• 2008: THAT JUST HAPPENED

January 7, 2009 § 2 Comments

We said goodbye to McNulty & Co this year, more on that deeper in this end of year piece.

We said goodbye to McNulty & Co this year, here's an image from one of their sets.

Before I decided to come back to the keyboard to clean this shitstorm of mental cobweb-ery out, I brought out a nice bottle of wine … and this clip. Bissinger vs. Leitch. Watch to get yourself in the mood to rip the old dead world apart.

picture-6

Throw on that Johnson&Jonson record to bring me back down, and here we are:

There’s a vibe going around right now, this whole big FUCK 08 thing. Sure we lost our economy down a drain more gutter than Amy Winehouse’s breath, but this was a brilliant year if you can look past that, which you might have to, in order to sleep at night. I got to meet people who create stuff I love, and they were all awesome. Hendrik Hertzberg, Matt Taibbi, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Elizabeth Moss, Common, Nas (who gave daps to everyone on the line, including yours truly), Jeremy Piven (briefly, as he had to get back into his SUV to his Nordic looking model girlfriend who must have been treating him for the Mercury Poisoning), and I think I’ve seen Jack McBrayer (30 Rock’s Kenneth The Page) enough on the subways for him to think I’m stalking him.

Oh yeah, and The Giants Won The Superbowl, Crushing Tom Brady & Bill Bellicheat, Ending Their Perfect Season.

Start off where the year jumped off at, the #1 Movie of 2008, pronounced by yours truly Mr. With A Passion:

2008’s Top Ten Movies

1. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days is a movie you probably didn’t see and that’s because it had zero push behind it. The release felt confined to the pitiful location of The IFC Center, which still feels somewhat irrelevant for it’s nabe. 4 Months is the Romanian mindfuck about the odds against anyone in late 80’s Romania who wanted abortion, specifically two college students. The film is as well shot as anything made all year and on a shoestring budget, Cristian Mungiu, the film’s writer and director has produced a time vault level item for a year where the GOP restoked the fires of the pro life culture war army thanks to the fact that Wasillans are as dumb as pissed on dirt. 

2. The Dark Knight transcended both the crime and superhero genres, thanks to a stellar cast, most of whom have not received the kudos they deserve, yet that’s still appropriate given the shadow that Heath Ledger’s death, a colossal kick in the jaw to millions, still casts over the first superhero film to possibly reasonably merit, nay demand, an Academy Award (but, fuck, Paul Haggis has a fucking Oscar, so how valuable are they really?). A.O. Scott might have only done this to get someone to carve a smile into his face (I know a pint size powerhouse who will wreak havoc upon voters if this whole Tom Cruise for Supporting Actor in The Five Minutes of Tropic Thunder He Was In Where He Played The All Too Easy Role Of A Fat White Guy Dancing To Rap, and Scott, she’ll find you, too). Eckhart’s Harvey “Two Face” Dent is another villain portrayal that unquestionably made it’s case to be the definition of a decades old character. The older class comes out of this movie even better, as Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Cane all bring their A Game to the franchise, providing a real base for the film, one where characters sometimes get left in the trail to fight scenes, gadgets, and the zigs and zags of a finely tapered plot (not that TDK doesn’t have those three in spades, which it does).

3. Waltz With Bashir snuck in under the wire, on 12/26/08 in limited release. Think Waking Life‘s aesthetic yet less douchey in every regard including characters, the perspective of Full Metal Jacket, but the damn thing is a documentary about The First Lebanon War. The 26 dogs will haunt you as they haunted me, as this is one movie you cannot miss in theaters. It’s probably still over at Cinema Village or something, but you must go out and find it. The power of the images produced deserves more than your tv set, this is not for Netflix, this is why we go to the cinema, to be fucked with by way of our minds expanded.

4. Let The Right One In, is the proof that the Swedes work on levels we can’t even touch. From all the sources I’ve got, it seems that while Twilight is a capable half decent movie, it’s based on a book series of the same quality of Goosebumps. Let The Right One In, on the other hand, is based on a novel, which was adapted for the screen by the actual author of the novel. The result is a brutal depiction of elementary school bullying, and one of the finale fights felt like some sci fi fantasy take on Columbine, and where the blood gets the most perverse laugh out of the audience you will find all year.

