Performances Of The Year
Let’s face it. Amy was the best thing on SNL for years, but this year, her Hilary Clinton was as spot on as Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin- but in some ways, funnier, because Hilary appears to be totally humorless while Palin- well, she didn’t seem to mind the joke so much. ( I have not crossed over to the dark side, I’m making an observation- Dems forever…) But Add to that the fact Amy made Baby Mama really hilarious and that Palin rap ( above) was a gem in a lackluster SNL season… and she did that mere hours before going into labor, I swear. Plus, as my friend Rose pointed out, she and husband Will Arnett ( forever Gob…) get massive cool points for naming their son Archibald. Archie. We’re living in Riverdale, too? Awesomeness!!!!!
( President-elect) Barack Obama
We Liberal types hoped it never had to be said, but we knew it would have to come. And when Obama stood on a stage and gave his speech on race in America, he gave the speech of the election cycle. You would have to be hard hearted and possibly the worlds greatest cynic if there were not moments in that speech that moved you. Racism isn’t over, but there was a huge victory in the desire to see it diminish even more.
When you have Michael Cera and Kat Dennings in a movie, you already have a good start. But Ari Graynor’s role as the lost drunk best friend- that was priceless. And the scene with the gum- I never laughed so hard while trying not to throw up before. There’s even award buzz.
Robert Sean Leonard
What does he have to do to get some Emmy love? House is an easy role- it’s loud and obnoxious, and easy to see. Leonard’s Wilson is the more difficult role- you put up with such insanity, you are a martyr. But when he gets the story he deserves, he delivers, and breaks your heart in the process. His performance in ” Wilson’s Heart” was devastating.
To us Canucks, Hugh Dillon is a legend- front man to the Headstones, awesome mohawk, and the lead in the cult classic Hard Core Logo. But in Flashpoint and Durham County, he proved himself more than capable as an actor- he was the heart of the former, the indisputable star. Astonishingly understated and moving.
Anne Hathaway and Bill Irwin
She plays against type as a destructive, self absorbed, vicious creature who comes home from rehab for her sister’s wedding. He’s a loving, placating, nurturing, heartbroken father. She’ll get an Oscar nod, he’ll be overlooked ( shame, Academy, shame!) But they are both absolutely luminous.
Jane Lynch And Matthew Gray Gubler
Matthew Gray Gubler just gets better and better as Dr. Spencer Reid, and the popularity of Spencer-centric episodes among CM fans means we can’t get enough of him ( many fan fave lists include Spencer-centric episodes). But the occasional appearance by Jane Lynch as Diana Reid lifts the show up even further. Emmy chances for Gubler in a crowded drama field seems unlikely but that’s a shame, as his performances in ” Elephant’s Memory”, ” Minimal Loss”, ” The Instincts”, and ” Memorium” ( above, top) were astonishing. Lynch, though, deserves an Emmy award for underplaying ( and there by, giving a true performance as opposed to award bait) the schizophrenic Diana, and if she doesn’t get one, CM enters my list as shows that Emmy voters will never get ( with Gilmore Girls and Buffy- seriously.)
Michael Phelps, the 2008 Summer Olympics
Seriously, it’s an achievement that transcends nationality. Eight gold medals in the pool, and the guy becomes an instant celebrity.
Kristy Yamaguchi, Dancing With the Stars
The spring season was far superior to the recent fall one, despite the telegraphed ending. There was no way Kristy could lose outright, as she had the poise, elegance, and flexibility engineered into her figure skater’s soul. But the touching back story presented made me shed a tear, and her beautiful family made me smile. No one deserved it more. And her dancing? Phenomenal.
Heath Ledger as the Joker, The Dark Knight
I finally saw it people. And it blew me away. Never big on Batman ( I prefer Batman, though, to Superman, but the X-Men rock my universe), But Ledger’s deliciously over the top, yet oddly restrained mad man just made me smile, then I remembered what we lost, and the sadness can be all consumming.
