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as seen on tv. [the many lists of 2010.]

I didn’t actually keep track of tv shows I watched in 2010. I should have, like Kj did, but I failed to do so.

I’ll have to remember to do that this year. In the future, I would like to actually do this as a season specific thing, but I need to keep track before I can do that.

To be on the list, they didn’t have to air this year, I just had to watch at least one full season for the first time this year.


1. Archer

Let’s see… today is the 6th, which means we have two weeks and five days until the new season starts. Rejoice!


2. Dexter

Em and I are dreadfully behind in our Dexter episodes. We really need to use this week to catch all the way up. So many shows, so little time.

3. Community

The second season started a bit slow, but then kicked into ‘awesome’ gear again.

I love how layered all of the show’s references are. There are the really obvious overarching pop culture references, like the Goodfellas/Godfather episode, or the Space Camp/The Right Stuff/Apollo 13 episode, etc. Yet, they also have tiny little references I don’t catch until I’ve seen an episode two or three times; tiny moments of dialogue, the way someone drops their pepper water gun, or even the fact that early in season one, Troy and Jeff are jokingly referencing Gillian Jacobs’ caracter in Choke as they leave a classroom.

Also, they gave me my favorite holiday special ever.

4. Sherlock

This show is fantastic. Only three 90 minute episodes in Series One, so it left Emily and me wanting so much more. Episode two was a little meh, but one and three were so very entertaining.

5. Doctor Who

Along with Sherlock, Doctor Who ensures that 2 of these 10 shows are somehow related to Steven Moffat.

The man is a television god. “The Empty Child”/”The Doctor Dances,” the first two episodes he wrote for Doctor Who, back in ’05, were my favorite from the revamp’s first year. Then, he churned out great episodes in every season after that, including the Carey Mulligan episode.

Perhaps the most impressive thing he’s done is make a fifth season I am enjoying so much. I’m not going to lie, I cried like a big fat baby watching David Tennant’s last episode, so it was a tall order to win me over to some fancy new Doctor. Somehow, it took Moffat’s ‘revamped revamp’ about 5 minutes and I was totally in.

This show also gets more accessible every season, to the point that Doctor Who spinoff ‘Torchwood‘ (which, you’ll notice, is an anagram of Doctor Who) is moving to the states via Stars.

Anyway, if the Doctor ever starts taking male companions around with him on a more regular basis, I’m taking my talents to the TARDIS.


6. Castle

As I was making this list, I realized that Nathan Fillion is probably known to many in the country as ‘that guy from Castle.’

This makes me sad. He has so much more to offer.

Yet, that’s not entirely bad. I think everybody can use a light detective drama in their life, to unwind without having to invest heavily on a mental level. This just happens to be the best one of those out there. The writings is usually pretty good for the genre, the characters are all likeable, and the show is clever and witty.

When you get that while also getting to bask in the sexiness of Stana Katic and Nathan Fillion, it’s a win, win, win.

7. The Walking Dead

This adaptation of the graphic novels doesn’t disappoint. Although, I am soooo curious where they are going in season two, since they diverged so much from the end of the first volume of the books.

8. Lost

The end of Lost certainly fits into that ‘Love it or Hate it’ category. While there were certainly disappointments, and plenty could have been more satisfying, I am still most definitely one of those seated in the ‘Love’ section.

9. 30 Rock

I have one pet peeve, something maybe everyone else can help me out with. During the first episode of 30 Rock, The Girlie Show was already a thing. Then, Jack came to town, made Lemon hire Tracy Jordan, and rebranded the show as TGS with Tracy Jordan. Still, it’s the same show, just a rebranding, like when Saturday Night Live changed their branding to SNL, or American Movie Classics changed their branding to AMC. So, my question is, why does the show always pretend that TGS is only as old as 30 Rock? They celebrate 30 Rock milestones ‘in show,’ by pretending they are at the same milestones in TGS. What’s the deal there? Am I just missing something? Help a brother out.

Aside from that, this show is amazing. The best guest appearances, awesome inside jokes, hilarious writing, and the remarkable ability to have a show that still has me laughing out loud in season five. What is this, Seinfeld?

10. Deadwood

Slow, dark, gritty, angry, violent, and brilliant.

This show follows along so closely with the historical account of how things went down in the actual Deadwood, it’s got much more reality than so called ‘reality tv.’

The end

the neglected. [movies, the many lists of 2010.]

I shouldn’t have missed these movies this year, but I did. I need to remedy that post-haste.

I made this list last year as well. Of those ten films, I still haven’t seen Thirst or Precious; the scariest thing about Paranormal Activity was how much of a douche-bag the boyfriend was; the rest were some of my favorite films I’ve seen this year, especially Moon and The Hurt Locker.

As for this year’s list, not seeing Monsters isn’t my fault. To my knowledge, it never played in Seattle, which is really weird.

So, here are the films I feel the most disappointed for not getting around to seeing in 2010. As always, there is no meaning to the order.

1. 127 Hours


Continue Reading →

The end

villains. [movies, the many lists of 2010.]

So, we’re well into the music lists because we could start those before the year was out. However, movie lists need to wait out Christmas for the final releases. This year, those releases were the notable Tron: Legacy and True Grit. I also got in a few more films from 2010 over the holiday break, like The Other Guys, Salt, Easy A, and the absolutely phenomenal Black Swan.

Alas, now 2010 has come and gone, which means it’s high time to get rolling on 2010’s movie lists too! I had so much fun making last year’s lists, so at the very least, all of those will be back. Maybe more, who knows.

Just like last year, I’m kicking things off with my favorite villains of 2010. The normal disclaimer should be given, in that there were so many great movies I never saw this year. Thus, there are probably all sorts of wonderful villains I’ve yet to encounter from this year’s cinematic offerings. If I left out one of your favorites, sound off in the comments section so I can use some Netflix queue magic to get in on the fun.

The only qualification is that these had to be movies released in 2010.

Anyway, here are the villains of 2010 dearest to my heart.

