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The 20 Greatest David Bowie Singles

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The 20 Greatest David Bowie Singles
The 20 Greatest David Bowie Singles

If any single thread connected David Bowie’s now sadly completed half century-long musical journey, it was irrepressible restlessness. Bowie never, ever stopped exploring new musical avenues, which has historically been interpreted in one of two ways: that he was rock’s ultimate chameleon, refusing to be contented with any past success and constantly pushing himself to reach new heights, or that he was a shallow trend-hopping whore who parlayed a keen ear for ever-shifting popular music trends into commercial success.

If it’s ever permissible to call pop artists geniuses, then Bowie is indubitably among them; the fact that he managed to remain a giant of popular culture for decades while completely overhauling his sound every few years is a testament to that. To dismiss him as a mere copycat would be like calling the Boeing 747 a piece of hackwork because the Wright brothers existed. Marc Bolan may have been wearing makeup and playing glammy guitar first, but he didn’t come up with the invention that was Ziggy Stardust. Kraftwerk may have pioneered the cold, cerebral electronic aesthetic that influenced Bowie during his Berlin period, but they never wrote “Heroes.”

These 20 singles, not all of them chart hits, but invariably essential entries in the rock canon, span from Bowie’s first iconic song to enter the public consciousness in 1969 to the remarkable title track from his just barely pre-posthumous swan song, Blackstar, thus proving that his quest to turn and face the strange never ceased so long as there was a breath left in him. Jeremy Winograd

15 Famous Beautiful Creatures

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15 Famous Beautiful Creatures
15 Famous Beautiful Creatures

This weekend, the young-adult freight train that kicked off with Twilight and kept a-rollin’ with The Hunger Games makes some room for Beautiful Creatures, a supernatural romance (natch) based on the book by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. Written and directed by Richard LaGravenese, who has some fine scripts under his belt, but is also responsible for the Hilary Swank stankers Freedom Writers and P.S. I Love You, the new film is indeed packed with handsome specimens, like Emmy Rossum, Jeremy Irons, and newcomer Alice Englert. The whole thing got us thinking about beautiful creatures of movies past—characters not quite human, but quite easy on the eyes.

Summer of ‘86: Forget it, Jack, it’s Chinatown: Big Trouble in Little China, Take 2

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Summer of ‘86: Forget it, Jack, it’s Chinatown: <em>Big Trouble in Little China</em>, Take 2
Summer of ‘86: Forget it, Jack, it’s Chinatown: <em>Big Trouble in Little China</em>, Take 2

If you’re my age and grew up in the New York City area, you are probably familiar with Channel 5’s Drive-in Movie. Coming on Saturdays at 3PM, Drive-In Movie presented badly dubbed kung fu movies from the ’70s and ’80s. The State Theater in Jersey City did a good job presenting uncut versions of several kung-fu classics throughout my childhood and adolescence, introducing me to Jackie Chan and the Shaw Brothers, but Drive-In Movie was much cheaper. My cousins and I, all students of one form of martial arts or another, would gather around the TV and watch endless repeats of Master of the Flying Guillotine and The Five Deadly Venoms. That latter picture holds an irreplaceable spot in my heart; catch me on a good day and I’ll gleefully recreate all five Venom styles for you.

God, I’m such a kung-fu movie geek, which makes me the wrong person to do a piece on Big Trouble in Little China. This is a flawed movie, with a script whose story is best described as garbage. The movie makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. I still can’t explain all the sorcery mumbo-jumbo or why the lead villain appears as both a decrepit old man and a ghost who can blind people with light from his mouth. I don’t understand how Kim Cattrall’s character is involved with its Chinatown heroes, nor how China’s main character, Jack Burton, is affiliated with Wang Chi, the character whose fiancée sends the film on its journey. Big Trouble in Little China is more than happy to lazily fall back on its special effects in lieu of anything coherent. With that said, there’s something about this movie…