My favorite movies of 2009

I’m a bit late to the game, but just having refreshed my blog layout, I’m posting this now rather than never. I’ve also been updating my movie records, so here’s my recap of 2009.

The formula:

I watched just 8 movies in theaters in 2009, down from 18 the year before (a 55% dip). In previous years, when preparing my “best of” list, I’ve limited the list to only movies I saw in theaters during that calendar year. This time around, I’m amending that formula to include any movie I’ve watched in theaters or at home, as long as it was released in 2009. For comparison, I’ve starred (*) the 8 movies in the list that I saw in theaters during the calendar year 2009.

The downside to this new formula is that I’m essentially picking an arbitrary date (April 17, 2010) to declare my 2009 list closed; in the past I marked it closed on Dec. 31st of that year. While the old formula makes it easy understand, I simply saw both too few movies in 2009, and too many from that year in early 2010, to not expand the criteria. While purists might complain, I would rather my list be comprehensive rather than drastically incomplete.

The results:

Overall, I felt the quality of movies released in 2009 was up significantly over those released in 2008; this year I found it noticeably more difficult to order the list. Some other notes:

  • While I consider comedy my favorite genre, this is the 2nd year in a row that an action movie has made the top of the list.
  • Last year, my top drama came in at #12 (and it wasn’t even a clear drama); this year my 10 includes 4 dramas; my top 3 includes 2.
  • My favorite actors of the past two years would appear to be Paul Rudd, Robert Downey Jr., and Jason Segel. They are the three actors who have appeared in a top 10 pick in both ’08 and ’09.

The list:

Here’s my list for 2009:

Didn’t like:
19. GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra

Liked:

18. The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard
17. The Invention of Lying
16. Avatar
15. Angels & Demons
14. Funny People*
13. Up
12. Monsters vs. Aliens*
11. Extract*

Favorites:

10. I Love You Man*
9. Adventureland
8. Observe and Report*
7. The Hangover
6. Star Trek*
5. Inglourious Basterds
4. An Education
3. Up in the Air*
2. (500) Days of Summer*

My favorite of 2009:

1. Sherlock Holmes (Top action)

2008 movies of the year

During the course of the year, I watched 18 movies released in 2008. Here’s my list, ranked least to most favorite. Here’s my 2006 recap; I did not make a list in 2007.

I came up with this list in a hindsight view looking back on the year. To see how this list compares to my immediate post-viewing thoughts, you can compare this list to my IMDB ‘Recently Seen’ movies list, where I kept a log of movies as I watched them and ranked them within a day or so of the first viewing.

LEAST FAVORITES:

18. Cloverfield
17. Definitely Maybe
16. Semi-Pro
15. Space Chimps
14. Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay

I LIKED THESE:

13. Zach and Miri Make a Porno
12. Be Kind Rewind (Top Drama)
11. Step Brothers
10. Horton Hears a Who
9. Baby Mama
8. Indiana Jones 4
7. Tropic Thunder

THE BESTS:

6. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
5. Role Models
4. Iron Man
3. Pineapple Express (Top Comedy)
2. Quantum of Solace

MY FAVORITE:
1. The Dark Knight (Top Action)

2006 Citizen’s Media Sites of the Year

Last year, I named my “2005 Blogs of the Year“, and without even reaching it’s second anniversary, I’ve changed the format of this award. Instead of limiting its scope to blogs, I’m expanding this list to include all types of citizen’s media sites- from blogs to podcasts to video blogs to anything that might be similar to any of those. So here we go…

5. Bloggingheads.tv – Robert Wright, Mickey Kaus & Friends -AND- HotAir – Michelle Malkin / These two unique political video blogs are strange bedfellows for a tie on my list. While Bloggingheads is long, talky, and akin to eavesdropping on policy wonks in the hallways of a political conference, HotAir shines because it is short, sharp, and decidedly in the personality of its host, acerbic political blogger Michelle Malkin. Though they’re different, they’re both my picks for best political videoblogs out there.

4. Rocketboom – Andrew Barron, Joanne Colan (partial), Amanda Congdon (partial) / The intelligence quotient of NPR, the snark of The Daily Show- Rocketboom is an acquired taste that I find occasionally fascinating, occasionally annoying, but always interesting and, without a doubt, the gold standard for video blogs in terms of production value and an overall unique voice.

3. TV Squad – Contributors / From show episodes to industry news to rumors and innuendo, TV Squad is the only, essential, indispensable site for anybody who cares about the TV industry or loves to watch. Updated frequently, but never too much, they’re fun yet blissfully unsnarky.

