Overrated/Underrated: Nate Bargatze’s killer new special, and how many origin stories do we need?

A different Batman, a different Joker.
(DC Comics/Fathom Events)


Nate Bargatze’s ‘The Tennessee Kid’: It’s a strange alchemy that makes a person funny. At the intersection of calm confidence and a delivery so deadpan there seems no awareness anything being said is funny lies comic Nate Bargatze, whose latest Netflix special is a killer. First appearing on the streaming service as part of its series “The Standups,” Bargatze dryly explores the awkwardness and absurdities of a big Southern wedding, parenthood, and occasional bizarre encounters of the every day. He’s been working on a new TV series with the help of Jerrod Carmichael. Based on the material he’s shared up to now, that show will be one to watch as well.

Beth Gibbons and the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Henryk Górecki: ‘Symphony No. 3 Symphony Of Sorrowful Songs’: Barging into the high culture world of soprano Dawn Upshaw, the singer for the U.K. band Portishead tackles a demanding piece of classical music on this new live album, and the results are as evocative as the title indicates. Learning to speak Polish for the performance, which was recorded live in Warsaw, Gibbons is a haunting, captivating presence, rising through lyrics partially drawn from the walls of a World War II prison cell as strings swirl around her. Spring is here, but there’s room for darkness this beautiful any time of year.



Motley Crue: To be clear: This isn’t about the justly reviled (yet, for some, still better than “Bohemian Rhapsody”) biopic “The Dirt,” which, for a few days, did for misogynist ‘80s rock bands what “The Inventor” did for Silicon Valley grifters. No, this is about the band, whose legacy shouldn’t be elevated by whatever prestige a Netflix movie, whatever its intentions, accidentally grants. Theirs was a sound that echoed through a truly dumb and decadent time in music, and for all the horrors ‘90s nostalgia can deliver in pop culture, at least we can celebrate that decade successfully wiping hair metal off the map.

Our ever-expanding origin stories: Remember how the Joker from “Batman” got started? No, not the one played by Jack Nicholson or (better yet) Heath Ledger, the Joaquin Phoenix “Joker” who appeared in a new trailer this week. The movie will be fine, at least until Jaden Smith stars in the reboot, but the constant churn of new starts, prequels and spinoffs from “Star Wars,” “Lord of the Rings” and, yes, even “Game of Thrones” has to run dry one day. Reinventing movies and characters we know has its pleasures, but remember hearing a story for the first time? That can feel pretty good too.


Follow me over here @chrisbarton.