Sunday, December 31, 2017

Pop Candy Arcade: The Songs of 2017, Pt. 3 (100-150)

And, at last, the final chunk of the alphabet. Tell me what you loved this year, link to your own lists, let me know if you've found something here you're surprised you like. And again: happy New Year!

The Spotify playlist is at the tail-end of this entry. Click through and scroll on down. 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Pop Candy Arcade: The Songs of 2017, Pt. 2 (51-100)

And now for Round 2 in the long haul...

Pop Candy Arcade: The Songs of 2017, Pt. 1 (1-50)

Let's do this as quickly as possible, shall we? The annual mixtape is longer than ever. I keep inflating the numbers, and it seems crazy that it ever started with something as contained as a 50 track limitation. Over the years, we've moved from 50 to 100 to 125 to now, well, a 150. Believe me when I tell you that there's a discard playlist with 219 unused tracks on it. Believe me when I tell you that there are so many beloved tracks that wound up outmatched by songs on the same album. Lorde's "Green Light" (a song I like quite a lot) isn't the representative for Melodrama, for example, or "All Things Pass" didn't make the cut from the Jesus and Mary Chain's Damage and Joy, or I swapped song after song from Taylor Swift's Reputation until deciding that I just don't like a single track enough to include on the list at all (even as it's an album I've enjoyed, critics be damned). 

Instead, I'm trying to create a capsule of 2017 sounds that's true - at the end of the day - both to what I wind up listening to the most (there's a lot of work-playlist electronic on here) and to a cataloging of larger sonic trends. The list has inflated in part because it's what would be spread - on sites with real staff or for magazines - across multiple genre lists.

Here's the lot: in alphabetical order and for your binge consumption. The Spotify embed will be at the end of all the lists, and due to the size: the commentary will truly be minimal. Happy New Year.

The Spotify playlist will be posted at the conclusion of the list.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Better Late Than Never pt. 2: Top 25 of 2016

Here's another late list! This one is an alphabetized Top 25 of 2016, with absolutely no commentary for the moment. Pure list, no notes, make of it what you will. Hoping to come back to this and isolate the Top 5 for some explanation. Unlike 2015, 2016 wound up being a surprisingly solid year at the movies, and there are so many good, unusual little gems here that it's hard to believe it came down to a mixed bag like La La Land (which, I should note, almost didn't make the Top 25). More soon!

1. American Honey

2. Arrival

3. A Bigger Splash

4. Cosmos

5. Elle

6. The Fits

7. Hail, Caesar!

8. The Handmaiden

9. Hunt for the Wilderpeople

10. Jackie

11. Kubo and the Two Strings

12. La La Land

13. Lemonade

14. Little Sister

15. The Lobster

16. Love & Friendship

17. The Love Witch

18. Manchester by the Sea

19. Moana

20. Moonlight

21. The Neon Demon

22. Toni Erdmann

23. 20th Century Women

24. The Witch: A New England Folktale

25. Zootopia

Honorable Mentions: 
Things to Come, Evolution, Paterson, Aquarius, The Nice Guys, Edge of Seventeen

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Better Late Than Never: Top 20 of 2015

Why do this now? A couple reasons. The first is that I've had way too many friends and family members tell me lately that they relied on this blog as a way to keep up with movies. The second is that I tried to to refer back to my own list of favorite films of past years and realized, well, my own archive was incomplete.

So, on this rainy August morning in 2017, we're catching up in the simplest way possible: making good on end of the year wrap-up lists that were never posted, but with some of the excess fat trimmed and replaces. I never finished the full 2015 list last year, so here's one with titles only and with the films reconsidered to include what's survived in the months since. These are the films that wound up making the biggest impressions, including some that likely wouldn't have made it the first time around. End thoughts: 2015 really wasn't the best film year, which is perhaps part of why my enthusiasm for a wrap-up waned when it came time to assemble this in early 2016. What has remained, though, is largely a mix of art house and off-kilter genre films. Many of these are flawed films, but all, at least, are flawed in ways that have proven to make for engaging conversation and worthy revisits.

1. Mad Max: Fury Road: An instant classic, a stellar example of what's possible with the genre.

 2. The Duke of Burgundy: A psychological study of obsession disguised as a dreamily atmospheric throwback to 70s European erotic art house.

3. 45 Years: A haunting, beautifully realized glimpse at a marriage.

4. Ex Machina: A sci fi meditation on what it means to be human, uneasy and beautiful.

5. Youth: At times too contrived and pretentious, at times too saccharine, at times too try-hard. And yet, so gorgeous to look at it somehow proves brilliantly affective.

6. Inside Out: Does this need any more explanation?

7. It Follows: Do we really need a horror film to be logical to be successful? This film suggests no.

8. Spotlight: Again, you know. While there's nothing interesting about how this is shot, it gets the job done with almost documentary-like precision.

9. Tangerine: Wild, broken, filmmaking that's thoroughly alive.

10. Carol: A Todd Haynes dollhouse.

11. World of Tomorrow

12.  Star Wars: The Force Awakens

 13. Clouds of Sils Maria

14. Girlhood


16. The Revenant

17. Mistress America: A walking, talking portrait of an unlikable, charismatic character.

18. What We Do In the Shadows: One of the best comedies in recent memory, certainly the best mockumentary.

19. Creed

20. Goodnight Mommy: Dread, dread, and creepy kids.

Honorable Mentions: The Martian, Diary of a Teenage Girl, Queen of Earth

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