I’ve never done this before but folks everywhere are compiling their year-end lists of favorites, so I thought what the hell. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. First item listed is my favorite, others are honorable mentions.
I have to qualify my list by saying a couple things mentioned here were released at the end of 2009 -- notably the One EskimO album and the Margaret Atwood book. Both came out in September 2009, but they didn’t cross my radar until 2010 so I’m including them here. They’re just that good and fuckit, it’s my list, dammit.
Anyway, tell me what cool music/movies/books/TV crossed your radar this year. I’m always looking for good recommendations.
1- Ray LaMontagne & The Pariah Dogs, God Willing & The Creek Don’t Rise. If he doesn’t win a Grammy for this I’m gonna cry.
• Pacifika, Supermagique
• One EskimO, One EskimO
1-The Passage, Justin Cronin. OMG clearly the best vampire novel ever written, bar none. Do not pick up this book if you haven’t cleared your schedule because you literally will be unable to put it down.
• The Year Of The Flood, Margaret Atwood
• Freedom, Jonathan Franzen
It’s purely coincidental that both of my pics are music-related (on my to-read list is the Patti Smith memoir, which won the National Book Award. I’m sure I’ll love that, too). Oh, and if you’re wondering why the number of eff-bombs has escalated on my blog in recent weeks, blame Keith Richards.
1- Composed, Rosanne Cash. Loved this book, despite her infatuation with the word “elegiac.” For anyone wanting gossip about her marriage to Rodney Crowell or other kiss-and-tell subjects, you’re barking up the wrong tree. But if you want to know about how music can move a soul, well, this is the book for you.
• Life, Keith Richards
This was a tough call because we haven’t seen a few biggies yet: “Black Swan” and “Winter’s Bone,” for example. And I’m trying to think if a movie really astonished me this year, in the same way that “District 9” and “Up In The Air” really moved me last year. I loved the three “The Girl...” movies, but the first one didn’t really make sense without the second, and the third was a throw-away. I didn’t love “Inception,” I thought it was an FX movie without any real story or character development. We tend to see documentaries but I missed a couple of the biggies as well. So my list is definitely incomplete.
1- The Social Network
• 127 Hours
• Exit Through The Gift Shop
1- Casino Jack & The United States of Money. Damn. To think we went from this to the fucking Tea Party. Amazing.
• Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work
TV really sucked this year. I was disappointed in “Mad Men,” which seemed to kinda run out of steam. “Boardwalk Empire” was promising but I can't really say it was the best thing I saw all year. Probably the most interesting new show I saw was Bravo's "Work of Art: The Next Great Artist," which actually gave the contest reality show concept a little class. But really for this category I've got nuthin'.
1- Time Stands Still. Heartbreaking story about two war correspondents dealing with the horrors of Iraq. Absolutely superbly acted. Will probably get ruined when someone inevitably turns it into a movie.
• American Idiot
• Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
1- Harper’s, my perennial favorite. If you aren’t reading Harper’s you’re just wasting your time.
• Cook’s Illustrated. I know they’re derided as cooking Nazis but I love the recipes and the information.