An Alternate Approach to Best of the Year Lists

As I see the best of the year lists popping up, I once again think about another approach I wish critics would employ–namely, instead of identifying the best works relative to other works within a given year, identify the works in a given year that compare favorably with the all-time great works. One drawback here is that none of the works may meet this criterion. For me, I don’t see this as a drawback. Here’s the reason why (and this will explain my overall mindset with regard to this topic).

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How Was Barnes and Noble Able to Turn Things Around?

Barnes and Noble is doing so well financially that they plan to open thirty new stores in 2023. That caught my attention, and I think it’s great news. Why is the store thriving? That’s the question music critic, Ted Gioia, tries to answer in this post. I agree with some of the reasons he cites (e.g., appointing a better CEO who decentralized decision making), but I’m dissatisfied with the overarching reason he offers–namely, that the new CEO loves books.

In this thread, I’ll explain the reason I feel this way, as well as offer an alternate explanation that seems more compelling. (In spite of this slight disagreement, I recommend reading his post.) OK, let’s begin.

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Sight and Sound’s 2022 All-Time Greatest Movie List

For most of my adult life, the subject of all-time great movies interested me a lot, but in the past few years, that interest has waned considerably.This fact came to my attention with the release of Sight and Sound’s all-time great movie list, which they release every decade starting in 1952. The list has several significant changes, and those changes made me think about this topic again. I use this thread to work out some thoughts on this, as well as comment on the list. By the way, here’s the top 100:

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No, Music Isn’t Worse Than It Was in the Past

I can’t remember if I’ve written about this before, but I saw some interviews of musicians I respect, which reminded me of this topic. Both bemoaned the current state of music, one of them gloomily predicting the the end boundary-pushing. (This interview was from the 80s.) My sense is that the basis for their assessment stemmed from a comparison with the past. That is, they compared their perception and understanding of the music of the present relative to the music from the past. If this is accurate, I don’t think this is a good way to judge the present. Indeed, I think doing so leads to erroneous judgments and pessimism.

Now, let me make a few things clear. One, I’m not taking this position because I necessarily think the present moment is filled with great musicians and great music. Instead, I’m basing my position primarily on the way we perceive and understand both the present and the past. The difference, I think, primarily explains why the present seems bleak, relative to the past; and I’m going to explain that in this thread.

(Note: This applies to movies, and I would suspect most other art forms as well.)

The Beatles: Get Back (2021)

This is a thread for the three-part film (streamed on the Disney channel)–The Beatles: Get back, a Peter Jackson documentary, assembling footage from 1969, while the Beatles worked on new songs for a live performance. Eventually, I believe, some or much of the music appeared on Let It Be, and Abbey Road. (Some like “Don’t Let Me Down” may have become a single.)

If I Went Back and Rated Movies I’ve Watched, Here’s the System I’d use.

I’ve been using a 100 point rating system, but I just realized a better system–and I’m not sure why I didn’t realize this much earlier. The system I have in mind is a 50 point rating system. Here’s the breakdown:

50 = all time great/favorite

45 = great/beloved film

40 = very good/like a lot

35 = good/liked

30 = good, but flawed/problematic

25 = just OK

20 = not good/disliked

15 = bad

10 = very bad

0 = all time worst/disliked