Bob Mould, Maria Bamford, Neil Hamburger, and others pick their 2012 pop-culture highlights

Bob Mould, Maria Bamford, Neil Hamburger, and others pick their 2012 pop-culture highlights



While the
A.V. Club staff gets to weigh in about what movies, TV, music, and more we liked this year, we’d be fools to think that anyone really cares what we think. After all, we’re not famous. That’s why we asked a bunch of our favorite actors, musicians, podcasters, comedians, actors, and showrunners what they liked the most this year, and we’ve been posting a different batch of answers every few days for the past few weeks.

Bob Mould, musician
What’s the best thing you listened to in 2012? 
The most recent Bear In Heaven album, I Love You, It’s Cool, is my favorite album of 2012. I enjoyed their earlier work, but this album is a major leap forward—syncopated drums, cascading washes of vintage synths, and an updated psychedelic compositional style join together to create an addictive 44 minutes of thoroughly modern pop music.


T.J. Miller, comedian and co-host of the Cashing In With T.J. Miller podcast
What’s the best thing you listened to in 2012? 
The Illegal Art ReMixTape of the Extended Play EP
What’s the best movie you saw in 2012? 
Bernie. Jack Black is the Shirley MacLaine of Richard Linklater. 
What’s the best TV show you watched in 2012? 
Game Of Thrones. It’s so funny. 


Maria Bamford, comedian
What’s the best thing you listened to in 2012? 
This is sort of odd, but The Foster Parenting Podcast. I listened to 40 episodes. It’s a real-time podcast of a Christian couple’s process of fostering and adoption in L.A. County. I’m two years behind on it. And I don’t know if I could be a parent, but they’re a sweet couple, and it’s really interesting to hear all of the twists and turns (which are anonymous—no real names, of course). I’m sure I wouldn’t agree with them politically, but they seem like amazing parents (unless one of their kids turns out gay, I guess?). It’s on iTunes for freesies.
What’s the best movie you saw in 2012?
Hope Springs with Tommy Lee J and Meryl Streep—old love and sex is nice to see on the big screen. Gives me hope (springs!).
What’s the best TV show you watched in 2012?
I watch everything on Netflix, and because I love RuPaul’s Drag Race, I was led to watch two seasons of a delightful gay male black sitcom called Noah’s Arc. I look forward to season three and a generous selection of genocide documentaries that Netflix keeps pushing on me after I five-starred Schindler’s List in 2003.


Dylan Baldi of Cloud Nothings
What’s the best thing you listened to in 2012? 
A song called “Ypsilanti” by the band Protomartyr. It’s a perfect song.
What’s the best movie you saw in 2012?
I don’t know, I don’t watch a lot of movies. I’ve seen the SpongeBob movie a few times every year since it came out. That’s probably it. I love that movie.
What’s the best TV show you watched in 2012?
I watched an episode of Cake Boss on a plane. It was all right, I guess.


P.O.S., musician
What’s the best thing you listened to in 2012? 
The 99% Invisible podcast. I love it. 
What’s the best movie you saw in 2012?
Moonrise Kingdom.
What’s the best TV show you watched in 2012?
Columbo on Netflix!


Ben Folds, musician and member of Ben Folds Five
What’s the best thing you listened to in 2012?
Amanda Palmer And Grand Theft Orchestra’s Theatre Is Evil.
What’s the best movie you saw in 2012?
Moonrise Kingdom.
What’s the best TV show you watched in 2012? 
South Park, “Raising The Bar.”


Patrick Stickles of Titus Andronicus
What’s the best thing you listened to in 2012?
Open Your Heart by The Men. It is so committed and hard-rocking, and avoids the trappings of its genre so gracefully, you can hardly believe it is a high-profile 2012 release from Brooklyn. 
What’s the best movie you saw in 2012?
The Social Network. It came out in 2010, but I came to it through my inclination to buy Christmas presents for people and then keep them for myself. There is just something about watching elite geniuses kill the game. The highlight? Justin Timberlake’s performance. He is our generation’s Frank Sinatra, and I love him.
What’s the best TV show you watched in 2012? 
The best TV I watched this year was 11 seasons of Frasier, which speaks less to the quality of the program than to the depths of my depression during summer in New Jersey. That said, the acting is head and shoulders above typical sitcom fare, particularly the great John Mahoney. The show sucks, though, because it is about two brothers, and it never gets around to addressing the real root of their woman problems.


Nick Chiericozzi of The Men 
What’s the best thing you listened to in 2012? 
I really like the latest Nude Beach album, II. I had heard it before, but it really clicked for me in the car somewhere between El Paso and Austin. It’s a great road album. 
What’s the best movie you saw in 2012?
True Romance on VHS was it for me. My girlfriend turned me on to it. “You’re so cool.” 
What’s the best TV show you watched in 2012?
The best TV thing I saw was a blooper reel from Eastbound And Down. I’ve never seen the show, but in the scene, Will Ferrell wears a blonde wig and talks about feeling it “in his plums.” 


Neil Hamburger, America’s Funnyman
What’s the best thing you listened to in 2012? 
As a pre-show ritual, generally I will listen to selections from Bow Wow Wow’s album See Jungle! See Jungle! before stepping on stage. It’s a cheerful record, and has been the only thing that can put me in the correct mood to entertain during these past few years.
What’s the best movie you saw in 2012?
You can’t argue with the Tim And Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie. All those who saw it will forever be haunted by the scene set in the “gimmick restaurant” Inbreadables. 
What’s the best TV show you watched in 2012?
Late one night while flipping channels in my motel room, I stumbled upon a TV show masquerading as a “movie,” starring Jennifer Love Hewitt as Audrey Hepburn. Her performance reminded me of a child sneaking into her mother’s closet while her parents were out, and playing dress-up in her mother’s clothes while talking in an infantile “high society” accent.


Tom Scharpling, filmmaker and host of The Best Show On WFMU
What’s the best thing you listened to in 2012?
The three albums by Ty Segall were a testament to his greatness and range. He’s been great for years, but Ty took it up a notch this year.
What’s the best movie you saw in 2012?
Since I didn’t get a chance to see The Master, I will say that The Cabin In The Woods was the best movie I saw this year. Focused and funny and a total blast.
What’s the best TV show you watched in 2012?
I don’t think every episode of Louie is perfect—and that’s the point, right?—but the three-part Letterman arc was amazing. And Eagleheart took a huge step forward in its second season. The show is a straight-up masterwork, and I only hope that people decide to appreciate another perfect Chris Elliott show during its on-air lifetime.