Once a year, usually on New Year's Eve, or if not, on New Year's Day, we/I take a break from writing about the Washington Nationals to write about the year that was in music, movies and television here at FBB.
It's time for our yearly dip into pop culture at Federal Baseball, a look at what we watched and listened to as we were following the Nationals.
We apologize in advance for our preference for noisy pop music and art-house-y movies and television...
FBB’s Top 5 Movies of 2016:
5. Zero Days: If you’re not familiar with the Stuxnet worm/computer virus catch up quickly. Another great documentary from director Alex Gibney, who explained to The Guardian that, “Stuxnet was the first cyberweapon to cross the boundary from the cyber realm to physical realm.”
4. Knight of Cups: I watched this movie alone in a theater at 10:00 PM on a Saturday night, but then again I think The Thin Red Line is better than Saving Private Ryan, I watched To the Wonder four or five times and I believe The Tree of Life is a seriously under-appreciated film, especially the dinosaurs... ok I just like Terrence Malick, get off my back.
Travel around Hollywood with Christian Bale’s Rick, a much sought-after writer, and experience/watch his memories of a series of doomed relationships in Los Angeles.
“Knight of Cups” is Rick’s act of remembering, and it follows the strange double logic of memory—the triggering efforts of willful thought and the free-flowing associations of the unconscious mind.”
3. Arrival: A linguistics expert, played by Amy Adams (who should do more movies), and Jeremy Renner’s theoretical physicist/mathematician try to make sense of an alien “invasion” and the visitor’s language in Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi drama/thriller. TRAILER.
2. La La Land: I figured I would like the choreography and cinematography, but wasn’t sure about the music. Ended up enjoying it all. My favorite musical since Dancer in the Dark... or did Moulin Rouge come out before or after Dancer in the Dark? Either way:
1. Manchester by the Sea: Eleven years after Kenneth Lonergan’s second feature was finished and five years after it was released (long story), the playwright/writer/director returns with his third film about a withdrawn janitor who becomes the reluctant guardian of his nephew. No spoilers.
2016 Movies we didn’t see yet, but want to: 20th Century Women - Mike Mills; Paterson - Jim Jarmusch; Silence - Martin Scorcese.
Honorable Mention: Hell or High Water; Moonlight; Fences; Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World; Microbe and Gasoline; The Assassin (2015); Don’t Breathe; Midnight Special.
FBB’s Top 5 “TV” shows of 2016 (one isn’t from 2016, we just watched it this year, get over it):
5. Love: Judd Apatow wrote/created this dark-ish, romantic comedy-ish Netflix series starring Gillian Jacobs as Mickey and Paul Rust as Gus.
Sample Dialogue from Love (from an article on the show from The Atlantic):
“Maybe I’m not nice, you know. Like, sometimes, like if a waiter’s like really bad, I’ll just, like, tip them, like, 30 percent, so they go, like, ‘I didn’t deserve this.’” - Gus
4. Horace and Pete: Somewhere between Lucky Louie (Louis C.K.’s HBO show) and All in the Family (it’s seriously Archie Bunker-ish at times), Louis C.K.’s self-financed post-Louie show, which was originally available only on his own site, but is now on Hulu, is worth your time and an interesting experiment. TRAILER.
3. Stranger Things: You like the 80s, we get it, but still it has Joker, (a creepy Matthew Modine), and Winona Ryder receiving messages through holiday lights and it’s a whole lot of fun, plus you get the join the internet in saying Season 2 is nowhere as good as the first when it comes out if you watch Season 1.
2. Gilmore Girls: No spoilers, I promise. “Just one note, drop the ‘the’. Just Gilmore Girls. It’s cleaner.” - Lorelai on Rory’s book, tentatively titled ‘The Gilmore Girls’ - Gilmore Girls’ writers are behind only Aaron Sorkin for me on the “will watch whatever they write” list. TRAILER.
1. Cowboy Bebop - I know this is 20 years old, but I never watched it until I found it on Hulu this year and it’s up there with Firefly on my list of shows that you have to like if we’re going to be friends. Maybe it’s stances like this that explain why no one wants to be friends with us. See you, Space Cowboy.
1. Real No. 1: You’re the Worst - This show is going to be No. 1 on my list every year until it ends.
Honorable mention: The Fall; Atlanta; Fleabag; Good Girls Revolt; The Get Down; Catastrophe S2.
FBB’s Top Albums of 2016 (in no particular order):
5. M.I.A. - AIM - While I’m guessing this album won’t turn up on many year-end best lists, whatever, I still listened to it repeatedly since it came out. I don’t apologize. It sounds more like the world today than anything else I listened to in 2016. Addressing the optimism on the new album, Maya Arulpragasam, aka M.I.A., told The New York Times, “Rather than just complaining all the time about what’s wrong, I wanted to say, ‘This is what can be right.’”
Track - M.I.A - “Go Off”:
4. Bon Iver - 22, A Million - Justin Vernon’s third album as Bon Iver goes from the mostly-folk of his first two albums to a record that, “constantly mixes distorted and manipulated sounds with natural ones,” and, “... deliberately veers away from pop familiarity,” as a New York Times’ feature on the album described it.
Track - Bon Iver - “22 (OVER S∞∞N)”:
3. The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Third World Pyramid - Anton Newcombe, leader of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, describe the band’s latest release as, “... a four-layered metaphor covering everything from global domination to fiat currency to alien-based conspiracy theories.” In the end, it’s just good old, psychedelic rock music from a band that’s continued to release outstanding records for over 20 years now.
Track - The Brian Jonestown Massacre - “Government Beard”:
2. Of Montreal - Innocence Reaches - With his third album in the last four years, Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes stepped out of the past and let current music inspire him, turning out this latest album, which had him thinking about, “... low end and sound collage” in another shape-shifting entry in the band’s extensive catalog that’s now 14 records deep.
Track: Of Montreal - “les chants de maldoror” - LINK
1. Conor Oberst - Ruminations - “When I first heard the demos, I was a little worried,” friend and collaborator Mike Mogis told Vulture after first hearing Conor Oberst’s solo effort, Ruminations, which Mogis mixed.
“I could hear how emotionally distraught Conor was,” he added. Oberst said the album was, “truly just me playing by myself,” in Omaha, Nebraska, his hometown, where the former Bright Eyes leader landed after a few tumultuous years.
Track: Conor Oberst - “The Rain Follows the Plow”:
Hope you all had a happy New Year. It’s 2017 now. On to bigger and hopefully better things...