Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Year in Entertainment

Now that I've given you a year-end review of what really matters (music—in album and single form—and hot men) and some things that don't (memes), it's time to take a look at what the rest of the entertainment world had to offer.

Live Music
I don't see nearly as many concerts these days as I used to, back when ticket prices weren't outrageous. However, I did manage to catch a few shows this year.

The Best: Gorillaz at Madison Square Garden, NYC, October 8. Ah, it was wonderful to finally see Damon Albarn in the flesh, even if I wasn't in his lap as I had requested. Damon looked and sounded lovely and the set was packed with great tunes and special guests. The best part of all was that, thanks to a friend, I didn't even pay for the ticket, which would have normally cost a pretty penny. Actually, no...the best part may have been the discovery of MSG's awesome plastic beer mug with the pretzel rod-holder handle (captured here by another Gorillaz fan, along with some other great shots of the show). Yeah, I took two of those babies home.

The Rest:
Norah Jones at St. Ann's Warehouse, Brooklyn, January 27
John Hiatt at Carnegie Library Music Hall, Pittsburgh, March 10
Lollapalooza at Grant Park, Chicago, August 6
Brendan Benson/The Posies at Mr. Small's Funhouse, Pittsburgh, November 11

I watch too much TV in general, yet somehow have managed to miss all the cricially acclaimed shows, like Breaking Bad and The Good Wife. I no longer have pay channels, so I simply can't watch biggies like True Blood and Dexter. But I also prefer comedies and garbage TV to dramas. Not that I don't enjoy any dramas...I do like Mad Men, but I've only seen up through Season 2 because I just kept forgetting to watch it. I'll have to start Netflixing it, but it's going to have to wait until I'm done with LOST, which I avoided during its entire run and am now obsessed with. I'm in the middle of Season 5 and it's blowing my mind, yo.

The Best: Community. If you watch it and have the ability to laugh, I don't see how this could even be up for debate. There is no other comedy on TV now (not even my beloved It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) that is this consistently laugh-out-loud funny. I think it's getting shafted (ratings and popularity-wise) being the lead-off show in NBC's stellar Thursday night lineup (well, it will be stellar once they get rid of Outsourced and bring Parks and Recreation back) because it should really be in the clean-up spot. I find that, while The Office and 30 Rock still crack me up, they're always like an anti-climax to the orgasmic hilarity of Community. Whenever I have to DVR everything, I always save it for last.

And because I know someone will mention it, I should just tell you right now that I've never seen Modern Family. Oh, I know, I's better than puppies farting rainbows. I'll get around to checking it out eventually.

The Rest: 30 Rock, The Office, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (an uneven season with some gems—see my Starpulse recaps), Glee, The Soup, Project Runway (despite crowning the worst winner ever—again, see my Starpulse recaps), Top Chef and Cash Cab (best game show EVER).

The Best of the Worst: Married to Rock. I'm sorry, but I can't look away from this show. How can you not be amused by Steve Stevens' wife and marvel at the level of Perry Farrell's p-whippedness? Also, hello? Duff McKagan!

I didn't go to the theater much. Since Netflix came into my life, I don't see the point.

The Best: This is a toughie, but I guess the two Leonardo DiCaprio mindbenders cancel each other out and Toy Story 3 comes out on top. It only seems fair, since I nearly peed myself with excitement when I first saw the teaser for it last year. And while the movie didn't end up the best of the Toy Story series (I still love Part 2 the most), it's a perfect ending (maybe?) and a beautifully-made film. It's definitely the most adult-themed installment of the franchise. That's why the overwhelming majority of those you heard blubbering in the darkened theaters were over 25.

The Rest: I'll have to do this a little differently than the other categories, by giving each movie I saw this year a grade. (I think these are in order of release, if Wikipedia can be trusted.) The ones I saw in the theater (or drive-in, in at least one case) are in red.

  • Frozen: B-
  • Shutter Island: A-
  • The Ghost Writer: B-
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: B
  • Date Night: C
  • After.Life: C
  • Sex and the City 2: D+
  • Grown Ups: C
  • Inception: A
  • Paranormal Activity 2: C

Duhhhhhh. This is, um, like my leastest literate year ever in forever and stuff. *sigh* I don't know what my problem is. Sometimes I get in these grooves where I read constantly and then sometimes I just don't feel like reading and the next thing I know, I've gone a whole year without reading anything more substantial than Entertainment Weekly. My BFF gave me Rob Sheffield's Talking to Girls About Duran Duran this summer, so that will probably be the first book I read when I turn my brain back on and stop drooling. One I won't be reading? Probably the one Nicole Richie wrote.

Other Good Stuff
  • Jimmy Fallon's Glee-tastic Emmy-opening performance of "Born to Run"
  • Betty White's comeback
  • American Idol, from a purely snarky standpoint
  • Kara DioGuardi's firing
  • The rise of Conan


The Vegetable Assassin said...

What, you haven't heard of Bit Torrent sites? I don't have any premium channels either, only basic cable, yet I see everything. Magically. :) OF COURSE IT'S LEGAL.


Dale said...

Is Community really that good? I've seen bits of episodes and haven't figured out its appeal from the three minutes I've seen. I do still love The Soup though so Mr. McHale? Thank you.

I've been a bad reader for a while but Jay-Z is setting me straight with Decoded.

Project Runway was awesome this year! Cash Cab originated here so I'm over it after having seen a zillion episodes.

Wait, you didn't ask me any of this did you? Sorry! Happy New Year!

Mnmom said...

I'm hopelessly out of the loop on most pop culture, but I get just a bit here and there. Saddest thing about getting older is reading PEOPLE mag at the dr's office and thinking "Who ARE these people?"

Brahm (alfred lives here) said...

Love your list. Love you now, so glad I found your blog. And yes I will stalk.

Love Community, just discovered it in the fall. Plus Joel McHale is my new dream boyfriend. Don't tell my husband. Also love It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, is evil and smart and funny.

Good list!

X. Dell said...

Dale's apparently watched the wrong three minutes of Community. I must have caught the other three.

Inception is a film I've been meaning to see. It's on my list.

J.J. in L.A. said...

I watched Modern Family...for about 15 minutes. Don't worry, you're not missing much, imo.

Cormac Brown said...

You need to check out "The Town," Ben Affleck is getting better as an actor and he is certainly hitting his stride as a director. Also, the Stieg Larson trilogy is much better in book form despite the author's tendencies to ramble on for entire pages about semi-obscure (even for Swedes) Swedish politics.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

We were looking for episodes of Community at the video store to go with the Chinese takeout for New Year's Eve Eve (NYE squared?), but we obviously live in some kind of cool series deathzone. Fortunately somebody got the It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia six pack for Christmas, so we never have to leave the house.

SkylersDad said...

Jimmy Fallon's Glee opening might have been the best moment on TV this year.

Hippo Brigade said...

I pretty much agree with everything you said about TV. Even the Married to Rock. I love that show. My husband rolls his eyes, and goes in the other room when I watch it. I'm like, HELLO? Boobies, Blondes, Guitars? What's not to love?


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