1. The Bad (a.k.a. Park Chang-yi) – The Good, The Bad, The Weird

This movie was awesome for so many reasons, but #1 may just have been Byung-hun Lee as the the titular “Bad” in the film. As ‘bad guys’ go, they just don’t get better (or badder) than this. A smooth, sexy, well-dressed package wrapped around cold, efficient, murderous rage.

It was cinematic dynamite!


2. Lotso (Lots-o-Huggin) – Toy Story 3

Certainly the year’s most adorable villain.

His tragic story was the dark version of Jesse’s from Toy Story 2. Whereas our rootin’, tootin’ cowgirl was left with a broken heart, leaving her untrusting and afraid. Lotso took a different angle when he was jilted by his kid, he turned into an evil bastard; using his rage as fuel to create his own empire of fear in his daycare version of North Korea.


3. James Coughlin – The Town

As is almost always the case, the best performances make for the best villains. Jeremy Renner was truly fantastic as the primary dark catalyst in the film. Sure, there were bigger harmful forces at work in Doug MacRay’s story, but it was Coughlin who he truly loved enough that it often dragged him down.

Renner’s task was a tall order. Was it possible that he could play such a dark, violent and poisonous character without turning him into a flat “bad guy?” Renner pulls it off, giving a performance that displays the pain, brokenness, and even love that exists at the core of all his violence and rage. The result is a villain who feels like a real human being.


4. Gideon Graves –  Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

Okay, so the payoff in the movie wasn’t as satisfying to me as the version in the graphic novel. Still, that’s a small concern. The movie was awesome, the books just offered a better conclusion. In both forms, Gideon Graves is one hilariously pretentious dick, and as Rushmore forever made clear, no one plays hilariously pretentious dick better than Jason Schwartzman. It’s funny, because he actually seems to be a sweet, funny guy. Plus, he also plays the hapless loser as well as anyone else, too.

Anyway, if you asked me before the movie was cast “Who should play Gideon Graves?” I wouldn’t have known who to say. In hindsight, no one should have played him but our grown up Max Fischer.


5. Anyone Responsible for the Attempted Film Adaptation of a Video Game – Prince of Persia, Resident Evil: Afterlife, etc.

You would think that, by now, someone would have released a decent film adaptation of a video game. I’m not looking for Citizen Kane here, just an action movie that isn’t painful would be pretty satisfying.

The stories in video games themselves continue to grow more entertaining and complex, offering more than just gameplay. Surely, the law of averages would result in one mediocre movie by now right? Eh, apparently not.

To be honest, I didn’t even see Resident Evil or Prince of Persia, and for the latter, I know a handful of people who turned it off during the movie because it was turning out to be such a waste of time. Not a handful of friends watching the movie together, just random people I know who all separately couldn’t make it through the whole film. Granted, casting a guy whose father descends from SWEDISH nobility as a PERSIAN is pretty fucking stupid.

How long will we have to keep waiting for a video game adaptation that doesn’t suck? Maybe it’s just never meant to be. Mass Effect is supposed to have a movie coming out eventually, and if they fail to make a decent film out of a story/mythology as entertaining as ME, I’ll lose hope altogether.


6. Mother Gothel – Tangled

Wow, I just realized that’s two years in a row that the Disney villain made it into the “Villains” list. They really have made a comeback since the folks from Pixar took over creatively. What wonderful news!

This character was so brilliant as a manifestation of how a domineering, manipulative, narcissistic parent forces a child into enmeshment, and arrests development. In our consumer culture, children are too often an accessory to the complete life, just another thing I add to myself to be complete and see myself as I need to. Thus, the kids can’t be themselves, they have to be molded, guilted and shamed until they reflect back to us our own fabricated self-image. It’s heavy shit, and somehow, Disney nails it without being a downer.

The fact that the Mother Gothel character gets at really deep human psychological themes while never detracting from an entertaining story is what fairy tales were all about to begin with. It’s nice to see Disney kicking ass by getting back to fairy tale style roots.


7. The MPAA – Blue Valentine & The King’s Speech (among others)

I put this on my list a few weeks ago, but then Cinematical put it on their “Lamest of 2010” list. They explained why the MPAA was a villain this year pretty well, so I’ll leave it to them:

We saw the powerful Yael Hersonski documentary ‘A Film Unfinished’ get an R, though similar Holocaust footage from ‘The Last Days’ earned a PG-13 rating. Their appeal failed. ‘Blue Valentine’ was smacked with an NC-17 for some nudity and a clothed scene of Michelle Williams receiving oral sex – luckily their sexist-17 rating was overturned. But ‘The King’s Speech’ lost its appeal and still has an R-rating for use of the F-word, which was used as a “release mechanism” to help the King overcome a stutter; cutting one F-bomb gave ‘How Do You Know’ a PG-13 instead of an R; and ‘The Tillman Story’ lost its appeal for the language used by the soldiers in the film. To top that off, torture porn easily slipped into R ratings, and the ‘Breavement’ poster was banned for a kid holding a weapon, though Hit Girl had no problem with hers on the ‘Kick-Ass’ posters. We love the smell of hypocrisy in the morning!

[via Cinematical]


8. Christians in Movies – Easy A

Hollywood really needs to grow up in its depiction of Christians. Especially Christian teens. Now, far be it from me to apologize for the religious right, or fundamentalism. Those fucking lunatics drive me as crazy as they drive the next guy. The thing is, why are ALL Christian teens in movies in that category?

Sure, the social dynamic of Easy A surrounding the Christian nutjobs was a familiar one in our current cultural milieu, but where were the religious people who were human beings? The lunatic religious extremists, while they represent the loudest section of the religious, are actually a tiny fraction. I knew tons of Christian teens in high school who were friendly, and accepting, and forgiving, and decent, just like… hmm, Jesus. Sure, there were the assholes who just wanted to judge others from their high horse, but my assumption was that they did that because they were insecure, weak-minded douche-bags, and if it weren’t religion they would have found something else to be dicks about.

