Friday, December 28, 2007

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!


At December 28, 2007 1:04 PM, Blogger Metal Mark replied to my musings ...

Thanks for the mention. I changed my blog's format largely because I was beginning to repeat topics and growing a little bored with how it had become after two years.
I was real into that Dream Theater for a few tracks and then it started to drag. The Rush album was decent, but not as good as I was hoping or expecting.

At December 28, 2007 1:36 PM, Blogger RAHM replied to my musings ...

Interesting review, I must confess that I haven't seen or watched many of your picks, but it's your election, I could say that I am an 80's survivor, so I will wait for those essays

At December 28, 2007 2:17 PM, Blogger Jeff replied to my musings ...

Yes!! Someone else that agrees that "Lips of an Angel" is a horriffic song.

At December 28, 2007 4:20 PM, Blogger Barbara (aka Layla) replied to my musings ...

I am honored! Thank you! Now I feel like I need to get my ass over to my blog and write something really cool to be worthy of an honorable mention....I'll think of something.

Thanks again, very fun list ya got here!!

At December 28, 2007 4:34 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Mark: I respect that--blogs are more for the authors than anyone else, and I like the fact that you're doing what YOU want to do. Systematic Chaos had a couple of weak tracks, especially LaBrie's attempt at a political song, but I like it more each time I listen to it.

Rahm: I haven't seen much more than those movies, so that's what i have to choose from.

Jeff: It's bad--and not in a "bad is good" way.

Barbara: Keep doing what you're doing. I may not check out your site as often as I'd like, but I enjoy it when I do.

-- david

At December 29, 2007 5:53 PM, Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. replied to my musings ...

David, what can I say? Thank you very much, brother! That's my first official "Best Of" award ever! Please don't take me as a hoity toity ingrate, but the blog is now known as The Metal Minute, lol... Which is why it's all metal (with some horror stuff as you'll see today)

Regardless, I am simply grateful for your vote of confidence and those words are whats drives the energy behind the words, knowing that an outstanding writer like yourself finds interest in what I'm doing.

Cheers, bro, and thanks again. Era Vulgaris was big-time drug for me this past summer, and I almost fell outta the chair with that "Lips of An Angel" blurb, hahaha!

At December 29, 2007 10:24 PM, Blogger Rocky replied to my musings ...

Great stuff, David. I'm going to have to check out that book.

On the Larry Craig thing, the infamous bathroom at the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport has now become a tourist hot spot, just ahead of the Mall of America. Scary, eh?

Happy New Year!

At December 30, 2007 10:45 AM, Blogger Janet replied to my musings ...

I love the list and I'm not just saying this because I somehow made the cut (I think I'm only supposed to be on there once though so check that over when you can). Thanks for the mention!

I also agree btw, that the Hinder song sucks. Was Breach still 2007? You're right, it was a great movie, but it's so long ago I've seen it now. I think your credibility wavers a bit around Music and Lyrics being the worst and Chuck and Larry being the best though. What now?!

Happy new Year!

At December 30, 2007 12:55 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Ray: Your first "best of?" Color me shocked. You know, I DID completely overlook the name change on your site--that has been corrected in my post. I hope to see more good stuff in '08.

Rocky: Some chapters are better than others, but most of it had me laughing my ass off (no e-bbreviations here). Are you serious about the bathroom in the airport? That's just WRONG. (But funny.)

Janet: Another sloppy mistake on my part. Rats. You did get the runner-up, but Lisa B got the top slot. Sorry about the confusion. I think Breach was the start of '07. I could be wrong, given my other errors of late ... but I'm confident on this one. As for Chuck and Larry, maybe I was just in a generous mood when I saw it--and maybe it's because my expectations were so low--but it was much better than I expected!

-- david

At December 30, 2007 1:56 PM, Blogger Phats replied to my musings ...

I am glad you didn't do
"worst blog of 07"

There is really a book titled that? I can't stand Andy Roddick he's a prick

At December 30, 2007 9:34 PM, Anonymous LisaBinDaCity replied to my musings ...

I don't know what to say, I'm so flattered!!!

I'd like to thank the academy... whoops, I mean David for this kind award ;-)

You made my night - thanks! And I'll probably smile all week as well - Woo Hoo!!!

Happy New Year, Dear.

At December 30, 2007 11:03 PM, Blogger The Phoenix replied to my musings ...

Thanks for all of these great recommendations. I've enjoyed them since '05.

Have a great New Year's.

At December 31, 2007 10:19 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Phats: There are many horrible blogs that I wouldn't visit often enough to list them. Yours is not one of those. The sports "contests" book is hilarious, regardless of what you think of Roddick.

Lisa: Wow--a smile all week! I think I made the right choice.

Phoenix: Gracias, mi amigo. We've both staggered at time in our writings this year ... but we're still plugging along!

-- david

At December 31, 2007 12:10 PM, Blogger Malcolm replied to my musings ...

Although "Scrubs" has slipped a bit, it is still one of the best shows on TV. It is criminal that John C. McGinley has never been nominated for an Emmy for his role as Dr. Perry Cox.

At January 01, 2008 11:41 AM, Blogger Lee Ann replied to my musings ...

I like the show House too!
HAPPY NEW YEAR! Have a wonderful 2008!
Lee Ann

At January 01, 2008 6:19 PM, Blogger Nessa replied to my musings ...

I wish you a very Happy New Year, David.

At January 02, 2008 7:13 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Malcolm: Good point. They keep nominating the same family sitcom types. Ugh.

Lee Ann: House is an intriguing and well played character. Like me.

Nessa: Happy New Year to you, too!

-- david

At January 02, 2008 5:34 PM, Blogger angel, jr. replied to my musings ...

Happy New Year!!
Huge Scrubs fan here!!
Perry Cox--by far one of my favorite characters!

At January 02, 2008 6:14 PM, Blogger Perplexio replied to my musings ...

Breach was much better than the 2 part made for TV miniseries with William Hurt playing Hansen.

Chris Cooper did a brilliant job his creepiness was considerably more understated than Hurt's. Cooper actually got into Hansen's head and played Hansen whereas Hurt's portrayal was more of a caricature of Hansen.

I didn't rate the movie quite as highly as you but at the same time I found most of the new films that came out this year to be rather forgettable in the long run.

Oh and Systematic Chaos... I couldn't agree more!!! Brilliant album, their best since Train of Thought!

At January 03, 2008 11:13 AM, Anonymous LisaB replied to my musings ...

Might want to check your inbox ;-)

At January 03, 2008 12:11 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Angel: Back atcha. Maybe we should start a McGinley for President campaign!

Perplexio: The made-for-TV Hanssen movie covered the whole story, not just the relationship with the young agent, so it had a much tougher task. And it largely failed, I agree.

Lisa: I'm on my way there now ...

-- david

At January 03, 2008 2:38 PM, Blogger Jack's Shack replied to my musings ...

I used to love Rush. They put on a good concert. Kind of fell of of my music radar, not sure why.

At January 04, 2008 11:44 AM, Blogger Mike replied to my musings ...

Oh, a year of 80's essays, I can hardly wait. I survived them also, but I'm beginning to realize my experiences were somewhat atypical. As for best of 07, it was actually a good year for many things. Can't wait to see what 08 brings.

At January 13, 2008 11:32 AM, Blogger Janet replied to my musings ...

No problem on the confusion. It was an honor just to be nominated!


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