Radio shows

Sing All Kinds Radio: “The Your Favorite Music Show”

Nearly a week late for this bit of save-it-for-digital-posterity exercise, but here’s a listening stream and playlist from last week’s radio show, a set of music about listening to music. 

This week — as I post, later today — will be a special food-themed Thanksgiving edition: The “Grab a Plate Show.”

Here’s last week’s show:

And here’s the week’s playlist:

  1. “Road Runner” — The Modern Lovers
  2. “Ain’t You” — Kleenex
  3. “Rock and Roll” — The Velvet Underground
  4. “Dance Music” — The Mountain Goats
  5. “Tallulah” — Allo Darlin
  6. “Brimful of Asha” — Cornershop
  7. “Your Favorite Music” — Clem Snide
  8. “Teenage Wasteland” — Wussy
  9. “You Were Right” — Built to Spill
  10. “Paul is Dead” — Yo La Tengo
  11. “Caravan” — Van Morrison
  12. “Record Year” — Eric Church
  13. “Lookin’ Out My Backdoor” — Creedence Clearwater Revival
  14. “Certain Songs’ — The Hold Steady
Radio shows

Sing All Kinds Radio: “The 1980 Show”

My initial pitch for my radio show at WYXR was called “Postwar Pop,” and conceit was that each week I was going to play music from a different year, 1945-2000. But they gave me too much time to think between giving me a show and the station’s launch and once I started thinking of one-off ideas for shows those ideas piled up to the point that I switched to the “Sing All Kinds,” weekly theme format. But I think I’m going to weave the original notion in, with one “time travel” show each month. 

This week was the first one, jumping back 40 years. I did forget to move the fader on the first record I played, so this playback missed the first 20 seconds or so of “Take Your Time.” 

Next week: “The Your Favorite Music Show,” songs about listening to, well, songs. 

Here’s this week’s show:

And here’s this week’s playlist:

  1. “When You Were Mine” — Prince
  2. “Take Your Time (Do It Right)” — The S.O.S. Band 
  3. “Upside Down” — Diana Ross
  4. “Open Up” — Chic
  5. “Zulu Nation Throwdown” – Afrika Bambaataa and Cosmic Force
  6. “Twist and Crawl” — The English Beat
  7. “Crosseyed and Painless” — Talking Heads
  8. “I Found That Essence Rare” — Gang of Four
  9. “Fa Ce-La” — The Feelies
  10. “Split” — Kleenex
  11. “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” — The Slits
  12. “The World’s a Mess, It’s in My Kiss” — X
  13. “Rolling Along” — Lucinda Williams
  14. “Something on Your Mind” — Professor Longhair
  15. “I’m Getting Ready to Go” — Michael Hurley
Radio shows

Sing All Kinds Radio: “The Play a Train Song Show”

I missed doing last week’s show due to traveling, but it was nice to be back behind the glass at Crosstown Concourse this week.

This show was inspired by the Todd Snider song that leads things off. There are tons of good “train songs,” so this was a show that could have filled two or three hours easy. 

Next week I’m planning on the first of monthly “time travel” shows exploring individual years: The 1980 Show. 

Here’s this week’s show:

And here’s this week’s playlist:

  1. “Play a Train Song” — Todd Snider
  2. “Night Train to Memphis” — Roy Acuff 
  3. “The Memphis Train” — Rufus Thomas
  4. “Freedom Train” — James Carr
  5. “Ride That Train” — The Oblivians
  6. “Mystery Train” — Elvis Presley
  7. “Folsom Prison Blues” — Johnny Cash
  8. “My Baby Thinks He’s a Train” — Rosanne Cash
  9. “Waiting for a Train’ — Dickey Betts
  10. “Georgia on a Fast Train” — Billy Joe Shaver
  11. “Train” — Uncle Tupelo 
  12. “Night Train” — James Brown
  13. “Boogie Woogie Choo Choo Train” — Mabel Scott
  14. “Choo Choo Ch’Boogie” — Louis Jordan
  15. “Everybody Loves a Train” — Los Lobos
  16. “Westbound Train” – Dennis Brown
  17. “C’Mon and Ride It (Railroad Mix)” — Quad City DJs
Radio shows

‘Sing All Kinds’ Radio: The Movie Show

This week’s edition of “Sing All Kinds” on WYXR was inspired by the annual Indie Memphis Film Festival. It was The Movie Show, a hour of songs about cinema. 

