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Sean’s Top Tens of 2006

I didn’t forget!  I just… you know, wanted to put it off until after Shocktober.  And then I wasn’t going to do it while I was busy with classes.  Anyway, this is the last of these, as I don’t want to revisit 2007 once again and what’s the point of doing 2008 again?  So enjoy the final part of my monthly retrospectives and start getting ready to work on your top tens of the decade, you know I am.

Top 10 Films of 2006

10. Bubble
An interesting little experiment by Steven Soderbergh about a tiny community of and a terrible incident.  It’s bleak and enigmatic and short and really good.  Bubble will get you thinking, that’s for sure.

9. Pan’s Labyrinth
I totally get why this is a good movie and a lot of critics latched onto it.  But it’s so dark and unexpectedly violent that I probably will not ever watch it again.  Drop it in the “one time is enough” can, along with A.I.

8. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
OK, hear me out on this one.  Yes, Babel was a powerful film, but it had its flaws.  V for Vendetta was kind of interesting, but also kind of boring.  The Queen is for old people.  For Your Consideration kind of missed the mark, and then kind of was a little too on the mark.  The Pursuit of Happyness was sweet, but a little manipulative.  There, have I answered for all the potential movies that could have taken this spot?  No, I did not see The Last King of Scotland, United 93, Volver, The Science of Sleep or that other movie you’re thinking about.

7. Stranger Than Fiction
I wish Will Ferell did more movies like this.  He actually has to act, and he’s alright.  So are his A-list co-stars.  A fun little story with a nice soundtrack.  John knows what I’m talking about.

6. Thank You for Smoking
It’s rare to see a film so intelligently written and funny.  But I guess we should have expected that from the son of the director of Stripes and Ghost Busters.  Then again, he’s also the son of the guy who directed Junior and My Super Ex-Girlfriend…  Good going Jason.  Liked Juno and am looking forward to Up in the Air too.

5. Letters from Iwo Jima
Never got around to seeing this film’s companion, Flags of Our Fathers, and I never really worried about that either.  Eastwood is in top form with this unique look at the Japanese side of the bloodiest battle of the Pacific Theatre.

4. Half Nelson
You know, I don’t get why this movie is called “Half Nelson.”  It’s all about dianetics, sure, and that is really explicitly drilled into the viewer.  An inner-city inspiration teacher with a drug problem.  How real, how yin and yang, how “grey.”  Where does the wrestling come into the equation?

3. Brick
Ah yes, the grand high school film noir.  JGL is great, as is the dialogue throughout the movie.  This movie didn’t get around as much as it deserved, if you haven’t checked it out, please do so soon.  You’ll enjoy it.

2. Children of Men
I’m predisposed to like most sci fi, but Children of Men is remarkably good no matter what genre you assign it to.  On a pure cinematographic level, it’s quite a feast.  Remember all the long shots?  Those were so cool.  I wish there was more Chiwetel Ejiofor.

1. The Departed
Of course this is my number one.  Scorsese returns to crime drama and scores his belated best picture and director Oscars.  That’s no accident, this is a damn fine movie.  From the crazy tense scenes between DiCaprio and Damon to the hilarious ones with Wahlberg and Baldwin, this is just something that you can’t help but enjoy.  And, yes, Jack Nicholson is terrific.

Top 10 Albums of 2006

10. Kasabian – Empire
Honestly I could have gone either way between this and Keane’s Under the Iron Sea, but I find Kasabian less embarrassing to listen to in public.  I mean, you can’t really be blastin’ “A Bad Dream” with your windows down, know can you.  But “Shoot the Runner”?  You go boy.

9. TV on the Radio – Return to Cookie Mountain
Not as refined as the masterpiece Dear Science, TV on the Radio are nonetheless in tip top shape for these delightful 11 tracks.  “Wolf Like Me” is seriously one of my favorite songs ever.

8. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Show Your Bones
It turns out I really like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.  I knew I liked “Maps,” but this I’ve been on-and-off listening to their catalog for a few years now and I keep coming back for more.  At this point I doubt they’ll ever leave my iPod.

7. Phoenix – It’s Never Been Like That
Just a few months ago Colin turned me onto an amazing album called Wolfgang Amadeus Pheonix.  Then this summer he told me to check out its predecessor, claiming it was even better.  I don’t think it is, but it’s still quite good.  I like these Frenchmen.

6. The Raconteurs – Broken Boy Soldiers
This was some hot shit back in ’06.  Hell, it’s still pretty warm, even after all this time.  “Steady as She Goes” is probably the song I associate most with the year.

5. The Flaming Lips – At War with the Mystics
Why didn’t I like Embryonic more?  I liked this a lot.  What’s my problem?  Maybe it’s the lack of drugs and booze in my body.  Who knows?  Anyway, this is pretty good.

4. Band of Horses – Everything All the Time
It’s kind of like My Morning Jacket meets Death Cab for Cutie… Oh wait that exists as Monsters of Folk and is even better than Band of Horses.  But these guys are good too.  You guys don’t listen to my music recommendations anyway, but this is one of the most accessible of them.

3. Beck – The Information
I seriously enjoy each Beck release more than the last.  Well, that’s probably not true, but The Information is some tight shit.  That expression sounds really unpleasant.  Unlike this album.

2. Muse – Black Holes and Revelations
By a significant margin my favorite Muse album.  It’s just awesome.  The best part, as we all know, is the outstanding “Knights of Cydonia” music video.

1. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Stadium Arcadium
OK, I know a lot of people totally hate that RHCP had pretty much been continuing on the Californication sound.  But you know what?  That’s a really good sound.  As a double album, there’s always a pretty high chance a lot of the tracks would be duds.  But they aren’t.  If only “Snow” was easier in Rock Band.

Top 10 Video Games of 2006 

10. Excite Truck
I really had no idea what game to put here.  I could have easily gone with Brain Age, since, you know, it got people excited about math, which is pretty cool.  Okami was pretty neat, but I barely played it for some reason.  It’s been sitting in my collection for years now.  So I’m going with Excite Truck, and why the hell not.  It’s simple fun.

9. Chromehounds
Um, build giant robots and fight.  How could I not like this game?

8. Elite Beat Agents
While the song selection is a lot lamer than its Japanese counterpart, for some reason I feel it would be shady to put Japanese games on these lists.  Like, then I’d have to do foreign movies too, and change when movies came out to their original countries instead of the U.S… It all gets too messy.  So this one’s here instead.

7. New Super Mario Bros.
“A new sidescrolling Super Mario Bros. game would be a good idea,” we said for years.  Nintendo agreed.

6. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Oh Zelda, when did you get less fun?  The magic just wasn’t there for the series foray into the Wii.  It’s still fun, but with a distinct “been there, done that” feel.  Maybe next time.

5. Guitar Hero II
They finally really did it.  You maniacs!  You added bass in!  Ah, damn you!  God damn you all to Hell!

4. Dead Rising
Turns out this is pretty much Dawn of the Dead the game.  Also the first real next gen gaming experience for the 360.  So that’s good.

3. Half-Life 2: Episode One
The only game on this list to only last a few hours.  But those are some fine hours.  Fine hours indeed.

2. Wii Sports
This was astounding back in the day before we figured out how disappointing Wii technology and Wii games in general would turn out to be.  Oh well.

1. Gears of War
Pretty much the game that sold me on the Xbox 360.  It looked so good and played so well.  Nothing like giant dudes cutting up aliens with chainsaw bayonets.

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