My biggest pet peeve with this continual portrayal is that it’s just lazy storytelling. It’s like a George W. Bush joke: it’s most probably true, but it’s been done to death and amounts to a cheap, easy laugh with zero effort. It’s like when a band gets a cheap cheer by saying “This city is always our favorite one to play, you guys are amazing.” Stop buttering up the crowd and show us why we should cheer for you with an actual performance!

I say this because I enjoyed parts of Easy A. It was a fairly enjoyable ode to 80’s teen comedy. Emma Stone was pretty great as the heroine. And the messages the film sends out to young viewers is a far better than most. Granted, as one blogger put it (I’m paraphrasing), all of the characters in the film were more caricatures than actual people, so it’s not like the Christians were the only cartoonish characters. For me, it’s just that this is a gag that is really getting old.

We get it, judgmental fundamentalists are crazy and annoying. What else is new?


9. Moriarty – Sherlock

I know, this is a movie list. Technically, Moriarty shouldn’t qualify, being that he is a character in a BBC television series (Series 2 doesn’t come out until next fall!!! Grrr). Yet, with episodes clocking in at 90 minutes a piece, with wonderful production quality, I’m counting him. Fortunately, I have run this decision past the approval board (namely, myself) and it got the green light.

While he was ever in the background, this guy was only onscreen for like seven total minutes of the third and final episode of Series One. That was enough to get him listed. Andrew Scott played the perfect onscreen foil for Benedict Cumberbatch’s modern Sherlock Holmes. Their brief time on screen together was electric, Moriarty stole the scene, as well he should have. Also, cliffhanger!

Now, comes the waiting.


**The last entry has spoilerish content for Shutter Island and Inception.**

10. Dead Women (who now exist as dark figments in Leonardo DiCaprio’s subconscious) – Shutter Island and Inception

Mr. DiCaprio had a banner year in an already sparkling acting career.

I was 15 when Titanic came out, and at the time I lived in a house with four women. Thus, I was forced to deal with all sorts of annoying gushing and swooning over what is quite possibly the most overrated love story in cinematic history. I had a pretty low opinion of Leo for some time afterward. In my mind, he had some making up to do. Well, somehow, he’s not only managed to cover all that ground, he’s actually firmly positioned himself as one of my favorite actors, perhaps my favorite.

This year, DiCaprio’s roles were both similar in that each character was haunted by the ghost of his dead wife. The reasons and consequences were quite different, but the concept of a dead lady whispering Leo towards madness was rife with parallels between the two films. I’m not complaining, Inception and Shutter Island were hands down two of my favorite films this year. I just know that Michelle Williams and Marion Cotillard made it quite clear to me that I never want any dead people lurking around in my brain, representing my internal demons and closeted skeletons.

The end
The end

side projects. [music, the many lists of 2010.]

In 2010, many artists worked on side projects. Some were most certainly something to write home about, or in this case, write a post about. Now that the internet makes it so easy for one to get her/his music heard, more and more artists are working on projects that give them another outlet for all that creative energy that makes them so awesome. As listeners and music lovers, we all get to reap the benefits!

Here are our favorite side projects this year. Some were brand new, some were work in ongoing projects, all are work we hope will continue well into the future.

1. Jonsí – Go (Jonsí of Sigur Rós)

Scott: It seems that Jonsí is simply incapable of creating music that isn’t beautiful, moving and in turns haunting and inspiring. Whether it is with Sigur Rós, with his boyfriend Alex in Jonsí and Alex (formerly known as Riceboy Sleeps), or in his solo work, everything this man touches turns into awesome.

Brian: What more can be said of Jonsí’s talent and ability to create breathtakingly beautiful music that not only can be heard and felt, but seen. Each song conjures images in my mind’s eye that try to match the beauty in the music. As Scott mentioned, now that Jonsí has three outlets for his talent, it looks like we can only try to prepare ourselves for an onslaught of aural genius.


2. Broken Bells – Broken Bells (Danger Mouse, James Mercer of The Shins)
(Currently only $5 on Amazon MP3)

S: If there is anyone who knows how to produce a song, it’s Danger Mouse. The man has been behind so many great projects, from hip hop to indie rock. His work with artists like MF Doom, Beck and The Black Keys has been fantastic. Plus, now he is working with U2, an album that is supposedly coming along swimmingly. There have even been rumors he may eventually collaborate with Black Thought (which would be filed under: ‘news that would make my head explode’).

His work here with James Mercer, while not his best work, is certainly enjoyable. Danger Mouse appears to be a born collaborator, and the combination of Mercer’s lyrics and vocals with DM’s sensibilities is more than worth the price of admission.

B: I love The Shins. I love all of what I’ve heard of Danger Mouse’s production credits. So it should come as no surprise that when the creative force behind The Shins collaborates with one of the most talented producers in the industry, a brilliant record is the end result. James Mercer can write a melody in his sleep. Danger Mouse doesn’t seem to sleep … he only produces great albums. Scott mentioned the U2 project DM is working on. It is something to look forward to, indeed. Though, DM has shown he can cross genres without breaking a sweat and without a drop on the awesomeness scale, so I am excited to see who else (even an artist from this list, maybe?) DM will collaborate with next. I will also patiently wait for the next full length Shins record as well.

Lots of Broken Bells music videos at Vevo.


3. Grinderman – Grinderman 2 (Nick Cave)
(Currently only $5 on Amazon MP3)

Remarkably bizarre, hilarious/disturbing music video for “Heathen Child.” (NSFW)

B: First of all, is there a better album cover from this year?

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis make music that feels like a night in a dirty, divey, bar. You’re sitting at the bar surrounded by a cast of odd characters. There’s the ironic hipster, skinny jeans, too cool for the trendier places, and then there’s everyone else. They’ve been coming here for years. As far as they are concerned, there are no other bars. So they come. Not because it’s cool, but probably because they get more love and attention from the bartender on a nightly basis than they did from their parents during an entire childhood. They’re all forgetting the past with cheap whiskey and chasing it with Pall Malls. This bar only serves two drinks: Cheap beer and cheap whiskey. Don’t think about ordering a microbrew or cocktail. Just make sure you keep the whiskey comin’. You don’t want to be sober in this place. It’d be too scary. It’s dark and loud and claustrophobic. All at once aloof and all up in your grill.

