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[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

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 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
LOSTATSEA.NET > FEATURES >

February 13, 2008
RATING: 6.8/10
Actor Justin Theroux, best known for his scores of character roles in television (Joe, Brenda's brass-playing neighbor turned Nate diversion on Six Feet Under) and film (the Evil DJ in Zoolander) and his collaborations with David Lynch on the excellent Inland Empire and the more widely known Mulholland Drive, has made his behind-camera debut with Dedication, released yesterday on DVD. The film has the quirk of a Michel Gondry picture and the preciousness of Zach Braff's miserable Garden State, but it somehow manages to find its own identity, mostly due to the casting of Billy Crudup and, surprisingly, Mandy Moore, in its lead roles.



Yes, this is a romantic comedy, but don't hold that against it. The story centers around Henry (Crudup), a successful children's book writer who finds his inspiration for a beaver story in a porno theater, is truly something of a jerk-off, and has a tendency to place heavy objects on his body when he's feeling anxious. After his longtime illustrator and collaborator, Rudy (Tom Wilkinson), suddenly dies, his publisher, played by the always-dependable Bob Balaban (who's appeared in every one of Christopher Guest's films), pairs him up with Lucy (Moore). From here, you can pretty much predict what happens: Lucy wears down his crusty demeanor through a mixture of sass, spunk, and sweetness as the two retreat to the Hamptons to work on a book Henry must finish in time for Christmas in order to avoid facing a tremendous lawsuit.

The clichés that Theroux and screenwriter David Bromber employ are sometimes cringe-inducing (Henry and Lucy first meet by literally running into each other in an office), and sometimes successful. An indie rock soundtrack is nothing new in the world of 30-something romantic comedy, but the selection of artists like Cat Power, Au Revoir Simone, and Deerhoof are a refreshing breath of air when faced with the prospect of using the Shins yet again. But it's really Crudup who gives the film some life, despite the weird Eddie Munster haircut he's sporting. Crudup is an actor who always comes across as relaxed and natural, even when given the task of reciting a list of - or actually acting out - his borderline OCD personality traits, which could easily veer towards the world of cutesy quirk. Theroux seems comfortable and confident behind the camera, although he could have done without the kooky little edits he employs in Henry's fantasy sequences. It would be nice, however, to see him tackle some less conventional material in his next endeavor, as this film feels far too obvious in many aspects. That being said, the aforementioned Zach Braff could learn a thing or two from watching Dedication, and those with the ability to stomach sentimentality won't be disappointed either.

SEE ALSO: www.dedicationmovie.net

--
Jonah Flicker
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.

See other articles by Jonah Flicker.

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