Best-of Chatfilter: books, music, and movies
December 17, 2003 8:52 PM   Subscribe

I find that I never really relate to year-end "best-of" lists because much of the best movies, music, and books I encounter during the year are older works that I hadn't discovered before. So what are the Top 10 Best Things that you discovered in 2003, that weren't made in 2003?

To get the ball rolling (and to avoid writing my 20-page law school paper) here's mine (in no particular order):

1. David Byrne's "Rei Momo" (CD). I just bought this yesterday and this has to be one of my favorite first-listens ever. I think the first song "Independence Day" and the 8th song "Don't Want To Be Part of Your World" are absolutely brilliant.

2. Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "Love In The Time Of Cholera" (Book). It always seemed uninviting and daunting on the shelf and when I finally forced myself to read it I was completely seduced by its humor and beauty. A truly wonderful book.

3. Alfred Hitchcock's "Notorious" (movie). So I signed up for Netflix this year and began renting movies that I felt I should see at some point in my life. This one I popped in rather grudgingly and how blown-away I was by the end. This movie fizzles and pops with tension, romance, and clever dialogue. The ending on the staircase is seared forever on to my memory.

4. They Might Be Giants "Lincoln" (CD). I discovered this in Amoeba music out in LA. It quickly became my favorite TMBG album. Particular favorites: "Mr. Me," "Purple Toupee" and "Where Your Eyes Don't Go."

5. The Collected Plays of Joe Orton / "Prick Up Your Ears" by John Lahr (Books). I have always enjoyed New Yorker theater critic John Lahr, and I picked up his biography of Joe Orton without really knowing who Joe Orton was. So I also bought a collection of Joe Orton plays and read each play along with the biography. The result was a newfound favorite playwright: Joe Orton's comedy was lightyears ahead of its time. "What The Butler Saw" and "Loot" are both racier, funnier and scarier than anything you might find on TV today.

6. The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook and Barefoot Contessa Parties! (Cookbooks). I have been cooking for two and half years now, and without a doubt these cookbooks contain the most delectable, easy-to-do, totally worthwhile recipes ever. Granted, a typical cupcake contains 80 sticks of butter, but they are so worth it. Mmmm.

7. Burt Bacharach's Box Set (CDs). So on a strange whim, I bought the Burt Bacharach box set. The woman at the register eyed me suspiciously. "Swinger?" her eyes seemed to ask. "Ya, baby," my pelvis answered. But, seriously, these three discs contain an insane amount of great material. Aside from the songs I already knew, I am now constantly singing "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" as well as "Promises, Promises, "Make It Easy On Yourself," "Made In Paris."

8. "The Velveteen Father" by Jesse Green (Book). I discovered Jesse Green when I read a profile he wrote in The New York Times Magazine Section. I so enjoyed his writing that I typed his name on Amazon and came up with this book. This is one of the funniest, sharpest and most profound books on parenting you'll ever want to read. That it involves gay parenting is almost besides the point. I really loved this book and highly recommend it.

9. (tie) "La Strada" by Frederico Fellini and "Sunset Blvd." by Billy Wilder (Movies). Saw the first one at a Fellini festival in LA and really enjoyed it. Saw the second one from Netflix and was totally in awe of it. Neither one was so great as to warrant a single slot, but together they make the list.

10. Patti LuPone. Yes yes, I know, she's a person. And yes, yes, I know, that's a very gay way to end the list. But, God help me, she's my new guiltiest of guilty pleasures. I love her live CD "Live On Broadway" as well as her new (uh oh! Its new!) CD "Matters of the Heart." But the point is, I "discovered" her for the first time this year and now my heart belongs to Patti.
posted by adrober to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
1. Peake's Gormenghast trilogy--truly an original
2. Belgium
3. bingo in bars
4. that having a blog of your own can be fun
5. Myst (the old computer game)
6. Chirpa Chirpa Cheep Cheep (old early 70s top 40 song
7. This Japanese bookstore that has a large English-language 2nd hand selection (mostly for a buck), that no one ever shops in for English-language books
(there are more but it's late)

And I second Love in the Time of Cholera, but that was one of last year's discoveries--such a life-affirming book)
posted by amberglow at 10:03 PM on December 17, 2003


Can't stick to movies, music, or books, so In no particular order:

1. Apple computers.
2. Sonny Criss' Sonny's Dream (music)
3. Being single.
4. Benefits of a quality omlette-sized frying pan.
5. Fresh apricot and persimmon slices mixed with cottage cheese.
6. Lawrence Grobel interviews.
7. Not working full time / writing on a regular schedule thanks to The Art of War.
8. The movies Intimacy and Roger Dodger.
9. Bobby Birdman (music) [mp3s]
10. My local library's web site.
posted by dobbs at 10:44 PM on December 17, 2003


I don't think this is the type of question that AskMeFi was intended for.

Ask MetaFilter is as useful as you make it.

(props to thirteen)
posted by fuzz at 11:10 PM on December 17, 2003


Haitian music. I checked out The Rough Guide To the Music of Haiti from the library and, since then, I've been obsessed.

Unfortunately, it seems downright impossible to find a lot of the bands I really like here in the UK, but I did manage to find a copy of Rhythms & Rapture: The Sacred Music Of Haitian Voodoo and a Boukman Eksperyans CD.

And because I love trashy scifi/fantasy television, the TV shows Dark Angel and Charmed. What can I say? I can sit there, watch the pretty, and be amused.
posted by Katemonkey at 2:47 AM on December 18, 2003


Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin novels.
posted by rjs at 8:44 AM on December 18, 2003


I agree with fuzz. Did you just asked the question so you could answer it?
posted by gottabefunky at 9:22 AM on December 18, 2003


Scotland, PA from 2001. It got verrrry mixed reviews. A lot of people didn't like its deliberate pace or the way it mixed the brooding malevolence of Macbeth with really cheap and obvious (after the fact, of course) gags. I wasn't expecting much. But I absolutely loved it, and laughed harder at some moments than I can remember laughing at any recent movie. It's not a masterpiece, but for a non-great film, it's a really good movie.
posted by soyjoy at 10:01 AM on December 18, 2003


No, I liked reading everyone's answers.
HE LIES...THE PRECIOUS MAKES MASTER WANT TO REVEL IN SELF-INDULGENCE ON THE INTERNET
No, seriously, I care. I do.
posted by adrober at 8:02 PM on December 18, 2003


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