Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Best Albums of 2019


10. Two Door Cinema Club - False Alarm

9. Silversun Pickups - Widow's Weeds

8. Mumford and Sons - Delta

7. The Head and the Heart - Living Mirage 

6. Generationals - Reader As Detective

5. Tegan & Sarah - Hey, I'm Just Like You

4. Vampire Weekend - Father of the Bride

3. The National - I Am Easy To Find

2. Metronomy - Metronomy Forever

1. Andrew Bird - My Finest Work Yet

1. Matt & Kim - Almost Everyday
2. Chvurches - Love Is Dead
3. Death Cab for Cutie - Thank You For Today
4. Metric - Art of Doubt
5. Moon Taxi - Let The Record Play
6. The Decemberists - I'll Be Your Girl
7. Pale Waves - My Mind Makes Noises
8. The Rural Alberta Advantage - The Wild
9. Okkerville River - In The Rainbow Rain
10. Belle and Sabastian - How to Solve Our Human Problems

1. Manchester Orchestra - A Black Mile to the Surface
2. Future Islands - The Far Field
3. Mew - Visuals
4. Alt-J - Relaxer
5. The Shins - Heartworms
6. Portugal. The Man - Woodstock
7. Foster the People - The Sacred Hearts Club
8. The National - Sleep Well Beasts
9. Shout Out Louds - Ease My Mind
10. Arcade Fire - Everything Now

1. Radical Face - The Leaves
2. Cloud Cult - The Seeker
3. Islands - Taste
4. The Strumbellas - Hope
5. Tegan and Sara - Love You To Death
6. The Head And The Heart - Signs Of Light
7. The Avett Brothers - True Sadness
8. The Lumineers - Cleopatra
9. Frightened Rabbit - Painting of a Panic Attack
10. Empire of the Sun - Two Vines

1. Mowgli's - Kids In Love
2. Twenty One Pilots - Blurry Face
3. Matt And Kim - New Glow
4. Metric - Pagans In Vegas
5. Death Cab For Cutie - Kintsugi 
6. Belle And Sabastian - Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance
7. Walk Off The Earth - Sing It All Away
8. Mew - + - 
9. Decemberists - What A Terrible World, What A Wonderful World
10. Chvurches - Every Open Eye

1. Future Islands - Singles
2. Passenger - Whispers
3. Bishop Allen - Lights Out
4. Tokyo Police Club - Forcefield
5. The Rural Alberta Advantage - Mended With Gold
6. Bombay Bicycle Club - So Long, See You Tomorrow
7. Spoon - The Want My Soul
8. Foster the People - Supermodel
9. Broken Bells - After the Disco
10. Manchester Orchestra - Cope

1. Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City
2. Radical Face - Family Tree: The Branches
3. Twenty One Pilots - Vessel
4. The National - Trouble Will Find Me
5. Arcade Fire - Reflektor
6. Shout Out Louds - Optica
7. Crystal Fighters - Cave Rave
8. The Sounds - Weekend
9. Tegan & Sara - Heartthrob
10. Little Green Cars - Absolute Zero

1. Radical Face – The Family Tree: The Roots
2. Passion Pit - Gossamer
3. Mumford And Son – Babel
4. Miike Snow – Happy To You
5. Imagine Dragons – Night Visions
6. Two Door Cinema Club – Beacon
7. Metric – Sythetica
8. Dr. Dog – Be The Void
9. Of Monsters And Men – My Head Is An Animal
10. The Avett Brothers – The Carpenter

1. Death Cab For Cutie – Codes And Keys
2. The Sounds – Something To Die For
3. Architecture In Helsinki – Moment Bends
4. Decemberists – The King Is Dead
5. The Strokes – Angles
6. The Head And The Heart – The Head And The Heart
7. Brett Dennen – Loverboy
8. Manchester Orchestra – Simple Math
9. I’m From Barcelona – Forever Today
10. The Rural Alberta Advantage – Departing

1. The National – High Violet
2. Vampire Weekend – Contra
3. Shout Out Louds – Work
4. Mumford And Sons – Sigh No More
5. Mates Of State – Crushes
6. Dr. Dog – Shame Shame
7. Rogue Wave – Permalight
8. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
9. Matt & Kim – Sidewalks
10. Tokyo Police Club – Champ

