Who doesn’t love lists?
We at the B&B were raised on lists, we love them like we love bears, cookies and all things pop culture. This year, we decided to do things a little different — we decided to put a panel together to get their opinions.
So let’s meet the people who will be bringing their opinions about film, music, television, books and pop culture — they are members of our ever-expanding staff as well as friends and tastemakers.
Bill Bodkin [founder, designer], Brent Johnson [founder, creative director], Sue [wife/senior writer]
Logan J. Fowler [senior writer/columnist, “Link to the Past”], Jason Kundrath [senior writer/columnist, “Rath On Record”], Ann Hale [columnist, “Hale Storm”]
Joe Zorzi [new blogger: Interview & Review: The Vinyls], Karalynn Rapp [new blogger: Review: True Grit], Ilona Pamplona [new blogger: Dishing Over Dinner: Anthony Walker], Maxwell Barna [debuting blogger]
Tastemakers & Friends:
DJ Prime [nationally syndicated DJ, owner Blue Monster Talent, www.djprime.com], Kevin C. Borkoski [former owner of Night & Day Magazine, television nut], Victor Reyes [owner/creative director of Therefore Productions, music and film afficionado, www.thereforeyou.com]
Ann Hale: 1. Kick Ass, 2.Toy Story, 3. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hollows, Part 1
Bill Bodkin: 1. Inception, 2. The Social Network, 3. The Town, 4. Black Swan, 5. The Expendables
Brent Johnson: 1. The Social Network, 2. The King’s Speech, 3. The Town , 4. The Fighter, 5. Get Him To The Greek
Jay Kundrath: 1. The Social Network, 2. Inception, 3. Let Me In, 4. The Town, 5. Get Him To The Greek, 6. Iron Man 2, 7. Exit Through The Gift Shop
Joe Zorzi: 1. Get Him To The Greek, 2.Shutter Island, 3. Jackass 3D, 4. Shrek Forever After, 5. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Karalyn Rapp: 1. How To Train Your Dragon, 2. Inception, 3.True Grit, 4.Get Him To The Greek, 5.Shutter Island, 6. Ondine
Logan J. Fowler: 1. Toy Story 3, 2. The Social Network, 3. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, 4. Inception, 5. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Maxwell Barna: 1. The Book Of Eli, 2. Social Network, 3. Cop Out, 4. The Crazies, 5. Inception
Sue: 1. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, 2. The Town, 3. Inception, 4. The Social Network, 5. Shutter Island
Victor Reyes: (No particular order): Inception, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Black Swan, True Grit, How To Train Your Dragon, Carlos, Toy Story 3, Winter’s Bone, I Am Love, L’illusionnist
(I must preface this with I don’t watch as many movies as I would like to … my list is only from what I’ve seen … although I wish I would have seen Black Swan, Never Let Me Go, It’s Kind Of A Funny Story, and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest.)
2. Scott Pilgrim: For a girlie girl like me, the previews did not appeal to me and I was dragged to it by a friend. However, to a indie rock music scenester like me, I was hooked to it’s punk rock sensibility … and Jason Schwartzman.
3. I Am Love: Proves how amazing Tilda Swinton is as an actress … learning Italian fluently with the accent of a Russian is no easy feat.
4. Shutter Island
5. South Of The Border– Being Latin American, I thought it was very surprising that Oliver Stone would want to explore South American politics and portray it in such a “positive light”. I don’t completely think that it is all as pure and exploited as he would lead us to believe; however, it’s good to see them being shown at all.