Jim Parsons as Dr. Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory
An astonishing comic performance from start to finish, a man blessed with impeccable timing and a fastidiousness that puts Niles Crane and Felix Unger to shame. But most crucially is despite Sheldon’s arrogant and haughty demeanor, we adore him, mostly because he really doesn’t give a rat’s ass about social mores and conventions, but also because he is actually surprisingly sweet in his own geektastic way, as the Saturnalia miracle hug he gave Penny indicated. It’s enough for this reviewer to admit that, yeah, I have a bit of a crush. I would not, however, give him a healthy ovum to grow his own Leonard Nimoy. That borders on supervillain-esque. And yet, I like how supervillain-esque Sheldon is. Jim Parsons is a comedic gem, and damn it, he deserves that Emmy slot currently taken up by Charlie Sheen ( I know I’m digressing, but the Emmys voted the wrong Chuck Lorre comedy into the awards- The Big Bang Theory is far superior).
The of Pedalicious Ten- The Entertainers The Year
Yes, let us start with an obvious list. Read about them after the jump.10. The cast of Criminal Minds
The show was virtually ignored for two seasons when Mandy Patinkin left in the summer of 2007. The cast rallied and became stronger, and the addition of Joe Mantegna has turned out to be genius. The show keeps improving, and the actors ( Matthew Gray Gubler, Shemar Moore, Thomas Gibson, Mantegna, Paget Brewster, Kirsten Vangsness, and A.J. cook) are one of the best ensembles on television. Still wondering? Check out the show, Wednesdays on CBS ( CTV in Canada).
9. Robert Downey Jr.
He has been great before, but this year- with roles as Tony Stark in Iron Man and Kirk Lazarus in Tropic Thunder, he has hit his prime. I prefer Kirk, as who else would go there- in black face? Seriously? Guts, dude. Brass ones.
8. David Cook
He was innocuous enough till he lashed out with “Billie Jean”, and suddenly, every woman I knew was in love with him. My he be a Kelly Clarkson and not a Taylor Hicks. And his version of ” Always Be My Baby” remains a highlight in the year in music.
7. Jason Segel and Neil Patrick Harris
Harris has always gotten praise as the horny and devious Barney Stinson. But he went and did another Harold And Kumar movie, and then teamed with Joss Whedon to create the saddest sack of a super villian in Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, which is one of the best things I saw all year in any medium. Segel, on the other hand, is the heart of How I Met Your Mother, where his sweetly naive Marshall is the sane voice in the madness ( unless he’s gone crazy himself- not wearing pants to a restaraunt is up there). He also wrote and starred in the funniest film of the year , Forgetting Sarah Marshall, in which he was sweet and naive- and very naked.
6. The Cast Of Mad Men
The perfect time capsule of a television show, bouyed by an ensemble which is at turns charming and heartbreaking, all centered around Jon Hamm’s exquisite and devastating turn as Don Draper. Television has rarely been this transformative.
5. Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com
John McCain and Barack Obama may have been running, but Silver’s website was eerily accurate all season long, as he was among the first to proclaim ( on statistical facts alone) that Obama would win. His site grew exponentially as it became clear older polling models did not work unless you know how to read them. As a result, his site was the most entertaining of the year.
4. Merly Streep and Chrisitne Baranski in Mamma Mia
We know Saint Meryl can do anything and everything. But she’s never in a hit this big ( $600 million world wide and still climbing). Her Donna was perfect. But Baranski, long famous for her boozy turn on Cybill, was the standout in a surprisingly weak film, playing a boozy cougar with a surprisingly pleasant singing voice.
3. The pro dancers on Dancing With The Stars
As a reality show, it’s cheesy, but it’s charming as well, and I cant stop watching how freakin’ fast their feet and hips move. Good, slightly naughty fun.
2. Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart
In another election year, they still were funny. And one point. Most people under thirty get their news from these shows. Why? Because we know how crappy it is out there, and we want to laugh about it. It’s laugh or die, folks.
