Monday, September 29, 2008

Movies & Music, Last Year and (So Far) This Year

I am by nature a list-maker. I make lists of everything. The movie High Fidelity speaks directly to my heart with the characters' incessant requests for a Top 5 of any categorizable opinion or experience. Being a film fanatic and (to a slightly lesser extent) a music person, I keep ongoing lists of new movies and music that come out each year. Then at the end of each year, I do a kind of "final" ranking and compare with the various year-end lists in magazines and entertainment websites. Whatever is missing from my lists, or that I have yet to try, I know to give a shot the next time I have a chance (or, more likely, an extra buck). Of course, all of the list-making is solely for my own enjoyment, and mostly just for nerdy fun.

But! The best part of lists is comparing with friends. (Story: while in Africa for two months, Mr. Heath Newton and I went on a crazy list binge, making cinematic lists of just about every conceivable category. I think we ended by making a Top 100 Favorite Films. Yes!) So I thought I would give a sort of update in the midst of this year so far, while also offering my lists from last year so as to give you an idea of my tastes. More than anything, I love recommendations from others, and I'm always willing to give something new a try. So feel free to start a conversation with me, whether you hated a favorite of mine or don't see a favorite of yours in my own lists.

(Also, I am swamped in studying for a test while preparing to make a trip to Texas later this week, and this is a bit easier than a full, worthwhile theological blog post. Not that musical and cinematic art is not theology! To the contrary. And that is why it is a wonderful thing to enjoy them as God's good gifts to us.)

Thus, without further ado, welcome to the glorious world of lists, and lists, and more lists.

Top Albums from 2007
1. Okkervil River -- The Stage Names
2. Iron & Wine -- The Shepherd's Dog
3. Radiohead -- In Rainbows
4. Spoon -- Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
5. Wilco -- Sky Blue Sky
6. The National -- Boxer
7. Feist -- The Reminder
8. The Arcade Fire -- Neon Bible
9. Modest Mouse -- We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
10. Robert Plant & Alison Krauss -- Raising Sand

Honorable Mention: Bon Iver -- For Emma, Forever Ago; Bright Eyes -- Cassadaga; The New Pornographers -- Challengers; Josh Ritter -- The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter; Beirut -- The Flying Club Cup

Top Albums from 2008 (through September)
1. Bonnie "Prince" Billy -- Lie Down in the Light
2. Thomas Newman -- WALL-E Soundtrack
3. Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard -- The Dark Knight Soundtrack
4. Okkervil River -- The Stand-Ins
5. Coldplay -- Viva la Vida or Dearth and All His Friends
6. Langhorne Slim -- Langhorne Slim
7. Silver Jews -- Lookout Mountain
8. The Black Keys -- Attack & Release
9. Jamie Lidell -- Jim
10. Vampire Weekend -- Vampire Weekend

Sound Unheard: Cat Power -- Jukebox; Sigur Ros -- Med Suf Ieyrum vit Spilum Endalaust; Fleet Foxes -- Fleet Foxes; Conor Oberst -- Conor Oberst; TV On The Radio -- Dear Science

Top Films from 2007
1. There Will Be Blood
2. No Country For Old Men
3. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
4. Atonement
5. Ratatouille
6. Lars and the Real Girl
7. Gone Baby Gone
8. Zodiac
9. King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
10. Superbad

Honorable Mention: Michael Clayton; We Own the Night; Juno; The Bourne Ultimatum; Eastern Promises

Top Films from 2008 (through September)
1. The Dark Knight
3. Iron Man
4. Pineapple Express
5. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
6. Kung Fu Panda
7. Burn After Reading
8. Son of Rambow
9. The Incredible Hulk
10. Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Sight Unseen: (Just about everything, but including) Mongol; Tropic Thunder; Eagle Eye; Miracle at St. Anna; Appaloosa; Snow Angels; Man on Wire; Shine a Light; Horton Hears a Who; Diary of the Dead; The Visitor; The Foot Fist Way; Brideshead Revisited; Towelhead; Blindness; The Wackness

Enjoy, and may the conversations begin. A final note: in the chaos of moving, and being a married grad student (=less money for movies), I have barely seen anything this year, so that is why the end of my movie list starts to get so lean by the end. Or maybe that's just a sign of the times...less quality movies, and comic book films a thousandfold.

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