Best Films of 2012

It’s almost impossible for me to make lists, and yet I compulsively am drawn to making them, or reading other people’s. This is especially true with film, where for me the pleasures of discovery outweigh any sense of satisfaction of “keeping up” with all the new releases. I might have seen about 50 films that were theatrically released this year, which is a tiny fraction of the total, so my list is far from bulletproof. I tend to see a lot of my films at festivals, too, which can skew the experience one way or the other. With all that as prologue, here are my top ten films of the year:

The Master - Paul Thomas Anderson
Only The Young - Elizabeth Mims and Jason TippetThe Imposter - Bart Layton
Moonrise Kingdom - Wes AndersonLooper - Rian JohnsonBernie - Richard Linklater
Indie Game: The Movie - Lisanne Pajot and James SwirskyTchoupitoulas - Bill Ross and Turner RossSound of My Voice - Zal BatmanglijBeasts of the Southern Wild - Benh Zeitlin

  1. The Master (Dir: Paul Thomas Anderson)
  2. Only The Young (Dirs: Elizabeth Mims and Jason Tippet)
  3. The Imposter (Dir: Bart Layton)
  4. Moonrise Kingdom (Dir: Wes Anderson)
  5. Looper (Dir: Rian Johnson)
  6. Bernie (Dir: Richard Linklater)
  7. Indie Game: The Movie (Dirs: Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky)
  8. Tchoupitoulas (Dirs: Bill Ross and Turner Ross)
  9. Sound of My Voice (Dir: Zal Batmanglij)
  10. Beasts of the Southern Wild (Dir: Benh Zeitlin)

And because I’m such a huge fan of documentary film, here is the list of top ten docs:

  1. Only The Young (Dirs: Elizabeth Mims and Jason Tippet)
  2. The Imposter (Dir: Bart Layton)
  3. Indie Game: The Movie (Dirs: Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky)
  4. Tchoupitoulas (Dirs: Bill Ross and Turner Ross)
  5. The House I Live In (Dir: Eugene Jarecki)
  6. ¡Vivan las Antipodas! (Dir: Victor Kossakovsky)
  7. Room 237 (Dir: Rodney Ascher)
  8. Off Label (Dirs: Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher)
  9. The Ambassador (Dir: Mads Brügger)
  10. The World Before Her (Dir: Nisha Pahuja)

Best Music of 2012

I’m realizing that I haven’t done this for a few years now. Although I love music, I find that it takes longer to absorb a new “release” than my perma-shuffling iPod habits can provide, and so I always find myself scrambling during the month of December to attempt some kind of catching up. Ludicrous, of course, when there are thousands of new bands releasing music each year. So the usual disclaimer applies: this is stuff I just happened to buy/download/hear and is in no way meant to be comprehensive.

Beach House - Bloom
DIIV - OshinWild Nothing - Nocturne
Jim Guthrie - Indie Game: The Movie (Soundtrack)Grimes - VisionsDivine Fits - A Thing Called Divine Fits
Now, Now - ThreadsEternal Summers - Correct BehaviorLower Dens - NootropicsJapandroids - Celebration Rock

In list form, if you’re not visually inclined:

  1. Beach House – Bloom
  2. DIIV – Oshin
  3. Wild Nothing – Nocturne
  4. Jim Guthrie – Indie Game: The Movie (Soundtrack)
  5. Grimes – Visions
  6. Divine Fits – A Thing Called Divine Fits
  7. Now, Now – Threads
  8. Eternal Summers – Correct Behavior
  9. Lower Dens – Nootropics
  10. Japandroids – Celebration Rock

Honourable Mentions:

  • Bill Fay – Life is People
  • Borko – Born to Be Free
  • Bloc Party – Four
  • Four Tet – Pink

Just for fun, here are some of my previous lists:

How about you? What were some of your favourites?

Best Music of 2007

I’m not a music blogger, but in the spirit of all the year-end lists that are popping up on proper music blogs, I thought I’d make my own. My criteria were simple. The disc had to come out sometime in 2007, and I had to actually care enough to buy it. I don’t buy that much music anymore, so my list of potential picks was mercifully small. Ranking was difficult, but I decided that if something was pleasantly surprising, it ranked higher than something that was just dependably good. So, here, without any real commentary, are my top 10 from 2007.

  1. Of Montreal – Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?
  2. Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
  3. Okkervil River – The Stage Names
  4. The Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
  5. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova – Music from the film “Once”
  6. Apples In Stereo – New Magnetic Wonder
  7. Modest Mouse – We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
  8. LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver
  9. St. Vincent – Marry Me
  10. Interpol – Our Love to Admire

Outside the top ten:

  • The New Pornographers – Challengers
  • The Shins – Wincing the Night Away
  • Radiohead – In Rainbows
  • Stars – In Our Bedroom After the War
  • Peter Bjorn and John – Writer’s Block

Other great albums that I just haven’t got around to buying yet:

  • The National – Boxer
  • Beirut – The Flying Club Cup

How about you? What were some of your favourites?