'Tis the season for Top Ten lists, and since taking over as CL's News & Politics editor back in the fall of 2009, I've taken advantage of my platform to post my favorites of the year in movies, music and books, the stuff that keeps me going. The stuff that matters.
Beginning with the caveat that some of the most lauded films of the year have yet to open in Tampa Bay (American Hustle, The Wolf of Wall Street, Inside Llewyn Davis), here goes, beginning with my favorite movies:
1) All is Lost director by J.C. Chandor
2) MUD directed by Jeff Nichols
3) 12 Years a Slave directed by Steve McQueen
4) Fruitvale Station directed by Ryan Coogler
5) Disconnected by Henry-Alex Rubin
6) In a world...directed by Lake Bell
7) Kill Your Darlings directed by John Krokidas
8) Gravity directed by Alfonso Cuaron
9) Blue is the Warmest Color directed by Abdellatif Kechiche
10) Prisoners directed by Denis Villeneuve
10) What Maisie Knew directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel
Yes I cheated with two films tying at number ten.
When it comes to books, I fear I might be missing a title or two. That's what happens when you put your books in storage as I did a few months ago when I moved out of my Ybor City-based home and relocated to California for nearly two months. But here's my list, to the best of my recollection, and in no particular order.
The Searchers by Glenn Frankel
Dirty Love by Andre Debus III
The Love Affairs of Nathanial P Adelle Waldman
The Unwinding George Packer
The Goldfinch Donna Tartt
The Interestings Meg Wolitizer
Going Clear Lawrence Wright
This Town Mark Leibovich
Tampa Allisa Nutting
Autobiography by Morrissey
As for music, I always like to reference highlights and not necessarily albums per se, though I'm now old-school in the respect that I still actively buy CD's (and too many online because our few existing record stores in Tampa and St. Pete don't always have the newest products).
Music events of the year
1) Arcade Fire Reflecktor
2) My Bloody Valentine MBV
3) Johnny Marr’s entire performance at Coachella, April 17 but especially “How Soon is Now?”
4) Kurt Vile Wakin’ on a Pretty Daze
5) Wild Nothing Nocturne (technically a 2012 release)
6) Best Coast at Gasparilla Music Festival, March
7) Beach House at Coachella April 17
8) Phantogram at the Treasure Island Music Festival in San Francisco October 19
9) The National Trouble Will Find Me
10) Washed Out — “It Feels All Right”
And last but not least, one of the best experiences I had this year in the arts was actually a play I saw in New York City earlier this winter while I was celebrating my birthday. It was the 50th year revival of Edward Albee's classic Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and it was electrifying. I was thrilled to see that all of the cast members were nominated for Tony's, and that lead actor Tracy Letts won Best Actor. What a phenomenon that he is, best known for his award-winning plays (like August:Osage County, being released as a film early next year).