Sunday, December 31, 2023

Year-End Lists

The year is winding out. I read these top albums lists and barely know any of the acts mentioned. Nor do I care that much. Band names are always two words, like 'shoe store' or 'make believe' or 'under water' or worse, wet leg, or dry cleaning, or japanese breakfast, or something that. The moment you've heard it, you've already forgotten. Names of hip hop artists are even more difficult to remember. Even the ones I like. There's always a small letter and an oddly-placed period and clearly wrong spelling and hey let's put a dash in the name too. And people making music are either too fucking old and should be in bed, or just basically Jack Antonoff who somehow is famous and rich despite being exactly as talented as a lesser Eagle (maybe Don Felder?). And how many times can one say "Well, I really respect Taylor Swift for her business acumen and her performing talents but I don't get her music" before you are arrested for behaving like an old man yelling at a cloud? Also, Andre 3000 released a record of flute music so whatever.

So with that out of the way, here's some shit. 


Honestly, I can't remember listening to more than a handful of albums that actually came out this year. But the ones that I liked include:

Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer, and Shahzad Ismaily - Love in Exile: This was surprisingly durable in my imagination in that I expected to forget it once I heard it once, but it was also, um, quite inspired for being essentially soundtrack music, and I think a lot of that has to do with Vijay Iyer who is not one to journey into muzak. I've already written about it but it's definitely at the top end of my favorite albums of the year.
Clark - Sus Dog: I've also written about this, which scratches my itch for mainstream electronic music. I've loved Clark since his self-titled album was one of my favorite albums from 2014. Here, he sings (!), which may or may not be your cup of tea. Just noticed that Bleep picked it as one of its top 10 albums of the year.
Katie Gately - Fawn/Brute: One reviewer says it's "beguilingly disordered pop," and yeah, it is at times chaotic, especially from someone who supposedly likes Billy Joel (cough), but LA-based Katie Gately's music is definitely an acquired listen, it's not 'easy' music -- YET repeated listens rewards as you enter her world and submerge yourself.
Lankum - False Lankum: I write about Lankum here but honestly I'll say it again, if Michael Gira suddenly got interested in 16th Irish folk parables, this might be it.
Chris Mars - The Average Album: I am pretty sure I am one of five people who actually heard this album. Even Wikipedia doesn't list it, but this is artist (and former Replacements drummer) Chris Mars' sixth solo album, released only his website. Basic 70s-era guitar-pop, a little bit like the Kinks, this will scratch your itch for meat-and-potatoes rock'n'roll with a twist.
Janelle Monáe - The Age of Pleasure: The fourth album from her, it has a bit of Afrobeat (it features Fela Kuti's son, Seun Kuti on it) and reggae overtones, but it's still distinctly a Janelle Monáe record: R&B pop for the charts which doesn't shy away from studio experimentation and genre mixing.
Olivia Rodrigo - Guts: If you like '90s girl band rock, you will like this, an album you can hear from beginning to end without getting bored. Surprisingly hilarious and sharp lyrics.
Skinshape - Craterellus Tubaeformis: Not much to say about Skinshape that I haven't already said before, but I think here William Dorey takes his music into a vibe that I can confidently say is like early Traffic-- think of the fabulous second album from Traffic from 1968 with Steve Winwood and Dave Mason vying to produce the perfect pastoral pop. This album by Skinshape is just so so so good.
Slowdive - Everything Is Alive: A rare band who have been producing fantastic music during the reunion / reformation era. (I would include Mission of Burma and Dinosaur Jr in that category, Pixies not so much). They still sound dreamy as ever but I actually think the hooks are possibly as good (or even better) than they ever were. The first track "alife" is just the loveliest dream-pop entry into their canon.
Sparklehorse - Bird Machine: OK, I'm not sure what to say about this because the death of Mark Linkous still chokes me up. But yeah, his family (I think?) scraped up his last set of tracks which were apparently meant for an album before he killed himself in 2010. I think they also souped some of it up, added instrumentation, and/or vocals. And this is what we have. I have mixed feelings about it all, but as a snapshot of "what-might-have-been" it's still great to hear 'new' Sparklehorse.
Yves Tumor - Praise a Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume: Incredibly eclectic and able to navigate across multiple genres--rock, pop, glam, electronic music, soul, and R&B--this is a beautiful pop record. Check out "Heaven Surrounds Us Like a Hood" or "Echolalia."
Yo La Tengo - This Stupid World: What can you say about Yo La Tengo that hasn't already been said before? Record Collection Rock. Dependable. Noisy. Quiet. Hanukah. For a taste of this awesome record, check out their live set on KEXP. Also the absolutely cool-as-fuck song "Fallout" from the new album.

