Monday, December 19, 2011

2-0-1-1: Take One

Another year is coming to a close, and upon reflection, it has actually been quite eventful. There were new jobs, new friends, new babies, trips to California, of course non-stop fun, and topping it off with a fabulous Christmas.

[Lets celebrate with fireworks!]
Okay, I will cut the cheese for now, and progress to some list making.

End of the year lists are all the rage, and thrilling to make, so I decided to tip my hat to the year and throw in my two cents on 2011.

Since new released books are foreign to me (only have time to catch up on the classics), and since trying to come up with an exclusive top ten in any category hurts my brain, I decided to mix it up; through several installments, I have put together a mish-mash Best-O-2011.

There will be movies, there will be TV, and oh, there will be music. Lets get started:

Best Guilty Pleasure Moment: Grenade - Bruno Mars

When this song got popular, I loved it. When people were sick of this song, I lived for it. When I saw, Bruno Mars' acoustic take of the song on The Graham Norton Show, I nearly teared up.

Embarrassing, yes. Fantastic song none the less, and when it's good, you have to admit it. 

Most Hilarious Guest Star: John Slattery, 30 Rock

With my heart pains crying out in need of 30 Rock this fall, I have been running through reruns nearly every night.

Stumbling upon last seasons episode, "Brooklyn Without Limits", several nights ago, I was reminded of the treat that was John Slattery guest starring as the clueless Steve Austin, a candidate running for congress (and if you're blind, yes, he is the wrestler).

Only knowing Slattery from Mad Men, and small movie roles, dude is normally serious. He must have taken some cues from cast mate Jon Hamm, because combined those two have made for some of the best guest stars on 30 Rock, and are memorable even on a show that thrives on welcoming famous actors on for nearly each episode.

Best Love/Hate Movie: The Tree Of Life


In recent memory I can't think of a more controversial movie. It has nothing to do with controversy in the typical sense, too much violence, profanity, or nudity, but on an entirely different scale; one based solely on audience reaction.

The Tree Of Life seemed to be hitting its stride of acclaim when it walked away with The Palme D'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in the spring. Even though it wasn't receiving critical acclaim from all sources, it was still astounding to read about some who were demanding their money back. It must have been often as some theaters went so far as putting up signs as a warning, basically saying, "Hey, I know Brad Pitt is in this, but for reals, some of you may not be ready for this."

It is obvious why this film is not everyone's cup of tea, and at first I thought it wouldn't be mine either, even though the trailer blew me away.

However, once the film progressed to showing the forming of the Earth, and there was a little more dialogue with the family, I was sucked in to the entire glorious vision Malick had created. I already can't wait to watch it about four more times.

Some call it pretentious, I call it incredibly ballsy. The best part of this movie is everyone can walk away with different opinions, their own message, how it affected them, and it has got people talking. When was the last time a film had an effect like that?

Most Adoring Costumes: Water For Elephants


The circus has always been a fascination, and this years Water For Elephants took everything I love about the appeal of a performing life and put it on the big screen in beautiful form. There have been plenty of old movies set at the circus, but this modern take showed off some real glamor under the big top (and also, of course, the horrors).

Check out the some of the sketches for Reese's gorgeous 1930's gowns by costume designer, Jacqueline West, as seen in InStyle Magazine

BBC Miniseries Rule: Downton Abbey 


The dramas of the distinguished Crowley family and their staff of maids and footmen in the sprawling  England country side has reestablished the tradition of BBC Masterpiece Theater.

Audiences are riveted, critics are praising it, and all the buzz is entirely due. Those of you thinking it is merely a stuffy period piece are wrong-there is always dishy, gossip ridden events brewing in the walls of Downton.

Buidling excitement for the contining crusade-check out Season Two when it premiers on PBS January 8!

Need to catch up? Season One is streaming instantly on Netflix.

Exciting New Artist: The Civil Wars

The duo's debut full length album, Barton Hallow, could easily be considered a top record for the year. Each song highlights the dreamy harmonies these two have, which makes for a solid listen all the way through.

Each song could be a favorite but I'll stick by 20 Years, I've Got This Friend (wonderfully reminds me of  Fleetwood Mac, Never Going Back Again), and My Fathers Father.

Already coveting the opportunity to see them live, and for the new brilliant music to come.

That's all for today. More counting down to 2012 tomorrow!

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