The year is just about over and while I have a number of films left to see, I’m pretty close to a worthy 2017 top ten movie list.
This week I’ll write briefly about my 20 favorite movies of the year, grouped into four broad categories: Women Directors, Award Favorites, Superheroes, and Comedies. Several movies I’ll mention fall into more than one of these categories, and in those cases I’ll just pick the best fit.
First up is a category I’m thrilled to see well-represented, especially in the year of #metoo: Women Directors.
We’re entering Week Four of Round One of Montauk Madness, just about halfway through the bloodbath that will result in 32 acts who live to fight another day.
Today’s matchup is a funny one, but then any pairing with Eminem was bound to be a little odd. Eminem is the only rapper represented in the contest, a fact that reflects both my general ambivalence to the genre and my admiration for the work of Marshall Mathers.
I feel like I’ve told the tale of my history with the Dave Matthews Band a dozen times on this blog.
In a nutshell: Loved their early stuff, really loved the unreleased Lillywhite Sessions, hated the album they released instead (Everyday), resented the inferior official release of those Lillywhite songs (Busted Stuff) and haven’t really liked them much since.
This song, and the 1996 album it comes from (Crash) represent the pinnacle of my Dave Matthews Band fandom.
After this, they lost me for a bit with Before These Crowded Streets, won me back temporarily with the unreleased Lillywhite Sessions and then disappeared from my radar completely when they officially released the borefest Everyday and the inferior but “official” version of the Lillywhite tracks, Busted Stuff.
I’ve been pretty down on Dave Matthews Band ever since the non-release of The Lillywhite Sessions, the bootleg album that remains their best work even if it never debuted officially. The band put out Everyday and Busted Stuff instead, the former a generic mess and the latter filled with lesser versions of the Lillywhite songs.
2005’s Stand Up didn’t even reach my radar… to this day, I don’t think I’ve heard a single one of its tracks. For all I know it’s a hidden masterpiece, but I believe it was received rather coolly by critics and fans alike. And then the band did nothing for a few years, after which they suffered the death of saxophonist LeRoi Moore, a beloved band member and the key element musically in so many of their best songs.
I’m largely indifferent to Dave Matthews Band these days but years ago, after the release of Crash, I thought they were just about the best thing going. Under the Table and Dreaming, the album that first earned them mainstream success, was fresh and exciting and unlike anything I’d heard before, but Crash took their sound to a whole new level.
That album has one of the best opening lineups of all-time, with the art-funk of ‘So Much To Say’ segueing into the jazz hoedown of ‘Two Step’ all leading up to the gorgeous beyond words ‘Crash Into Me.’