|My Favorite Movies of 2005
Honestly, I saw like 25 movies this year. I don't know why, but there were very few movies that interested me, and the ones that did were out of the theater before I ever got a chance to see them. So I should have no business creating a top ten list when it means that almost half the movies I saw all year have to make the list, but here goes anyway. Click on the link to read my original review:
1. The 40 Year Old Virgin
I think this movie has more substance than most have given it credit for. It's by far the funniest movie I saw all year and also the most endearing. It wasn't the big sight gags like the chest-waxing and the prat falls that won me over, it was the subtletly of Steve Carrell's lead performance as well as the consistently impressive work of all the supporting characters.
I hate admitting it, because it sounds so melodramatic and lame, but Crash really feels like an important film. The structure, acting, and plotting are all great, but it's the movie's intentions that really make it a great movie. It honestly tries to enlighten, and it mostly succeeds. Just for attempting such lofty goals, this movie deserves major kudos.
3. Batman Begins
It's a strange year when I have a comic book movie and a bawdy sex comedy in my top three, but what can I say, this movie puts all other comic book movies EVER made to shame. It's a comic book movie for people who hate comic book movies.
4. Brokeback Mountain
I didn't think this one could live up to the hype, but it actually surpasses it. Health Ledger gives the best performance of the year, and it's really hard for me to say that because I can't stand the guy.
5. Me, You, and Everyone We Know
Nothing really happens, and yet it somehow seems entirely substantial from the first frame to the last.
6. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
If only for the scenes of the young Willy Wonka and his agonizing head gear.
7. King Kong
I don't really want to see this movie ever again, actually, but the spectacle of it was impressive.
8. The Life Aquatic
This actually came out last year, but I only saw it this year. To be truthful, the more I watch it, the less I like it, but at least they are trying something interesting in every scene. The amount of sheer invention in this movie is astounding, now if Wes Andersen could just focus his talents a little better, he might be able to create something truley remarkable.
9. The Upside of Anger
This isn't a great movie, but I need to round out the top ten here, and the ending of this movie really threw me for a loop, even if everything that preceded it wasn't really worthy of such an astounding denouement.
10. Mr. and Mrs. Smith
I know, no one liked this movie but me, and I hate action movies, but for some reason, this really didn't suck too much.
My Least Favorite Movies of 2005
1. The Interpreter
I'm not retarded, but this movie thinks I am.
2. The Family Stone
Twenty years ago this movie may have seemed progressive. But now it's embarassingly trite. In any decade, it wouldn't be good.
3. The Machinist
In spite of the great production and Christian Bale's dedicated performance, this movie's betrayal of a plot twist can kiss my ass.
|My Favorite Albums of 2005
I bought a lot of CDs this year, and downloaded even more. But I rarely venture beyond my Indie Rock boundaries, so this list obviously isn't comprehensive of the whole industry:
1. Illinoise by Sufjan Stevens
Not the most creative choice, but I'm not trying to impress anyone here.This CD is so good from start to finish that I even got my roommate to appreciate some of it, and the last CD she bought was Shakira.
2. Picaresque by The Decemberists
Yeah go figure, dan loves the Decemberists. You'd never know it by how often I talk about them and that I wear my Decemberists T-shirt three days a week.
3. The Mysterious Production of Eggs by Andrew Bird
If I wasn't so obsessed with my first two top ten choices this year, this might be my favorite CD of 2005. Do everything you can to see this guy live, and if you haven't heard this CD yet, get thee to Best Buy, stat.
4. Extraordinary Machine by Fiona Apple
I don't like to judge people by their tastes, but it's impossible for a person who appreciates good songwriting not to like this CD. I'm not kidding. Like this CD or else I hate you.
5. Gimme Fiction by Spoon
It's short and sweet, and it seems to borrow more sounds than it invents, but oh well, it still sounds great.
6. I Am A Bird Now by Antony and the Johnsons
Terminally strange, yet beautiful to behold. Forget that I ever typed that sentence. I'm ashamed of myself. Honestly though, I almost cried when I heard the first song and usually I'm allergic to sentiment.
7. Descended Like Vultures by Rogue Wave
Rogue Wave graduates to great band status. I wish the CD jacket had the lyrics though, because it's too catchy to not participate.
8. Woman King by Iron & Wine
Just six songs long, Woman King will make a fan out of absolutely everyone. Quiet, plucky goodness.
9. Alternative to Love by Brendan Benson
I still can't get this dude's name right. Brandon Benson, Brendan Branson, Branson Brendon, whatever, the tunes are good.
10. Spelled in Bones by the Fruit Bats
Wow. My mom would like this. What's wrong with me?
My 40 Favorite Songs of 2005
In no particular order, here is my Top 40 Songs of 2005.
That's right, 40. If Dick Clark can do it, so can I.
Be sure to listen to them all on the jukebox!
The Storm by Doves
Cuz it's groovy.
MX Missles by Andrew Bird
Lyrically complex but I can hack it.
Cold Wind by Arcade Fire
Because I like that "If you're going to San Francisco.." line.
Bad Cartridge by Beck
Sure, it's a remix, but it's all Atarified and funky.
What I'm Looking For by Brendan Benson
The poppiest song ever written.
Take It Easy by Bright Eyes
Out of two CDs worth of underwhelming material, this song emerges like a beacon.
Turn Me Around by Aqualung
It would be difficult to sound any more like Cold Play than Aqualung, but is this case, Aqualung outperforms as it imitates.
The Engine Driver by The Decemberists
Probably my favorite song of the year. The lyric about having Powerlines in his Bloodline is mighty sad.
