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GooseRadio Reviews 2010 — See the Top 10 Albums of the Year

Is he a prophet? Is he a genius? Is he the voice of this generation?

No. Kanye West is a megalomaniac rapper, and that is where his influence should logically end. But logic ends where West’s Twitter feed begins. In a year when the omnipresence of Train’s “Hey Soul Sister” caused me to punch myself in the tooth, West’s tweets made as much sense of the chaos as anything else could. Look back now through a glass dimly with Taylor Swift’s biggest bully guiding the way.

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How did you pronounce 2010? Did you say “2010″ or go with the more traditional “2010″?

Many famous people released books this year, from celebrities like the Kardashian sisters to politicians like George W. Bush to celebriticians like Sarah Palin. Unfamous people wrote books as well, but being unfamous, their works did not matter.

With two book releases and a television show in a little over a year, Palin isn’t considering a presidential run in 2012 (wink).

Mel Gibson was talking neither about art nor fashion when he verbally abused his wife in a series of taped telephone conversations that were leaked to the public. To Kanye’s credit, Gibson’s blue rant about fall scarves was met with nary a negative word.

I feel like this tweet sort of covers Joe Biden, in this or any other year.

In his second year at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, President Barack Obama fell victim to the old maxim that people who project a messianic aura and then aren’t messianic tend to put people off. (Ok, that’s not really a maxim, but what are you doing reading maxims anyway? For the articles, I’m sure.)

Senator Harry Reid was nearly the victim of a backlash against the democrat majority, as he barely held on to his seat from Nevada in the midterm elections. It might behoove him to stand a little farther away from the president in the coming term.

With a scuffle at the border in November, the Koreas renewed their sibling rivalry. I know I’m supposed to like one Korea more than the other, but I think they both look the same. Does that make me racist? Let’s move on.

In June, the world mourned the one-year anniversary of child safety in California.

Steve Jobs continued to print his own money with the success of the iPad and iPhone. At this point, hipsters ’round the world have to admit that if they had been offered an apple in the Garden of Eden, they would have stood in line to give up their immortality.

After eight years of dating, England’s Prince William finally proposed to Kate Middleton. Middleton is different than future mother-in-law Camilla Parker Bowles, in that her pictures don’t induce vomiting.

In the life isn’t always fair file, the US and Great Britain lost out on getting to host the 2022 and 2026 World Cups, respectively, when Russia and Qatar allegedly bribed the voting members. Liberals can now feel free to start making their “No more Soccer for Oil!” signage.

Interviewing Kanye West became more difficult after this tweet. Sample questions included, “How ’bout that weather?” and “What WON’T that Brian Williams say?”

Is West Nile Virus still a thing? Do you think mosquitos are upset that swine — the flu, and obesity — had more negative influence on humanity in 2010? Are they plotting an even more devious scheme to become the most reviled life form? I think Keith Olbermann has that title pretty well sewn up.

Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel resigned in October to run for mayor of Chicago, Ill.

Most of America felt this way about witches, too. That is, until Christine O’Donnell unleashed her cauldron, er, campaign for congress. To be fair, she’s still far from the craziest O’Donnell out there. Looking at you, Rosie. You too, Neal.

Only held back by their own spelling, the sign-toting members of the Tea Party influenced the midterm elections with an emphasis on smaller government. Notably absent at most Tea Party get-togethers: tea.

This was proven untrue when WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange released confidential US foreign policy documents and ended his post with “ROFL.”

In April, BP’s Deepwater Horizon started gushing oil into the Gulf of Mexico. It killed legion of animals and filled days of space on CNN. At the time of this writing, BP has yet to move forward with my idea to fight oil with oil.

Despite this tweet’s best efforts, Twitter remained a relevant part of everyday communication in 2010.

PHIL DAVISON. GREATEST POLITICAL SPEECH IN THE HISTORY OF THE SPOKEN WORD. Go listen to Goose’s breakdown of Davison’s breakdown. I’ll wait.

Is Kanye suggesting that God is marijuana? In related news, the state of California rejected a measure to legalize weed, much to the chagrin of Frito-Lay stockholders.

