I realize that we were ridiculously spoiled last year, but I can't shake the feeling that we are heading towards one of the worst years for cinema and music in quite awhile. 2007 was monumental for both mediums, yet I would have gladly sacrificed some of last year's gold for a little more variety this year. Film has been especially disappointing in my view. Nothing outside of probably The Dark Knight has really bowled me over, and that is a kind of film that normally wouldn't have even cracked my top ten, let alone occupy the #1 slot, where it would sit if the year ended today. Granted, there is a lot still coming down the pike to look forward to, particularly The Wrestler and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, but most of this year has been defined by a lot of good, not great, films. I've seen quite a slew of films in the last couple weeks, which I will round up with some quick reviews in the coming days, and while I've enjoyed a few of them, there still was nothing truly eye-opening.
Music has fared slightly better, if only because the last few weeks have been unexpectedly strong. Despite this, I fully expect there to be a lot of left field choices on critic's top ten lists this year. There really isn't that one record, outside of maybe Dear Science, that is a consensus pick. I don't expect a Person Pitch every year, but the dearth of greatness is disheartening. It is interesting to note that a number of my favorite records this year, from Street Horsssing to Laulu Laakson Kukista to Guitar Trio Is My Life, are quite challenging, and hence a great deal more rewarding than something like Devotion, which I still feel quite strongly about, but in just a few short months hasn't aged or demanded much repeat listening. I think my year-end list will bear out some of these feelings, as most of the major releases are behind us. All that remains on my radar for the most part is Max Tundra's Parallax Error Beheads You and Fennesz's Black Sea. Although this year I'd more than happy to welcome an out-of-nowhere triumph to take my headphones by storm.