THE SOUNDBOARD STEREO: One Piece of an Ordinary Dial

Poster for Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny

Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny (2023)

Dir. by James Mangold

Of course there’s always been a level of belief suspension with the Indiana Jones franchise, but rarely has it been more potent than watching 81-year-old Harrison Ford knocking someone out less than half his age with one punch, or having the giddy-up to outrun literally anyone. If The Dial Of Destiny weren’t all but confirmed to be the last film in this franchise, it’d kind of have to be by default, when it’s clear its lead really doesn’t have the same physicality as in his ‘80s heyday. But even on top of that, a lot of this just feels rather…perfunctory. It’s getting another sequel out and artificially moving it up a level to both beat its previous metric, and live up to the status of modern blockbusters; last time it was aliens; this time it’s time travel. After last time, watching a dying Indy beg to stay in Ancient Rome to study Archimedes in person isn’t quite a jump-the-shark moment, but it’s also hard to imagine anyone who worked on Raiders Of The Lost Ark in 1981 would believe it’d come to this. At least the cast is generally solid; there’s a reason that Ford’s career has survived as long as it has, and despite the discourse ready to crucify Phoebe Waller-Bridge for being a woman who dares to step up to a co-leading role in a male-led franchise (or maybe because of it), she’s really not that bad. Talented actors do get left in the lurch in terms of stuff to do—notably Boyd Holbrook and especially Antonio Banderas—but as far as the natural inflation of big-budget sequels goes, The Dial Of Destiny at least feels in the right place. Though that can also mean it’s functional but generally pales compared to when the creative juices were flowing at a maximum, so there’s that too. • LN

Poster for One Piece

One Piece (S1) (2023)

Oh boy, another live-action anime adaptation! And from Netflix, no less, who did ever so well with their take on Cowboy Bebop! And of a series that currently has over 1,000 episodes and takes, like, 100 of them to actually get good? Is it Christmas already?! Facetiousness aside, the narrative on One Piece breaking the curse of botched-beyond-belief anime remakes is true, but the show itself is still only okay. Apparently it’s better if you have seen the anime (which this writer has seen maybe two episodes of, tops), but there’s an uncanniness around the unnatural colours and weird hairstyle and rubbery character depictions (even outside of Luffy who literally has rubber abilities) that just walls off some real enjoyment. Though, on a purely objective level, there’s clearly been effort and budget that’s gone into this, in a way that many similar projects don’t have. The expansive sea vistas and variety of locations do look good and expensive, and while the core cast never feels all that interesting, the collection of weirdos filling out the roster does have something to it. There’s especially a feel to Alexander Maniatis’ Kuro and Jeff Ward’s Buggy that’s really strong for a pair of villains; both are markedly different performances, but there are forms of redirected intensity to them both that always makes them compelling. It’s clearly meant for existing fans—that’s where the most vocal plaudits have been coming from, after all—but regardless, there’s at least a handful of qualities about One Piece to like. Just…don’t expect a life-changing result, if your life doesn’t already revolve around it. • LN

Artwork for Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘GUTS’

Olivia Rodrigo


To no one’s surprise, Olivia Rodrigo has been inescapable this month, her new album Guts surpassing expectations in almost every way. The pacing issue that kept her debut Sour from being a 10/10 is certainly not present to the same extent here, the focus shifting to the pop-rock side of her sounds as opposed to the slower side of things. all-american bitch and ballad of a homeschooled girl are the perfect female rage outlets, descent into White Stripes-esque distorted madness and all, bad idea right? and get him back! are deliciously bratty and shoutable, while love is embarrassing and pretty isn’t pretty push vulnerability to the forefront. There, of course, are ballads and slower songs here, but for the most part they’re either switched up in sound (like the beautiful Fleetwood Mac-esque lacy) or thematically potent in a way she’s never been before (making the bed addressing her thoughts on fame through a gorgeous metaphor). Something that makes Rodrigo stick out is the theatre kid energy her songs ooze, vocals always dripping with emotion and harmonies stacked on top of each other often acting as a Greek chorus to Rodrigo’s main character. Her lyrics are already beautifully crafted and realistically potent enough, but when they’re being sold this hard, they can’t not be taken as mantras and words to live by. Guts is Olivia Rodrigo’s middle finger to the ‘difficult second album’. She’s tweaked the formula for her pre-existing success to better highlight her strengths instead of succumbing to the pressure to completely reinvent herself; if any pop music suits doubted this being the way forward, then they sure as hell won’t now. • GJ

