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A blog for poetry, prose, and pop culture.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

A Decade in Review!

Hey all,

A lot of people are starting to compose best of lists for the end of the year. While I usually post my best of the year movie list in January, giving me a little time to catch the holiday releases, I did read a very engaging article in Entertainment Weekly, highlighting their best of the decade list. I thought that was a really good idea, and decided to pick my top films, books, comics, and whatever else I feel like listing. Remember, this won't be a necessarily be list of the BEST of something, rather a list of my favorite things over the past decade. While I may quantify some of them as the best, I will be basing the list off of my preference.

Top 3 Songs of the Decade

I think music is a very personal choice, so this is going to reflect what three songs meant the most to me these past 10 years. It is strange that my list includes no punk or ska, the musical style I would say most describes my tastes in music. Though I'd give Rancid my nod at honorable mention as the best punk band this decade (hell and maybe the last decade as well) with their song Under the Red Hot Moon.

3-Weezer - Perfect Situation
While not my favorite Weezer song of ALL time, it is a significant song to me because this is the album that really got me into digital music, and downloading songs off of I Tunes. Weezer is my favorite band and it wouldn't seem right to not include a song on this list from them. This IS my favorite song of theirs this decade though.

2- Jenny Lewis - Rise Up With Fists
This song meant a lot to me, opening a whole new world of music that I had never heard before. Her soulful voice showed me that music was far more than what I had surrounded myself with, and it brought me to another place.

1- Johnny Cash- Hurt
Such a powerful vocal performance from a legend. He gave us one final song, a song that carried all the pain and regret and hardships of his life across the vocals. Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails may have wrote the song, but Cash made you feel it.

Top 3 Books of the Decade

I am a voracious reader and the past 10 years saw a wonderful range of books released. Books are really a thinning medium as more and more people go digital, but there is something about holding a book and the feel of the pages that I will never want to give up. I'd like to give an honorable mention to Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code in this category. While certainly an important and huge book, it didn't measure in the same way to me.

3- Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis

A little known book by comic book author Warren Ellis, it is easily the one I have read the most. It;s a dark dark look at the usual mystery thrillers and its the first time I have ever sent a book to my dad, that when he was done reading it, immediately read it again to make sure he got it all. Its a work that pushed the boundary of what is acceptable in the world, and it felt like it was written with my type of humor in mind.

2- The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon

A wonderful blend of super heroes, Jewish history, sexism, homosexuality and racial intolerance, the book is Chabon's love letter to comic books, chronicling the life of two young Jewish comic book creators and the lives they lead during and after World War 2. Comic books become a back drop for the lives of these two people, as each faces thier own demons and tries to come out the other side.

1- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter is the biggest series of the decade, and Rowling manages to do the impossible, finish the series about our favorite boy wizard in a way that is satisfying and complete. During her 7 issue series, we watch Harry grow up, and as the book ends, we see Harry enter adulthood, not as some great hero, but as a boy who becomes a man.

Top 3 Comics of the Decade

Comics are such a huge part of my life and they mean a lot to me. It was something I shared with my Dad, and it is still something that I treasure for that. I appreciate the medium as a whole, the writing, the art, the characters, its the only medium where anything is truly possible. I didn't want two comics by DC's Vertigo imprint, so an honorable mention to Bill Willingham's wonderful Fables series.

3- Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli

Published in 2009 and something that took the better part of the writer/artists decade to produce, this book published by Pantheon Press is a real reminder of what the possibilities of comics can hold. It is art, it is prose, and above all poignant. It elevates comics above the medium.

2- The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Volume 2 by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill

Published at the beginning of the decade, this volume builds on the first series, uniting some of literature's greatest character, Mr. Hyde, Alan Quartermain, The Invisible Man, Captain Nemo among others to combat H.G. Wells alien Invaders. It transcends the regular action comic and shows that this truly is a literary form. Moore and O'Neill wave in a myriad of literary and cultural references, and it remains the only comic I have ever read that made me feel unprepared. Volume 2 is published by Image Comics and should in no way, shape or form, be confused with the terrible movie of the same name.

