Top 10 of 2008


The new year is upon us, and that means it’s time for some reflection. In classic C-Love fashion, I’m sticking to what I know and offering up my Top 10 in Pop Culture ’08.

10. Flight of the Conchords. This year, their peculiar brand of hilarity earned the recognition it deserved, and even landed them a show on HBO. I still prefer their live performances, and Albi, the racist dragon, is one of my faves.

9. Superheroes. Batman, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Hancock, Hellboy, The Spirit. Some were good, some were great, and some were just weird, but there were definite superhero vibes in the air.

8. Slumdog Millionaire. I loved this movie so much, I’m almost afraid to talk about it other than to say, you  must see it. It deserves all of the accolades and then some.

7. The Twilight series/movie/phenomenon (and Robert Pattinson’s hair). The Twilight movie has made a better return than Batman: The Dark Knight. How is that possible (other than spending less to start with)? Well, see, you take an absurdly gorgeous vampire, make him fall in love with a clumsy high school girl, fight his very nature to keep from killing her, throw in some werewolves, and you’ve really got something going. I resisted the books for a while, then I finally caved. And I must say… the do suck you in (no pun intended). The movie was unintentionally hilarious at times, but the casting was spot on. Here’s hoping they spend more money on special effects for the sequel.

6. Wall-E. Yes, he’s a cartoon robot, but Wall-E made me remember how much I miss great animated films. I actually teared up in the theater. How can you resist those eyes?

5. The return of Robert Downey, Jr. As much as I hanker for Christian Bale, RDJ gave my favorite superhero performance this year. Or maybe ever. Then he made a risky move by “playing black” in Tropic Thunder. Next year, he has a promising role with Jamie Foxx in The Soloist. Is this really the same guy from The Shaggy Dog?

4. Lost, Season 4. I’ve never been so glad that I got roped into a show from the get-go. The finale of Season 4 was  nothing short of crazy. Explosions, reveals, death, time travel, cliffhangers. I can’t wait to get back to my losties.

3. Tina Fey. Nobody made me laugh more in 2008 than Tina Fey. She gave us the funniest show on television with 30 Rock, and her Palin impersonation made SNL better than it’s been in years. Props to Tina!

2. Bon Iver. Possibly my favorite musical discovery of 2008. His sound is plaintive yet still full somehow. His quiet but powerful voice reminds me of Ray Lamontagne.

1. Lynda Barry. Barry wrote one of my favorite books of the year, What It Is. A graphic novel that questions how images and objects are connected to memories, it is beautiful, funny, and touching. No book has made me want to pick up my sketch pad this much in a very long time.


11 Responses to “Top 10 of 2008”

  1. Michael Lasley Says:

    I am, as always, way behind the times. F of the Cs: Love their live stuff. I’ve seen roughly 74 seconds of their show. I actually read the 1st 2 Twilight books to see what all the hubbub was about. I didn’t get it, but it’s great to see so many people get addicted to books. I’m behind on most of the superheroes.

    Wall-E was very interesting. I was shocked when I watched it with my nephews over the break. They loved it despite absolutely nothing happening for long periods of time.

    Did you actually pick up your sketch pad? Or did you just think about it? Do tell!

  2. urbino Says:

    I’m even more behinder than Mikey. I’m familiar with the Conchords, and I’ve seen Downey in some stuff (but not “Iron Man”), and I’ve seen Tina Fey on SNL, but not her show.

    My favorite book of the year was Owen Sheers’ Resistance.

    • mrspeacock Says:

      I DID actually pick up my sketch pad. The book kinda forces you to be involved. My brother and I were poring over the questions about our first phone number, youngest memories, etc.

      I was shocked by Wall-E, too. There’s no dialog for 3/4 of the movie, but I still loved every second.

      Urbino, you really must watch 30 Rock. Lookie here, I’ll even give you a handy dandy link. The Reunion episode is my favorite recent ep.

  3. alsturgeon Says:

    I’m the biggest behind of all. But last night I attended something that had culture written all over it (vandalism in L.A. is a real problem). Went to the historic Pantages Theatre in Hollywood for Wicked: The Musical. That was pretty incredible. Glinda was hee-larious, and the entire spectacle was, well, spectacular.

    As to books, thanks to Mikey for loaning me four to choose from over winter break – finished Sedaris’s “When You Are Engulfed in Flames” which was great fun, and almost done with Michael Lewis’s “The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game” which has proven to be a really interesting story.

    To television, I can discuss football and that’s about it.

    To music, though I know little about it, I am an admitted John Fogerty fan. My girls gave me his new CD, “Revival,” which I would highly recommend. I love “Don’t You Wish It Was True,” and for all the liberals among us, you’d get a kick out of both “Long Dark Night” and “I Can’t Take It No More.”

  4. Michael Lasley Says:

    CCR! I’ve not heard a Fogerty song in forabsoluteever.