Various Artists - Barbie the Album: Besides the most awesome "Dance the Night" by the incomparable Dua Lipa which I write about here, this album has some unqualified bangers by Charlie XCX, Tame Impala, and Haim as well as a ballad-ish composition by Billie Eilish. In an era when no one cares about soundtracks, this was pretty good.
Various Artists - Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3: Awesome Mix Vol. 3: Who would have ever thought that a Replacements song from Let It Be would end up in a Marvel movie? But it did! If you watched this movie, you will know the exact moment that Paul Westerberg kicks in with "How smart are you?" Other inspired tracks by Radiohead, Spacehog, Flaming Lips, X, The The, and Beastie Boys, this soundtrack was really created by and for GenX men have lost their place in the cultural zeitgeist. Also, a great Florence + the Machine track ("Dog Days Are Over") from her early days, actually her first album Lungs perfectly placed in the movie. We miss you Florence.
Music that I listened to a lot in 2023 but did not actually come out in 2023
- Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works Volume II (1994)
- Beyoncé - Renaissance (2022) 
- De La Soul - 3 Feet High and Rising (1989)
- Fishmans - Long Season (1999)
- Fleetwood Mac - Then Play On (1969) 
- Grizzly Bear - Shields (2012)
- PJ Harvey - B-Sides, Demos, & Rarities (2022)
- Julia Holter - Aviary (2018)
- Crusaders - Street Life (1979) 
- Daniel Lopatin - Uncut Gems (2019)
- Curtis Mayfield - Curtis (1970)
- Nine Inch Nails - Ghosts I-IV (2008)
- The Pentangle - Basket of Light (1969)
- Pink Floyd - The Early Years 1970/1971/1972 (2016)
- Secret Machines - Now Here is Nowhere (2004) 
- Seefeel - Rupt + Flex 94-96 (2021)
- The Smile - A Light for Attracting Attention (2022)
- This Mortal Coil - Filigree & Shadow (1986)
- This Mortal Coil - Blood (1991)
- Throwing Muses - The Curse (1992)
- Pete Townshend - Lifehouse Chronicles (2000)
- The Velvet Underground - 1969 (2017) 
- Various Artists - OHM+: The Early Gurus of Electronic Music: 1948-1980 (2005)
- Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Way Down in the Rust Bucket (2021)
Reissues that I liked
- The Replacements - Tim (Let It Bleed edition) (4 disc set)
- The Who - Who's Next | Life House (10 disc set)
Shows I saw this year

The Church - March 30, 2023 at Gramercy Theater, NYC
Pinback - April 30, 2023 at Bowery Ballroom, NYC
Halsey - June 21, 2023 at NJ Pac, Newark
The Smile - July 7, 2023 at Forest Hills Stadium, NYC
Beyoncé - July 12, 2023 at Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia
Elvis Costello & The Imposters / Nick Lowe - July 13, 2023 at Beacon Theater, NYC
The Pretenders - August 16, 2023 at Bowery Ballroom, NYC
Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer, and Shahzad Ismaily - September 14, 2023 at Town Hall, NYC
Explosions in the Sky - October 7, 2023 at Bowery Ballroom, NYC

TV shows that I sort of liked this year

- Beef - further proof that Steven Yeun is a fantastic actor with enormous range.
- Black Mirror (Season 6) - a bit uneven, with each episode starting with a promise and a premise but often not landing quite well. The first episode called "Joan is Awful" was good.
- Gen V (Season 1) - absurdly violent and gross, the show is like a cross between Dawson's Creek and Reservoir Dogs with some added moralizing about the media's hunger for the next big thing.
- For All Mankind (Season 4) - As silly as ever but it has kept my attention with various commentaries on class warfare, corporate greed, and the irredeemably evil malevolence of communist Russia.
- Invincible (Season 2) - Ah, back for another round at it. Very satisfying until the season suddenly stopped after a baffling four episodes. We have to wait for God-only-knows how much long for "Part 2" of Season 2. Idiots. Also, another Steven Yeun vehicle.
- The Last of Us (Season 1) - Fabulous show with Pedro Pascal showing his actor chops. The ending of the season, in which Pascal's character does unspeakably horrible things to save his ward, played by Bella Ramsey, left a bad taste in my mouth. How can we root for you if you suck?
- Loki (Season 2) - Has there been a show that is so fucking confusing, yet it delivers a deeply satisfying and emotionally resonant story of life and death and the choices we make? Well done, Marvel.
- Succession (Season 4) - The king of gobbledygook shows, in which characters speak in half sentence parables of obscure pop culture references sprinkled with obscenities galore -- this was a fantastic show about rich people who uniformly suck.
- Winning Time (Season 2) - Another brilliant show, undeservedly canceled, a highly stylized period piece on early eighties LA culture. I am not one for shows about sports but this is both a capsule of elite sports glitz and a perfect example of history-as-entertainment-as-history, with just enough grounding in "truth" to let you think you were really watching the playoffs in 1981.

