I love pointless, end of year lists, don’t you? Here’s mine: some of the stuff I felt strongly about (one way or the other) this past year. Plus a whole bunch of other things I’ve been either enjoying or hating.
WINTER’S BONE—a terrific adaptation of Daniel Woodrell’s even more terrific book. Daniel, by the way, will be featured prominently in our upcoming Ozarks episode.
TOY STORY 3—If you’re going to have to watch the same kiddie movie over and over and over again (parents, you know what I’m talking about), then this is the best case scenario. It’s actually pretty scary. Really scary, in fact. And it’s probably some kind of indication that one of the best written films of last year was an animated picture about toys. By any measure, this was a really good movie.
CARLOS—A five hour docu-drama biography of Carlos “The Jackal” Ramirez. About as thoroughgoing an investigation of terrorism as exists—and superb as both history and psychodrama.
INCEPTION—How did they ever get a picture this smart, and complicated, and esoteric and expensive made? non-animated studio picture of the year.
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON—Just awesome.
WE LIKE TO DRINK-We Like To Rock and Roll: A little known indie documentary on the rise and fall and fall of disgraceful yet legendary power trio, THE UNBAND.
And while we’re talking about rock docs, be sure to catch up with the DVD of ANVIL: The Story of ANVIL (probably the best rock bio ever), as well as the new EXILE (Stones)…and the somewhat older DIG (Brian Jonestown Massacre).
THE RED RIDING TRILOGY—An almost unbearably bleak trilogy of related films—by three different directors, riffing dramatically on imagined events around the Yorkshire Ripper case of the late 70’s and early 80’s (a la David Peace’s ultra hard-boiled Yorkshire noirs). If you like grim, violent, Northern England based policiers like I do—this is pure crack.
LIFE—Keith Richard’s memoir is just as good as you hoped it would be. Even better. .
Anything by Daniel Woodrell: WINTER’S BONE, TOMATO RED, DEATH OF SWEET MISTER, GIVE US A KISS, MUSCLE FOR THE WING, THE ONES YOU DO—and his amazing Civil War based drama (upon which the excellent Ang Leee film, Ride With the Devil was based), WOE TO LIVE ON.
Gabrielle Hamilton’s upcoming memoir, BLOOD, BONES AND BUTTER
THE IMPERFECTIONISTS—Tom Rachman
EVERYTHING RAVAGED, EVERYTHING BURNED—Wells Tower
JUST KIDS—Patti Smith
And it’s never too late to catch up with anything and everything by Jack Pendarvis, Barry Hannah, Jonathan Coe, Charles Willeford, Joan Didion, William T. Vollman, Gary Shteyngart, Jonathan Lethem, Alan Furst, Jim Harrison, Charles Portis (especially DOG OF THE SOUTH), Lester Bangs, Nick Tosches, Ron Rosenbaum, and the OISHINBO series of graphic novels.
Bottarga: (particularly tossed with spaghetti, olive oil and a whiff of garlic, a couple of dried chili flakes)
Rabbit Kidneys: Simply grilled on bamboo skewers
Wild boar ragout: Maybe tossed with malloredus..or flat pasta?
Fish collar—char grilled.
MOST EXCITED ABOUT FOR 2011:
I may have been too jaded to love Grant Achatz’s ALINEA, the one time I ate there a few years back, but I am VERY excited about his new place, NEXT. Said to riff on Escoffier menus from the turn of the century. Cool! If anyone can make that awesome and relevant? Achatz and crew.
EATALY in NYC is said to begin home delivery soon.
TREME, Season Two. For reasons that will quickly become apparent even to those who have been tragically unaware of the fine works of David Simon and collaborators.
BOARDWALK EMPIRE: It’s Martin fucking SCORSESE!! It was a GREAT book! Steve Buscemi is in it! So…what went wrong? And why will no one admit it?
The Dallas Morning News “BBQ-Gate” showed the world what was painfully apparent all along.
I went to the Missouri Ozarks.
… not everyone hated our black and white Rome show.
I anticipated long airport delays and bought Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies
Queens of the Stone Age covered The Kinks’ “Who’ll Be The Next In Line”