Old Favorites Flavorwire Staffers Revisited in 2014

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For each of 2014’s monumentally annoying Monuments Men or each shameful Walk of Shame, the Babadooks and Perfume Geniuses were fighting with their dark, awesome magic to ensure that some excellence snuck into the mix. It was a year of cultural greatness, it was a year of cultural shittiness, and like every year of greatness and shittiness, the great and shitty output often leads us to want to return to previous years’ equally great (or equally shitty) offerings. Here’s Flavorwire’s list of old favorites we revisited this year.

Naked (dir. Mike Leigh)

In anticipation of Mr. Turner, I found myself wanting to revisit my favorite Mike Leigh movie — Naked — the paragon of Leigh’s glorious unpredictability. A bleak portrait of the wreckage wrought by Thatcherite economics, Naked’s structure mirrors the vagabondage of its intellectually condescending, sexually abusive lead, Johnny (played by David Thewlis). Lesley Sharp, Katrin Cartlidge, and Claire Skinner play roommates whose apartment is invaded by two polar extremes (feral and corporate) of male dominance and misogyny, and Sharp, Cartlidge, Thewlis and Skinner’s strange pairing of caricature and rawness collide and attack one another in this disturbing and utterly singular film. Re-watching it confirmed that it still belongs at the top of my list of Mike Leigh movies (immediately followed by Another Year). — Moze Halperin, Associate Editor

good kid m.A.A.d city, Kendrick Lamar

Not so much an old favorite, but… y’know how there are certain records that just somehow slip through the cracks? The ones that everyone tells you are great, and you keep meaning to listen to, but never quite get around to it? I’m not proud, but good kid m.A.A.d city has been like that for me — everyone raved about it, and it was definitely on my “To Check Out” list, but never quite made it to the top. This year, thankfully, it did, and boy, have I been making up for lost time. This is now probably my favorite record of 2012, and quite possibly of this year too. Next time, Tom Hawking, listen to what people tell you. Ya bish. — Tom Hawking, Deputy Editor

True Blood

To mourn what True Blood had become in its final season, I went back and rewatched the episodes that convinced me to stick around well past when I should have. Back when Alan Ball was at the helm, Bill and Sookie still had chemistry, and the series veered more toward the dark and twisted than the silly, True Blood was a genuinely good show—and judging by the success of insta-camp classics like American Horror Story and Scandal, ahead of its time too. — Alison Herman, Editorial Assistant

Dirty Dancing & Clueless

I watched the end of Dirty Dancing and Clueless every single time I noticed they were on TV. Does that count? Am I getting old? I also watched Pitch Perfect, okay! I’m hip. — Sarah Seltzer, Editor-at-Large

Strawberry Jam, Animal Collective

I know that for purists Strawberry Jam is the beginning of the end of “good” Animal Collective, but I’ll be damned if this 2007 album, with its sweet sheen and underlying angst, didn’t serve as the perfect soundtrack to a particularly confounding weekend spent in upstate New York [LOL – Ed.]. — Shane Barnes, Editorial Apprentice

D’Angelo

Spent my time at the Afro-Punk Festival Waiting For D’Angelo, like a Russian peasant that just didn’t believe, and when he appeared, an hour late, he ripped through a set of covers that were loaded with funk. And now, nearly a neat 15 years later, he has a follow-up to the classic Voodoo with Black Messiah, dropped without notice earlier this month. D’Angelo saved Christmas. This is the real December surprise. I am so happy. Questlove told us all to have faith for nearly a decade; lord knows he did. You just have to clap your hands together and believe. — Elisabeth Donnelly, Nonfiction Editor

A Hard Day’s Night

If I could make the time once a week to rewatch A Hard Day’s Night, I’d do that. Criterion’s gorgeous new Blu-ray edition made that prospect even more tempting, giving the film’s luminous black-and-white photography an extra layer of pretty, and rendering those perfect songs even crisper than I’d remembered. Most movies are lucky do to one thing well; A Hard Day’s Night is a great comedy, a great musical, and a great cultural snapshot, all at the same time. — Jason Bailey, Film Editor

Bruno Nicolai’s All the Colors of the Dark Soundtrack

Finders Keepers’ reissue of Bruno Nicolai’s soundtrack to Sergio Martino’s psychedelic-tinged All the Colors of the Dark (with previously unpressed tracks) got a lot of play. The film — starring queen of the gialli, Edwige Fenech — has elements of cult, Satanic, and supernatural horror, and shifts between dreams and reality. — Alison Nastasi, Weekend Editor

Through Being Cool by Saves The Day

Through Being Cool is in my top three favorite albums (depending on my mood, it’s usually number one) and seeing the band perform it from beginning to end made me go back and listen to it every morning for a month straight. — Pilot Viruet, TV Editor

The Temple of Iconoclasts, J. Rodolfo Wilcock

The Temple of Iconoclasts by J. Rodolfo Wilcock is one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. — Jonathon Sturgeon, Literary Editor

Talking Heads’ More Songs About Buildings and Food

Even if you’re familiar with the full discography of a band that’s both iconic and before your time, it can take years to figure out which of their albums is the most ~you~. The second Talking Heads album (and their first with Brian Eno), 1978’s More Songs About Buildings and Food, soundtracked my summer and fall in a way unmatched by any new album this year, besides maybe Angel Olsen’s Burn Your Fire For No Witness. From “Artists Only” and “Stay Hungry” to “The Girl Wants to Be with the Girls” and “Big Country,” so much of More Songs About Buildings and Food echoes how I was feeling this year about my own life as a creative human living in New York. It makes a lot of sense when I think about it: David Byrne was about my age (26) when he wrote these songs. The rough-edged restlessness of the young permeates these songs, but they also have enough vision and know-how to attempt more ambitious sounds. — Jillian Mapes, Music Editor