S: I agree with Brian, in that I love this album cover.

I also experience the tones he’s describing in his little bar scene describing this music. Yet, there is one overarching feeling, or perhaps it’s more undergirding, that I think he missed.

In addition to all Brian mentioned, I experience a tremendous deal of dark humor in the music. I think, like Tom Waits, most of the scariness of this bar’s motley lot is meant to amuse more than truly frighten. Like an uncle or a grandfather who shouts and cusses, but does so affectionately, Grinderman is dark and brooding, but always with a smirk.

I think a pretty good example of that is the music video we linked to above. The imagery and artwork in the video is often pretty arresting and captivating, and I think the band took that seriously. Yet, the band refused to take themselves seriously, thus they are ridiculous whenever on screen. Perhaps it’s that love and acceptance Brian mentioned about the allegorical bar, the place is loud and frightening at first glance, but in reality there is no true danger. It is actually a safe place to play and yell and cuss and jump up and down, which is exactly what this Grinderman album is.


4. Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs – God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise

S: Ray LaMontagne is so wonderful. His music is folk and soul and country and rock all wrapped up in a lovely bearded package.

It’s more of the same with the Pariah Dogs, continuing Ray’s track record of immensely listenable albums.

B: Has Mr. LaMontagne ever made a bad record? Has he ever not had a beard? I am starting to wonder if these things are mutually exclusive. Let’s hope that Ray never shaves his beard. I’m beginning to think it holds great power.

On this record, we find Ray, brilliant and dusty voiced as usual, but with the Pariah Dogs (Dawgs?) he seems to have found his musical soulmates. I don’t know, but I feel as though this is Ray’s most cohesive album yet. Everything comes together perfectly. His brand of folkbluesoulcountry is brilliantly showcased on God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise. Do yourself a favor and listen to “This Love is Over”.


5. Junip – Fields (José Gonzalez)
(Currently $5)

B: Here we have José’s distinctive voice and classical guitar dressed up with the addition of keyboards, bass, and drums. No surprises. It’s good. Really good.

S: Whenever I am listening to this album, I always wonder whether or not this is a one time “side project,” or José Gonzalez’s new gig. I really hope it is the latter. There will always be time for him to sit in the studio on an off day and record a song alone. We’ll never truly lose that familiar José. So, my hope is that we get more of this fuller sound from him, because the other instrumentation adds to the beauty of his music, rather than diminishing it at all.

I hope there is plenty more Junip in our future!


6. Maximum Balloon – Maximum Balloon (David Sitek of TV on the Radio)
(Currently $4.99)

B: I was going to start by saying that “Maximum Balloon is a really great TV on the Radio record”, but thought that it would only come off as sounding like somewhat of a negative thing. It is hard to imagine the record sounding much different from a TotR record when the man behind the production of their catalog, and the man contributing to songwriting, is the brains/talent/performer behind Maximum Balloon. David Sitek, otherwise known as “that white guy in TV on the Radio”, brings the same genius of TotR to his solo record. Sure, most of the time it sounds identical stylistically to TotR, but what else should be expected? Just because it sounds like his band doesn’t make it bad, right? Of course not! Kyp Malone, the other guitar player from TotR, released his solo record last year (Rain Machine) and it sounded like a mellower version of TotR, and it was a good record.

On Maximum Balloon, each track introduces us to a different vocalist, including bandmates Tunde Apebimpe and the aforementioned Kyp Malone, as well as Karen O (of Yeah Yeah Yeahs fame) and even David Byrne! The music, of course, is awesome, and I really love how Sitek deviates by using guest vocalists. The album is funky, danceable, and full of bassy synths, programmed beats, and Sitek’s unique guitar playing. In other words, it’s a great TV on the Radio record … and that’s not a bad thing at all.

S: Nothing to add. My favorite thing about this album is the vocal guest stars Brian already mentioned. Hooray for collaboration!

The end

the year of kurosawa, or, my 2010 in movies.

Here they are, all 200 movies I watched this year.

Here’s the key, in case anyone cares. I promise it’s not as complicated as it looks.
(#) Movies I watched in the theater.
[#] Movies I’d never seen before.
E# – Movies Emily watched with me
B# – Movies Brian watched with me.
Movies I watched more than once this year.
Favorites (These underlined films cannot be movies I saw this year for the first time, or movies I have only seen once, they have to be movies that have been able to stand up viewing after viewing, and still keep me coming back for more.)
*Best movies I’d never seen before. (It doesn’t matter when these movies came out, I saw them for the first time this year, and they were awesome.)

Another Day, Another Movie: Time Travel, Westerns, Halloween Moviefest

*1. Into the Wild [1] E1
2. Time Bandits [2] B1
3. (500) Days of Summer – E2 B2
*4. The Fountain [3] E3 B3
*5. Timecrimes [4] B4

6. Planet of the Apes (1968) [5] B5
7. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure [6] B6 E4
8. Back to the Future II – B7 E5
9. Primer – B8 E6

10. Donnie Darko – B9 E7
11. Gone Baby Gone [7] E8
*12. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs [8] E9
13. The Bourne Identity – E10
*14. All The Real Girls [9] B10

*15. The Hurt Locker [10] B11 E11
16. The Quick and the Dead [11]
17. No Country for Old Men – B12
18. Wordplay [12]
19. The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus [13] (1) E12
20. The Bourne Supremacy – B13 E13
*21. Moon [14] B14
22. Inglourious Basterds – B15
23. The Bourne Ultimatum – B16

*24. Junebug [15] E14
25. Up – B17 E15
26. Defiance [16] B18 E16
27. Run Lola Run [17] B19
28. The Invention of Lying [18] B20
29. Paranormal Activity [19] B21
30. Whip It [20] E17
*31. Shutter Island [21] (2) E18
32. Equilibrium [22]
33. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
*34. Blood Simple [23] B22

