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The Cinema of Self-Deception

The Cinema of Self-Deception

🎞️ A24 flops on their latest "hit" · CMA Fest changes · Downtown spreads across the river Film rundown · Much more!

Good afternoon, everyone.

Nice weekend ahead of us. I still have the A/C off in case you were wondering.


I regret designating the Limp Bizkit T-shirt I wore my sophomore year of high school as garage sale fodder shortly after W. took office. It wasn’t something I gave much thought to as The Shins, The Strokes, and Broken Social Scene shook me out of my rap metal phase, but it was a fleeting sense of loss that began in my early 30s.

My last time engaging in such lamentations was the first time I saw the trailer for A24’s Sundance sensation, I Saw The TV Glow. To the sounds of Broken Social Scene’s “Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl,” two twenty-somethings talk in hushed tones about a Buffyesque teen drama they obsessed over during their adolescence.  Then, in the credits, I saw the name Fred Durst–lead singer of the band that brought “Nookie” and “Break Stuff” into the world.

It’s easy to mock Durst and the style of music he spearheaded–especially for former teenage fans like myself who divested from Bizkit merch and literally used the trade credit for Broken Social Scene CDs. But the singer and his contemporaries like Korn and Kid Rock captured a late 90s moment. The Red/Blue divide? The unbreakable post-9/11 surveillance state? The rage of the deplorables? The Bizkit tried to sound the alarm and channel that rage long before Jordan Peterson and toxic masculinity entered the picture. Durst was our very own Hot Topic Howard Beale. Yet, even though he got us mad as hell, we never answered the call; we just ended up taking it even more.

The stunt casting of Durst as a disaffected father in a movie that investigates 90s nostalgia could have been a stroke of genius. But I Saw the TV Glow’s director, Jane Schoenbrun, just rests on those laurels. Thus, the singular voice of a generation ends up having five minutes of screentime in which he scowls from his weathered Laz-E-Boy in a dimly lit room. He delivers his one line–” Isn’t that a girls' show?”–in a rear-view mirror as he expresses his disapproval to his weenie of a son (Justice Smith). 

I Saw the TV Glow is the type of movie that evokes trailer-ready accolades like “one-of-a-kind masterpiece” and “original, evocative, and adventurous,” with Schoenbrun deemed a “filmmaker for our era.” Tellingly, it’s also failed to reach the same hipster critical mass as the studio’s breakouts like Spring Breakers and Everything Everywhere All at Once. In just over a month, A24’s summer must-see has hovered just under the $4 million mark–a misfire by any reasonable evaluation.

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🎶 Father & Son Mullets? BINGO!  It’s that time of year again: tens of thousands of music fans have made their pilgrimage to Nashville for this year’s CMA Fest. Last summer, an estimated  90,000 daily attendees flooded the streets of Broadway, breaking records as they made their way from stage to stage. Based on the frenzy whipped up by Post Malone when he surprised fans with a new duet featuring Blake Shelton yesterday, this year promises to be the same.

When I first moved to Nashville, I took a job as a trainer at a gym downtown, where all sorts of music industry bigwigs would to come in and regale us with CMA Fest stories. For context, this was back before Universal Music Group acquired EMI and everyone in the industry still called CMA Fest Fan Fair—I’m sure some still do. It was then that I was introduced to the CMApocalypse Bingo card, a token of levity offered to locals in the midst of the madness.

Over the years, local rags and venues printed their own bingo boards, which included squares like  “bitching about Tootsie’s being crowded,” “drunk dad with tallboy in each pocket of cargo shorts,” and the Bang This twins (yes, they’re still around). But, while searching around for this year’s trusted copies, I could only find one bingo card, clearly put out by  Silverbelly Whiskey as a marketing gimmick. Instead of the old inside jokes and send-ups, it includes things like “Take a photo with your favorite mural in Nashville!” and “Collect a guitar pick from a band on Broadway!” 

Yesterday evening, in lieu of a bingo card, @musicshitty posted a list of reminders for visitors   (“Wallen, Rich, and Aldean are NOT Nashville!” reads one, “If your Venmo handle is on your car, you will get asked for money!” reads another) while begging them not to move here. I’m not sure what this says about the state of Nashville, but it definitely says something.

