[comment on my opinions, or add your own]
MOVIES best | overrated | disappointments | worst | best acting | worst acting

The Best Movies of 2004
I only saw about 30 movies in the theater this year, so it's not like I'm the most qualified judge, and I still haven't seen The Life Aquatic yet, but these are the ones I liked the best. Click on the link to read my original review:

1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
2. Napoleon Dynamite
3. I Heart Huckabees
4. Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut
5. Sideways
6. Kill Bill 2
7. Shaun of the Dead
8. Garden State
9. Fahrenheit 911
10. The Village

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Movies that, in hindsight, I may have overrated:
1. Mean Girls
2. Saved
3. Team America
4. Anchorman

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Movies that were disappointments:
1. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
2. The Bourne Supremacy

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The worst:
1. The Manchurian Candidate

Best performances:
Natalie Portman - Closer and Garden State
Paul Giamatti - Sideways
Lily Tomlin - I Heart Huckabees
Jim Carrey - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Jon Heder - Napoleon Dynamite
Bryce Dallas Howard - The Village

Worst performances:
Chris O'Donnell - Kinsey
Gwenyth Paltrow - Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
Denzel Washington - The Manchurian Candidate

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MUSIC best songs | worst songs | best CDs | overrated | underrated | worst CDs | disappointments

The BEST Songs of 2004
Here are my 30 favorite songs of the year, with comments, in no real particular order. If an Amazon.com sound clip exists, I have generously supplied a link:

Laura by The Scissor Sisters
When the "Schamoe... Schamoe..." chorus kicks in for the second time, I defy you not to sing along.

He Woke Me Up Again by Sufjan Stevens
The coolest religious song featuring an organ that I've ever heard. No, but seriously, it's awesome.

Drink to Me Babe, Then by AC Newman
Makes me wanna wet myself, it's so darned perfect.

Extraordinary Machine by Fiona Apple
It's still unreleased because the executives at Sony are retarded, but it's brilliant. I wish you could hear it.

The One You Love by Rufus Wainwright
Recalls the best parts of his best work. A quintessential Rufus song.

King's Crossing by Elliott Smith
Sad and crushing, yet I sound really good when I sing along with it in the car. Definitely the best song of the year.

No Phone by Cake
I hate cake. I really do. But I have to admit, when it comes to catchy songs that get stuck in your head, this one is a doozy.

Knock Yourself Out by Jon Brion
Two minutes is too short for what is probably the best pop song of the year, and it successfully boils down the entire point of a pretty complicated movie like I Heart Huckabees into one and a half versus. Genius.

First Instant, Last Report by Earlimart
Sounds like Elliott Smith with a little Pixies thrown in for good measure. Inspired me to purchase the CD.

Lacuna by Carina Round
She might initially come off as angry and loud, but this song is poppy in all the right ways, and suggestively filthy without ever really being so.

Transit by Har Mar Superstar
By the end of this song, he really did make me wanna have his babies. The perfect kick-off for the party CD of the year.

Little Wonder by Augie March
Good sweet pop music with a rousing climax of Hi-Ho-Hum.

Yeah by Usher
Shut up. You'd like it, too, if you danced to it drunk on a cruise ship five nights in a row.

Won't Be Home by the Old 97s
The coolest kiss-off refrain of the year: "I'm pulling off the road, I'm opening the door, I'm giving you the pavement and I'm telling you what for."

Victory Lane by Komeda
A great quirky single on a CD full of great singles.

Your Cover's Blown by Belle and Sebastian
Epic and impressive and hilariously plotted. It's like a mini-movie but insanely sing-alongable.

1976 by RJD2
Smile-inducing electro-funk.

My Baby's a Dick by The Elected
The great title implies that it may be a novelty song, but it's not.

The View by Modest Mouse
Finally, Modest Mouse write a song that doesn't sound like a rip-off of somebody else's.

Even Now by The Owls
This local band recorded the best new Beatles song of the year.

The Tain by The Decemberists
18 minutes may sound a little long for a single song, but surprisingly, it ends too soon.

Stupid Memory by Sondre Lerche
Pure soft-rock heaven, with a banjo to boot.

Save The Strip by Har Mar Superstar
Sounds like a novelty song, but it's so catchy, who cares. The best chorus of the year by far. "Let the sluts know who's runnin' it."

Panhandler's Serenade by The Honeydogs
It's hard to pick one song from this CD since they all flow so seamlessly and depend on each other so greatly, but I had to pick at least one for this list.

Venus by Air
The best opening track of the year with a cool and whispy atmosphere.

Gay Messiah by Rufus Wainwright
I'm surprised this song alone didn't get his CDs banned at Walmart for life. Subversive and cheeky.

Somebody Told Me by The Killers
Tries to hard to be cool, but mostly succeeds anyway.

Sunrise by Nora Jones
I know I know I know. But I can't help it. It's one of the few songs they overplayed on the radio that didn't make me want to puke, even after the millionth time.

Let's Get Retarded by the Black Eyed Peas
You know you love it.

Sunshine by The Decemberists
Best B-Side of the year with the best tongue-in-cheek lyric: "Why hold you breath until your face turns blue? A stretch of rope you know can do that, too."

Coast to Coast
by Elliott Smith
Overwhelms at first, but kicks ass when all is said and done.

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The WORST Songs:

Calling All Angels by Train
The worst lyrics to a song ever. Literally cheesier than every line of dialogue ever written for Seventh Heaven.

Cinnamon Girl
by Prince
Prince has hit rock bottom, musically. The video was even more embarassing, which pathetically tries to be controversial about 9/11 a full three years after it had already been discussed to death.

Heaven by Los Lonely Boys
Grating on each and every nerve in my body.

Sorry 2004 by Rueben Studdard
At least he had the manners to apologize for it in advance.

Walk Tall by John Cougar Melloncamp
A perfect boring, generic example of a boring, generic career.

100 Years by Fight for Fighting
More schmalzy sentiment than you could ever hope to encounter in a lifetime.

The Reason by Hoobastank
Pure puke on all levels.

Agnus Dei by Rufus Wainwright
Sorry, Rufus, you know you're one of my favorites, but this song seriously sucks.

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My Top 10 Favorite CDs of the 2004
Click on the link to read my original reviews:

1. Elliott Smith - From a Basement on a Hill
2. Jon Brion - I Heart Huckabees
3. Har Mar Superstar - The Handler
4. Sufjan Stevens - Seven Swans
5. The Scissor Sisters - Scissor Sisters
6. Carina Round - The Disconnection
7. The Elected - Me First
8. Sondre Lerche - Two Way Monologue
9. Air - Talkie Walkie
10. The Honeydogs - 10,000 Years

CDs I may have overrated:
PJ HArvey - Uh Huh Her
Badly Drawn Boy - One Plus One is One

CDs I may have underrated:
Komeda - Kokomemedada
Modest Mouse - Good News for People Who Like Bad News

The Worst CDs of the year:
Prince - Musicology
The Super Furry Animals - Phantom Phorce

Not Bad, but disappointing:
The Cure - The Cure
Wilco - A Ghost is Born

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BOOKS best | worst

The Best Books of 2004
These are the three books I enjoyed the most, with links to my original reviews:

1. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
2. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris
3. Dry by Augusten Burroughs

The Worst Book of 2004
And this one, by far, was the worst:

1. Checkpoint by Nicholson Baker

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