Movies I liked this year
(5) Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (dir. Gunn) - An emotional entry and addition to the Marvel canon, this movie also kind of stands apart from the Marvel canon. Each character in the team gets an emotionally rewarding story, but especially Rocket Raccoon who has more pathos than, I don't know, Robert Oppenheimer. And the story arc for Nebula was as under-the-radar as it was touching--broken child who remains broken but finds a new broken home to fix.
(4) Anatomy of a Fall (dir. Triet) - A death happens, but who was responsible? We watch the movie hoping for clues but the real story is not necessarily the mystery of the death but the relationship at the heart of it, a relationship past its prime, the ones that most of us inhabit, the ones where deep resentments remain unsaid, until a moment of release allows us to expel, reveal, hurl all our grievances in an explosion of psychic violence. This is also a feminist movie and one that reveals in subtle ways how the inequalities in a relationship are usually invisible to the male, especially the sensitive artist male whose whole persona depends on being hip to such politics. Devastating.
(3) Oppenheimer (dir. Nolan) - Probably the third best movie of the year? I'm not sure I would assign this movie as a historian of science but it is a brilliant portrait of a deeply damaged individual who held a lot of power. I am wary of great-man biopics but this avoided the 'rise-and-fall-and-then-triumph' tropes of biopics by leaving the story incomplete in one sense. There is no redemption, just muted acceptance. Beautifully shot and everyone wears very very nice clothes. Also, hats.
(2) Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (dir. Dos Santos, Powers & Thompson) - Ah, the prodigal son, Miles Morales, returns to captivate us, with another round of dazzle and sparkle. The second in a supposed trilogy, the multiverse story is heading towards, I think, one of the biggest conundrums of the Marvel superhero archetype: does our hero need to have suffered in order to be our hero? In other words, is Spider-Man still a Spider-Man if Gwen Stacey never dies? I guess we'll find out. The second best movie of the year.
(1) The Holdovers (dir. Payne) - Perhaps the best movie of the year, for me anyway, a wonderful character study of the lives of three misfits stuck with each other over a Christmas break (in 1970) in a small town in New England. The premise hardly sounds interesting but it is beautifully rendered with appropriate pathos and fealty to recreating that particular moment in American life. It is a movie about the sadness that inhabits us that bubbles to the surface during holidays when we are forced to confront the stuff that is indelible, the stuff that never goes away. 

Movies I also liked

- Barbie (dir. Gerwig) - I don't have much to say beyond the fact that it was both (slightly) subversive but also fun, a liberal feminist manifesto with a gentle critique of capitalism that is also at the same time participating in capitalism.
- The Creator (dir. Edwards) - Yet another one of those sci-fi movies that looks gorgeous, has an intriguing premise, checks off the 'vibes' quotient, but then doesn't land the third act. AI can be sentient and have feelings. OK. But I still hate ChatGPT.
- Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (dir. Daley & Goldstein) - Just a super fun movie, there is nothing to ponder here that is deeper than a moat surrounding an imaginary castle. Rewarding upon repeat watch.
- Godzilla Minus One (dir. Yamazaki) - A movie of gargantuan proportions by which I mean the Godzilla was fucking huge, this movie is a clever merger of the metaphor of the Godzilla story (nuclear anxiety) into the literal story of the monster itself (monster attack Japan). At times, it feels like the plot of a Bollywood movie with a whole redemption arc but what did you expect?
- The Killer (dir. Fincher) - Skillful. Clinical. This movie is also a vibes movie (in the words of Patrick H Willems). If there's tension in the movie, it's from the promise of extreme violence at any given moment. Because the movie evokes no emotion at all, I wonder if Fincher's goal was to make a movie where you felt exactly like the protagonist - emotionless with a helping of sociopathy.
- Killers of the Flower Moon (dir. Scorcese) - I liked it. I thought Robert De Niro's was probably the best performance.
- The Marvels (dir. DaCosta) - I liked it! Especially the Ms Marvel/Kamala Khan bits. I sense that the exact same movie could have come out in a different year and it would have been a success. Timing is everything.
- Saltburn (dir. Fennell) - Not unlike other classic tales of the less privileged who gets access to the world of the privileged and then shenanigans ensue - this is also a tale of sociopathy, narrated by said sociopath. The movie has some repellent moments, mostly about body fluids, but otherwise the joy of the story is really in the process of slowly unveiling the horrible truth that you know and suspect in your heart is true.

