Joe's Best and Worst of 2008
Written By: Joe

I didn't write a list like this for 2007, but that is because I time-travelled to one year later, assuming I'd be somewhere better by then. I probably should've made it at least two.

THE BEST

1. Best Movie - There Will Be Blood

This movie didn't exactly blow me away, but it did make me go around quoting lines from it (less the milkshake one and more "You look like a ffffffool!") and talking like Daniel Plainview for about...well pretty much the whole year, probably. Some friends of mine who saw this did not really care for it and, as a result, I began to recognize that I may have been tricked into thinking it more intelligent than it is simply because of how vague a lot of it is. The dialogue is sparse and characters almost never spell out for you what exactly they're thinking or what their motivations are. However, upon watching it again, I've decided I don't think it really is all that vague. I mean, it is quite minimalistic in its storytelling, but it's not hard to get out of it what it is offering, which is, in essence, a character study. You're given everything you need to understand the basic concepts of Daniel Plainview and Eli Sunday; that you're not given much is, I think, a sign of good filmmaking.

It's not a perfect movie by any means, but it's definitely one of the only ones I had conversations with people about quite some time after I'd watched it.

2. Best TV Show - Xavier: Renegade Angel

The gents behind Wonder Showzen have moved on to this awesome gem of a program on Adult Swim. I'm not a big fan of Adult Swim anymore, but there are a few great things nestled in-between all the deliberately badly drawn crap and jokes that aren't jokes, but you're gonna laugh at them anyway because that's what we've established Adult Swim as so you just take it, take it all.

Just like Wonder Showzen, this show features disturbing and offensive content, blatanly stupid double entendres, and ridiculous wordplay. Also like Wonder Showzen is that there's a severe amount of inane humor. However, once you get through an episode, you'll find it was strangely coherent with bits at the end referencing bits from the beginning and an overall plot thread with something at least vaguely resembling resolution (or, more accurately, dissolution).

Also just like Wonder Showzen is that I'm pretty positive this is a polarizing show; you'll either love it like it's your new momma or you'll loathe it with a passion. Obviously I'm in the former camp and I think this show is even better than these guys' previous effort. I enjoy how it follows much more of a narrative than Wonder Showzen did (even containing a plot element about Xavier killing his own parents that runs through the whole series) and that, with so many other Adult Swim shows not even being able to fill their measly ten minutes with jokes by often relying on lengthy awkward pauses, this show features, almost literally, constant dialogue. Seriously, so much happens and is said within the course of one episode that it probably contains as much content as your average half-hour production. Plus, this (added to many other aspects) gives the show a bizarre style all its own, as it it's essentially a barrage on the senses, barely allowing you time to assess the pun you just heard before the next one comes.

Runner-Up: Pushing Daisies

Preeetttty awesome. So, of course, it's been cancelled. More about that later! Ooh, you can't wait!

3. Best Album - Mindless Self Indulgence - If

Before my real copy of the CD arrived, I had already listened to this album multiple times just by finding all the songs seperately all over YouTube and making a playlist. That's how much I loved it. If you don't have the same love, you mustn't have the kind of head problems I do. Here's the review I wrote of it anyway.

Runner-Up: Destruction Island - Preaches the New Wilderness

You haven't even heard of this band, have you? They sound nothing like Mindless Self Indulgence so go to their MySpace page if you want to hear a good rock band that for some reason doesn't seem to have been hugely recognized as such outside of the state of Washington as of yet.

4. Best Thing Ever: The Time that An Article from this Website By Lauren Made Some Ladies Try to Rob a Bank

Easily the best thing to happen all year, an article about how to commit armed robbery that Lauren wrote back when the Internet was in its gestation period was actually used by three women as a legitimate guide in their attempt to rob a Dollar Tree, resulting, unsurprisingly, in their subsequent arrests. This is brilliant on multiple (or at least two) levels: aside from how retarded the whole thing is in the first place, Gringo noted how awesome it is that a guy named LAUREN inspired three WOMEN to commit a crime. Maybe they thought, as a fellow girlfriend, he was on their side. WRONG AGAIN, DOLLAR TREE MISFITS!!!

Runner-Up: Yay Britney!

Britney Spears finally trimmed down, toned up, and, uh, lessened the crazy. I used to claim that I had no interest in Britney's career, only that she go back to making videos where she didn't wear much and, with her comeback "Womanizer," she has delivered in droves. However, I've realized that I'm not so hateful and jaded that I don't actually want to see Britney do okay. She's just a not-all-that-intelligent girl from the south who was thrust into stardom long before she was even developed as a person. I'd venture to say I sort of think she should just be laying low at this point. I'm not positive that the best move right now is to drop her right back into the very lifestyle that put her in the crazy zone (different from the zone she discussed in "Me Against the Music") in the first place.

Anyway, the bottom line is I saw a video of a performance of one of her new songs and right at the end before she remembered that she's supposed to smile, there was this intense look of worry on Britney's face as though she was hoping everybody liked it. It's this sort of thing that makes it impossible for me to have any malice towards the 'Ney, as I'm going to start trying to get people to call her.

5. Best Political Event: President that is Less Dumb, Black (More or Less)

I'm not so BLIND to da TRUTH that I think Obama being elected is some sign of massive change in the country. In fact, it can be perceived as an affirmation of the predictability of American society: the way we vote Democrat for awhile and then get tired of having money and things being all in-your-face and abortiony, and then go back to the comfort(?) of the red zone, let them fuck things up for awhile, then go back the other way and do it all over again. Still, that at least some of us were able to recognize problems were big enough that we even let a half-black guy with a scary, scary name into the White House implies to me that we aren't as bad as I thought. Also, considering that there's no way Barack would've gotten in without the clusterfuck leading up to this election, it's pretty awesome to think of the culmination of George W. Bush's presidency as getting a black guy elected.

