The Best & Worst of 2003/2004

Journal A & E Editors shell out their best and worst of 2003/2004.

The Best and Worst of 2003/2004

David Missio
Alison Lang
Matt Hartley

Best Movie:
Lost in Translation

Ms. Coppola’s isolating character study was wonderfully simple, featuring an amazing performance by Bill Murray, and the single greatest opening shot in cinematic history.

Dawn of the Dead

Never has a deserted Thornhill mall been so menacing—or so entertaining. DOTD was perhaps the year’s most pleasant surprise: a horror remake that exceeded the original, boasted scary dead babies and portrayed cool empowered women without being patronizing and stupid.

Big FishBig Fish reminded me of The Princess Bride. Both films will forever be doomed to obscurity because they’re too imaginative for mass audiences who would rather see a two-hour torture session, it seems. Do people really think that Mel Gibson is a better director than Tim Burton?

Worst Movie:
Freddy vs. Jason

It’s usually pretty safe to go into a movie with low expectations, because as you walk out of the theatre you’re either pleasantly surprised or smugly satisfied with your adequate pessimism. I walked in with low expectations and walked out with bile in my mouth.

Monster

Note to Charlize: Getting fat, not washing your hair and lurching around like Beetlejuice does not a good actress make. One of the most contemptible films I have ever seen, turning a fascinating story into awkward dreck.

The Corporation

Just because most people agree with your argument and you score interviews with leftist pop icons Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore doesn’t mean you’ve made a good film. When you film every interview subject in front of a black background, its not stylish, it’s boring.

Best Album:
Permission to Land - The Darkness

Yeah, so what if they’re a bit campy and completely rip off all of my favourite bands from the ’70s and ’80s. When the opening chords to “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” comes through my speakers, I clear my throat to prepare for my falsetto in childlike excitement. The first album I ever cared about was Queen’s A Night at the Opera and the only rock star that ever mattered was Robert Plant. Justin Hawkins is a wonderful mix of both.

Fever To Tell - Yeah Yeah Yeahs

I know the whole New York post-punk business is pretty old now but I predict that the Yeahs’ Karen O, with her sexed-up banshee vocals, will have the longevity of Deborah Harry and the street cred of Kim Deal. The Yeahs’ live shows are as drunk and dirty as a witches’ sabbat, and the song “Maps” makes me cry.

The Black Album - Jay-Z

Hip hop has lost its edge and is facing a crisis of character. Enter Jay-Z. In an era dominated by materialistic and misogynistic rappers yapping about their bling-bling and banging hood rats, the Jigga-man has released a soulful, introspective and poignant album, reflecting on his life and career, that stands as a beacon of hope to what hip hop could be. Please come back.

Worst Album:
The Grey Album - DJ Danger Mouse

There’s a reason why the Beatles are still recognized as one of the greatest bands of all time, and why Jay-Z is a recognized name even amongst country fans. To put the music of the Beatles with the words of Jay-Z, regardless of the technical aspects of such a feat, definitely did not merit such congratulatory praise from the artistic community.

Home - Ryan Malcolm

I got a lil’ love ones for Malcolm—I dig his glasses and his stylish lankiness. But my dear boy made the classic Idol-esque mistake of letting other people write his debut album, resulting in the most lobotomized corporate trash I’ve ever heard. Stick to the Creedence covers, sweetie.

St. Anger - Metallica

Metallica is one of the best bands in rock history, and this album sounds like a high school garage band recorded it. People told me this album gets better with time; they’re wrong. The more I listen to this album, the more I realize just how much it sucks. “Invisible Kid, never see what he did, got stuck where he hid, fallen through the grid.” Hillary Duff has better lyrics.

Best Concert:
Jack Kerouac Knapsack Band @ Clark Hall Pub, Mar. 25, 2004

The unquestionable highlight of the 2004 Battle of the Bands was the incomparable performance by the Jack Kerouac Knapsack Band, a group I won’t mind travelling four hours from home to see next year. I had more fun at Clark Hall Pub that night than any other all year.

Danko Jones/The Illuminati @ A.J.’s Hangar, Oct. 8, 2003

Danko will probably never come to Canada again because no one supports his music here. What’s not to like about a man who dubs himself “Mocha Moses” and sings about filthy sex acts? The best rock show to grace Kingston this year, and all of 20 people were in attendance. For shame.

Hawksley Workman @ A.J.’s Hangar, Sept. 24, 2003

I had never really listened to the Canadian version of Bono before I went to his concert in late September, but as soon as he took the stage, I realized what all the fuss was about. No wonder the Europeans love this guy so much—he is everything that it means to be a rock star, and more. If you’ve never seen Hawksley live, you’re missing out.

Worst Concert:
The Unicorns @ A.J.’s Hangar, Dec. 10 2003

Don’t believe the hype. The boys took blasé to a new level of unabashed self-absorption, ignoring the semi-interested Kingston crowd, shuffling through their songs before finally telling us how much we sucked. Unicorns? You suck.

The Unicorns @ A.J.’s Hangar, Dec. 10th, 2003

I have to say, this was a terrible, awful, messy performance, but I loved every minute of it. I would pay any kind of money to see the Unicorns’ slurringly debased live shows. It was so incoherent that we couldn’t even tell when they were finished. How very punk.

The Dears @ Elixir Sept. 18, 2003

I’m sure that this will spurn all kinds of hate mail from the hipster section of campus, but I don’t care. Pilate blew these guys off the stage that night, with a stronger set, more interesting songs and twice the intensity. I don’t understand what all the fuss is about the Dears; guess I’ll never be a hipster. Sigh.

Best Bar:
MyBar

MyBar gave me a place to go, drink and be merry. With some unexpected musical choices coming through the speakers, a consistent bar staff and an owner who worked his ass off to shed the Yesterdays image, MyBar is definitely my bar for when I want to kick back and relax.

The Grad Club

The Grad Club has showcased everyone from Melissa Auf der Maur to Joel Plaskett to Stars on their teeny stage this year. The delicious martinis and relaxed atmosphere alone warrant accolades, but this year’s fantastic live lineups are what made the Grad Club the crème de la crème of Kingston’s bar scene.

Clark Hall Pub

Sure, Clark is a lot of people’s favorite bar, and I’m not an engineer, so I may come off as a wannabe. But I just can’t remember going to Clark and having anything less than a great time. Ever.

Worst Bar:
Alfie’s

I don’t get it. In first year I remember waiting in line with my cool second year friends for hours before getting in and busting a move to Robbie Williams’ “Rock DJ.” Now Thursday hits and I, being the overeager dance machine I am, get in line early ... and the doors never open. Oh well, maybe next week. Alfie’s forever!

Peel Pub

Why this bar is so popular, I’ll never know. The three-floor structure makes me really confused, the service is generally poor, the “dance floor” is a terrifying hell and the lineups are outrageous. If I want to feel disoriented and socially alienated I’ll crawl back to high school, thank you very much.

The Brass

I just don’t know what to make of a dingy pub that fancies itself a trendy nightclub/ meat market, but it’s always filled with the same boring, pseudo-popular crowd. Thanks, but I’ll pass.

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