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Deerhunter - Nocturne

You know when the end of a song so beautiful it makes you float away? Sometimes it makes you cry because life is sad and ugly and lonely and beautiful and finite and wrong and right and all things inbetween? The second half of this song by Deerhunter is like that.

I've seen the band Deerhunter live many times, and push comes to shove, they are my favorite rock band of the past couple of decades. The last time I saw them was on February 27, 2019 at Brooklyn Steel, a venue that I had never been to before that night. The music blog We All Want Someone to Shout For posted some super nice images of that night here. Their discography is long and deep and massive, and I've written them about them before here at Joy of Speed many times, including here and here and here and here.

Like everything they have ever released, their last album, Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared (2019), was also quite good and concluded with a beautiful track "Nocturne," which is, perhaps, an allusion to Chopin's "Nocturnes," the short 21 piano pieces that Chopin is most famously known for. Coincidentally or not, bits and pieces of Chopin's "Nocturnes" feature in the movie Deer Hunter (1978).

Anyway, the track "Nocturne" is a real treat, especially its last half, specializing in the kind of instrumental minimalist repetitious blissout that releases you from the song, and shoots you into outer space.

First a picture from the show:

Second, the song "Nocturne":

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Dot Allison - Message Personnel (Arab Strap Remix)

I think I first heard Scottish musician Dot Allison's music in the late '90s while living in Pittsburgh. I bought her debut CD Afterglow which was quite wonderful, in the genre of, let's say Beth Orton and Dido, but not quite as middlebrow and inoffensive as, at least, Dido. She had been a part of the electronic band One Dove who had released one great album before disintegrating. Afterglow was pop, but it was also odd and strange with unexpected noises and beats. One of the stranger tracks was "Message Personnel" which was then remixed by another famous Scottish band Arab Strap (another early 2000s favorite of mine) who completely transformed the decidedly morose track into an absolute jewel of late nineties electronic pop.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

10cc - Channel Swimmer

This is "Channel Swimmer," the b-side to the single "Life is a Minestrone" by the British band 10cc, released in March 1975. This was the first 10cc song I'd ever heard, probably exposed to it via Top of the Pops, the episode broadcast on April 10, 1975. However, "Channel Swimmer," I hadn't heard until quite recently, somewhat by accident, in a 10cc compilation that I was listening to. Written by Graham Gouldman (bass) and Kevin Godley (drums) and probably sung by Gouldman, it's really a beautiful little pop  song. Perhaps about someone swimming the English channel to find his love but there's a farcical quality to it too:

"I see your face in every breaker / I see your smile across the reef

I came across the sea to take you / Don't make me out to be a thief"

The twist is, of course.. well, it's at the end of the song.

Monday, December 25, 2023

Time Waits For No One

It is 40 years since the end of 1983. I don't have any particular recollection of the end of 1983, only dim memories of the year. But let's see what I remember:

1973 - Nothing

1983 - A friend committed suicide and that really shook me up. I have forgotten her name, though. I also graduated from high school.

1993 - I lived in Northampton, Massachusetts and was a bit itinerant.

2003 - I saw Explosions in the Sky in concert for the first time. I was thin.

2013 - I think I visited China. There was a snowstorm in February.

2023 - Today.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Sama' Abdulhadi - Boiler Room Palestine

Some good techno shit from the amazing DJ Sama' Abdilhad, recorded in the West Bank in 2018.

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Clark - Sus Dog

I was a big fan of Clark's 2014 self-titled album but lost track of his very prolific releases over the years. On a whim I decided to see what he's been up to, and lo and behold discovered that he (Chris Clark) released a new album earlier this year called Sus Dog. Apparently 'executive produced' by Thom Yorke (who also sings on one track), the album is unusual in his discography in that he actually sings on it. His voice takes a bit getting used to -- it's a falsetto -- but it begins to feel familiar after a while. Clark's music in general is really hard to locate but this album is really... pretty? Lots of organic touches through the electronics that evoke a toy band working with high-level electronics. The Guardian says it answers the age-old question: "What would it sound like if the Beach Boys took MDMA and made a rave record?? The usual suspects have been very praising. But don't take their word for it. Check it out.


Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Julia Holter - Sun Girl

Finally! Some new music from Julia Holter. I hope this is a signal that a new album is imminent. I absolutely loved Aviary (2018) which had a huge, cavernous sound that enveloped you. As with much of her music, her vocal(s) are truly sutured into the music as an instrument, weaving in and out of the orchestral flourishes. She draws from the syllabic grandeur of Cocteau Twins in that it's not necessarily the words that matter but how she says the words. Definitely a lot of odd phrasing of text.

I had the fortune of seeing her at the Warsaw venue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn on February 22, 2019 and it was mixed and presented impeccably. She played with a small ensemble of musicians who were truly zoned into the experience.

On this new track that just dropped, "Sun Girl," there's a hint of the heavy percussiveness (is that a word?) of Four Tet, but not as insistent or synthetic. As one might hope from a song called "Sun Girl," the song is unabashedly dipped in joyfulness -- no irony or cloying double message here.

Friday, November 17, 2023

Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer, and Shahzad Ismaily - Haseen Thi

I saw Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer, and Shahzad Ismaily recently, on September 14, 2023, in New York at the Town Hall. They were surprisingly good. I liked Aftab's slightly assertive stance on stage, a glass of wine in hand, one leg slightly in front of the other, unafraid and unselfconscious. The crowd was a bit uptight and reverential--middle class NPR liberals--but the music was occasionally just enough exploratory to make you think that it was all improvised.

I actually had low expectations for their collaborative album, Love In Exile (2023), not because they're not individually good--Vijay Iyer especially has been very adventurous--but because I expected a kind of Starbucks-lite muzaky thing. But I have to admit I like the album quite a lot. It floats by, but also tugs at you, drawing you in despite yourself, making you pay attention to the tones and timbre of the music, much like Aftab's fantastic solo album from last year, Vulture Prince (2021). There's a real three-dimensionality to the music, and her voice especially is quite gorgeous. This track is one of my favorites, "Haseen Thi."

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Skinshape - I Didn't Know

Skinshape is basically one British dude named William Dorey. It's pretty organic, mellow, some-of-it-just-instrumental pop with light touches of 70s soul, a tinge of early 2000s chillwave (think Zero 7). Skinshape has many albums but they are all surprisingly good. He has a new one out that is called Craterellus Tubaeformis, bits of which you can hear here.

The first time I heard this music was in the summer of 2022 on a visit to LA at a place called The Rose Venice in Venice Beach. We were having an early dinner, I think, sitting outdoors. They were playing a song over the P.A. and it pretty much stopped me cold. Something about the guitar reverb, the strange chords, a story about someone you might never see again. It's called "I Didn't Know" and it's from the album Filoxiny (2018).

Friday, March 17, 2023

Goanna - Solid Rock

Another 1982 entry, this one from the Australian band Goanna led by the great Shane Howard. A bit ahead of their time in that the subject matter of the song deals with the land rights of the Indigenous people of Australia, and in fact utters the term 'genocide.'

Fat Larry's Band - Zoom

I adored this song as a kid. Still do. My year of 1982.

For Sai: Everything But The Girl - These Early Days

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Music in 2022

I listened to very little music that was actually released in 2022, but hands down the best album I heard was Beyoncé's Renaissance. More on that later. Overall, albums released in 2022 that I actually listened to:

1. Beyoncé - Renaissance 
2. The Smile - A Light for Attracting Attention
3. Cate Le Bon - Pompeii
4. Nilüfer Yanya - Painless
5. Beach House - Once Twice Melody
6. The Arcade Fire - WE

Of the older albums that I listened to this year, a favorite was Halsey's If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power. Other stuff I listened to this year:
- 50 Foot Wave - Power + Light
- Walter Becker - Circus Money
- Bombino - Agadez
- Can - Tago Mago
- Chromatics - Kill For Love
- Cluster - Sowieso
- Crusaders - Street Life
- Miles Davis - In A Silent Way
- Deerhunter - Microcastle / Weird Era Cont.
- Grizzly Bear - Shields
- Grizzly Bear - Painted Ruins
- Halsey - If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power
- Kare-Lis Coverdale - Grafts EP
- Rafael Anton Irisarri - Midnight Colours
- Mogwai - Central Belters
- Mogwai - Every Country's Sun
- Mogwai - 2018
- Nine Inch Nails - The Fragile: Deviations 1
- The Police - Ghost in the Machine
- Radiohead - The King of Limbs
- Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross - Soul (soundtrack) 
- Skinshape - Filoxiny
- Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - The Kid
- Thom Yorke - ANIMA