Basketball star LeBron James left Cleveland for the beaches of Miami, and Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert responded with a screed typed out in Comic Sans. Here’s a tip: don’t convey anger in a font that has the word “Comic” in it.

The economy has stabilized somewhat in the first year of the new decade, but for those still unemployed, take solace: the trappings of wealth aren’t conducive to a good night’s sleep.

Just a reminder that Andy Griffith is still alive! Can you believe that? God bless him. And God bless you in 2011.

More GooseRadio Year End Coverage >> Top 10 Albums of 2010

“Meh.”

That was my first reaction.

Brett Favre is returning to the Minnesota Vikings. For the second straight summer, he is swooping in as conquering hero to “have fun out there” and lead his team to playoff glory. The fact he is returning should not come as a surprise. Brett Favre is the NFL’s all-time leader in touchdowns, interceptions, consecutive games started and un-retirements.

The man’s employment status was a touchstone for many NFL fans in the latter half of the previous decade. His “will he/won’t he” flip-flopping raised questions of what Packer fans actually meant to Favre, and what his offseason actions meant to his legacy. In the middle of his third consecutive year of un-retirement, I believe the American sports fan has finally accepted that this uncertainty is part of the Gunslinger’s character, for better or worse. He is a player bound for Canton when -if – he can pull the trigger on a lasting retirement.

While the rest of the country leans toward ambivalence, joyful Viking fans can place their Tavaris Jackson jerseys back into storage. The nice thing about finally coming to accept Favre as indecisive is that his comeback is limited to a purely football issue. And in football, Favre remains relevant.

He had perhaps his best statistical season in ’09, and minus a characteristically boneheaded interception that killed Minnesota late in the NFC Championship game against New Orleans, was the offensive MVP for the Vikes. Favre has certainly earned the right to return, the right to be courted by a planeful of teammates begging him to come back. With no. 4 behind center, Minnesota plans to contend again for a trip to the Super Bowl.

I’ll be in the stands for the Vikes’ home opener against my Dolphins (sorry, born into it) on Sept. 19, and the game will be more exciting for Favre’s presence. His crazy, heroic, and questionable throws are still viable, despite what I said last year before his return (and I’m eating those words now). It wouldn’t be a shock to see the Vikes in the Super Bowl, winning it or losing it because of Favre.

In the meantime, his crazy, heroic (for Vikes’ fans) and questionable returns to the game will be met with that “meh” reaction. Alert me when the regular season starts, and Favre does something that’s not half-hearted: throwing the ball.

The primaries have passed, the special interest dollars have been distributed, the debates have become academic: it’s election night – for Hollywood. Once every year, the brightest stars of cinema, and Sean Penn, assemble to crown the performances of the year. And, depending on how verbose the hosts Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin feel, they do it in a swift 3-4 hours.

Much like the political elections they so often mirror, the Academy Award winners are sometimes determined more on popularity than on substance. A film collects buzz, grows into a critical behemoth, sweeps the awards, and no one bothers to ask if it’s actually a viable movie (looking at you, Titanic). Will that hold true this year?

Multiple nominee Avatar has made more money internationally than the GDP of Suriname. On the other end of the financial spectrum, The Hurt Locker has been lauded as the first truly relevant film made about the war in Iraq, but it only cleared 18 million dollars worldwide. Can best picture voters ignore their industry’s cash cow, patchy in plot though it was, for an indie that most of America hasn’t seen? How many negative Glenn Beck references will be made? Will male members of the Academy fail to vote for Up simply because they don’t like cartoons making them cry? Does Jerry Seinfeld realize he didn’t have to make the Marriage Ref? How many consecutive questions can I ask before you, the reader, tune me out?These stories and more on tonight’s 240 minutes. Continue Reading…

After a bewildering attempt at understanding pubescent psyche during the Teen Choice Awards back in August, I decided to move down the ladder to writing about inebriated adults. So what better place to start than Hollywood’s own kegger, the Golden Globes! I’ll be going moment-by-moment, trying my best to figure out what makes Tinseltown tick.

