Overrated/Underrated: Snubbing the lovely ‘Beale Street,’ and Marie Kondo points to bigger issues than books


‘If Beale Street Could Talk’: With room for 10 films in Oscar’s best picture category, it’s hard to figure out why this lush, delicately drawn film was left out. Based on a story by James Baldwin and beautifully directed by Barry Jenkins, whose “Moonlight” won for best picture two years ago and also earned a screenplay nomination here, the film hinges on an intimately drawn, star-crossed love story that leaves a lingering impression while also levying a share of culpability toward forces that still thrive here on Earth.

For the record:

10:05 a.m. Jan. 29, 2019An earlier version of this story identified drummer Yussef Dayes as a keyboardist.

Swindle’s ‘No More Normal’: Also known as Cameron Palmer, this U.K. producer’s work straddles the world of London’s grime and jazz scenes and, not surprisingly, his new album pulls off the same boundary-defying trick. Featuring contributions from some rising star instrumentalists from the U.K. in drummer Yussef Dayes and saxophonist Nubya Garcia alongside singers and spoken-word artists such as Rider Shafique and Eva Lazarus, the album’s simmering mix of vintage funk and soul is steeped with the sonic landscape of London while, on tracks such as “Reach the Stars” and “Coming Home,” also sounding right at home in L.A.


Super Bowl-approved impairments: The cannabis company Acreage Holdings made the news this week when its attempt to buy ad time during the Super Bowl was apparently denied. While the idea invites easy images of a hackysack-centric pharma commercial, the spot was said to focus more on the drug’s medical benefits than its stereotypes, and the company is mainstream enough to have former Speaker of the House John Boehner on its board. But, given football has a preference for drugs that are either available in six packs or, um, help men throw a football through a tire, this industry may not yet be broad enough for prime time.

The Marie Kondo backlash: A bestselling author and host of the Netflix makeover show “Tidying Up,” Kondo sped through internet-borne cycle of love and outrage as her show appeared over the holidays. While much of the ire centered on a recommendation of having no more than 30 books (since recast toward having as many books as are important to you), the lesson in her philosophy is less about numbers than our culture’s bizarre tendency toward hoarding. The question isn’t whether what we have “sparks joy” or not, it’s what makes us all light up at the prospect buying more things in the first place?


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