1. The Sounds – Crossing The Rubicon
2. Passion Pit – Manners
3. Metric – Fantasies
4. Animal Collective – Merryweather Post Pavilion
5. Empire Of The Sun – Walking On A Dream
6. The Rural Alberta Advantage – Hometowns
7. Silversun Pickups – Swoon
8. We Were Promised Jetpacks – These Four Walls
9. Islands – Vapours
10. Mew – No More Stories Are Told…

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Top 20 Television Shows I watched in 2019

My wife and I watch too much tv. But I am not going to feel bad about it because it is something we enjoy doing together. She will not feel bad about it, because I will often give her foot rubs as we watch. No, you can’t make us feel guilty about watching too much TV. That being said, HERE ARE MY 20 FAVORITE TV SHOWS I WATCHED IN 2019:

20. Living With Yourself (Season 1) - Netflix
Paul Rudd is terrific in this short, cooky, little ditty of a show. The humor is dark, but fun, and each episode leads you into deeper and deeper thought about depression and self-improvement.

19. Lemony Snickets: A Series of Unfortunate Events (Season 3) - Netflix
I ranked seasons 1 & 2 of this show very highly in years past. This season, however, just doesn’t catch the flair and comedy feel as the past. Regardless, it is an extremely amusing show to watch as a family and we watched each episode twice, as many jokes are missed your first time through. Massive kudos go to Neil Patrick Harris, who gives the books the on-screen treatment they deserve. I’m sad to see this show go.

18. The Punisher (Season 2) - Netflix
Call me barmy, but I loved this season of The Punisher. It was brutal, rugged, violent and frantic and it was the best superhero show I watched this year. More than a new aged western than a superhero story, the show’s heart beats with each fight scene. It is a flat out sham that there won’t be a third season.

17. Homeland (Season 7) - DVD
This series continues to plow along strong, in spite of some wacky story lines. It is strange to look back at the first season of this show, as it hardly resembles what it has become. Nevertheless, the show is still well made and filled with energy.

16. Shameless (Season 9) - Netflix
Warning: This show is not for everyone. It is crude, profane, vulgar and tawdry. With that said, it is the most realistic look into poverty in America’s large cities that currently exists on television. It is also a show that, even over the course of nine years, continues to get better with age. While William H. Macy’s wife battled court problems this year, he was perhaps giving his best performance in the show to date. Cheers to an upcoming tenth season!

15. The Walking Dead (Season 9) - Netflix
One of my guilty pleasures, this season may have actually risen above my “guilty” title. The overall story writing and quality improved and it became the best season in years. I’m glad it’s back, in a way, but I am nervous it will return to the “nothing ever really happens” story lines that plagued it the years before.

14. The Americans (Season 6) - Amazon Prime
What a fitting, tremendous ending to what has become an all-time great television program. I am a little disappointed in myself for placing it so low, but there were just so many great shows I watched this year. Keri Russell and Mathew Rhys deserve lifetime achievement awards for their acting in this show alone. Will go down as one of my all-time favorites.

13. Killing Eve (Seasons 1-2) - DVD
I was a bit skeptical going into this one, as it looked like something that wouldn’t fit my taste. I was wrong. This show is filled with sleek fight scenes and plot twists and turns that will keep you guessing and coming back for more.

12. Nathan For You (Seasons 1-4) - DVD
Nathan Fielder is a genius. More specifically, a comic genius. He is the smartest comic you’ve never heard of. This show had me cracking up with each more ridiculous lark he pulls on the morons around us. I’m not sure how to even describe his hijinks, other than to say that this fake reality show will keep you rolling for hours.

11. True Detective (Season 3) - DVD
Thank the detective gods that this show returned with a vengeance after a shoddy second season. Mahersali Ali proves, again, that he is one of this generation’s greatest actors in this biting production. While not quite reaching the heights of season 1, this season certainly makes up for the faults of season 2.

