Tuesday, January 3, 2012

My year in review: Inspector Spacetime, The Driver, Ukuleles, Liz Lemon & Hot Buns.

This probably won't be too succinct. There was quite a bit about 2011 that I enjoyed.
I've seen quite a few lists from other, more popular entertainment sites (you weren't aware that I am, in fact, a leading authority on entertainment??). I know you're all dying to hear my opinions on what went down and why I was into it. Maybe? Just a little?

 *Disclaimer: Sorry if this isn't a terribly well rounded look at the year. I like what I likes. Also, not all of these were created in 2011, I figured they were the zenith of entertainment this past year.*


I don't want to talk about how the fate of this show hangs in the balance. I want to talk about the brilliance of this little show. There are the obvious points: Joel McHale, Starburns, Professor Student Chang, etc. Then there are the subtle: Inspector Spacetime, Remedial Chaos Theory, and a parody of Hearts of Darkness. Community, like another favorite of mine, Arrested Development is generously intelligent & touching without taking itself too seriously. Like the former show, Community could end too soon. If you want to save this gem, I suggest you let NBC know about it.

Doctor Who
I fell head over heels in love with a Time Lord this year. So did my kids. The sixth season started this Summer & it was gorgeous (I had selfishly gobbled up any and all Doctor Who available on Netflix). It became an after church ritual to eat lunch & then watch the newest episode from the day before. My children were even The Doctor and Amy Pond for Halloween.
 Multiple choice time!
I have done the following while watching DW:
A) Laughed
B) Cringed
C) Shed tears
D) Gone on Amazon and purchased a Sonic Screwdriver.
E) All of the above
Pencils down! If you answered "E"- you're right.  I now count myself among the legions of Whovians. A devoted fan & a Mom who would jump at the chance if a big blue police box "Vwomped-Vwomped" into my front yard. 

Downton Abbey

This show made Masterpiece Theater a show anyone would tune into. I promise. Let's put it this way: the action between two very different classes (Upstairs, Downstairs anyone?) starts the day after the Titanic sinks and the last episode clearly marks the start of World War I.


WARNING: PREPARE FOR A DELUGE OF RyGos. All of my favorite movies this year had Ryan Gosling in them.

Blue Valentine
This movie was released in 2010 into limited theaters. I saw it last Friday, so for me this was a 2011 movie.
Are you tired of Sandra Bullock & Ryan Reynolds (or Bradley Cooper, don't even get me started on that guy)? Sick of the humdrum average rom-com? Do I have a movie for you! Sit back, relax & sob your way through the story of Dean & Cindy. It's told in a nonlinear story, jumping from their crumbling marriage to their darling & unconventional meeting. Quite a bit of the end of their marriage takes place in "The Future Room". Trust me, it's good.

Not a picture of the movie, just wanted to put a "Hey Girl" on my blog.

Crazy, Stupid, Love.

When I brought this movie to my husband's attention, I described it as "That movie with Steve Carrell." I may have left off the rest of the cast... or just one member of it. It's once again not as conventional & plain as an average rom/com. It's clever, it's sweet, it's difficult & funny. Not only do I have a growing affinity for Emma Stone, but it made me miss Michael Scott. Not because Carrell's character is anything like him, but because I realized how talented he is. It's a perfect date night movie. 


Not for the faint of heart. I am typically this person. I DON'T DO VIOLENCE. I broke out in hives watching Walking Dead. For whatever reason, I was more than willing to see this movie. Perhaps I was still on a concert high after seeing Foo Fighters. I was feeling brave. You could say I was driven to see this movie... I kill myself sometimes. 
Where to begin with this movie? It's a beautiful love story. It's a car movie (hello Steve McQueen!). It's a mobster movie. It's an LA movie. It's also a movie where a dude gets his head smashed in by some one's foot in an elevator. I didn't see this actually happen, I had my fingers in my ears & head buried in Cameron's shoulder. As I told a friend on Facebook, I saw this movie 2 1/2 months ago and I'm still talking about it. We own the soundtrack. We drive around LA and listen to this soundtrack. It's incredible. Oh and we did this:

Cameron & Josiah went shopping at Big "6". Why? BECAUSE WE COULD. This may be part of the reason we loved the movie so much: they are real places that we pass by or explore on a regular basis. The DVD comes out on January 12th from what I understand. Make sure you check it out.


