Episode 129: The List Show

This week: We celebrate the year’s end with an all-list show. Film critic A.O. Scott explains the art (and anxiety) behind list-making… The Colbert Report’s Opus Moreschi curates the year in comedy… top ringtones… Lists with identity crises… And the Onion lists the year’s top news stories that never happened. Plus, a glimpse of the future feat. jetpacks, platefuls of bark, and your favorite artists of next year (like Jhene Aiko and the XX).

Icebreaker: Tim Burton
Director Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is on producer Jackson Musker’s list of fave films… unfortunately for him, baby seals are also Jackson’s favorite animal.
The Ultimate List-Maker
Writer and historian David Wallechinsky’s bestselling Book of Lists – first published in 1977 – broke ground by compiling massive amounts of trivia in list form. Now in its fourth edition, the book continues to feature odd list topics, coupled with rich descriptions: “18 Famous Brains, and What They Weighed,” “10 People Not to Invite to Dinner,” etc. Wallechinsky enlightens Brendan and Rico about the allure of lists, then shares a particularly memorable – and timely – entry.

The Year in Funny: Opus Moreschi

Emmy-winning comedian and writer Opus Moreschi (The Colbert Report) lists the most laughable moments of 2011: FX’s Louie, hypochondria on WTF with Marc Maron, an ill-fated cab ride, and the “rediscovery” of women in comedy.

Music List: 2011 in Ringtones

Ringtones might not be as novel as they were in 2005, but it’s worth noting that they still make up one-third of all music sales on the web: $2-plus billion dollars. We countdown the top tones of the year…and then give Rico’s cell a ring.

A.O. Scott’s Movie List

Along with Manhola Dargis, A.O. Scott serves as chief film critic for The New York Times. He just came out with his annual list of the Best Films Of The Year. Rico talks with him about the the pleasures and perils of listmaking, then A.O. shares three of his 2011 favorites you might have missed: UFC fighter flick Warrior, British romance Weekend, and the absurdist Italian film Le Quattro Volte.

Eavesdropping: The Onion’s Year in Review

The expert satirists at The Onion News Network list the biggest events of the year that wasn’t. For more, head here.

Best/Worst: The Submission

It was on the best of lists; it was on the worst of lists. Amy Waldman’s The Submission made a big splash in September and climbed onto several year-end lists. Booklist editor Donna Seaman considered it a “Top 10 First Novel” and one of the year’s finest overall. But Alexander Nazaryan, who writes for the New York Daily News and its book blog Page Views, says don’t believe the hype. Now you decide.

The Future of Food: Doorknobs, Blood and Bark

The James Beard Foundation – an organization dedicated to food education – recently published a list of food trends that they expect to take off in 2012. Brendan caught up with the foundation’s VP Mitchell Davis at Dominque Ansel’s new NYC bakery to taste one of the hot items, and to chew on the rest.

The Future of Design: Debbie Millman

Designers are constantly thinking about tomorrow’s products, objects, and fashions. So we asked Debbie Millman, President Emeritus of the American Institute Of Graphic Arts and host of the internet radio show “Design Matters”, to list a few things we’ll be seeing in the year(s) to come. Including robot cars and jetpacks.

2012 Soundtrack: Fader’s 2012 Artists to Watch

Fader magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Matthew Schnipper lists three albums to look forward to in 2012: Jhene Aiko’s melancholic R&B, Ital’s gritty electronica, and Ceremony’s hardcore punk. And mark your calendars for new stuff from Santigold and the XX.

Other music in this week’s show:

The Sea & Cake – “The Argument”

Aphex Twin – “Boy/Girl Song”

Tipsy – “Liquordelic”

Hot Chocolate – “Brother Louis”

Wilson Phillips – “Hold On”

Perez Prado – “Mambo Jambo (Que Rico El Mambo)”

Chris Brown feat Busta Rhymes and Lil Wayne – “Look at Me Now”

Jason Aldean – “Dirt Road Anthem”

Wiz Khalifa – “Black and Yellow”

LMFAO – “Sexy and I Know It”

Chicago Afro Beat Project – “Talking Bush”

Patty Larkin – “The Book I’m Not Reading”

Donna Smith & the Junkmen – “Read About It”

The Naked and the Famous – “Young Blood”

We Were Promised Jetpacks – “Act On Impulse”

Jhene Aiko – “Stranger”

Ital – “Ital’s Theme”

Ceremony – “Sick”

The XX – “Basic Space”