That is, until Goose removes me for a more popular Alex Whitworth post; have to reach the over-60 crowd.

6:30 p.m. – It’s raining on the red carpet. Kathy Griffin just melted.

6:32 – This news is a few days old now, but several Weight Watchers members fell through a floor in Sweden while waiting for weigh-in. Seeing the cast of Precious reminded me of this.

6:47 – Quentin Tarantino is wearing a black duster on the red carpet. Is it too soon for a Columbine joke?

6:52 – They just came back from commercial too soon, so there was 30 seconds of dead air. Or as I like to call it, a Jay Leno promo. (By the way, if you can’t tell already, this is a Team Conan entry. Be prepared for the onslaught – it will make things easier on all of us).

7:00 – And away we go. Ricky Gervais is hosting tonight, reinforcing stereotypes about British dentistry, British dieting, and British humor, which is tasteless and hilarious. I’m betting he makes at least two Haiti-related jokes, one of which I laugh at against my will.

7:02 – Gervais, creator of The Office and Extras, usually makes for edgy TV, but even he seems blase after NBC broadcast someone getting screwed all week.

7:07 – In the first presentation of the night, best supporting actress in a motion picture goes to Monique for Precious. This movie could be a big winner tonight; it’s about a girl who is impregnated by her father. A real upper.

7:10 – Stop the presses: Tina Fey just lost an award. Toni Collette ends up taking home the Globe for best actress in a TV series. Now how will 30 Rock be honored for belittling Middle America?

7:16 – Ooh, there was a Lindsay Lohan sighting in the crowd. She came dressed as a waitress.

7:18 – John Lithgow can’t find his way to the stage to accept the award for best supporting actor in a TV series. I feel like COPS should do an episode full of stars stumbling out of awards shows and having to walk the line.

7:21 – Sir Paul McCartney: “Animation is not just for kids, it’s also for adults… who take drugs.” It’s easier to get knighted than it used to be.

7:22Up wins for best animated motion picture. Well deserved.

7:24 – The camera pans across the audience: I couldn’t tell if it was the Golden Globes or a DNC national fundraiser! But seriously, folks, moving back to 11:35 is going to be great…

7:28 – I went to grab a snack, so I could only hear this part. The presenter has been drinking heavily, evidently. Or the teleprompter went dead. So it’s either Billy Joel or Barack Obama.

7:32 – Jane Krakowski and Neal Patrick Harris are presenting an award. Did I switch to the GLAAD Awards?

7:35 – Julianna Margulies just wished her son a happy birthday during her acceptance speech. He was at home. You watching this, Child Services?

7:42Harrison Ford is presenting best picture nominee Up In The Air. I went to watch it earlier this year, but accidentally ended up seeing a movie called The Mile High Club. Not the same film, but George Clooney was in both.

7:42 – Harrison’s talking like his mouth is still frozen in carbonite.

7:44 – Gervais insults McCartney, then goes for his first Haiti joke.

7:44 – I laughed.

7:45 – Christina Aguilera and Cher announce the winner for best original song in a motion picture. Judging by its mother, Chaz Bono didn’t need surgery, he/she just needed to wait for time to take its course.

7:52Amy Adams and Josh Brolin announce the nominees for best mini-series. The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien has to be the front-runner.

8:00 – Big surprise. Meryl Streep just won best actress in a motion picture for Julie and Julia. How many rooms in her home are devoted to holding trophies? She puts things in perspective, describing how she’s conflicted about accepting an award while there is suffering in Haiti.

8:05 – Does Microsoft staff their commercials exclusively from the Jewish Polo League?

8:10 – The Globe for best actor in a mini-series is announced by an actor and actress from Avatar, the movie that made us believe liberalism doesn’t have to just be 2-D.

8:14Drew Barrymore is rambling, and she might have a sea urchine on her shoulder.

8:14 – Oh, shoot, it’s wrapped around her back now. She might be a coral reef by the end of the night.

8:17 – I’m not going to say that NBC doesn’t want Conan mentioned tonight, but they just escorted Teri Hatcher out of the building for wearing orange.

