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Top 10 Whatever of 2009: Knowles, Reiss

Top 10 Whatever of 2009: Knowles, Reiss

There are a lot of lists going around about Top 10 films of the year, so I wanted to ask a bunch of film people to list their Top 10 “something else.” No movies, but their 10 favorite/best/notable things of 2009:

Harry Knowles, founder and Head Geek, Ain’t It Cool News
(Top 10 Acquisitions of 2009)
I’m a collector. My house is a bit of a museum/gallery that I live in. I love the ephemera of history, I collect anything that I deem cool, but this Top Ten isn’t just about the collectibles, but sometimes the silly little things that just make me happy. Here they are:

10. World’s Fair Circus Music Box
Patricia scored this for me this Christmas. It’s a very complicated moving music box shaped like a Big Top Circus Tent, but open from the front. I love magical automated things… having an entire bigtop that moves with spotlights and everything is absolutely hypnotic

9. 20,000 Leagues Beneath The Sea Super Deluxe Music Snow Globe
The X-mas present that I bought for myself, but that Patricia “gave” me at Christmas. It sits on the front corner of my desk, where my original Stan Winston, film-used, Terminator skull used to sit. Since Terminator: Salvataion, it has slightly depressed me since seeing the film. Having this beautiful Snowglobe that lights up the Nautilus, and has a fan to blow the snowglobe glitter stuff around inside – AND it plays a music box version of Toccata & Fugue in D Minor. So Cool!

8. THEM original Window Card
Bought this at Comic Con 2009, I love the original THEM, Warner Brothers’ classic giant bug movie and the very best of the Atomic Age Horror films. The Ants are nowhere near realistic looking, but they’re freakier than ants, they’re THEM. The sound they make, the scene in the sewers and the poster art itself is just sweet. Very happy to have scored this.

7. Original PAN Animation Drawing of Maleficent as the Dragon from Sleeping Beauty
I also bought this at Comic Con 2009. Earlier this year, Disney put out a gorgeous BLU RAY of Sleeping Beauty which has possibly the coolest interactive Menu screen I’ve seen thus far. But when I was at Comic Con looking to buy some coolness, I stumbled into an Animation booth too check out an EGGHEAD (early pre-Elmer Fudd character from Warner Bros.), and while looking around – I saw this astonishing piece – about 27″ long and 16″ high (estimation) that is a pan presentation piece that is exquisite. Now hangs in the bedroom!

6. Maxfield Parrish’s Large Original Print of “DAYLIGHT” in original Frame & Glass
Dad picked this up for me this year for Christmas, I collect original Parrish’s – and I now have 4 original Parrish prints in their original
frames and hand made glass. I love me some Parrish blue!

5. Jumping Mouse Substitution Puppet for Coraline
Henry Selick gave this to me at a Coraline special pre-release screening that I held for him here in Austin in early January of 2009, almost forgot about this. Not that I don’t absolutely love it, but I’ve stared at it for the past year as it appears right over the top of my computer screen at the back of my desk. It has been in my field of view so much, that it feels like it has ‘always’ been there… you know… like Nicholson.

4. WWI Kaiser Zombie Bust from Zack Snyder’s 2011 feature, Sucker Punch!
At the end of Butt-Numb-A-Thon 11 (aka BNAT1138) Tim League rolls out this huge wood crate that had arrived during BNAT, and inside was a present from Zack Snyder: a World War I gas-mask wearing killer undead Kraut bust. This is awesome at multiple levels. For one, it reminds me of American Werewolf in London in a way, and secondly… given I’ve no clue what Sucker Punch is about – I get to stare at this Bust till 2011, when I get to see what this character/creature does in his film. Till then, I make up my own stories about this killer kraut!

3. Max Fleischer’s Right Hand
Found this through the miracles of Ebay. I’m a Max Fleischer super freak. And it doesn’t get cooler than this. This is a photograph of Max Fleischer’s Right Hand, that Max personally painted over to accent the shadows and surface, so when he animated it in a silent era KoKo The Clown cartoon, it’d show up better. But it is SO COOL to have Max Fleischer’s Right Hand. And my favorite photo of me this year is with this piece of Animation history!

