After having spent the past two months at Mildly Pleased looking back at 2019 and the decade as a whole, I think it’s finally time to start talking about the 2020s. Perhaps it’s appropriate that my first review of the decade is from an artist that put out great (if not classic) albums in both of the past two decades, and doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
A big reason why Destroyer has remained so intriguing (and a little unapproachable) over the years is undoubtedly due to frontman Dan Bejar’s need for constant reinvention. Which makes Have We Met a bit of an outlier, since it sounds a lot like his previous few albums. Yet there’s something kind of captivating about how self-assured he (and the band) sounds here, with each song being big on groove and atmosphere, while there’s still a ton of room for Bejar to spout his delightfully neurotic and weirdly melodic lyrics. Continue reading
After a long holiday- and list-induced hiatus, The Pick is back! This week we’re practically overflowing with things to say about a movie that just seemed like a fun one to talk about. The Nutty Professor was a big comeback movie for Eddie Murphy in 1996, as well as one that saw him transitioning away from the raunchier style of his ’80s work into a more family-friendly Murphy. Also, there are lots of farts.
What can I say except that it feels really good to finally be at the end of eight weeks of list-making fun. Every decade in the history of video gaming has seen massive technological and business practices, and the 2010s were no different. In the past 10 years, Nintendo had a rise and fall and rebirth between the 3DS, Wii U, and Switch. Microsoft and Sony switched places as the dominant home gaming system manufacturer, setting the stage for another epic console war to begin this fall. New innovations in the mobile, augmented reality, and virtual reality spaces created whole new ways to play (the first Kinect came out in 2010). Ten years ago, companies like EA tried to kill of used game sales with annoying online passes, nowadays they might have succeeded thanks to the creation of subscription services like Origin Access and Xbox Game Pass. Plus, now that every game is a “live service,” who can afford to sell their games anymore?
On the flip side, identifying as a “gamer” has never felt worse. For my whole life, I liked feeling part of a community, and I always championed the positive aspects of gaming. The Gamergate controversy really changed that, and personally, I never really recovered an interest in participating in online communities. Which is a shame, because I know there are a ton of great people out there. Most folks I meet a PAX Prime seem nice, there are plenty of writers and YouTubers I adore. But there’s this horrible, misogynistic, racist stink on gaming now that I’ll never be able to totally ignore. It feels like once the nerds realized they had the numbers and the power, they became even worse than the bullies. But enough about this sad thought, let’s talk about some of my all-time favorite games!
We’ve been writing “Top Ten Movies of the Year” posts on this blog for over a decade. With that in mind, you’d think it would be easy to write a “Top Ten Movies of the 2010s” list. All I have to do is look back at all my past lists and crunch the numbers. I didn’t do that. My reason? I am very bad at calculations.
My other reason is that feelings change. Opinions shift. Different movies mean different things to me as the years go by. Even my favorite films I come to appreciate for different reasons. That being said this list can only reflect how I feel RIGHT NOW. I could change my mind next week. Some of these picks aren’t even consistent with my “Top Ten Movies of 2019” list I did a few weeks ago. That’s what’s great about art. If it’s good it can evolve. Let’s take a look at their current evolutions.
Ok, we’re almost done with our multi-month long onslaught of lists. While making my list, it became apparent that my list is not going to be that exciting because I seem to have the taste in movies of your average unadventurous film critic. Still, every single movie on my list does have some sort of special significance for me, even if a lot of them were critical consensus favorites when they were released. I was hoping to rewatch all of the movies on my list before constructing my top 10, but didn’t quite get there. I’m sure my list will not be the same a few years from now, especially considering the most recent year was such a good year for movies that I’m having a hard time contextualizing it in the grand scheme of the decade. Anyways, on to some movies I guess… Continue reading
Something about making top 10 movie lists feels more serious than the other three. I guess it’s partly because it feels like it’s the medium where John, Colin, and I are closest to being on a level playing field. Like, there’s only so much music and TV all three of us have in common, and we don’t really talk about video games at all. But film, I mean, we have a whole weekly podcast dedicated to that! I think this phenomenon is even bigger than this blog, as tough as that might be to believe. The Oscars feel more important than the Grammys, you know? I guess it might have to do with how big theatrical releases are about as close as we get to shared culture these days. I wonder how that will change in the next 10 years?
Anyway, I made my list free of any pretension. I didn’t look at any critic’s top movies of the decade lists, and since I’m going first, I don’t even know what John and Colin are going to include on their lists. This is just me sorting through the movies I love the most right now. So know this: I could easily do a top 100 as there’s a helluva lot of great movies I would rate highly that didn’t make this list. Similarly, I have a shitload of movies in my backlog I still need to catch up with that could very well change this top 10 if I were to do it again. Which, hopefully, I will get the chance to do someday. I’d hate to have to try to defend this these picks for the rest of my life.
Of all the media that we’re covering in these best of the decade lists, TV shows possibly changed the most this past decade. Back in 2009, the zeitgeist still was driven by network TV, and to some extent basic cable. I’d argue premium networks like HBO and Showtime were still niche, it seemed like plenty of people caught up with shows like The Sopranos and Dexter by waiting for the DVDs. Obviously streaming has changed all that, and the industry is still figuring out how this new normal is going to work.
The other thing about TV is that it’s the most time-sensitive of all the media we’ll be writing about, in that historically, it’s been pretty uncommon for people to go back and catch up with shows that are off the air. That’s changing too, but it has the funny effect on making everything on my list make me nostalgic for the times in my life I was watching them. Certain shows are college shows, grad school shows, new career shows. Which makes me realize that I don’t have big set milestones for this next decade like I have had in the past, which is scary… Let’s not get existential, let’s just do this list.