Screen Junkies » music Movie Reviews & TV Show Reviews Sat, 13 Dec 2014 01:22:56 +0000 en hourly 1 Review: ‘Alive Inside’ Fri, 12 Dec 2014 17:47:18 +0000 Jared Jones Alive Inside is a beautiful, eye-opening experience that demonstrates the healing power of music in a drug-dependent healthcare system.

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By Jared Jones 

There are countless phrases we have used to describe our connection to music over the centuries. Tolstoy called it “the shorthand of emotion.” Nietzsche claimed that without it, “life would be pointless.” Bob Marley believed that “when it hits you, you feel no pain.” Music is freeing. It’s nostalgic. It’s the most powerful force in world, the universal language, and if Alive Inside is to be believed, a potential cure for mental illness — or at least, a momentary escape from it.

Even as I write this review, I’m listening to music — “The Host of Seraphim” by Dead Can Dance, if you were wondering. I usually do when writing reviews. Music honest-to-God helps me power through these things, restoring the smallest semblance of balance to the chaotic clusterfuck usually going on inside my head (I blame the Twitter for my adult onset ADHD). And it’s this medically unexplainable phenomenon that Alive Inside posits can actually be used to restore memory in those who have lost it.

Following social worker and founder of the nonprofit organization Music & Memory, Dan Cohen, as he attempts to demonstrate the power of music in nursing homes and mental health facilities across the country, Alive Inside is a documentary with a simple message and simpler execution: Music can not only help combat memory loss in geriatric Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, but potentially even restore sanity. The vast majority of the debut film from writer/director Michael Rossato-Bennett features Cohen putting his theory into practice, applying the simple combination of an iPod and some headphones to various nursing home patients and watching the transformation take place.

In most cases, the results are almost immediate — like watching a Southern baptist preacher raise a crippled child to his feet through sheer force of will. Alzheimer’s patients suddenly recall long lost memories of their childhood to the tiniest detail. Closed-off schizophrenics smile for the first time in years and break into full-on dance routines in a matter of minutes. Rossato-Bennett simply sits back and watches as a person’s soul is revitalized, and it is in these moments of spiritually awakening (or what Cohen calls “the quickening”) that Alive Inside is most powerful.

They key to these audio-injected souls (to borrow a phrase from Mnemic) is simple stimulation. Anyone who has ever visited a nursing home has likely seen the effects of what a psychotropic drug-dependent system of treatment so often does to the already fragile minds of the elderly. With the number of senior citizens suffering from mental ailments in America set to double in the next decade, nursing homes have become increasingly overcrowded and understaffed. The result has been the institutionalization of mental health facilities nationwide — a clinical, unnecessarily expensive and inhumane system in which far too many people are forced to live out their final years, often against their will. While the medications so often pushed on senior citizens may help quell some of their symptoms, nothing they are prescribed provides them with the stimulation that all living beings need in order to achieve happiness. Cohen is attempting to bring the humanity back into healthcare, and watching these transformations could turn a hardened atheist into a Sunday churchgoer.

That is not to say that Alive Inside doesn’t suffer from any missteps, however. Rossato-Bennett’s presentation of the material is scatterbrained and tonally jarring at times, especially in his own moments of narration. Rather than allow most of these “quickenings” to play out in real time, Bennett often compresses them into montages or speaks in well-worn platitudes atop them. “Music touches us all,” while being an earnest statement, doesn’t so much add to the narrative already being established on camera as much as it unnecessarily reinforces it. It’s a documentary asking you to simply see, which makes the moments where it opts to tell you what’s happening all the more distracting. It’s a small complaint for an otherwise beautifully put together film, but a noticeable one nonetheless.

Alive Inside, to use another cliched phrase, is the kind of eye-opening experience that will give you a whole new appreciation for the healing capabilities of what many would consider a “new-age” form of therapy. If Patch Adams took off the red nose and picked up a guitar, he would be Dan Cohen, essentially, and as a performing musician myself, Alive Inside almost perfectly illustrated the unexplainable reasons that first led me to pick up an instrument (besides the chicks), and why I remain so passionate about music to this day. Music is the lifeforce of humanity, something that is quite literally in our blood (what is a heartbeat if not a base-level techno riff in need of an unce?), and Alive Inside demonstrates that we have still yet to understand how powerful it can truly be.

Grade: A-

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Good News: Madonna’s Violent Stalker Has Escaped Fri, 10 Feb 2012 17:46:27 +0000 Jame Gumb Chalk one up for the violently insane!

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Chalk one up for the violently insane!

Robert Dewey Hoskins, who served a 10-year prison sentence for stalking Madonna and who may or may not have been the inspiration for the youngest child on Malcolm in the Middle, has escaped from the Metropolitan State Hospital near Los Angeles. By escaped, I mean he just walked away. Bang-up job, Metropolitan State Hospital.

