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Love a Little Better

At used-record stores, LPs can be had for a song. Unlike CDs and downloads, LPs are a solid investment. Depending on the artist, the value could increase dramatically the longer you own them. I bought an early pressing of the Beatles' "White Album" about five years ago for a lofty $80 and I suspect it's worth at least a few hundred now.

In an essay last year for a small Web site called Asbury Pulp, I talked about why LPs are such beautiful artifacts. But vinyl recordings also have a reputation for higher sound quality. As you buy records, you're sending a message to marketers that you care about such things. You don't have to be an audiophile or a collector to want the best product for your money.

No. 4: A Stay-Home Movie Night

Maybe you've cooked a nice dinner and you just want to stay in, just the two of you. There's nothing wrong with a romantic evening in front of the TV. But for goodness sake, don't spend it watching "Teen Mom" re-runs.

May I suggest any one of these three classic films? Rent them if you like, but after you've seen them, you'll want to buy them:
  • Amadeus: Directed by Milos Forman and based on the hit play by Peter Schaffer, this is a retelling of a famous legend surrounding the composer Mozart's death. There's a lot of fiction here, framed into what one friend termed, "more of Peter Schaffer's crackpot theories about God." Mozart was a genius, that part is indisputable, and that genius decorates a compelling storyline. Best of all, there are many spot-on dramatic uses of his music.
  • Blue: Directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski, part of his three-part tribute to French culture, this features music by Zbigniew Preisner. In the film, a composer, played by Juliette Binoche, walks away from her career after the death of her husband and child, only to be dragged back by the music itself. It's a complex film, romantic and haunting, and the music is used brilliantly. Get it in French with English subtitles ( Bleu).
  • Ray: Directed by Taylor Hackford and starring Jamie Foxx, this traces Ray Charles' remarkable career and includes some terrific music and great dramatic moments. Foxx is totally convincing in the title role and there are plenty of illustrations of Charles as a business genius as well as an artistic one.

    In different ways, each of these films examines the mind of a musical genius at close range and the music that exists as a compelling, romantic force inside each of us.

    Way better than chocolate.

    -- Written by Carlton Wilkinson in Asbury Park.
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