OMG, this was a stupendous year for amazingly terrible movies! What with the return of Indiana Jones, a movie version of the most ridiculous musical ever, and a big budget historical epic FROM THE STONE AGE, I barely had time to keep up with every appalling thing released this year.
In no particular order, the best worst movies I experienced this year are as follows:
I watched the trailer for this movie months ahead of its release. When it finally mammoth-stampeded into theaters, my sister and I were there on opening night. D’Leh, the protagonist, is a mysteriously Aryan man in a world full of ambiguously ethnic and indubitably evil tribal peoples; his true love, despite her lovely tan, also sports a pointed nose and sandy brown dreads. Geography and history are no obstacle for this film, as D’Leh travels across prehistoric landmasses to proto-Egypt, where exotic despots build pyramids roughly 7,000 years before the earliest pyramids had been dreamed up by Imhotep (thank you, wiki). Oh, and on the way D’Leh helps a sub-Saharan tribe invent agriculture 3,000 years ahead of schedule. What troubles me most is that other people in the theater snickered while Rachel and I giggled. I hope they didn’t think it was based on a true story.
Technicolor glittery dizzies-inducing mayhem. Glistening bods of young things, flirtations, azure waters, scando-pop and dancing. The only thing that doesn’t work is the aging and over-weight former love of my life, Colin Firth. 😦
Synecdoche, New York
Another mindfuck from film’s most famous fucker Charlie Kaufman. In league with pomo masters like Delillo, this film flinchingly, defenselessly winds through your nightmares and the impending scenes of your decay, all the while reminding you that all your shit is just an infinitesimal speck in the seething mass of human chaos and absurdity. This fact is either very comforting or very horrifying, or both. Without the whimsy of Gondry at his side, Kaufman goes all dark and there is no relenting from these 2 hours of artful, marvelous despair.
CGI Vomit (aka Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull & [same dif] The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor)
Cate Blanchett’s campy reprisal of From Russia With Love’s BDSM Russian officer is the the highlight of Indiana Jones. Besides that, even liberals can’t be that shocked by Indiana Jones’ imperial conceptions of cultural progress and anthropology, because none of his movies really take a hard look at current politics. Ancient stuff always releases ancient evil and and aids Nazis, or Bolsheviks, or some other distant, irrelevant threat. On the other hand, the third in the Mummy franchise is perhaps the most blatant anti-China propaganda I have seen in a movie. Dragon Emperor (Jet Li) dooms his enemies to hold up the Great Wall of China for all eternity. He comes back to life and so does his zombie army when benevolent sorceresses wake him up for some reason or another. Lines ensue about the Chinese people’s greed for land and resources and inherent need for authoritarian government. Politics aside, I think both of these movies should serve as the warning shot heard around the movie industry: CGI IS MAKING YOU LAZY, LAZY, LAZY. Big budget action movies used to look a lot better than these two, even if they made as little sense.
What are other worst/best movies I’m forgetting?
YAWYAWYAWYAWYAW. THIS IS A PARTYMOOSE REVIEW OF YEAR 2008. GO!
1. YOU DON’T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN SOUNDTRACK
WOW GEEZE. THIS IS MOTION PICTURE EVENT OF THE YEAR! THIS IS REALLY A GREAT MOVIE. HAVE YOU SEEN IT? IT IS GREAT! BUT I AM SAD BECAUSE I AM SURE YOU DID NOT SEE IT BECAUSE YOU WERE ALL LIKE “OH SHIT ADAM SANDLER HE IS MAKING A MOVIE WITH BALL JOKES”. I AM UNDERSTAND. I TOO THOUGHT THIS MOVIE WAS GOING TO BE ALL ABOUT “OH SWEET I AM FUNNY VOICE ADAM SANDLER AND BALL JOKES” BUT NAW DAWG. THIS MOVIE IS A REVOLUTION IN HOLLYWOOD WORLD. THIS MOVIE IS BEST MOVIE MADE ABOUT RACISM MADE BY WHITE GUYS. FUX A HAROLD AND KUMAR! OKAY. THIS IS SILLYTOWN. I HAVE GOT TALK ABOUT MUSIC.
OH SHIT! THIS SOUNDTRACK IS MAKE ME SOOOOO SMILE AND WHEN I SAY SMILE I MEAN PARTYSMILE NOT LIKE IAMSOHAPPYFROMBEINGSOSAD SMILE. THIS IS WHAT THIS ALBUM IS.
THIS ALBUM IS JOCK JAMS 1998.
THIS ALBUM IS ISRAELI JOCK JAMS 2008.
THIS ALBUM IS MOFUCKIN MARIAH CAREY.
HADAG NAHASH. THIS GUYS ARE THE GREAT!! ARE YOU SERIOUS? THEY ARE SO GOOD! THEY ARE FOREAL ISREALI MEN WHO MAKES MUSIC WHO IS NOT MATISYAHU.
I LOVE TO FUN.
THIS MUSIC IS LOVE TO FUN.
THIS MOVIE IS LOVE TO FUN.
HEY MAN. YOU DON’T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN.
YEAR IN MUZIK
Hi hi hi,
Welcome to Daftpop pop culture weblog! This week I hope to see daftpop bloggers make lists of our favorite albums, movies, pop culture phenomena, etc, of 2008.
I’m going to start off with my list of top 10 albums from 2008.