If you’re venturing out into the Broadway jungle this weekend– or just have to drive through downtown– here’s a link to CMA Fest road closures. MEGAN PODSIEDLIK

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🏗️ Bringing Downtown Codes Across The River  On Monday, there will be an East Bank Subdistrict Information Session about the new development code. Planning and rezoning is being finalized for the 30-acre subdistrict, which will be a part of the long-awaited East Bank development. Though it’s across the river, the East Bank is part of District 19, which encompasses all of Downtown Nashville. The Planning Commission is proposing to expand the Downtown Code across the Cumberland to craft and adopt the plans laid out in the Imagine East Bank vision.

According to the commission, the vision’s four main components are equity and affordability, mobility, resiliency, and building neighborhoods. You’ll remember that back in April, the East Bank Master Developer agreement was finalized with the Boston-based Fallon Company. The land use requirements for the subdistrict include the development of at least five buildings with 1,500 residential units, 695 of which are to be affordable residential units. There are also guardrails to limit the development of bars, restrict the amount of hotels, encourage the introduction of ground-level retail stores, and prohibit short-term rentals.

The meeting will start at 6 p.m. on Monday in Cross Point Church on Cowan Street.


  • Plaza Mariachi site sees foreclosure (NBJ)
  • Developers see progress on projects proposed for city’s core (Post)
  • Nonprofit, Park Center, plans project on east side (Post)


View our calendar for the week here and our weekly film rundown here.

📅 Visit our On The Radar list to find upcoming events around Nashville.

🎧 On Spotify: Pamphleteer's Picks, a playlist of our favorite bands in town this week.

👨🏻‍🌾 Check out our Nashville farmer's market guide and yearly festival guide.


🎸 Musicians Corner @ Centenial Park, 5p, Free, Info
+ Seratones, Frances Cone, Bathe Alone and more

🎸 Gunning & Cormier @ Station Inn, 9p, $20, Info

🎸 Hi-Jivers @ Dee's Lounge, 10p, $10, Info
+ early rock n' roll / rhythm & blues band

🎸 CMA Fest @ Various Venues, Info
+ NEEDTOBREATHE, Gavin DeGraw, Colbie Caillat, Gretchen Wilson, Cody Johnson and more

🪕 The Cowpokes @ Acme Feed & Seed, 12p, Free, Info

🍀 Live Irish Music @ McNamara’s Irish Pub, 6p, Free, Info

🎸 Kelley’s Heroes @ Robert’s Western World, 6:30p, Free, Info


The latest releases and special screenings hitting Music City this week. For a complete list of upcoming releases, check out our 2024 Film Guide.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die Will Smith and Martin Lawrence may be AARP ready, but their Miami cop buddy cop routine is still tentpole filmmaking at its finest nearly 30 years on. This time, they go on the run to clear their name when a shadowy enemy frames them for being on the take from drug cartels. Now playing in theaters. 

Handling the Undead When the recently deceased reappear during a bucolic Oslo summer, three families navigate how to cope in the latest film that shows Norwegian cinema is in the midst of a renaissance. Now playing at AMC Thoroughbred 20 and The Belcourt.

1999 @ The Belcourt Throughout June, The Belcourt offers twenty-five titles in celebration of the best movie year ever’s 25th anniversary. This week’s must-sees are the 35mm print of Michael Mann’s corporate thriller The Insider; Lynne Ramsay’s emotionally devastating childhood guilt trip, Ratcatcher; the 35mm print of James Mangold’s psychological drama, Girl, Interrupted, and Wes Anderson’s breakout, Rushmore. In addition to crowd-pleasers like The Sixth Sense and The Iron Giant, The Becourt is also offering encores of Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and Bowfinger. Hands down the can’t-miss cinematic event of the summer. Note: The restored release of Run Lola Run screens later in the series, but will also be showing this week at AMC Thoroughbred 20.

The Watchers Most 22-year-olds just want to get their pretentious thesis films into a regional festival. But when your dad is M. Night Shyamalan, you get to write and direct a Hollywood movie starring Dakota Fanning as an artist who must fight off a demonic entity in the woods of Ireland with a group of strangers. Ishana Shyamalan grew up on the film sets of contemporary film’s most hit-or-miss director. The reviews indicate she didn’t learn the right lessons. Now playing in theaters.