Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Top 5 Everythings for the Decade

My "friends" over at Cracked (really for how often I link them they ought to be sending me Christmas cards) wrote an article The Top 5 Everything of the Decade (for better or worse) that I am (naturally) going to copy. As there is only one member of my writing staff I'm just going to use my multiple personalities to pick five things in each category.

Personality A= Artistic, occasionally snobbish, concerned with aesthetic appeal and how clever the pick makes me look
Personality B= Concerned with the wider implications, political significance and cultural impact
Personality C= Comedic hack, only that which is funny is worth seeing, mind of a 12 year old
Personality D= Party on! That was so much fun! Seriously, who needs to be 12 when I can do/watch/listen to THIS?
Personality E= Concerned with that which warms my heart, the "Blue" aspect of my "True Colours" and the F in my "ENFP" Myers-Briggs

I'll start today with #9-7

#9 Top Movies

A (Artist) sigh... I can't believe I'm resorting to this already...

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) & Lost in Translation (2003)

Look give the Artistic side of me a break in this category. Where else (apart from music) will it get to show off its goddamned cleverness? Also I actually bought these movies as a set when I got them on DVD so... yeah. Look they're both really awesome films and probably two of the best in the past 10 years. I have a whole list of other choices meant to nourish my inner film geek (Amelie, Mulhullond Drive, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Departed, The Dark Knight, Stranger than Fiction... this is really a list in and of itself... I'll get back to you) but these two stand out because frankly I've yet to read a top 10, 5, 2 list that didn't include them on it somewhere, and really can't think of anyone I've spoken to or showed them to that didn't like them. I truly felt as though the characters were very real and that somewhere outside of the film their story goes on... we just got the boring bits cut out.

B (Philosopher)

Brokeback Mountain (2005)

And I will defend it as such:

Trey Parker and Matt Stone said it best in a Rolling Stone interview when they were asked Team America: World Police would have any effect on the 2004 Election. To paraphrase: "Anyone who changes their vote because of Team America is an idiot. And anyone who changes their vote because of Fahrenheit 9/11 is an idiot. These are movies, they shouldn't change who you think should be president"

And they didn't. I don't care what anyone says, nobody voted for John Kerry because of Michael Moore and no one voted for George Bush because they thought he was a dick (as opposed to a pussy or an asshole that is). Bowling for Columbine: ditto. Yes they were movies that caused controversy and uproar, but neither really changed the way anyone felt about anything.

One could also make an argument on behalf of An Inconvenient Truth for its impact on the environmentalist movement in the 00s, but as the above Cracked article points out so brilliantly it simply made it fashionable to care about the planet in a totally non-committal, inactive sort of way. See the recent mess that was (and will continue to be) Copenhagen.

Since 2006 there has been a 4% increase in America's view of the morality of Homosexuality and in nearly every other category reflecting homophobia and with the issue of same sex marriage there is a noticeable bump from 05-06 to 07-08. Now I'm not saying that Dick Cheney's powerful "I'm staying out of this" or Barack Obama's dodging the subject nearly all together didn't influence this... OK actually yes I am. I mean unless every gay man saved Homer Simpson with a robotic Santa from December 2005-December 2006, I'm going to go ahead and make the leap that having a movie that maturely portrayed the complex and tragic love story of two gay men probably had an impact on the overall culture and it's open-mindedness.

Huh- at the last minute my Philosophical side has changed its mind and thinks that actually Crash did more to promote open mindedness and in fact deserves this spot.

Did not see that coming.

C (Comedian)

Idiocracy (2006)

This almost went in the previous category, because in many ways it is about a wider social and political issue: anti-intellectualism and the dumbing down of America through reality TV, technology, and a general apathy by the public towards the arts, language, science and meaningful political discourse. Although personally I'd like to see Starbucks take the direction it does in the film. I wouldn't really miss the coffee to be honest.

D (Partier)

Kill Bill Vol. 1&2 (2003&2004)

Sometimes movies are brilliantly acted and written, some are visually spectacular and then there are movies that are just damn fun. Though I prefer the first both Kill Bill 1&2 are hours of pure entertainment for every woman who's ever wanted to pick up a samurai sword and kick some serious ass. I will never forget sitting in the theatre where about a half an hour into the first movie a couple in front of us got up and left. I turned to my boyfriend at the time and whispered "Well I would expect better from Quentin Tarantino!"

PS: I've been using this quote for so long, I have forgotten the Simpsons quote I stole it from. Anyone who can tell me: 3 gajillion Liz Points.

