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Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Soft Stuff...

2005: A great year in films
Maybe audiences like formulaic films. While ticket revenue was down, I went to the movies more this year than any other year in my life, and mostly because of the quality of the films. Last year was a weak year for films. This year was full of difficult, complex, socially conscious films that were made extremely well, with extremely good intentions. Some have suggested that there hasn’t been a year of films like this since the second golden age in the 1970's. Not since at least 1994, or perhaps 1989 was a year so strong as far is its films.

Best films of 2005
1) Crash
A breathtaking, moving, and beautifully made and acted film about race with no easy actions, but tremendous heart. The years most unforgettable film.
2) Wallace and Gromit, the Curse of the Ware Rabbit
No film this year was directed with more care or love than this one. A triumph of animation, and worth all the time that went into it.
3) Syriana
Complex, and profoundly interesting film that dares you to look deeper at the film, but mostly at yourself. Confronts the complexities and violence of today’s socio-political landscape with a welcome grace.
4) Murderball
An astonishingly gripping documentary, full of complex characters, overlapping story lines, and redemption. The years most inspirational film.
5) King Kong
6) Walk the Line
Formulaic? Yes. But this was a lively, and emotional film about redemption and one of the best love stories in recent years
7) Downfall
8) Munich
9) Good Night and Good Luck
10) Sates of Grace
Most likely will be considered, along with Brigham City, a film more like this one than God’s Army, the best film of the first Mormon cinema movement. A powerful and difficult film.
Honorable Mention:
New York Doll, Star Wars Episode III, Fearless Freaks, Land of the Dead ,A History of Violence

Biggest Disappointments
Me You and Everyone...
Like that annoying girl in your English class, it throws out all of the art cliche’s to perfection...but to little point.
War of the Worlds
A contrived happy ending was just made this film too ridiculous and too contrived.

Worst Film:
Trapped in the Closet, R Kelly

Film Person of the Year:
George Clooney

2005 in Music
One of the best years in recent music history. I’m serious, there were some incredible albums and songs. Unlike most years, this years top 10 lists are filled with listenable albums, not just important experimental stuff.

Best Albums of 2005
0) Funeral, Arcade Fire*
The musical equivalent of a good ee cummings poem. Easily the best thing I’ve heard in 10 years. An album of most astonishing originality in familiarity; deep, and heartfelt, it’s miles above and years ahead of anything else being released, in form and in function. There is a reason they are getting so big, and that reason is the immense immediacy in their music, as well as a childlike point of view that resonates with anyone.
1) Come on, Feel the Illinoise!, Sufjan Stevens
I hated this album at first. But it grew on me. I couldn’t stop listening to it. Doesn’t work as a concept album about a state, more of a loosely connected string of really good songs.
2) Gimmie Fiction, Spoon
A near perfect rock album.
3) The Magic Numbers, The Magic Numbers
Has a level of maturity in its depth of emotion and composition that makes it nearly unbelievable to think it’s a first album.
4) Picaresque, The Decemberists
5) Twin Cinema, The New Pornographers
6) If We’re Really Here, The Happies*
7) I am a Bird Now, Antony and the Johnsons
8) You Could Have It So Much Better, Franz
9) Nashville, Josh Rouse
10) Blinking Lights and Other Revelations, The Eels
Honorable Mention :
The Sights, The Sights
Let Go, Nada Surf
Get Behind me Satan, The White Stripes
My Morning Jacket, Z
Coldplay, X and Y

What year is it?:
*Arcade Fire, Funeral (Limited 2004 , world-wide 2005)
*If We’re Really Here, The Happies (limited release 2005, actual release 2006)

Worst Album
Loco Motive, Cowboy Troy

Runners Up:
TP3 Reloaded, R Kelly
I’m Wide Awake, Its Morning, Bright Eyes

Worst Song
Wrap Around the World, Cowboy Troy
Runners Up:
My Lumps, Black Eyed Peas
Her “Lucious Lady Lumps?” I think she needs a mamogram.
Holla Back Girl, Gwen Stefani
Incredibly annoying, and what is it about? Did I mention it was annoying?
Trapped in the Closet, R. Kelly

Musician(s) of the year:
The Arcade Fire

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