1. Tina Fey
30 Rock is so beloved by critics it seems like it’s doomed to failure, but the show keeps coming back ( back to back Emmy wins as best comedy probably didn’t hurt, nor it’s small but rabid fan base that seems to be headed by NBC chief Ben Silverman). The show is one of the funniest things in the history of TV. But there was also Baby Mama, which was to women what 40 Year Old Virgin was to men, and then there was that spot on impression of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin that was so eerie I did a double take when I first saw it. Plus, she won two Emmys this year- one for writing her show, the other for starring in ti. She’s unstoppable. I want to be her.
WEBSITE OF THE YEAR
Do you like movies? Do you love them with a passion known as geektastically so? Do you want to listen to amazing music, and read amazing text? Then travel on to Internet Archive. I was perusing one day earlier this year and came across a lot of Keaton and Chaplin. No surprise they were there, as these movies, now nearing the century old mark, would seem to have lapsed into the public domain. The archive specializes in public domain ( and therefore, completely legal) media. I found there Salt of the Earth, the classic movie made by the Hollywood Ten ( specifically, Biberman), and while the quality sucks ass, it remains a vibrant and vital film.
How freakin’ amazing is that? Also there- Night Of the Living Dead, Reefer Madness, The 39 Steps, Shadow Of A Doubt… apparently, Patricia Hitchcock allowed the copyright to lapse on a few of her dad’s films… But go, and see if you can find a lost gem. I sure did.
For those of you unfamiliar with the progressive call to arms masterpiece, allow IMDb to tell you:
Based on an actual strike against the Empire Zinc Mine in New Mexico, the film deals with the prejudice against the Mexican-American workers, who struck to attain wage parity with Anglo workers in other mines and to be treated with dignity by the bosses. The film is an early treatment of feminism, because the wives of the miners play a pivotal role in the strike, against their husbands wishes. In the end, the greatest victory for the workers and their families is the realization that prejudice and poor treatment are conditions that are not always imposed by outside forces. This film was written, directed and produced by members of the original “Hollywood Ten,” who were blacklisted for refusing to answer Congressional inquiries on First Amendment grounds.
The film was naturally banned by the governemnt, but in 1992 placed in the Library of Congress as a treasured film. It’s a little slow, but powerful, and I encourage you to see it.
2008 Albums Of The Year
20. David Cook David Cook
The mysteries of life. Idol winner’s first albums as a rule are supposed to suck hardcore. Except if you’re Kelly and manage to sneak ” Low” on yours.
Or Carrie and you luck out with ” Before He Cheats”. But David C. managed to do something surprising- delivering a rather cohesive ( more shocking considering the group think writing) rock album that was among the best rock albums of the year. ” Bar Ba Sol” is simply one of the best rock songs of 2008 period, and ” Light O” has grown on me significantly over the last several weeks.
19. Bon Iver For Emma, Forever Ago
I picked up this album simply because it has one of my daughter’s names in the title. I love it when I discover something in the process, though, of picking up crap stuff with my kids names on it. Spare acoustic tacks that feel like winter in Canada ( or Wisconsin, where it was recorded in a cabin), Justin Vernon’s elegant isolation remains bleak and unrelenting.
18. Ne Yo Year Of The Gentleman
I try to avoid flavor of the month hip hop soul stars. Couldn’t resist ” Closer”, though, and this album shows a maturing I didn’t expect.
17. Gnarls Barkley The Odd Couple
It’s not as accessible or fun as St. Elsewhere, but I deign for people to tell me this album isn’t going to be regarded as a classic in ten years time. Cee-Lo remains one of the most underrated singers in music, and Danger Mouse is a musical genius.
16. Billy Talent 666
A Live album from the St. Catherines punk purists with a matching DVD. They are fantabulous live, and they hit all the right notes and sing the hits as well as fan faves. ” Devil In A Midnight Mass” still remains scorching.
