Saturday, June 21, 2008

Most Popular... er... I mean "Best" media of the last 25 years

Entertainment Weekly has posted several lists of "New Classics." Notice that while they can come with 100 movies, 100 albums and 100 TV shows, they can only come up with 50 plays (which means both musicals and non-musical dramatic plays). What they do not say is how they arrived at these rankings or whose input was used:

100 New Classics: Movies (best films from 1983 to 2008)
Top five:

1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-03)
3. Titanic (1997)
4. Blue Velvet (1986)
5. Toy Story (1995)

100 New Classics: TV (best TV shows from 1983 to 2008)
Top five:
1. The Simpsons, Fox, 1989-present
2 The Sopranos, HBO (1999-2007)
3 Seinfeld, NBC (1989-98)
4 The X-Files, Fox (1993-2002)
5 Sex and the City, HBO (1998-2004)

100 New Classics: Music (best albums from 1983 to 2008)
Top five:
1. Purple Rain Prince and the Revolution (1984)
2. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill Lauryn Hill (1998)
3. Achtung Baby U2 (1991)
4. The College Dropout Kanye West (2004)
5. Madonna Madonna (1983)
[Personal note: I own one of these, and I would dispute its inclusion in the top 100 albums of this time frame. Sorry, Lauryn, I love your voice, but I don't love that album. And while I think "Purple Rain" is a decent enough album, I can't imagine it being the best album of the last 25 years.]

100 New Classics: Books (best books from 1983 to 2008)
Top five:
1. The Road , Cormac McCarthy (2006)
2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling (2000)
3. Beloved, Toni Morrison (1987)
4. The Liars' Club, Mary Karr (1995)
5. American Pastoral, Philip Roth (1997)
[Personal note: Why do they include only "Goblet of Fire" and not the full series (like they did with the "Lord of the Rings" movies)? I like "Beloved," but not that much. I tried reading "The Liars' Club," but it didn't hold my attention. I've never had a lot of patience with Philip Roth's writing. I've never read any Cormac McCarthy, so I can't comment there.]

50 New Classics: Style (Pop culture moments that "rocked the world)
Top five:

1. Madonna at the MTV Video Music Awards
2. Sarah Jessica Parker in the opening credits of Sex and the City
3. Michael Jackson in the ''Thriller'' video (1983)
4. Sharon Stone at the Oscars (1996)
5. Kurt Cobain and grunge style (1991)
[No further comment needed.]

50 New Classics: Stage (Best plays and musicals from 1983 to 2008)
Top five:
1. Angels in America
2. Rent (1996)
3. August: Osage County (2007)
4. Doubt (2004)
5. Jersey Boys (2005)
[Personal note: I won't argue with three of these, but I think two of them are way too high on the list. I'm surprised that "Jersey Boys" even made it into the top 50. And "Caroline, or Change" did not make the top 50 list, which says something by itself.]

If you want to see their lists of the 25 most influential gadgets and innovations or the 50 best videogames or the 25 best movie posters or the 25 new classic death scenes, etc., you can go look those up yourself.

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