The Best and Worst of 2007
Since I started this blog two and a half years ago, I have taken the opportunity at year’s end to compile the best and worst of the past twelve months’ pop culture.
It’s that time again.
As in my lists for 2005 and 2006, I’m only including things I’ve experienced directly. Thus, in the categories that follow you won’t find any mention of animated films, Joel Osteen’s feel-good Christian books, or Kelly Clarkson songs.
On to the winners—and losers—in the third annual best and worst of the year list:
Best movie of 2007: Breach. If you didn’t believe it already from films like American Beauty and Adaptation, this thriller will convince you that Chris Cooper is in the top tier of current actors. And the fact that it’s almost entirely a true story makes it even more riveting.
Best movie of 2007, runners-up: A three-way tie for second place: National Treasure: Book of Secrets, which is cheesy as hell but fun, making this Nicolas Cage series the Indiana Jones franchise of this generation; The Golden Compass, which showed that special effects can contribute to a film instead of detracting from it; and (a surprise pick, even for me) I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, which featured a priceless Dave Matthews cameo and was much more human and much funnier than I’d expected.
Worst movie of 2007: Music and Lyrics. This dud starring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore tried so hard to be clever … or at least interesting. It failed on both counts.
Best TV show of 2007: Scrubs, which wins hands down. I praised the superb writing last year when it won, so this year, I’ll ask a rhetorical question: Is any actor as perfect for a role as John C. McGinley is for Dr. Perry Cox?
Best TV show of 2007, runner-up: House. I’m not a doctor, and medicine has almost no interest to me. It’s a testament to the writing of Scrubs and House that these are the only two shows I come close to watching regularly.
Worst TV show of 2007: TMZ, which I flipped by and suffered through for several minutes. Few things are as shameless and useless as a show in which paparazzi report on themselves and glorify their stalking of celebrities. The decline of Western civilization continues.
Best blog of 2007 (general): Lisa B in Da City. A tough call—many of you entertain, amuse, and inform. But Lisa gets the nod for her witty approach, wide-ranging interests, and entirely pleasant attitude. Keep the good stuff coming!
Best blog of 2007 (general), runner-up: The Art of Getting By. Janet wins the second place ribbon this year, just ahead of about ten others.
Best blog of 2007 (music): The Metal Minute. Ray writes about metal, primarily, but it’s worth reading for the energy behind the text even if you’re not a fan of the genre.
Best blog of 2007 (music), runners-up: Layla’s Classic Rock Favorites. Writing about music that clearly comes from a love of music. And Heavy Metal Time Machine. Metal Mark has changed formats, with many more interviews and reviews. It doesn’t work as well for me, but it does for him—and that’s what this blogging thing should be all about anyway.
Best album of 2007: Dream Theater’s Systematic Chaos. Not as hard as the band’s Train of Thought album, but still an impressive progressive metal statement.
Best album of 2007, runners-up: Rush’s Snakes & Arrows, which is the band’s best effort in many years; Queens of the Stone Age’s Era Vulgaris, which doesn’t match the group’s best material of the past but still kicks ass (as well as 99% of the other music out there); and The White Stripes’ Icky Thump, which is just damn fun to listen to.
Most catchy song of 2007: Finger Eleven’s “Paralyzer.” When this song first came out in March, I thought it was oddly reminiscent of Franz Ferdinand’s “Take Me Out”—and a damn catchy song. It’s finally become a hit, and it’s still catchy.
Most catchy song of 2007, runner-up: The White Stripes’ “Icky Thump.” Classic rock riffs aren’t dead yet!
Worst song of 2007: Hinder’s “Lips of an Angel.” Ugh. I feel ill just typing it.
Best book of 2007: ’s Andy Roddick Beat Me With A Frying Pan. This book about eternal sports questions is one the funniest things ever written. Even non-sports fans will find themselves chuckling at Gallagher’s chapters about things like average Joes trying to hit off of professional baseball pitchers, fat people defending the goal in hockey, and basketball players trying to make change off the top of a backboard.
Dumbest moment of 2007: Larry Craig’s airport bathroom incident. I wasn’t there, and I don’t know precisely what happened. I don’t need to. This was a creepy event, no matter what the details were.
And a new category …
My Prediction for 2008: More essays about the 80s in this blog. I’ve been revisiting some of the underappreciated aspects of that decade. And in 2008, I’ll have some things to say about it.
Happy New Year!