Greetings loved ones. Let’s take a journey.
– Snoop Dogg, in Katy Perry's "California Gurls"
Isn’t that perfect quote to begin an annual review? It’s so good that it has pushed my favourite quote of the year down from the top of the page:
I always liked chocolate ice cream, but my mother made us eat vanilla because it didn’t stain anything.
– Roger Sterling, from his memoir "Sterling's Gold: Wit and Wisdom of an Ad Man"
In no particular order, music that rocked my world in 2010:
Spoon - Transference : Highlights are “Is Love Forever?”, “I Saw the Light” (especially the instrumental ending) and “Got Nuffin”.
Arcade Fire - The Suburbs : Highlights are “Sprawl II”, “Half Light II” and “Empty Room”.
Gorillaz - Plastic Beach : Highlights are “Stylo”, “Rhinestone Eyes” and “Glitter Freeze”. I missed the opportunity to see them live with Craig :(
Massive Attack - Heliogland : It took me a while to get into this album, but like all Massive Attack, it now seems like it was always there.
Sleigh Bells - Treats : I simply love how noisy this is. And then “Rill Rill” comes along.
The National - High Violet : I initially thought it was too similar to the previous album, but that’s not a bad thing.
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross - The Social Network : My favourite movie of the year has an amazing soundtrack. I don’t normally like NiN, but this seemed much more gentle and polished.
Lisa Mitchell - Wonder : Yeah, an Australian Idol contestant! I should be embarrassed. I never saw her on TV but I assume she wasn’t allowed to sing songs like this, which are sweet and quirky.
The XX - XX : Technically from last year, but I only found it this year. I think I avoided it because of the hype, but once I heard “VCR” I was hooked.
Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy : I find the lyrics fairly annoying and meaningless but I love the music. Kanye is a genius, just a very confused one.
And some favourite songs not covered above:
I don’t care that the last two above are cheesy.
There were three great movies for me this year.
If you’d told me when I heard about it twelve months ago that I’d like a movie about Facebook, I would have instantly unfriended you. Then I noticed it was from David Fincher. Then that it was written by Aaron Sorkin. Despite my overwhelming apathy for Facebook, I became slightly intrigued.
Plenty of people have said this already, but it’s a movie without genre that is a perfect portrayal of our time, with a collection of mostly unlikable characters. Especially the changes in power that are driven by technology. I don’t care whether the story is accurate - I don’t think it matters. I have had to interact with people that are like Zuckerberg (or at least people resembling the way he was portrayed). I often feel they fool themselves into thinking they are so smart they don’t have to bother with social conventions. Now, even a couple of years later, I still feel this is one of my favourite movies of all time.
The other movies I liked:
Call Kenny Loggins… cuz you’re in the danger zone.
Coming in first in the new shows of 2010, by about a zillion miles, is Archer. I had a number of uncontrollable laughing fits from this animated comedy, the highlight being the bomb disarming scene in the Skytanic airship (who names their new airship ‘Skytanic’?). When Arrested Development was on TV I couldn’t believe some of the things they got away with, and always assumed that the review/censor panel was simply too dumb to get the jokes. But Archer doesn’t obscure anything - it’s one of the crudest shows ever (I guess being on cable lets them get away with it).
There’s your bomber: Beardsley McTurbanhead.
– Archer's racial profiling at work
The second season of Eastbound and Down was very fun. Mexico + Cornrows. My favourite quote from the season would run foul of Australia’s proposed Internet filter. For those who have seen it, it begins with “There is no ‘i’ in team… but there is a ‘u’ in”. The Eastbound characters come in two forms: either crazy or real. I love that we are asked to believe that the crazy characters (like Kenny and Stevie) are accepted by the normal ones (like April and Kenny’s brother), but it’s what gives the show a bit of heart. In the real world a person like Kenny couldn’t be your friend, but you come to genuinely care about him through the connection he has to the nicer and more normal people in the show. Also, despite being a comedy Eastbound has many cinematically beautiful moments, mostly thanks to one of my favourite directors, David Gordon Green. I sometimes think he’s wasted in comedy, but I guess he enjoys it.
I must thank Gerald for finally convincing me to get over my hesitation against all-things Danny Devito and check out It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. It turns out that Devito is perfect in his role amongst the most likable-dislikable characters on TV. I think of this as a low-budget version of Curb Your Enthusiasm, but with 5 versions of Larry David, each of whom without any intention of ever doing the right thing. Bonus: the McPoyle brothers.
I think it was Eric who suggested I check out The Shield. The seventh and final season was a while ago now, which was perfect because I love watching a show end-to-end. It’s nowhere near as polished and deep as The Wire, and some of the dialogue is cheesy, but it was intense viewing at times.
Sadly, a number of shows I liked ended this year:
A new section in my review. Given how often I spend lovingly/obsessively touching my iPhone and iPad, I should record some of the apps my time disappears into. Other than the built-in apps, there are two that stand out.
I also caught up with 2009 (or 2008) and got a PS3. Little Big Planet is incredible, and Uncharted 2 was fun (it was completely aware how corny it was).
Last year I wrote:
Work was fun. My fitness improved a lot. I didn’t read enough books. As usual, I didn’t spend enough time with friends, nor did I keep in touch with them. I’m looking forward to 2010. Until then, stay sweet.
Ditto, but ^2010^2011.