Poster for Ordinary People

Ordinary People (1980)

Dir. by Robert Redford

(Content warning: suicide)

Opinions on the winners of the Academy Award for Best Picture have long been divided for many reasons, lesser holders of the title often misguided attempts to pin down the relevant social discourse of the time. Winners may have included the universally-acclaimed The Godfather, Rocky and Parasite, but an underrated, smaller-scale gem is 1980’s Ordinary People. Ordinary People follows in the footsteps of its Best Picture predecessor Kramer vs. Kramer, veering away from the extraordinary mobsters, boxers and devious ladder-climbers and towards a story that, as the title suggests, would directly mirror the experiences of regular families everywhere. It follows the well-off Jarrett family after the death of their eldest son Buck. Their youngest son Conrad survived the tragic accident that claimed Buck’s life, and the film begins with his return from a psychiatric hospital following a suicide attempt. We never see these two life-changing events onscreen, the film directly dealing with the fallout, grief and changes in the family’s relationships in real time. The characters’ emotions all feel incredibly close to the bone, sold impeccably by Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore and Timothy Hutton. The family’s high class comes up plenty, but its most interesting unpicking surrounds mother Beth’s struggle to let her emotions out (as opposed to father Calvin, as gender expectations would make us think). The audience is almost prompted to dislike this cold, unfeeling woman, until her climactic breaking point makes you reconsider what we expect of mothers. Ordinary People was never made to shake things up and push boundaries, but it’s earned its place in history for capturing one of the most difficult parts of the human experience with warmth and honesty. • GJ

Artwork for Zach Bryan’s ‘Zach Bryan’

Zach Bryan

Zach Bryan

It’s probably been said countless times now, but Zach Bryan does not have the profile of a modern superstar musician, even in country music. Up this self-titled full-length, his albums have been sprawling, bone-deep, brittle affairs, built on the most unintrusive of production jobs, and the sense that their origins of being from one guy in a barn wasn’t being hidden at all. But virality can come from the strangest sources, and that’s culminated in Bryan’s self-titled album already being a real commercial juggernaut. The Kacey Musgraves collaboration I Remember Everything already debuted at Number One at the US; considering the backgrounds of both of those artists, that’s kind of unheard of. But this is a more ‘mainstream-friendly’ effort from Bryan, in the sense that it’s not two hours long, but it’s also warmer and more burnished to fit certain country sensibilities. At the same time though, Bryan already has an inimitability as a performer that remains on full display, in wistful missives and unmistakable earnestness that’s so rich in detail, and so far elevated above his newly-attained coterie of contemporaries. There’s a level of prestige here that so many won’t even strive for, let alone reach, but that’s Bryan’s baseline, on what still amounts to his most polished and bombastic effort to date. That’s entirely a positive though; he can do heartland rock and big-hearted folk just as well as brittle, shuffling campfire songs, and that’s why he’s become such a force to be reckoned with. Bryan’s arrival to the big leagues has already been equated to Nirvana’s influence on rock in the ‘90s, and even in what might seem like early ripples, you can see it. This is the direction that country music is heading, and Zach Bryan is leading the charge from the shoulders of giants. • LN

Cover image for the Name 3 Songs Podcast

Name 3 Songs Podcast

There are few people more enthusiastic about their passions than fangirls, but more often than not they’re the subject of ridicule from hipsters and misogynists. Enter Name 3 Songs, a podcast by fangirls for fangirls, dedicated to celebrating obsessions with the world’s most adored musicians and celebrities. Sara Feigin and Jenna Million serve as hosts who aren’t just qualified to be talking about these subjects (their long-standing careers in music journalism and photography as well as fangirl backgrounds give them an undoubtable authority), but they always make their discussions, whether frivolous or serious, feel like a gossip or debate with besties rather than a lecture. Their current episode formats serve as a needed weekly roundup of all things fandom and celebrity news, with a newer series of chats with smaller artists sprinkled into the mix. Going further back, there are plenty of deep dives on artists like The 1975 and Miley Cyrus and topics like K-pop marketing strategies and musicians’ mental health, both of which scratch itches that most mainstream music media often don’t, at least not on a consistent level. It’s crazy that in-depth looks at some of the world’s biggest artists feels like a niche, but Name 3 Songs proves that some of the most interesting stuff lies in the most popular, and that you’re never too cool to indulge your passions for hours on end. • GJ

Words by Luke Nuttall (LN) and Georgia Jackson (GJ)

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