E (Romantic)

Little Miss Sunshine (2007)

This had some stiff competition in Wall-E, Juno and Once but ultimately wins out because it really taps into my greatest insecurities and makes me feel all together OK about them. High school... life it's all one big beauty pageant. In a world that only seems to get more superficial as the new millennium proceeds. But if you can find what makes you happy, and share that with the people that you love... what the hell difference does it make if you're Miss America or a Super Freak.

I'll take that with two scoops of ice cream.

#8 Top Songs

A (Artist)

Maps, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fever to Tell 2003

This was definitely a close call to the end. Again, being an artistic category, my artist feels the need to make honourable mentions to The White Stripes for Hotel Yorba, Feist for I Feel it All, Iron and Wine for The Trapeze Swinger and The Arcade Fire for Wake Up. Maps rises above for being the best of everything the early to mid 2000s had to offer in a sort of musical renaissance. Sure the Strokes, White Stripes and Hives were all kicking off the decade with a bang, but it's when Fever to Tell hits that there is finally a wider realization that rock is in fact not at all dead and our generation still gets a crack at it. We may not have managed to surpass the late 60s/early 70s, but I think we gave a valiant effort... and a WAY more valiant effort than the losers who were in charge of music coolness in the late 90s. I mean WTF. Really.

Incidentally the YouTube music video for Maps has been watched over 5 millions times. You probably don't want me to put that into perspective... but here it is anyways:

That's only a million more than "Keyboard Cat".
It has been seen 3 million less times than "Leave Britney Alone"
About a fifth as much as "Chocolate Rain".

B (Philosopher)

Not Ready to Make Nice, The Dixie Chicks, Taking the Long Way (2006)

Apart from winning the Grammy for record, album, and song of the year four years after it was anticipated that the Dixie Chicks may never record another album, there's no avoiding the controversy that the Chicks caused. For those who were hiding under a rock in 2003 Natalie Maines said something to the effect of "I hate America and the troops. Things would be so much better if we let the terrorists win and were friends with Saddam Houssein" ... oh I'm sorry my mistake. She said that she was ashamed that the President was from Texas. You know because he's an idiot. Well in 2003 calling Bush shameful was the equivalent of declaring a jihad. Now I bet you could get Bill O'Reilly to admit that Bush wasn't really the sharpest pencil in the box (and have Sting play him off calmly!). But back then it meant war, and also marked the second time that a high profile person was threatened with assassination in Dallas, and the first time the Dallas police did anything about it.

Either way, the Chick's comeback was a great vindication for everyone that had stayed with them the whole way that the political tides were finally turning. You know after no WMDs were found, Abu Gharib prison, Hurricane Katrina and Dick Cheney shooting a guy in the face, the American public finally decided that it was OK to not 100% agree with their elected officials. And they all lived happily ever after, the end.

C (Comedian)

The Most Beautiful Girl in the Room, Flight of the Conchords, Flight of the Conchords (2008)

The Flight of the Conchords may not have a wider social or even musical message, but I don't know a lot of people who don't own the Season 1 DVD. I could have picked Robots or Bowie, or even Mutha'uckas , but being me I had to go with my favourite lyrics:

Cause you're so beautiful...
Like a tree. Or a high class prostitute.
You're so beautiful.
You could be a part time model.
But you'd probably still have to keep your normal job.
A part time model.
Spend part of your time modeling.
And part of your time next to me.

My place is usually a bit tidier than this.

D (Partier)

Hey-ya, Outkast, SpeakerBoxxx/The Love Below

Being a partying category this one also had some competition from Gnarls Barkley's Crazy, Mr. Brightside by The Killers, Last Nite by The Strokes and Viva la Vida by Coldplay (not necissarily a partying song, but a good time none the less)

E (Romantic)

I Will Follow You Into The Dark, Death Cab for Cutie, Plans (2005)

I think this is fairly self-explanatory.

#7 TV Show of the Decade

A (Artistic)

The Office (UK)

Two important points. Yes the UK version because without it there is no US version and even before the US version aired the effects of the original were beginning to be felt. Sure Steve Carrell and Greg Daniels should probably be sending Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais annual thank you notes, but frankly Larry David, Michael Hurwitz, Bill Lawrence and Tina Fey should probably at least think about a Facebook poke. And even if you want to argue that the only definite result of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's brilliance is The UK and US Office and Extras, you would still be naming 3 of the top 5 Comedies of the last 10 years.

