Kurtodrome’s Best of 2006

Pynchon's book cover (copyright: Amazon)No New Year is complete without a look back at the year that was… 2006 brought us movies, films and books. As Delirium Vault is mostly a movie site I’ll just mention the books and music I feel should be mentioned and then we’ll go to my personal movie favourites of 2006.

– Fiction: Thomas Pynchon – Against The Day
Pynchon released a new novel in 2006 and this time we only had to wait nine years! 1085 pages of postmodernist nonsense, a book spawning from 1893 to just after World War I. The good airship Inconvenience will guide the Chums of Chance through their adventures, cameos of Tesla and Groucho will pop up, Icelandic spar, people drowning in mayonaise… Pynchon’s latest novel is impossible to describe (that’s 1085 pages chokeful of characters), but oh what a joy to read.

– Non-fiction: Joris Luyendijk – Het Zijn Net Mensen (They’re almost people)
Former news correspondent for the Middle East Luyendijk has published a book about his experiences as a media man. His analysis of the region: the more you learn about the Middle East, the less you understand. Neatly describing how the media work in countries governed by dictators, the way the media distort the news and the Israeli-Palestinian media wars… this book is so essential to read it’s well worth learning Dutch for.

Usually I publish a list of my favourite tunes, but 2006 proved to be a bit too busy to listen to a lot of music, so I think I’ll skip one year. Which doesn’t mean I can’t make a top three:

1. The Fiery Furnaces – I’m In No Mood (album: Bitter Tea)
2. Stereolab – Interlock (album: Fab Four Suture)
3. Sufjan Stevens – Dear Mr Supercomputer (album: The Avalanche)

And now it’s onto the movies…

Carice van Houten1. El Laberinto del Fauno (9,5)
I’ll discuss this movie, better known as Pan’s Labyrinth, later on DV. Let’s just say, for now, it’s definitely the best movie of the year. And I’ll only let you disagree with me on this one if I’m in love with you.
2. Zwartboek (9)
Paul Verhoeven came back to Holland and what a comeback Black Book is! People are finally understanding why I’ve been saying Carice van Houten (pic) is an incredibly talented actress. Stylish, fun and good…
3. United 93 (9)
Paul Greengrass already directed Bloody Sunday and proved to be the best man for the job to make a movie about the hijacked plane that didn’t reach its target on 9/11. Thanks to the talent of Greengrass the movie stays sober and good. Let’s face it, this could’ve easily become a sad work of propaganda. Worst error: the scene where the terrorists tape a picture of their target onto the steering wheel. I didn’t know we knew for sure what the target was. See, there’s always a bit of propaganda with this sort of film.
4. The Secret Life of Words (8,5)
I’ve already discussed this on DV. Please scroll back.
5. Good Night, And Good Luck (8,5)
I’ve already discussed this on DV. Please scroll back.
6. Children of Men (8,5)
Utterly mind-blowing when you see it, but you do get a feeling of “it wasn’t that great” after a few hours and days. Nevertheless, notice how long certain scenes in this movie are and you’ll just have to admit this movie was a product of a lot of talented people coming together.
7. Slither (8)
Not the most original movie of the year, but one with its heart on the right place. References to Slugs, Shivers, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Yuzna and Henenlotter are never far off. Who said horror couldn’t be fun??
8. Capote (8)
Hoffman is amazing, the film is good.
9. Walk The Line (7,5)
Oh, how Reese Witherspoon deserved her Oscar for this movie. Phoenix and Witherspoon are so good you get to feel the love between Johnny and June. They even sing the songs themselves and get away with it.
10. The Descent (7,5)
I’ve already discussed this on DV. Please scroll back.

Bubbling under…Brick, The New World, An Inconvenient Truth, The Inside Man and  Tideland.


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