Once each year, usually on New Year's Eve, or if not, on New Year's Day, we/I really, take a break from writing about the Washington Nationals and write about the year that was in music, movies, television and more at FBB.
What we listened to and watched, what we took pictures and Vines of in 2015 and everything else we did to distract ourselves from the utter frustration of saving the modest budget we had available for travel expenses and postseason coverage for an October run that didn't happen...
It's time for our yearly dip into the year that was in pop culture at Federal Baseball, with a few fun Nationals things thrown in along the way.
We apologize in advance for our preference for noisy pop music and art-house-y movies and television ...
Top 5 Movies 2015 (in no particular order):
5. The Hateful Eight: Quentin Tarantino and his cinematographer Robert Richardson shot the director's stagecoach western shootout on 70mm film with antique Ultra Panavision lenses that hadn't been used since the 1966 film "Khartoum"... which provided the widest aspect ratio (2.76:1) and... [ed. note -"Seriously, why is it that it's only with Tarantino movies that this is how the film is marketed?"]
4. Steve Jobs + (Alex Gibney's Steve Jobs doc): Two sides of the story of how that iPhone eventually ended up in your hand, two straight hours of Aaron Sorkin dialogue read by Kate Winslet, Michael Fassbender, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels and Michael Stuhlbarg and then Alex Gibney exploring "The Man in the Machine" in his documentary on Steve Jobs.
3. Carol: Todd Haynes directing a love story set in 1950s New York, which is based on a Patricia Highsmith novel, that stars both Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara... who wouldn't want to watch that? TRAILER
2. Brooklyn: As the great (great? maybe another great) grandson of Irish immigrants who came to the U.S. in the late 1870-80s, this story about an Irish immigrant and her community in 1950s era Brooklyn, directed by John Crowley and starring Saoirse Ronan, really hit home, though it may just have been all the Irish accents that got me... but really, it's a great movie. TRAILER
1. Spotlight: My favorite movie about reporting since "All the President's Men" or at least that's what every other review of the movie said, but it was an engaging look at reporting that doesn't include copy/pasting other people's quotes into a repurposed "report" on the latest news. TRAILER
Honorable Mention: Joy; Star Wars: The Force Awakes; Room; The Big Short
Top Vine of 2015 (which was "looped" 1,583,662 times):
Top 5 Albums of 2015 (in no particular order):
5. of Montreal - "Aureate Gloom": After writing a country/western-ish record while on a retreat in San Francisco last time out, of Montreal's Kevin Barnes holed up in New York City and came back with a glam-rock record he described to Stereogum as, "... inspired by the mid to late ’70s music scene in New York — you know, the sort of Max’s Kansas City, early days of CBGB and Television, Talking Heads. Bands like that."
4 Sufjan Stevens - "Carrie & Lowell": I listened to Sufjan Stevens' album about his childhood memories of his mostly absent mother, Carrie, who dealt with schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, alcoholism and substance abuse problems, and his stepfather, Lowell, more than any other record that was released it 2015... it's a haunting, beautiful, stripped down, exploration of love and memory.
Sample Track: Sufjan Stevens - "Carrie & Lowell"
3. Panda Bear - "Panda Bear meets the Grim Reaper": Each of Panda Bear's last three solo releases have ended up on my year-end Top 5 lists, and this latest is no exception.
2. Jim O'Rourke - "Simple Songs": You may know him as the guy who helped produce Wilco's best record or the guy who ended up playing bass in Sonic Youth for a while, or you may not know him at all, but Jim O'Rourke is on a very short list for me, along with Jon Brion, of Montreal, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, and others, whose every release is a cause for celebration in FBB HQ.
Sample Track: Jim O'Rourke - "Friends with Benefits"
1. Deerhunter: "Fading Frontier": Bradford Cox released an interactive map of influences for Deerhunter's 2015 release entitled, "Fading Frontier," which cited INXS, Tears for Fears, "R.E.M., Tom Petty, Caetano Veloso, Al Green, J.G. Ballard, Pablo Neruda, old linen, iced Earl Grey tea," and "souless [sic] new car smell" as influences for what was by far my favorite record of the year.
VINE: This kid made our favorite effort on a catch this season:
Top 5 TV Shows of 2015 (in no particular order):
5. The Jinx: The single-most disturbing and frightening television episode of the year was IMNSHO, the series finale of this non-fiction documentary about the "Life and Deaths of Robert Durst", the son of a New York real estate family who was a suspect in a series of unsolved murders stretching back to 1982... seriously, I haven't been able to rewatch the finale again since I first saw it, it was that unsettling...
4. Show Me A Hero: The creator of The Wire, Generation Kill and Treme returned to HBO this summer with Show Me a Hero, a miniseries starring Poe Dameron (aka Oscar Isaac) as a mayor in Yonkers, NY during a heated battle over public housing in the 1980s.
3. You're the Worst: The funniest show on television, described on IMDB succinctly as a show that "centers on two toxic, self-destructive people who fall in love and attempt a relationship" got even funnier in Season 2, somehow.
2. Sense8/Continuum Season 6/Halt and Catch Fire (tie): I couldn't pick one of these over the others, so I decided to make this one a tie between the Wachowski's bat-sh*t crazy NetFlix series, the final season of the time-traveling adventures of Kiera Cameron and Alec Sadler on the Syfy series by Simon Barry and the second season of AMC's Halt and Catch Fire.
1. Mr. Robot: If you didn't watch Mr. Robot, and don't know about Elliot and fsociety or watched it and didn't like it, we can't be friends... No spoilers, go watch it.
What did you watch, listen to or follow in 2015? Have a favorite song/album/digital download, movie or television show that didn't make our lists? Feel free to share. And thanks, as always, to everyone behind the scenes at FBB, on the front page of Federal Baseball and in the comments section on a daily basis and everyone who follows us on Twitter and Facebook for another great year covering the Nationals...