90 Movies in 90 Days: The Squid and the Whale (2005)

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: The Squid and the Whale
Release Date: December 16, 2005
Director: Noah Baumbach
Production Company: Sony Pictures Releasing International | Destination Films | American Empirical Pictures | Original Media

What if we make a movie in which every single character is a raging asshole?  That is the question Noah Baumbach asked when he wrote and directed The Squid and the Whale.  Set in Brooklyn in 1986, the movie details the divorce of Bernard Berkman (Jeff Daniels) and Joan Berkman (Laura Linney), and the effect that joint custody has on their kids Walt (Jesse Eisenberg) and Frank (Owen Kline).  Bernard is a pretentious snob and a writer whose career has hit a brick wall.  Joan is a serial philanderer who has just become a successful writer.  Walt emulates the most disturbing personality characteristics of his father.  Frank drinks too much and masturbates in public.  None of these people seem to be capable of being in an honest interpersonal relationship.

I suppose I should relate to this movie since my parents divorced in the 1980s.  But some experiences do not translate to universality.  There’s no denying that this is a well-made movie, but I hate the experience of watching it.  I haven’t been this disturbed by a movie since I watched The Ice Storm, which was last month, so I’m on a streak! (And they both feature members of the Kline family…hmm).

Rating: ***


50 Years, 50 Albums (2004): Nouvelle Vague

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 2004:

  1. Confessions – Usher
  2. Speakerboxxx / The Love Below– Outkast
  3. Closer – Josh Groban
  4. Diary of Alicia Keys– Alicia Keys
  5. Feels Like Home – Norah Jones

Grammy Award for Album of the Year of 2004:

Other Albums I’ve Reviewed from 2004:

Album: Nouvelle Vague 
Artist:Nouvelle Vague
Release Date: 9 August 2004
Label: Peacefrog | Luaka Bop
Favorite Tracks:

  • Just Can’t Get Enough (Depeche Mode)
  • In A Manner of Speaking (Tuxedomoon)
  • Guns of Brixton (The Clash)
  • Too Drunk to Fuck (Dead Kennedys)
  • Friday Night Saturday Morning (The Specials)


“Nouvelle Vague” is French for “New Wave” and commonly associated with the French New Wave film movement.  “Bossa nova” is Portuegeuse and also means “new wave,” and refers to a style of Brazilian samba origination in the 1950s. And in English, “new wave” refers to the punk & post-punk music styles of the late 1970s and early 1980s.  Someone who was entirely too clever decided to create a new wave music cover band that performed songs in the bossa nova style lead by female vocalists with the elan of Nouvelle Vague film stars.

While this may be the most gimmicky act since Dread Zeppelin, the outcome is pretty good.  I remember this album being recommended to me by someone at a party who gave me a list of mostly electronics artists to seek out, but also spoke highly of Nouvelle Vague.  It’s been a long time since I’d listened to this album, but it still holds up after 20 years, perhaps because it’s built on so many traditions of earlier decades.

Rating: ****