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Top 10 Favorite Films/Top 10 Favorite Albums

October 18, 2008

Top 10 Favorite Films

10. Hotel Rwanda (2005)

Clearly one of the most powerful films ever made. It effectively connects to the audience with its emotional appeal. The pacing is damn-near perfect, and it insights anger and feelings that make one want to initiate change while being ashamed of mankind at the same time.

9. Higher Learning (1995)

It is a honest look at racial tensions even in the ultra-liberal PC ’90s. But what I find most intriguing is that it reflects racial tensions at the collegiate level. It is dramatic, powerful, strong shots, intriguing characters, memorable lines, well utilized roles from rappers. Not perfect, but a solid film and one of my favorites.

8. El Orfanato (2007)

A recent addition to my top favorite films. I found everything about this movie, the delicacy of the mise-en-scenes, rich vibrant cinematography, compelling storyline, and great acting. The fantasy aspect of the story intertwined with the much harsher reality of the storyline oddly makes it beautiful yet mysterious. It is a beautiful film that leaves hope at its end instead of what could have easily been gloom and despair.

7. Mo’ Better Blues (1990)

Beautiful cinematography, charming characters, and stylistically on-point… it is one of my favorite Spike Lee films. I’m a jazz fan, so if you are a big jazz fan you could really appreciate this film.

6. Memento (2000)

Well known for everything going backwards, it is complex and suspenseful and challenges traditional film structure in a wonderful way. In regards to creativity in film structure and effectively making it work with the concept of the film, Chris Nolan does a much better job than Tarantino.

5. Godfather II (1974)

This is probably the favorite film of over a million heterosexual men and most of the rapper’s favorite film alongside Scarface, but it is cinematically one of the best films ever made. The strength in the storyline juxtaposing young Vito Corleone to a maturing Michael Corleone, memorable shots, and strong acting make this film easy to slide in the top 5 favorites of all time.

4. Pink Floyd The Wall (1982)

The animation is just as compelling as the live action. Pink Floyd The Wall is infamous for being so strange and abstract that its fanbase commonly claim that someone must be on drugs to fully comprehend what the movie is about. I manged to deconstruct the film and understand it without drugs or any kind of intoxication. It is a masterpeice with a classic album to accompany it as a soundtrack and memorable images packed with symbolism.

3. Waking Life (2001)

One of the most influential animated films ever made, in my opinion. Richard Linklater puts together a film with experimental visuals that perfectly compliment the intellectual landscape of conversations that range from politics to existentialism.

2. Malcolm X (1992)

There couldn’t have been a better film or a more epic film made than the masterpiece that is Spike Lee’s Malcolm X. I believe that it is one of the most important films ever made. And not just because it is about a black hero, but because of the message in the story and the process Lee went about to collect money from prominent black figures to finish production for the film.

1. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)

Some anime kids think that it is overrated, soccer moms think that it is too violent, and common film fans find it strange and too ambiguous. I don’t go out of my way to defend Kill Bill, you either get it and like it or you don’t. If you don’t like it, you’re missing out. Everything I like about filmmaking is in this film: Witty dialogue and memorable lines, rich cinematography, unconventional story structure, memorable characters, and creativity.

Top 10 Favorite Albums

10. Kind of Blue by Miles Davis

This is my favorite jazz album next to A Love Supreme. I familiarized myself with this record over the summer of 2004 after my bohemian Native American cabinmate introduced it to me and fell madly in love with it from that point forward.

9. War by U2

In my book it is U2’s best album and my favorite U2 album. Activism, a healthy flirtation with punk rock, social issues, and idealistic lyrics- War is one of the most important albums that personally speak to me as an individual.

8. Homogenic by Björk

The Queen of the abstract as I referred to her in a Viewpoints article, Björk stepped things up further with this record diving head-first into innovation and embracing her idiosyncrasies.

7. Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends by Coldplay

I seldom fall in love with albums so quickly or regard them as one of my most favorite albums ever made, but Coldplay did right by this album. From its rich elegant melodies to the almost moody alternative rock post-punk sound, this album is a musical feast made to be devoured and savored. I hadn’t heard an album that inspirational since In Rainbows.

6. In Rainbows by Radiohead

Three of the albums in my Top 10 were released within the past year (all three in 2008, that’s if you count In Rainbows retail release). I’m not so easily impressed so that means that artists must be putting out better music. Radiohead’s last album is easily one of my most favorite albums ever made. I played this album OUT, from the time it was released online in October and I still am not tired of listening to its songs on repeat.

5. Untitled (Nigger) by Nas

The first album cover was going to be the initial one, but it was thrown out after Nas changed the name of his album to Untitled. The second cover is the retail cover that was eventually used for the album. Where do i start with this record. I’ve had it for less than 2 weeks and each time I listen to it I feel as if I’m undergoing a significant musical experience. This is one of the most artistically on-point albums I’ve heard in forever. I instantly declared it classic after the first listen, future listening only confirmed it. It is bold, intelligent, and endlessly thought-provoking. Everything I’ve ever wanted to say about black people and race relations in America Nas manages to sum up beautifully. I believe this is one of the most important albums of my generation and is a bonafide testimony to the times.

4. Quality by Talib Kweli

This was my black panther hip-hop of my high school days. This album thoroughly made me a Talib Kweli fan and also made me look at hip-hop from a different perspective. This album is considered one of my hip-hop bibles alongside Mos Def’s Black on Both Sides and The Roots’s Things Fall Apart. This album helped change my life.

3. Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds, Vol. 1 by Jill Scott

I found the urban bohemian nature of this album to be so exotic and appealing. This album is a great piece of art and is without a question of doubt one of my favorite albums ever made. It deserves to be in the top 3.

2. Phrenology by The Roots

Bonafide hip-hop classic. With or without the genius of its hit “The Seed 2.0,” it grabbed me and never let me go. I seriously feel Things Fall Apart deserves to be in this slot just as much as Phrenology but this album spoke to me at one of the most pivotal moments in my life at 16 years old.

1. A Crow Left of the Murder by Incubus

Along with Kind of Blue and the Kill Bill, Vol. 1 Soundtrack, this album ruled me in Summer 2004. It was a defining time period in my life. My friend Larry burnt me a copy of this when I was working at Pyles Camp. I listened to this album over and over and over and over. I may not realized it at the time, but everything I like about music is in this album. From the beauty and sexiness of “Here in My Room” to the psychedelic wonderland of “Sick Sad World” to the anti-Bush anthem of “Megalomaniac,” this album rules. And I believe that it is my most favorite album and that something about the Summer 2004 sticks to me harder than burnt oatmeal to a pot.

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