The show can be streamed (and downloaded) after the fact on the show page. I’m on vacation next week and won’t have a show, but look forward to a set of themes in November that will include time travel, locomotion and something appropriate for Thanksgiving. 

Here’s this week’s show:

And here’s this week’s playlist:

  1. “Movie Magg” — Carl Perkins
  2. “Tom Courtenay” — Yo La Tengo 
  3. “The Right Profile” — The Clash
  4. “Marie Provost” — Nick Lowe
  5. “Ingrid Bergman” — Billy Bragg and Wilco
  6. “Made for TV Movie” — Clem Snide
  7. “Debaser” — The Pixies
  8. “The Union Forever” — The White Stripes
  9. “New Age” — The Velvet Underground
  10. “Bette Davis Eyes” — Kim Carnes
  11. “Kung Fu Reference” — Ass Ponys
  12. “Woody Allen” — Allo Darlin
  13. “Attica” — Wussy 
  14. “The Sands of Iwo Jima” — The Drive-By Truckers
  15. “Slapped Actress” — The Hold Steady
  16. “What’s Yr Take on Cassavetes?” — Le Tigre
  17. “Saturday Night at the Movies” — The Drifters
Radio shows

‘Sing All Kinds’ Radio: The ABCs of Love Show

This week’s edition of “Sing All Kinds” on WYXR featured me remembering to take off my mask before I talked but also a couple of CD malfunctions. Still, overall I’d grade it an upgrade in execution. To paraphrase David Porter, I’m just trying to make it better each and every week.

The show can be streamed (and downloaded) after the fact on the show page. Next week’s show, in honor of the Indie Memphis Film Festival, will be “The Movie Show.” 

Here’s this week’s show:

And here’s this week’s playlist:

  1. “The ABCs of Love” — Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers
  2. “Alison” — Elvis Costello 
  3. “Bonita Applebaum” — A Tribe Called Quest
  4. “Charles” — Scrawl
  5. “Donna” — Clem Snide
  6. “Evangeline” — Los Lobos
  7. “Hey, Miss Fannie” — The Clovers
  8. “Gloria” — Them
  9. “Hannah Hunt” — Vampire Weekend
  10. “Irma Jackson” — Merle Haggard
  11. “Jolene” — Cory Branan (didn’t actually play)
  12. “Kathleen” — The Blasters
  13. “Lola” — The Kinks
  14. “Mary Anne” — Marshall Crenshaw
  15. “Nadine” — Chuck Berry
  16. “Ophelia” — The Band
  17. “Peggy Sue” — Buddy Holly & the Crickets
  18. “Lovely Rita” — The Beatles
  19. “Sheena is a Punk Rocker Now” — The Ramones
Radio shows

‘Sing All Kinds’ Radio: The We’re Gonna Make It Show

It’s not just a very sporadically updated blog. It’s now a radio show. The first edition of my weekly radio show for the new WYXR radio (91.7 FM in Memphis, wyxr.org everywhere) was Thursday afternoon.

It was the first time in more than 20 years I’ve done a show. The muscle memory remained, but if doing a radio show is like riding a bike it might take a couple of weeks to keep it from wobbling. There were a couple of times I started a song without having it’s channel set to go live. I forgot to drop my mask when I talked, which is why I sound muffled. And I was a little distracted on the mike anyway because I was trying to remember all the buttons I needed to press and when. I’m expecting at least 20% fewer flubs next week.

The show — every Thursday at 4 p.m. — will be thematic. The first show attempted to reflect the mood of the moment. Next week will be “The ABCs of Love.” You’ll have to tune in to see what that means. You can listen to the stream of this week’s show at the link below (note: the first song on this stream is the last cut from the previous show).