8:23 – Gervais is dying up there, a condemnation of the audience more than the speaker.

8:26 – Though he didn’t win for best actor in a comedy series (Alec Baldwin did), Steve Carell is still my favorite. Although the more I see of Michael Scott on The Office, the more I’m convinced Carell’s just playing a white Michael Steele.

8:29 – It’s getting a little ridiculous with the Alec Baldwin love, by the way. I mean, he’s good as Jack Donaghy, but he’s no Stephen.

8:32 – Samuel L. Jackson introduces Inglorious Bas****s for best picture. He’s so much cooler than I could ever hope to be. To be fair, though, I’m white.

8:38 – The best TV series drama goes to Mad Men. Jon Hamm is bursting with joy. Christina Hendricks is just bursting.

8:45 – Wow, first major upset of the night. Chloe Sevigny of Big Love beats Jane Lynch of Glee for best supporting actress in a TV series. I don’t understand the decision: Lynch was hilarious all season in Glee. Not that I watch Glee.

8:45 – I mean, my girlfriend makes me watch Glee. But I’m comfortable about it.

8:50 – Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Bas****s) deserves the win he just got for best supporting actor in a motion picture. I haven’t seen a German this talented since, uh, Johannes Guttenberg? Johann Sebastian Bach?

8:50 – Were all German men in the Middle Ages required to start their names with Johan? Does this make Johan Santana German? I’m confused.

8:52 – If you think any of these lines are cheesy, just check out Waltz’ speech. You’ll never believe this, but he said his globe was now golden. I think you’re supposed to call your doctor if that happens.

8:55 – Generally, I’m on the computer while she watches Glee. It’s just background noise.

8:57 – Martin Scorsese represented Italian culture in the 1970s and ’80s in the same way Jersey Shore does now.

9:05 – In his lifetime achievement award acceptance speech, Scorsese just quoted Faulkner, “The past is not dead. It is not even past.” These are the people telling us who to vote for in elections.

9:14 – Gervais just spouted the best Mel Gibson joke I have ever heard. In terms of Jewish revenge, it was the Inglorious Bas****s of jokes. Mel seems to take it well as he announces the winner for best director, James Cameron.

9:16 – The presenters aren’t the only thing breaking seals tonight. Cameron says he’s keeping his acceptance speech short because “he has to pee something fierce.” Well then.

9:19 – Glee wins for best comedy!

9:20 – I love pickup trucks, grilled steaks and watching sports.

9:25 – The cast of The Hangover is announcing the preview for The Hangover – BUT ZACH GALIFIANAKIS ISN’T UP THERE. That’s like setting the dinner table and not eating.

9:27 – The Hangover wins for best comedy in a motion picture! Now I can justify seeing it five times. It’s art.

9:33The Governator says the only way to make more money than “Ahvadar” is to “be hired by NBC, or fired by NBC!” That joke came in under budget!

9:36 – In a surprise, Sandra Bullock wins best actress in a motion picture drama for The Blind Side. Coincidentally, Mickey Rourke boxed under that name.

9:36 – At some point, I think the plastic surgeons are going to switch Mickey Rourke and Nancy Pelosi’s faces and see if anyone notices.

9:40 – Awkward moment as Robert Downey Jr. tries to freebase the Globe (That joke was in memory of the year 2000, a great year for jokes and celebrities screwing up in ways we may never see again).

9:47 – The Dude just won a Golden Globe. Jeff Bridges takes home the win for best actor in a motion picture drama. It really tied the ceremony together.

9:51 – Julia Roberts, who has looked sloshed for three hours now, is about to present the award for best drama. The anticipation is thick here in Fargo.

9:57 – Roberts was a slurry letdown, and Avatar wins for best drama.

And so it ends. I’d give the show a blood alcohol content of .006, tipsy but not legally drunk. There were some self-congratulatory moments, some stepping over the line, some drama, some tears and one great British comic. Your move, Academy Awards.