5. A Girl Cut in Two, the latest Chabrol film is a great love triangle film, a phrase I don’t find myself saying that often, or ever, really. François Berléand is the kind of actor whose face you’ve known for decades, yet never connected to a name. Here, he plays a renowned author who’s latest fancy is weather girl Gabrielle, played pitch-perfect by Ludivine Sagnier. But their romance isn’t anything to write home about until the nefarious Paul Gardens, a bougie douche who could go toe to toe with the Chuck Bass’s of the world any day, who treats Gabrielle like she’s his birthright. This triangle does not end well, not that they ever do.

6. Wall•E, was possibly the most beloved animated movie since Toy Story, yet this time the adults were more in love with the story than the kids were. This has a lot to do with the film’s (more) mature (than usual) subject matter: We’ve Fucked The Planet Royally & Spend Most Of Our Time As Sedentary Snoozing Schmucks. It was good, but really didn’t grab me as much as the top 5 did.

7. Milk was a great movie. Everything worked, except for the unlikeable character Diego Luna played which felt too close to stereotype. I wonder, though, that if this movie came out at a different time, would it have had the same impact without the election and the passing of prop hate?

8. Frost/Nixon brought Ron Howard to an all too prescient topic and accomplished everything it had to while avoiding the SNL Skit vibe that Oliver Stone’s W. suffered from. Why Mickey Rourke had to make his comeback in the year Frank Langella made an amazingly deserving Oscar performance we won’t know.

9. Synecdoche, New York is for all intensive purposes (Thanks Tavit!) intents and purposes, Charlie Kaufman’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. A film so enamored with itself that the cartoons on tv, which barely have any purpose, point, or use, are also made by the filmmaker. I think it’s good Kaufman got this out of his system so he can move on to make less frustratingly dense films. The last half hour is a bulldozer of mindfuckery that grated all nerves.

10. The Wrestler. I used to watch pro wrestling, and for anyone in a similar predicament, Arronofsky’s small film about the horrors that wrestling inflicts on the human body this is a tough film to watch. Hell, it’s a tough film for anyone to watch, but it wouldn’t have fallen to the 10-er if the Marisa Tomei character had more going for herself plot wise. But I guess that’s why they called it The Wrestler and not The Stripper Who Has An Oscar. Rourke’s performance was so brilliant that he’ll have his own soon enough.

Honorable Mentions: Che, for making 4.5 hours not seem that long; Transporter 3, the best pure action movie I’ve seen in a while; Vicky Cristina Barcelona for giving Woody Allen a reason to give us all a reason to ogle Scarlet and Penelope some more; and Rachel Getting Married, for having Tunde Adebimpe of TVOTR singing at a wedding.

The rest of this closing the books on a year below

2008 was also a year music was released, and Auto-Tune made you wish it hadn’t been.

Top 10 Records/Moments Of The Year:

1. TV On The Radio’s Dear Science as well as their 3rd night at The Brooklyn Masonic Temple. Antibalas, their brass section, was so the icing on a cake that might not have even needed anything beyond the base, but took the night to that proverbial next level. “Love Dog” off of DS has to be one of my songs of the year. I know every blogger is wacking to that Put A Ring On It nonsense, but I like my music weird and not to be the shit I’m gonna hear on the ringtone three desks away, as I’ve heard the Numa Numa sample and the three seconds after it from “Live Your Life” every day for a month or few now. “Love Dog” is just killer. You find a song every now and then that you can trick yourself into thinking is speaking to you. This is that song for me.

2. Nas, a record that would have been called something else if record sales weren’t the worry of everybody. If only Nas had “My President” on his record instead of “Black President” this would have been the album of the year and had the anthem of the year, and not just have been a great Nas album supported by some of the best videos of the year, the first of which for a song that didn’t make the album, all Blue Magic and shit.

– Be A Nigger Too

– Sly Fox

3. Killer Mike’s I Pledge Allegiance To The Grind 2 & This Video of Killer Kill at Fat Beats talking about how to open an album.

It was a weird year for rap. T.I. sampled the Numa Numa song. Kanye was singing. Bun B spent the whole year with Pimp C on his mind. Mike, though, made the non-Batman sequel of the year.