And here’s this week’s setlist:

The We’re Gonna Make It Show

  1. “Please Don’t Bury Me” — John Prine 
  2. “This Year” — Mountain Goats 
  3. “Badlands” — Bruce Springsteen
  4. “Buck Up” — Carsie Blanton
  5. “Seems Like a Long Time” — Rod Stewart
  6. “Bon Bon Vie” — T.S. Monk 
  7. “Tread Water” — De La Soul
  8. “Ultimate” — Gogol Bordello
  9. “Life in Marvelous Times” — Mos Def
  10. “Hope the High Road” — Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit
  11. “Good Fortune” — Todd Snider
  12. “Don’t Ever Change” — Amy Rigby
  13. “Time Tough” — Toots & the Maytals
  14. “Michael and Heather at the Baggage Claim” — Fountains of Wayne
  15. “All the Best” — John Prine

Revisited

1970 Revisited

One would have thought our coronavirus spring would have yielded more time for this ongoing, intermittent personal project, where I relisten to my entire music collection and catch up on some things I missed along the way.

But with work unabated, parenting demands increased and the existential fatigue felt by all of us lucky enough to continue existing, that has not been the case. 

So, some quick notes and then the list:

1970: A new decade.

Decades are arbitrary, but in retrospect, if not at the time, this year has a transitional feel. 

The Beatles went caput, with John Lennon immediately releasing what would remain the greatest of the group’s solo offshoots. (1969’s Abbey Road is the true swan song; the recorded earlier but released later Let it Be is a near-miss here and the singles comp Hey Jude not considered.) The Stones took a break amid an historic four-albums-in-five-years peak run and Bob Dylan reemerged in minor form with New Morning

Meanwhile, the best American bands of the Sixties (Velvet Underground, CCR) released their last great albums (and just last in the Velvets case). Four of the greatest solo artists of the Seventies — Neil Young, Van Morrison, Randy Newman, Al Green — opened the decade with major statements and, in the case of Morrison and Newman, perhaps still career peaks. 

That Newman record — a personal chart-topper in a year with lots of competition and no clear No. 1 — is quiet and short and weird and mean and perfect. 

With Spirit in the Dark, Aretha Franklin followed Isaac Hayes’ lead (via 1969’s Hot Buttered Soul) in the transition from singles-oriented Sixties soul to the more conscious album-making of Seventies R&B, beating Marvin and Sly by a year and Stevie by a couple, though Curtis Mayfield’s Curtis also qualifies here. (Sly’s Greatest Hits, an avalanche of singles released in a tight tumble, makes the know-it-when-you-see-it cut as a compilation that functions as an album.)

Semi-popular music: The Stooges with the best American punk album before “punk” knew its name (and maybe still the best regardless). Delany & Bonnie (times two) and the Tracy Nelson-led Mother Earth with some roots lessons Americana should have better learned. Swamp Dogg with some idiosyncratic soul. The Insect Trust with a musical bohemia that unites Up North and Down South. 

Albums

  1. 12 Songs – Randy Newman
  2. Loaded – The Velvet Underground
  3. Fun House – The Stooges
  4. Plastic Ono Band – John Lennon
  5. Moondance – Van Morrison
  6. After the Gold Rush – Neil Young
  7. Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs – Derek & the Dominoes
  8. Greatest Hits – Sly & the Family Stone
  9. Spirit in the Dark – Aretha Franklin
  10. Cosmo’s Factory – Creedence Clearwater Revival
  11. To Bonnie From Delaney – Delany and Bonnie
  12. Mother Earth Presents Tracy Nelson Country – Mother Earth
  13. Al Green Gets Next to You – Al Green
  14. Gasoline Alley – Rod Stewart
  15. Part Time Love – Ann Peebles
  16. His Band and Street Choir – Van Morrison
  17. Total Destruction to Your Mind – Swamp Dogg
  18. Sex Machine – James Brown
  19. Curtis – Curtis Mayfield
  20. On Tour – Delaney and Bonnie
  21. Hoboken Saturday Night – Insect Trust
  22. New Morning – Bob Dylan
  23. Lola vs. Powerman and the Moneygoround – The Kinks
  24. Struttin’ – The Meters
  25. Bitches Brew – Miles Davis