Photo credit: cafepress.com, ladyvenoms.files.wordpress.com, nerve.com, mediabistro.com, thebosh.com, scificrush.com

The New York City skyline wasn’t the only thing that changed on 9/11…

Now that we’ve got the obligatory twin towers decade reference out of the way, on to the banal.

Many movies were made during the past 10 years: some were enjoyable, some were not. For every Charlie Kaufman film, an American Pie spin-off was released. Moviegoers saw Jude Law in comedies, dramas and tabloids. And the world spinned sadly on. In the midst of this cinematic milieu, a few films stood out to me – 10 films more than any others. Maybe my opinion doesn’t matter to you, but I can beat you in Scene-It. How’s that for credentials? Without further typing…

10) Memento (2000)

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The decade started with promise because of a shining, complex screenplay from Christopher Nolan (more from him later). Guy Pierce stars as a man who has lost his capacity for short-term memory, hunting down his dead wife’s murderer. Borrowing – and improving on – Quentin Tarantino’s broken chronological style, Nolan crafts a plot that turns on its ear at just the right point.

And speaking of Nolan, he and M. Night Shyamalan had similar promising starts. Since then, their career arcs make a greater than symbol. Shyamalan hitched his star to professional bearded man Joaquin Phoenix, while Nolan kept writing intense, story-based scripts. Crazy to think that M. Night was once considered the bigger director.

Also, Joaquin had a brother named River, and I just listened to the River by Bruce Springsteen. I feel like I need to tell you these things.

9) Catch Me If You Can (2002)

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This ’60s period piece is the happy version of Mad Men. It captures the colors and mood of a bustling era without the excessive smoking and infidelity. Director Steven Spielberg comes out with a much rosier view of the Love Decade than of the ’40s (All his movies about that decade make me cry. Even 1941.) and stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks pull off a good game of cat-and-counterfeiting mouse. Jennifer Garner and Amy Adams make early-career appearances as DiCaprio’s love interests, and Christopher Walken makes an impact in his few scenes: the film is stocked with talent.

But the heart of it is Tom and Leo. Both actors appear to be having a good time, and share a lot in common despite not sharing the screen a lot. Moreover, Hanks pulls off the greatest knock-knock joke of all time. Google it if you’re not offended by awesomeness.

8 – Kill Bill (2004)

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Though Tarantino divided up the film for release, it really is just one movie. Like Tarantino or hate him, his films love film more than any other director’s canon. Kill Bill is an homage to westerns and far easterns alike, with all the idiosyncrasies we’ve come to expect from the director: swords, interesting music choices, Samuel L. Jackson. Uma Thurman embodies the role of Beatrix Kiddo, the bride out for revenge against her ex-lover Bill. The action scenes are impeccably acted and completely over-the-top, the dialogue is rich, vibrant and bizarre. It’s the movie we’ll show people in 50 years to answer the question, “What was the deal with Quentin Tarantino?”

7) Gladiator (2000)

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Russell Crowe is my favorite actor of the decade. This movie is why. In contrast with the personal plot of Kill Bill, Crowe’s Maximus seeks revenge on a macro level. His backdrop is the most grand empire in history. His enemy is the emperor. His weapon is a freaking sword.

He took down the kingdom with a sword. That’s awesome.

I could tell you all about the beautiful cinematography and the powerful acting performances from Crowe and Phoenix, but ultimately, I only have to answer Maximus’ bloodbath question: yes, I’m entertained.

6) Up/Finding Nemo/Wall-E/The Incredibles

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What, you say? There are four different movies occupying the sixth slot! Well, you be the one to walk up to those perfectly animated characters and tell them their perfectly crafted movies didn’t make the list. All of these movies made me laugh more than the typical gross-out comedy, feel more than the typical chick flick and connect more than the typical drama. They’re not typical at all. Pixar is the most consistently excellent studio in Hollywood – animation or live-action.

And the first 15 minutes of Up is the greatest example of showing rather than telling that I’ve ever seen.

5) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

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My indie friends will yell at me for not having it higher. My bro friends will chide me for watching it while listening to The Decemberists. Whatever. Along with The Truman Show, Eternal Sunshine proved once and for all that Jim Carrey isn’t just a rubber face. It also proved Kate Winslet is attractive even with pink hair. With a screenplay by Kaufman, the film delved into the deep end of the pool with questions about pain: if you could erase the bad from your past, would you do it? Never get your heart broken? Never feel rejected? It all sounds so appealing until you realize what those memories take with them – life.

Adam Sandler’s cinematic masterpiece Click also attempted to answer these questions, but wouldn’t you know it, Sandler got bogged down in looking at breasts and making fart jokes. Funny that his lowbrow predecessor was able to maneuver the waters. [Note: this is in no way a slam on lowbrow humor in general, as Carrey's Dumb and Dumber would stand in my top five for the '90s.]

4) Anchorman (2004)

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This position is not earned for cinematography, nor character development, nor moving soundtrack. It is for the fact that, after five years, I still say “Milk was a bad choice” whenever someone comments on the heat. Before sliding down the humor quotient with Talladega Nights and Blades of Glory, Will Ferrell and Adam McKay reached the pinnacle of wacky one-liners and bizarre non-sequiturs with Anchorman: the Legend of Ron Burgundy. Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Christina Applegate and Vince Vaughn all hit the perfect notes with their characters, supposedly satires of 1970s newsrooms, but really just vehicles to utter lines like “Sixty percent of the time it works every time.”

Anchorman is certainly an acquired taste, and won’t top many Best Of lists, but it hits at the heart of what comedy is supposed to do – make us laugh, repeatedly.

“Now you’re putting the whole station in danger!”

“I had ribs for lunch. That’s why I’m doing this.”

“You pooped in the refrigerator? And you ate a whole wheel of cheese? How’d you do that? I’m not even mad… that’s amazing!”

3) Lord of the Rings (2001-2003)

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Nerds are tough to please. They rant and rave when the new Star Trek movie contradicts episode 13, season 2 of the original series (pushes up glasses), and they are forever skeptical of book adaptations. That’s why Peter Jackson’s cinematic take on J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic trilogy was such an anomaly: it was the rare film that transferred the original vision of the books directly to the screen. Major scenes weren’t left on the editing floor, yet the three-hour-plus run times didn’t seem dawdling. Frodo’s saga played out on a scale rarely seen before on the big screen, and Jackson kept his actors in New Zealand to film the trilogy in sequence in similar originality. In the end, the old good-versus-evil tale got a fantasy twist. And the nerds rejoiced.

2) The Dark Knight (2008)

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It was such an enthralling performance that people legitimately questioned whether the character had consumed the man. The Joker, once a camped-up criminal embodied by Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton’s Batman, became an anarchist mastermind in the hands of Heath Ledger. Rightfully so: people fear most what they don’t understand, and the Joker operated without reason, chaos being his only cause.

Ledger’s cackle became the signature sound of the movie that changed the superhero film paradigm. Following his wonderful reboot of the series, Batman Begins, Nolan crafted a Heart of Darkness-like plot that made every situation gray. Ethical quandaries abounded, from Christian Bale’s Batman all the way to Morgan Freeman’s Lucius Fox. All the male leads shine (Maggie Gyllenhaal seemed a little out of her element as Rachel Dawes) and Nolan deftly handles both the action and intellectual elements, but Ledger rose above the rest. Though it is impossible to view the Aussie’s performance without thinking of his untimely death, his acting stands without death’s rose-colored glasses. He deserved the Oscar his family ultimately received for him, and the fact that this film as a whole was not nominated for best picture is an indictment of the entire Academy Awards selection process.

1) Almost Famous (2000)

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This is a movie for music lovers specifically, but it’s also for anyone who loves anything completely.

High schooler William Miller loves rock and roll music, believes it can set him free, and consequently wants to know as much about it as possible. He views rock as an intellectual virgin, not yet jaded by “the business”, and this is what endears him to, and ultimately gets him in with, the fictional band Stillwater. He tricks Rolling Stone into letting him write a story about the band, though he’s only a teenager. What follows is the loss of his rock innocence, but not his love for it.