I was raised in a Comic Book shop, sold comics when I was in diapers, through paying for college, till right before the creation of AINT IT COOL. But to pay for college, I sold the cream of our old store stock, so since I’m lucky enough to be at a financial level where I can afford low grade prime issues, I set about collecting the key Marvel issues – and my goal was to complete this collection over a series of years. However, opportunity struck when the financial crisis caused people to off-load their treasures to try to weather the lean year, and due to BUY IT NOW and slower times, I’ve been able to complete the run and start a new goal of picking up the key FICTIONHOUSE titles, since I scored a JUNGLE COMICS 1! No need to upgrade condition, I love my comics to be well read and loved. The dreams these issues inspired in the little boys or girls that read them is an extra layer of awesome. In particular – I’ve never ever owned or held a FANTASTIC FOUR 1 in my life. When I scored it at Comic Con, I was a kid in a candy store! So awesome to have the one issue that I didn’t have before.

1. At Home Super KARAOKE Machine & HOOKA!
At a completely different end of the cool shit spectrum are these two devices. I’ve always enjoyed smoking a HOOKA, and being married to a crazy Korean/American gal – you better believe I am well versed in Karaoke experiences… but this year for my birthday, Patricia scored me a HOOKA with some awesome blends, and then Megan Hagins scored for Patricia and mine’s Birthday & Christmas present – a big superdeluxe KARAOKE machine, that even has a built in video camera as well as two mikes! What do they together form a bond of awesome that these treasures can’t break? Because, I love watching my wife sing along to her favorite songs as I write on the site and puff at my hooka and blow smoke rings of yummy scented low level tobacco products. Now I just need to find my Leopard Spotted Fez!

Jon Reiss, filmmaker and author of Think Outside The Box Office
(Top 10 Non Film Loves)
I love lists – I’m surprised I’m not one of those Amazon super listers. Considering it’s the end of a decade – I’m surprised it took Matt Dentler to ask me to write a top ten list to get me to do one. I think its because he asked for a non film top 10 list that got me going. So here is my totally random top ten list for this past decade (and beyond).

1. Top Cities that I love
New York City tops the list – ironic I don’t live there. Hmmm. Every time I visit – it fills me with inspiration and enthusiasm. I need to move. Runner ups: Sao Paulo (New York energy mixed with Amsterdam friendliness) and Amsterdam (lovely people and best city to bike ride – love the grachts).

2. Top Walking Cities
New York City and Paris. I can spend days walking through these towns – looking at architecture and the smallest odd icon, statue or caryatids.

3. Top City that has Banned Billboards
Sao Paulo. With other cities (and New York trying to out LA – LA) overrun with billboards (illegal and otherwise) Sao Paulo took the bold step several years ago to ban all public advertising.

4. Best Cities for Graffiti and Street Art
Los Angeles, Sao Paulo, Berlin I’m sure I’m going to get into trouble for this but these cities have the broadest range of styles and most interesting uses of the form from what I have seen in person (Los Angeles every day, Sao Paulo 2 years ago and Berlin 4 years ago). I have not been to Melbourne or Buenos Aires so I can’t weigh in on those cities that I have heard great things about. It is unfortunate that many cities such as New York have such stringent enforcement that it curtails a great deal of potential creative energy. London is a strong runner up – but enforcement restricts public art mostly to one area – Shoreditch.

5. Best Country for Non Artistic Graffiti
Italy. Travelling in Italy I am constantly reminded by mankind’s need to write on walls. Most of the graffiti that I have seen in the south is either overtly political – long sentences – or protestations of love.

6. Best City for Food
Barcelona. My wife Jill and I waited 2 hours to sit at the counter at Cal Pep and I had the best meal in my life (yes I am a closet foodie). Every other restaurant in Barcelona we ate in was equally wondrous.

7. Best Architectural Inspiration
La Sagrada Familia. Ok perhaps its boring to be a Gaudi fan – but I finally woke up early enough this year to visit this incredible gem without a press of crowds and it’s a revelation. More inspirational for all artists is that years after the architect’s death it is still unfinished. Realizing that you cannot wait for perfection pushed me to publish Think Outside the Box Office last Fall without concern for typos or the changing tides of digital distribution.

8. Favorite Small City for a Stop (or Favorite City not on typical tours).
Orvieto, Italy. This city has one of the most incredible Duomo facades. Inside in ones of the vaults is an amazing series of frescos by Signorelli, “Apocalypse,” which has a few startlingly modern frames. Across the square from the Duomo is the best ice cream I have ever tasted – and I’ve had some pretty amazing ice cream. The white wine from Orvieto is also one of my favorites. I try to stop here whenever I am driving through the middle of Italy. As you can see I’m a frustrated travel writer. A few places I haven’t been that I’m dying to go to: India, Cambodia, Viet Nam, China.

9. Favorite Recent Graphic Novel
The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb. An eye opening re-invigoration of the classic.

10. Favorite Living Author
Paul Auster. I haven’t been able to read as much as I would like to this past year, but Paul Auster always inspires.

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