Singles

  1. “Pressure Drop” – Toots & the Maytals
  2. “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” – Sly & the Family Stone
  3. “Don’t Play That Song’ – Aretha Franklin
  4. “Lookin’ Out My Backdoor” – Creedence Clearwater Revival
  5. “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine” – James Brown
  6. “Yes We Can” – Lee Dorsey
  7. “Ohio” – Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
  8. “Up Around the Bend” – Creedence Clearwater Revival
  9. “Help Me Make it Through the Night” – Sammi Smith
  10. “Vietnam” – Jimmy Cliff
  11. “Domino” – Van Morrison
  12. “Who’ll Stop the Rain” – Creedence Clearwater Revival
  13. “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” – Stevie Wonder
  14. “Band of Gold” – Freda Payne
  15. “ABC” – Jackson Five
  16. “I Can’t Get Next to You” – Al Green
  17. “I’ll Be There” – Jackson Five
  18. “Part Time Love” – Ann Peebles
  19. “Super Bad” – James Brown
  20. “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)” – The Delfonics
  21. “Daddy Come and Get Me” – Dolly Parton
  22. “Once More With Feeling” – Jerry Lee Lewis
  23. “Rivers of Babylon’ — The Melodians
  24. “Turn Back the Hands of Time” – Tyrone Davis
  25. “It’s a Shame” – The Spinners
  26. “Shocks of Mighty” – Dave Barker & the Upsetters
  27. “Run Through the Jungle” – Creedence Clearwater Revival
  28. “Stealing in the Name of the Lord” – Paul Kelly
  29. “Instant Karma (We All Shine On)” – John Lennon
  30. “Coal Miner’s Daughter” – Loretta Lynn
  31. “Cinnamon Girl” – Neil Young
  32. “All Right Now” – Free
  33. “Paranoid” – Black Sabbath
  34. “Patches” – Clarence Carter
  35. “Duppy Conqueror” – Bob Marley & the Wailers
  36. “A Good Year for the Roses” – George Jones
  37. “Wake the Town” – U.Roy
  38. “Give Me Just a Little More Time’ — Chairmen of the Board
  39. “Heaven Help Us All” — Stevie Wonder
  40. “Mama’s Baby, Daddy’s Maybe” — Swamp Dogg

MOVIES

Taking a pass at a movies list at the end of these — there’s no “rewatching” project — is always an exercise in realizing how many blind spots I still have. Oh, I still haven’t seen Claire’s Knee or Patton or Little Big Man or … . 

But here are some 1970 films I have seen that I think that I like, based on the memories of when I saw them, in rough order of preference, starting with an easy No. 1:

  • Five Easy Pieces (Bob Rafelson)
  • Woodstock (Michael Wadleigh)
  • Husbands (John Cassavetes)
  • M*A*S*H (Robert Altman) 
  • King: A Filmed Record … Montgomery to Memphis (Sidney Lumet)
  • Tristana (Luis Bunuel)
  • The Ballad of Cable Hogue (Sam Peckinpah)
  • Gimme Shelter (Albert and David Maysles)

Revisited

1980 Revisited

If the music of 1980 had a theme, perhaps it was the expansion of punk as the decade turned.

The Talking Heads looked beyond CBGB, incorporating Afropop influences on Remain in Light (No. 4 album). Gang of Four’s Entertainment! (No. 3 album) weaved Sex Pistols energy into jagged Marxist funk. The (English) Beat’s I Just Can’t Stop It (No. 13 album) was as good as British ska got. And on London Calling (No. 1 album, natch) the Clash invoked Elvis Presley on the cover and laid claim to everything in earshot in the grooves. 

In the U.S., the Manhattan-centric punk scene began giving way to a post-punk/indie scene blooming throughout the country, whether across the state lines to Jersey (The Feelies’ No. 7 Crazy Rhythms) or to the opposite coast (X’s No. 16 Los Angeles), both hints at the eruption of more localized indie scenes on the immediate horizon.

In the U.K., a similar broadening was happening in the form of the Raincoats (No. 22 album), Slits (No. 7 single), LiLiPUT (No. 10 single), Psychedelic Furs (No. 23 album), the extant Elvis Costello (No. 25 album), and Joy Division (No. 23 single), three of whom appear on the classic scene compilation Wanna Buy a Bridge? (No. 5 album).  

