In addition to a full slate of year-in-review roundups in this week’s Alive, we included some of our personal favorites -- music, movies and TV shows that we loved, even if they didn’t make the “official” best-of-2007 lists. Here are some of my picks:
Movie: “The Bourne Ultimatum” As a sort of antidote to the sterile spectacle of computer-generated imagery and bloated theme-park plots, director Paul Greengrass stripped down the action flick to its essential element: the action. The third in the “Bourne” trilogy -- starring Matt Damon as an amnesiac assassin trying to track down the government spooks who brainwashed him -- is jittery, claustrophobic and paranoid. A lot like the spy at the center of the action. It’s also in constant motion, a tightly wound flurry of kinetic energy that could explode at any second.
Music: Wilco, “Sky Blue Sky” Following the post-pop masterpiece “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” and the post-something experimentation of “A Ghost Is Born,” Wilco’s latest, “Sky Blue Sky,” was initially dismissed by some skeptics as somehow less ambitious or less accomplished. It’s not. The disc may be less self-conscious, but it is rich and elegantly layered, with rock arrangements that are tighter than a parochial-school freshman on prom night. “Sky Blue Sky” reveals more of itself with every listen, reminding skeptics that Jeff G.D. Tweedy is one of the greatest American songwriters ever.
TV: “The Soup” This isn’t a new show, of course, but as America’s tabloid-celebrity obsession went into overdrive this year, “The Soup” really hit its stride. The rapier-sharp Joel McHale is the perfect ringmaster for E!’s pop-culture skewering (he can’t even believe he hosts the show). For fans of C-list gossip, “The Soup” is a handy and hilarious roundup of the week’s news; for those who are horrified by Hollywood trash, at least McHale is a lone, skinny sign of intelligent life on the tube.