Top 10 Albums of 2010

This is a list by Critically Speaking.

For the past three years, I’ve done a Top 20 Albums list. I could’ve easily done the same with this year, as there were double that many albums I was into this year. But as I was compiling the contenders for the list, I realized that there were only 15 I felt strongly about. If I took more time, I’m sure I’d feel that way about at least five more (especially ones released later in the year). But taking more time is something I really need to do less of on this blog (as followers of my top films of the decade list will attest. Only 12 more to go!). So a top ten with five honourable mentions made the most sense, but don’t take that as an indictment of the quality of music in 2010, which was generally high.
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Top 20 Albums of 2009

He likes their eclectic sounds. Either that, or he prefers jewel cases to digi-packs for chewing on.


Some people look at the calendar and think “doing a year end list over a third of the way through the following year is beyond indulgent”. I’m actually one of those people, but if I cared about being indulgent, I wouldn’t exactly be posting my thoughts about my favourite things to an ambivalent audience of dozens, now would I? This list, like all the lists I’ve been doing since January, was delayed due to personal reasons like being busy with work and my newborn son (pictured – already a developing music snob). With this particular list, there was also the practical reason that I spent most of 2009 listening to the best albums of the decade. So I needed these past few months to really experience and embrace the music of 2009 – and once I did, I must say, it was a pretty good year for music. So good that I couldn’t let it go unlisted (of course, my own compulsions probably wouldn’t allow it to go unlisted even if it were an average year for music).
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Bonus Lists: Best TV Shows of 2009

I will spend all of 2010 writing about the past year or decade
If my top ten movies of 2009 list was late, then what does that make these lists? I’ll try not to think about it, especially since I still have another year end list to go. But, since I’ve spent the past two months writing about the best TV of the decade, I’m not particularly in the mood to spend the next two writing about the best TV of the year. But since my need to list all things chronological is near pathological, I’m still going to post a list. Two, in fact.

Traditionally, I write a top ten list of the best shows of the year, be they drama, comedy, reality, talk show, whatever. But lately, there’s been so many great shows on TV, that limiting it ten was too difficult. My compromise? Two top 10 lists, one for comedy, one for drama, just with less writing than usual. Another new twist for this year: in the past, I ranked shows based on full seasons – only considering shows that had aired a season finale within the year, even if that means taking episodes from the previous year into consideration. It made sense at the time, but had the unfortunate side effect of making much of my Andy TV Awards redundant. Also, it prevented me from talking about new shows. And in 2009, there was a lot of great new shows. So these lists are more traditional, January through December 2009 viewpoints of television (which, admittedly, is a little more difficult since some of these shows have been running episodes for two and a half months since the qualifications for this list end).

But enough of all that. I’ve already written more than I have time for. On with the lists!
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Top 10 Movies of 2009


You might say it’s a little late to be doing a year end movie list, but hey, if Hollywood can’t get around to honouring their so-called best until March 7, why should I? While I’ve been busy listing the decade (something I still need to finish doing), the truth is that I didn’t think I’d bother doing a movie list this year. With the birth of my son in June, I just simply haven’t had the time to watch very many this year. To wit, when I posted last year’s list, I had seen 63 films with a North American release date of 2008 from which I made my list. This year, I’ve seen 30, 11 of which I actually saw in 2008 during my trip to the Toronto International Film Festival. Which is why I’m spending Oscar weekend writing a top ten list instead of the Sixth Annual Andy Movie Awards (another blogging tradition that is on indefinite hiatus).

So take this list with a grain of salt. If a movie doesn’t appear on it that you thought might, there’s a good chance I didn’t see it (unless it’s a certain “highest grossing film of all-time”, which I did see… and chose not to rank). Still, I’ve been making year end movie lists since I started blogging, so why let a little thing like “having an informed opinion” stop me now?
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The Fifth Annual Andy Movie Awards – Part One

Notice the subtle changes? No... well I did it anyway.
It’s time once again for one of my signature posts: the fifth (and probably final) Andy Movie Awards, where I select not only who I think should win the awards being handed out this Sunday, but also who should’ve been nominated with those winners. There’s a lot of posts around this time of year where writers predict who they think will win Oscars, and some about they think should win. But unless you’re the only person in the world who agrees completely with the Academy’s nominees, it’s a false choice. What if your winner wasn’t nominated? What if you’re forced to choose the only worthy nominee in a group of junk?

Instead, I write a super-long post that basically amounts to a series of specified year-end lists, not only for the big awards that people care about, but also the other awards that most people don’t. The only Academy Award categories for feature length films that the Andy Awards don’t cover are Best Achievement in Editing (because I don’t know enough about the process to pass judgement, as with most viewers, I only notice editing when it’s bad), the two sound categories (as it’s not something I notice while watching movies), and Best Original Song (because it’s a stupid award. Instead, I’ve substituted it for my own award).

To make my decisions, I’ve seen 66 films that had a North American release date in 2008. The Academy nominated a total of 36 feature length films, of which I’ve seen 27 (75%). When you take out the ten films nominated in the foreign language and documentary categories (only four of which were released outside of LA/NY… I caught three of those), I’ve seen 24 out of 26 (92%), with the exceptions being Defiance (nominated for Original Score) and Australia (nominated for Costume Design). Thus, whenever my nominations divulge from the Academy (other than in those four categories), it’s because I disagree, not because I don’t know. Which brings me to why this very well may be my last post of this nature: I can’t imagine myself finding the time in the upcoming years to watch this many movies again.

So read on for part one of the end of an era…
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Top 10 Movies of 2008


As I did with my albums of the year list, I have to begin this list lamenting the fact that the 2008 year in film was not as good as the 2007 year in film. It was a down year for art in general, as pretty much any critic you read will tell you. Part of the reason for the negativity is the fact that the usual year end glut of awards baiting prestige films were largely disappointing, often ranging from merely solid to outright bad. And since that’s the steady diet critics (and myself) are fed around the time they write year end lists (albeit theirs come out at the actual end of the year, whereas mine waits until February, but I have to pay to see my movies), so it’s not surprising that the same enthusiasm wasn’t there, especially when the year before featured instant classics like No Country for Old Men, Zodiac, and There Will Be Blood.

Instead, the greatness in 2008 came not from the types of movies Hollywood likes to get dressed up for to dole out awards, but from the films fans line up for to buy overpriced concessions to see on opening day, or movies released early in the year when people weren’t paying attention. So this list is still filled with movies I enjoyed quite a bit, and recommend to everyone. As of this writing, I’ve seen 63 films released in North America in 2008, which includes some foreign language films that were released in their native countries in previous years, but doesn’t include some TIFF films I saw that haven’t yet been released (some of which would definitely contend for this list and will probably pop up next year… unless it is phenomenal). Of those 63, these were the best…
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