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In Marketplace Commentary

You could see "I, Frankenstein" this weekend, or you could rent "Robot & Frank." There's an obvious answer.

In Marketplace Commentary

Now Andy has the coolest lamp in the office. recommends, Jan. 25, 2014

It's time for the latest crop of recommendations from your friends at This week's bunch includes rockers, robots, rolls and a lamp that plugs into your computer. Because everything plugs into your computer nowadays.

"Autobiography," by Morrissey (Putnam) – For more than 400 pages, in colorful, biting prose, one-time Smiths frontman Morrissey – whose solo career has long outlived the brief but hot-burning career of his first band – tells his own story. It is rife with betrayal (on the part of others), snubs (by others) and disappointment (typically in others). Rough Trade boss Geoff Travis gets an especially heavy walloping. As does former Smiths drummer Mike Joyce, whose legal battle against Morrissey and songwriting partner Johnny Marr crops up seemingly every few pages, and is examined in great detail over a long stretch of pages in the second half of the book.

"Autobiography" is basically much like we expected. So why, then, is it such compelling reading? Partially because Morrissey is a fine writer, partially because we're voyeurs and partially because – since we love his music – we want to like Morrissey as a person, too. Music fans may enjoy the author's passion for, and encyclopedic knowledge, of pop music. Some of his references sent me to YouTube to hear songs mentioned that I didn't know and that aspect of the book was great fun.

You'll decide in the end if you find anything to like about Steven Morrissey, but, regardless, it'll be an interesting journey getting there. – Bobby Tanzilo

Lopez Bakery rolls – You can't go wrong with anything from Lopez Bakery, 1100 W. Historic Mitchell St. The bakery items and the Mexican food dishes are all really good. However, the large dinner rolls with their flaky crust and incredibly soft insides are some of the very best in the city. They are ridiculously inexpensive – three for $1 – and must be eaten fresh. Dunk them in chili, use them for sandwiches or just slather them with butter. I like picking up a bag on a way to a friend's house for dinner. They're always a hit. – Molly Snyder

Wave vs. Ambush – The Milwaukee Wave take on the St. Louis Ambush today at U.S. Cellular Arena at 6 p.m., which is fun in and of itself - but the day is also going to feature the annual Mascot Game (with some free t-shirts for fans). While the soccer is fun, it's always funny to see mascots from around the city and state running around trying to kick a ball into a smaller net. You can buy your tickets here, or walk up to the box office at the Cell. – Jim Owczarski

Satechi Touch USB LED LampThere's not much to this cute little invention. Basically, it's a one-piece light/lamp shade that fits on top of your favorite bottle and plugs right into your computer. How you customize it is up to you. With a warm glow and one-touch operation, it's a fun desk accessory for work. The Touch USB LED Lamp uses LEDs with a lifetime of 50,000 hours while consuming only 1.2W of power. Pretty fun for just $24.99. – Andy Tarnoff

"Robot & Frank" – Man, it's been a rough start to 2014 in terms of movies. But hey, the beauty of today is that you can find a whole plethora of movies old and new, big and small on Netflix to keep you occupied, even when the only new release out in theaters is "I, Hunky Emo Frankenstein."

Case in point: 2012's "Robot & Frank," which is currently on Netflix Instant. It's a small indie movie about an aging thief (Frank Langella) who slowly begins to warm up to his designated robot living assistant, voiced by Peter Sarsgaard. It's a lightly sweet and quite funny relationship – especially as Frank and the robot start plotting a heist on their dweeby hipster neighbor – but as it goes along, the film also becomes a quite moving story about growing old and two people (well, a person and a robot) coping with their fragile memories.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you're only going to see one movie with "Frank" in the title, make it "Robot & Frank."


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