4. Hot Chip’s Made In The Dark, was the record that was released too early to do any damage on most lists, but it still kicks some ass around in my book.

5. Sigur Rós’ Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust & their stint at the United Palace Theater. Great show, beautiful album, I wish I had more of a take-away than I hate seating based concerts where people arrive late and block the fucking view.

6 Q-Tip’s The Renaissance: in a city where dressing like it’s still the 80’s and rap finally merged on Houston St., the music didn’t match up all that well with groups like The Cool Kids who seemed more about Pharrell kinda beats than they seemed about the old school hip hop. Leave it to Jonathan Davis, (yes, the guy from Korn shares his name with Q-Tip) to bring the love of the craft back. “Move” is actually two songs in one, with “Renaissance Rap” coming in near the end of the track, which is like saying after you’re done with a Papaya King dog, here’s another one for ya for free.

7. Scarface dropped Emeritus in December, and it got no coverage and no promo and that’s not entirely unusual, but I get why he wants to drop the rap game when it’s disrespecting him so much.

8 The Raconteurs released Consolers Of The Lonely all Radiohead-like and release an album with not much commotion or promotion and … they were ignored for it. Unfortunate, as it’s a damn fun record.

9. Madlib releases two great records Beat Konducta Vol. 5: Dil Cosby Suite, and WLIB AM: King Of The Wigflip.

10. Brown Bag AllStars on the rise. I was lucky enough to see the crew from Fat Beats at the Fire Your Boss shows, their self titled mixtape is awesome, and the blog is a great way to keep track of them as they’re on their come up. I know them cause I went to college with Soul Khan, who is consistently obliterating fools in rap battles.

The List for 2008 in TV

1. The Election. Spoiler Alert: Obama Wins, as does Rachel Maddow.

2. The Wire. Check this out: Photos from an abandoned The Wire soundstage. Amazing.

3. Lost. Possibly the best year since the first. Everyone talks about “The Constant” but honestly, that ending really ripped everyone else in terms of setting the bar.

4. Mad Men. Their season finale is second only to Lost’s.

5. 30 Rock.

6. Daily Show/Colbert.

7. House.

8. How I Met Your Mother. Perfect resolution to the Sarah Chalke plotline.

9. The Office.

10. Craig Ferguson.

Hey, here are some links to stuff you should read

http://2or3things.blogspot.com/2009/01/how-to-set-at-table-at-24-its-real-easy.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/04/magazine/04wwln_safire-t.html?partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/04/movies/awardsseason/04oscars.html?partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

Fuck A. O. Scott for pushing the whole Tom Cruise should get an Oscar for being a dick and dancing to rap while wearing a fat suit, and bald cap. Doesn’t he know that’s what Cruise is like at home?

http://youlooknicetoday.com/episode-guide

Listen to the Hodgman episode, but note how poorly the side column renders on their site.

http://www.92y.org/shop/event_detail.asp?productid=T-LC5HP01&ev_ad=Huffington_Arianna&xad=Huffington_Arianna

Rick “The Dick” Warren

Warren is some tremendous kind of asshole. The video below exposes some lying of his regarding what in fact he’s compared to homosexuality. Spoiler Alert: Pedophilia & Incest!

This is the last part of the piece that I’m writing, because I don’t want to fuck it up, I’ve kept this rant in for a while to stew and such. First of all, regarding Warren’s so-called great works in Africa on AIDS, Max Blumenthal over at The Daily Beast, writes about how Warren’s still on that Abstinence-Only Bullshit. What I first wondered when I came across the Warren pick was “Why?!??!!” Obama was forced to go to that damn public job interview at Saddleback where he didn’t seem comfortable at all, but maybe that was because of the crowd of crazies who were there.

During the primaries, Democrats were concerned with one thing and one thing alone in 2008: winning, and sometimes to win, you need someone who can talk religion without faking it, and we found out Obama was that person. I don’t know if that had anything to do in my decision, but hey, we won. The story that Rev. Wright should have taught us was that Obama is drawn towards the most powerful of the religious types because they have the assets to help him further his causes and his wait for it career.

I wish Obama hadn’t picked Warren. It’s insulting that it did. It’s great political chess, but that’s what some people said about the Sarah Palin pick.

