From the French “dance of death,” the term danse macabre portends the anchor of all fear and anxiety. While hurricanes usually miss Tampa, they at least give us a topic for conversation. The self-titled album’s opening track, “Agenda Suicide,” features multi-layered beats, some of which seem to melt into the song’s melody. The melody is carried by a grumbling bass (much like thunder), electronic pops (lightning) and the windy rain of synthesizers.
The album epitomizes the buzz felt toward impending doom. Fuzzy analog vocals narrate “The Conductor,” a Wagner-like vignette of storm and stress.
— Harold Valentine
Creedence Clearwater Revival
When Florida weather smiles in late summer, natives of the state know it is time to be wary. Likewise, “Bad Moon Rising” begins with a friendly wink before bouncing into a foreboding tune sung by sunny John Fogerty, warning us that we are in for nasty weather and that it just might end our lives. This is the tension of the band’s Green River, giving us catchy and benign sounding songs offset by Stu Cook’s often menacing bass and Fogerty’s ability to make his banal voice seem capable of thunder at any moment.
— Brad Valentine
Jan de Bont
For those who have never lived through a hurricane and want a glimpse of Hollywood exaggeration, Twister will entertain and instill gratuitous fear. Granted, Twister is about tornadoes, but it’s the closest you’ll get to a hurricane picture. This film is entertaining and will make the long wait a bit more enjoyable, but those not looking for disaster or devastation may want to skip this one.
— Pablo Saldana
Big Fish is a lighthearted, sweet movie that counters the anxiety and fear sweeping most of the city in anticipation of a hurricane. Big Fish is about a father whose tall tales have caused a rift with his son, but at the end, his son learns the truth. Going into the storm, this film is fitting to relax the viewer and clear the mind of thoughts of the slow-moving disaster on their doorstep.
Eye of the Storm
The cacophony of winds has come down, and you get in your car to see your damaged neighborhood. The sky is clear, yet the air is still different. You feel like you are dreamily floating. Not exactly in a good way, mind you. You see a telephone pole down in the street behind you. You realize you have been caught in the eye of the hurricane and now you are at the mercy of the environment. Sonically, this could be the experience in Daydream Nation, which frequently models songs on such lulls before hammering you again with its second act.
— B V
This album is a lethargic symphony regarding dark, arbitrary forces. After the arrhythmic beat swelling in “Sine Wave,” “Take Me Somewhere Nice” somberly spins wish fulfillment and asks what would happen if we saw spaceships over Glasgow. “Robot Chant” sounds like the eerie hum of collapsing power lines, with synesthetic hues of white-green and white-blue. “Secret Pint” unsentimentally sends us on our way as the eye passes with harsh yet meandering drums and an acoustic guitar and piano that play like a sulking child.
— H V
Dark Side of the Moon
Giddy laughter becomes the proper response to peril on Dark Side of the Moon. Layered, slow, and psychedelic; these words describe the music on the album as well as the impact of catastrophe after the initial trauma has set in and one is left waffling through the present in a strangely removed meditation. Dark Side brings the immediacy of the storm experience, not viscerally, but poetically, like the way the Wizard of Oz does when Dorothy looks out her window and sees the witch peddling her bike in midair within a twister.
— B V
Lee Unkrich and Andrew Stanton
This Pixar creation is the best way to beat the 160-mph winds and ankle-high waters that are certain come from the next hurricane. Finding Nemo is perfect because it appeals to all audiences and offers some of the best animation and writing in the past five years. Before popping in the DVD, make sure you gas up the generator as power outages are guaranteed, and not even impending death should disrupt this film. A seemingly absurd viewing choice, Nemo is probably best suited for families or friendly gatherings as a means of escapism from grim reality.
Saving Private Ryan
Bloodshed and violence aside, Saving Private Ryan is a moving film of one man who, having already lost his brothers, is trying to escape World War II without losing his own life. A spark of hope is what makes this film approved hurricane viewing. The soldier must survive harsh, deadly WWII where countless other men are killed. If you watch the film while paying attention to the underlying message, then Saving Private Ryan is a story of one man overcoming impossible odds rather than a graphic depiction of a grisly war. In the middle of a storm, hope is something everyone can use.
George A. Romero
Day of the Dead
Day of the Dead is the best feel good movie after surviving the devastation of a major hurricane. The film shows that things could always be worse: You could find yourself trapped inside a mountain base ruled by moronic military officers and having to constantly worry about the undead that long for the taste of your flesh. Day of the Dead is seen as the weakest entry in the Dead series, but the film is effective in bringing sheer terror and portraying the shortcomings of humanity. So, if you aren’t rendered powerless in the wake of the storm, check out Day of the Dead. It will definitely lift your spirits.
Francis Ford Coppola
The Vietnam War in the hands of Francis Ford Coppola sounds a bit off for a post-disaster film. Coppola gives Apocalypse Now a very surreal feeling that closely resembles that of a person opening their front door to see their entire neighborhood in ruins. The sight doesn’t seem real, but almost as if you’ve awoken in a nightmare. Apocalypse Now captures this feeling splendidly.
Fevers and Mirrors
The wake of a storm leaves mixed emotions: boredom, anger, hunger and fatigue. For some it can be an overwhelming sense of loss. Fevers and Mirrors, if nothing else, is in the business of bereavement. “A Spindle, a Darkness, a Fever and a Necklace” begins with a four-track recording of a child reading a sad story about someone who’s tired of living life with another. Organs lead the following lament, “A Scale, a Mirror and These Indifferent Clocks,” as lead man Conor Oberst checks his list of pain with “Now I know a disease … / You contract it the day you accept all you see.”
For those looking for resolution after a storm, “A Song to Pass the Time” exposes soul-sucking gaps that often plague our culture’s middle class, yet there’s ” … someone looking for what I concealed,” and thus hope.
— H V
Contact Entertainment Editors Harold Valentine and Pablo Saldana at firstname.lastname@example.org