10. Escape at Dannemora (Season 1) - DVD
Well, Ben Stiller can direct, that much is certain. This true story was blighting, frigid and compelling. It is also crass and bawdy, so viewer beware. This look at prison life made me ponder the harsh realities that prisoners and prison workers face each day and might be the best prison escape on film since Shawshank Redemption.

9. Chernobyl (Season 1) - DVD
Perhaps the most well made show on my list. This sobering true story kept me up at nights, wondering how this could happen and how it is still affecting people in Russia. It plays out as almost an unthinkable science fiction drama, but ultimately was all real. Secondary plaudits go to the cinematography of Russia, which was also likely the best on my list.

8. Fosse/Verdon (Season 1) - DVD
Another true story that I was hesitant to start. Another true story that I was glad that I did. The love story of a choreographer and a dancer would not normally appeal to me in any way. But the drama was enthralling and their life stories bewitching and I found myself looking more and more forward to watching each chapter of their life unfold.

7. Mindhunter (Season 2) - Netflix
If you enjoy true crime stories, and I know 90% of women do, then you’d enjoy Mindhunter. Season 2 ups the ante on serial killers and the result is an even more engaging ride than the first season.

6. Stranger Things (Season 3) - Netflix
Stranger Things was my favorite show of 2018. It may have been my favorite show this year as well, if it weren’t for five shows that were slightly better. I loved the 80’s mall feel of this season and I felt that the comedy was the best of all the seasons. I hope that this show hasn’t jumped the shark, however, as it is hard to see it continue its popularity at this frantic pace.

5. Cobra Kai (Seasons 1-2) - DVD
The Karate Kid was my absolute favorite movie as a kid. I can say that with 100% certainty. I watched all three films at least 10 times each and I even read the screenplays. I dressed as the karate kid for Halloween on two different occasions. And, here is the kicker, I even wrote a continuation of the story after part 3 ended. Now, nearly 30 years later, my dream has become a reality as the story really has continued. Here’s the kicker: It is even better than the original movies! Despite corny lines and teenage lovey-dovey drama, the show really dives into Johnny and Daniel’s post-karate life. Yes, maybe it is a guilty pleasure, but it is a guilty pleasure I will stand behind.

4. When They See Us (Season 1) - Netflix
I was stunned when the Golden Globes didn’t give this show a single acting nomination, because I feel like it deserves to WIN every acting award. This dynamic and disheartening true story left me feeling all of the emotions. Every episode was like a movie, in and of itself. By the end, you are heartbroken, lost and moved to action. By the very end, you are filled with hope.

3. The Last Man on Earth (Seasons 2-4) - DVD
Perhaps the most underrated television comedy since “Freaks and Geeks.” It has been years since I laughed as much at a television show as I laughed at The Last Man on Earth. In my mind, because of this show, Will Forte is now comedy royalty. Here’s the kicker: The show is full of terrific drama on top of the comedy!

2. Better Call Saul (Season 4) - Netflix
I’m not sure how many more seasons Better Call Saul will last, but I hope it’s at least two. I didn’t think it would be possible, but I may actually like this show more than - gasp - Breaking Bad. Certainly, it has more laughs. I can’t wait to see how the whole thing ties together, but I hope the show’s creators take their time.

1. A Handmaid’s Tale (Seasons 2-3) - DVD
My opinion states that this is currently the best show on television and my opinion is NEVER wrong. I liked season 1, I didn’t love it. I loved seasons 2 and 3. I was glued to every episode. Sometimes, I even would put my phone down to watch what was going on! I am not sure if this could be a “lady” show or not. I don’t care. It’s the best show on television right now and I stand by that until my dying day, or until something better comes along.

The Mandalorian (Season 1/2) - Disney +
Schitt's Creek (Season 5) - Netflix
Game of Thrones (Season 8) - DVD
The Good Place (Season 3) - Netflix
Sharp Objects (Season 1) - DVD
This Is Us (Season 3) - DVD
Dead To Me (Season 1) - Netflix
Black Summer (Season 1) - Netflix
The Crown (Season 3) - Netflix
Patrick Melrose (Season 1) - DVD
Thirteen (Season 1) - Amazon
Outlander (Season 4) - DVD