broadband network adapter; $40 for the voice-enabling headset (yes, you need it, really). Note the word “modem” in the network adapter description. Ignore that: if you don’t have a broadband Internet connection, forget SOCOM. The good news is that the network adapter works with other online titles for PlayStation 2; and that whopping $40 for the headset gets you a quality piece of peripheral engineering, not the electronic trinket included with the first SOCOM title. Speaking of SOCOM the first, if you run out right now and pre-order SOCOM II before it ships about mid-week, you’ll get a bonus disc containing a playable demo of the game. The original SOCOM had its share of detractors and technical problems: do not hesitate to try before you buy, especially if you’ll need to eBay the family sterling to afford the headset and network adapter.
On DVD, it has to be Finding Nemo. Pixar has revolutionized animated film in the United States, and not because of a mere billion dollars in high-end computing equipment: their creative team is superlative, from screenwriters to animators to voice actors. $15 at Circuit City for the double-disc edition, though in markets where Circuit City has outlets, you’ll likely find competitive pricing from all the major retailers. If you think Trix are for kids, and you believe Reese Witherspoon is what Matthew Broderick meant by “hot” in Biloxi Blues, then by all means buy a few dozen copies of Legally Blonde 2, affix them to your unclothed body and present yourself at Reese’s front door. A stalking indictment and a few bonus misdemeanor charges await you.
Music. Do I even have to write about music this week? Good God, it’s a teenage wasteland right now. Yet I suppose I’ll trudge through the muck and uncover perhaps one flawed gem. I’m going to stretch my neck over the block and yell for Sarah McLachlan’s Afterglow, having yet to hear the record. I know, I know, more evidence of metrosexuality, but McLachlan is long overdue for a studio release and I hope and desire that she doesn’t disappoint. Two notable collections: Yearning for some twang? The Essential Mary Chapin Carpenter hollers Get yerself on over ta hear and buy this here record album. And September 77, Port Elizabeth, weather fine; it was business as usual at Tower Records 619: Hit, a Peter Gabriel collection. Be you Genesis disciple or devotee of the solo career, great tracks on two discs: you want this, you want it bad.
An autumn release day and all I can give you is one new record and two “best of” compilations? Earth to music industry: Britney cannot write music, possesses mediocre vocal range, can’t act her way out of a hatbox, she’s a jingo — I don’t care which side you’re on, just don’t be a jingo: be better informed than someone functioning at the cerebral cortex level — and she chews gum during televised interviews. Musicians may smoke during interviews; they may not chew gum. So it is written and so it shall be.
And on a personal note, I had a dream last night about Christina Ricci. Christina, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Chris-teen-ah. (Where have I heard that before? Never mind. Stephen Ambrose and Jayson Blair, rock on, brothers.) Which brings me to my heavily veiled point: The Gathering; where is this film? Scheduled for a stateside theatrical release? On DVD soon? Who cares? Me, I care. Somebody tell me why I, an American, prince of the earth, sovereign of skies and fossil fuels, cannot view this film.
*Thanks to His Royal Majesty David Bowie, Defender of Glam, Divine Ruler of Adolescent Angst