I’m not satisfied with what I’ve said on the subject, it’s lacking to say the least. Others have said much wiser things about the Warren b.s., so here are their articles:

EVERYTHING I HAVE TO SAY ABOUT RICK WARREN by John Hodgman

Hendrik Hertzberg on Warren

You’re Likable Enough, Gay People by Frank Rich

On Sandler:

So, way back in JUNE, I wrote the sole Successfully Commented On post of this blog:

http://withapassion.com/2007/06/26/adam-sandler-is-just-another-republican-douche-bag/

That post continues to get more comments than anything else I post here, which is like saying Punch Drunk Love is the most intelligent Sandler film, yes, you have a point, the competition is as smart as the chef at a Wasilla meth lab.

To be a republican right now, which is to say, being a voting republican right now, voting to try and put Sarah Palin into the White House, is to be the worst of our country. I say this with a heavy conscience as I have more than a few family members who did just that: Voting McCain/Palin 08.

But this wasn’t always the case, voting McCain wasn’t the worst thing you could have done in the voting both. I know everyone’s shocked I’m saying this but just think back to the primaries. With the exception of Ron Paul, McCain was one of the sole voices of reason on the stage for the Republican debates. Rudy Giuliani, now that was a candidate nobody, except for Sandler, and a friend of mine who also lost money, (albeit via gambling and not donating) on Rudy, who as we saw, was not the same Rudy of The Clash’s words, as he could very easily FAIL.

Rudy Giuliani is one of the most slimy despicable bastards of the GOP who isn’t currently in office, which is saying something, still.

Sandler donated $2,100 to the Giuliani ’08 campaign. This made Sandler persona non grata in my book, until I found out he’d been responsible for helping a underseen indie film I won’t name get made.

But this post managed to rile up so many of Rudy’s Stans and so many Rush Limbaugh wannafucks that I had to bring it up again.

What’s been funny to me about the backlash is also one of the great pillars of the internet: people calling people idiots while they forget the entire concept and practice of proper grammar.

Check this, from Dave:

since when is a BA in literature considered an education, all that tells me is that you can jump through hoops like a good little doggie is supposed to. your pretty dumb henry.

Let’s start from the end on this one: “your pretty dumb”. That’s a two-fer, a beyond the arc of fail, so I’ll give you three fail points. No question mark to accompany your “since when,” which isn’t used rhetorically, 2 pt. clunker off the backboard. An inability to understand that a BA in lit. is an education, sadly due to the % of people without even a college degree in this country which in turn puts more value into degrees from 4yr. Lib. Arts Colleges, that’s debatable, so I’ll treat that like a free throw: 1 point. But the real problem with this comment is that you need to make yourself seem smarter using periods while seeming edgy by not using capital letters to start your sentences. Another three, clocking you, “dave,” in with 9 points, a disturbingly efficient drubbing by the fail system on your lurker ass.

I chose Dave’s post because it’s the smallest and requires the least amount of effort to shoot down, and for the most part, I answered early comments when they were posted.

So for the record, my stances:

1. Adam Sandler is okay. If I were a critic of his, averaging what he’s done with film, tv, comedy, music, and reality, I’d give him a D-. A 61. This is alarmingly high when looking at his support of Rudy, his last three films, particularly the *christmas stinker he has on the way.

2. Rudy Giuliani is stupid in life and in politics, and if I were Sandler, I’d ask for my money back as the Florida gambit was Trig-level ‘tarded.

3. There are some good people who are republicans. They’re usually older and did not come of age in the televangelist Dubya era where being Republican mostly meant hypocrisy on homosexuality, supporting and voting for the worst president anyone I know survived, and crucifying Bill Clinton because he lied about getting a blowjay. I’m not saying all older republicans are good people. There’s Rick Warren who should be kicked in the balls every morning when he gets out of bed. There’s Joe “Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing” Lieberman whose chairmanships really need the Lassie treatment (behind the back of the house with a shotty) right now. But people who identify themselves as life long Republicans are not all bad. They’re “different.” I have some a couple of them as friends. I have some as family.

*No caps, I’m in on this war on christmas. No more caps for christmas.

