21 Media Moments in 2007

I usually do a top ten movie list every year, but because my access to new movies is somewhat limited, I decided to follow Michael’s lead and simply do a list of favorite TV shows, movies, web videos, and music from 2007, in no particular order. Like him, I found that many of my “faves” appeared in the fall and winter, but I’m not sure that a short memory is my “excuse,” because I combed through last year’s blog archives for some time in planning this entry. I think I was just extraordinarily busy last spring.

  1. The YouTube clip has already been removed, but like Tama, I loved The Simpsons’ parody of the viral hit, “Noah takes a photo of himself every day for 6 years.” I rarely watch The Simpsons anymore, but this was one of my few “whoa!” moments during the fall television season.
  2. I continued to enjoy The Colbert Report on a daily basis before the strike and remain convinced that the political discourse has declined considerably since the writers for The Daily Show and The Colbert Report went on strike. We need these shows to call “bullshit” on the campaigns whenever possible. At least we still have Olbermann (another fave and semi-daily watch). Nice to see that Colbert won the AP Celeb of the Year.
  3. If only because of the conversations it provoked about “Web 2.0,” Michael Wesch’s “The Machine is Us/ing Us.”
  4. I continue to be impressed by the WGA strike videos, including “The Office is Closed,” a personal fave. They demonstrate a liveliness and creativity that continually reminds me of why I watch. Which reminds me: I finally caught the episode in which Michael organizes a 5K to raise awareness for rabies. Great stuff.
  5. Regular readers will know that I’ve become far more attentive to web video this year than in the past. Part of that is determined by limited access to indie movies, of course, but quite often web videos have either been utterly infectious or have reminded me of why I love certain TV shows or movies. Seven Minute Sopranos did both.
  6. Speaking of The Sopranos, I still love the way they ended it.
  7. It’s easy to forget how controversial “Vote Different” was when it first launched, now that dozens of other citizen-generated videos have followed, but when I first saw Phil De Vellis’s video back in March, I was immediately convinced that something new was happening (and it wasn’t the end of Hillary’s campaign, as de Vellis might have hoped).
  8. The entire weekend at Durham’s Full Frame Documentary Film Festival deserves special mention here, but among the more memorable and important films I caught there: Radiant City, a fascinating Canadian doc on urban sprawl; three docs by Jem Cohen; The Devil Came on Horseback, about the genocide in Darfur; and Kurt Cobain: About a Son, by A.J. Schnack. My biggest regret? By far, not seeing Helvetica, which I’m still dying to see.
  9. Even if Ifound myself disagreeing with it in places, Amir Bar-Lev’s documentary, My Kid Could Paint That, had me thinking about documentary and authenticity for days.
  10. While I was generally disappointed by the final season of The Gilmore Girls, the final scene of the final episode deserves special mention. GG was consistently a good show, and I miss the great writing and well-developed characters.
  11. One of my favorite moments in web-based cinephilia: the 100 Movies, 100 Quotes, 100 Numbers video. Somehow, at the time, it seemed like just the right response to all of the self-congratulatory Top 100 Movies of All-Time lists, particularly the notoriously cautious (and male) A.F.I. list.
  12. Adrienne Shelley’s Waitress reminded me of just how good indie films can be. And that quirky indies can be OK, too.
  13. And so does the trailer for Juno, which I can’t wait to see (like Michael I love the use of the word “shenanigans”).
  14. It’s probably a 2006 film, according to most classifications, but I didn’t see The Lives of Others until April. And it is, by far, one of the most haunting films in recent memory.
  15. Julie Christie’s performance as someone dealing with Alzheimer’s disease in Away From Her also stuck with me in a major way. Here’s hoping that Sarah Polley chooses to direct more films.
  16. I don’t know if I have a favorite film or moment from the whole Mumblecore movement, but I’m fascinated by the possibilities it represents when it comes to digital distribution. With that in mind, I’ll just point you to my Four Eyed Monsters review, simply because of Arin Crumley and Susan Buice’s use of YouTube as a platform for screening the film.
  17. KEXP Seattle continues to rock my world, whether I’m in Atlanta, Fayetteville, or someplace else altogether. Some favorite bands/CDs in no particular order: Band of Horses, Beirut, Pela, the Live at KEXP Vol 3 CD (especially Cloud Cult’s “Mr. Tambourine Man” cover), Elvis Perkins, and The Thermals (2006, but still). I could go on, but that’s a good start.
  18. My teaching schedule caused me to fall off the Mad Men bandwagon, but holy cow, what a gorgeous show. I’m hoping to get caught up with it before the second season begins.
  19. Maybe my favorite CD of the year, however, is the soundtrack to the movie, Once, coincidentally among my favorite movies of the year. The collaboration between Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova provided some of the most beautiful, heart-wrenching music of the year, much of it about the not-quite-romantic connection between the film’s two major characters, Guy and Girl. Jim Emerson’s complaint about the film’s DVD cover describes much of what I love about the film.
  20. The McLovin scenes in Superbad were a lot of fun, as Michael points out.
  21. And, last but not least, Chris Crocker’s impassioned “Leave Britney Alone” is, without a doubt, one of the most unforgettable videos of 2007. Enough said.

Update: I can’t believe I forgot to mention one of my other favorite CDs of the past year, The Cold War Kids’ Robbers & Cowards (yeah, it was 2006, but I associate it with 2007). I also should at least mention Javier Bardem’s performance in No Country for Old Men. While I didn’t love the film nearly as much as many other people, Bardem’s frighteningly cold performance was striking. I may add a few others here if I think of them.

4 Comments »

  1. Michael Said,

    December 22, 2007 @ 8:41 am

    Thanks for the shout out, Chuck. I was thinking of doing a “least faves” to complement my faves but I decided it wasn’t in the spirit of the season. Looking forward to following your documentary and music recommendations, all of which are things I haven’t seen/heard.

  2. Chuck Said,

    December 22, 2007 @ 10:59 am

    I’m glad you liked the list. I may do a short “least faves” list, but given my limited internet access, I’m not sure I’ll have time.

  3. Jonathan Gray Said,

    December 23, 2007 @ 11:10 pm

    Juno won’t let you down, Chuck. It’s excellent, and always nice to see a comedy whose preview shows you many excellent lines, yet 5 mins in has already offered just as many. What a fantastic performance by Ellen Page, too.

    And great list. I look forward to checking some out

  4. Chuck Said,

    December 24, 2007 @ 11:27 am

    Good news about Juno. I thought about watching it last night (I saw Starting out in the Evening instead), but chose to save it for when I’m in Fayetteville.

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