2. Instapundit – Glenn Reynolds -AND- The Glenn and Helen Show – Glenn Reynolds & Dr. Helen Smith / Yet again, the most prolific, and bereft, thinker on the web is #2 on my list. The best blog of all time is now complimented nicely by the addition of an excellent podcast, The Glenn and Helen Show. Reynolds and his wife, Dr. Helen Smith, are a relaxed, witty duo behind the microphones, and their A-list guests and wide range of timely topics are some of my favorite

1. Maine Web Report – Lance Dutson / Yes, Lance is my friend and co-host on Maine Impact, our podcast on Maine issues. But those things have nothing to do with my decision to name Lance’s Maine Web Report my citizen’s media site of the year. Beginning with his pointed, relentless coverage of Maine’s Department of Tourism back in the early winter, through the travails of the lawsuit filed against him, and continuing on through his freedom of access requests and reports, as well as his coverage of a myriad of other issues affecting the people of Maine, Lance put the bite back into Maine media and showed by example truly how deeply the explosion of citizen’s media can effect the status quo.

2006 Best Tools of the Web

Following up on last year’s post, here are my picks for top 5 websites, tools, and/or services of 2006:

5. Dreamhost I switched to this highly regarded web host in February, and haven’t looked back since, despite a series of public troubles during the summer. But if the measure of a company is how it deals with customers during adversity, Dreamhost rose to the challenge and then some with is transparent and extremely honest chronicling of its own troubles via its status blog. Combine that with insane bandwidth, disk space, immensely handy one-click installs, and a set of power features that can’t be matched, Dreamhost is the ideal backbone for anybody working on the web.

4. Google Docs & Spreadsheets If I could find a suitable online PowerPoint solution, I would uninstall Microsoft Office in a heartbeat thanks primarily to Google’s excellent Docs & Spreadsheet solution. While the product needs to improve its import and formatting tools, you can’t beat the convenience and ease of a centralized, tag-based repository for your documents. A shout-out to Writely, the word processing tool purchased by Google and adapted into Docs & Spreadsheets.

3. Google Calendar -AND- 30Boxes – Yep, it’s another Google tool on the list. Although I started out a devout Yahoo! user this year, I had to break away after experiencing 30Boxes excellent, game-changing calendar solution. And while I loved 30Boxes and their commitment to RSS and an open web, I ultimately made the switch to Google Calendar. It’s not the product that 30Boxes cal is, but I expect the product to improve in some great ways in 2007.

2. YouTube What else can you say about YouTube, other than the fact that it helped to usher in the video evolution, made embedded video the standard, further encouraged the open, sharing nature of the web, and played nice with both corporate producers and independent voices? It’s a nostalgia factory, a citizen’s media platform, and a distribution model, and then some, and although many other video sharing sites are out there, YouTube’s cultural influence makes it the clear leader of the pack, and an easy #2.

1. Mozilla Firefox 2.0 #2 on my list last year has risen to #1 with the release of its version 2.0. Firefox 2 adds some excellent features- notably a spell check and tighter RSS integration- and with the advent of the Web 0S thanks to Google and others, maintains its significant role at the very center of the human side of the web.

2006 Movies of the Year

I watched 17 19 20 21 movies that were released in 2006. Here’s the list of films I saw, ranked in order from least to most favorite:

UPDATE: I’ve seen 2 4 more films released in 2006 since I first wrote this post. I’ve integrated them into the list.

I DIDN’T LIKE THESE:
21. You Me and Dupree
20. Pirates Of the Carribean 2: Dead Man’s Chest
19. The DaVinci Code
———-
THE PACK:
18. The Departed
17. Accepted
16. Grandma’s Boy
15. The Lake House
14. Little Miss Sunshine
13. Mission Impossible III
12. The Break-Up
11. Scoop
10. Miami Vice
9. Cars
8. Click
7. Nacho Libre
6. Clerks III
5. Looking for Kitty
———-
I REALLY LIKED THESE:
4. Inside Man
3. Thank You For Smoking
2. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

MY FAVORITE MOVIE OF 2006:
1. Casino Royale

2005 Blogs of the Year

My picks for 2005 Blogs of the Year:

5. Scripting News – Dave Winer / He’s often infuriating, especially in a disagreement. But there’s no doubt that Dave Winer is the unofficial Chief Technical and Philisophical Officer of the living web. While some people find one or two interesting things to say every couple of years, delivering brilliant treatises- in text or audio- appear to come so easy to (and from) Dave via his blog. Better still, he’s one of the rare few who pontficiate, yet also spend an equal amount of time delivering with real tangible actions- or in Dave’s case, software, ideas, and movements.

