Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Ituana – "You Can't Always Get What You Want" (2006)

I saw her today at the reception
A glass of wine in her hand

If you watched the most recent Emmy and Golden Globe awards shows, you know that HBO’s series, Big Little Lies, cleaned up: 

Here’s the headline from Variety’s report on the Emmy awards:

 Those Emmy wins include Outstanding Limited Series, Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Outstanding Lead Actress (Nicole Kidman), Outstanding Supporting Actress (Laura Dern).  Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley were also nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress and Outstanding Supporting Actress, respectively, but lost out to their co-stars.
Big Little Lies also dominated its category at the Golden Globes.  The show was named Best TV Limited Series, and Kidman and Dern took home the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe trophies to go with their Emmys.

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I’m sorry to rain on your parade, Big Little Lies, but you fell far short of being a first-rate TV series.

The last 2 or 3 lines discussed the show that should have won the best limited series awards.  HBO’s The Night Of was nominated for 13 Emmys, but won only one major prize – Outstanding Lead Actor (Riz Ahmed) – perhaps because that series debuted in June 2016, well over a year before the 2017 Emmy ceremony.

“The Night Of” cast included
Amara Karan and Riz Ahmed 
Click here to read an article explaining why The Night Of wasn’t eligible for 2016 Emmy nominations.

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Almost everything about The Night Of is better than Big Little Lies.  

The latter show did have the edge when it came to scenery – the California coast is a lot prettier than Rikers Island.  But The Night Of was vastly superior when it came to writing and acting.

When it comes to writing, Big Little Lies is a glorified soap opera.  The best-selling novel it is based on has been described as “fluffy,” with characters that “are more conceits than flesh and blood” – EXACTLY!

The ladies of “Big Little Lies” celebrate
their Golden Globe awards
It has a lot of star power, but I found the largely anonymous cast of The Night Of – the only actors in the show I recognized were John Turturro and Michael K. Williams, who are much less well-known than Kidman and Witherspoon – to be much more convincing. 

I think Nicole Kidman deserved her best actress awards.  But best actress nominee Reese Witherspoon mostly portrayed Reese Witherspoon – her character was a chirpy buttinsky who was annoying as hell – and best supporting actress winner Laura Dern really had no business being nominated, much less winning.  

You can’t really blame Dern – the writers made her character a cliché, not a human being.  But as a high-powered Silicon Valley CEO cum ferociously protective mother who was shunned by the other mommies (most of whom were well-educated but unemployed remora fish living off the high-powered sharks they were married to), she was a cliché that was perfectly positioned for the Zeitgeist du jour

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Speaking of the Zeitgeist du jour . . .

My biggest problem with Big Little Lies is that just about every single male character in the show is violent and prone to abuse women – even Nicole Kidman’s six-year-old son (who reacts to seeing his father abuse his mother by biting and choking one of his female classmates).

The scene that makes this point the most clearly is a scene where one of the male characters sees one of the female characters at an indoor shooting range.  The male’s ex-wife later claims that he was obsessed with guns when they were married, and he is usually on the verge of starting a fight with her current husband – who’s equally ready to take it outside and settle their differences like a man.

The female character who’s shooting at the range has very different reasons for owning a handgun: she was subjected to rough sex (and impregnated) by a guy she met at a bar and accompanied to his hotel room after one too many drinks.  

The male character has a gun because he is a man, and men are violent per se.  The female character has a gun because she is a victim of male violence.

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The final scene of Big Little Lies shows the five main female characters – each of whom is the mother of a first-grader – frolicking with their children on a beach.

There are no fathers in sight.  The message is clear: kids are better off without them.

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That final scene of the mothers and children on the beach is accompanied by Ituana’s cover version of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” 

Ituana is a Los Angeles-based bossa nova group, and their very odd cover of the Jagger-Richards classic is from a very odd album titled Bossa n’ Stones

There are actually two Bossa n’ Stones albums.  (The title should be Bossa ’n’ Stones, of course.)  Ituana’s “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” is from the second of those albums.

Ituana’s sound is growing on me, and I don’t have a problem with the idea of doing a cover in a style that is radically different from the original recording.

But who in the hell thought that a bossa nova version of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” was a good idea?  (I suppose we should be grateful they didn’t choose “Gimme Shelter.”)

Here’s Ituana’s cover of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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