The Lord God Bird by Sufjan Stevens
A town prays for a miracle and gets a woodpecker. The story that this song is based on is heartbreaking in its optimism, and even better, this song is available as a free download.
Tymps by Fiona Apple
It's hard to pick one song from this album, but if I had to, it would be this one, simply for the brilliance of something as simply stated as "It isn't the red we painted, it's just rust."
The Wind That Blew My Heart Away by The Fruit Bats
Why does Falsetto make me so happy? Let's not analyze that.
Freedom Hangs Like Heaven by Iron & Wine
Banjos rule. Banjoes rule. Whichever spelling is correct rules.
My Love Has Gone by Josh Rouse
I like whiny sad songs. This dude cries about watching TV alone and who can't relate to that.
Golddigger by Kanye West
To show I'm down with the urban youths. And because it reeks of Jon Brion, which is a great thing.
Sugar by Ladytron
If I give you sugar, will you give me...
Something illicit, and temporary?
The Police and the Private by Metric
Because the tongue-twisterish chorus is infectious.
We Both Go Down Together by The Decemberists
What makes this song great is that at first listen it sounds like a song about two doomed lovers, but the more you listen, the more you hear the real story, and it's actually kind of creepy.
The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades by Sufjan Stevens
The slow build and the last act of this song merge to create the most achingly sincere chorus ever recorded.
Walter Reed by Michael Penn
Very few people can write songs that are so perfectly constructed. Michael Penn can't even usually do it.
All The Love in the World by Nine Inch Nails
When the piano chords kick in toward the end of this song, I want to punch someone in the face it's so exciting.
I Want None of It by Radiohead
A simple break up song with the trademark Radiohead malaise. I eat that shit up with a spoon.
Bird on a Wire by Rogue Wave
If I knew what they were saying in the chorus, I would sing along so loud that I would scare children.
Ramalama Bang Bang by Roisin Murphy
My friend Brent turned me onto Moloko and Roisin. Thanks Brent.
The Beast and Dragon, Adored by Spoon
The opening track to their great CD is also the best, only because it seems so menacing.
You Wouldn't Like Me by Tegan and Sara
Power pop brilliance for angsty pre-teen girls. And dan.
Owl with Knees by The Books
Equally thrilling and frustrating, this Books song perfectly represents their style as a whole.
Huddle Formation by The Go! Team
It doesn't get more infectious than cheerleaders clapping.
Sing Me Spanish Techno by The New Pornographers
By far, the best chorus of the year.
Oh Lately It's So Quiet by OK GO
"Whose sheets do you twist?" is as intriguing a lyric as I've ever heard.
Chocolate by Snow Patrol
Because we can only get the adult alternative radio station in at my work, and this is the only song that still hasn't made me puke after 10,000 listens.
You Are A Runner and I Am My Father's Son by Wolf Parade
Pretentiously titled, but who cares, it rocks.
Back in that Room by Nic Armstrong
Oasis wishes that they sounded this authentic.
I Gave You by Prince Bonnie Billy
More depressing than a Radiohead ballad. That's quite an accomplishment.
It's Five by Architecture in Helsinki
Sounds like a children's show theme song, and is just as fun to sing.
History of Lovers by Iron & Wine and Calexico
Twing twang can be not horrible.
Love and Communication by Cat Power
Technically, this hasn't been released yet, but I like the dramatic Bernard Herrmann-esque violins.
Ultimatum by The Long Winters
The chorus will make you want to hug someone.
Inside & Out by Feist
Smooth, cat. You should have to wear a black turtleneck while listening to this.
Fine Wine by The Cardigans
Mostly because I like the video a lot, but also because it should remind people that The Cardigans are WAY better than what Love Fool would imply.
Sukie in the Graveyard by Belle and Sebastian
This isn't actually released yet either, but it's... I've run out of adjectives. We'll call it propulsive, but that's not very accurate.
My Least Favorite Songs of 2005
Not in my jukebox. Not by a long shot.
Live Like You Were Dying by Tim McGraw
Live like you were dying. And write songs like you were an eighth grade girl writing poetry to recite for your youth group at church.
Photograph by Nickelback
I don't think I need to explain this one.
Dream Girl by Dave Matthews
Literally makes my ears pucker.
Anything Released by Rob Thomas
And I thought Matchbox Twenty was bad. He even manages to steal from Christina Aguilara.
You and Me by Lifehouse
It's like someone gave them a challenge to write a theme song for The OC, and it practically wrote itself. If it had, it would have sounded better.
Wake Me Up When September Ends by Green Day
Wake me up when the post-9-11 malaise is over.
Vertigo by U2
When Bono married an iPod, I tuned out.
Sleeps with Butterflies by Tori Amos
Runs with Unicorns. Gallops with Ponies. Dances with Ladybugs. Writes Songs with 12 Year Old Girls.
|My Favorite Book of 2005
Out of the twenty or so books I started this year, I finished five. So making a list of my favorites seems ridiculous. so I'll just name the one I enjoyed reading the most.
My Friend Leonard by James Frey
Oprah made him a superstar, and he may come off as a wee bit self-righteous no matter how hard he tries to work the self-deprecation angle, but I can't deny that this book was a breeze to read, endlessly entertaining, and bursting with sincerity. Now comes word that Mark Romanek might be directing the movie adaptation of his first book, A Million Little Pieces. Suddenly I'm a James Frey fanatic.
My Least Favorite Book of 2005
Like I said, I started a lot of books I couldn't even finish. Here is the worst:
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Just kidding. I just wanted to freak you bitches out. I've never actually read a Harry Potter book in my life. I tried once, but I just couldn't get into it. I hear it's superb, though.