35. The Informant [24] B23 E19
36. Raising Arizona
37. Gentlemen Broncos [25] B24
38. Alice in Wonderland [26] (3) E20
39. Magnolia – B25
40. Good Hair [27] E21
41. The Departed – E22 B26
42. Big Fan [28] B27
*43. Mad Hot Ballroom [29] E23
44. Cape Fear (1991) [30]
45. Man in the Chair [31] E24
46. O’Horten [32] B28
47. More Than a Game [33] E25
48. A Serious Man [34] E26 B29
49. Confessions of a Superhero [35] B30
50. Roman Holiday [36]
51. W. [37] E27
*52. How to Train Your Dragon, 3D (4) E28

53. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
54. Adam [38] E29
*55. Kick-Ass [39] (5) E30 B31
56. Iron Man – E31
57. The White Stripes: Under Great White Northern Lights [40] E32
58. Rushmore – E33 B32
*59. MirrorMask [41]
60. Kick-Ass (6) B33 W1
61. Desperado – B34
62. Fantastic Mr. Fox – B35 E34
63. Iron Man 2 (7) [42] E35
64. Zombieland – E36 B36
65. An Education [43] E37 B37
66. Sherlock Holmes – E38 B38
67. Cold Souls [44] E39
*68. Yojimbo [45] B39
*69. A Fistful of Dollars [46] B40
70. Stagecoach – B41
71. Sanjuro [47] B42
72. For a Few Dollars More [48] B43
73. The Searchers

*74. About Schmidt [49]
*75. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly [50] B44

*76. Seven Samurai [51] B45
77. The Magnificent Seven [52] B46
78. The Professionals [53] B47
79. Unforgiven – B48 E40
*80. Shane [54]
81. True Grit [55]
82. Hang ‘em High [56]
83. Hombre [57]

*84. Toy Story 3 (8) [58] E41
85. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – E42
*86. Dead Man [59]
87. Blazing Saddles

88. Knight and Day (9) [60] E43
*89. Rashomon [61] B49

90. The Outrage [62]
*91. Once Upon a Time in the West [63]
92. High Noon – B50
93. The Wild Bunch – B51
94. 3:10 to Yuma – B52
95. Duck, You Sucker [64] B53
*96. The Outlaw Josey Wales [65] B54
*97. High Plains Drifter [66] B55
98. Pale Rider [67] B56
99. Serenity
100. Shutter Island – E44 B57
101. Hot Fuzz – B58
102. We Are Wizards [68] E45
*103. Half Nelson [69] E46 B59
104. Crazy Heart [70] E47
105. Black Dynamite [71] B60
106. Art & Copy [72] E48
*107. Mystery Team [73] B61
108. Quantum of Solace – E49
109. The Thing [74] B62
110. Youth in Revolt [75] E50 B63
*111. The Road [76] B64
112. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo [77]
*113. Inception [78](10) E51

114. Book of Eli [79]
115. Pirate Radio [80] E52 B65
*116. Delicatessen [81] B66
*117. My Neighbor Totoro [82]
118. Inception (11) B67 E53
119. Metropolis [83]
120. Green Zone [84] E54 B68
121. The Crazies [85] B69
122. The Prestige – B70 E55
123. MST3K: Diabolik – B71
124. Rudo y Cursi [86] E56 B72
*125. Ran [87] B73

126. M [88] B74
*127. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World [89] (12) E57 B75
128. The Last Station [90] E58 B76
129. It Might Get Loud [91] E59 B77
130. Mulholland Drive [92] B78
131. The Hidden Fortress [93] B79
*132. The Good The Bad The Weird [94] B80 E60
133. Greenberg [95] B81 E61
*134. The Band’s Visit [96] B82 E62
*135. The Young Victoria [97] B83 E63
136. The Godfather – B84 E64
*137. Ikiru [98] B85

138. The Hobart Shakespeareans [99] E65
*139. Humpday [100] B86
*140. High and Low [101] B87

141. Date Night [102] E66 B88
*142. The Town [103] (13) E67 B89
143. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
144. The Godfather: Part II – E68 B90
145. Where The Wild Things Are – E69 B91
146. Predator [104] B92
*147. Brazil [105]
148. MacGruber [106] B93
149. Let The Right One In – B94
*150. [REC] [107] B95
151. Brotherhood of the Wolf [108]
152. Slither [109] B96
153. An American Werewolf in London [110] B97
154. The Girlfriend Experience [111] E70
155. Dawn of the Dead (1978) [112] B98
156. Pontypool – B99
*157. The Social Network [113] (14) E71

*158. The Devil’s Backbone [114]
159. Bram Stoker’s Dracula [115] B100
160. Comedian – B101
161. Monster House [116] E72 B103
162. Nosferatu [117] E73
163. Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit – E74
*164. The Fly [118]
165. Shaun of the Dead – E75 B104
166. Dead Snow – B105
167. Babies [119] E76
168. RED [120] (15) E77
*169. Dark City [121]
170. Splice [122] B106

171. Due Date [123] (16) E78
172. Get Him to the Greek [124] B107
173. How To Train Your Dragon – B108
174. Toy Story 3 – E79 B109
175. OSS 117 – Cairo: Nest of Spies
*176. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One [125] (17) E80
*177. Samurai X: Trust & Betrayal [126]

178. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One (18) E81
*179. Tangled [127] (19) E82
180. Avatar
181. A Christmas Carol (2009) [128] E83
*182. Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai [129]
*183. Manhattan [130] E84 B111
*184. I’m Still Here [131] E85 B112
*185. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – B113
*186. Tron: Legacy [132] (20) E86

187. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – B114
*188. True Grit (2010) [133] (21) B115
189. Love Actually – E87
190. Man on the Train [134]
191. Salt [135] E88
192. Easy A [136] E89
*193. Cronos [137]

*194. The Jerk [138]
195. The Great Escape [139]
196. Spies Like Us
*197. The Big Sleep [140] B116
*198. Black Swan [141] (22) E90

199. Rumble Fish [142]
200. The Other Guys [143] B117

The end

audio cooperstown. [music, the many lists of 2010.]

