telling minor stories to avoid a major one

Lists! 2009: Favorite Movies by Barbecue Bros
January 20, 2010, 4:14 pm
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1. Inglourious Basterds (dir. by Quentin Tarantino) – An amazingly well written and acted film (Christolph Waltz especially). Now one of my favorite Tarantino movies.

2. Fantastic Mr. Fox (dir. by Wes Anderson) – Yea, I’m a sucker for Wes Anderson but I loved the old school stop-motion puppets that fit perfectly with Wes Anderson’s dialog. The details of the sets and the puppet clothing are part of what makes this movie.

3. District 9 (dir. by Neill Blomkamp) – Definitely one of the most original science fiction movies I”ve seen in the past five years. I can’t say enough about this movie.

4. The Road (dir. by John Hillcoat) – This film played out just about how I imagined it in my head while reading the book earlier this year. The genuine moments of dread I experienced while reading the book were realized perfectly in the movie.

5. Up in the Air (dir. by Jason Reitman) – Great performances by the three leads, and a nicely made movie by Jason Reitman, who is really growing as a filmmaker with each film .

6. Avatar (dir. by James Cameron) – I was so glad I saw this movie in IMAX 3D as opposed to regular 3D or *gasp* non-3D. Technically brilliant and visually amazing most of the time, though there is some groan-worthy dialog and performances.

7. Adventureland (dir. by Greg Mottola) – A touching coming of age story about a boy trying to find his way working a nowhere job the summer after graduating from college. Directed by Greg Mottola, with a surprisingly nuanced performance by Kristen Stewart.

8. The Hangover (dir. by Todd Philips) – Hilarious and extremely re-watchable, especially with friends and beer.

9. Star Trek (dir. by JJ Abrams) – JJ Abrams makes another smart blockbuster.

10. Zombieland (dir. by Ruben Fleischer) – A great humorous take on the zombie movie, a la Shaun of the Dead (an apparent influence on this movie). Jesse Eisenberg had a nice year between this and Adventureland.

11. Gomorra
12. Observe and Report
13. The Informant!
14. The Girlfriend Experience
15. Funny People
16. Tyson
17. Anvil: The Story of Anvil
18. Public Enemies
19. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
20. Food, Inc

21. (500) Days of Summer
22. The Brothers Bloom
23. Extract
24. I Love You, Man
25. Away We Go

Lists! 2009: Books I Read by Barbecue Bros
January 13, 2010, 2:12 pm
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Just more housekeeping. Oddly, I began and finished the year with Chuck Klosterman books.

1. Downtown Owl by Chuck Klosterman
2. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
3. How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization by Franklin Foer
4. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
5. Love Monkey by Kyle Smith
6. Driving Mr. Albert: A Trip Across America With Einstein’s Brain
7. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
8. The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation by  Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon
9. Naked by David Sedaris
10. Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby
11. City of Thieves by David Benioff
12. The One That Got Away by Howell Raines
13. I Am America (And So Can You) by Stephen Colbert
14. Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman

Programming Note No. 2: Lists! 2009 by Barbecue Bros
January 12, 2010, 2:44 pm
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Still waiting to see Avatar this weekend before I compile my list of favorite films from 2009. Then, I will post my favorite films and albums from the 00’s before resuming normal programming.

Lists! 2009: Favorite Video Games (Updated 2/5/10) by Barbecue Bros
January 8, 2010, 6:10 pm
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All games were for Xbox 360

UPDATE: I forgot about Shadow Complex, the sidescrolling “metrovania” title that was released this past summer on Xbox Live Arcade. It may be the only game I have played through twice to date. In any case, I would honestly rate it as the second best game of the year (yes, ahead of MW2). It’s that good.

1. Batman Arkham Asylum – As good of a comic book-based video game as I’ve ever played combining stealth, rpg elements, bash-em ups, and collecting. As has been noted many times before by other people, Arkham Asylum was this year’s Rapture.

2. Modern Warfare 2The blockbuster game of 2009.

3. FIFA 10 – Instead of resting on its laurels, it just keeps getting better and better.

4. Fallout 3 DLC – The five DLC (downloadable content) packs added between 8-10 hours to my favorite game from last year.

5. Rock Band: Beatles – Haven’t really played it as much as I could have, but c’mon it’s the Beatles.

6.GTA IV: The Lost and the Damned – Still haven’t gotten around to The Ballad of Gay Tony yet, which looks to be a little more whimsical, but The Lost and the Damned was a solid DLC expansion that added about 4-6 more hours to the game.

7. Street Fighter IV
8. Halo 3: ODST
9. Madden 10
10. NBA Live 10

Lists! 2009: Favorite TV by Barbecue Bros
January 6, 2010, 7:09 pm
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1. “Friday Night Lights” (NBC) – The best season yet leads to a gamechanger for Coach Taylor moving to East Dillion High to start up a new football program. Can’t wait until season four starts up in a few weeks.

2. “Lost” (ABC) – Season five came back in a huge way.

