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John Lamb, Published January 02 2010

Lamb’s beef with Cusack

With the holiday season coming to an end, so ends one of the most stressful times of the year for some people – all the nerds who fret over year-end lists.

I speak with authority, though I’m not as nerdy as some. I enjoy reviewing the past 12 months and noting the best concerts (tie between AC/DC at the Fargodome and Wilco at 10,000 Lakes), best album (“Middle Cyclone” by Neko Case), best movies (“Inglorious Basterds” for feature, “Anvil: The Story of Anvil” for documentary) and best food (bacon, the reigning chomp!), but I don’t get tied up in the minutiae.

Some list wonks would balk at the Wilco inclusion for best concert since it was part of a four-day festival. My response would be the same I gave the band: “Woooooooo!”

Lists have a little extra weight this year since it is the end of the decade. And what a decade. I won’t bore you with a musical Billy Joel-like recount, because if you really need a song to remind you of everything that happened, you probably don’t want to hear it again.

Lists are such a cottage industry right now that North Dakota ex-pat and cyber-celebrity Rex Sorgatz collected year-end lists on his Web site aggregator www.fimoculous.com. In addition to the obligatory categories in entertainment and news, the collection includes “Top Reality TV Whores,” “10 most Important Tweets” and “Worst and Strangest Collectible Statues.”

And do you know who I blame for all these lists? John Cusack.

Yeah, Lloyd Dobbler, I’m talking to you. Actually, I’m talking to the Cusack character Rob Gordon from “High Fidelity.” Gordon is the miserable record store snob who whines about his inability to keep girlfriends when he’s the most over-sensitive, spineless, insufferable male in pop culture since “Friends” started.

Instead of actually trying to figure out why he’s so unlikable, Gordon wallows in misery by creating lists that reflect his sour mood. Top five break-ups. Top five songs he wants played at his funeral. Too bad he didn’t consider top five songs to listen to while getting his mopey butt kicked.

Though it didn’t make any best-of-the-decade lists I saw, the film left its mark. Sure, folks made lists before “High Fidelity” came out in early 2000, but it seemed to open the doors for cataloguing as a type of fetish for the next 10 years.

The movie has some good points. It was a star turn for Jack Black, and it made us believe, briefly, in a Lisa Bonet comeback. But 10 years later, the movie just seems dated. (Really, people still made mix tapes while talking on corded phones and smoking in record stores? How 2000!)

So maybe in 2010, something will take the place of list-eria. I should see what John Mayer has to Tweet about.


Readers can reach Forum columnist John Lamb at (701) 241-5533