Fall 2003

Letter From The Editor
“I am a world-class procrastinator. It’s a miracle that you’re reading this.”


Lost In Translation
“While touted in some reviews as a Brief Encounter-like romance, Lost in Translation is much more than that, including an examination of aging — the confusion met upon reaching adulthood, the staleness of married life, and the aloofness of being past your prime.”

Special Feature: Sam Peckinpah

Welcome to The High Hat’s Sam Peckinpah feature.

Looks That Kill
“What is unique to Peckinpah is the distribution of these points of identification. Rather than focusing on the protagonists alone, the audience is encouraged also to witness the action from the perspectives of horrified onlookers and victims of crossfire.”

Ride the High Country
“A film of abundant visual beauty, it’s also a highly literate one through whose heart blows a chill valedictory breeze.”

Major Dundee
“Moby Dick tells us that pursuing your obsessions can destroy you; Peckinpah should have been more wary.”

Algonquin Kids’ Table: The Wild Bunch
In which various participants gush and squibble over Peckinpah’s classic tale of bad men in bad times.

Straw Dogs
“If Peckinpah truly wanted to make Death Wish, he’d have made Death Wish. But Straw Dogs isn’t a vengeance orgy at all unless you’re not quite paying attention.”

Junior Bonner
The Tao of Sam Peckinpah.

Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid
“The very title suggests a brace of opposing forces, an either/or that needs sorting out, but it’s a riddle that Peckinpah, even had he been sober and left to his own devices, had no intention of solving because he knew it couldn’t be done.”

Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia
“There’s no heroic scale, little beauty, and the tenderest relationship is between a man who’s dead and one who ought to be. All that’s left is a vein of black humor a mile thick and a feeling of disgusted rage potent enough to blow you across the room.”

The Bottom Shelf: Convoy
“It was as if Stanley Kubrick had decided to follow Barry Lyndon with a lavish adaptation of Disco Duck.”

The Osterman Weekend
“Peckinpah, however, was always a foe of received wisdom, and this is why: The Osterman Weekend isn’t a terrible movie. It’s not even a bad movie. It’s certainly not a great movie, but its status as the movie that literally and figuratively buried him is entirely unjust.”

Pick a Peck of Poses
A Beginner’s Field Guide to the Peckinpah Actor.

Pops & Clicks

20th Century Essentials
“The last half of the century was beset by intensive ‘style wars’ wherein critics and composers wed to one style or another attempted to marginalize the supporters and practitioners of other styles — to silence them.”

The New Heavy
“This is why a band like Korn, whose guitar and bass strings are practically falling off, are not Heavy. They create a static throb, like some sort of large machine, and after about five minutes the sound is intolerable — listening to one of their albums is like working in a metal shop.”

How MP3s Made A Music Fan Out Of Me
“I blame They Might Be Giants. And of course there’s the little matter of Apple’s culpability for the iPod to take into account.”

You Think You Really Know Me: An Interview with Gary Wilson
“To my surprise, John Cage invited me to his house, and we went over my scores. I went to his house for three days. I was only 14 years old.”

Richard Thompson: More Guitar
“It’s become something of a ritual for critics to start their reviews of Richard Thompson’s work by scratching their heads over why he is not a household name on a rank with John Lennon or Neil Young.”

Planting Together: An Interview with Iron & Wine
“It’s pretty easy to strip the music down. In fact, we sometimes strip them down more than what’s on the record.”

Sadism and Perversity At Work
Miles Davis in Person Friday and Saturday Nights at the Blackhawk, Complete

Brothers In Arms
Reissues from The Blasters and Rank & File

Does It Help When You Close Your Eyes?: An Interview with Jean Smith of Mecca Normal
“Getting older as an artist is different than other ways of going through life. I have not been worn down by the world; I feel my best work is ahead of me.”


Clockers Done Right
The Wire: Season Two

The Decidedly Unfunky Buzz of Boomerang
“In the quiet of a million-plus personal weekend mornings, the Boomer and X generations got to enjoy a weekly waking dream called Saturday cartoons. It was just you, the cereal bowl and the TV.”

Swimming With Sharkey
Wiseguy on DVD

Brassed Off
Brass Eye, Chris Morris’ spoof of moral panic on TV news, infuriated a nation and redefined satire.”


Sex and Death in Four Colors
“Pulp Art: Vamps, Villains and Victors From the Robert Lesser Collection” at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

He Kills Coppers
“If Jake Arnott is indeed as much a British doppelganger of James Ellroy as critical consensus would seem to indicate, then he’s hopefully on the same career path as Ellroy — and that means we’ll be seeing better and better work out of him as time passes.”

Short Reviews
Sophie by Guy Burt and Ready, Steady, Go! by Shawn Levy.


That ’90s Show
“It’s early yet to forecast what the concept of ’90s nostalgia will look like in the mainstream, although recent history does offer one clue: the element of ‘youthful American exuberance’ will be played up, as it has been for every decade from the 1940s on.”


The Probabilistic Soap Opera
or The Consolations of Fantasy Baseball

“In many ways, it is not unlike picking stocks. We allocate resources, we study the available commodities. Risk, reward and probability. Buy low and sell high.”

Serious Hillbilly Shit
“These guys are the real deal: guitar, mandolin, fiddle and banjo. They play and sing, completely un-amplified, just standing out in the yard. I have attended this party for several years because the music is special, but for Thomas and Sean Clinton and their circle, it is an occasion to get more than usually drunk and high.”