    I love the last story in Sedaris’s book — the one where he quits smoking. It’s not laughoutloud funny, but I thought is was great.

  5. DeJon05 Says:

    Sorry, I’m late. I rushed over as soon as I heard about this discussion.

    I’m elated to report I’ve been able to indulge in a bit of pop culture consumption as of late. And here’s my report.

    I was able to see a solid foreign film set in 1938 India called Water. I’m glad I did.

    I also have caught Frost/Nixon and Doubt. Given what I’d heard from people whose opinions I respect, I had held these movies to a high standard.

    Frost/Nixon surpassed all expectation. Call me anti-American, but I’ve been underwhelmed by Ron Howard’s body of directorial work. Frost/Nixon is his best move yet, IMO.

    I felt like Doubt was made just for me. In some fanciful daydream I could picture myself writing such a terrific story. I’m an unabashed Philip Seymour Hoffman fan, and Meryl Streep is one actress I love to loathe. Yet somehow, I find myself giving the movie four out of five stars. Definitely worth seeing, but it didn’t stay with me like a powerful movie can.

    I had high hopes for all the books I planned to read. I regret I only finished two. But, man, were they good.

    I feel like everyone had read “Atonement,” but me. Now I know what all the fuss was about. The fact that a human being can write like Ian McEwan is a mystery I will never fully understand.

    I was also able to pour pretty quickly through Randy Pausch’s “The Last Lecture.” While not powerful for its literary brilliance. This book is brilliant simply because of the impressive man who wrote it. I expect I’ll read this one any time I feel my life needs recalibration. I thought it odd that I sincerely mourned the death of a man I’d never met six months after his death.

    During my first law school semester music was the one artistic medium which I consumed more than usual. Since I now know that I passed all my classes, I need to thank the following people for getting me through: Griffin House (who I will see in concert Jan 30), Eliza Gilkyson (who I will see in concert Jan 15), Ray Lamontagne (whose live show changed my life), Brandi Carlile, The Old 97’s, Ryan Adams, Paolo Nutini The Decemberists, The Weepies, John Legend, Al Green, The Mars Volta, et al.

    I’m also ready to come forward with a confession. My name is DeJon, and I love rap music. I never knew this about myself. But when I am so frustrated and stressed with benign things like The Erie Doctrine, and the intricacies of medical malpractice, the artists that best facilitate the release of my stress are Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Lupe Fiasco, Pharrell, Outkast, Fabolous, Common and Petey Pablo. Judge me if you will. There I stand.

    New stuff I purchased and loved included Eliza Gilkyson’s Beautiful World, The Best of Radiohead, Tha Carter III, John Legend’s Evolver, and iTunes Essentials “The Mars Volta.” I should say more about The Mars Volta, but I’ll refrain.

    As for TV, I don’t got much. I still love Jim Lehrer, and Lucky Severson, but I also recently discovered “The Family Guy,” and “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.” Some times the cynic in me runs wild.

    Good night and good luck.

  6. urbino Says:

    The Erie Doctrine

    My civ. pro. professor told us she used to work for a judge who, whenever his docket got busier than he wanted, would pick a couple of cases at random, call the lawyers to the bench, and say archly, “Counsel, have you considered the Erie implications of this case?” Then send them off to write briefs on it. Bought him a couple of weeks, every time.

  7. alsturgeon Says:

    Ha! I’ll probably end up before that judge.

    And “Atonement” is an awesome book, eh? My thanks to Urbino/Mikey who talked about it so that I wanted to read it, too.

  8. DeJon05 Says:

    Mrs. Peacock… on your suggestion I saw Slumdog last night. Infinite cool points to you, and thanks for recommending such a great film. Danny Boyle rulz.

  9. mrspeacock Says:

    DeJon – I’m so glad you enjoyed Slumdog! It raked in the Golden Globes, so apparently someone agrees with us. Eternal thanks for the cool points. I’m itching to see Frost/Nixon and Doubt. I was supposed to see Doubt this weekend but got roped in to Bride Wars instead. How did I let that happen?

    I think we might be musical soul mates. Except for the rap nonsense, of course. 🙂 I haven’t heard Eliza Gilkyson, but I’ll check her out.

    Now I am officially the only person who has not read “Atonement.” I loved the film, and I can only imagine how much better the book is. That’s it; I’m picking it up at the library today. I need something to pull me out of my vampire coma.

  10. urbino Says:

    My only exposure to Eliza Gilkyson is a cover she did of a Greg Brown song (on a tribute album of women covering Greg Brown songs, including Ani DiFranco, Gillian Welch, and Lucy Kaplansky). I didn’t love her version of the song.

    Also, if I haven’t mentioned him before, Mrs.P: Greg Brown. Check out “Slant Six Mind,” “Poet Game,” “Covenant,” and “Further In.” Great songwriter, cool arrangements, vocals a cross between Tom Waits and Barry White. He’s married to Iris DeMent — or was the last I heard.

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