I have too many magazines. This is not the way it’s set up anymore.

magazine-triptych
One Mr. Stephen King.
King (who I’ve previously despised solely for his bland writing for Entertainment Weekly coupled with his fandom, and the on screen coverage of his fandom, of the Boston Red Sox) finally stepped into the territory known as Bizarre Creepy Old Man-ville with this nugget of shit he got EW to publish:

But can I really explain why I love ”I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry and would be delighted never to hear Taylor Swift’s ”You’re Not Sorry” again? No. All I can say is that I find ”the taste of her cherry ChapStick” in ”Girl” entrancingly sexy,

While I’m a fan of the freedom of speech, I think Stephen King has now proven that for him, speech is a priviledge and he has just warranted his to be taken, and then shot into the sun. Possibly, if we can build a big enough rocket (a non tangible freedom and every copy of the issue of that magazine ever published shouldn’t take up much room right?) I’d like to give King his own seat in The Good Ship Old Dude. You’d have thought that Presidential Candidate and beauty paegant obsessee John McCain would have earned the key to Disturbing Geriatric Bastard-opolis for his checking-out-of Gov. Sarah Palin, but no, Stephen King couldn’t leave well enough alone with his column and litany of rapidly cranked out books, he had to make me puke all over the room.

John McCain ogled Sarah Palin as much as anyone else did (in public).

Tom Cruise & Will Smith

We push ourselves over the line all too frequently with our hatred of public figures and almost no public and not political figure has inspired more hate than Mr. Scientologist of the Century himself Tom Cruise, who this past year, it seems to be brought Will Smith in with him to the deplorable cult of scientology, an act worthy of inspiring more hate as it’s now almost ruining the ability to watch old Fresh Prince re-runs (I said Almost, “The Carlton” is still the greatest dance and the greatest reason to turn to Nick at Nite ever). But yes, Mr. Cruise was so hated on that it has now opened the door for his comeback. Not that that door is any way close to the closet door that he and Travolta were trapped behind in that South Park ep., but that door that allows for a second act to his career, because Hollywood loves a comeback and hates making room for new names. The Cruise comeback started with what I will call a colossal fail: his cameo bit role in Tropic Thunder wherein he donned a baldcap, some facial hair, and a fat suit, in order to remind people that those are all still characteristics that are not only hilarious, but ones which he himself is not cursed to retain off camera. Also, he danced to rap music!! Isn’t that hilarious? Funnier than the white guy in The Inside Job who had Kanye West’s “Golddigger” as his ringtone, which we all knew was hilarious because Spike Lee gave us that scene, a self indulgent wink and nod to the audience which broke the fourth wall again, and still sticks out as the most expendable moment in an otherwise recommendable film. Also, can someone get Katie Holmes to snap out of it? She used to carry herself with a zest for life, not the baggage of a fucking Holocaust survivor.

Will Smith has yet to actually come out of the Scientology closet, but his movies seem to be doing that for him, as I’ve heard the last 30 minutes of I AM LEGEND has more pseudo religious bullshit than you can shake a stick at, and the whole premise of Seven Pounds is bullshit and it’s ending will be spoiled in the image below.

seven_organs

The Barack Obama Coin & The Commemorative Plate

Never underestimate the ability of Americans to cheapen something with bullshit you can buy by calling a number you see on TV. Never.

Bill Kristol

The man carries a shitload of responsibility for getting McCain to learn of and lurve Sarah Palin. Continuing my rationale for rarely ever paying for the NYT.

And that was 2008.

There’s something called 2009 in progress. Promise I’ll be more organized.

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§ 2 Responses to • 2008: THAT JUST HAPPENED

  • Tavit says:

    I correct because I love (you)…
    “Synecdoche, New York is for all intensive purposes,”

    it’s actually, “all intents and purposes”

    “The correct phrase is “to all intents and purposes.” This phrase dates back to the 1500s and originated in English law, where it was “to all intents, constructions, and purposes.” In modern usage, “for all intents and purposes” is also acceptable.” –
    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Is_the_saying_%27all_intents_and_purposes%27_or_%27all_intense_purposes%27

    great blog Henry, keep up the good work…

  • Henry says:

    Thanks for the correx Tavit, I’m stuck again in n+, on the level where it’s kind of a spiral where you’re going from the outside in, and start off near 18 gold pieces with mines placed between and around them. That’s one hard effing level, man.

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