15. MGMT Oracular Spectacular
Experimental yet somehow classic, the Brooklyn duo create magic on their second full length album, and believe me when I say we are all better off to just buy it. Influenced by New Order and space rock that would make Bowie proud, I recommend just listening to ” Kids” and reminding yourself of happier times.
14. Adele 19
Duffy had the big hit, Amy the big headlines, and Leona the big benefactor ( Simon Cowell), but Adele has the big voice, and her songs are not written by frickin’ Jesse McCartney. Simply stunning.
13 Rise Against Appeal To Reason
More punk purists, this time with an decidedly Marxist lean. They are passionate and surprisingly successful- this album debuted at 3 on the Billboard charts. Political and rocking.
12. Lil Wayne Tha Carter III
He’s a wordsmith that would make Eminem smile, and his prolific bootlegs and Internet releases make him a tad over exposed, but he is quickly becoming the MC to listen to. ” Lollipop” is hook filled fun.
11. Coldplay Viva La Vida
Their previous album was so controlled, I wished for some imperfect note to remove the museum like quality. This album is messier, sonically more diverse, baroque and the punkiest we’ll ever hear them. Lyrically as pretentious as ever, at least it rocks harder. Which is still not much, granted.
10. Girl Talk Feed the Animals
Danger Mouse started the Internet mash up, but Gregg Gillis perfected it. ” Set It Off” indeed. Brilliantly wacky.
9. Black Keys Attack and Release
Highly recommended to me by a good friend, I finally picked it up about three weeks ago and have been grooving ever since. With Danger Mouse producing ( what, himagain?), the Akron duo create a world of spare, historical guitar noodling delta blues minimalism. And if that all seems to be contradictory, you’re right, but it works.
8. My Morning Jacket Evil Urges
Blow my mind, mountain men, why don’t you? The soul brothers of my beloved Flaming Lips, these guys mix a gorgeous falsetto, southern rock, space jams, and veiled political references . Why am I coming to them so frickin’ late? Someone? Anyone?
7. TV On The Radio Dear Science
Funk is awesome. Team it with apocalyptic lyrics and the general feeling of doom, you get this masterpiece of an album.
6. Vampire Weekend Vampire Weekend
I can see how people can hate this Ivy league, hyper literate band with a fondness for Paul Simon’s Graceland and the solo work of Peter Gabriel ( who is name checked in “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa”). But I love the fact they can simply create gently African melodies while asking ” Who gives a fuck about an Oxford Comma?” More fun that it should be.
5. Kings Of Leon Only By the Night
They are becoming one of my new faves, as they take the best of Skynyrd and add some U2 and becomebetter. They always seemed inauthentic in their southern gothic style, but this album launches them out of parody and into the forefront of the Southern rock revolution happening right now. My Morning Jacket has competition…
4. City and Colour Bring Me Your Love
Dallas Green’s solo side project is quickly eclipsing his day job in Alexisonfire. This album, a natural evolution from Sometimes acoustic heartbreaks, is by far the best Canadian album this year ( no one comes close- sorry, Nickelback). All those comparisons to Neil Young’s Harvest are justified.
3. Kanye West 808s and Heartbreaks
The man is broken. His mama died tragically and his fiancee dumped his ass. He has put the bravado aside and created an emotional,adult album with little hip hop braggacio. Stunning and suprising.
2. R.E.M. Accelerate
Whether it’s the hugley catchy vocal hook of ” Supernatural Superserious” or the quiet rage that seeps into ” Houston”, the end ofdays grandstanding of ” I’m Gonna DJ” or the dressing down given in ” Living Well Is The Best Revenge”, this album says two things. R.E.M. is not fine, and you know what, they still have it.
1. Jenny Lewis Acid Tongue
It’s becoming clear to me Jenny Lewis can do no wrong. adore Rilo Kiley, her day job band, but her solo work impresses the hell out of me. This album, simple, folksy, county, rock, psychedelic, often all at the same time, remains my favorite this year.
