"So much on my mind, I just can't recline." Mos Def has that right: there's too much visual and other media stuff out there to categorize, count, or compare. And yet, at the end of each year we habitually do just that. The lists here are as diverse as the PopMatters writers, but they don't even begin to reflect their many interests, strange, mundane, and contradictory as they are. The movie and video lists suggest the lack of stand out options (in theaters and on video store shelves), and while American Beauty is at the top of too many mainstream lists, our reviewers note here that its young performers have been woefully overlooked by just about all other commentaries. With the rise of Miramax, et. al., the term "independent" started to seem almost meaningless, and then came The Blair Witch Project's remarkable web-marketing campaign (much more interesting than the film itself) and the one-two punches of David O. Russell and Spike Jonze directing compelling, thoughtful movies that should have starred nobodies and made stars of them, but instead, starred stars and made them look like actors.
On to the lists.