Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Best of 2002.

I suppose, now that 2003 is almost here, that it is incumbent upon me to try to cobble together some sort of list of the best of 2002. I'm at a little disadvantage, I suppose, becaue there's not a lot of disposable income here at the Bacardi household, and seemingly most of that goes for comics...which means my movie viewing and music purchasing has been somewhat slack this year. Now please bear in mind that this is the best of 2002 that managed to come into my orbit. I'm sure there were many, many superior films and albums that came out this year, but if I didn't see em or hear 'em, then I didn't list 'em. Here goes nothing:


Here's a short list of films I saw (rental or theatre) with a release date of 2002: Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Spider-Man, Lilo and Stitch, Mr. Deeds, Scooby-Doo, Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones, Resident Evil, Ice Age, and Brotherhood of the Wolf. Boy do I feel like a geek. Usually I watch more substantial fare, I swear. Anyway, since this list is only 9 movies long, I'll just rank the top 5, and they are:

1. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers- A marvelous acheivement, if you ask me. Epic in scale, but also full of heart. The Return of the King should be a doozy.

2. Spider-Man- Although I could nitpick, this was the best adaptation of a super-hero comic book to the big screen, so far. Sam Raimi is one of my favorite directors, and he did not disappoint.

3. Brotherhood of the Wolf- Imaginative and somewhat over-the-top, but also a wee bit disappointing. Maybe I had too-high expectations. I'd still recommend it highly to anyone who is looking for something different.

4. Lilo and Stitch- Beautifully drawn and animated, and fun in spite of itself.

5. Resident Evil- This one surprised me. While not a landmark in cinema by any stretch, it was a diverting couple of hours, and it had Milla Jovovich, who's always diverting to me in many ways.


1. Wilco-Yankee Hotel Foxtrot Wonderfully eclectic, often sounding like someone locked Hank Sr., Brian Wilson, Neil Young and Harry Nilsson in a room and forced them to collaborate. While not as tuneful as its predecessor Summerteeth, it was still one of the strongest releases of 2002.

2. Coldplay-A Rush of Blood to the Head Most reviewers compare them to U2 and Radiohead, and I suppose that's valid, but to me they sound more like Supertramp produced by Brian Eno. Which means that these stately songs are extremely strong melodically, and sonically experimental. These guys are contendahs.

3.Norah Jones-Come Away With Me Relaxed, lovely, sexy jazz-ish lounge music, in the best sense of the term. She's another artist to pay attention to.

4. Los Lobos-Good Morning Aztlan I was a bit surprised to not find this on any year-end best-of lists. It's a solid, rockish, bluesy effort with strong songwriting and playing and enough sonic experimentation to keep it all interesting. Gambling Gringo, you should get this.

5. Warren Zevon-My Ride's Here While this didn't grab me as hard as his previous album, Life'll Kill Ya, did, it's still a solid effort with a lot of great tunes.


I've never been one to watch a lot of network series TV. Usually when I latch on to a series, it either gets cancelled before the year's over (Action, Strange Luck, and several others) or it airs on cable, like the superlative Larry Sanders Show. So with that in mind, here's the short list of TV shows I liked in 2002, and don't be surprised that a coupe of them are cartoons...

1. Firefly If you've been reading me at all, this should be no surprise, since I haven't shut up about it since I started blogging. Great ensemble cast, imaginative premise and stories, and dismal ratings. Sounds right up my alley. Hopefully we'll see it again someday, somewhere.

2. Kim Possible While most of the programming on the Disney Channel is strictly for pre-teens, this is a clever, fun cartoon about a young lady who's also a world-saving super agent. Great character design and very well animated.

3. Adult Swim The troika of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Sealab 2021 and the Brak Show is some of the most hilarious, surreal, insane stuff I've ever seen. I especially love the Aqua Teens. My god, what kind of drugs do these guys do to come up with this stuff. Home Movies is also often very funny. Except for the Eltingville one-shot, I haven't been too impressed with the other Sunday night programs they've aired. I've never been much of an Anime fan, so I don't watch Saturday nights very much...but I will catch the occasional Cowboy Bebop.

4. John Doe This amalgam of the Prisoner, the Fugitive and the X-Files is often diverting and clever. Deserves a bigger audience than it's getting.

5. Mucha Lucha! I'm not a Mexican wrestling fan by any means, but this silly Saturday morning cartoon about a school for Luchadores-masked wrestlers to us gringos-is often very funny and has a colorful cast of characters.


These are the titles I've enjoyed the most this past year:

1. Jack Staff I've written at length about this great book previously, so I'll spare you. Great art, writing, and soon to be getting more widespread distribution in '03 courtesy of Image.

2. 100% The latest from Paul Pope has gripped me like no other comic has in many years. Cinematic in scope, Pope sets up a diverse and interesting cast of characters, pairs them off, and lets us experience the ups and downs of each. Maybe the best romance comic since the 1950s, and certainly one of the best things ever to come out under the DC imprint.

3. Elektra: Glimpse and Echo I was a bit let down by the resolution, but otherwise this was imaginatively illustrated by Scott Morse in what almost seemed to be a Cubist style. I'm lookng forward to his next project.

4. Lucifer Always one of the best reads in the week it comes out, this Sandman spinoff is the only one of its kind that has come close to surpassing its source. Mike Carey has become one of my favorite writers.

5. Hellboy: The Third Wish Another great Hellboy adventure, clever and even poetic at the end. Mike Mignola can do no wrong.

Well, there it is, for what it's worth! Let me know what you think.

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