Worst of the year- Scarlett Johannsson Anywhere I Lay My Head
She can’t sing. Not in the charming way Tom Waits can’t sing. She
lacks charm as a vocalist, and this album of Tom Waits covers offends
the Tom Waits fan in me.
Biggest relief: GNR finally releases Chinese Democracy
Biggest disappointment: GNR’s Chinese Democracy. I’ll never be okay again. It made me cry. Not in a good way. Flashes of genius are overshadowed by an over produced mess.
Best Songs Of 2008
25. Constatines ” Hard Feelings”
Canadian art-punks bring us a grinding, hard charging about the difficulty of emotions.
24. Ne-Yo ” Closer”
Usher’s heir apparent delivers on a R&B-hip hop jam that is smoother than creamy peanut butter.
23. T.I. ” Whatever You Like”
He’s such a generous guy, over trippy hio hop beats and a surprisingly warm chorus.
22. Jordin Sparks f. Chris Brown ” No Air”
Gorgeous, soaring vocal gymnastics by two teen sensations as they sing about the importance of oxygen, but the devastation of love.
21. Kings Of Leon ” Sex On Fire”
Southern gothic melodrama, with ringing guitars, as the Followills literally set things a flame.
20. Kid Rock ” All Summer Long”
Someone had the courage to do what I always thought about- put ” sweet Home Alabama” and ” Werewolves of London” together and see how similar they are. Add lyrics about partying and booze and sex, you have a classic summer jam.
19. Vampire Weekend ” Oxford Comma”
Bouncy African beats mixed with lyrics about sex and punctuation. I’m not joking.
18. Flo Rida ” Low”
Inescapable spring jam about Apple Bottom jeans and Reeboks with the straps.
17. Adele ” Chasing Pavements”
Soulful ruminations about being torn between love or happiness.
16. Kanye West ” Love Lockdown”
Autotune works for the master, and he creates a song about loss and love that is for the ages.
15. Rihanna ” Take A Bow”
“Disturbia” got the glory, but this song about kicking his ass to the curb remains her strongest single.
14. Sam Roberts ” Them Kids”
More folk country rock from the Canadian master of the guitar, with a charming SIMS inspired video mixed with 50s nostalgia. A song about the fact kids don’t dance to rock and roll anymore.
13. P!nk ” Sober”
” So What” maybe the typical hard rocking kiss off we expect from her, but Pink’s second single from her album is a more mature, honest song about divorce, alcohol, and love.
12. Katy Perry ” I Kissed A Girl”
Bouncy fun about same sex experiments and old fashioned button pushing. Not as jaw dropping as Jill Sobule’s track of the same name, but this grimy flirty track is a delight.
11. Estelle f. Kanye West ” American Boy”
Soulful British song stylist asking for a trip to NYC. Girl knows her shit. Discofied brilliance.
10. Ting Tings ” Shut Up And Let Me Go”
Duo of punk inspired dance artists sing about how you are never gonna hit this again.
9. City And Colour ” Waiting…”
Quiet acoustic jam about waiting for the end of everything. Depression sounds almost peaceful.
8. David Cook ” Bar ba Sol”
Grinding punk guitar stylings mixed with lyrics about regretting the night before, where alcohol and possibly blonde skanks played a role in humiliation. Did I just say that?
7. Billy Talent f. Rise Against ” Turn Your Back”
Two of the modern punk bands of note dress us down for ignoring the ecological disasters looming in the near future.
6. Duffy ” Mercy”
Sixties style pop soul with a Dusty vibe, and a girl with a voice grittier than gravel.
5. Hedley ” Old School”
Jacob Hoggard reminisces about setting tires on fire and the days where little mattered except getting wasted behind the old school.
4. Coldplay ” Violet Hill”
” Viva La Vida” has gotten all the glory, but this first single remains their grittiest, gungiest track. And the lyrics are mysteriously baroque and the vocals soar.