Cameron Crowe wrote and directed this film semi-autobiographically, so all the details he learned as a young Rolling Stone writer appear throughout. Kate Hudson, Patrick Fugit, Billy Crudup and Jason Lee all give career-making performances (I have hated everything else Hudson has ever done on film, but love her as Penny Lane, the glorified groupie). The movie never drags, and the conclusion is uplifting without being sappy.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that this film deals with two of my favorite things: writing and music, so I might be biased toward it. That being said, Almost Famous was more original, more nuanced, and more personal than any other film of the last 10 years. That’s why, 10 years later, it stands up over all the others made after it.

The Great State Debate

David Gregory —  September 11, 2009 — 6 Comments

Cold, harsh winters, agricultural summers, and overalls. Lots of overalls.

The midwestern portion of the United States of America is known from sea to sea as a unit, “Middle America” to the coastal extremists. In both good and bad instances, the “Heartland” is seemingly conjoined to much of the populace. It is a singular identity. That ends now.

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Ever see an actor in person and feel like they look different on film? Or hear a musician live and find the sounds incomparable to what’s on your iTunes? Well, I just saw an image that looks completely different to me than the photoshopped versions that have existed for months – a photo of Brett Favre in Vikings gear.

Brett Favre Vikings CampAnd, just like those other examples, something feels a little off.

Three weeks after declaring that he couldn’t convince his body to undergo the strain of another full season (and three weeks after I compared him to Meg Ryan on this site), Favre has signed on to be the Minnesota Vikings quarterback. Just hours after getting off the team’s personal jet in St. Paul, Favre was taking snaps at practice, getting ready to start in Friday’s exhibition against the Kansas City Chiefs.

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The Montreal Expos never did win the World Series.

The ‘Spos had the best record in Major League Baseball on August 12, 1994 and were primed to take their talented, small-market approach deep into the playoffs. In 2009, the Expos are now named the Nationals, residing in Washington D.C. and occupying the dregs of the National League East.

Standings aren’t the only thing that has changed in the 15 years since the MLB Players Association staged a strike that cancelled the ’94 postseason. Steroid use became the story of the new millennium, and big-budget clubs dominated the postseason. With such a dynamic shift in the fabric of the game since the strike, it begs the question, was 1994 the baseball tipping point from national pasttime to third-tier American sport? The strike of ’94 was hardly the first time the MLB had ground to a halt: eight stoppages had occurred since 1972. Long-standing distrust between the players and the owners led to a widening gap between expectations, with Commissioner Bud Selig wanting a salary cap and MLBPA executive director Donald Fehr hearing nothing of the sort.

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With our country at a financial and medical crossroads, what better barometer than an award show that features surfboards as prizes? With that in mind, I sat down with chicken, rice and a giant bottle of Dr. Pepper to document the goings-on of America’s future at the 2009 Teen Choice Awards.

Jonas Brothers Concert7:00 PM – TCA Hosts Jonas Brothers “interview” President Barack Obama at a press conference. The producers are using Obama to open a show pointed toward teens. But don’t worry, he’s not a celebrity.

7:01 – The announcer boasts TCA as the “hottest party of the summer.” Well, we knew it wasn’t the GOP.

7:03 – A Youtube sensation named Fred is introduced. I didn’t think you could do the one-name moniker unless you’re a Brazilian soccer star. 7:04 – JoBros open the festivities by performing their latest song – not cool.

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Divorce rumors. Resignations. Catty press release wars with comedians.

Those three stories are former republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s most recent contributions to the American political arena. Less than a year after calling out Barack Obama for a celebrity-based candidacy, the former governor now sits in the tabloid company of Lindsay Lohan and Angelina Jolie. The above list doesn’t ring out “Country First,” but it does give the Republican Party a PR blueprint for candidate failure in 2012.

If the Elephant wants to take back Capitol Hill, they need to compare year one of the Barack Obama (2004) and Sarah Palin (2008) media explosions to see what needs correcting. For a party that is currently stressing deliberate pace in the health care debate, the republicans could learn a lesson from the democrats about going slow.

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