Continuing the countdown of my favorite 2021 movies…
Best Films of 2021
#6 – Belfast
Kenneth Branagh’s filmography as a director is split almost down the middle between high-brow literary adaptations (particularly Shakespeare) and high-budget popcorn fare.
The same man who gave us definitive takes on Henry V and Hamlet is responsible for Thor and Artemis Fowl.
But his Belfast is something completely different. This is an achingly personal film, a romanticized depiction of his early years in Northern Ireland before his family escaped The Troubles to settle in England.
I’m surprised I’ve never featured a song from Van Morrison’s 1997 album, The Healing Game. Not because it’s a favorite of mine — I don’t think I’ve heard it all the way through since my initial listens — but because I have a clear memory of buying it.
On Wednesday, I recalled my then-girlfriend, Alex, and I buying two copies of Billy Joel’s River of Dreams because we didn’t yet live together. Well, today’s album is likely the first one Alex and I bought after getting married.
Back by popular demand after a two-week hiatus, it’s Montauk Madness! Specifically the third round of Montauk Madness, where the Sweet Sixteen faces off in our toughest matchups yet. Brace yourselves for some hard decisions!
Our first face-off pits Van Morrison against Billy Joel. A battle across the pond, Ireland vs. New York. Morrison made it here by spanking Barenaked Ladies with 91% of the vote and soundly defeating Peter Gabriel with 73%, while Joel had even more decisive victories over Michael Penn (95%) and Frank Sinatra (82%).
Our next Round Two contestants are around the same age and have each been recording for five decades, making for a nice heavyweight matchup.
Peter Gabriel defeated Josh Rouse in Round One, picking up 67% of the vote. Van Morrison has an even easier time, dispatching Barenaked Ladies with 91%. Continue reading
The random nature of the matchups in Montauk Madness serves up some interesting pairings. This is probably the first time Barenaked Ladies and Van Morrison have been mentioned in the same breath.
Initially, I went with Barenaked Ladies here, my rationale being that I own and enjoy nine of their albums vs. only one by Morrison.