3. Metro Station ” Shake It”
Eighties inspired dance rock. God, how I’ve missed this stuff. Vaguely reminds me of Flock of Seagulls and Loverboy. Weird, but wonderful. And frickin’ catchy.
2. R.E.M. ” I’m Gonna D.J.”
Alt rock fore fathers come back to form with raging guitars and a plan for the end of days. I wanna be at that party.
1. M.I.A. ” Paper Planes”
I want to thank Seth Rogan and David Gordon Green for allowing this song to explode after the trailer for Pineapple Express introduced it to the world. Clash inspired guns and cash registers mixed with trip hop beats and the idea of exceeding what your borders permit. Stunning.
2008 in Books
Five fiction, five non-fiction, ten great. These are not in order, because I simply cannot choose.
Beautiful Children ( Charles Bock)- an astonishing debut novel, set in Las Vegas, about a missing child, the seedy underbelly of America’s city of sin is a character in it’s own right. Stunning, searing prose makes a slightly leaden premise shine, and the mixed up teens that populate the novel are colorful and believable.
An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination ( Elizabeth McCracken)- the loss of a baby prenatally at any stage is painful, but to lose on in stillbirth has got to be beyond anguishing. McCracken’s personal tale is alternately heartbreaking and touchingly funny, as she tries to put together her life after the loss of her baby. Devastating.
The Lazarus Project ( Aleksander Hemon)- the fears of immigrants and anarchists in early 20th century America meet with the search of self, as the steeped in the Balkans culture author creates a world in which everyone is suspicious and everything is crucial to being at peace with oneself.
Lush Life ( Richard Price)- Price is one of my Favorite authors, as he is a master of dialogue, and i appreciate dialogue above all else. This novel, set in post- 9/11 Lower East Side New York City, is astonishingly detailed and richly written. He does lose some of the plot as he feeds his bigger themes, but damn it, when has being a big idea guy been a bad thing?
My Revolutions ( Hari Kunzru)- a former 60s radical lives a quiet suburban life with his wife before memory and blackmail turns his world upside down. A marvelously written tale about idealism gone awry, and the life long consequences of action.
Netherland ( Joseph O’Neill)- Another New York City in a post 9/11 world novel, certainly, but this novel about class, displacement, transplants, and rootless lives makes for a great companion to Price’s novel. But it’s more than that. It may be one of the great love stories of the decade.
Outliers: : The Story Of Success ( Malcolm Gladwell)- I admit to finishing this book approximately fourteen hours ago. The famed writer of people and social structure has created a book that makes you go ” Huh. ” As he observes the habits of highly successful people, Gladwell reminds us that the obvious sometimes is the only thing that leads us to fulfill our dreams.
Pictures At A Revolution: Five Movies And the Birth of New Hollywood ( Mark Harris): 1939 may have been the pinnacle, but the year everything changed forever remains up to debate. The 70s has been used extensively, as has 1969, but Harris’ ruminations on 1967 may be the most compelling argument of them all, that the best picture nominees of 1967 ( The Graduate, In the Heat Of The Night, Bonnie And Clyde, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, and Dr. Doolittle) are the snapshot of the upcoming cinematic revolt.
The Post-American World ( Fareed Zakaria)- the famed pundit gives his views on a world in which the U.S. role will shrink, but as opposed to being a pessimist, he seems encouraged by the decentralization of power- as long as it goes right.
The Ten Cent Plague: The Great Comic Book Scare And How It Changed America ( David Hajdu)- a painstaking history of how pop culture is apparently to blame for society’s ills ( some things never change…), this book is possibly my favorite of the year. The history of William
Gaines, who was the center of the controversy, leads us to the ultimate prize. After losing his comic book empire, he went counter culture and gave us MAD. Brilliantly told.