3. “Mad Men” (AMC) – Another show with a gamechanger at the end of the season. I always enjoy rewatching the seasons on Blu-ray and can’t wait to do so this March.

4. “Dexter” (Showtime) – I haven’t been too down on the show the past two seasons, but this season came back in a big way with the addition of John Lithgow as Trinity.

5. “Eastbound and Down” (HBO) – A great new comedy from the NC School of the Arts crew of David Gordon Green, Jody Hill, Ben Best and Danny McBride. And I would love to hear the actual audiobook of “You’re Fucking Out, I’m Fucking In.”

6. “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (HBO) – The “Seinfeld” reunion wasn’t quite exactly what I was hoping for, but it was great to see the reunited cast anyways as well as a new CYE” season – the first one in nearly two years.

7. “Party Down” (Starz) – A great little improvisational show from an unlikely network. The second season will no doubt miss Jane Lynch going to “Glee” fulltime, but Megan Mullaly should be an able replacement.

8. “Better Off Ted” (ABC) – Another great show from Victor Fresco, who also created “Andy Richter Controls the Universe.” Seriously clever jokes and some great comedic timing are staples of this show.

9. “Bored to Death” (HBO) – I loved the casting of the show when I first heard of it – Jason Schwartzman, Zach Galifianakis, Ted Danson – but I really bought in when I read that author Jonathan Ames created the show.

10. “Parks and Recreation” (NBC) – A much much stronger second season.

11. “Community” (NBC)
12. “Survivor: Samoa” (CBS)
13. “True Blood” (HBO)
14. “Modern Family” (ABC)
15. The Daily Show/The Colbert Report” (Comedy Central)

Lists! 2009: Favorite Songs by Barbecue Bros
December 31, 2009, 5:54 pm
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My favorite songs of the year, with some of my favorite videos as well. Happy New Year!

1. Animal Collective – “My Girls”

2. Phoenix – “1901”

3. Washed Out – “Feel It All Around”

4. Girls – “Hellhole Ratrace”

5. Grizzly Bear – “While You Wait for the Others”

6. Toro Y Moi – “Blessa”

7. Phoenix – “Lisztomania”

8. Animal Collective – “What Would I Want? Sky”

9. Kid Cudi – “Day N Nite (Crookers Remix)”

10. Grizzly Bear – “Two Weeks”

11. Julian Casablancas – “11th Dimension”

12. Vampire Weekend – “Cousins”

13. Bon Iver – “Woods”

14. The Big Pink – “Dominos”

15. Kid Cudi – “Pursuit of Happiness (ft. MGMT and Ratatat)

16. Passion Pit – “Sleepyhead”

17. Megafaun – “Guns”

18. Major Lazer – “Keep It Going Louder”

19. Here We Go Magic – “Tunnelvision”

20. The Thermals – “Now We Can See”

21. The xx – “Basic Space”

22. The Whitest Boy Alive – “Gravity”

23. The National – “So Far Around the Bend”

24. White Rabbits – “Percussion Gun”

25. Amazing Baby – “Headdress”

26. Raekwon – “The New Wu”

27. Miike Snow – “Silvia”

28. jj – “ecstasy”

29. Cursive – “From the Hips”

30. The Avett Brothers – “Slight Figure of Speech”

31. Yeasayer – “Ambling Alp”

32. Bat for Lashes – “Daniel”

33. St. Vincent – “Marrow”

34. Atlas Sound – “Quick Canal”

35. Neon Indian – “Should’ve Taken Acid With You”

36. The xx – “Crystalised”

37. The Big Pink – “Velvet”

Lists! 2009: Favorite Albums 10-1 by Barbecue Bros
December 30, 2009, 4:18 pm
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10. Future of the Left – Travels With Myself and Another (4AD) – Andy Falkous and company keep the momentum going post-Mclusky.

9. Cymbals Eat Guitars – Why There Are Mountains (Sister’s Den) – This year’s great indie guitar rock album.

8. The Whitest Boy Alive – Rules (Asound-Bubbles) – I always liked this album but it slipped my mind for my 1/2 year list. Not so for my year-end list. A great side project from one of the Kings of Convenience guys.

7. Bat for Lashes – Two Suns (Astralwerks) – A beautiful, out-of-this-world album from Natasha Khan.

6. St. Vincent – Actor (4AD) – What sets this album apart is the fractured Disney instrumentation.

5. Washed Out – Life of Leisure EP (Mexican Summer) – For me, “chillwave” was the sound of the year, and Washed Out along with his buddy Toro Y Moi were the leaders of the pack.

4. The xx – xx (XL) – A complete surprise from the previously unknown trip-hop, dub, and pop influenced trio from England.

3. Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest (Warp) – Probably the prettiest, best sounding album this year.

2. Animal CollectiveMerriweather Post Pavilion (Domino) – I knew that this was going to be a monster of an album ever since I first heard “My Girls” in January of this year. A perfect balance between experimentation and pop.

1. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Glass Note) – Because I love every damn song on this album and want to see Phoenix again as soon as possible.