Friday, February 18, 2011

Top Ten (January 2011)

A new top ten. A new year.

From January, no particular order of importance.

1. FORGE. By Laurie Halse Anderson. As noted in last month's top ten, I was all about the previous LHA in this series, CHAINS. FORGE is a tremendous follow-up. I loved, immmediately, the swapping out of narrator. And the story gets richer, more intricate, more fascinating.

2. CLEVER JACK TAKES THE CAKE. I've been a fan of Candace Fleming for many years. And I've been a fan of Candace Fleming/G. Brian Karas collabs for just as long. Fine, fine picture book making here, enough said.

3. CHRIS WARE COVERS FORTUNE 500. And gets soundly rejected. Man this guy's got balls to pitch this. And I love everything about it. To get full zooms, details, and description, you MUST visit this Huffington Post link.

4. THE BEAR WITH THE SWORD. I found this book by way of internet research on Davide Cali. The illustrator, Gianluca Foli, is mad talented. I think I've been missing out big on international pic books and pic book art.

5. ARCHERS OF LOAF. This is a defunct Carolina-based rock band from my college yearz. Julie pulled out some of their old tunes and I got back into it too. Not too shabby. Weird! I just now found out they reunited at the Cat's Cradle in Carborro/Chapel Hill, NC last month. Seems like a lot of bands of this era are reuniting. Fans of mid-90's indie rock rejoice! When "indie rock" meant... well, indie.

6. TROLL 2. Julie was once (still is) a fine connoisseur of horror films and even bad horror films (maybe preferably so). She introduced me to TROLL 2, and it is so, so bad. Unbelievably bad. So-bad-it's-good bad. Then we followed that with this well-made documentary on TROLL 2 called BEST WORST MOVIE. Made by the lead child star of TROLL 2. Pure entertainment.

7. THE OFFICE. You know, I've never been one of those "I prefer the British version" guys. The American edition goes down much smoother. I did enjoy the original British incarnation, but it was just so dark. Anyways, Julie and I gave up on THE OFFICE (American) in the middle of season 5. To be fair, we gave up on TV in general because this was around the time Romy was born. Plus, I think we had a bit of OFFICE fatigue. But after I devoured PARKS AND REC on Netflix instant, I decided to give THE OFFICE another go, picking up where I left off. I was pleasantly surprised. I'd thought they were jumping the shark with the whole Jim/Pam wedding (Julie and I drifted off just before the wedding). Boy was I wrong. This show is pitch perfect. Laugh out loud great. The writing so sustains. Why do you have to leave Michael Scott? How will we do without you?

8. TRUE GRIT. Yes and yes, the Coens and Jeff Bridges have done it again. Not to mention that Hailee Steinfeld and that Matt Damon. Superb.

9. DISTRICT 9. I HIGHLY endorse this movie. Hands down, one of the best things I've seen in recent years. Flawless blend of humor, socio-political critique, sci-fi, CGI, action, fear, compassion, empathy, sadness, exhilaration. Just... WOW. Why'd it take me so long to watch it is all?

10. WHERE'S WALRUS? TRAILER. I'm a big fan of Stephen Savage's illustration. Pic books, editorial, and otherwise. His new book, WHERE'S WALRUS?, looks excellent (I've yet to see it). But this book trailer, ladies and gents, holds a new standard for how great book trailers will be measured. Well done, Walrus.


Paul Hoppe said...

Hey Matthew,
Steve Savage's trailer is awesome! It really goes much further than many trailers. Thanks for sharing!

Matthew Cordell said...

Hi Paul--thanks for stopping by here! Yeah, totally. That Walrus trailer definitely raises the bar on the book trailer.

mcnees said...

Hi Matthew,

My wife Kelly pointed me toward your blog. Great artwork, and great taste in music! I was in Chapel Hill from 91-95 -- the heyday of Archers of Loaf, Superchunk, Polvo, Squirrel Nut Zippers, and about a zillion other great indie bands. Glad to see someone else excited about them making music again!

Matthew Cordell said...

Thanks, mcnees! Yeah, that was a great time and place for music. My friends and I (in school in upstate SC) used to drive up to Cat's Cradle for shows quite a bit. The good old days!

mcnees said...

Weird -- I bet we were at some of the same shows!