I have trouble coming up with what is “the best” of anything nowadays. I can’t read/watch/absorb something and instantly recognize that it is something that is “the best of the year.” I wish I could. I can’t.
I don’t think I could ever review records (especially), as my favorites always, ALWAYS, reveal themselves through repeated listens. The records I like the best are ones that I can’t really figure out why I keep returning to- they “call” to me, much like the green glowy crystal from Superman.
Movies are the same way. There are ones that I like, even love, in the moment, but then fizzle in my memory instantly. Sherlock Holmes, seen not one week ago, is like that. Not bad, even better than that, probably. But I can already tell that I will spend not one minute thinking of this movie until it appears on HBO later this year. Even then, I doubt I’ll check it out.
So… the best stuff I took in this year all had to meet one criteria: It had to stick with me. It had to burrow itself into my brain in some manner, making me want to return to it, place it under the microscope, and examine it. The following movies/records/telly examples all had that, and probably more. I’ll have to check them out again.
Here we go:
Favorite Movie: Inglourious Basterds– I have wanted to rewatch this more than anything else I saw all year; hence, the top spot. Beautiful piece of revisionist history, and the best villain in movies for as long as I can remember.
Scene that stuck: Two, actually. The opening 25 minutes or so, with Hans Landa interrogating the French farmer, is funny, suspenseful, scary, and intelligent. Then, the “20 Questions” scene in the basement of the tavern. I’ve only seen this movie once, and I fear that I missed a lot of what made this scene amazing. It’s tough keeping up with Tarantino.
Up, Up in the Air, Bad Lieutenant, Moon, Star Trek, Crazy Heart, (500) Days of Summer, Adventureland, Zombieland, A Serious Man, I Love You, Man, The Hangover, The Hurt Locker, An Education, Where the Wild Things Are, Crank: High Voltage.
Worst Movie I Saw All Year: He’s Just Not That In To You- It’s on HBO right now. Watch it if you don’t believe me. It may be the worst romantic comedy ever. Oh, and it’s long, too.
Favorite Record: Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion- I don’t have any runners-up in this category. This is the only album that I still listen to from front to back. It came out in January of ’09, and has taken its sweet time to reveal itself in its entirety (which I doubt it has as of yet).
Songs That Stuck: The first song that grabbed me was “Summertime Clothes”- the most uplifting song of the year. “My Girls” and “Brother Sport” followed, along with “Lion in a Coma” and “Bluish.” “My Girls” and “Brother Sport” are both Panda Bear songs which deal with the death of his father. Discovering the lyrics, which I did only this last month, make these songs even more poignant and affecting.
Yeah, this album has legs, and I am confident that it still has treats in its goodie bag that I have yet to discover.
Favorite Television: Breaking Bad, Season 2– As much as I loved Season 1, the second season of this show revealed that it knew where it was going and then threw curveball after curveball. Bryan Cranston deserves every accolade that can be bestowed upon him. I don’t want to give anything away for those who have yet to see this show (and you must, you must!), but his Walter White goes through some shit in this season that I’m not sure he’s going to be able to come back from. Rock bottom? I fear not.
Episode That Stuck: The one where he is trapped in the desert with his meth-cooking partner, Jesse. A drug kingpin has them at his mercy. They are planning their escape. There is an old man with a bell. Watch it and see the most suspenseful hour of television all year long.
Modern Family, Mad Men, Fringe, The Office, Friday Night Lights, The Soup, At The Movies.