Trees. Mountains. Islands.

I finally listened to this; it's great, and (appropriately) pretty much the saddest record I've ever heard. So beautiful, though, and -- after having lived out here for over a decade -- I'm not sure there's any musical artist who better evokes the very specific feeling of the Pacific Northwest. He's like Emily Carr, or Gus Van Sant.
I used to be really into the Microphones (High School Me listened constantly to The Glow, Pt. 2 and It Was Hot, We Stayed in the Water), but I kind of lost track of him after the Mount Eerie record and the band-name switch. So, weirdly, this is the first time I've listened much (or maybe at all?) to Elv(e)rum since moving out to the Pac. NW, and I'm connecting to it (the new stuff and old stuff) in a different, possibly more rewarding way than I did years ago.


At the Edge of Empire

Lucretia Martel's latest film, Zama, is a masterpiece--a strange, immersive, genuinely extraordinary experience. I was going to write something about it, and might still when time permits, but it certainly wouldn't (or won't) be as interesting and insightful as this piece, which should be read together with Film Comment's interview with Martel.


What's in Your Head?

If memory serves, this was the fourth cassette tape I ever bought. But it might have been third, or maybe fifth, sixth, or seventh. Ten and Nevermind were first and second, respectively. Then, in some order: Doggystyle, this Cranberries record (I listened to "Zombie" so much), The Downward Spiral, In Utero, and II by Boyz II Men. I'm confident these were the first seven. At the time, all of them sounded new and exciting, but I can specifically remember how Dolores O'Riordan's voice sounded like nothing I'd ever heard. In the many years since, I've heard countless voices that (not coincidentally) sound more or less like Kurt Cobain's, Trent Reznor's, and (especially) Eddie Vedder's, yet none like O'Riordan's (Shakira, perhaps, comes closest). This fact, coupled with my losing track of the Cranberries after that album that had "Salvation" on it, really freezes their music, tying it – in my mind – inextricably to a very specific moment in time and to my earliest awareness of a thing called popular (or in the language of the time, "alternative") culture. No trifecta of hits by any band sounds more utterly, quintessentially "90s" than "Zombie," "Dreams," and "Linger" -- I must've bought Everybody Else Is Doing It... very soon after those first seven -- and they are still affecting songs when you're lucky enough to hear them in the grocery store, though who can concentrate on picking out healthy lunchbox snacks when something as arresting and vituperative as "Zombie" is on the radio?


Our "Ballot"

Teresa and I put our heads together, coming up with picks we agreed upon as the best of 2017. Inevitably, some of my favorites and some of hers didn't make the cut--in some cases because of films that one of us didn't see, in others because we disagreed (e.g., she was less enamored of Dawson City: Frozen Time than I am, I refuse to cite an 18-episode TV series as a "film").

Here's what we came up with; "winners" pictured.


Call Me by Your Name
The Florida Project
Get Out
On the Beach at Night Alone
The Square


Paul Thomas Anderson – Phantom Thread
Olivier Assayas – Personal Shopper
Sean Baker – The Florida Project
Ruben Östlund – The Square
Jordan Peele – Get Out


Kim Minhee – On the Beach at Night Alone
Brooklynn Prince – The Florida Project
Saorise Ronan – Lady Bird
Kristen Stewart – Personal Shopper
Allison Williams – Get Out


Timothée Chalamet – Call Me by Your Name
Daniel Day-Lewis – Phantom Thread
James Franco – The Disaster Artist
Armie Hammer – Call Me by Your Name
Daniel Kaluuya – Get Out


Elle Fanning – The Beguiled
Tiffany Haddish – Girls Trip
Lesley Manville – Phantom Thread
Elisabeth Moss – The Square
Bria Vinaite – The Florida Project


Willem Dafoe – The Florida Project
Colin Farrell – The Beguiled
Jake Gyllenhaal – Okja
Michael Stuhlbarg – Call Me by Your Name
Pruitt Taylor Vince – The Devil’s Candy


Paul Thomas Anderson – Phantom Thread
James Ivory – Call Me by Your Name
Bong Joon-ho & Jon Ronson – Okja
Greta Gerwig – Lady Bird
Jordan Peele – Get Out


Paul Thomas Anderson – Phantom Thread
Sofia Bohdanowicz – Maison du Bonheur
Yorick Le Saux – Personal Shopper
Philippe Le Sourd – The Beguiled
Alexis Zabe – The Florida Project



I usually don't bother with doing a TV best-of, but given that this past year produced two of the most extraordinary seasons of television I've ever seen, I decided to post a list.

01. The Young Pope
02. Twin Peaks: The Return
03. The Keepers
04. The Handmaid's Tale
05. Game of Thrones
06. Riverdale
07. Master of None
08. Stranger Things
09. She's Gotta Have It
10. Colbert/Kimmel/Samantha Bee/John Oliver/Seth Meyers