B (Philosophical)

Now for our second total cop-out tie: "The Daily Show" & "Chapelle's Show"

I just couldn't do it. I would love to give Jon the win, but I can't. And let me show you why:

Chapelle's Show pushed our generation past the politically correct "tolerance" we'd been raised with to a new and frank place where it was OK to acknowledge that yes, racism exists and pretty fervently, and that we have to face it in real ways that might not always make us feel as warm and fuzzy as a Family Matters episode. Four years later America has its first African American president, something that seemed, in the darkest hours of the Bush years a long way off. That said the show will most likely always be remembered for Rick James' pathological hatred of Charlie Murphy and Wayne Brady making OJ Simpson look like Martin Luther King Jr.

Oh also this guy kind of stirred up some shit:

C (Comedian)

Arrested Development(2003)

This time I'm giving the hack comedian in me some honourable mentions because let's face it, there's very little TV I like to watch that isn't funny. Arrested Development doesn't really require defending the way Clone High or Spaced might, because there's pretty much a consensus on the internet that the show did no wrong, and will do no wrong as a movie. I would also like to submit South Park. Though also a candidate for the above category often South Park is at its best when it isn't about a major social issue and is about the boys playing LOTR or Cartman dressing up as a robot pal for Butters.

As for Arrested Development, I like to think that Never Nudes have forever replaced Ugly Naked Guy in TVdome.

D (Partier)

Firefly (2003)

Althogh I admired BSG a great deal it was never really as much fun as Firefly. Whedon is the writer/director that many emulate, but I don't think anyone ever really nails his great use of comedy in totally unfunny situations. I loved the energy and the characters are the sort that one hopes will kick some serious ass.

E (Romantic)

"Scrubs" (2001)

What can I say? If this isn't love I don't know what is:

OK, that's all I can manage for today. See you tomorrow for: Internet Video, Word (phrase) and Video Game

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Movies, Hockey and Happiness

T'was the night before the night before Christmas and all through my blog, I was ripping off College Humour and drinking egg nog.

Also the Penguins beat the Senators 8-2! Here's a picture of Sidney Crosby throwing an awesome body check*. Toronto lost tonight, but the Pen's victory balances that out. For those not familiar with my Hockey Happiness Rankings:

Hockey Happiness

10 being the best, 0 being the worst

10= Leafs win Stanley cup
9.5= My second favourite team wins the Stanley Cup (ie: '97 Red Wings, '09 Penguins)
9.0= Leafs go to Final Four
8.5= The Leafs beat the Senators, Flyers or Rangers
8.0= Leafs win a play off series
7.5= The Leafs win a hockey game
7.0= The Penguins beat the Senators, Flyers or the Rangers
6.5= Leafs catch-up and tie a game
6.0= Any team beats the Senators
5.5= Tie Domi injures a jerk player (Scott Neidermeyer, Ulf Samuelson)
5.0= Leafs lose in shoot-out to Penguins (unless significant lead blown)
4.5= Leafs lose a game
4.0= Senators, Flyers or Rangers win a game
3.5= Cliff Fletcher is the Leaf's GM
3.0= Hamilton is denied an NHL hockey franchise
2.5= The Senators, Flyers or Rangers win a playoff series
2.0= Kerry Fraser fails to see a freaking obvious high stick
1.5= The Flyers or Rangers beat Toronto in the Playoffs**
1.0= Sean Avery is traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs
0.5= The Leafs lose game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals
0= The Ottawa Senators win the Stanley Cup

To put the list into perspective these are other life events relative to hockey:

Graduation= 7.5
Getting married= 9.0
Getting Fired= 2.5
Getting Divorced= 1.5
Being diagnosed with a terminal illness= 1.0

*Picture may or may have been taken during game or reflect specific hockey related skill
**It has been scientifically proven that it is a mathematical impossibility for the Ottawa Senators to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in the NHL Playoffs

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Having my cake and eating it too

6 degrees this:

Red Fraggle would definitely have been able to find the land of the Blue Dragon again if she'd had a Weighted Companion Cube.

The same woman that puppeteered and gave voice to Red Fraggle, now works for Valve, where she did animation for Left4Dead, and did testing for one of my all time favourite games, Portal. How cool is that?!

College Humor: Tetris God

Can YOU think of a better explanation?

(watch it here for proper full screen effect)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

New Jersey?!

A must read:

118 Days, 12 Hours, 54 Minutes

Also watch Maziar Bahari on The Daily Show here