Authorities say Hoskins is “highly psychotic when not taking his medication and has very violent tendencies.” How “violent” and “psychotic” are we talking? Well, he once threatened to cut Madonna “from ear to ear” if she didn’t marry him. Yikes! You’d have to be crazy to want to marry Madonna!

Whatever wacky hijinx Hoskins has in store, he’d better get a move on. The Material Girl (god I hate calling her that) is set to embark on a world tour in the next few months, and I’d hate for him to miss out on the opportunity to get annihilated by her security team because she’s out of the country.

World Peace! (Source)

Maybe we can lure the stalker in with these Madonna photos.

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In Memory Of Don Cornelius: 15 Groovy ‘Soul Train’ Moments Wed, 01 Feb 2012 19:15:37 +0000 Wookie Johnson We fire up the Screen Junkies' Funk-O-Tron 5000 to pay tribute to the legend.

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Soul Train creator and host Don Cornelius was discovered dead this morning in his home, the victim of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The recently divorced 75-year old brought the dance show to the air in October of 1971, providing a showcase for African American musicians and singers. Think The Grind if you couldn’t masturbate to it.

Cornelius hosted for 22 years before retiring in 1993. The show would remain on the air until 2006. It’s 35 years on the air earned it the honor of being the longest-running first-run nationally syndicated show in television history.

It’s sad to see a man who had such an impact on our culture go out in such a tragic way. The best we can do is look back at Soul Train’s great performances and awesomely retro dances. Drop the needle.

Awesome Line Dance To Rufus’s “Once You Get Started”

Just a little something to get us warmed up.

O’Jay’s “I Love Music

Now we’re getting there.

The Trammps “Where Do We Go From Here?”

Gotta love the talking intro.

Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes “Bad Luck”

The sweetest arm moves start at 0:31.

Tavares “Check It Out”

Pretty sure this song is sung by a Soul Accountant.

LaMont Dozier “Fish Ain’t Bitin’”

Wow. That microphone has excellent pick up.

The Fifth Dimension “One Less Bell To Answer”

Is she in a neck brace?

The Joneses “Sugar Pie Guy”

As if the authority of matching pink tuxedos isn’t enough to captivate you, skip ahead to the 0:52 mark. Spo-Dough-Bow.

The Moments “Just Because He Wants To Make Love”

Now, something slow. Grab your best girl and hold her tight.

Isley Brothers “Who’s That Lady?”

Time to pick it back up.

The Dramatics “In The Rain”

How dramatic? In studio lightning effects for starters.

The Intruders “I Bet He Don’t Love You (Like I Love You)”

Not sure why this was performed on a spooky castle set. I’m not complaining. I’m just not sure.

The Futures “I Had A Dream”

Frankly, it’s nice to hear a soul song that utilizes the didgeridoo.

Faith Hope & Charity “Don’t Go Looking For Love”

I’m more captivated by this performance than anything on modern reality shows.

The Jackson Five “All I Do Is Think Of You”

And let’s close with a classic.

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The 7 Worst ‘SNL’ Musical Performances Of All Time Tue, 17 Jan 2012 22:29:59 +0000 Penn Collins Welcome To The Club, Lana Del Rey...

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Internet sensation Lana Del Rey performed on Saturday Night Live over the weekend, and her performance is being called one of the worst in the show’s long, long history. Though new to the music landscape, she had already been met with skepticism, with many feeling her indie credibility was largely manufactured, a position that was supported by her shoddy performance.

She was selected for the show due exclusively to buzz, as her output at the time of her selection consisted of a two-song web EP. As such, it would appear that Del Rey wasn’t prepeared for the gig. She appeared visibly nerous and seemed to make several mistakes during the performances, prompting no less than Brian Williams to write an email to Gawker panning her performance.

Here are a handful of other notorious SNL performances that would have undoubtedly upset Brian Williams as well.


The performances here fall into two groups, largely. Performances by shitty artists that are as shitty as the artists themselves and performances by decent artists that are shitty. This performance is the former.

It’s unclear what makes Ke$ha a star, so I’m comfortable assuming it’s her eagerness to get on her back for everyone in the music industry, from record execs to the guys that sell bootleg t-shirts outside concert venues.

This performance would seem to support my theory, as this video defies all logic blending astronauts, patriotism, and lots of spectacle with a song that’s pretty much about being a drunk white trash whore.

This performance is exactly as good as it should be.

Sinead O’Connor

This will sound horribly jaded, but I find it quaint that, as recently as 1992, people were mortified by the fact that Sinead O’Connor tore up a picture of the pope at the end of her a capella rendition of “War,” urging the audience and viewers to “fight the real enemy.” What do you think would happen if someone like Adele tore up a picture of Pope Benedict next weekend? I would guess you would hear a hiccup, a squeaky fart, then some polite applause.

