Arkansas Times Recommends is a weekly series in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things we’ve been enjoying this week.
In case you are bad at the internet, this is the best thing it produced this week. — Lindsey Millar
A year or two ago I bought my wife a print from the 1200 Posters project. The project consisted of twelve illustrations printed in editions of 100 (thus 1200.) Each amazing illustration incorporated a quote from the text “Turning to One Another” by Margaret Wheatley. I purchased a print by Lia Marcoux. It depicts a woman floating in water, surrounded by an enormous wizened eel and many fish. The words “Treasure curiosity more than certainty” are drawn like deep red seaweed into the woman’s hair.
One edition was released every month for a year and each were equally powerful. I don’t know if they project was a financial or critical success, but it clearly was a meaningful success. They are now reviving the project. The original twelve artists were invited by the organizers at the Creative Action Network. Now, however, anyone can submit and sell their print as long as it meets the project guidelines, which are generous to the artist but stay true to the spirit of the original idea. Also, approximately half of the original prints are being made available again. Go see the collection. — Bryan Moats
Once, at a film festival, I met the director Stanley Donen, best known for “Singin’ in the Rain,” which he’d made with Gene Kelly half a century before I ran into him outside of a crowded theater in 2010. He looked like a cross between Robert Evans and Hyman Roth from “The Godfather,” with an extreme tan, aviator sunglasses too big for his eyes, a white blazer and a thick gold chain. I shook his hand, but before I got a chance to ask him a question (maybe something about how he made Fred Astaire dance on the ceiling in “Royal Wedding”), a woman came up, interrupted and introduced herself as Valerie. Without missing a beat, Donen launched into Steve Winwood’s “Valerie,” and kept on singing through at least the first chorus. While he sang, she didn’t say a word, just nodded her head quietly along with the beat, as if thinking, “He’s earned this.” I thought it was odd at the time, but I was younger then. — Will Stephenson
Stop by Loblolly Creamery and try a scoop of their Strawberry Buttermilk ice cream, making sure you get it in one of their house-made waffle cones. I could try to explain why but I don’t think I’ll do it justice. All I can say is that I am addicted and have not been able to bring myself to try another flavor since I first tasted the combination. I expect it to be my saving grace this summer. — Darielle D’Mello
This stunning Holly Williams song, “Waiting on June,” is the sort of epic country ballad that’s a tearjerker in the sweetest sense. Holly is Hank’s granddaughter (and Hank Jr.’s daughter) but this story of a life well lived is about her maternal grandparents, told from the perspective of her grandfather. June is June Bacon White, her mother’s mother — though the name “June” inevitably evokes other country royalty. For all of the song’s big American sweep, it’s the little tender moments that slay me, the details that sprinkle over the arc of a long life. Oh, and Holly Williams! What a voice. Country music is one of the last American art forms fully comfortable with the melodramatic mode. To pull it off, you need someone who knows when to whisper and when to shout. Someone who can sing a familiar line that still punches with surprise. Holly Williams sounds like a Nashville star and like someone telling you a simple story after church, all that and then some. If my wife and I are singing this to each other in a country karaoke bar 50 years from now, things will have worked out all right. — David Ramsey
This week, I’ll take a break from recommending weird videos to recommend something tangentially related: Frank Darabont’s rejected 2002 script for “Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods.”
Though never officially verified by either Darabont or anyone connected to the film, this script is widely recognized to be a leaked version of Darabont’s script for was to have been “Indiana Jones 4.” Though Spielberg and Harrison Ford reportedly loved it, George Lucas — the guy who turned the “Star Wars” saga into “Computer Generated C-Span in Space” in the prequels — didn’t. And so, Darabont’s take on a somewhat washed-up Indiana Jones struggling to find his place (and continued adventures) in his golden years went into the dustbin, with Lucas writing and rewriting and remixing ideas for “Indy 4” for years before eventually fielding the much-reviled “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” in 2008.
Many of the elements of Darabont’s script did eventually make it into the final film — including the stuff about the aliens (which was apparently Lucas’s idea), all the commie fightin’ and the fridge-nuking scene. But by the time the film made it to the screen, Darabont’s fun take on the series had been replaced by scads of CGI bullshit and a heavy dose of the “Let’s Make Shia LaDouche a Moviestar!” juggernaut. Take off that fedora and bullwhip, you wormy jackass. I knew Indiana Jones. Indiana Jones was a friend of mine. And you, sir, are no Indiana Jones.
My favorite part of the script starts on page 31, where a tanked-up Indy, on a forced sabbatical from his university after running afoul of g-men thugs, goes into the university museum with his ol’ pal Marcus and sees the golden idol Jones famously risked life and limb for in the early scenes of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Reading that bit, you can just HEAR John Williams’ sinuous score from “Raiders.” So, what does a six-sheets-to-the-wind adventurer do then? Why, he tries to halfassedly steal the idol back, of course, measuring out sand in his hand to keep from setting off the pressure-sensitive alarm under the idol, in a scene that would have plucked the heartstrings of every kid who remembered the race against the giant ball-o-death from the original, and every adult who understands what it is to feel like your glory days might be in the past.
A great, unrealized script by one of the best working today, “Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods” does a lot better job than “Crystal Skull” at doing what a movie about an aging Indiana Jones should have been about: the suspicion that you’ve been rendered obsolete by time, and the fact that even the best get old eventually. As Indy himself said in “Raiders,” it ain’t about the years, it’s the mileage, and this is a script that gets that. For a fan of the series or even just a lover of movies, it’s a sad, thrilling look at what might have been. — David Koon