Weekend recs


The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti (2008)

A plucky orphan with one hand and a deep conscience navigates colonial New England with a supporting cast of grotesque, mysterious and occasionally redeemable characters. Among them are a loyal murderer, an artistic dwarf, an ailing widow and a scoundrel lover, all crowding and competing in a vibrant Dickensian landscape. The plot meanders through dark and charming, moving our increasingly bewildered hero toward adult insight. The book is impossible to put down and hard to forget. — Ramona Wengler


Short Term 12, dir. Destin Cretton (2013)

A movie mostly about a young couple who both work at some sort of youth residence in the California foster-care system. Also about the kids who live there and the system. This is one of those movies that could have gone wrong a million different ways but didn’t. Every relationship feels like it matters. There is sentiment but not to suffocate you; strange incidents, but obviously well within the plausible of the strange world you have entered. It’s the best indie I’ve seen in ages. — Dave


Bayou Maharajah: The Tragic Genius of James Booker, dir. Lily Keber (2013)

I’m going out on a limb to recommend a movie I haven’t seen, but it’s safe to say that anything about James Booker will be fascinating. Fellow Louisiana musician Dr. John called him “the best black, gay, one-eyed junkie piano genius New Orleans has ever produced.” That about covers it. Bayou Maharajah is showing at festivals and will be at Cinefamily in LA on Sunday as part of Don’t Knock the Rock. I’ll be there. — Tim Wager

3 responses to “Weekend recs”

  1. Bryan says:

    All three of these sound right up my alley. I’m struck by how much of my summer media consumption came via youse guys. Thx!

  2. Bryan says:

    Funny coincidence: Twitter just suggested that I start following @hannahtinti.

  3. T-Mo says:

    Back to report on Bayou Maharajah. So, so good! Great interviews and concert footage. Really well edited. It manages to give a sense of how complicated Booker was without settling on one version or leaving it too open. And I have newfound respect for Harry Connick, Jr. His is the best explanation of the complexity of Booker’s playing I’ve ever seen, and he can play it, too. Look for it at a festival near you. From what the director said about the difficulty of getting the music clearances, it’ll be a while before it sees wide release.