Call her the new Lou Reed. Courtney Barnett sings anecdotal stories with a deadpan delivery on Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit. On “Aqua Profunda!,” for example, she recounts trying to impress a handsome swimmer during a lap swim by holding her breath longer. “Sunk like a stone/ like a first owner’s home loan,” she sighs. The Australian’s grunge-guitar pop isn’t all droll wit. The ripple-to-wave anthem “Kim’s Caravan” crests with an impassioned environmental message.
Texas songwriter/guitarist extraordinaire James McMurtry is a timeless observer of the small-town American psyche and word-painter of the first rank. His commanding baritone draws you in like only a great storyteller’s can on Complicated Game. McMurtry sublimates his considerable guitar chops this time out, increasing the impact of lines like “We grew up hard, our kids don’t know what that means/ We turned into our parents before we were out of our teens.”
High school 4ever
The movie often called one of the best high school films ever made is returning to movie theaters to celebrate its 30th anniversary. The Breakfast Club, the 1985 John Hughes movie about five students serving detention on a Saturday morning, will screen on March 26 and March 31 at various locations through Fathom Events. Check fathomevents.com for theaters.
Director Lacey Schwartz shares her experience of finding out the truth about herself in the movie Little White Lie. Schwartz, who is Jewish, believed herself to be the daughter of her parents until she discovered that her real father is an African-American man with whom her mother had an affair. Schwartz tries to adapt to this new information and accept that her parents have faults. Her film premières as part of “Independent Lens” on PBS March 23 at 10 p.m.
James Baker: The Man Who Made Washington Work looks at the life of the politician who served as chief of staff to Ronald Reagan and as secretary of State for George H.W. Bush. Baker was involved in ending the cold war and orchestrating the Gulf War; he also created the Madrid Peace Conference. The documentary on this master of compromise premières on PBS March 24 at 8:30 p.m.