Saturday, December 31, 2011

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
Luckily, I was able to catch more concerts this year than I expected, mostly thanks to some smaller, reasonably-priced venues in the area (namely, the new, fabulous Stage AE) that brings in artists who aren't big enough for stadiums but too big for small clubs, and therefore, wouldn't normally come to Pittsburgh.

The Best: Pearl Jam (PJ20) at Alpine Valley, Elkhorn, WI, September 3. I couldn't make both nights of PJ20, which is unfortunate because apparently the Sunday show was the better of the two. And even though it rained most of Saturday, prompting my group to sit in the parking lot and drink, missing most of the lineup (we only heard the tail end of Queens of the Stone Age, and got to see full sets by The Strokes and PJ), and it wasn't even the best of their shows that I've seen, it was still PEARL JAM. I can't imagine hauling myself to Middle of Nowhere, Wisconsin for many other bands. And it was cool to get some deep cuts and see the guys clearly just having a blast, playing whatever the hell they felt like playing. Also, there was a mini-Temple of the Dog reunion, which was probably the night's highlight. My biggest regret is not getting a chance to walk through the PJ20 museum.

The Rest:
Death Cab for Cutie at Stage AE, Pittsburgh, 8/6
Lindsey Buckingham at Carnegie Library Music Hall, Pittsburgh, 9/20
The Jayhawks at Mr. Small's Funhouse, Pittsburgh, 10/16
Arctic Monkeys at Stage AE, Pittsburgh, 10/18
Chris Cornell at Carnegie Music Hall of Oakland, Pittsburgh, 12/2

I still haven't gotten into watching all the critical darlings, like The Good Wife, Breaking Bad and Modern Family. I did catch a couple of episodes of the latter and thought it was pretty funny, but I always forget when it's on. Even if it's on right after Suburgatory, which I have been trying to watch on a regular basis.

The Best: Community. Same as last year. It's so hard for me to comprehend how this show can be in any danger of being canceled. It featured one of the best episodes of any show this year, "Remedial Chaos Theory," which was at once funny, smart, insightful, weird, sweet and depressing. But my favorite episode that aired this year was Season 2's "Paradigms of Human Memory," which hilariously skewered "clip shows" by taking us all down memory lane to a bunch of stuff that never happened. Just brilliant.

The Rest: Parks and Recreation (although it might be close to a tie with Community), It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, 30 Rock, The Soup, Project Runway, Suburgatory, Up All Night, Once Upon a Time. I've tried following Terra Nova and the aforementioned Modern Family, but I haven't been able to make either one regularly scheduled viewing. I gave up on The Office (since Steve Carell left, it's been nearly unwatchable) and I'm pretty over Glee. I don't think I can continue on with it...especially since Community's Glee spoof episode was 10 times better than anything the real Glee has ever done (not counting Jonathan Groff's dreamy guest spots).

The Best of the Worst: It's a tie! First, there's New Girl. I'm sorry, I know it's just a typical schlocky sitcom, but Zooey Deschanel just looks at me with those big, beautiful eyes and makes silly voices, and I can't help but giggle and sit there in rapt enjoyment. Then we have terrible reality series, Tough Love, which I actually found myself occasionally DVRing. Kill me now.

Just the Worst: American Horror Story. Really? People like this? Those people better not give me shit about liking New Girl. Sheesh.

As usual, I stayed away from theaters for the most part. Most of the movies I saw this year were thanks to either Netflix or Redbox.

The Best: I honestly can't pick which movie I thought was the best. Most people would look at my list and yell, "Give it to Bridesmaids! That was the funniest movie in the history of the world!!!" Well, I did think it was very funny, but I didn't think it necessarily lived up to all of the hype. So, I don't know. I'll just grade each movie I saw this year. (These are in order of release, if Wikipedia can be trusted.) The ones I actually saw in the theater (or drive-in, in at least one case) are in green.
  • Hall Pass: C
  • The Adjustment Bureau: B
  • Insidious: D
  • Scream 4: B-
  • Bridesmaids: A-
  • Super 8: B
  • Bad Teacher: C+
  • Horrible Bosses: B-
  • Our Idiot Brother: C+
  • Paranormal Activity 3: B
  • The Muppets: B+
Well, hey, look at that. I guess Bridesmaids was the best, after all!

Duhhhhhh. This is, um, like my leastest literate year ever in forever and stuff. Even leaster than last year when I said the same thing. I seriously haven't read shit. Perhaps my New Year's resolution will be to play less Words with Friends and read more words on paper.

Other Good Stuff
  • Jimmy Fallon as Jim Morrison singing the Reading Rainbow theme. Amazing. Why has Hulu shut off access to this video already? WHY??
  • WEll, at least THIS is still available.

Happy New Year, everyone!


Brahm (alfred lives here) said...

You saw Lindsey Buckingham? I am SOOO jealous. Luv him.

I did start watching Community, yes late to the party, and think is very clever, especially the Glee episode which was brilliant and yes better than an episode of Glee.

Liked Bridesmaids a lot, not a classic. Checki out Stupid Crazy Love, my fave of the year. Eager to see The Muppets...

Happy New Year!

Dale said...

I'm the one watching American Horror Story, sorry! :-)

The Vegetable Assassin said...

Oh COME ON, everyone loves a meme! Until it's overused then we should be allowed to shoot people.

Also, how can you not have seen Breaking Bad (aka: possibly the best and most awesomely written show on TV) and Modern Family (aka: family sitcom that's actually funny)

American Horror Story is terrible, sensationalist pulp but it's such GOOD terrible sensationalist pulp. :) Shut your mouth, woman! "New Girl" is okay. I'm not a Zooey lover but she's playing a dorky version of herself so I guess she's passable, although the real laughs come from the guys.

I have spoken. Happy new year!

Candy's daily Dandy said...

Great post Becks! So I've actually caught Modern Family and Subergatory a couple of times and thought they were hilarious..

But like you, I can't remember when they are on.

Happy New Year,,

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I think I actually took in fewer concerts last year than I normally do, but then again, seeing as I also didn't make a best-of concerts list, I'm not entirely sure. Serious lack of listing done on my part!

But I did read more books...

Kat Rocket said...

I so love all the TV shows you love - especially Community and Parks & Rec. These 2011 review posts are EPIC. You totally deserve a Drysdale for this shit.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Vedder is having a tambourine fight . . .

Professor Chaos said...

Well, apparently, I have to go rent Bridesmaids now!

Canada Mark said...

pretty cool blog, I look forward to more

Cora said...

Any AI recaps to look forward to this year or do you actually expect me to watch the show myself? Hmm? Hmm? HMM????


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