Would be on the list if not written by a friend: TheReal McCain ( Cliff Schecter)
Television In 2008
10. The season nine premiere of CSI
I stopped watching after Tarantino made a mark and other shows popped up. But the news Gary Dourdan was leaving was enough to make me tune in and see the cast actually act for what seems like the first time in four seasons. Emotionally charged, and William Peterson reminding me that at one point, he was an awesome actor.
Every once in a while, a Canadian television show gets it right. this is one of those occasions. The thrilling SWAT team drama dazzles with it’s complex moral dilemmas, and Hugh Dillon is amazing as the aging hot shot with a chip on his shoulder. And Toronto is fucking TORONTO!
8. Top Chef
Food. Reality show. Anthony Bourdain. Knives. I’m surprised that no one has died. And did I mention food?
7. American Idol Season 7
The talent was astonishing even if the show itself was not. The gaffes made by Paula and clearly biased Randy made the show more controversial, and the Davids made it more exciting than most hockey games.
6. Project Runway
Like Top Chef, only with fabric swatches, and Tim Gunn, who is my hero for being able to put up with Kenley as well as he did. And Kenley was the best villain on television this year.
5. Life On Mars
As someone who loved the original BBC series, I was sure I would hate what ABC would do. I don’t. On the contrary, it’s the only new show I love this year. P.S.- best supporting role this year to Michael Imperioli’s ‘stache.
4. House Season Finale Parts 1 & 2
The first part, ” House’s Head”, was more of House trying to self destruct while looking for answers, but the second part ” Wilson’s Heart” is probably the shows greatest emotional moment.
3. How I Met Your Mother
It just keeps getting funnier. Not to mention Barney is still scum, but he’s evolving scum. And Marshall is still sweet, but he’s working for a huge corporate entity. And Lily is still the trash talking kindergarten teacher, but is contemplating motherhood. Robin is still more guy than the guys, but she’s lost in a sea of self doubt. And Ted? Well, he’s still searching for the mother. Some things just do not change.
2. The Big Bang Theory
It started off odd with a sperm bank, but it found it’s stride and is now the most consistently funny sitcom on television. Jim Parsons as Sheldon is possibly the funniest character on television.
1. Criminal Minds
The show has quickly become the best police drama on television. Exquisite acting and well thought out story lines make for the best hour on TV.
Movies of 2008
10. My Winnipeg
Canadian oddball surrealist Guy Maddin creates a masterpiece about his hometown, leading me to believe that if you live in Winnipeg, you must think like this man. Astonishing visuals and a surprisingly warm feeling.
9. Standard Operating Procedure
Errol Morris takes on the current mindset that torture is okay because the ends justify the means. Or do they? Morris, the legendary documentarian, makes a strong case that maybe, just maybe, what happens in Iraq should not stay in Iraq, and that those who excuse the methods as necessary need to think about what is ultimately more important- humanity or being right.
8. In Bruges
A sleeper, this droll little film about two hit men in the titular Belgian city is honestly one of the most charming, funniest films of the entire year. And Colin Farrell is actually good in this one!
It’s brave to use silence in film. It’s braver still when you use it in an animated film designed to get kids thinking. Entire stretches of Wall-E have no dialogue. But visually, it makes an impact that no Pixar film has done since Toy Story.
6. Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist
So sue me, I love this joyful little film about two people connecting over music. Possibly because that’s how I meet everyone myself. Charming, funny, and perfectly shot. Kat Dennings is one of this years great discoveries.
5. Rachel Getting Married
This tragic tale of family and pain remains the one film that truly made me feel all year long. Anne Hathaway’s Kym is a revelation. Rarely have I wanted to be a part of such a family. But I really wanted to be there. Props to Bill Irwin’s devoted, broken father, and Debra Winger’s astringent, vicious mother.
4. Tropic Thunder
Yes, the plot is more confusing than a Joyce novel. But I enjoy Joyce. And the performances are as such as I didn’t care the film made no sense, particularly Robert Downey Jr.’s amazing performance as method man extraordinaire Kirk Lazarus, Matthew McConaughey’s surprisingly sharp turn as the world’s most devoted agent, and a stunning Tom Cruise cameo that made me forget I now hate him.