True Grit
I read this book on vacation. It was apropos. I was in the Alabama Hills & Sierra Nevadas. Locations of both real & silver screen cowboys. While reading this book, the character of Mattie Ross was in every sense, my Grandmother. My Grandma, Louise Berry (nee Lovelace) was born in 1916 (she is still alive because she's hardcore, y'all) to homesteading parents in Oklahoma. Even in her older age, she would do things like chop down her own trees, care for her acre of land & ride her granddaughter's dirt bike. Mattie's non-wavering perseverance, sense of justice, knowledge of everything around her and hard-nosed dealings with Rooster only stirred up memories & feelings of my Grandma. Aside from my personal connections, the book was lovely.

Counterfeit Gods
If you'd like to get kicked in the butt for God, please read this book.
Especially in light of the upcoming election. Keller put into words what I had been feeling about Christians and the American political system: Politics, politicians & parties have become idols in our lives.

 The Jesus Storybook Bible
Buy it for your kids, you will grow closer to Jesus. I promise. 

Under The Banner of Heaven
Krakauer, who wrote Into the Wild gives us all a peak into the history of Fundamentalist Mormonism & what it looks like now. While it's framing is a brutal story of murder & religious megalomania, the rest is a non-judgemental look into a world most of us don't even know exists. I read this book in two days. I stayed up one night reading 200 pages of it. 


I'm a BIG fan of Tina Fey. I remember seeing her on SNL & relating to her. Why? Most likely for the same reason most of us ladies do: she is one of us. She looks like us. She thinks like us. She struggles like us. I realize she is a successful writer/actress, but that doesn't seem to factor into my love for her "every woman"-ness. 2011 was the year of "funny women", Bridesmaids, Mindy Kaling's book, New Girl & Bossy Pants all made it very acceptable for women to be the funniest & brightest comedians out there. 
It's about time. 


Wasting Light
Foo Fighters

This album. What can I say. Honestly. Maybe just unfinished sentences? Yep.
This album was recorded the old fashioned way: on analog tape (in Dave Grohl's garage). The CDs actually came with bits of analog tape in them. Which I took and smelled right away. You can decide if that's weird or not (If you think that is something acceptable for a fan to do, maybe I'll tell you other things I've done due to my crush on DG). This album is not only incredible & probably my favorite new Foo Fighters' album, but it also reunited the remaining members of Nirvana with Butch Vig. If you don't know, Butch Vig produced Nirvana's Nevermind album. The song "Walk" ended up on the Thor soundtrack. Dave and friends made a documentary & released it into theaters. They also made some amazing videos to accompany their music & their tour. Speaking of tour, they came through LA the weekend of our anniversary (I'm convinced this is because Dave is my friend). Amazing show. Three hours of impressive rocking.
P.S. Check out Animool in the new Muppet movie. Does he look familiar?

I took this picture. You jelly?
My Morning Jacket
Cameron has a serious music crush on this band. When we were on our honeymoon, he bought their album Z in New York city. The first few months of our marriage were started by the album playing on our alarm clock/CD player. While they were always present in my life, this was the year I fell for MMJ. I listened to their Christmas album like it was going out of style. Circuital is one of my most listened to albums (how could I not love a song inspired by laser eye surgery?).  We saw them in concert in December and I was awestruck. I am usually a bystander, holding still at a concert. Tapping my foot. Not at this show. I wanted to DANCE. This show was full of joy despite technical difficulties.  I cannot wait to see them again.

Ukulele Songs
Eddie Vedder

I don't know if there is any medical or science fact to this, but I have a theory. *Stay with me on this one*.
After I woke up from my seizure, I had a change in my musical taste. Pearl Jam was always just "there". Nothing to write home about. While I was recovering, I watched PJ20, the documentary from Cameron Crowe on Pearl Jam.
I am in love with "grunge music" now. I blame my seizure.
I listen to Pearl Jam, Temple of The Dog (which is basically Pearl Jam with Chris Cornell), Soundgarden, etc. Most of the time I'm listening to my jams on my iphone. Cameron can't stand the music. Especially Eddie Vedder. He makes fun of his voice. Likening his vocal skills to a herd of sheep. In this new bit of self-discovery post-seizure, I discovered Eddie's new album, Ukulele Songs. I was totally sold. I asked for it for Christmas. Cameron fought me. I "Veddered" all over his Facebook wall. I was relentless, bringing up the album constantly. Obviously it's not grunge music per se, but I discovered it through such channels. Cameron did buy it for me. I've listened to it continually. It's put me to sleep. It's put my kids to sleep. Eddie Vedder, lullaby singer.

That turned out to be quite a bit longer than I thought. These are little bits of joy that I found in 2011. What did you, dear readers find in 2o11? What are you looking forward to in 2012?


Molly said...

Loved this rundown of 2011. Have you read Peace LIke a River by Leif Enger? It was written like 10 years ago, but I'm just reading it now and LOVING it.

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