Adding to the haunting nature of O’Connor’s performance is Lorne Michaels’ now-infamous decision to not light up the applause sign, creating an even more uncomfortable silence all the way to commercial.

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7 ‘Glee’ Tributes We’d Like To See Wed, 07 Dec 2011 17:11:01 +0000 Nicholas Pell Enough with the shitty bands.

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So apparently Glee is paying tribute to Michael Jackson. We couldn’t be more excited. You see, we’re big fans of Glee around these parts. We just can’t get enough of that feel-good musical dramedy with all the highs and lows of real life encapsulated into a single hour.

Is the snark being laid on heavy enough here, or are we leaving room for ambiguity? Please let us know so we can get it right next time. Anyway, Glee is doing a tribute to late pop singer and noted child enthusiast Michael Jackson. Here’s our own list of people we hope get the Glee tribute treatment soon.


Slayer pretty much invented music, so we’re a little confused about why Glee has’t paid tribute to the masters of thrash yet. We’re thinking they should do an extra-special, two-hour episode of Glee where the gang sings the entirety of Seasons in the Abyss and South Of Heaven. Maybe they can mix it up and throw in some At The Gates and Cannibal Corpse tunes while they’re at it? We’re just making a suggestion here. We’re not married to the idea.


NWA were, along with Slayer, the driving force behind the invention of modern music. Those of you not old enough to remember won’t recall the days when every song in existence was recorded by Pat Boone fronting the Lawrence Welk Orchestra. NWA changed all that. Fronted by a dwarf from Compton, NWA featured Ice Cube back when he was into jheri curls, the LA Raiders and saying “f*ck the police.” You younger readers now know Ice Cube as the conductor at Shining Time Station and the star of a host of Disney movies. We think the Glee gang can do a great version of “I Ain’t The One” and “She Swallowed It.”

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Metallica To Waste Their Money Creating A 3D Movie Tue, 25 Oct 2011 00:04:29 +0000 Wookie Johnson This is going to be awesome in a "I'm laughing at them" kind of way.

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Heavy metal boneheads Metallica have decided to continue their streak of bad decision making by announcing they are teaming with Journey to the Center of the Earth producer Charlotte Huggins to self-finance a 3D movie. As presented in Some Kind Of Monster, Metallica aren’t the most creative bunch in music today. And if their film-making is anything like their songwriting, we’re in for a treat. “We” being fans of watching self-unaware egos crash and burn (or a**holes as we are more commonly called).

There’s no word yet what the film will entail. It could be a concert film or more of a straightforward narrative. At any rate, we know it will involve devils jumping at the camera. It has too. (Deadline)

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Every Musical Guest That Ever Appeared On ‘The Simpsons’ Thu, 25 Aug 2011 16:03:14 +0000 Wookie Johnson That's 72, by our count...which is probably wrong. At any rate, it's a lot.

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The recent announcement that Lady Gaga will appear as herself on an upcoming episode of The Simpsons (“Lisa Goes Gaga”) sent us wandering down memory lane. Over the past few decades, there has been no shortage of musical talent on the show. From Aerosmith to “Weird” Al, the cameos have spanned several generations and nearly all genres.
In honor of the massive amount of musical star power that has appeared on The Simpsons, here’s a rundown of the 72 musical guest stars who have awkwardly found themselves touring through Springfield.

We didn’t count repeat appearances. Sorry, Weird Al.

Season 2

Tony Bennett – “Dancin’ Homer” S2 E5

Tony Bennett stops by just long enough to sing the Capitol City theme song.

Ringo Starr – “Brush with Greatness” S2 E18

As a teenager, Marge gave up her dream of becoming a painter when she received no reply from Ringo Starr after sending him his portrait for his opinion. Several years later she receives kind words from Starr when he comes across her work while catching up on fan mail.

Season 3

Michael Jackson – “Stark Raving Dad” S3 E1

Homer is sent to a mental health facility after Bart causes his white shirts to turn pink in the wash. There, he rooms with a man who thinks he is Michael Jackson. For contractual reasons, he was not credited until much later.

Aerosmith – “Flaming Moe’s” S3 E10

With Homer’s secret drink recipe in hand, he turns Moe’s into Springfield’s hottest nightspot attracting the likes of Aerosmith and a very boozy Edna Krabappel.

Sting – “Radio Bart” S3 E13

When Bart creates a hoax that a little boy has fallen down a well, Sting and other celebrities team for the charity single, “We’re Sending Our Love Down the Well.”

Spinal Tap – “The Otto Show” S3 E22

Spinal Tap comes through Springfield, even though they’re not sure what town they’re in.

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