My favorite film viewings of 2012

Tue, 2013-01-01 13:57

I watched at least 81 movies in 2012. I didn't think this was a great year for my movie watching, though. Here are my favorites of the year (btw, I don't include It's a Wonderful Life, or other much-watched favorites: this list is for movies I like which came to my attention this year).

Mrs. Miniver (1942) Quite moving in parts.

Wings (1966) directed by Larisa Shepitko. Excellent, sad film.

A Town Like Alice (1956) Some very good acting; a touching ending.

Being Elmo (2011) An excellent documentary on Kevin Clash.

Goodbye Lenin! (2003) I love this very touching film about people trying really hard to protect someone from knowing a reality which would hurt them, and about the loss of a great many peoples' hopes.

Bill Cunningham New York (2010) Fantastic documentary.

The Falls (1980) Perhaps Peter Greenaway's magnum opus, an amazing 185-minute mock documentary.

If I had to pick a single top film for the year it would either be Wings
or Goodbye Lenin!.

Past lists:

My favorite film viewings of 2011

My favorite film viewings of 2010

My favorite film viewings of 2009

My favorite film viewings of 2008

My favorite film viewings of 2007

music summary 2011

Mon, 2012-01-02 12:26

According to, my top twelve played artists (with number of plays) are:

  1. Sufjan Stevens - 199
  2. Esplendor Geométrico - 161
  3. The Mountain Goats - 150
  4. Einstürzende Neubauten - 134
  5. Steve Reich - 85
  6. Iron & Wine - 84
  7. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - 74
  8. They Might Be Giants - 62
  9. Buzzcocks - 62
  10. The Velvet Underground - 61
  11. Ed's Redeeming Qualities - 57
  12. Negativland - 45
  13. Matthew Conroy - 45
  14. Yann Tiersen - 41
  15. Jürgen Knieper - 39

Funny to see myself on the list. I had to check out my RPM Challenge tracks a lot. I've got a lot more Esplendor Geometrico this year. Sufjan Stevens and Iron & Wine were most of my exam grading playlist this year; I listened to a small number of their tracks over and over while grading. It seems somehow better than listening to a wider variety.

Compare it to last year.

best movie viewings of 2011

Wed, 2011-12-28 13:21

I watched over 60 movies in 2011. Looking back over my movie viewing log, these are the ones I think are most worth mentioning:

A Page of Madness (avant-garde Japanese silent film)

Two Women (a painful film, but superbly made)

Abandon Ship! (brutal ethical decisions in a lifeboat)

We Can't Go Home Again (modern, collaboratively produced, very unusual film)

The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (great acting)

Everything is Illuminated (I really liked a film made this century!)

The Letter (Bette Davis is fantastic!)

If Winter Comes (very moving)

The Cross of Lorraine

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (I love the ending)

Spies (favorite silent film of the year)

Il Posto (a great tone to this film)

My Darling Clementine (really excellent story and acting; my favorite western ever, though that's not saying much)

music played in 2010

Tue, 2010-12-28 14:23

Music I've listened to this year, by artist and number of plays.

1 The Mountain Goats 370
2 Sufjan Stevens 171
3 Einstürzende Neubauten 125
4 Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds 124
5 Iron & Wine 114
6 Billy Bragg 87
7 Steve Reich 86
8 Joanna Newsom 78
9 The Pogues 74
10 Joy Division 70
11 Neutral Milk Hotel 66
12 Big Black 56
13 Philip Glass 54
Wire 54

I listen to a lot of music when grading or doing the dishes. When grading especially, I can listen to the same tracks over and over again, which is why Iron & Wine and Sufjan Stevens are so high: I made a short playlist of some of their tracks and played it over and over again while grading this quarter.

The list doesn't exactly match with how much time I spent listening to these artists, since the average track lengths are rather unequal, especially for Philip Glass and Steve Reich, whose average track lengths in my library are about 8 minutes, while for The Mountain Goats the average is less than 3. Still, I think The Mountain Goats would come out on top.

2010 Favorites

Mon, 2010-12-27 22:40

Here are my favorite films watched this year.

My favorite films of 2009

My favorite films of 2008

My favorite films of 2007

favorite films seen in 2009

Sun, 2009-12-27 18:47

I watched a lot of films this year. In particular, I watched a lot of Bergman and Kurosawa films in an attempt to see "all" of them. So there are a few in my favorites of 2009.

  • It Rains on Our Love (1946)
    A possibly hard-to-find early Bergman film with good characters and story.
  • Music In Darkness (1948)
    Another uncommon, early Bergman film. Mai Zetterling is memorably adorable in this.
  • Miss Mend (1926)
    A four-hour silent thriller from the USSR? Yes!
  • Baby Face (1933)
    Barbara Stanwyck is truly awesome in this.
  • Heroes for Sale (1933)
    Quite possibly my favorite film of the year. Great story, great acting by Loretta Young and Aline MacMahon.
  • The Quiet Duel (1949)
    My favorite Kurosawa this year.
  • Johnny Got His Gun (1971)
    An excellent, powerful film.
  • Man on Wire (2008)
    An excellent documentation of one of the greatest events of all time.
  • The Women (1939)
    A terrific all-woman cast.
  • A Thousand Clowns (1965)
    Excellent film about the big compromise required to live in the world. Jason Robards is great as the guy trying to stay true to himself. Barbara Harris is awesome as a woman awakening to a better way of viewing her existence. Great acting and writing all around, excellent cinematography, editing, use of music. Terrific.