One day a year, we take a break from writing about the Washington Nationals and write about the year in music, movies and more at FBB. Pics we took, Vines we made. Things we listened to and watched. In lists. It's time for our yearly dip into pop culture...
FBB's Top Films of 2014:
1. Boyhood: Filmed over twelve years with the cast of the film growing up and older on camera, Richard Linklater's 17th film -- after great ones like Slacker, Dazed and Confused, Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight, Waking Life, Tape, A Scanner Darkly, Me and Orson Welles? (What? I kinda liked it.) -- has received critical acclaim since its release and should earn him a Best Picture Oscar. Ethan Hawke, who stars along with Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane and the director's own daughter Lorelei Linklater, (and yes, I got the following from Wikipedia) told The Playlist's Kevin Jagernauth in a 2013 article, that watching Coltrane go from a six-year-old kid to a freshman in college on camera was, "a little bit like timelapse photography of a human being," which is about as good a description of the experience of watching the film as you're likely to get.
2. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance): Director Alejandro González Iñárritu (Amores Perros, 21 Grams, Babel) and director of photography Emmanuel Lubezki (who was the director of photography on the last three Terrence Malick movies and some film called Gravity) somehow make a 119 minute movie seem like it's filmed in one never-ending take and also Edward Norton's in it. What more do you want? Stunning performances by Michael Keaton plus Emma Stone, Amy Ryan, Zach Galifianakis and Naomi Watts and the feeling when it's over that you've been on stage and inside a man's mind. Plus Edward Norton.
Top Vines of 2014: Carpenter steers the ship:
3. Grand Budapest Hotel: Ralph Fiennes is somehow a perfect fit in a Wes Anderson film. It was like the first time Bill Murray was in a Wes Anderson movie. Or when Gene Hackman was. Maybe it's just Wes Anderson. The Grand Budapest Hotel stars Fiennes as Monsieur Gustave H., conceriege of the titular establishment from the early 1930s to the start of the second World War in the fictional Republic of Zubrowka, who is arrested and imprisoned for the murder of a wealthy guest of the hotel. It's a Wes Anderson movie, just watch it.
4. Citizenfour: Putting the politics of the story aside (is that possible?), just watching Edward Snowden actually meet with documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald in a Hong Kong hotel room in 2013 to share classified information about surveillance of U.S. citizens, is thrilling. The film's website describes it as, "a real life thriller, unfolding by the minute." It's a rare opportunity to witness news in the making.
5. Locke: Tom Hardy. You know, Bane. A BMW X5. A series of phone calls. 85 minutes. It's a one-man show.
Top Vines of 2014 - Werth in a storm:
6. The Past is a Grotesque Animal: "The thing about of Montreal," keyboardist Dottie Alexander says in the trailer for the career-spanning documentary on the Athens, GA-born band, is, "either you've never heard of us, or we're your absolute favorite band." That pretty much sums it up. What Dig was for Anton Newcombe, The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols, The Past is a Grotesque Animal should be for Kevin Barnes and his band Of Montreal.
7. Only Lovers Left Alive: A Jim Jarmusch vampire movie? I'm in. Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton as centuries-old vampires, Adam and Eve, living apart in Tangiers and Detroit, respectively, in what Jim Jarmusch told Vice was actually "a love story with vampires." Sold. The coolest movie of the year, just when it seemed cool was dead.
8. Finding Vivian Maier: Vivian Maier was a nanny in Chicago for 40 years and secretly a street photographer. After her death, her photographs were discovered by John Maloof when he purchased a box of negatives at auction and then eventually, with the help of others, tracked down 100,000-to-150,000 of her negatives. This documentary tells her story and the history of the discovery of her work.
Honorable Mention (so we didn't have to just pick two more to round out the Top 10): The Internet's Own Boy; Blue Ruin; Listen up, Phillip; Interstellar; Imitation Game; Frank.
Top 5 Instagram Pics:
FBB's Year in Music or (What we listened to this year at Federal Baseball):
1. The Brian Jonestown Massacre - "Revelation": They're still my favorite band and somehow on their 14th proper studio album, Anton Newcombe and co. managed to write and record what are now a few of my favorite BJTM songs. How often does that happen twenty-one years into a band's career? Newcombe, a California-born guitarist and songwriter, lives in Berlin now, but continues to turn out some of the most meticulously-produced 60's-leaning, psychedelic rock 'n' roll around.
Top Vines of 2014 - Sasquatch:
2. Liars - "Mess": I hate to make this about the Nationals, but I really think that Jayson Werth should use the lead track on this album, "Mask Maker" as his walk-up song. Ok, that's just because the lyrics, spoken by a distorted, honestly frightening computerized voice say things like "Eat my face off" and "Take my face", "Give me your face"... and you know Werth once said, "We gotta show up tomorrow ready to eat somebody's face." Just a suggestion. Liars made the album I listened to more than any other this year. Shape-shifting, chaotic, layered, beat-heavy, electronic, dance-ish, noise-pop.
Top Vines of 2014 - Staring contest with Bryce Harper:
3. Circulatory System - "Mosaics Within Mosaics": I still haven't quite dealt with the death of The Bill Doss, one of the founding members of the Olivia Tremor Control, quite possibly the best lesser-known band of the last twenty-five years. Will Cullen Hart, who started the OTC with Doss in the early 1990's, still records with the Circulatory System, a band which features a number of musicians from the OTC. Nuanced, exquisitely-produced, layered, wandering and revelatory. The noisier, experimental side of the Olivia Tremor Control.
Top 5 Vines of 2014 - Respect the "A":
4. Panda Bear - "Mr. Noah" (single): I'm impatiently waiting for the fifth album from Panda Bear, aka Noah Lennox, of Animal Collective. His last album, Tomboy, was on 2011's list of out favorite albums. While we'll have to wait until 2015 for the new album, Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper, the lead single was released this year and the video which was made for the song is dizzying and brilliant. What is he saying?:
5. Serial: I cheated on this one. It's not music, of course, though the music created for the show and the Mailchimp ad are forever stuck in my head after listening to all twelve episodes of the biggest podcast of the year. This American Life producer Sarah Koenig's engrossing investigation of a 1999 murder in Baltimore is the kind of storytelling that has drawn listeners to the radio since its invention...
Happy New Year everyone. And here's to another year of adding to the noise... love, FBB.