Thursday, December 13, 2012

Zombie Christmas - The 2012 Christmas Compilation

And here we are again, at the end of another year, where the operative word seems to have been lost--as in friends, loves, youth (hello, 60), elections (nyah nyah) and houses ("Thanks for nothing, Sandy. No Love Ever, Maddy."). Loss and endings. Like for instance the fact that the days are ending sooner is really killing me this year. I can't tell you how many times since we turned the clocks back that my body has said it's midnight and the clock has said 7:30. (Actually I can tell you exactly how many times, because I've been keeping track of it: 37.)

Yeah--a big year for endings: lives, friendships, more lives, maybe even tax cuts for the rich--and we even have the end of the world to look forward to in a week and a half. According to a long-extinct race that was so notoriously smart they could track the movements of Venus for centuries in advance, and so notoriously dumb they never invented the wheel. Which is, like many notorious things, not quite true--little Mayan children played with wheeled toys, if I remember right; it’s just that, when your cities and towns are all connected by cliff-based pathways, a wheel is more of a danger than a convenience.  People who live on a perpetual incline invent cleats, not the wheel.

And the way my, uh, (Maya?) year has inclined to go? Well, it's no surprise that my year-end version of those cleats is a playlist of holiday songs.  This year’s compilation was born even more quickly than last year’s, over a rain-soaked spring-like weekend where I flogged my dying Microsoft laptop for hours trying to get it to load up an internet connection, and trolled through four years worth of discards and downloads for tunes that struck my fancy--or, given that I’m more withdrawn than Bob Cratchit's bank account these days, struck me at all.

The result is below, split up into two downloadable zip files.  As with previous years, please let me know offline if you want these in CD format, or if you want any individual songs rather than the whole kit and kaboodle.  (Note to self: add “Kit and Kaboodle” to your list of Imaginary Rock Bands.)   

Merry Happy, everybody.

Zombie Christmas
The 2012 Christmas Compilation

1.      Zombie Christmas - Emmy The Great & Tim Wheeler
2.      Monsters Holiday - Bobby Boris Pickett and the Crypt Kickers
3.      It’s Christmastime (and I am still alive) - Deep Sea Diver
4.      It’s Christmas, Baby - Ms. Jody
5.      I Ate Too Much Over The Holidays - Lee “Shot” Williams
6.      Santa Bring My Baby Back - O.B. Buchana
7.      I Need A Lover For Christmas - Sheba Potts-Wright
8.      I Need A Man Down My Chimney - Barbara Carr
9.      Ain’t No Chimneys In The Projects - Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
10. New Year’s Resolution - Otis Redding & Carla Thomas
11. Our New Year - Tori Amos
12. All I Ever Get For Christmas Is Blue - Over The Rhine
13. Home For The Holiday - Sugar & The Hi Lows
14. Snowfall Kind Of Love - Ingrid Michaelson
15. Deeper Than You Know - Marc Scibilia & Leigh Nash
16. Christmas In Paradise - Mary Gauthier
17. It’s A Wonderful Life - Henry Travers
18. Wonderful Life (Live) - Kylie Minogue
19. Christmas For Cowboys - Jars of Clay
20. Christmas Time In The City - Mary Chapin Carpenter
21. Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy - Brad Paisley
22. Don’t the Girls All Get Prettier Around Christmastime - Mickey Gilley
23. The Little Hooters Girl - Bob Rivers
24. Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town (Q-burns Abstract Message Remix) - Johnny Mercer with the Pied Pipers
25. Christmas Alphabet - The McGuire Sisters
26. Django Bells - Gypsy Hombres
27. Linus And Lucy - Bela Fleck & The Flecktones
28. Santa’s Midnight Run - The Untamed Youth
29. Santa Is Coming (Ho, Ho, Ho) - The Woggles
30. Santa’s Too Drunk To Drive - The Hot Rods
31. Driving Home For Christmas (Extended Remix) - Benny Royal vs. Chris Rea
32. All Alone On Christmas - Parker Lewis & Matilda Berggren
33. Christmas Day (I Wish I Was Surfing) - Emmy The Great & Tim Wheeler
34. Christmas In the Sand - Colbe Caillat
35. Oh Holiday - Jules Larson
36. Bonus Track - Hers
37. Bonus Track - His

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Movies in brief

Skyfall.  Good; very good.  But still not as good as Casino Royale, which is probably what we’re going to be saying about the next ten Bond movies.  Especially since Daniel Craig is only signed for the next two.  The film does five things at once: it sends Bond through a three-hour action plot that feels like two hours tops, winks at past movies (hello and goodbye, Aston Martin), gives Bond a past (hello, Scotland), sets up the Bondian supporting cast (hello Q and Moneypenny), and creates a modern version of the Bond Villain (hello, Javier Bardem in a bad wig) who can destabilize governments with a single computer and yet still persists in shooting a lot of bullets from big-ass guns that never once hit our hero (hello, Stallone Rules).  As an added bonus, Judi Dench reminds us why she won on Oscar for five minutes of screen-time in Shakespeare In Love, and Albert Finney plays the obvious Sean Connery cameo (supposedly they offered it to Connery and he declined) by performing his own version of an in-joke and channeling Wilfred Lawson’s Black George from Tom Jones

Anna Karenina.  You’re either going to love or hate the directorial conceit that embraces this Tom Stoppard script: all the country scenes (and this version actually has the country scenes) take place in the country; but all the Moscow scenes take place on a huge period proscenium stage, including the railroad scenes and (brilliantly, IMO) the horse race.  Me, I loved it, and not just because for once we get to see all the Levin and Kitty scenes.  I loved it for Jude Law’s Karenin.  The way he makes the man sympathetic is astounding when you think that ten years ago he would have been typecast as Vronsky.  It makes me want to see him play Torvald in Doll’s House opposite Lily Rabe. 

Killing Them Softly.  By boring them to death and making them walk out of the movie theatre thinking they just wasted 15 bucks.  The perfect George Higgins movie, because it’s just as annoying as the book.

Argo.   It’s such a rare pleasure these days to see a movie where you’re on the edge of your seat even though you know the ending.  That’s what this movie is: a pleasure to watch, and in retrospect all too rare.

Lincoln.  Speaking of movies where you know the ending.  Where Argo goes for the excitement of a thriller, Lincoln goes for the excitement of getting caught up in a good novel, which is unsurprising given the Tony Kushner script.  What is pleasantly surprising is that it’s the most bookish thing Spielberg has directed, which may be why his usual bag of tricks is not in evidence.  All for the better, say I.  Other pleasant surprises include Sally Field’s Mary Lincoln, Tommy Lee Jones’ scene-stealing Thaddeus Stevens, and James Spader’s unrecognizable “I’m just having a great old time” WN Bilbo.  And while it seems redundant to say that Daniel Day Lewis is probably the greatest film actor we will ever see in our lifetime, it’s only redundant in the same way that saying Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player we will ever see in our lifetime.  In both cases, the level of the game is raised to stratospheric levels even as they make it look easy.  Best movie of the year so far.  And don’t forget to stay through the credits and see Joseph-Gordon Levitt get the keys to the Beard Cave from his father’s manservant.