The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

Russell Davidson’s All Things Great in 2008

Written by: Russell Davidson, CC2K Sports Editor

ImageA year in pop-culture isn't as homogeneous as our BBC-lent logo can lead to believe. There is music, games, movies, TV shows, books and so many more events to consider. So, to best represent his year living and breathing pop-culture, Russell Davidson came up with a Top Ten list of All Things Great in 2008. The ultimate ranking of all things remotely pop-culture. Here he goes!

1. Brian Wilson in concert.
The old guy is still going strong, touring the country this year (with a new album). Great songs, tremendous songs, brilliant songs, talk about a back catalogue! We (I) love you, Bri. Thanks for all the hard work. An under-treasured American artist.

2. The Alcoholics, a graphic novel by Jonathan Ames and Dean Haspiel.

It’s the story of Jonathan A., writer, his trials and tribulations, his loves and hates, his ups and downs. Written and drawn with understated beauty, it’s a book all can relate to, the journey that is life. Funny and heartfelt.

3. David Tyree’s “supernatural” catch in the Super Bowl.
Against the undefeated and unstoppable New England Patriots, Tyree of the New York Giants makes a jaw-dropping hail-Mary catch, falling down, ball against his helmet, Wow, did I just see that? Giants go on to win, improbably, impossibly. The unpredictable element is what makes sports so compelling, and no one saw that coming, that’s for sure. Can’t make this stuff up.

4. The Hunter S. Thompson double play.
2008 saw a documentary, Gonzo, by Alex Gibney, and a book, Gonzo, an oral biography of the writer by Jann Wenner. Both are worth checking out, as Thompson’s life is interesting, inspiring, comical, and cautionary. Both the book and the movie stress the point that HST was, firstly,  hilarious, and that that should be his legacy. Did make me think that I’m doing WAY too few drugs, though. Buy the ticket, take the ride.

5. Fallout 3, Xbox 360 game.
And a good time was had by all. A tremendous artistic achievement, Fallout 3 uses a crisp husk of my town, Washington DC, as it’s backdrop, eerily accurate and detailed, as you run around doing stuff and killing things. Wide-open play and narrative surprises keep you in grip, and the choices you make affect the games path, whether you be good, evil, or somewhere in between. Throw in a super-cool targeting system and hard-but-not-too-hard game play and  you’ve got the game of the year.


6. Existence of The Simpsons.
All should give praise to the greatest show of all time, still going strong. Nothing makes me laugh like these guys, teary, gut-busting laughter. You want satire, they got it. Slapstick? It’s there. Human drama? Bingo. No stone is left unturned by these pros. The Simpsons is a humor-peak of some kind, no doubt. Makes me proud to be an American.

7. “I Am Iron Man.”
The last line of Iron Man, the movie, was one of the best last lines of any movie ever. I flipped when Downey said that and it went straight to the credits, no bullshit epilogue, no extra twenty minutes. A great choice by director Jon Favreau. Good movie, sure, but GREAT last line.

Image 8. Hard Case Crime fiftieth book release.
You seen these books yet? Charles Ardai, publisher and writer, has put out this amazing line of paperbacks, some reprints of the old masters, some new titles, all with that great 50’s vibe, dames, PI’s, gats, double-crosses, etc. Retro in look and feel, these books hit the spot when the spot is classic hard-boiled prose. And who doesn’t need some of that in their day?

9. My Bloody Underground, the new Brian Jonestown Massacre album.
Yeah, it’s a tough record to get through, yeah, some of the songs aren’t that great, and yeah, Anton Newcombe is off his nut, but still, let’s give the guy some credit. He’s the poster boy for DIY, making completely uncommercial records in Iceland with local musicians, giving his middle finger to the establishment, playing by his own rules. Though I’d love to see him make a “pop” record again, I’ll stick by ya, Anton. Another under-treasured American artist.

10. In Bruges, crime film.
Humorous, low-key, logical yet unpredictable, In Bruges, directed by Martin McDonagh, tells us the story of two hit-men, played by Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, cooling their heels in Bruges. Their friendship and where it takes them drives the movie, and it’s even kind of touching, in a way. All the performances are top-tier, with Ralph Fiennes as a new kind of “heavy,” and Farrell finally showing what he can do. A small, well-done, impressive piece of work.