Best/Worst 2005-2006


Best Movie: Good Night and Good Luck

The fascinating subject matter virtually guaranteed a decent review for this movie, but David Strathairn knocked it out of the park with his precise, charismatic, and mesmerizing portrayal of legendary journalist Edward R. Murrow. Shooting it in black and white was a fitting and excellent move, with the authentic-to-the-subject-matter lighting and the snake-like billows of newsroom cigarette smoke. Lovely.

Worst Movie: TIE, Dukes of Hazzard and Get Rich or Die Tryin’

When a girl makes a snarky remark about Jessica Simpson, guys like to chalk it up to a sense of personal inadequacy. This is terrifically crass, but let’s just call this movie what it was, boys—a cinematic circle-jerk.

50 Cent is easily among the most simultaneously putrid and hilarious celebrities on the planet right now. I think what makes him so funny is how seriously he takes his own natural “talent.” Maybe the fact that his reverent fanbase approached this movie with the same fervour as Catholics did with The Passion of the Christ is the funniest thing of all.

Best Album: Fiona Apple - Extraordinary Machine

After waiting five years for this album, fans’ expectations were high—and fortunately, they were fulfilled. Apple channels Nina Simone and even Judy Garland, peppered with intricate beats and a blend of strings, electronica and her signature solo piano. Add that to her dizzying rhymes and lyrics so simultaneously searing, stinging, soothing and scintillating, and you’ve got a record to be reckoned with.

Worst Album: R. Kelly - TP.3 Reloaded

This is too easy. “Trapped in the Closet,” supposedly Kelly’s opus, is so rampantly hyperbolic, obscene and lengthy that all you get is a raunchy soap opera that is impossible to take seriously. Consider, for example, lines like “Then I flip back the cover / Oh my God, a rubber.” In the words of R. Kelly himself, “Bitch, please.”

Best Concert: Holy Fuck (opening for Metric) @ Grant Hall, Feb. 28

The lulling hypnosis of the Holy Fuck, helmed by Brian Borcherdt, was among the most pleasant surprises of the year. Not really knowing what to expect, my reaction to their danceable and frenzied show was perhaps indicative of the appropriateness of their moniker.

Worst Concert: Tom Green @ Elixir, Jan. 24

To be fair, I was warned during an interview with Green about the hedonistic mayhem of his show. But I went anyway. I watched Green pour Jagermeister on scrambled eggs, fling them at the meager crowd, then writhe around on the beer-soaked floor of Elixir beneath a barstool, all the while delivering his “rhymes.” While I stayed until the end, all but one member of my “posse” ditched me halfway through, saying they couldn’t take it anymore. And judging by Green’s drunken haggardness, I’m not sure he can either.

Best Bar: The QP

This is an obvious choice. Where else am I guaranteed to see everybody, drink pints of Grasshopper and Strongbow and eat fried pickles? Despite the soundtrack to The O.C. seemingly being on loop, the convivial atmosphere guarantees that I have fun every time I go.

Worst Bar: Philthy McNasty’s

I still can’t stand MyBar, but in order to avoid repetition, let’s go with Philthy McNasty’s. Against all better judgement, I walked into Philthy’s on St. Patrick’s Day—and immediately regretted doing so. It lives up to its name with its garish décor, lacklustre draught selection and bad music, all of which make for a lousy drinking experience.


Best Movie: Capote

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s performance in Capote was so astounding that I saw the film two nights in a row. It’s about time Hoffman won an Oscar. Bennett Miller’s directorial debut should have also won an Oscar, but at least the Best Director award didn’t go to Spielberg for Munich.

Worst Movie: King Kong

It’s a shame that King Kong didn’t live up to its hype instead of piggybacking on the success of its predecessors. Computer-generated graphics weren’t enough to buoy its painfully slow pace. By the time this three-hour “epic” was over, my eyes hurt and I wanted very badly to watch a classic film to counteract the mediocrity that was King Kong. Plot and character development were either non-existent, or too self-indulgent to endure. Not even Naomi Watts or Jack Black could save this disaster of cinema.

Best Album: Animal Collective - Feels

Animal Collective has yet to disappoint me. No matter how many times I play this album, it’s still refreshing every single time I hear it. Feels has earned the band a well-deserved wider audience through their experimental yet accessible sound.

Worst Album: Art Brut - Bang Bang Rock and Roll

Bang Bang Rock and Roll wasn’t necessarily the worst album of the year, but it was certainly the most disappointing. Everyone (including Pitchfork Media) seems to think Art Brut released one of the best albums of 2005. Am I missing something? Bang Bang Rock and Roll just sounds like a collection of derivative post-punk songs. Not to snub the genre, but Art Brut seems to have taken the same formula found in most post-punk songs and make an album based entirely on that premise. There’s nothing original about them.

Best Concert: The Hidden Cameras @ The Grad Club

The Grad Club was packed for the Hidden Cameras, but it wasn’t too crowded to dance. Although I was working the merch table for most of the night, I could still sneak a peek at the band as they blew everyone away, with songs both old and new.

Worst Concert: Metric @ The Homecoming Concert, Sept. 24

Don’t get me wrong—Metric are a great band to see live, but not in a parking lot with hundreds of other people. I remember leaving the show early with friends, because we could hardly see the band, and yes, because we would have rather been at Aberdeen.

Best Bar: The Grad Club

Other than the Sleepless Goat, this is the only place I can find that serves Waterloo Dark—the best dark brew I’ve ever tasted. Not to mention the amazing lineup of shows, yummy food and familiar faces. I really have a hard time finding anything I don’t like about The Grad Club. My Bar

Worst Bar: MyBar is like a mini-meat market for those who don’t want to wait in line at Stages, and I get an uncomfortable feeling whenever I’m in there (which, for the record, is very rarely). Whether it’s the neon lights, the unnecessary plethora of mirrors in the back, or the servers who resemble Barbie dolls, I’d sooner hang out in the A&P than step into a place so reminiscent of the set of Blow.

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