Ann Hale: Albums: 1. Recovery, Eminem; 2. Blue Sky Noise, Circa Survive; 3. Loud, Rhianna; 4. The Beginning, Black Eyed Peas
Top Albums Of The Year: River City Extension, River City Extension and The Unmistakable Man; Bouncing Souls, Ghosts on the Boardwalk; Slash, Slash; Black Label Society, Order Of The Black; Daft Punk, Tron Legacy: Soundtrack
Top Songs Of The Year: “Cherokee,” Black Label Society; “Holiday,” Vampire Weekend; “The Dog Days Are Over,” Florence & The Machine; “Laredo,” Band of Horses; “Home,” Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros; “American Slang,” Gaslight Anthem; “Repo Man,” Ray LaMontagne; “Barbra Streisand,” Duck Sauce
DJ Prime: (this was also reported to Billboard, fmqb and Tastemakers)
Top 5 Albums of the Year: 1. CeeLo Green, Lady Killer; 2. Drake, Thank Me Later; 3. LCD SoundSystem, This Is Happening Now; 4. BOB, Adventures of Bobby Ray; 5. Girl Talk. All Day
Dance Top 5 Dance Songs of the Year: 1. “Stereo Love,” Edward Maya; 2. “Dirty Talk,” Wynter Gordon; 3. “Take Control,” AfroJack; 4. “Like a G6,” Far East Movement; 5. “Seek Bromance,” Tim Berg
1. April Smith And The Great Picture Show, “Terrible Things” (used in this year’s Weeds Season 6 trailer) off Songs for a Sinking Ship
2. Lissie, “When I’m Alone” off Catching a Tiger (named iTunes song of the year 2010),
3. Jimmy Gnecco, “Bring You Home” off The Heart
4. Lady Gaga, “Alejandro” off The Fame Monster
5. Two Man Gentleman Band, “Franklin Peirce” off Dos Amigos Una Fiesta
Albums: 1. Vampire Weekend, Contra; 2. Local Natives, Gorilla Manor; 3. Arcade Fire, The Suburbs; 4. Best Coast, Crazy For You; 5. Beach House. Teen Dream; 6. Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy; 7. Janelle Monae, The Archandroid; 8. Field Music, (Measure); 9. Readymade Breakup, Readymade Breakup; 10. Gay Blades, Savages; 11. Deerhunter, Halcyon Digest; 12. Broken Social Scene, Forgiveness Rock Record
Songs:“Find My Way Back,” Four Year Strong; “Speakers Going Hammer,” Soulja Boy; “Bambi,” Tokyo Police Club;“Skin: All I Could Save,” Four Visions; “You’re Never Over,” Eminem
Albums (No Specific Order)
Anberlin, Dark Is The Way, Light Is A Place; Wavves, King Of The Beach; Four Year Strong, Enemy Of The World; Ground U, Girls Who Smoke Cigarettes (mixtape); Eminem, Relapse; 6. A Day To Remember, What Separates Me From You; The National, High Violet; Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy; House Of Heroes; Suburba; My Chemical Romance, Danger Days
Karalyn Rapp: (Albums) Vampire Weekend, Contra; Arcade Fire, The Suburbs; Yeasayer, Odd Blood; Robert Plant, Band Of Joy; Superchunk, Majesty Shredding
Sue: 1. “The Dog Days Are Over,” Florence & The Machine; 2. “Sex On Fire,” Kings Of Leon; 3.”Back To December,” Taylor Swift; 4. “Bottoms Up,” Trey Songs f/ Nicky Minaj; 5. “Whip My Hair,” Willow Smith
Erykah Badu, “Window Seat”; Chromeo, “Night By Night”; The Black Keys, “Tighten Up”; The Dead Weather, “Blue Blood Blues”; Kimbra, “Settle Down”; Lady Gaga, “Telephone”; Duck Sauce, “Barbra Streisand”; Vampire Weekend, “Giving Up The Gun”; First Aid Kit, “Ghost Town”; Jamie Woon, “Night Air”; Spoon, “Written In Reverse”; Hot Chip, “One Life Stand”; K$sha, “Your Love Is My Drug”; Marina & The Diamonds, “Shampain”; Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, “Home”; Cee-Lo: “Fuck You”; Janelle Monae, “Tightrope”; Juan Diego Flores, “Orfee et Euridice”; Big Boi, “Shutterbug”; Lizzie, “Pursuit Of Happiness (Kid Cudi Cover)”
Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy; The Dead Weather, Sea Of Cowards; Robyn, Body Talk; Karen Elson, The Ghost Who Walks; The Greenhornes: 4 Stars
1. Gorillaz, Plastic Beach
It opens with a rap from Snoop Dog. Then, there’s synth-pop, dance-pop, a catchy faux cereal commercial jingle, odd-but-amusing cameos from Lou Reed and Mark E. Smith of The Fall — and a semi-reunion of The Clash. What was once a cute cartoon side project of Blur frontman Damon Albarn has turned into a captivating slideshow of sounds and styles. Albarn’s songs on Gorillaz’s third album are always melodic, and it’s always intriguing to see what he can coax out of the famous guests he invites to the studio.
2. Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
He’s a self-professed asshole and douchebag. But he’s also one hell of a musician — not just a cocky rapper or big-mouthed celebrity but a confident, risk-taking musician. I’m not a rap impresario, but I don’t need to be to enjoy how Kanye can capture an audience with only a few piano notes — before flogging himself publicly with half-winking panache on “Runaway.” He has charisma, talent, a knack for spectacle — and he now has the best album of his career.
3. Elvis Costello, National Ransom
Full disclosure: E.C. is my favorite musician of all-time. But he hasn’t made an album I’ve loved in nearly a decade. So this hodge-podge collection of rock songs, folk songs, country songs, Tin Pan Alley tributes and big-band pastiches came as a surprise. The tunes are immediately memorable and the lyrics are touching, with screeds against the Wall Street meltdown (the title track) and a somber reflection on Hurricane Katrina (‘Stations Of The Cross,’ my favorite song of the year).
4. Vampire Weekend, Contra
I can understand why they’ve become a love-em-or-hate-em band. They sometimes seem too precious, too nonchalant, too Lacoste. But their songs are infectious — and, as their sophomore albums proves, more varied than you think. There are splashes of Spanish melodies, XTC-like new wave and, of course, 1980s Paul Simon. They also have the balls to sing about computer fonts without giving a damn.
5. Florence & The Machine, Lungs
The breakout album from this British band makes the list if only for producing two of the best singles of the year. ‘A Kiss With A Fist’ is rollicking, kick-ass, modern-day glam rock. ‘The Dog Days Are Over,’ meanwhile, is the kind of anthem that manages to be catchy AND soaring — the kind U2 used to write.
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Up From Below
They’re a cult-like band with almost a dozen members. They all look like hippies. They sometimes sound like The Beatles; other times like a rocked-out Mormon Tabernacle. And they’re the owners of some of the catchiest alt-pop songs of the year: the softly thumping ’40 Day Dream,’ the sweet ‘Home’ and ‘Come In Please,’ a slinking track that I’m amazed hasn’t been released as a single.
Guster, Easy Wonderful
My love for this Boston band, a favorite of my teenage years, has waned in recent years. Even when they experiment, their music lately has taken on a samey quality. But this is a surprisingly varied collection of well-structured songs with choruses and melodies that immediately lodge in your head. They’ve come a long way from two guitars and a bongo player.
