I know, everyone does this, which is why I'm cutting loose this year. Why? Because I'm not any better than any of you. I am not granted by some higher power with better knowledge of what makes "good" culture. I am just blessed with insomnia, Tivo and a laptop. Despite every other "best of" list you see (many of which conflict), critics don't really know more either. They just get to judge because they have seen/read/heard a lot more than the rest of us. So I can give you the best of what I know from 2004. No artsy poser crap...just my honest take.
Best movies I saw
1. Garden State
You read my review
. This was my favorite movie this year. Why did I not say "Maria Full of Grace" or "Sideways"...cause I haven't seent hem. Der.
2. Kill Bill 2
3. Spiderman 2/The Incredibles
Worst Movie: Anchorman
Oh I know, for some reason, it is blasphemy to be under the age of 30 and not like a Will Ferrell movie, but it's true. This movie was terrible. I'm even a journalist and I was disappointed by the utter lack of quality in this"fun" journalism spoof. With a cast that stellar, there's no excuse for the head-shaking awfulness that was this movie. My crew and I almost left halfway through. "Team America" was the comedy of the year. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
1. “Float On” Modest Mouse
Overplayed? Hardly. Overdue, I say. Modest Mouse have been at this a long time and it took a song this catchy, this happy, this drive-worthy to get them on the radio? So be it.
2. “Portland, Oregon” Loretta Lynn and Jack White
3. “American Idiot” by Green Day
4. “Take Me Out” Franz Ferdinand
5. “A Thing Called Love” The Darkness/ “Mr. Brightside” The Killers
Worst: “The Reason” Hoobastank
If I hear this song one more time, I'm going to crash my car into a building.
Best Album of 2004
"Smile" by Brian Wilson
You don't have to even like the Beach Boys to find Wilson's masterpiece fascinating ear candy. Originally conceived as a sort of pro-Sgt. Pepper psychedlic rock opera, Wilson has his infamous meltdown before he could really pull this together. Sporting an all-new and all-incredible "Good Vibrations" and "Heroes and Villians," this album proves, above all else, that Brian Wilson will go down in history as a musical genius, even without the rest of his band.
2. "American Idiot" by Green Day
3. "Van Lear Rose" by Loretta Lynn
4. "With the Lights Out" by Nirvana
5. "Confessions" by Usher
Best of 2004 TV
1. “Chappelle’s Show”
Season 2 of this Comedy Central staple wasn't quoted absolutely everywhere for nothing. It's a pop culture gold mine that, even decades int he future, willl be watched by my generation on DVD and they will all say: "Whaaaaaat?"
“The Daily Show”
This was the year of Jon Stewart, and his show was only a part of it. Not only did "TDS" give the best, most interesting and least biased coverage of Indecision 2004....they made it hilarious. Somehow, in 2004, TDS came out of the drom room and into the spotlight as an almost-legit news show. Jon Stewart's infamous appearance on "Crossfire," of course, was a turning point.
3. “Arrested Development”
4. “Jack and Bobby”
5. “The O.C.”
Worst: Any Fox reality show
Between "My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss" and "Who's Your Daddy?" Fox proved itself not only to be the purveyor of "fair and balanced" news, but also of pure crap. Congrats Rupert Murdoch, you've earned your spot in hell.
Best Books of 2004
"Dress Your Family in Cordouroy and Denim" David Sedaris
Sedaris is the master of the modern short stories, no bones about it. Like his past books and his stints on NPR, Sedaris once again makes us think, makes us tear up a little...and, of course, makes us laugh until we piss ourselves. Don't believe me? Try reading a Sedaris short in a crowded bus station or a quiet restaurant or a library. I guarantee you'll laugh out loud and everyone will hate you for it.
2. "America-The Book" by The Daily Show
3. "I am Charlotte Simmons" Tom Wolfe
Worst: "Everything You Know is Wrong" by a bunch of liberal elitists
This book had potential to be a good read, but it was liberal to the point of ridiculousness. I know the point of it is to make the reader question everything about the government and society...but if I'm going to question something, I need a little more proof than some study from the Rand Institute or a report by some liberal think tank. I'm a journalist and I require more proof than "Cause Norman Mailer said so."