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Sara Foss's Thinking It Through
by Sara Foss

Thinking It Through

A Daily Gazette life blog
Her column and blog rolled into one

Bests of 2012

Here are some of my favorite things from 2012.

As usual, it’s tough to provide a comprehensive list of the top movies of the year, because there are so many I haven’t seen. Films such as “Django Unchained” and “Zero Dark Thirty” have yet to open in the Capital Region, and some of the most highly acclaimed movies of the year, such as “Holy Motors,” might never come here at all. But I did see over 40 movies in the theater last year, and here are my favorites:

10. “Magic Mike”
9. “Argo”
8. “Bernie”
7. “Brave”
6. “Compliance”
5. “Lincoln”
4. “Moonrise Kingdom”
3. “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
2. “Looper”
1. “The Kid With a Bike”

I watch a lot of stuff on DVD, and so here are some of this year’s discoveries. They aren’t necessarily the greatest films ever made, but I feel like they should be better known.

5. “The Secret of Kells” — Did you miss this dazzling 2009 animated film from Ireland, even after it snagged a surprise Oscar nomination? If so, you should seek it out at once.
4. “Cannibal! The Musical” — This 1996 musical represents the filmmaking debut of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. It’s not as polished or accomplished as their later work, but it is hilarious, and the songs are pretty good. The film tells the true story of Alferd Packer, the only American ever found guilty of cannibalism. 3. Head — I always considered the Monkees a lame band that nobody in their right mind would listen to. But “Head” changed my mind. The Monkees are the stars of this surreal, psychedelic commentary on image and pop culture, and they now have my eternal respect.
2. “XXY” — This sensitive 2007 Argentinian film about the struggles of an intersex teenager is not to be missed, especially if you’re a fan of coming-of-age films.
1. “World On A Wire” — This 1973 science fiction film (originally made for German TV, by director Rainier Werner Fassbender) looks fantastic, is full of mind-bending surprises, asks provocative questions and explores the nature of virtual reality with an astuteness that’s way ahead of our time.

I went to a number of concerts. Here are my favorites:

10. The Kamikaze Hearts at Restoration Festival (at St. Joseph’s Church)
9. Roger Waters at the Times Union Center
8. Tisziji Munoz at the Sanctuary for Independent Media
7. Jennifer Koh at EMPAC
6. Dr. John and the Blind Boys of Alabama at the Palace Theatre
5. Jane’s Addiction at the Palace Theatre
4. Of Monsters and Men at Jillians
3. Wilco at Ommegang Brewery
2. The Avett Brothers at the Palace Theatre
1. The Beach Boys at SPAC

The best book I read last year:

"Working" by Studs Terkel — Sure, it was published in 1974. But it’s essential reading.

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