The 365-day diet of blockbusters, melodramas, gross-out comedies, art-house fare and the all-too-rare foreign-language film is almost over. After all the hype, Internet gossip and press releases, I'm surprised I can still walk into a cinema without tripping. Now, in the final moviegoing days of 2000, it's time to wade through the piles on my desk and reflect.
Moviegoers need a scorecard, and CityBeat is ready and willing to provide one. In a year that's balanced inspirational fare like Billy Elliot and Erin Brockovich with downbeat dramas like Requiem for a Dream and Traffic, it's somewhat of a struggle to keep track of the cinematic ups-and-downs.
Looking back, I'm always amazed by the number of veteran actors, rising stars and talented filmmakers CityBeat has spoken to over the past 12 months. In this wrap-up, we'll highlight three people who are receiving plenty of Oscar buzz. Kate Hudson talks about shedding her image as Goldie Hawn's daughter courtesy of her break-out role in Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous. Fourteen-year-old British actor Jamie Bell is making audiences reach for their handkerchiefs as the star of the musical-drama Billy Elliot. Finally, in Pollock, veteran actor Ed Harris steps behind the camera to direct himself in a biography of abstract painter Jackson Pollock.
There's also a biggie list of significant film moments, snippets of film dialogue and favorite quotes from a year's worth of interviews.
Our cinematic memory games will continue in next week's Year in Review issue, culminating with Top Ten/Worst Ten lists at the beginning of the year. It promises to be an excessive exercise of movie memory.
And next year we promise to do it all over again.
In the mainstream's eye, the big music news of this year are the twin peaks of terror: Eminem and Napster. It's a pretty Rock & Roll double-headed hydra upon first glance. Eminem has irked not only parents around the world but just about everyone else with his perceived offensive lyrics. And Napster poked a hole in the monopoly-leaning, profit-driven music biz.
But in reality, Eminem's 2000 album, The Marshall Mathers LP, unfortunately contained so much self-conscious back-pedaling it was hard to fully back him up. By constantly reminding listeners it's not really he who is speaking the lyrics, Em softened the blow and ruined things for people who respected his storytelling ability.
Napster also ended up folding, making peace with major labels in the courts. This ultimately means, many say, that Napster will start charging for using its music-sharing software. In other words, The Pirate has become The Man.
CityBeat decided to get back to the roots of musical discovery: your fellow music fan. This year, we've changed our usual approach to the year-end issue (music-wise) by asking local musicians and music biz folks for their picks, instead of just giving our own top choices. Collecting the lists of best albums, concerts and musical happenings was eye-opening and, we hope, reading them will be too. Our contributors have gone beyond both the expected critical picks and common public favorites, presenting a wide array of options for your post-holiday shopping binge.
Not to bash the world I work in, but word of mouth — not magazines, ads or videos — is still the best way to discover new music. Speaking of which, look for our Best Local CDs list in next week's Year in Review issue.