Wednesday, December 3, 2008

50th Post: Odds and Ends

I'm a little behind on some of this month's essays, so I thought I'd have some relaxed fun with this post. I'm pleased to note that this is my fiftieth post on Chicago Ex-Patriate, and since I don't see myself commemorating every "milestone" post, this should be a one-and-done affair. However, I already have a plan for this blog's one year anniversary in February, but that is down the line. Also, on a personal note, I'm very pleased with how my writings and contributions are taking shape. I'm still not as "quality consistent" as I'd like to be, but when I started this blog, I simply had no idea where it would be going, content-wise. Thanks to everyone for their readings, comments, and support. My network here is small, but I'm grateful for the impressive writers and bloggers who support this project. The new year will hopefully bring more maturation and variety to my writings.

I don't remember where, but someone once linked an article listing the signs of a bad blog. One of the signs was the inclusion of lists: best ofs, top tens, and so forth. However, some of the blogs that I regularly read have posted these kinds of lists, and the quality was just fine. So, in keeping with the idea of "fifty," I'm attempting a combined list of my "Fifty Essentials," whether they be books, albums, or films. I hesitate to call these my favorites, since that list always fluctuates. However, these are fifty titles that I feel have shaped and influenced me to this point. Enjoy.

1.) Le Samourai by John-Pierre Melville (film)
2.) How To Be Alone by Jonathan Franzen (book)
3.) In the Wee Small Hours by Frank Sinatra (album)
4.) No Country For Old Men by Joel and Ethan Coen (film)
5.) The Great Shark Hunt by Hunter S. Thompson (book)
6.) Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco (album)
7.) Jackie Brown by Quentin Tarantino (film)
8.) The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano (book)
9.) Hail To the Thief by Radiohead (album)
10.) Goodfellas by Martin Scorsese (film)
11.) The Rush For Second Place by William Gaddis (book)
12.) Kind of Blue by Miles Davis (album)
13.) Glengarry Glen Ross by James Foley (film)
14.) The Fortress Of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem (book)
15.) Picaresque by the Decemberists (album)
16.) Amelie by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (film)
17.) Choke by Chuck Palahniuk (book)
18.) Animals by Pink Floyd (album)
19.) The General by Clyde Bruckman and Buster Keaton (film)
20.) The Middle Mind by Curtis White (book)
21.) Z by My Morning Jacket (album)
22.) From Here to Eternity by Fred Zinnemann (film)
23.) White Noise by Don DeLillo (book)
24.) Abbey Road by the Beatles (album)
25.) The Big Sleep by Howard Hawks (film)
26.) The Road by Cormac McCarthy (book)
27.) Give Up by the Postal Service (album)
28.) Nosferatu by F. W. Murnau (film)
29.) Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs by Chuck Klosterman (book)
30.) Come On Feel the Illinoise! by Sufjan Stevens (album)
31.) Le Cercle Rouge by Jean-Pierre Melville (film)
32.) Brief Interviews With Hideous Men by David Foster Wallace (book)
33.) Highway 61 Revisited by Bob Dylan (album)
34.) Rashomon by Akira Kurosawa (film)
35.) Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor (book)
36.) 13 Songs by Fugazi (album)
37.) The Lives Of Others by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (film)
38.) Bloodcurdling Tales Of Horror and the Macabre by H.P. Lovecraft (book)
39.) Blacklisted by Neko Case (album)
40.) Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas by Terry Gilliam (film)
41.) Bambi Vs. Godzilla by David Mamet (book)
42.) The Mysterious Production Of Eggs by Andrew Bird (album)
43.) All the Real Girls by David Gordon Green (film)
44.) Dubliners by James Joyce (book)
45.) Class Clown by George Carlin (album)
46.) Dog Day Afternoon by Sidney Lumet (film)
47.) White Teeth by Zadie Smith (book)
48.) The End Of Love by Clem Snide (album)
49.) Cat On a Hot Tin Roof by Richard Brooks (film)
50.) A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace (book)

On a final note, I normally have a seething hatred for music videos which are literal interpretations of the given song, whether these videos involve the band or are made by a random student filmmaker and posted on YouTube. However, I stumbled across this video for the Decemberists' O Valencia! and was quite pleased. Yes, it's a literal interpretation, but I found it amazingly enjoyable. Perhaps this is due to the cinematography or the dark humor, or possibly both:


Joshua said...

I was quite happy to see Le Samourai on your list, but even moreso to see Le Cercle Rouge. I love that movie.

James Yates said...

Yeah, those are two of my favorites. I should have given Alain Delon a mention in the list, since he does appear twice along with Jean-Pierre Melville and David Foster Wallace.

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