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

TV from 2022

Unusually, I saw a lot of TV this year, more than I have ever seen in probably any year of my life. I don't normally watch that much TV, but for some reason managed to fit a lot of it in. There was also a lot of good TV, so there's that. This list at the bottom is all the shows I watched in alphabetical order, but my Top 10 shows would probably be:

1. Severance (Season 1)
2. Better Call Saul (Season 6)
3. Andor (Season 1)
4. Ms. Marvel (Season 1)
5. Fleishman is in Trouble
6. Peacemaker (Season 1)
7. White Lotus (Season 2)
8. The Boys (Season 3)
9. Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty (Season 1)
10. Moon Knight (Season 1)

Other stuff I watched, in alphabetical order:

- Black Bird
- The Book of Boba Fett (technically, 2021-22)
- For All Mankind (Season 3)
- House of the Dragon (Season 1)
- The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (Season 1)
- Never Have I Ever (Season 3)
- Obi-Wan Kenobi
- Ozark (Season 4)
- The Staircase
- She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (Season 1)
- Stranger Things (Season 4)
- Under the Banner of Heaven 
- The Watcher

Saw partially, need to finish
- Harley Quinn (Season 3)
- Interview with the Vampire (Season 1)

Sunday, January 08, 2023

Movies from 2022

This loneliness feels new. Partly because I don't think I've felt deeply lonely in many years. But this feels a bit isolating, like the absence of people manifests itself in a solid mass in your head. It's not just absence of things, it's also the presence of emptiness.
Anyway, I recently saw a bunch of movies, somewhat by accident. On planes and things like that. I've added them to my master list of stuff that I think I saw this year (see bottom of this post). At the top is my top 10.

1. Prey (d. Dan Trachtenberg)
2. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (d. Ryan Coogler)  
3. Licorice Pizza (d. Paul Thomas Anderson) 
4. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (d. Rian Johnson)
5. Barbarian (d. Zach Cregger)
6. Nope (d. Jordan Peele)
7. Avatar: The Way of Water (d. James Cameron) 
8. The Fabelmans (d. Steven Spielberg)
9. Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness (d. Sam Raimi)
 10. Fletch, Confess (d. Greg Mottola)
I think my favorite movie of the year was Fletch, Confess. I am only partly kidding. It's the most low-stakes and pointless movie I've seen in years. And yet it is totally internally consistent, and every single person in the movie is there for a reason and acts in a way that is logical. It's like if steak, mashed potatoes, and peas got together and made a movie. I so thoroughly inhabited its world, that for about 90 minutes I forgot that I existed. Also, it was genuinely witty and Jon Hamm was fantastic.

I think my number one could have been Licorice Pizza, which has the funniest scene ever put to celluloid when Bradley Cooper, playing the director Jon Peters, has an insane conversation with one of the younger characters, about his wife, his house, his life. I don't even know. Unfortunately the whole scene is not available on line, just a minute-long section of it, just before Cooper goes insane:

Other stuff I remember seeing:
- Alice (d. Krystin Ver Linden)
- The Batman (d. Matt Reeves)
- Elvis (d. Baz Luhrmann)
- Emily the Criminal (d. John Patton Ford) 
- Everything Everywhere All At Once (d. Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert)
- Maneater (d. Justin Lee)
- Resurrection (d. Andrew Semans)
- Significant Other (d. Dan Berk and Robert Olsen)
- Smile (d. Parker Finn)
- Thor: Love and Thunder (d. Taika Waititi)
- Top Gun: Maverick (d. Joseph Kosinski)
- The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (d. Tom Gormican)
- Werewolf By Night (d. Michael Giacchino)

Weirdly, I also liked every single other film on my list, except Maneater, which may be the worst movie I have seen in my life.
I'm going to try and write reviews of each of the top 10 movies in another post.

And then to TV and music of 2022. I'm just starting slow but I will get to it all. These early posts are like unpacking your suitcases after you get to your destination. There will be some sightseeing eventually.

Now, back to loneliness.

Wednesday, January 04, 2023

Just Like Starting Over


Well, it's been a year since I posted anything here. I think.

But I just wanted the internet to know that I am still here. Many things have changed, but I am still here. And since no one reads this, this could actually become a useful forum for things.

Thinking of writing about general pop culture stuff.