The Best Albums of the 00’s

If you had told me way back when the decade began that at the end of 2009 my top two albums would be by Rihanna and Brad Paisley, I’m sure I would have called you crazy and booted you back into your time machine. My growing fondness for certain pop/R&B and country artists is definitely a development I didn’t see coming and one that has made the last ten years more interesting.

Looking over the ‘best of the decade’ lists in various publications recently, I’m reminded that my tastes fall pretty much dead center between the excessively commercial and the fiercely independent. Nothing on the list below will have anybody scratching her head asking “Where does he find these obscure acts?” But with a couple of exceptions, you’re not going to find any chart-toppers either.

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2009 Fall movie preview

seriousmanThe year in movies so far has been quite solid. We’ve had an instant Pixar classic, the thrilling reinvention of a beloved series, a thought-provoking sci-fi thriller, a charming showcase for the industry’s finest actor and one of the most inventive romantic comedies I’ve seen in years — and that’s just my top five.

But if the lineup of movies yet to come comes close to living up to its promise, we ain’t seen nothing yet. The list that follows is a veritable roll call of my favorite directors (only Paul Thomas Anderson, Steven Spielberg and Alfonso Cuaron seem to have taken the year off), with a few Jason Bateman appearances to boot.

Here are the ten films I’m most looking forward to, in order, followed by an alphabetical list of runners-up:

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2009 Summer movie preview

500daysAfter browsing the EW summer preview, I’ve compiled the following list of 18 movies I want to see over the next four months. The surprising and refreshing thing about this summer is the variety of interesting (on paper, at least) non-tentpole films coming out. My top three are actually small-budget romances.

You won’t find a traditional summer blockbuster-y film on this list until #6. But there are still a fair number of those I’m really excited to see. So if all goes well this could be the best summer movie season in years. Or a complete dud. That’s why they play the games…

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The decade (in music) so far

eminemAwhile back I posted my finalists for the best films of the 00s. Now I turn my attention to the best albums.

This is a harder assignment because I find my musical taste fluctuates a lot more than my movie taste. A band I obsess over today might not get much play 6 months from now. I tend to go through phases where I’ll play all of an artist’s albums for weeks at a time and then shelve them for a couple of months before revisiting them.

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The decade (in movies) so far

gene_hackmanI can’t believe we’re already half a month into 2009. I’m still trying to get used to describing this decade as the 00’s and here we are a year away from sewing it up and entering the 10’s.

We’re also a year away from the inevitable ‘Best of the ’00s’ lists, so I figured I’d go ahead and get a head start on mine. The past nine years have delivered some wonderful films and it’s going to be extremely tough narrowing them down to ten.

For starters, I’ve done the not-as-tough job of winnowing my favorite films since 2000 down to a list of 20. At the end of 2009 I’ll add any standouts from this year to the list and do the hard work of highlighting just ten.

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