It's always easy to complain. Movies are aiming lower and lower. Music hasn't had an original sound in ages. The art scene is stagnating. And in a lot of cases such curmudgeonly carping would be correct.

But in this issue we come to praise the arts with a look at some of the best work of 2002. There were so many smart movies this year that Desson Howe had to struggle to keep his list at just 10. Musically, artists such as Sleater-Kinney, Norah Jones and Talib Kweli are among the many who've delivered fresh, intriguing albums to listeners. Critics Richard Harrington, Geoffrey Himes, Mark Jenkins and Mike Joyce are happy to highlight their faves. And Michael O'Sullivan would argue that no one can see "The Paradise Institute" at the Corcoran Biennial and say the art world is stale. So take a look at what our critics liked in 2002 and see if you agree. Perhaps there are some choices you'll want to add to your list if you missed them the first time around.

Oh, because it's not only easy to complain but also fun, we have a look at 10 of the worst movies of the year just for laughs.