Let’s be honest, while there are plenty of cool things about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, it isn’t exactly a true representation of all rock music. There will always be a link between the Hall and commercial success that leaves plenty of worthy bands off their roster. Fortunately for you, you have us to honor the bands that deserve to be celebrated.

It is pretty much the same thing right? I mean, we have like eight readers here, so we’re as legit as any fancy, schmancy Hall of Fame back east.

Some of the albums that came out in 2010 were brilliant releases by bands who have turned in a resumé full of amazing music. The expectations are so high for each new release, yet they never disappoint, they never let us down with a subpar follow-up to an amazing album.

We couldn’t quite be sure these albums were the artist’s best yet, but only because of how amazing their entire catalogue is.

We looked back and retroactively decided that for a band to be included in the “Their Best Yet” category, they had to also be Hall of Fame bands. Fortunately, it worked out that way. So, the actual RtM Music Hall of Fame inductees for 2010 include all the bands from this post, as well as all the bands from the “Best Yet” post.

Anyway, we hereby canonize the following bands into RtM Music Hall of Fame immortality. Feast, my friends, on the albums of 2010 which solidified an artist’s place in our RtM Audio Cooperstown.

1. The New Pornographers – Together

B: To say that I was late to the New Pornographers/A.C. Newman/Neko Case party is a dramatic understatement. I deserve a Hall of Fame beatdown for my musical negligence. Together is an album that does what every other New Pornographers album has done: showcase the songwriting and musical prowess of one A.C. Newman and his band of talented musicmakers. A.C. Newman is a freak. Get Guilty was one of last year’s best, and then he turns around does it again with a little help from his friends. Induction status confirmed. What color are the RtM Hall of Fame jackets?

S: Agreed.

The fact that Newman is able to put out solo albums of such remarkable depth and quality, while also doing the same with The New Pornographers, is nothing short of remarkable. The man makes the beauty and nuance of a great record seem easy.

I was late to this party too. I actually got really into AC Newman as my avenue into The New Pornographers and Neko Case.

Their newest album really is amazing, like all of their work. It’s infinitely listenable, every song on the CD is my favorite while it is playing, and then the next song comes on and becomes my favorite for four minutes or so.


2. The National – High Violet

S: Quite frankly, over the last three years these guys have become my favorite band.

Mos Def once said about MF Doom, “He raps as weird as I feel.” That’s sort of how I feel about The National. Matt Berninger’s deep, dark, melancholy vocals feel like the vibrations of my own soul.

The music and lyrics are angry and sad and disconsolate.

It’s insomnia. It’s isolation. It’s a low, burning rage. It’s me most of the time. Yet, for all it’s darkness, it’s also haunting and beautiful.

The careful and measured perfection of their song craft; the disillusioned, former golden boy angst; the angry summation of the bullshit we’re always wading through. Somehow The National is more than all that. Their art adds up to more than the sum of the parts. I hope that part is like me too.

B: It is because of Scott that I am as big a fan of this band as I am today. I heard Boxer first, and was blown away by the nuanced minimalism of their arrangements. You hear of bands that create an aural landscape with their music and the production of a record. The National design vignettes worthy of the stage. They are aural sets, really, with Matt Berninger playing the part of narrator. Each song is a new scene or act. The music is moody and reflexive, seething with “disillusioned, former golden boy angst” (if I can quote Scott, he is spot on). Berninger’s scathing critique of typical, suburban life is borne of his own fear for himself and his family. Because of what I called nuanced minimalism, the virtuosity of each instrumentalist in this band gets overlooked. The songs are expertly crafted, and expertly played. Just listen to the rhythm section in “England”. Lastly, no band can be a hall of fame worthy band if they don’t put on a good live show. Scott and I had the privilege of seeing The National play with Okkervil River (perhaps another Hall of Fame band) back in September. It may have been the best concert I’ve ever been a part of.


3. Spoon – Transference

B: Spoon. I tried so hard for so long to convince myself I didn’t like Spoon. I don’t really even know why. Maybe a couple of their songs ended up in too many movies, and I just grew tired of them. But, that doesn’t even make sense. They deserve the exposure. And a band’s gotta make a living, right? Transference finds Spoon at the top of their game. Britt Daniel’s distinctive thin, raspy voice carries more than it’s weight in melodies. They have become masters of pop songcrafting, and have arguably been the most consistent indie rock band over the last decade. Transference has made me listen to, and appreciate Spoon all the more.

S: In so many ways, Spoon feels to me like the city of Austin in which they formed. For all the reasons to love them, there are even more that I can’t place my finger on, I just want to keep going back and feeling the way I do when I listen.

Brian, mentioned their exposure, popping up often in commercials, films, television shows and the like. I’m actually surprised they aren’t around even more. And, like Brian, I love Britt’s vocals. He might actually be one of my five or six favorite lead vocalists.

These guys take talent, throw in some great pop sensibility, mix it together with charisma and pump out fun in audio form.


4. Josh Ritter – So Runs the World Away

B: He’s pretty good. And by pretty good, I mean, he’s the shit. His albums have been consistently great. There are always at least two songs on every album he puts out that grab me and pull me in. This should in no way be read as “He’s good for two good songs a record, and the rest are shit.” … it’s more that I usually get hooked on a song or two and almost seem to neglect the rest of the record because I’m so entranced by said song(s). When I finally get over my song-obsession, I delve into the remaining goodness.

I’m a sucker for a non-traditional love song. Ritter seems to have mastered that. On The Historical Conquests he hooked me with “The Temptation of Adam”, a song so wrought with humor, sadness, and wit, that you tend to forget it is a song that addresses nuclear war. On So Runs the World Away, Ritter’s “The Curse” is heartwrenching and whimsical waltz. Is it a song about a mummy and the woman who discovers him, or is that merely a vehicle for what Ritter is truly saying about love and devotion? His songs are full of literary references and beautiful stories all his own. He’s written a novel, you know. It comes out next year. He’s a talented gentleman and definitely deserving of his inclusion in RtM’s Hall of Fame.

