I realized what tonight is. It's New Years Eve. And not just any New Years Eve, the last night of the decade, preparing to enter into 2010, the year we make contact. Or was that in 2063 when Zefram Cochrane
flies the first warp drive ship? Either way, it's going to be a night of startling inebriation with friends and the fallout could last for days afterward. Which is precisely why I better get out this "Best Films of 2009"
entry before the drinking throws me completely off schedule.
NUMBER 9: ZOMBIELAND
I'm going to imagine that this one won't be a stranger to many Spill
fan 'best of'
lists this year. It certainly was the most pleasant surprise of the year. Not only was this the best horror comedy since "Shaun of the Dead"
, it was the most I laughed out loud at a comedy this year. Who knew there was another original take left to do on the zombie apocalypse?
I can't imagine how few of you need a description of the movie, but here it is anyway: Jesse Eisenberg
is a skinny little guy who has managed to survive the onset of the zombiegeddon by means of extreme cowardice and slavish adherence to a set of rules he's written for himself. Not knowing where else to go, he starts traveling cross-country to Columbus, Ohio to see if he can find his parents. Along the way he meets up with the Mozart
of zombie killing, Woody Harrelson
and they somewhat reluctantly team-up to travel together. Their trip, and Woody
's quest to find a Twinkie, is interrupted by the entrance of Emma Stone
and Abigail Breslin
, a sister team of post-apocalypse grifters who make off with the boys car and stash of survival gear. Eventually, a thinning herd of non-zombies left make this gang end up together, but not without some serious missteps along the way.
Is it too soon still to say it? Is there anyone who doesn't know who does the cameo in this film that may very well be the greatest one of all time? I'm still not gonna say it (for fear of being stuck with an epithet like Leon
's) but you guys know what I'm saying. Because of that, and, well, pretty much everything else in it, "Zombieland" is easily one of the best and most fun films of the year. It's a shame some of the blood will keep away the more squeamish from such a cleverly written film, but that's their problem. Just the use of titles alone during the film should score it some sort of special award. And Harrelson. Shit, this was his year. Here's hoping he can hold onto that fire in 2010.
Now, as is tradition for me, I give another 'Best Of" for the year...
BEST ALBUM: ANIMAL COLLECTIVE
- "MERRIWEATHER POST PAVILION"
This was the 8th studio album for this playful and psychedelic band originally from Baltimore. While it took a more coherent turn than some of their previous work, it seemed nearly unanimous among music critics that this was one of the best records of the year...for many, of the decade. It feels like an indie rock version of the artier periods of the Beach Boys, and is nothing if not fun to listen to. Much to my surprise, for something so strikingly original and different, the record made it to #13 on the US Billboard charts and spawned three singles. Plus, it has the most eye-catching (or bending) album cover maybe ever. I gotta stop looking at it, its giving me a headache.
Now, a confession....I rarely get around to giving most records a serious listen until often a few years after they come out. I'm still catching up with stuff from 2007! So, looking down the list of releases for this year, there were very few I had actually spun more than once (or even at all). That being said, I wanted to make sure I gave a special last minute prize for one of the more innovative (and surely divisive) cover albums to come out in years, The Flaming Lips
of "Dark Side of the Moon"
by Pink Floyd
This sucker JUST came out so I've only given it a few listens, but it does exactly what I like a cover record to do...it takes the original material, honors it, but makes it completely the band's own. There's no question this is a Flaming Lips record and guest appearances by Henry Rollins
only adds to the fun. If you're going into this for a note-for-note cover of the album, don't bother. Why not just listen to the original? If you want to hear a creative and very different take on these amazing classic songs, you should give this a try.
Well, I'll be back soon with #8 film of the year as well as another 'Best of' award. Which one? You'll have to wait and see.