Football, Adam Sandler, surf music and Neil

Thanksgiving weekend is here, and with it come the usual joys of friends, family, food and football. Man, there is no better way to spend this holiday than in a food and liquor-induced stupor while pretending you actually care about a Cowboys vs. Redskins game.

Hold on here, the Cowboys play the Redskins on Thanksgiving? Hmm, I’m sure this is just a coincidence.

Thanksgiving also means that it’s the official beginning of the holiday film season, and with nothing, and I MEAN NOTHING, happening in town this weekend you just might be tempted to take in a flick or two. Here are your options.

Since we live in a town with a modest population, our film choices are slim and often geared to the largest and, therefore most generic, audiences. In spite of, or because of, that fact we find ourselves this weekend with two Adam Sandler movies from which to pick. The first, “Punch Drunk Love” seems harmless and likable enough. The other one, “Eight Crazy Nights,” scares the hell out of me. Last month I said in a very public forum that I thought Sandler’s movies were great. However, based on the trailers for “Eight Crazy Nights,” I may never watch “Happy Gilmore” or “The Wedding Singer” again. It is often said that the best parts of a movie are given away by the preview, and if that’s the case with this cartoon, then there’s not a funny line in the whole movie.

Also opening in time for the holiday weekend is Steven Soderbergh’s latest effort, “Solaris.” It is a film about, and I’m taking this straight from the official Web site, “love, redemption, second chances and a space mission gone terribly wrong.” Plus, it stars the ultra-hunky George Clooney. George Clooney and failed space missions? It’s a must see! I joke but Solaris will probably kill at the box office, and therein lies my beef.

During summer and the winter holidays, Hollywood bombards us with crap that wouldn’t last a week in March. My favorite is a movie that hasn’t yet made it to Durango. It’s called “Extreme Ops,” and it’s about a group of twentysomethings who fight off a gang of international terrorists while snowboarding, rock climbing and doing other extreme sports. Really now, someone ought to be slapped.

My advice to the would be film go-er, as long as you’ve already seen Michael Moore’s “Bowling for Columbine” playing at the Abbey Theatre twice nightly, is to call some friends, get some beer and rent “Caddyshack” or “Strange Brew.” It’ll be safe to go back to the movies in a month or so.

My research for this column often carries me to the darkest reaches of the Southwest in search of top-shelf entertainment options for you the reader. This week found me digging around Albuquerque for fun live music and boy, did I find a couple of gems. On Sunday, Dec. 1, legendary surf guitarist Dick Dale, whose fans are called “Dick Heads,” will perform at the Launch Pad. Best known for the song “Miserlou,” which was featured on the “Pulp Fiction” soundtrack, Dale has been churning out lively surf guitar for more than 40 years. Some even say he invented the surf style. If you are in Albuquerque on the 1st, do not miss this show.

Technically, this next event isn’t until next week, but you’ll need the extra time to gather friends and make hotel accommodations. Neil Diamond is at the Tingley Coliseum on Dec. 5. This man has forgotten more hits than Matchbox Twenty will ever pretend to know. Tickets are in the $35 to $60 range – a bit steep, but remember, this is the guy who wrote “Daydream Believer” and “Red, Red Wine.”

If you can’t make this show, I’ve heard he’s playing the Pepsi Center in Denver on New Years Eve.

This Week’s Sign The End Is Near: Troubled professional golfer John Daly released an album this week called “My Life.” It features acoustic folk songs with lyrics that use the game of golf as a metaphor for life. Meanwhile, Shania Twain’s new release goes platinum faster than any other album since the advent of Soundscan. Even the name of her record is unoriginal – both Peter Gabriel and R.E.M have releases called UP. All of this goes on while a band like the Blasters remains under the radar for 20 years.

This Week’s Album That Should Be in Everybody’s Collection: “The Blasters: Trouble Bound.” The Blasters began playing and recording great R & B-influenced rockabilly in the early ’80s and released a few of that decade’s best records. In the spring of this year, the band reunited and played a small number of shows in southern California. “Trouble Bound” is the result of those shows, and if it weren’t for the copyright date on the sleeve, I wouldn’t know the band is 20 years older. All the songs are played with the same exuberance and abandon as back in the day. Fans will find all the old favorites (“American Music,” “Marie, Marie,” “So Long Baby, Goodbye”) plus some not heard before surprises (Jr. Parker’s, “Crying For My Baby,” for example). This is an album that conveys the energy of the live show without the boring drum solos or audience sing-alongs that often plague live efforts. “Trouble Bound” is available at It would be a wonderful world if bands like The Blasters were breaking sales records, and Shania Twain was hawking her wares on a website somewhere.

Shania Twain. Am I missing something?






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