Archive for the ‘Rankings’ Category

Ranking Lorde’s Lyrics

Queen Bee

Queen Bee

Lorde was 2013’s biggest new pop sensation, sending her single “Royals” to #1 in August and releasing her album Pure Heroine in September. Both were NPI favorites. We were particularly taken with her voice and her lyrics so, as we are wont to do here, we decided to rank our favorite lyrics from her songs. Here are our 18 favorite lyrics of hers:

18) “All work and no play / Keeps me on the new shit, yeah” Still Sane 

(Tim’s rank: 17/John’s rank: 18/Josh’s rank: 18)

17) “Let me in the ring, I’ll show you what that big word means” Glory and Gore 

(Tim: 16/John: 15/Josh: 17) 

16) “But this is summer, playing dumber than fall” Still Sane 

(11/19/16)

15) “In all chaos there is calculation” Glory and Gore 

(10/16/15)

14) “I won’t be smiling but the notes from my admirers fill the dashboard just the same” White Teeth Teens 

(15/7/14)

T12) “And you can watch from your window” Tennis Court 

(18/14/2)

T12) “I’m sitting pretty on the throne / There’s nothing more I want, except to be alone” The Love Club 

(14/5/13)

T10) “I don’t ever think about death / It’s alright if you do, that’s fine” Glory and Gore 

(13/11/8)

T10) “The way they are, the way they seem is something else” White Teeth Teens 

(12/6/12) Continue reading

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The Best Movies of 2013

The Theme of Movies in 2013: Rick People Suck

The Theme of Movies in 2013: Rich People Suck

Before I start, I want to address how silly a ranking like this is bound to be. It’s not that lists are inherently dumb—we at NPI (and the Internet writ large) LOVE presenting things in list form. But listing the best movies of 2013 IN 2013 (or, technically, immediately after 2013) feels misguided. It takes a while for feelings about a movie to settle. I saw five of these movies in the last two weeks; who knows how I’ll feel about them in a month? It’s not always clear which movies will be remembered well, or suffer on a rewatching. Looking back at my list from last year, I see about a dozen changes I would make. So consider this list somewhat provisional.

With that said, I saw a lot of movies this year, and lists can be a helpful way of organizing your thoughts on those movies. I’ve borrowed some of my category ideas from Josh’s ranking, but unlike Josh I find the distinction between “independent” movies and studio films to be arbitrary to the point of distraction. Plus, it’s a little pretentious. If a movie is good, it’s good; if it’s bad, it’s bad. Who cares who made it or what the budget was?

Anyway, here are the movies I saw in 2013, in order from worst to best…

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Ranking 2013’s Independent Films

The Esquire Theater in Denver, Colorado. Where I watched many of the films on this list, including Blue Jasmine.

I watched and will now rank 27 independent films that came out this year. I don’t expect to match this number until retirement absent a radical career change.

What’s an “independent film”? Defining the term is difficult. Wikipedia defines it as “a professional film production resulting in a feature film that is produced mostly or completely outside of the major film studio system [or] [by the indie] subsidiaries of major film studios [e.g. Fox Searchlight].”* That definition is good enough for me and I adopt it here.

*But why does it matter that a film is “independent”? There seem to be two prime reasons: (1) independence from major film studios — and, consequently, independence from the desires of the median viewer in the demographic the studio wants to attract — permits production of a broader range of content and (2) independent films generally have significantly lower budgets and accordingly have to make tough choices that major studio filmmakers don’t face. And a third reason for ranking purposes: outside of Los Angeles and New York City, most independent films play in different venues — independent theaters and arthouses — than major studio films and only a subset of filmgoers frequent these venues with any regularity. There surely is a bigger debate to be had on whether these reasons hold water and whether there’s a better way to define an independent film —- perhaps solely according to budget —- but I’ll save that for another day.

I missed a few of this year’s highly-acclaimed indie films (e.g. Blackfish, Wadjda, All is Lost) and I left off this list any film I saw that satisfied the above definition but received a lot of play in standard theaters (e.g. Twelve Years a Slave).

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‘Twas 2012: Top Ten Movies of the Year

Did Lincoln make the list?

Did Lincoln make the list?

Although I already tried to identify the year’s “trend” in movies, I didn’t do a Top 10 list, and obviously no summation of the year is complete without a Top 10 list. Normally, I don’t do such a list for movies, because I rarely see more than 10 films in a given year. In 2012, though, for a variety of reasons—like embracing Josh’s philosophy—I saw more movies than in any other year of my life, so I finally feel qualified to make a list.*

*Of course, I didn’t see EVERY movie this year. So to clarify whether any given film missed the Top 10 because of quality or omission, here is the full list of movies I saw this year:

24) The Amazing Spider-Man

23) The Campaign

22) Zero Dark Thirty

21) Flight

20) The Five-Year Engagement

19) Jeff, Who Lives At Home

18) The Dark Knight Rises

17) The Perks of Being a Wallflower

16) Sleepwalk With Me

15) Safety Not Guaranteed

14) Skyfall

13) 21 Jump Street

12) Argo

11) Lincoln

 

***

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‘Twas 2012: Top Ten Television Episodes of the Year


Shit on my father's balls
Here are the best episodes of 2012. Obviously this contains spoilers:

10) “Argentina” — Dexter

One of the nicest surprises on television this year was Dexter’s renaissance in quality. After some misguided years and a true nadir of a season in 2011, Dexter finally embraced a real progression in the story—having Debra find out about her brother’s “hobby”—and was all the better for it. The tension between Deb and Dexter led to some of the show’s best scenes ever. And since Dexter didn’t spend the entire season chasing his usual Big Bad Guy, Season Seven actually had decent subplots, including great guest performances from Ray Stevenson and Yvonne Strahovski. In “Argentina,” the show was even able to address the weirdest element of last season—Deb’s crush on her brother—in an impressive and compelling way.

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‘Twas 2012: Top Ten Songs of 2012

 10. “Octopus” — Bloc Party:  Four was a disappointing album, but, happily, the wiry “Octopus” was an exception.


 9. “Argonauts” — Hospitality:  Hospitality’s self-titled album was my favorite of 2012, and “Argonauts” is the album’s most layered, sophisticated track.

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Post 1,000! We Rank Our Rankings!

We Did It!

NPI has made it to 1,000 posts. Can you believe it? That’s 1,000 posts, only a few hundred of which have been collections of links, one-sentence jokes, or reviews of commercials! Somewhere in there we actually had substantive arguments about political and legal theory, the value of film criticism, and candy. We’ve chatted about college basketball, the World Series, and the BCS (oh so much about the BCS). We’ve reviewed all kinds of television, from reality shows on MTV to HBO dramas to teen soaps on ABC Family.

But, of course, NPI wouldn’t be NPI without rankings. And so to commemorate our 1,000th post, we’re ranking our rankings. To keep it manageable, we limited the list to the collaborative rankings. We also threw Josh’s ranking of the Bill of Rights in there (John S and Tim’s ongoing rankings, respectively of Bob Dylan songs and everything in history, being incomplete and therefore ineligible). What was our result?

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