It was also the year that the greatest R&B artist of the 1970s, Stevie Wonder, made arguably his last major album, Hotter Than July (No. 17), and the greatest R&B (for starters) artist of the 1980s, Prince, made his first major album (and third overall), Dirty Mind (No. 2). The latter showed more than a little punk/post-punk influence, showing that these exchanges could work both ways. 

It was a year when two giants of blues-based music, pre-recording Memphis/Chicago blues singer Alberta Hunter (No. 15) and New Orleans piano master Professor Longhair (No. 6) made their greatest studio-album testaments, the former made well into her 80s, the latter months before his death.

In was a year that saw one rock institution of the Seventies (Bruce Springsteen, No. 10 album) transitioning his sound into what would be an (at least) equally great decade, and a couple of others (No. 20 Neil Young, No. 24 Rolling Stones), holding on, for a moment, with merely good albums. And it was when another, John Lennon, left us for good but with a wise, warming, unintended final testament (No. 8 album).

The lists …

ALBUMS

  1. London Calling – The Clash
  2. Dirty Mind – Prince
  3. Entertainment! – Gang of Four
  4. Remain in Light – Talking Heads
  5. Wanna Buy a Bridge? — Various Artists
  6. Crawfish Fiesta – Professor Longhair
  7. Crazy Rhythms – The Feelies
  8. Double Fantasy – John Lennon and Yoko Ono
  9. Storm Windows – John Prine
  10. The River – Bruce Springsteen
  11. Snockgrass – Michael Hurley
  12. Happy Woman Blues – Lucinda Williams
  13. I Just Can’t Stop It — The English Beat
  14. Real People – Chic
  15. Amtrak Blues – Alberta Hunter
  16. Los Angeles – X
  17. Hotter Than July – Stevie Wonder
  18. Black Market Clash — The Clash
  19. Seconds of Pleasure – Rockpile
  20. Hawks and Doves – Neil Young
  21. Doc at the Radar Station – Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band
  22. The Raincoats — The Raincoats
  23. Psychedelic Furs – Psychedelic Furs
  24. Emotional Rescue – Rolling Stones
  25. Get Happy!! – Elvis Costello & the Attractions

Singles

  1. “You Shook Me All Night Long” – AC/DC
  2. “Zulu Nation Throwdown” – Afrika Bambaataa/Zulu Nation/Cosmic Force
  3. “London Calling” — The Clash
  4. “Bon Bon Vie” — T.S. Monk
  5. “Upside Down” – Diana Ross
  6. “The Breaks” – Kurtis Blow
  7. “Master Blaster (Jammin’)” — Stevie Wonder
  8. “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” — The Slits
  9. “He Stopped Loving Her Today” – George Jones
  10. “How We Gonna Make the Black Nation Rise?” — Brother D. & Collective Effort
  11. “Precious” — The Pretenders
  12. “Die Matrosen”/“Split” – LiLiPUT
  13. “Refugee” — Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
  14. “Call Me” — Blondie
  15. “Brass in Pocket” — The Pretenders
  16. “9 to 5” – Dolly Parton
  17. “She Just Started Liking Cheatin’ Songs” – John Anderson
  18. “Train in Vain” – The Clash
  19. “(Just Like) Starting Over” – John Lennon & Yoko Ono
  20. “He’s So Shy” — The Pointer Sisters
  21. “People Who Died” – Jim Carroll Band
  22. “I’m Coming Out” – Dianna Ross
  23. “Hungry Heart” – Bruce Springsteen
  24. “Celebration” – Kool & the Gang
  25. “Love Will Tear Us Apart” – Joy Division
  26. “Freedom” – Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five
  27. “The Tide is High” – Blondie
  28. “Mirror in the Bathroom” – The English Beat
  29. “Going Underground” — The Jam
  30. “Shining Star” – The Manhattans
  31. “Twist and Crawl” – The English Beat
  32. “Hey Nineteen” – Steely Dan
  33. “She’s So Cold” — The Rolling Stone
  34. “Private Idaho” — The B-52s
  35. “Whip It” – Devo
  36. “Bankrobber” – The Clash
  37. “Take Your Time” – SOS Band
  38. “Vicious Rap” – Tanya Winley
  39. “Too Many Creeps” – Bush Tetras
  40. “Love Sensation” – Loletta Holloway

Movies

Per usual, these movie lists are more of a guess because I don’t have time to rewatch, an attempt to filter older memories through a current sensibility. I do think that Raging Bull and The Shining are “classic” films that are probably each a little overrated relative to their respective directors’ other best work. I remember being smitten by Sayle’s low-budget college-radicals-reunite film as a teenager, but I haven’t seen it since. (It’s pretty hard to come by.)

