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Ram Tough 

The Wrestler tops this week's pop culture picks


The Wrestler

(Twentieth Century Fox)

Mickey Rourke deservedly earned the best reviews of his long and troubled career as Randy "The Ram" Robinson, an '80s wrestling star now grappling with his estranged daughter, stripper gal pal and aging body. Darren Aronofsky's excellent film actually works better on the small screen, where guys like Randy became heroes back in the day.


American History X


Edward Norton simmers in this portrait of a reformed skinhead trying to keep his younger brother away from the hate that consumed his own youth. The new Blu-ray includes some deleted scenes, but the hi-def images of violence, as both a learned and unlearned part of one man's life, truly shock. The movie still resonates 11 years later.


101 Albums That Changed

Popular Music

(Oxford University)

Writer Chris Smith doesn't uncover any hidden gems in his scholarly tome about the CDs every music fan should have in his collection. But he does offer some critical perspective on timeless albums like Kind of Blue, Daydream Nation and The Chronic. There's even a handy appendix listing the records. It makes a perfect shopping list.



Fist of God


These Toronto noisemakers shake up the dance floor on their frenetic second album. The BPMs come at you hard — almost relentless in their assault. It's a helluva ride and a helluva party, fueled by sloppy sex, cheap booze and cheaper drugs. Ghostface Killah and John Legend even show up for quickies.


The Best of AR Rahman: Music and Magic From the Composer of Slumdog Millionaire

(Sony Legacy)

Rahman's beat-heavy songs drove Slumdog Millionaire to a pair of soundtrack Oscars. This 14-track collection gathers a decade's worth of his tunes, most of which blend pop, hip-hop, electronic and traditional Indian music. It's a great introduction to one of the most versatile composers in the world.

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