Runner-Up: Throw Shoe at Head

I can't think of a better way to end W's eight year term than this. The funny thing too is that Bush was being thoroughly ignored by the media once all the election hype started up and it took an act of attempted-violence-by-shoe-toss for people to give a damn once again. I challenge anyone up to the task to throw poop at him next.

THE WORST

1. Worst Movie - Synechdoche, New York

Whatta piece 'a shit. Exhausting in how boring it is, I think this movie transcends the realm of just being annoying to actually causing physical harm. Here's a review I done!!!

Runners-Up: The Darjeeling Limited, RocknRolla, Juno

The Darjeeling Limited was terrible and had a vibe like it knew it was going to do well regardless of how stupid it was. RocknRolla was a shitty version of the entertaining movies Guy Ritchie used to do that had the chutzpa to end by telling you it was going to have a sequel of some sort. Plus, checking on IMDB, I see that the title's actually supposed to be written all as one word, which makes me hate it more. I hate Juno enough to give it its own category further down so let's not discuss it just now, Sweets.

2. Worst TV Show Thing that Happened - Pushing Daises Cancelled

I was already a fan of Bryan Fuller's Wonderfalls (Dead Like Me, not so much) so this is, as expected, pretty good and reminiscient of his other productions. This was a fun show and I think I might've even preferred it to Wonderfalls, but I've not really seen much of it to say for sure. Of course, it's cosmically impossible for this man to create a show that lives beyond two seasons, so it got cancelled. There's rumors of a movie already circulating, but you can never really count on that kind of nonsense. Now where else am I gonna get my fix of overly complicated plot devices about touching dead people and then touching them again within a short period of time or not touching them again sometimes and having every female character wear clothes that ensure you do not go a second without having some cleavage up in your grillpiece? HUH?? WHERE?!?

3. Worst Album - Weezer (DA RED ONE)

OK, so probably there are worse albums out there that I'm unlikely to know about because I don't buy R&B or country records. However, I feel I can, to a degree, stand by my decision here (although I know you will all totally try to refute me enmasse) because Weezer used to be a really, really good band. Thusly, everything they've released following Pinkerton has served to kick, piss, and vomit on the corpse of what the band once was. You betta bet there a review, honeychile!!!

Runner-Up: If Soulja Boy Even Made an Album, That Album

I don't even know if that Soulja Boy fellow actually produced an album or if he just coasted on the success of his befuddingly MASSIVE hit, "Crank Dat." I feel like this is one of those social phenomenons I'll never truly understand. The song is a series of notes that sound Casio-produced that, put together, barely even function as a tune plus a bunch of yelling and one of the laziest attempts at rapping I've heard in recent memory. Regardless, somehow this thing absolutely exploded, not just in the US, but, seemingly, all over the world. The problem is that I don't even hate it anymore. Perhaps a clue to how it appears to have caught on with everybody, I spent so much time hating it and being confused by why it was so popular that I began to find the song's awful ridiculousness entertaining. My friends and I even began quoting the opening line, which is, by the way, "Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww, YOUUUUUUU!!!!!!!"

I also must mention this event I witnessed in a pub in which the song came on and two white kids started doing the Soulja Boy dance. Not paying attention to their surroundings, they careened right into a sedentary black gentleman, who appeared particularly annoyed. I can't really totally hate something that gave me such a perfect personification of how any time white people get their mitts on a bit of black culture, they ruin it and make it lame and irritating to the culture that produced it in the first place.

4. Most Overrated Film - Juno Obviously

I hate Juno and I think it is, at the very least, an example of pisspoor screenwriting. However, I have to admit that my violent hatred of the film is largely a direct reaction to its runaway success (not to mention that it actually WON the Oscar for Best Screenplay, which I imagine is a slap in the dick to real screenwriters). The fact is that I had a much worse time at Synechdoche, New York, even though that film clearly had a lot more thought and effort put into the composition of its script. So, yeah, I'll just give Juno its own category like this. That'll teach it. Here's my whale-penis sized review and also Gringo's for which I will not make a penis analogy, but will just say it's a lot shorter.

Runner-Up: Slumdog Millionaire

This in no way stacks up to injustices commited by that which is known as Juno, but the response to this film has been pretty obscene in its gushing. It's a solid film and I don't think there's much about it that I would deem specifically wrong. I just think I'm a cynical fucker that can't help but chalk up a lot of the movie's success to our current economic climate and I assume a lot of people are loving this film largely because it's about a kid from the slums getting the chance to win a lot of money. If I didn't have a heart of stone + anger, I imagine I would join in their enthusiasm, but I do so I don't.

5. Worst Political Event: Economy is No


A real picture of the economy

As an upper-middle class white boy, I'm not in a position to be that upset about this, but I do like money the way many of us do and I was in the UK for the majority of this year so our garbage exchange rate wasn't doing me any favors. Plus, when I got back here I found out it costs over a buck for a candy bar at 7-11. Are you shitting me? This is an outrage. I sincerely hope the new president does everything in his power to turn my outrage into Nutrageous for less than a dollar as soon as possible.

The one good thing is that bad economy usually equals good movies, like the first Deathwish and The Warriors. I've yet to see much evidence of this, however (The Dark Knight was fine, okay?), so, if things keep plummeting in the new year, cut us some slack and at least make some decent films.

Runner-Up: Sarah Palin...Doing Anything

Honestly, she was pretty fun to watch, she made more certain John McCain's loss, and that time she stood there while a man beheaded turkeys in the near-distance was incredible. Regardless, I only want this joke to go so far and that a legimitate threat of her running for president in 2012 exists means that her overall presence is to be chagrinned, not celebrated.

BYE BYE!


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