  • Atlantic City (Louis Malle)
  • The Big Red One (Sam Fuller)
  • The Return of the Secaucus Seven (John Sayle)
  • Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese)
  • The Shining (Stanley Kubrick)
  • Used Cars (Robert Zemeckis)
  • Out of the Blue (Dennis Hopper)
  • Coal Miner’s Daughter (Michael Apted)

Revisited

Best of 2019

This film list is a little different from the Top 10 of my Southeastern Film Critics Association ballot I published about a month ago. That’s partly the result of this list being one of pure favorites, where my SEFCA ballot allows for some strategic voting toward the end of the Top 10. It’s partly the result of having seen a couple of contenders for a second time since then. And it’s partly because any list of favorites is likely to change a little each time you consider it. 

In both cases, my four-film top tier remains the same, with only the order changed a little. I love these four films and don’t have particularly strong feelings about order. Greta Gerwig’s Little Women jumps from No. 4 to No. 1 here after a second viewing and first in a theater, during which it knocked me flat. Maybe there’s a little recency bias at play. But I think it’s a genius work of adaptation that arrives as an instant family-film classic. 

Like Little Women, Celine Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a thrilling feminist period piece, searing where Little Women is warm. These films don’t so much inject a modern sensibility into their respective 18th- and 19th-century settings as make their stories feel very much present-tense. 

I think Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood is Quentin Tarantino’s best movie in nearly 25 years. In an expansive, charmed middle sequence that intertwines a day in the life of each of his three protagonists – Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate kicking up her bare feet to watch herself on the big screen, Brad Pitt’s Cliff Booth reminiscing on the roof and taking a drive, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton getting himself together for the best acting young co-star Trudi’s ever seen in her life – it’s also the best filmmaking of this year or Tarantino’s career.

Parasite is as brilliant and urgent as advertised. It could have easily been my No. 1, and if I’d had time to give it a second viewing, it may well have been.

The Irishman moved into my Top 5 on a second viewing. I feel like it not only earns its run-time, but ultimately needs it. The awkwardness of the film’s de-aging technology – these old actors move like old men even when meant to be younger – lends a poignancy that may or may not be intentional. But the film is framed as a recollection of an old man; you feel the present fragility even in memories of relative youth.

My No. 6 (The Farewell) and No. 8 (American Factory) would make a good double-feature on the complicated relationship between the U.S. and China. The former is deceptively light, but that lightness is a reason I’ve recommended it to so many people of differing tastes.

I didn’t do a music list this year. My listening was too scattered and unsatisfied. Perhaps I’ll “revisit” 2019 somewhere down the line. I do have some brief notes about my year in TV and books at the end. 

  1. Little Women (Greta Gerwig)
  2. Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino)
  3. Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho)
  4. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Celine Sciamma)
  5. The Irishman (Martin Scorsese)
  6. The Farewell (Lulu Wong)
  7. Diane (Kent Jones)
  8. American Factory (Steven Bognar, Julia Reichart)
  9. Ford v. Ferrari (James Mangold)
  10. The Nightingale (Jennifer Kent)
  11. Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story (Martin Scorsese)
  12. Amazing Grace (Alan Elliott, Sydney Pollack)
  13. Uncut Gems (Josh & Benny Safdie)
  14. Peterloo (Mike Leigh)
  15. Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach)
  16. Her Smell (Alex Ross-Perry)
  17. The Souvenir (Joanna Hogg)
  18. Us (Jordan Peele)
  19. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Marielle Heller)
  20. Knives Out (Rian Johnson)

Better Than Expected (or Than You Heard): Long Shot, Peanut Butter Falcon, High Flying Bird, High Life, Last Black Man in San Francisco

