As far as I can remember, this is something I have never done here that you totally think I would have--produced some sort of list of best things of the year. Well, here we go, I've got some Bests for you. Not a whole lot, and not very comprehensive, but it's content nonetheless.
Best Band I Never Listened to Until 2008: The Misfits
Big discovery, the Misfits aren't to be known just for their famous logo--they're also a really, really good band. I would have never guessed! Very good document review music, definitely not the sound I had been expecting. 90% of the credit goes to Glenn Danzig's voice...am I nuts when I say he practically sounds doo-whoppy on most of the songs? When a band has been this popular for so long and so closely associated with so much of the music that I love and I've absolutely been neglecting them my whole life I can't help but wonder who else I've still got to learn about and love. Maybe 2009 will be the year I begin listening to Black Flag? Could be.
Favorite Misfits Songs: The ones that spring to mind--Skulls, Where Eagles Dare (quite possibly the best lyrics to a song since Youngblood by the Headcoats), Teenagers from Mars, Die Die My Darling. Mention one I didn't and I'm sure to agree with you.
Best TV Show I've Been Ignoring until 2008: The Venture Brothers
As of a few months ago I had a rule for Adult Swim, I wouldn't watch any shows on it that were drawn well. This meant a strict boycott of Metalocalypse, a few other shows, and the Venture Brothers. But then they started playing Venture Brothers reruns every night right around the time I'd turn the TV just before bed and I realized I had been living by a very stupid rule.
On its face, the Venture Brothers is supposed to be a spoof of Johnny Quest but what it really is is a totally awesome, totally involving work of semi-genius, but you have to watch a lot of it. The way I remember it, I was only entertained by the show for the first season, but by the second season I began to consider it a legitimate piece of proper science fiction entertainment with an involving and evolving universe. Sort of reminded me of the comic book series Invincible as they're both about crafting an involved world full of interesting main characters and a large supporting cast with lots of backstory and a direction that everything is headed in . . . except I think the Invincible universe is yawners and the Venture Brothers universe is intriguing, even if it's jokey.
If any show deserved a dozen spin-offs, it's this one.
Favorite Venture Brothers Supporting Castmember
Dr. Henry Killinger.
Favorite Book of 2008: Against the Day
I spent the majority of my year reading this enormous book, and when I finished it I worried that the endeavor would be without benefit . . . I would have conquered the latest Pynchon novel, but so what? This monster isn't headed to the Halls of Man's Greatest Literature and I won't encounter too many other people who have read it so, man, the investment leaves you feeling slightly empty. Or so I thought. Now that it's been about five months since I read this book I've realized something--I really miss it. I miss having this huge book that never ends that I'm always reading that's full of so many characters and so many plotlines. I miss the characters, I wonder what became of them, I wonder what they're up to. I sometimes find myself trying to remember pieces of the plot and its various curiosities. I've read a good number of books since this one, some plenty good, but they all (except for Don Quixote, of course) seemed a bit trifling when compared to all Against the Day had to offer. This longing lead me to dig through some boxes while at home in Chicago to find the used copy of Mason & Dixon I bought several years back for future use. 2009 might be the future use it was prepared for. Sure, it's 300 pages shorter than Against the Day, but it's written entirely in an antiquated vernacular. There should be some sport in it. Plus, it's sort of well-regarded, so maybe it'll come up at more parties.
Best Movies of 2008: A Weird Trend
My favorite movies of 2008 weren't Speed Racer and Star Wars: The Clone Wars, but I did really like both of them, which apparently leaves me in the minority as both were ravaged by critics and fell flat in the box office. Funny thing is, I've never met anyone who saw Speed Racer that didn't like it (a lot) AND the only two other people I've met that saw the Clone Wars liked it, too.
I reviewed Speed Racer when I saw it, so let me give you this little Clone Wars review: I had no problems with anything in this movie and if I were a kid it would have made me go bananas.
And you know what's good about the Clone Wars cartoon on TV, from what I can tell? It has Jar Jar on it. I sort of didn't like how he had totally disappeared by Episode III, I don't like seeing George retreat like that.
Favorite Movies of 2008
Well, the ones that left me the most excited were Cloverfield and the Dark Knight. But if you talk to me now about the Dark Knight now I'll just talk to you about how I don't think it's a real superhero movie and, while Heath Ledger's villain was pretty cool, I don't know that he was playing the Joker. HOWEVER, if you talk to me about Cloverfield now I'll still be real amped about it. So maybe Cloverfield was my favorite movie of 2008?
Favorite Restaurant of 2008
hmmmm . . . nope, nothing comes to mind.