15 December 2008

2008 in Entertainment

It's December and this is a blog, ergo I am required by the Year-End List Act of 2001 to post a blog about the better works of entertainment of the year.  Bear in mind, of course, that I have a fairly limited interest in (and therefore, exposure to) these things.  You will likely find none of my favorites in your list, but maybe they're things to check out.  As always, feedback of any kind is welcomed--including disputes.

Music - Albums
The two albums of the year I couldn't stop playing were Shelby Lynne's Just a Little Lovin' and George Strait's Troubadour.  Hayes Carll's Lost Highway debut, Trouble in Mind, is a rare breath of fresh air (and destined to be ignored by mainstream country).  In the interests of full disclosure, I am a member of the Lost Highway street team, so they send me their albums free.

Music - Songs
Thanks to iTunes and Borders giving away .mp3s every week, I've actually heard a lot more stuff this year than I ordinarily would have heard, left to my own devices.  This is my Favorite Cuts of 2008 Playlist, arranged in no particular order:
  • "Another Way to Die" - Jack White & Alicia Keys (didn't like at first, but it's addictive)
  • "Love Song" - Sara Bareilles (so catchy!)
  • "Cheater, Cheater" - Joey + Rory ("Where'd you meet that no good white trash ho?" That's great writing!)
  • "Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven" - George Strait (sorry, Chesney)
  • "Little Toy Gun" - Honeyhoney (goofy, yet fun; very fresh)
  • "Johnny and June" - Heidi Newfield (walks the line--pun intended--between crass cash-in--pun also intended--and nice tribute)
  • "I Only Want to Be with You" - Shelby Lynne (it wasn't easy picking just one cut from that album)
  • "Honey Bee" - Lucinda Williams (right, like we don't know what she means by 'hav[ing] your sweetness all up in [her] hair")
  • "Girls in Their Summer Clothes" - Bruce Springsteen (sorry, Kid Rock, but this was the best summer anthem of the year)
  • "Outlaw S***" - Waylon Jennings ("Don't You Think This Outlaw Bit's Done Got Out of Hand" reworked as a wistful ballad?  Crazy, I say!)
  • "She Left Me for Jesus" - Hayes Carll (so wrong, yet so fun)
  • "Merry Christmas Baby" - Elvis Presley & Gretchen Wilson (see earlier blog entry on the Christmas Duets album)
Movies
Batman and James Bond both returned in style, and The Dark Knight and Quantum of Solace were both great.  Ben Stiller nailed it with his surprising Tropic Thunder, and Paul Rudd, Seann William Scott and Christopher Mintz-Plasse made Role Models far funnier than it had any business being.  Forgetting Sarah Marshall was one of the most awkward comedies I've seen in a while, but great (though perhaps too much full frontal male nudity for my taste).

Television
Most of my TV viewing this year was Major League Baseball.  Burn Notice continued to be the one show I don't want to miss (I'm already counting down until it returns 22 January!).  Psych continued to be an amusing distraction, more absorbing than it really ought to be.  Moving to USA really helped Law & Order: Criminal Intent, though I'm sorry to see Chris Noth depart.  The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report are still the only things on Comedy Central I like at all.  On [adult swim], I continue to enjoy Family Guy, Boondocks, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Robot Chicken and (God help me) Moral Orel.  Unable to travel, I snuck away vicariously with Samantha Brown's Passport to Great Weekends.  I've also returned to (and gotten my wife into) The Late Show with David Letterman and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.  I used to switch over to Conan, but Ferguson is the one guy my wife gets into, and I've come to really enjoy his show.

Video Games
I spent most of the year working through the three LEGO games for the Wii (LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Adventures, LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Trilogy and LEGO Batman: The Videogame), but the single most addictive experience of my video gaming life has to be Mario Kart Wii.  All you need is a Wii with wi-fi and that game.  You never need to own any other game or console.

Podcasts
Having been hospitalized twice this year with bowel obstructions, I make sure to stay abreast the latest research with Health Talk: Crohn's Disease.  We also got fully into B.J. Harrison's excellent The Classic Tales Podcast, escaping to classic literature via the iPod at night before going to bed.  I still find The Midwest Teen Sex Show entertaining (though, at thirty, I haven't learned anything from it), and I have really come to enjoy and respect Johnny Cash Radio, a weekly hour long show.  I also followed the 2008 Presidential election through podcasts of the debates, campaigns and now through the weekly updates via Videos from the President-Elect.

Internet
Google Chrome became my default browser, and I switched all my stuff over to Gmail.  I have found a lot of great deals on DVD's (far more than I could afford to keep up with) via the forum on DVD Talk.  I have found a wonderful support system on We Are Crohns, as well.  Thanks to Amazon, I didn't even have to go out on Black Friday to get a great deal on Psych: The Complete Second Season.  And, of course, I've started this very blog right here on Blogger.

Books
I read more this year than I ever have (excepting, of course, required reading for class), though virtually none of what I read was published this year.  In fact, the only book I can think of offhand that was a 2008 publication was Cinescopes.  I really stepped up my use of the Oldham County Public Library (and can't wait until the new branch opens in January), and I became engrossed with Half Price Books.  Those places rock!

1 comment:

  1. Also worth checking out on the Travel channel is Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations. He's such a smartass but gritty and honest host in search of culture, people, and food that is real in the region. I crack up every time I watch it, but I also learn stuff. Oh, and it does make me a little hungry. :)

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