3. The Dark Knight
Christopher Nolan has done the impossible- make an accessible superhero film that doesn’t distract from the mythology, but actually adds to it. Christian Bale is by far the best, most believable Bruce Wayne in cinema history, and Heath Ledger’s Joker is a villain for the ages.
2. Slumdog Millionaire
This delightfully charming film tells a story of class and achievement, hope and despair, and game shows. An Early front runner for best picture during this award season, it would have been my number one, if not the fact I had more fun and totally adore one other film more. No other list will have it at number one, but I can’t help myself.
1. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Jason Segel did the impossible- he took the Judd Apatow formula and made it sweeter, raunchier, and funnier. This charming little love story/ break up disaster tale balances the sad story of Peter with the destructive overtures the world throws at him. Mila Kunis shines as the girl he meets in Hawaii, Kristin Bell is a perfect bitch, and Russell Brand’s star making turn is the greasiest, funniest thing on the big screen all year.
Quotes of 2008
”It’s very simple. Scissors cuts paper, paper covers rock, rock crushes lizard, lizard poisons Spock, Spock smashes scissors, scissors decapitates lizard, lizard eats paper, paper disproves Spock, Spock vaporizes rock, and, as it always has, rock crushes scissors.”
—Sheldon (Jim Parsons), explaining his new game of Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock, on The Big Bang Theory
” I never have any normal fans.”
Dr. Spencer Reid ( Matthew Gray Gubler), lamenting the fact yet another serial killer is a fan of his work, on Criminal Minds
“I hate New York! I’m sorry, but it’s true! Today, I was walking around PriceCo. Have you been there? It’s huge! All the stores in New York are so cramped! Every time I turn around I knock something over. I’m like some huge monster that came out of the oceans to destroy bodegas! …I’m too big for New York, okay! I’m always trying to fit into cramped little subway seats, or duck under doorways that were built a hundred and fifty years ago. “Hey, people are bigger now! Build bigger doorways! What the hell is wrong with you?” …And it’s so loud. All the time. Yes, I know it’s the city that never sleeps, but guess what? I like to sleep! I’ve been tired for eight years! Tired and scared, with black and blue marks on my elbows from trying to fit into all these tiny elf doorways! New Jersey’s great! It’s got huge stores, and lawns, and you never have to carry a cup again! For the rest of your life! I’m not afraid to say it: I love New Jersey! ”
– Marshall ( Jason Segel), ranting after spending time at Stella’s New Jersey home, on How I Met Your Mother
” I can see Russia from my house.”
-Sarah Palin ( Tina Fey), giving a press conference with Hillary Clinton ( Amy Poehler), on SNL
”I am Shiva the destroyer and your harbinger of doom for this evening.”—Kym (Anne Hathaway) in Rachel Getting Married
– Penny ( Kaley Cuoco) and Sheldon ( Jim Parsons), after she enter’s his room in the middle of the night for game playing advise, on The Big Bang Theory
– Penny ( Kaley Cuoco) and Leonard ( Johnny Galecki), after witnessing a girl fawning over an oblivious Sheldon ( Jim Parsons), on The Big Bang Theory
– Sheldon ( Jim Parsons) and Penny ( Kaley Cuoco), after Sheldon opens his Christmas gift, on The Big Bang Theory. This is followed by Sheldon giving her a half dozen gift baskets and the funniest hug in the history of television.
” I kissed a girl and I liked it/ the taste of her cherry chapstick.”
– Katy Perry ” I Kissed A Girl”
“Denny is my best friend. I love him with all my heart. If I could yank that horrible disease out of his body, I would fight it and I would win. I would use every ounce of my strength and I would win, if I could — but I can’t.”
– Alan Shore ( James Spader), in front of the Supreme Court, on Boston Legal