1- Y- The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughn and Pia Guerra

Released by DC Comics Vertigo imprint, Y tells the story of Yorick Brown and his quest to re-unite himself with his girlfriend, after learning he is the last man alive on Earth. Writer Vaughn and artist Guerra weave what could be a very hokey premise, and challenge the concepts or religion, sex, nationalism and a myriad of other topics proving that comics are not just capes and cowls, but merit a social consciousness.

Top TV Shows of the Decade

This has really been a decade of great television. Great writing, great acting, TV has established itself as a viable alternative to movies for the first time in a long while. TV hasn't been this good in a long long time. My honorable mention goes to Mad Me. Compelling television at its finest, its dark, sexy and uncompromising look at life in a very changing era once again changed the way cable television operates.

3- The Office NBC

Maybe my favorite sitcom of all time, The Office is bold, funny, and above all fresh. It opened a new type of show, a documentary style show where pain and awkwardness is both hilarious and tragic. It has some of the most fearless performances I have ever seen, and is one of the reasons I look forward to Thursday nights

2- Deadwood HBO

This is without a doubt my favorite TV show of all time. The first "real" western on TV, it featured incredibly smart scripts, brilliant acting, and a commitment to reality. It showed the west for what it was, brutal, dirty, violet, and unforgiving.

1- Lost ABC

While Deadwood is my favorite, Lost is the BEST show of the decade. Taking episodic TV to new heights, Lost created a great mystery and some of the most engaging television of all time with its deep rooted mysteries, incredibly complex plots, and its brilliant acting. Lost is a television phenomenon the likes of which the world had never seen, and when its gone TV will truly be diminished.

Top 3 Movies of the Decade

This is easily the hardest lists for me to compile. I knew what number one would be before I even started, so in picking the rest I tried to find a nice balance. FOr this list I really didn't focus so much on what the BEST acted films were, just more or less what the best films in terms of what I liked are. My honorable mention goes to Moulin Rouge! Completely and utterly the least manliest of movies, it, much like my third choice, changed the way that audiences, studios, and movie-goers looked at movies. The musical, after nearly 50 years, was back.

3-Spider-man- Sam Raimi

I can't honestly say that this is the third greatest film of the decade. I do think it bears merit though for the impact it had. Spider man showed for the first time that super hero movies could be successful at the box office without the word Bat in the title. It changed the game, opening an entirely new genre of tent pole action films that could be both fun and well made. From cast to script, Sam Raimi showed everyone why Spider-man is the most relatable hero ever, and it showed audiences around the world what super hero movies could do. Without Spider-man, there is no Iron Man or The Dark Knight, arguably better films that would have never been made without this success.

2- Wall-E Pixar Studios

This decade was marked by a perfect run of films from Pixar, from Monsters, Inc and Finding Nemo, to the Incredibles and Up. It was Wall-E, to me at least, that showed the studios dazzling brilliance. A funny, poignant movie about a music loving robot that is lonely. Its a film that doesn't need words, but tells a beautiful story and is what I contend to be the greatest animated film of all time.

1- The Lord of The Rings- Peter Jackson

There really can be no doubt that these were the biggest films of teh decade. Picking one is nearly impossible, I almost view the trilogy as one film, though if I were forced Fellowship is my favorite. Here is a perfect blend of action, acting, and story, so perfect that even the Academy recognized its social and cultural impact. For the first time ever, it was possible that Star Wars may not be the best trilogy ever.

There you go, my best of list for the decade that was. I am sure there are PLENTY of disagreements on that list. I am not sure I even agree with all of my choices myself. Undoubtedly there will be a film or book I stumble across where I realize that it was a better choice than the one I listed, but it should make for an interesting discussion point. Thanks for reading the blog these past few years and stay tuned throughout the rest of the month as I still have plenty more to come before 2010 rears its head.

End of Line.

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