90 Movies in 90 Days: This Magnificent Cake! (2018

I’m kicking off 2023 by trying to watch and review one movie every day for the first 90 days, all of which will be 90 minutes or less.

Title: This Magnificent Cake!
Release Date: 14 May 2018
Director: Emma De Swaef and Marc James Roels
Production Company: Beast Animation | Vivement Lundi | Pedri Animation

In the 19th-century, the European powers sliced up the African continent as if it were a cake. King Leopold II of Belgium decided that he needed a piece as well.  This film depicts the effects of colonization through fabric-based stop-motion animation and is told in five interconnected vignettes.  The movie is darkly satirical and has a dreamlike quality.  The dehumanizing effect of colonization on the colonizers is told in the stories of some Belgians who tried their luck in the Congo and are all grotesques in one way or another.

Surprisingly there are very few African characters in this movie, with just one part focusing on a Pygmy man who is made to work as a human ashtray holder at a hotel.  All of the African characters in this movie die in horrible ways. On the one hand that their deaths are the unintended consequences of the carelessness of white people who are indifferent to the suffering they cause is telling.  But it also comes across as really grim slapstick comedy.

Regardless of intent, this is an unsettling movie about the crimes of the not so distant past.  I’m also going to see that snail in a toupee in my nightmares.

Rating: ***

50 Years, 50 Albums (2018): American Utopia by David Byrne

I will turn 50 in November of this year, so my project for 2023 will be to listen to and review one album from each year of my life, 1973 to 2022.  The only qualification is that it has to be an album I’ve not reviewed previously.  If you have any suggestions for albums from the past 50 years, please drop them in the comments!


Top Grossing Albums of 2018:

  • Taylor Swift – Reputation
  • Drake – Scorpion
  • Post Malone – beerbongs & bentleys
  • Soundtrack – The Greatest Showman
  • Ed Sheeran – ÷ (Divide)

Grammy Award for Album of the Year and Nominees for 2018:

  • Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour
  • Cardi B – Invasion of Privacy
  • Brandi Carlile – By the Way, I Forgive You
  • Post Malone – beerbongs & bentleys
  • Janelle Monáe – Dirty Computer
  • Black Panther: The Album, Music From and Inspired By

My Favorite Albums of 2018:

Album: American Utopia
Artist: David Byrne
Release Date: March 9, 2018
Label: Nonesuch | Todo Mundo
Favorite Tracks:

  • I Dance Like This
  • Every Day Is A Miracle
  • Dog’s Mind
  • Doing the Right Thing


Despite my Talking Heads fandom, I’ve never delved deep into David Byrne’s solo work.  His most recent album, American Utopia, seems like a good place to start especially since it’s release in 2018 it’s prompted a concert film directed by Spike Lee and a run on Broadway! The album addresses the crises of the Trump Era head on but does so in a way that pushes optimism.  This is going to sound like a back-handed compliment, but Byrne has a way of experimenting with music that has a wonderful sameness.  I guess that’s how he’s been able to be so successful at making quirky and innovative music that is also popular.  That is kind of a metaphor for the album itself where Byrne tries to draw a reassuring optimism from troubled times.

Now I’m going to have to try to watch the American Utopia film for my 50 Years 50 Movies project.

Rating: ***1/2