Ambitious but Flawed (in descending order of success): Dolemite is My Name, Queen & Slim, 1917, Atlantics, John Wick: Chapter 3, Jojo Rabbit, Harriet

Performances Better Than Their Films: Charlize Theron (Bombshell), Florence Pugh (Midsommar), Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein (Booksmart), Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers), Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes), Taylor Russell (Waves), Adam Driver (The Dead Don’t Die)

I’m So Bored With the MCU …  But What Can I Do?: Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Captain Marvel

Duds I Didn’t Avoid: Joker, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Judy

Ten I Haven’t Seen (Yet): Ad Astra, Apollo 11, Ash is Purest White, A Hidden Life, Dark Waters, Honeyland, The Lighthouse, Pain & Glory, Synonyms, Transit.

Best Old Movie Seen for the First Time This Year: The Big Sky (Howard Hawks, 1952)

Television I Loved Without Hesitation: Fleabag, Unbelievable, Mindhunter

Television I Watched With Appreciation: Watchmen, The Deuce, True Detective, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Killing Eve, Glow

Television I Watched Out of Perceived Obligation: Deadwood, El Camino, Game of Thrones, Bluff City Law

Best Novels I Read For the First Time This Year: Sula — Toni Morrison (1973) and The Dog of the South — Charles Portis (1979). 

Best Non-Fiction I Read For the First Time This Year: The White Album — Joan Didion (1979) and Is It Still Good To Ya?: 50 Years of Music Criticism — Robert Christgau (2019)

Revisited

Best of the 2010s: Movies

I basically wrote myself out on the companion albums post a few days ago, so this will mostly just be a list. 

As with the film lists in the yearly “revisited” posts, this generally does not benefit from rewatches, as time sadly does not allow it.

I did rewatch the two movies at the top, which felt like masterpieces when I saw each of them in a theater upon initial release, and which both fully held up. 

While both are critical depictions of obsessive, gifted protagonists from obsessive, gifted filmmakers, they are otherwise quite different,

“The Social Network” feels like the great public movie of its era, with more to say about How We Live Now than perhaps any other film of the decade. If anything, its resonance has grown.

“Phantom Thread” feels like the great private movie of its era, a darkly comic glimpse into the ineffable mysteries of one courtship and marriage. 

Top 40 Movies of the 2010s

  1. The Social Network (David Fincher, 2010)
  2. Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2017)
  3. Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, 2016)
  4. Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2013)
  5. Shoplifters (Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2018) 
  6. Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, 2015) 
  7. Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)
  8. Certified Copy (Abbas Kiarostami, 2010)
  9. Parasite (Bong Joon-Ho, 2019)
  10. Lincoln (Steven Spielberg, 2012)
  11. Tangerine (Sean Baker, 2015)
  12. Francis Ha (Noah Baumbach, 2013)
  13. Short Term 12 (Destin Daniel Cretton, 2013)
  14. The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese, 2013)
  15. The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012)
  16. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Celine Sciamma, 2019)
  17. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014)
  18. Winter’s Bone (Debra Granik, 2010)
  19. Roma (Alfonso Cuaron, 2018)
  20. Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014)
  21. Dunkirk (Christopher Nolan, 2017)
  22. Only Lovers Left Alive (Jim Jarmusch, 2014)
  23. 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen, 2013)
  24. Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski, 2017)
  25. The Florida Project (Sean Baker, 2017) (AM)
  26. Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig, 2017) 
  27. The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011) 
  28. Zero Dark Thirty (Kathryn Bigelow, 2012)
  29. Another Year (Mike Leigh, 2010) 
  30. Inside-Out (Pete Doctor, 2015)
  31. Manchester By the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan, 2016)
  32. Leave No Trace (Debra Granik, 2018)
  33. Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017)
  34. Little Women (Greta Gerwig, 2019)
  35. Minding the Gap (Bing Liu, 2018)
  36. The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)
  37. Carlos (Olivier Assayas, 2010)
  38. Gone Girl (David Fincher, 2014)
  39. Take Shelter (Jeff Nichols, 2011) 
  40. Uncut Gems (Benny & Josh Safdie, 2019)