Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The best of The A.V. Club 2008

Illustration for article titled The best of The A.V. Club 2008

Though we're loathe to toot our own horn around The A.V. Club, we're aware that sometimes our stories move faster than our readers can keep up with them. Casually looking back on 2008, we found a treasure trove of interviews and features that we hope none of you missed. In case you did, we're offering this New Year link compilation to take you back to those heady days of yesteryore—some of our proudest moments of 2008.


And nothing makes us prouder than giving Andrew "Dice" Clay the platform to describe a woman who has an "ass like a basketball." We're not sure what that means, either, but we're here to report the news, not interpret it.

In a similarly highbrow piece, writer-comedian Patton Oswalt accepted our challenge to consume and write about the KFC Famous Bowl, a vile concoction that also happens to be one of the most popular fast-food items in America. In the same week, we ran a terrific interview with Anthony Bourdain, so we figured that balanced things out.

And in other "getting other people to do our work for us" news, we asked writer Chuck Klosterman (whose first novel, Downtown Owl, came out in 2008) to review the fabled new Guns N' Roses album, Chinese Democracy, for us. He compared it to a unicorn.

Oh, and we can't forget the controversial interview with controversial A.V. Club commentator ZODIAC MOTHERFUCKER, who convinced us to finally "man up and face the Rain." (That'd be a Taste Test on Death Rain potato chips.)

Speaking of Taste Tests, none got people more excited than the cheeseburger in a can.

In straight-ahead interview-land, we got some deep thoughts from some amazing talents: Woody Allen finally gave us an interview. (And we covered Allen in an exhaustive Primer.) P.T. Anderson talked about There Will Be Blood. John Hodgman was incredibly smart, of course. Errol Morris talked shop. Charlie Kaufman worried about journalists. John Cleese was historically hilarious. Harlan Ellison was himself in all the ways that have made him famous and infamous over the decades.


The world of Random Roles hit its peak with Teri Garr, who was amazingly forthcoming, funny, and flirtatious. The same can't exactly be said for the Random Roles with Fred "The Hammer" Williamson, but it was an excellent read just the same.

Similarly, the world of Commentary Tracks Of The Damned hit its personal best with the track to Uwe Boll's Postal, which features the ego-stricken director jovially sneering over Owen Wilson's suicide attempt and calling Sarah Silverman and David Cross pussies.


In Random Rules, nothing could really top Jesse Hughes of Eagles Of Death Metal, who claimed he was snorting a line of meth before putting his "brain on shuffle." (He didn't actually have any music playing, in case that wasn't totally clear.) Alex Ross took a far more serious route in his Random Rules.

Then there was Wall-E, which was covered in a great review, the year in film, an interview with director Andrew Stanton, a Pixar primer, and a popular blog post called "Your guide to the Wall-E controversy."


Speaking of controversy, Donkey Kong champ Billy Mitchell called us out of the blue after we ordered some of his hot sauce off the Internet. He ostensibly called to say thanks, but it turned into an hourlong conversation about whether the documentary The King Of Kong: A Fistful Of Quarters represented him fairly. It was a little bit insane, to be honest.

Also a little insane: Jean Claude Van Damme.

Then there's the death of Gary Gygax, which inspired a lot of emotions from D&D; fans.


And we can't forget Noel Murray's yearlong Popless project, in which he studiously avoided hearing any new music, and instead went through and commented on his massive collection, with essays like this one on his Southern-rock problem.

Other features didn't last as long, but they made excellent impressions, including Steve Hyden's "Song And Vision" feature, particularly his entry on Taxi Driver.


And it wouldn't have been another year without more of Nathan Rabin's "My Year Of Flops," which touched on a bunch of horrible, terrific films in 2008. Perhaps none was more magnificent than Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium.

On a sheer popularity basis, our best-viewed and most-passed-around features for the year were two Inventories: the list of talented actors we think deserve better careers, and a tongue-in-check rundown of "pop-cultural obsessions even geekier than Monty Python." Those and many other breakout features helped make this our biggest year ever.


No more laurel-resting, though—it's back to work for us. Here's to the new year to come.