S: Josh Ritter certainly is pretty amazing. It’s not surprising that he’d write a novel, because he is one of the best storytelling songwriters I’ve heard.

He’s also one of my favorite theologians, even though I have no clear insight into his thoughts on God. The way he uses biblical imagery transcends dogma and doctrine to a place that only art and poetry can go, like Leonard Cohen and Bono. As an example of his theological lyrics, it may not be on this year’s album, but “Thin Blue Flame” is one of the most beautifully epic songs ever written. Angst, doubt, despair, universalism, love, anger, hope, longing and beauty. Fucking epic.

Ritter’s work is fantastic, and I hope he keeps writing songs for decades to come.


5. Menomena – Mines

S: I’m sure that this title is talking about mines in the subterranean explosive sense. For some reaason, every time I see the title I think of the way all the kids in my elementary school in Newburgh said “mines” when they should have said “mine.” Like, “Get your hands off those Reeboks, they’re mines.”

Well, in that spirit, this album is most certainly mines.

“TAOS” just may be my favorite song of the year, the second track on the CD, and the album isn’t really a letdown from there.

In keeping with what Brian mentioned earlier about live performances, I saw a show here in Seattle at The Moore where Menomena opened for The National. (Somehow, I have been lucky enough to see two Hall of Fame worthy bands open for my favorite band. Crazy.) Menomena really is a hugely fun live act. Their harmonies are really tight, which I thought would be difficult to recreate from what they sound like in the studio. Fortunately, they apparently keep the vocals as raw as the rest of the instrumentation, their voices just sound that great as is.

There are many reasons I think they should be in the RtM HoF, not the least of which being the way they experiment, playing with random layers of competing instrumentation that winds up working together to create a really great energy. Yet, they never get too huge in their sound in the production sense, they’re like the anti-Glee. They also use their really simple sax riffs to such delightful ends.

B: Agreed. I am a sucker for a three piece band. These guys, like Scott said, know when to stop, production wise. As a three piece, you are going to have limitations outside of the studio, as you aren’t really able to overdub new parts live. They use a little fuzz on the bass to add a fullness to their sound (i.e. Ben Folds Five, Muse, et al), the splashes of baritone sax are perfectly placed, and then Scott mentioned the vocals. Tight in the studio, and just as tight live.

In order to make a three piece work well, a good rhythm section is an absolute must. Menomena does not fall short here. Scott already brought your attention to “TAOS”, but allow me to ask you to look to it again, piggybacking Scott a bit. Songs don’t get more fun than this. Bluesy guitar riffs, keyboards, piano, hard driving drums, and a sometimes sparse, sometimes centered bassline. Oh, the vocals … great melody, nice harmonies. And we’re talking about one song here, the rest of the album is just as fun! Menomena, come get fitted for your RtM Hall of Fame jackets.

The end

best yet. [lists of 2010, music.]

In 2010, some sort of miracle took place and several amazing bands released their best albums yet. Not just good bands who had a great year, but brilliant bands who had no business transcending their previous work, and yet still did. And the winners are…

1. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

Scott: In my opinion, Arcade Fire was the epitome of one of those bands mentioned above. Bloggers and critics alike have almost universally praised it, so I’m not alone. Some are even referring to the CD as Arcade Fire’s OK Computer. High praise indeed.

If I was forced to pick just one favorite album this year, there is a strong chance this would be the one.

Also, if you haven’t yet, you should watch the Spike Jonze directed video for “The Suburbs.” Epic.

Brian: In my opinion, Arcade was one of those bands … wait, that’s already been said. But it’s true. The Suburbs garnered three Grammy nominations [ Album of the Year, Best Alternative Music Album, and Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals ] … proof the the Grammys still are paying attention to the really great music that is still being made out there, despite what MTV would have us believe.


2. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

S: I’ve already written about this album at great length. Suffice it to say, I think it is a pop masterpiece. Kanye did some world conquering this year.

B: Pitchfork gave it an extremely rare 10 out of 10. Plus, what more can be said after this has been written?


3. The Roots – How I Got Over

S: As is the case with so many of these albums, I’ve already written a bit about this one. You can read that here. It’s still hard for me to be sure this is their best album yet, because they are so continually reinventing their sound from project to project that each album is so unique and brilliant. I can tell you that whenever iTunes is set on shuffle and a song from this album comes on, I more often than not find myself putting on the whole CD as a result. It’s a remarkably listenable album. My affection for it just grows and grows.

B: The Roots brand of genre blending, smart, tight hip hop is as genre blending, smart, and tight as ever. Black Thought, ?uestlove, and the rest of the Legendary Roots Crew, the greatest band in hip hop (and late night TV), have made an astonishingly good album. But then again, we’ve come to expect them to do just that.


4. Girl Talk – All Day

B: Greg Gillis, the brains behind Girl Talk, has done it again, but this time, he’s really done it. This time around, Gillis seems to have pulled more from popular music, more specifically from his top 40 contemporaries. Ozzy Osborne and Ludacris, Foxy Brown and Peter Gabriel, Radiohead and ODB, Portishead and Big Boi, Phoenix and Ludacris. He pulls from multiple genres and multiple decades creating insanely fun, danceable music from the sometimes mediocre. While I dislike Lil’ Wayne (I hate him, to put it more accurately), as soon as he shows up in a Girl Talk song, I love it. Perhaps it is the fact that Gillis has the talent and pop sensibilities to take two seemingly unrelated songs, separated by 3 decades, and miles apart as far as the amount of talent goes, and create something new (all while lounging around with his girlfriend!). The first week he released All Day, it “broke the internet“. To say this is Girl Talk’s best work, is truly saying something.

S: Yup, what Brian said pretty much sums it up.