4. Instapundit – Glenn Reynolds / Reynolds, my top pick for 2004, continues to outshine 99.999% of the blogosphere with his quality, frequency, variety, and intelligence. He’s always said he’ll blog as long as its fun. I only hope 2006 is his most fun year ever.

3. Micropersuasion – Steve Rubel / Steve Rubel blogs in a cheifly friendly, yet authorative voice, and manages to cover nearly every single emerging trend from RSS to online advertising to identity/attention to videoblogging. If I smell a trend on the web, I turn to Steve for updates and insight.

2. Lifehacker – Gina Trapani, et al / Lifehacker came out of the gate in early 2006, capitalizing on the mini-craze of ‘lifehacks’ popularized by Merlin Mann’s 43Folders site (and others). Lifehacker was great early and spent all year getting better thanks to Gina Trapani and later a stable of supporting bloggers. Keeping track of new software, tools, services, and trends can be mind-numbing, but Gina and Co. have made it fun while keeping coverage both deep and varied.

1. Scobelizer – Robert Scoble / Robert Scoble did the almost unthinkable this year. While Microsoft was busy making strides with RSS, open formats, and more, (yet not its browser) Scoble managed to put a human, friendly, aware, and intelligent face on the borg. Best of all, he emerged as an outstanding rolemodel for fairness and tranparency in blogging as he continually proved his will to discuss controversial issues again and again. Scoble’s fairness, honesty (he’s a geek, in case he hasn’t reminded you lately) and his sense of narrative (he’s just one of us, guiding us through Microsoft, and through the software industry) combine to make him the most enjoyable, revealing, and interesting blogger in 2005.

Best of the web 2005

In abbreviated form, here are my picks for the best software, services, and/or tools for the year 2005:


5. Bloglines
I’ll start with a downer: I don’t love Bloglines…yet. But I do like it a whole lot, because it’s a reliable, pretty friendly place for me to store and view my RSS feeds. I like their categorization, feature set (but still long for subfolders), and their tools (the blogroll feed, in particular) are appreciated. In 2006, I hope Bloglines continues to expand by adding true security features, multiple view options, and perhaps a bit of a speed and/or design tweak here or there. Still though, they’re good enough to make my top 5.

4. Backpack Understatement: 37Signals was on fire this year. Shifting from a consulting firm to a product company, they first released a nifty to-list service, Ta-da List, then followed it up in May with Backpack, a service where a person or people can create lists, notes, tasks, reminders, and store and share documents and images. The service has been an invaluable tool for me (and thousands of others), won tons of accolades, and has, with others, spawned a revolution of small, simple, web-based services that is likely to explode in 2006.

3. Flickr Flickr, a photosharing service and community, is hands-down the best, most fun web service I’ve ever used. From it’s super-easy Uploadr tool for, well, uploading your digital photos, to its amazing Organizr tool for sorting, naming, and grouping them, to its truly brilliant and ever-emerging ways to bind its community of users together, it’s the shining example of how joyous online experience can be. The best part? It keeps getting better. Late this year, they’ve added digital photo printing via Yahoo!/Target, by itself a worthy reason for the service’s acquisition by Yahoo! this year.

2. Mozilla Firefox Firefox got big in 2005, and it was well-deserved. The cross-platform browser is my pick for 2nd best of the web this year for its emergence as a (nearly) all-in-one platform for using the web. The best part of Firefox in my view are the extensions. Thanks to a community of developers, I use Firefox as a blogging tool, spell checker, del.icio.us bookmarks manager, I search multiple sources, I bypass website registration, have integrated color hex code picking, and it’s web developer toolbar proves invaluable at my job.

And oh yeah, it’s a sleek, powerful, reliable browser, to boot.

1. del.icio.us The site’s design was ugly until late this year, but that didn’t matter much- del.icio.us’ great beauty derives from its simple, open-ended, RSS-ified structure. Beyond just a go-anywhere, browser-based boomark service, del.icio.us exploded the way we save and share the web by allowing us, the users, to create our own methods and habits for linking pages, media, and ideas. Just a couple of the thousands of ways to use the service: A bookmark service, a link delivery service, a PR-watchlist- even a to-do list, library manager, and, heck, blogging tool, all-in-one. del.icio.us is the best and most inherently revolutionary of the “web 2.0” services because it provides any user the basic tools and inspiration to map their own view of the web.