Friday, December 13, 2013

Making a list, and checking it ... well, probably not checking it at all, to be honest.

It's listicle season, again. Music, movies, books, what-have-you. Do you bother with any of it? If so, which ones?

For me, the older I get, the fewer I attend to. At the end of December, I'll head over to Metacritic to see which games made the year's top ten. By April (June, at the latest) those should all be affordable, and I'll nab the ones that looked most interesting.

There are book lists I'll glance at, just to see if there isn't the occasional oddball the prestige outfits missed (or ignored). I haven't seen anyone put Aleksandar Hemon's The Story Of My Lives on any such list, so here's me, whacking the dinner-bell on its behalf.

For some reason, I've gone cold on movie lists. I really could not be arsed, and I'm damned if I can put my finger on precisely why that is. I've cooled toward movies, too (obviously). It's not that they're dead to me — I recently enjoyed The Way Way Back, and consider Gravity to be this year's Mandatory-Pay-The-Bucks-And-Sit-In-The-Theatre-You-Won't-Regret-It movie. I could mull over the unique insights and minor quibbles I had with both movies, but neither of these experiences caught me with the emotional urgency of, say, the fourth season of Friday Night Lights.

That's not to sing the standard chorus of “Television Is Better Than The Movies” (although you'll get little argument from me on that score). But I can remember a week some sixteen years ago when my wife and I spent five hours in a hospital emergency room with our infant daughter possessed by a raging fever that could not be tamed, and when we finally returned home with a correct diagnosis and the appropriate antibiotics, I could not fall asleep, so I went out to see L.A. Confidential and was just SO BLOODY GRATEFUL to experience a flickering projection that could pull me out of all that and so immersively into its own weirdo, whacked-out world for a solid two-hour stretch, that OF COURSE I had to write about it. What other response was there?

But movies aren't really that, anymore. Even Gravity, which gets so close to that, serves as a glum reminder of just how much closer Cuaron got to that with Children Of Men (my God, what a devastating movie — still. Here's a list-topper for you: Children Of Men was the movie of the last ten years, and remains as yet unchallenged for the current decade. Discuss).

And then there's Music — holy shit and holy cow, what list could possibly do any justice to the pre-Cambrian explosion of little scenes, little audiences, little bands and the sub-sub-sub-sub-genres that have proliferated like so many digital spermatozoa and ovum? No, we bedraggled listeners have to stake a particular claim on our peculiar aural fixations, and if you just happen to have a list that might speak to said fixations — well, okay, I'll take a look.

Which brings me to PopMatters' 10 Best Progressive (and Metal) Albums, here.

To be continued.


Joel said...

I've been enjoying the golden age of television we currently seem to be in. Don't get me wrong, there's still a lot of crap out there. And once I get the sense that a tv show is deliberately spinning out some plot point for as long as they can because they don't have other ideas, I usually leave. But there have been a few great serialized shows lately that create such a wonderful immersive world that just can't be done in a 90 minute movie. And after that, it's hard for me to go back to movies again with the same enthusiasm.

Darrell Reimer said...

I think Breaking Bad has changed the field -- for eeeeeverybody. And good on 'em.

Cowtown Pattie said...

Joel, I am laughing at myself re your remark about deliberately spinning out plot...I am hooked on that silly nighttime soap opera, "Revenge". Insults my intelligence like Miss Miss Doreen with a dull cat o'nine tails.

"Gravity" - best pot-less claustrophic paranoid ride this year.

As for books. Yes. Well. I have suddenly acquired a very ADD approach to any book I've picked up lately. I am interested for about 100 pages, then it gets tossed to the floor, or flicked out of my Kindle Carousel never to be finished. My attention span and once stellar ability to shut out the world with a tiny tome has moved to Siberia.

Cowtown Pattie said...

Oh - I left out music...

Have you tried a Denton, Texas band called "Midlake"?

Darrell Reimer said...

Any recommendation -- musical or otherwise -- from CP is one I take seriously. I shall look further (thank you!).

Darrell Reimer said...

Hm. This morning Goodreads greets me with, "Congratulations! You read 5 books this year!" Well ... I rated and reviewed five books. Still, I must admit my rate of literary consumption has indeed slowed -- alarmingly.