5. Beach House – Teen Dream

B: I first heard of Beach House when I was still living in Baltimore. I didn’t hear of them because they were a local band. Here is the story: It was St. Patrick’s Day ’08. I was walking into a local Irish pub and ran into the parents of an old friend from high school. We exchanged pleasantries and I asked what my friend had been up to since I hadn’t talked to him in about two years. “Oh, he’s in Austin with his band for some music festival … South by Southwest, or something.”  This came as a surprise. Not a huge surprise, but a surprise. Alex and I grew up playing together. He was super talented and had everything you need to make it in music. I just thought he would go another direction. I (and so many others) am glad he didn’t. Beach House has gotten huge. Their brand of lo-fi dream pop is good. Damn good. Organs, keyboards, slide guitars built a wall of fuzzy, dreamy sound around the reverb-drenched vocals of Victoria Legrand on the first two releases. On Teen Dream, we find her voice out in front of the wall of dreaminess. The whole thing sounds less lo-fi as a result. Everything seems tighter and more dynamic. I could listen to the album any day, all day. How is it their best release to date when their first two albums were included on Pitchfork’s best list the year they came out? They are that good.

S: I remember when I first heard of Beach House. I was making out with Rosario Dawson when my friend Mos Def called me and told me he’d just heard a great indie band I might like called The National. I told him I already listened to The National, and they were good friends of mine. Actually, I needed to remind him that I’d already told him about The National a month or so earlier, when the two of us were out drinking with Donald Glover and Alison Brie. We laughed about the fact that we had done so much drinking and laughing and best friending that he had completely forgotten about the band I tried to introduce him to.

That was when he mentioned Beach House.

They are really great. I like them. (That last line is true.)


6. The Black Keys – Brothers

S: Just picked by iTunes as the album of the year, Brothers finds The Black Keys up to their old tricks; crafting songs full of bad-ass swagger and keen relational insight, all wrapped up in a fun musical package.

Whether you are getting dressed for a big night out and want a soundtrack that makes you feel awesome, are looking to rage against that asshole who jilted you, or are in the mood for some sweet, sweet, babymaking fun, this album has the right prescription for you. Just let Drs. Auerbach and Carney cure what ails ya.

B: I love Scott’s last paragraph! The Black Keys are masters of down and dirty garage blues/rock with a touch of refinement. Brothers is no exception. If you love fuzz box distortion, cool keyboard/organ riffs, kick ass drumming, and bluesy vocals (as well as everything Scott mentioned), you will agree that Brothers is one of the best albums of 2010, and The Black Keys best album to date.


7. Sufjan Stevens – The Age of Adz

S: Like many people I know, my relationship with Sufjan had sort of run its course. It seemed it was never meant to be one of those love affairs that turn into a happy marriage. Instead, it appeared it was destined to be the hot, short, flash in the pan sort of union that you look back on fondly because it was a lot of fun at the time. There was no part of me that was excited for this album to come out.

Yet, when the All Delighted People EP came out, I used some spare emusic credits to pick it up, and suddenly those old feelings started rising to the surface. Then the Age of Adz came out, and suddenly I found myself wondering if perhaps my love affair with Sufjan might become the lasting sort after all.

With Age of Adz, he has successfully balanced between reinvention of himself and continuity with what made him great in the past. He’s still full of audacity, as evidenced by all 25 minutes of the album’s final track, “Impossible Soul”; and the man still has the talent to back it up, as evidenced by the fact that I’ve heard all 25 minutes of said track aired on KEXP more than once.

B: Looking over this list, it seems that the bands here have at least one thing in common (maybe except Girl Talk, but he is a different animal), each has the ability to reinvent themselves and grow over the span of each release. It is something that takes balls and artistic vision. Not every band has these qualities. When you change, you run the risk of alienating a part of your fanbase. When you don’t change, you get criticized for not pushing forward into new sounds. Change is scary and hard. It takes balls. When a band is so sure of who they are, change is easier. They make music that is honest and free to go wherever the soul of the band dictates. Sufjan’s new album exhibits his amazing artistic vision and his huge balls. It is an epic tapestry of sounds where Sufjan pulls out all the stops. We thought he was audacious when news first broke that he wanted to make an album for all 50 states, but listen to the Age of Adz and I think you’ll find that audacity was redirected into one beautiful and grandiose album.

The end

mumford and sons.

Mumford and Sons was one of those bands that’s been on my list of bands to check out for some time. I’d heard good things, but the list of bands I still need to get around to listening to is so long that, often, great bands slip between the cracks.

As Brian and I were planning out the music lists for this year, we used it as an excuse to check out some of the music we hadn’t listened to yet. That is how I finally came to hear Mumford and Sons.

Sweet fancy Moses. These guys are fucking amazing. If you haven’t listened to them yet, don’t make the same mistake I did. Check them out as soon as possible. Obviously, they will be included in our music listing spectacular.

Here is an awesome video for their first single, “Little Lion Man.” Sadly, they won’t let me embed the video, just click the link to watch it here.

Also, for the rest of this month, their album is only $5 on the Amazon mp3 store. Mumford and Sons – Sigh No More

The end

the lists of 2010.

There are so very many reasons I’m a huge dork. A nerd, a geek… whatever word you prefer, I’m that. The reasons why continue to grow. My universe of nerdom is ever expanding.

Making lists is one of the nerdier things that I absolutely love. Doesn’t really matter what the lists are, but popular culture related lists are my favorite. Movie lists, music lists, sports lists, etc. I love ’em all! This reality makes late-December/early-January one of my favorite times of the year, because it is a time I use to make all sorts of “Best of the Year” lists for my own amusement.

Last year, the vast majority of the lists were movie related, and I had lots of fun making them. This year, those lists will be back, and there will be a bunch of new music related lists added to the mix. Even better, the music lists will all be joint lists with Brian.

We are hoping to get the first list up in the next day or so. Thus, I expect most of the internet to be sitting at their computer screen with bated breath, waiting for the joy to commence.

The end