Bon Iver, For Emma, Forever Ago
I guess I’m getting the sad, slow stuff out of the way first. When I was a kid, (and sometimes still now), I had an abstract worry about whether or not music was mathematically finite. It’s just a combination of notes in a musical line, in combination with other musical lines composed of notes in the same key…How long can humans invent **new** simple, beautiful, intuitive melodies? How many times can we make a new “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” or, an, um, “Jesus?” Albums like Bon Iver’s reassure me that human capacity for creating melody really is infinite. There is nothing shocking about this album. It is firmly placed in the sad-man Bonnie “Prince” Billy tradition. One man. Several voice tracks. A couple of instruments. A cabin in Eau Claire, Wisc. And what you get, from the songwriter’s beautiful mind, are those basic, intuitive melodies.
Sebastian Tellier, Sexuality
This is, honestly, my favorite cd from 2008. I read in the Chicago Reader that this album is the prototype for the tongue-in-cheek euro mini-genre “NuHammer,” which allegedly pays tribute to 80’s and 90’s euro-electro by sounding just as cheesy. But I can’t accept that. After seeing Sebastian, I know that this French man is a grande artiste, with a grand vision for his music. To be all neat and tidy about these things, Tellier’s vision can be compressed into exactly two Daft Punk songs: Discovery’s “Something About Us,” and Human After All’s “Make Love.” The former features an emotionless robot voice confessing love while a smooth jazz guitar and 70’s sex-funk bass create a self-consciously dated sex jam. (It is one of my favorite songs ever, perhaps.) A real live piano and lilting electric guitar accompany a demure voice singing the part-creepy, part-heartfelt imperative, “make lo-ove. make lo-ove.” Sebastian perfectly co-opts these sounds and makes a concept album out of them. Is “Sexuality,” and it’s two foundational Daft Punk songs what people call the “French Touch?” Because I can’t think of anything so French as that affected, sentimental electro.
Lil Wayne/Weezy/Mr. Carter, Tha Carter III
Sadly Tha Carter family is just not as good as Da Drought family, but that doesn’t make me any less enamoured of Wayne’s mouth-of-wonder. As is now tradition, we get all kinds of information from his incoherent spits of words. For instance, on “Phone Home,” we find out a valuable piece of the Weezian puzzle: that Wayne is a benevolent alien, kind of like ET. “We are not the same/I am a Martian,” he gurgles. We get Wayne’s continued fascination with formal modes of address in the song titles, “Mr. Carter,” “Dr. Carter,” and “Mrs. Officer.” We get another amazing set of Wayne’s instructions for the opposite sex: “Suck my dick with red lip stick and don’t let it smear,” (I’ll put that next to “Don’t Stop Won’t Stop’s” words: “I’ll never give a bitch what i earn/what the fuck i look like/i want a bitch who can fuck right/cook right/and if not, then left foot right/foot get to steppin/ bitch walk light.” !!!!) But mostly we get to see Wayne touching on every relevant point in popular black music—be it some ghettotraxxx, cash money boy salutes to wealth (the former two songs often are one and the same), R&B sex jams, lyrical left-fielders, and of course one of them Kanye-produced songs with an old-school gospel sample. There is truly a Wayne for all occasions.
The Walkmen, You & Me
Some sounds touch souls more deeply than others. Organs and country guitars seem to do it for me. On top of that, Hamilton is a sad, sad man, and You & Me finds him singing about his aimless almost-rocknroll star life, alienation, and people acting like assholes–just like he always has. Antiquated instrumentation remains–to borrow Andrew’s words, the Walkmen still long “for a time that never existed.” And here they do it again, more sedately, more touchingly, but just as goodly as they’ve done it before.
Cool Kids, The Bake Sale
Bringing ’88 back is such a good idea. These boys rhyme from simpler times; cereal and Star Wars belts number among their concerns; women possess wills and desires outside the minds of their hustla masters; and beats just sound sooooooo coooooooooool. Cool Kids entirely ignore hip hop revelations and trends from the last decade. They reign in an underground kingdom of their own creation, and instead of fretting about whether or not they fit in, they declare their coolness and invite their detractors out to lunch. This is floetry of the mundane at its 80’s flossy finest.
Beach House, Devotion
I wish I didn’t like this as much as I do, because it’s not loud or busy or forward looking in any way… that is to say, it is the opposite of all things I value aesthetically. But Devotion is seamless in its reverb soaked subterranean world, and underneath all the dust and Niko nostalgia, it’s full of beautifully composed 60’s pop songs.
MGMT, Oracular Spectacular
These boys don’t know who they want to be: 1976 Bowie? Midnight Vulture’s Beck? Tom Petty? But they’ve got some songs I hate to love. I look forward to MGMT finding an identity and making better albums in the future; this is the kind of band who gets better with age. (No, seriously, they’re like 19 years old.)
Vampire Weekend, Vampire Weekend
I don’t feel like talking about it, but this album is pretty good.
M83, Saturdays = Youth
It’s France loves the 80’s: catharsis, synths and all. When I first heard this album I was shocked. Is it ok to just make an album-long version of Simple Mind’s “Don’t You Forget About Me?” Or even less hip, is it ok to make 6-minute tracks that sound like the bridge of Springsteen’s most triumphant anthem? I let my heart decide, and it said yes.
Flying Lotus, Los Angeles
This is Dilla back from the dead and Doom at his jazzy smoothest. It doesn’t even matter if Lotus is his own thing; Los Angeles is as seamless and mindboggling as either of those dudes’ creations. (There, I just said it.) (Here, I’m taking it back. Donuts is now and forever shall be the greatest.) If there is any significant difference, I would argue that Los Angeles is sexier than Donuts; where Donuts is all coitus interruptus, Los Angeles is all like, “baby, lessss groove all night long.” In any case, Los Angeles, like Donuts, does what music should do. It scrambles jazz or soul through a dance or hip hop brain; it breaks down genres and builds new ones.