Wednesday, November 12, 2003

So here's something which I think serves as a nice counterpoint to yesterday's sort-of-sadfest:

2003 Year In Review

I was thinking about this, and how I'd write it up and post it at some point after Christmas and before January 2nd. But my roommate is snoring and I'm thinking back over this past year, and, you know what? This was a great fucking year. I'm not that excited about stuff that's happening right now, and I don't know if anything super bad-ass is going to roll out between now and the end of the year- I can't think of anything that exciting, as I probably won't end up seeing Endless Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind until next year. Let's start off with the year in movies.

Best movie to come out this year was Kill Bill, fuck you if you disagree. I saw smart movies too: Lost In Translation, American Splendor, Dirty Pretty Things, Man Without A Past, City Of God. And yeah, they weren't as good. Kill Bill was the only movie I saw and wanted to see again that came out this year. In terms of movies that came out in years previous, that I only saw this year, 2003 was an amazing year. I saw Magnolia this year. I saw Punch Drunk Love. The Princess And The Warrior. I saw The Godfather 1+2, Taxi Driver, Chinatown, Harold And Maude, The Graduate, Straw Dogs. Saw Blue Velvet and Slacker. And lots of other movies, my god. I didn't see any Quentin Tarantino movies until this year, actually. I saw them all. (excepting Four Rooms, but including True Romance) You know how to make your summer a good summer? Lots of movie rentals. I hadn't seen any P.T. Anderson movies until this year, and again, I saw them all. Magnolia was the best movie I saw this year. I also saw Pootie Tang this year, and that was a good time, a nice memory. That's more of a high points of this year in my life thing than a high points in cinema thing, though.

Comics: 100% wrapped up, that ruled. That comic made me happy. In terms of stuff contained withing the year, I guess Unstable Molecules was the best thing. I am a dork. League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen volume 2 wrapped up as well, after a crappy beginning. The final issue was kind of weak after the steadily increasing quality of the previous issues, but the twist ending was so smart, so subversive, that I really just like thinking about it's existence. Again, there was smarter stuff I read: David Boring, Jimmy Corrigan, and Goodbye, Chunky Rice. All of those were good, unlike the movies I named as being smart, which were largely mediocre. But you know what wins when I'm picking favorites? Things that made me happy. Jimmy Corrigan bummed my ass out, I was happy that there was a new episode of Home Movies on the night I read it (the lost third season finale, it was beautiful, like most episodes of Home Movies. That was the TV highlight, along with The Daily Show once I found myself with Comedy Central again). 100% was joyful. I kind of already included stuff that didn't come out this year when I mentioned the art stuff, but I also read The Eaters this year, I think. That kicked a lot of ass too. Black comedy about a family of cannibals. There were other good comics, I finished reading The Invisibles, that was OK more than amazing, but still served as a capper to my high school years so it deserves a place in this here roundup.

I read real books as well. Pale Fire, Catch-22, The Stranger, Sometimes A Great Notion, Dubliners, Death Of A Salesman. All of this was when I was reading stuff instead of doing homework for high school. I read Lord Of The Flies for school, that was good too, but proof that the stuff for high school was none too mentally challenging. (Some of these books were pretty easy reading, you can guess which ones, but Pale Fire was a bitch) I also read some Vonnegut this year, and Dave Eggers' A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius. Today I finished Part One of Lolita, I'll probably finish that by year's end. Didn't read anything that came out this year, so this little highlight reel is nothing more than me being self-congratulatory.

Music: Manitoba's Up In Flames is the record of the year, with The Notwist's Neon Golden taking the number two spot. I bought these on the same day. As perfect as Up In Flames is for pretty much any mood, as I'm discovering, for me it is this Spring/Summer. Listening to it in a large room with great acoustics, ceiling fan on, window open, Summer approaching, graduation nearing, tension releasing. The first time I heard Crayon I smiled involuntarily. Just the opening following the preceding track. Neon Golden was a bit more melancholy, but still good. It's been a year for happiness. The stuff that makes me happy is always going to have an edge. I'm thinking the best thing I bought this year to come out in the past would've been The Velvet Underground's Loaded, Fully Loaded Edition. Those first three songs on the first disc... Total joy, my friends.

Oh god, the concerts. I didn't see nearly as many, but let's talk about the ones I saw while living in Philly this Summer. The day after I turned 18, I saw Sonic Youth and Wilco at Penn's Landing, sold cheap tickets by a scalper. I got drunk on my own dehydration and chalked it up to feedback fucking with my inner ear. That ruled. Then waiting, in the nightclub district, seeing a drunk girl being carried by her friends, she losing a shoe, and the the friend saying something to someone about making sure she didn't swallow her tongue. I saw The Dismemberment Plan, FINALLY, at the TLA, the last show on the U.S. tour if you don't count Washington, D.C. which would be the smart thing to do, but let's try to make it more monumental than it was. They kicked ass too. Walking home to Mike's house, feeling alive, talking to two girls who saw the show but I didn't know, we just both liked The Plan. I saw Ween, too. They ruled. Old people in the audience, close to me, me wanting to scream along with "You Fucked Up" into their faces.

Living with my brother, that was pretty cool. Finally feeling relaxed. Walking everywhere. Yeah there was the mugging and my brother was an asshole many many times but let's gloss over all that.

Fucking life, man! Holy shit! I graduated, turned 18, moved to Philadelphia, moved to Olympia and went to college. Met new friends. Left my family behind, which rules, and I recommend it to anyone.

Oh god, and there was that last issue of the school newspaper. Me getting my kicks. The nicest thing I ever did. Pissing off the principal. Fuck all the English class bullshit, which was sad, but that just makes the whole "getting-the-fuck-out-of-high-school" bit so much better, right? It does. 3 on the AP test. Good enough for a fuck you, right? Good enough for college credits, good enough for a fuck you. If no one else in the class had taken the test it would've been so much better, but whatever. Not doing the movie for my senior project, but passing anyway. Making fun of my interim science teacher's rock band. Generally, I didn't get as many teenage kicks senior year as junior year, but at the end of senior year, I GOT THE FUCK OUT. That's such a good ending. What a capper.

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