I recently realized that I have spent a significant percentage of my life talking to myself (metaphorically, of course … I’m not crazy!), so I thought I’d take this opportunity, as I look back on the last year, to interview myself.
Me: How you been?
Me: Yeah, I’ve been better. Ha ha. I like that joke. A reference to Mr. Creosote in the Monty Python movie “The Meaning of Life,” except without the bucket.
Me: Ha ha. Yes, that’s a classic scene.
Me: Yeah, and if you had asked me what I’ve been up to, I would’ve said, “Same old trouble.”
Me: Mmm hmm.
Me: It’s a snippet of a Hank Sr. lyric from that one song, “Why Don’t You Love Me Like You Used To Do?”
Me: So, how was 2011?
Me: A little rough, you know? Everybody had a hard year, everybody had a good time, everybody …
Me: (singing) … had a wet dream, everybody saw the sun shine. I recognize that one. But, you know, maybe we should get to the matter at hand.
Me: Which is?
Me: Well, you know, “Best of 2011.”
Me: Oh, hell. I figured I’d gotten away with avoiding that this year.
Me: Nobody asked?
Me: Well, sure, people ask about it all the time. It’s good conversation fodder, but that’s not what this column has been about.
Me: Well, that’s true …
Me: But I could say that “Certified Copy” was the best movie I saw this year. I liked “Dogtooth,” but that was a couple years old.
Me: “Certified Copy” was pretty good. I understand that it is available on Netflix these days. How would you describe it?
Me: It’s a thinking person’s romance. It isn’t really clear whether the couple are longtime lovers reunited and pretending that they are meeting each other for the first time or if they are, in fact, meeting one another for the first time and working their individual issues into the conversation and discovering common ground. It’s a brilliant little puzzle, very literate, and the relationship is very endearing.
Me: I thought you would have said “Sucker Punch” was the best of the year.
Me: Oh, yes, definitely. “Sucker Punch” was awesome. Of course, it was also the worst movie I saw this year. I can’t figure out how Zack Snyder managed to make such a bad movie with so many unbelievably excellent elements. It is a singularly amazing cinematic achievement.
Me: How about music? You hear anything good this year?
Me: Bill Callahan’s “secret” show in the cave on Lexington Road was surreal. I was on top of the world that night. It was somewhat ironic that the content of Callahan’s songs was so “down”; he was touring with an album called Apocalypse. That’s probably my album of the year, but I haven’t been able to listen to it since then. It’s just too depressing. Will Oldham’s show at the Clifton Center in October was also extraordinary, a terrific overview of his last decade. I got a bunch of discs at the ear X-tacy clearance sale, but I haven’t gotten through a lot of them. The Black Keys’ Brothers is still in heavy rotation.
Me: What about their new album, El Camino?
Me: Oh that’s fine, but it isn’t Brothers.
Me: How about television?
Me: I loved “The Walking Dead.” The losing struggle to survive a zombie apocalypse strikes me as the perfect metaphor for life in America at this point. It’s pretty sad, really, but at least somebody out there understands, right? Stephen Colbert had a segment on his show that I liked a whole lot; “The Word” on Sept. 6 was “Happy Endings.”
Me: Is there anything you’re looking forward to in 2012?
Me: Well, I’m in a play at the Alley Theater for the next three weekends. “Some Things You Need to Know Before the World Ends.” That’s keeping me occupied for the time being.
Me: You’re in a play? Is that a new thing for you?
Me: Well, no, I have a degree in theater. I was in a number of plays in college. I just hadn’t done it in a long while. It has been a lot of fun, very cathartic.
For further consideration: “Hugo” was probably the best American made film of the year, a terrific redemption story. And, for some reason, I’ve been thinking about rereading “A Confederacy of Dunces.”