Ann Hale: 1. Dexter, 2. True Blood, 3. Boardwalk Empire, 4. How I Met Your Mother, 5. Walking Dead
Jay Kundrath: 1. The Walking Dead, 2. Boardwalk Empire, 3. Bored To Death
Joe Zorzi: 1. Weeds, 2. Entourage, 3. The Buried Life, 4. Conan, 5. Jersey Shore
Karalyn Rapp: 1. Modern Family, 2. Breaking Bad, 3. Party Down, 4. 30 Rock, 5. True Blood
Kevin Borkoski: 1. Breaking Bad, 2. Community, 3. Rubicon, 4. The Walking Dead, 5. Modern Family
Maxwell Barna: 1. The Walking Dead, 2. Boardwalk Empire, 3. Superjail, 4. Dexter, 5. How I Met Your Mother
Sue: 1.Modern Family, 2.Watch What Happens Live, 3.Tabatha’s Salon Takeover, 4. Boardwalk Empire, 5. The Walking Dead
Victor Reyes: Adventure Time, Boardwalk Empire, 30 Rock, Modern Family, Lost, Fringe, Justified, Raising Hope, Breaking Bad
Brent Johnson: 1. Community; 2. Parks & Recreation; 3. The Walking Dead; 4. The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien; 5. VH1 Classic’s That Metal Show
“I rarely watch TV. And that’s a shame because there are some really amazing series out there. I’ve seen exactly one episode of Dexter ever, and perhaps a one-and-a-half episodes of Lost. Despite the urging of many friends, I rarely can find the time. But 2010 was the first year I was hooked on a few series on my own accord. And I mean hooked.”
These words from Jay Kundrath, perfectly summarize my TV experience in 2011. I have hijacked sections from blogs I’ve written in the past to describe my feelings on TV in ’10.
1. Boardwalk Empire: Was the world ready for another look at the seedy underbelly of the boardwalks of New Jersey? Well, if MTV’s Jersey Shore showed us anything, it’s that the world needs to see a really well-written, well-acted and terrifically engaging show about the seedy world of the Jersey Shore. After watching the pilot it was evident that the series would deftly blend the potent violence and sexuality of The Sopranos with the amazingly nuanced historical accuracy and dramatic polish of Mad Men — and it did it with more style, panache and incredible acting than both series.
2. The Walking Dead: The show is another brilliant work from AMC’s Original Series department. Shot in brilliant 16mm film, The Walking Dead is better than your typical zombie film. While it maintains the gore factor of your classic zombie flick (pushing the envelope for cable TV violence, even if it airs at 10 p.m.), The Walking Dead has the same quality that makes AMC’s other juggernaut Mad Men so good: the human drama.
3. Modern Family: Looking for the best comedy on TV? Then you have to tune in every Wednesday at 9 p.m. on ABC and watch Modern Family. It’s a smart, honest and hilarious look at three very different, hilariously dysfunctional, neurotic and in the end extremely loveable. The laughs come a mile a minute and it’s actually a smart show. It doesn’t go for the cheap laughs a la Two And A Half Men and it doesn’t go for the typical “I Hate Being Married, But I Guess I Love You” shtick like on ABC’s The Middle.
4. Mad Men: If the show focused solely on the times and trials charming rascal/ad exec Don Draper, it would be terrific. But writer/creator Matthew Weiner (formerly of The Sopranos) has created a world where every character is vital, where every prop is integral and every line delivered has some sort of ramification. Characters come and go, sometimes not seen for weeks at a time, but their storylines are never forgotten and they are resolved (or not and for a good reason) by the end of the season. Weiner seamlessly integrates major political issues of the time and product placement (sometimes tongue-in-cheek) into storylines.
5. Man vs. Food: My newest foodie TV favorite is Man vs. Food on the Travel Channel. This is the antithesis to Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. Same premise — foodie travels the country looking for great food. However, Adam Richman looks for the best pig-out food. And boy does this show make me want to become fat again. It’s ridiculous but so much fun to watch. Richman, our host, is the main reason this show works. His boyish boisterousness, everyman quality and his unabashed love of food makes you root for him during every competition.
We don’t often dabble into the literary side of things on the B&B, but we’re looking to change all that. My wife was an avid reader this summer and these were some of the best … and worst, of the hardcovers that she picked up this year. Not all of them are brand spanking new, but they were extremely relevant in 2010.
1. The Passage, Justin Cronin (awesome)
2. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo & The Girl Who Played With Fire, Stieg Larsson (phenomenal)
3. Tell-All, Chuck Palahniuk (disappointing)
4. Imperial Bedrooms, Bret Easton Ellis (unnecessary)
5. Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert (couldn’t even finish this self-obsessed, whiny, self-indulgent mess)